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Teresa Siles

In developing social media landscape, vice president makes her name

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When Teresa Siles came into public relations, social media wasn’t a recognized subset of the field. Now, the vice president and director of social media at Nuffer, Smith, Tucker has grown into something she says doesn’t exist: an expert in social media.

“Everyday new things are happening,” she said. “It’s not really possible for one person to know it all. Just to be an expert requires collective knowledge and discussion.”

She said the unknown quantity piqued her interest early on, when companies first began viewing it as a new way to potentially forge relationships with their audiences. By then she was already working with Nuffer, Smith, Tucker — where she began as a college intern while attending San Diego State University, and has now been for more than 10 years — having moved through early grunt work like news release writing into what she calls a “more holistic approach to helping clients.” Then she followed her interest to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, where she received a graduate certificate in social media.

That personal interest led to her spearheading Nuffer, Smith, Tucker’s social media program. Shortly thereafter, she became the youngest vice president in the company’s more than 38-year history.

“Creating a Facebook page or a Twitter account or blog is the easy part,” she said. “The harder and more fun part is thinking through strategically whether social media makes sense for clients, and figure out how to look for the best approach. From that effort grew the idea for the San Diego Social Media Symposium.”

The third incarnation of that event was on March 1. When it started, she had learned through conversations that many companies were struggling to make sense out of how social media could help them. The event was intended to start conversations that would help build social media strategies and understand how different industries were changing.

The conversation’s been running for three years now, she said.

“The first year was, while a step ahead of where others were at that time, looking back at the conversations there to the conversations this year are night and day, because people are really getting it. Everywhere there’s so much more discussion and dialogue about social media.”

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