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How Aliza Licht Followed Her Intuition and Pioneered a Social Media Strategy

From live-tweeting 'Gossip Girl' to landing a book deal, DKNY PR Girl has become one of the most powerful Twitter handles in the industry.

When DKNY PR Girl began tweeting, she was an anonymous PR person documenting her life behind the scenes at Donna Karan. The only face offered was a sketch, changed seasonally, of a gorgeous redhead wearing Donna Karan and DKNY runway clothing.

But after two years, Aliza Licht decided to "out" herself as the voice of DKNY PR Girl, and the truth was even better than the fiction. That's because, in the early days of social media, Licht followed her instincts to create a branded Twitter account that felt personal and engaging -- a story which she shared with attendees at our "How to Make It in Fashion" conference on Friday.

It was the marketing department that initially came up with the idea, but it was Licht who made DKNY PR Girl her own, sharing tidbits about her real life and, of all things, live-tweeting the show "Gossip Girl." "I find things that I like and I turn them into social moments -- I was tweeting 'Scandal' before 'Scandal' tweeted 'Scandal,'" Licht explains. "It's organic. I think that's why it works because it's not like I'm seeking out these initiatives."

But as it became more conversational, Licht found it increasingly challenging to tweet anonymously. "I'm actually a bad publicist, because if I don't like it, I'll tell you -- I can't fake it," she says. "I never wanted to be forced, to represent a brand I didn't believe in." 

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And so she came forward, and also created a personal Twitter handle where she can get into the more mundane (though still often hilarious) details of her life. Licht is still the only person behind the DKNY handle, keeping the message clear. "I can do everything because I don't do it incessantly," she explains, adding that she scheduled a Tumblr post once and hated it. "I don't ever want to feel like I have to go find something to post. When you feel obligated, your posts are crap."

Her strategy worked: Not only has DKNY PR Girl become one of the most recognizable branded Twitter handles online, Licht landed a book deal of her own. Leave Your Mark comes out in 2015, but the PR maven was kind enough to share some words of wisdom from the book with the audience.

 "I don't think freedom of speech exists anymore, because your reputation online matters so much," she told an attendee of maintaining a professional yet personal social media account. "Personal branding is something I never thought about once in my life until social media. You have to be cognizant of what you stand for in whatever circle you're in."