Google Plus Gets It For Business

There are many more than three advantages for getting your business on Google+, but I thought I’d list a few that weren’t directly related to SEO.

We all know that social media puts a huge stress on a company’s time and financial resources.
Myths to the contrary, Social Media is not free nor easy.

Consultants tell brands to go where their clients are. It’s marketing 101.

So if their clients are on the internet, if they use Google Search, have a Gmail account, watch YouTube videos, read RSS feeds on their Google Reader or use Google Docs then yes, brands should be on Google Plus.

Google Plus pagesGoogle Brand Pages are similar to Google+ Profiles; all of the functions such as commenting, sharing, Hanging Out etc. are the same.

The differences are:

  • Pages can’t add people to circles until the page is added first or mentioned.
  • Pages can be made for a variety of different entities whereas profiles can only be made for people.
  • Pages can have multiple administrators. It has only one owner but up to 50 managers.
  • The default privacy setting for elements on your page profile is public.
  • Pages have the +1 button. Appearing under your profile, this is a way for people to endorse you. The other is to include you in their circles, of course.
  • Pages can’t +1 other pages, nor can they +1 stuff on the Web. (But like profiles, they can +1 inside Google+.)
  • Pages don’t have the option to share to ‘Extended circles’. (friends of friends)
  • Pages can’t hangout on a mobile device.

 

Why should you want to stake a claim on Google Plus Pages?

1. You can follow your fans back.

You can place them in “circles”. This is a great management tool for segmenting your clients.

For example, you can have a circle for prospects, one for geographical area, one for past sales. It actually makes for a decent CRM system as you can move them through different circles as the sales cycle progresses.

Having your brand in their circles allows you the ability to interact with them as you would on your personal Google+ profile page.

You can then follow their updates, comments on their posts and +1 them as your Page.

 

Create a Google Plus Page 

2. You don’t have to spend big bucks to get your content seen


As Google Vice President of Product Bradley Horowitz says in this video interview for Business Insider, Google’s not worried about meeting the next payroll, so there aren’t any ads now will there be sponsored posts in our streams for awhile.

As a brand, your reach is dependant on the quality of your content and promotion.

If someone likes what you have to say then circles you, everything you post will appear in their stream with these provisos:

   - That your post is shared to “public” (It’s the default)

   - That your follower hasn’t buried you in a seldom viewed circle or “muted” them.


The main difference with Facebook is that there is no algorithm that dictates who will see your content. The control is totally in the hands of the people following you.

 

3. You can do business on Business Pages

In case you haven’t heard, Google+ is Google.

All of the apps that you use for business are available on the Google+ platform, Google Drive, (docs), YouTube, Gmail (totally synced with G+) and the most heralded feature, Google+ Hangouts and Hangouts On Air.

With Hangouts, you can collaborate with clients in video conferencing of up to 10 people at a time. For educational institutions that have Google Apps for Education, that increases to 15pp.

These are virtual meetings where you can watch videos, share and edit Google documents, present a product or hold a focus group.

With Hangouts On Air, you can host your own TV style show on your business page. This is a great way to drive people to your Page. It’s a live broadcast that is publically viewable but participants must be invited.

Once completed, it’s immediately available for viewing on your Page or YouTube channel.

 

Google Plus HangoutThere are no third party apps needed to access these features or  have access to your personal information.

Your Google sign in is your key to all Google products.

Do you have a strategy for your Google+ Page?

 

Handling Customer Complaints Over Social Media

It happens to the best of us. You do your best to offer high quality service and great products to your customers, but eventually you will have a displeased customer. Often this will be no fault of your own. It could be a failure with your shipping company, unrealistic service expectations, or a glitch in coding but in reality the problem isn’t what matters. What matters is how you resolve it. So, what do you do when a customer complains publicly on your Facebook or Twitter?

Customer Complaint

photo credit: Automotivespace via photopin cc

Respond Immediately

No matter what the complaint is, even if you feel it is unwarranted and ridiculous, you must respond immediately. In order to respond immediately, you must be always listening. The complaint might be vague, but you need to respond in some fashion. The spotlight is on you now, and the world is watching.

Be Personal

When responding make sure you address the customer by name. Talk to them on a personal level. Nobody likes talking to a robot. Especially when they are upset. Which response would you rather hear? “Sorry for the inconvenience, we are looking into the issue” or “Hi John, I’m sorry you are having issues accessing your account. We are actively working on getting the problem solved right away. Are you getting any error codes?” Both responses say essentially the same thing, but one will go much further than the other.

Understand the Real Problem

Rarely have I seen an upset customer give all the details necessary of the issue of their problem. Ask probing questions. Dig deeper. The better you understand what went wrong, the more likely that you can fix the issue and turn an upset customer into a customer for life. Often times you will have to take this part private, but that is very easy through DM’s and FB messaging. Worst case, you could always take the old fashioned approach and just email them…I guess.

Make Sure the Problem Gets Fixed

Seems redundant, right? Once you tell a customer you are working on fixing the issue, you should well…fix the issue. Sadly, this is an area that I have seen a few companies fail. They respond right away, get all the necessary info, tell me that they’re going to fix the problem, but then I never hear from them again. The rep must have felt great for putting out a “social media fire” short term, but without fixing the issue, it’s just going to be much worse for the company the next time around.

Keep it simple, Always do what you say you will do.

Have you ever had a customer complain over your social channels? What advice would you recommend for handling an upset customer?

5 Ways to Clone Great Social Media Content

To keep your brand’s social media presence strong, you need to feed it a steady supply of great content every day.

But, coming up with that content doesn’t have to be a major production number.

You likely already have strong content on hand (either on-line somewhere or even stuck in a file cabinet in your office.) Instead of developing new stuff from scratch, riff on/reuse this stockpile of awesomesauce and use it more strategically. This approach can both save you time and energy and ensure that you continue to do a bang-up job meeting your audience’s needs.

Cloning Social Media Content

photo credit: pvera via photopin cc

No need to break out the lab coat to get started. To do some content cloning, you just need to follow these simple tips…

1. Coax new content out of your existing assets.

Some of your preexisting content may naturally lend itself to being source material for new pieces of content. Start by auditing what you have on hand and look for natural points for editorial evolution. Ask yourself, “Could this topic be more fully explored in a different form?” or “Could a different approach tell our brand’s story in a more compelling way?”

Use your analysis, and the answers to your questions, as the jumping off point for creating new content. For example:

  • Sales sheets are natural source material for video tutorials. (Just explain the points on the sheet, but in front of a camera, with a story or two to illustrate them.)
  • Client/customer testimonials are natural source material for Q&A blog posts. (Just contact some of those quotable folks and ask them questions to get them to expand upon their original thoughts.)
  • FAQs on your site are natural source material for Facebook Fan Page posts. (If these are questions your clients/customers naturally have, use them as a jumping off point for real-time troubleshooting or service.)

2. Put your content in a different context/perspective.
If a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, (use your site/social analytics or crowdsourcing within your social channels to identify which pieces these are) try exploring these same topics in new pieces of content, but from a different vantage point or within a different context.

For example, let’s say you’re an organic food co-op that wrote a popular blog post called “Top 10 Trends in Organic Grocery Store Sales.” Your topics in follow-up posts, videos, podcasts, etc. could be…

  • “Organic Grocers’ Picks for Top Sales Trends” (Looking at the original topic, but from the perspective of grocers.)
  • “Shoppers’ Top Picks in Organic Groceries” (Looking at the original topic, but from the perspective of shoppers.)
  • “Top 10 Emerging Trends in Organic Grocery Sales” (Expanding the context of the original topic — what’s on top — to also cover what trends are waiting in the wings.)
  • “How Organic Grocery Trends Influence Organic Farming.” (Looking at the original topic, but from the perspective of a different industry.)

3. Drill down or spiral off on your content themes.
Similarly, if a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, consider using it as source material for a more in-depth examination of the topic or to jump off on a sub-topic tangent that will enable you to expand the perception your audience has of your brand.

Using the example above, let’s say your “Top 10 Trends in Organic Grocery Store Sales” blog post identified organic skin care product sales as one of the top trends. Your drill down sub-topics in follow-up posts, videos, podcasts, etc. could be…

  • “Why Organic Over Commercial for Your Skin Care?” (This new focus enables you to now explore the strengths of the products you stock in your store.)
  • “Why Buy Skin Care Products in A Grocery Store?” (This new focus now enables you to describe how you showcase products in your store — such as allowing for testing, samples, etc. — giving a shopper an experience they can’t get online.)
  • “How Does [Name] Co-Op Choose Skin Care Lines? (This new focus now enables you to educate your audience on your store’s rigorous product vetting process.)
  • “Customer Picks For Top Skin Care Products” (This new focus now enables you to reinforce your customer-centric approach to business and showcase testimonials, which can then become additional Q&A posts — see #1.)

4. Approach your content from an opposing vantage point.

Similarly, you could take a popular piece of your preexisting content, and propose a counter argument against it to more fully explore the topic. By moving beyond editorial approaches that are safe and conventional, and holding up a mirror to the good AND bad in your industry, you can help to establish authenticity for your brand.

For example, let’s say that some responses on your “Top 10 Trends in Organic Grocery Store Sales” blog post are from people arguing that organic skin care products are a rip off. Counter argue (or simply acknowledge) those comments in an original piece of follow-up content or perhaps even invite one of the counter-arguers to write the content for you. For example:

  • “Organic Skin Care Products vs. Commercial: What’s the Difference?” (Acknowledging that they both have pluses and minuses.)
  • “Top 5 Most Reputable Organic Skin Care Companies” (Acknowledging that finding a good company takes vetting – which is where your store comes in.)
  • “Buyer Beware: Things to Look Out For on Skin Care Labels” (Giving your customers the tools to make wise buying choices in your store and in other stores, too.)

5. Identify and explore macro trends or theories.

Social media moves incredibly fast. If your brand is consistently active, it will not be too difficult to amass a large library of posts and conversational exchanges, (in addition to long form, more labor-intensive pieces of content, such as blog posts, videos, etc.) in a short period of time.

When you’re looking to do some cloning and expand your content offerings, go back and read through these old posts and look for trends in what you’ve said and what people have said to you in return. (You’d be surprised how few brands do this.) Then develop new content in response. For example:

  • Is your brand continually walking around some topics (e.g. ethics, legal issues) because they make you nervous, in spite of the fact that your audience keeps asking you questions about them? Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and tackle those topics head on in a way that makes you feel safe.
  • Are some of your brand’s older posts, in retrospect, way off base? Maybe revisit those topics and publicly take yourself to task. Admitting that you’ve made a wrong call can show your audience that, not only are you humble, but also flexible and unafraid of changing your mind.
  • Are there any big insights that jump out at you after reading over six months or a year’s worth of your brand’s posts? (Essentially, “What can you learn from auditing your own brain?”) Maybe write a “year in review” post to share your ah-ha moments (these posts also give you a chance to link back to your old stuff and spread some SEO love.)

There you have it…five different ways to create dozens of new pieces of content from a few pieces of source material. All you need is an eye for detail, an imaginative mind and some good editing skills.

So, fire up your lab equipment, social scientists. It’s time to start cloning.

How do you clone your content? Please leave a comment below!

 

How to Create Different Widgets on Different Pages Using a Plugin

In a previous post My Favorite Things to Use with WordPress Part 2 at the top of my favorite’s list was the plugin Display Widgets. This plugin allows you to display different widgets on different pages, thus allowing you to have custom sidebars on your WordPress site. Today, I am going to show you how to use it.

widget plugin

photo credit: bobbigmac via photopin cc


How to Install the Display Widgets Plugin

1. Login to the dashboard of your WordPress site

2. Locate the plugins area on the left hand side and click “add new”

3. Type Display Widgets in the search box and click search plugins

4. You will then see a list of plugins matching your search. Locate Display Widgets and click “install now”

5. It will ask you if you are sure you want to install this plugin. Click “ok”

6. After it installs you will come to next screen click “activate plugin”

7. Let’s use thing thing!

 

How to use the Display Widgets Plugin

There are no additional settings for this plugin. It is simply plug and play.

1. Go to appearance then widgets

2. Once in your list of widgets, select the widgets you want to only be on a certain page or pages. You can do this by clicking the arrow in the upper right hand side of the widget you select.

3. Once the widget is expanded you will see a new area beneath the normal widget options. The first item to select is “show/hide widgets”. You can either hide a widget on a particular page or only show it on a particular page. I found showing it on a particular page is most effective since the rest of your widgets will show on all pages unless you indicate otherwise. This is of course if you just want to hide a widget on 1 or 2 pages. Up to you.

4. For demonstration purposes I will use “show on checked”. So, select ”show on checked”.

5. Select which page(s) you want that particular widget to show on then click save.

6. If you selected for the widget to only display on the about page, then check it by going to any other page you have widgets and you will see it is not appearing on those pages, just the about page.

That is it. Pretty simple and self-explanatory.

Useful Ways to Use the Plugin

I will use myself as an example since I use this plugin a lot with other clients. In my use of the plugin, I have a lot of services that I offer and I break them up into pages. If you look at the page WordPress design services, you will see in the lower right hand corner it says “Other Services”, and you will see links to WordPress Development and Consulting & Traning. If you go to the WordPress Development page you will see in the same corner WordPress design and Training & Consulting, so that if you go to a particular page it shows other services that I offer but does not include the particular service of the page you are on. This way you can make it look slightly more custom to showcase other services and not have a link to the same page your user is on. It is just a nice touch. To do this, I just set up about 6 widgets and set up my different variations with WordPress design on particular pages and so forth and so on with all the other links. You can of course code this straight into the site using conditional statements, but I’m not above using a plugin and I can easily just go in and edit it and change it. Same applies if you are using this plugin for a client and they want to add more services. It is a nice way for them to edit it themselves. If you want to do additional links and things too an easy way for you or a client would be to just make a custom menu and use the menu widget. That way they do not need to write any html.

Call To Actions Need To Result in Action

The call to action (CTA) is one of the hardest things to master when it comes to e-commerce. It’s relatively easy to design an attractive page, and you can write great content that gets people pumped. At the same time, it doesn’t matter how good everything else is if your CTA falls flat. If you are having a hard time getting people to buy your product, then use these tips for a better CTA.

call to actions

photo credit: hiddedevries via photopin cc


Make it Distinguishable

Your CTA needs to be distinguishable. Most websites are using CTA buttons so that users know exactly where to click to buy, sign up or do anything else that you need them to do. If you want people to perform an action, then make the CTA button easy to see.

For example, if you have a red website, then make the CTA button blue or yellow. It needs to contrast so that users know exactly what to click.

Use a Consistent Design

You also need to keep the design consistent throughout your website. If the CTA button looks different on each page, then users might get confused about what they need to click. Keeping the design consistent in terms of color and shape will improve the number of users that click the button. It will also keep users from getting confused.

Active Phrases

The CTA button needs to have an active phrase so that users know what to do. Many novice Webmasters write “Click Here,” but this can kill your click-through rate. You need to be more descriptive than this. It lets people know what to expect when they click the button, and an active phrase will persuade more people to buy from you.

For example, you can use “Download Now,” “Get Started,” “Sign Up Here” or “Show Me More.”

Multiple CTA Buttons

You might feel a little pushy if you put multiple CTA buttons on one page, but this can actually help you under certain conditions. If your Web page is long, then some users won’t want to scroll all the way down to find the CTA button. Some users want to buy now, but they don’t know how to go forward.

You should have at least one CTA button above the fold, and then another under a long page of text. This makes your CTA button more visible and accessible, and it should improve your click-through rate.

Use Every Page

Most users will skim through all of your pages before deciding to buy your product. The key to improving your sales online is to make the sales process easy for customers. If you add the CTA button to just one page, then some users may forget where it is. These users will just leave to find another seller.

Conclusion

Many website owners don’t know how to properly make and position their CTA, but you need to learn this quickly if you want to improve your conversion. Just use a good design that contrasts your website, make it easy to find and use active phrases. These few tips on a proper CTA should help you sell more products or services.

How do you use call to actions on your website? Please leave a comment below!

Save Social: Walk The Talk

Many of us have been following along, reading the rash of articles being published and shared, all dealing with how to best “do” social. One of these articles, an op-ed piece on Mashable, got a lot of shares across the social media sphere this morning. The author compares the unknown, hopefully waiting in the wings, good guy to Jerry Maguire, which is a nice comparison, but it leads to the impression that there isn’t a force already mobilized to “take back” and save social business. Steamfeed, in fact, is a bastion of strength and ideas for social “done right”, as the bulk of the posts focus and target the very topics that seem to bring out the social naysayers.

social Publishing

photo credit: william couch via photopin cc

My own November theme was “Walk the Talk” and within that theme I posted about and hosted discussion on the variety of ways some “big names” and “popular experts” were being less than socially correct with some of their behaviors and actions. These topics and discussions ranged from Terms of Service violations to buying and trading likes. I thought it fitting to share some of the most “talked about” topics here.

They’ll Never Notice | Those Rules Don’t Apply to Me: Though I probably shouldn’t be, I am still shocked to see how many social solutions “names”, be they big or small, feel that there’s nothing wrong with blatantly ignoring Terms of Service (ToS), especially on Facebook. Contact information in their cover images, no big deal…it’s not like Facebook is really searching it out, so who cares? Right? Wrong. Those pages lost my like. Did that impact them much? Probably not. But I share A LOT of information, from a variety of sources, and those pages shall no more share in my sharing proclivity.

And some of the ways these folks try to get around the rules? Priceless. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a company owner post a side view of their car, complete with door panel graphics so they can get that phone number front and center. Nice try, still in violation. And how is that a cover image that represents your business in the best light? And, please, don’t get me started on the QR codes in cover photos. I’m not pulling out my phone to scan my computer screen, SERIOUSLY. Plus, yeah… kind of contact info and a call to action all rolled into one.

I’m A Little Guy So It Won’t Hurt Anyone: Back to Facebook and TOS, sorry, but a wide variety of infractions take place on the biggie platform. This time we’re talking contests and giveaways. Although it has been blogged and shared and promoted and shared and broadcast and shared time and time again, folks just can’t seem to grasp that they can’t run a contest directly on their page. But, it’s a random drawing, so that’s okay, right? Wrong. That’s a giveaway which falls under the same ToS rules and regulations.

Follower Fixation | Failure to Follow: How often do we see big name experts with tens of thousands of followers who only follow a minuscule 2-300? I see it all the time. What do I “see” when I see this? I see someone who doesn’t see much value in keeping abreast of the thoughts of others. I see someone who is interested in broadcasting their own content and ideas rather than sharing the best content and ideas with their followers. I see someone engaged in a one-way broadcast rather than taking part in a conversation, someone interested in shouting rather than listening.

Love for Sale: Also known as Back Scratch Fever. Likes, follows and the act of circling aren’t commodities to trade like baseball cards or beanie babies. I can’t tell you how many times a day I see something resembling this statement showing up on walls or in private messages:

I have liked your page as myself and as my page, and I would really appreciate it if you would return the favor.

Yeah, ummmmmmm, your business and, thus, your page is ALL about parakeet grooming in Redwood City, CA. I have three cats and I live in Tucker, GA. Where’s the draw, the value, the impetus for me to like your page? And if I was even slightly intrigued, that message, which is basically begging, would quickly change my mind.

The One Way Highway: Also known as Me Me Me Me Me! This behavior shows up on every platform, so there’s really no hiding from it. It showcases itself in a variety of ways, including:

  • Blast Posting | Feed Takeovers | Digital Diarrhea – you know, 15 tweets within 15 seconds, etc.
  • Inspirational Quotes with no “introduction” or follow up from the poster as to why they find them important. So, why should I?
  •  Caption this photos trying to take advantage of the extra engagement that photos are prone to get, except the photo is lame and has nothing to do, whatsoever, with your business or your audience.
  • Fill in the blanks of the same type in order to get the most “reach”.

My little list barely skims the surface. So come on, help me “fill in the blanks” a bit. What gets your goat when it comes to the “names” that seem more intent on remaining a name than in actually working within the proper social circles. Everyone loves an opportunity to clear the air and even get a little rant on, so have at it!

In closing, I removed the “Like” from a lot of Facebook pages, unfollowed a lot of Twitter accounts and even disconnected from a handful of Linkedin accounts. Did my own numbers plunge? Nope. On the contrary, they rose! People like seeing someone take a stand, even a small one. If we each take these small stands, we will “save” social. We all walk the talk, every day…it’s going to get us to a valuable and viable destination.

#SMRebelsHelp TweetChat- (Mon)12/3: Cyber Bullying

Have you been bullied online or know someone who has? Maybe you just want to learn more about it so that you can be prepared if it happens to you.


Join us on Monday, December 3rd at 9PM EST for our weekly TweetChat: #SMRebelsHelp.

Hashtag: #SMRebelsHelp
Guest: Elizabeth Traub (Twitter:@elizonthego) (Website: http://www.elizabethtraub.com)
Topic: Cyber Bullying
Date: Monday 12/3
Time: 9PM EST
Host: @SteamFeedcom

Elizabeth has recently experienced a personal case of online bullying, and she wants to share her story. She’ll let us know how she coped with the bullying, and wants to raise awareness on how to deal with cyber-bullying.

Click here to learn more about #SMRebelsHelp

 

 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKXVqO4J8oc&w=560&h=315]

Want to know the secret to following 7077 people on Twitter?

I love Twitter! I’ve been using Twitter since 2006, back when everything you said got a response from someone, and there were no automated direct messages, and no spammers trying to get you to click their links and buy their junk.

Over the past few years, a lot of people have started following me. A lot of interesting people have started following me. Many of these are people who add value to my life, and thus to the lives of my readers. And many new interesting people have joined Twitter, so I’ve started following them. I used to think I couldn’t follow them all, so I kept my follower count down low. Has that ever happened to you, where you’ve felt you couldn’t possibly follow even 1 more person, or you’d never be able to keep up with it all?

I’ve got a secret for you: You can’t! That’s right – you can’t! You can’t possibly keep up with 2000, 5000, or 7077 people on Twitter.

At least not without help.

No, I’m not saying hire a virtual assistant to read you your Tweets. I am saying you need a better system for using Twitter. And it starts right here.

Getting Started Following 7077 People on Twitter

Before you begin, write down or type up a list of all the types of people you want to connect with on Twitter. My people include Milwaukee people, Chicago people, social media people, authors, speakers, and small business owners, to name a few. It’s important you make this list FIRST, and you’ll see why in a moment.

Next, go to Twitter.com and create some Twitter lists for these buckets. You’ll find the lists feature underneath the gear in the upper right corner of Twitter.com.

twitter listsOnce you click the Lists link, you’ll see a screen that says Create List. Make a list for each of these lists. It’s up to you whether you make the lists public or private.

creating twitter listsNow every time you follow someone new on Twitter, think about why you’re following them. Do they fit into one of these lists? If not, take a deep breath and ask yourself “Why am I following this person?” If they’re a truly interesting person who deserves to be followed, create a new Twitter list called Interesting People and add them there.

Then, when you have time on a snowy Sunday afternoon when nothing else is going on, go back and fit all the people you’re already following into one of these Twitter lists.

Just adding people to a Twitter List is not enough

Good work! Now you’ve created your lists. Now what?

Every time you use Twitter, limit yourself to looking at only the list you wanted to look at. Set a timer for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever time you have, and get your work done. Don’t let yourself drift off into “playing” on Twitter when you have other work to do. Focus your attention on the one bucket, and work on that and only that bucket for the time you have. Repeat as needed for the other buckets so they all get your attention.

One last thing about Twitter lists

Remember  that bucket of interesting people you just HAD to create? After 30 days, try to think about how many times you’ve actually looked at that bucket. Was it often enough that you need to keep that list? Was it profitable for you, or did it provide the break you needed to be even more productive? Or was it just a time suck, a distraction from doing your real work?

So that’s the secret to following 7077 people on Twitter. Create some Twitter lists. Add everyone you follow to the lists. Be disciplined enough to only look at those lists.

What’s YOUR secret for using Twitter? Please leave a comment below!

How to Use Social Media as a Job Seeker

Common sense would dictate that if you are seeking employment and you use social media, you would use that network to locate your next job.

social media for job seekers

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

Yeah, I would think that too. But it seems that people are either afraid to reach out to their social network (out of fear of looking weak or whatever) or simple lack of understanding how social media can help. As the marketing manager for a group of staffing agencies, I’m posting job seeker ideas, job postings and other resources out there on our various social media to help. While those posts seem to have some reach, I wonder how useful it is to someone looking for work. I wonder if the reason those posts aren’t helping as many people as they could is because job seekers simply aren’t using their social media that way. They’re doing themselves a huge disservice.

There are lots of articles out there about job seekers’ social networks being viewed as a recruitment tool. If a person is interviewed, generally, their social media is looked up and reviewed for anything that could harm their chances of getting hired. We don’t need to debate the ethics of this, but it IS happening and if you’re a job seeker you have to do what you can to limit any negative exposure.

Here are some simple tips for job seekers to use social media to help them land a job:

  • Facebook.  Go through your timeline and profile. Are there any party pics or posts that might be used against you in an interview? Adjust your settings to hide as much as you can. It IS your page and you can have what you want on it, but you should hide anything that would risk a potential job.
  • Twitter. If you have a Twitter account you’re probably safe with whatever you post. You will want to clean up your profile if you have the “egghead” image or don’t have a Twitter header image. Make yourself as presentable here as you would in a job interview, professional.
  • Blog. Your blog is the expression of who you are and everything about you. Unless you have a ton of profane laced posts, highly controversial subject matter, tons of nude pics or other questionable material you are probably safe. But just to be sure, you may want to go through past posts and see which ones could be used to keep you from getting a job. Again, I don’t want to start the ethical debate about this here. This is a tip that could be the difference between getting a job and staying unemployed. Also, you can use a few of your posts on the blog as a makeshift online resume; sharing your skill sets, proving you know your industry, and sharing info about how you might solve a specific business problem.
  • LinkedIn. Ah yes. LinkedIn. I’ve blogged over and over about LinkedIn and how to use it effectively. If you are an active job seeker there is NO excuse for not having a LinkedIn page. Seriously, if you don’t have one, go get one. Right now. Do it. I’ll wait. Use every resource you can find to put up a professional image of yourself, fill out every section completely and find contacts. Make it very clear that you are seeking a job and join as many local LinkedIn groups you can find. There are plenty of job seeker groups in LinkedIn which will help you in your job search. Just Google “using LinkedIn to get a job”, and you’ll find a ton of resources.

If you have a professional headshot, change your profile pic on ALL your social media accounts to this professional shot. If you don’t have one, go to WalMart or some other low cost option that shoots portraits. For $10, you can get a professional headshot. It’s worth the investment. Don’t settle for a camera phone pic in front of a white wall. That’s just lazy and lame.

If you are seeking a job, I’m sure it’s not always fun and it can be easy to get frustrated. I’ve been there, recently, and I know it sucks. But if you use your social network to help find a job, it could help ease the stress knowing you’re using every available tool. Did I miss anything? What other ways can you think of to use your social network to help find a job? Leave your comments below. Thanks!

How to Teach Social Media To Others

Quite often I am approached by friends or referrals with the request to teach them about the world of social media. Some just want to learn more about the industry I work in and others are dissatisfied with what schooling has taught them and want to know how social media and spending time on a social network can be something turned into a career. Whichever the case I am usually glad to sit down with them in person or over Skype and discuss what it is that I do exactly – with mixed reactions, but overall quite positive and inspired.

Here’s how I usually like to approach the conversation:

1. There’s No Such Thing as a “Social Media Expert” – quit calling me one: This is the one that comes up even before we have our first conversation. Usually the first line is “I heard you’re a social media expert” followed by “can you teach me how to do what you do?” For me I always tell the person to backtrack, then follow up by saying that there is no such thing as a social media expert – because there truly is none. The industry is changing by the second, so how can anyone be an expert? You can be an expert at the English language, at baking a cake or at organic chemistry compounds, but not social media. We are all learning on a daily basis, and will continue to do so, and I don’t think we’ll stop.

2. Relate the topic to something understandable: I like to relate one topic to another because it’s important that people are able to see parallels with how social media is to how their life is. Remarkably there are many similarities. One I like to use is to compare the social media ecosystem and the aspects involved there into the dating world. When you’re able to make sense of a familiar thing (dating) with the unfamiliar (social media) people catch on, and you can guarantee a few laughs too.

3. Emphasize the Process but Don’t Forget the Experience: In my young social media career I’ve been asked if I spend time on Facebook and Twitter all day. The answer is a clear and obvious no as my job involves enterprise communities but even if I did, I would also be spending time blogging, targeting who I follow and preparing analytics to see how well social media is doing. In teaching social media to others I like to emphasize the process of social media, from scheduling content to preparing content calendars to analyzing important data indicators. In the same sentence I also tell those learning not to forget the experience, namely the valuable conversations and relationships built over social media.

4. Introduce them to the community: The social media world is big and overwhelming from someone who might be a newcomer. I always take time to ask if they would like introductions to folks in the space already who are running their own businesses, have a day job in the industry, are engaging thought leaders or are new just like them. Finding someone to relate to can be one of the biggest pluses for staying in the industry once someone has joined.

I do find definite joy in being able to share my career with others. If there is any aspect of what I do that I can share with you please do let me know! I’d be glad to chat – and of course, explain how social media and dating have anything in common!