Samsung Galaxy Note I: Product Review

Okay I have had my Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone for about 5 months now and I have a pretty good grasp on the use and functions of this awesome product. The Note is so much more than a smartphone, updating the operating system to ICS really put this tool over the top for this social media professional. I have recently added a compatible mini keyboard which allows me the opportunity to carry my office in my front pockets. I love that I have the ability to work from anywhere, combined with easy portability. Lets take a moment and dig a little deeper.

The Pros

A handheld computer…

This little baby really is a handheld computer. I rarely have to break out the old laptop anymore. Whatever my laptop can do, the Note handles as well. Utilizing cloud technology as long as I have a wifi connection, I can do almost anything remotely that I can do in my office. Addtionally using Evernote I can create and add to blog posts, writing assignments, etc., from where ever I choose to work. The size of the device with it’s 5.3 inch screen, in 1280 x 800 pixel resolution makes working with the Note easy, and doesn’t strain the eyes. The 16 GB of memory make for adding many apps without using up all your memory, add an additional 32GB of external memory and you are good to go for some time.

The Camera

The 8.0 megapixel camera is one of the best on the market for smartphones. Pics and vids are amazingly clear. I have been able to use the camera many times to capture a pic when I don’t have my regular Samsung 12.2 megapixel camera. The Notes camera is adequate enough to make it usable in a pinch.

Screen Size

The 5.3 Inch monitor as I will call it is great for being able to view things comfortably. No squinting necessary with the Note. The gorilla glass is pretty indestructible and a great added advantage.

The S Pen
The S pen is what makes this device so different. The functionality that the S pen provides is amazing. Take it from a simple artistic tool to create art, to a fully functional office product, capable of editing, creating, moving, drawing and changing documents, as well as capturing any and all screen shots. There is so much that the S pen does that I am still finding new uses for it constantly.

As with any device there are Cons: 

While many have commented on it’s size has never really been an issue for me personally. Some people do think the device is too big however.

Originally only available from AT&T, I think the device is now available from T-Mobile as well – Sprint users, sorry. I actually had Sprint as my carrier but since they couldn’t get the device, I switched. I have had no issues with AT&T thus far.

Overall this device absolutely rocks! One of the best decisions I have made was to purchase this awesome business tool. Now with the introduction of the Galaxy Note 2 with Jelly Bean, I may just be in the market to upgrade….

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!

 

Search: Fishing in the Clickstream

VISIBILITY: Part 3 – Search

Ever heard of that old cliché, ‘you’re fishing in a bowl’? Getting that kind of predictable result would be fantastic, wouldn’t it? If I could guarantee that to my client, I would be golden and sitting on a beach somewhere preferably reading some obscure science material. But it is obviously not so easy to gain that kind of predictable traffic for your customer. It takes knowledge of the search criteria, how your audience is looking for that information and even behavior science to really map out a close target. And I mean just a close location where the ‘fish’ really are!

In my last SteamFeed post, I touched the tip of Engagement in visibility [Part 2] which is developing your 5 main channels that connects you with your audience, [5 Touch Points of Engagement: Not in ‘Likeness’ But in Diversity]. In this last step of creating visibility [Part 3], I will just graze the surface of ‘Search’ in all its conducive power but you will be surprised at the final analysis on how truly simple the perspective on search is!

Search – Where the Fish Are:

1. SEO – Search Engine Optimization has been an ongoing chess game since the beginning but much has changed leveling the field by the search engines themselves (Google being the heaviest hitter). Before Penguin (Google’s newest search algorithm) and Panda (Google’s newest content updater) came on the scene there were many more ‘tricks’ not penalized to grab that coveted top ranking spot. Now the tables have turned and even a few big reputable companies got caught in the landslide and had fallen off the rankings and hard! The new algorithms didn’t account for many reputable links and cut everyone down off the ladder. Google quickly released new updates in the wake of the backlash.

But how can you legitimately get the ranking you deserve? It’s all on generating the best, relevant content. I know that seems so simple but it is what Google is striving for. Genuine, quality site content and shareable! The engines like shareable information most but make sure it is in alignment with your content as a whole not just thrown in there for ‘shareablity’. Next is links! No longer will any site profit from link schemes by grabbing low quality links on non-relevant sites. Create links by finding strategic partners that make sense in your info arena. These backlinks can be as a contributing author on their site or by adding a resource link. Just make sure it is relevant to the site and WHERE it is linking to. If you are new to the scene check out your Page Titles and Descriptions. Optimizing them can make a big difference for a newbie on the scene (they should be optimized regardless). If you have local markets then gear your descriptions and content toward that geo-targeted area.

{That’s just a few …}

2. SMO – Social Media Optimization is the sister to SEO. These work in tandem, did you know that? Google wants them to be your team in Search. So you need to consider this as well, since Google still owns almost 70% of the market share (as of 11/30/12). How can you up the ante with your social? First take each profile for each of your social networks and optimize them based on word selection and description but keep the consistency across each network (for brand, message and voice). You can keep them segmented in how you’re engaging but for search purposes remember those consistent key ‘modifiers’ (meaningful and descriptive text in your data) across the board. As always keep them ‘relevant’ … sorry to keep throwing in that word but it is critical in search and has to be adhered to!

Then add proper tags to your blog posts for user ease. Add audio clips, video and PDFs into your posts. The engines love these especially because they are considered such shareable media. Use them where it makes sense don’t just fire out a slew of this media for search results, your audience will possibly find it a turn off. Variety is the spice of life, so without a doubt keep the variety just decide thoughtfully with search in mind. When deciding on modifiers in your posts compete where you can with long tail keywords (Type of keyword phrase that has at least three and some times as many as five words in the phrase. Long tail keywords are used when the website wants to refine search terms to the web page, as well as when the searcher is looking for something rather specific.). Sometimes selecting just a slightly different word that has the same meaning and audience usage can provide you more visibility then being the smallest fish in a very popular search word pool.

3. URLs and Hashtags – Your domain name grabs points in search so while you want it to reflect your brand and company name, you also want it to gain some search weight. So discern during this selection of URL options. The .com’s extension still rank but by adding the .co’s and some other extensions you can amplify your rankings. But again, add them with consideration to your audience in relevancy. These domains need to generate a real page with content/information that supports that URL not end up on some unsupported blind page.

Hashtags add draw in many ways and can increase your friends/followers on social network s. Instagram does a really nice job of this, as well as the originator themselves, Twitter. So take it one step further, promote these hashtags on all your other media (ex: social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. and on your blogs, websites and print). Again be thoughtful on selecting these hashtags. What would my audience be searching for? What terms would they be using and please use their terms not your own! Not sure how your audience is searching then you need to do a bit of research before just firing one out there.

4. Unstructured Content (images, video and audio) – Here you can use Alt Tags for your unstructured content media. The bots can’t read the content so it queries it differently than the text data. Don’t just put a list of keywords in even though it may seem like relevant words rather define the media with a sentence using very clear descriptive words on what the image, video or audio is about. Keywords will penalize you even though you intended it to be a genuine explanation for your audience. Keep all this material ‘shareable’ by adding plugins and already built-in options to share it on other channels. You can also make sure you ‘watermark’ (mark showing contact info of some sort) your images with your logo mark, Twitter handle, or URL. Keep this contained somewhere in the main section of the material not on the edge where it can easily be cropped out. The more viral share you get on this, the more your searchability stays intact!

5. Search Measurement Analytics – With all this research, thoughtful selection of modifiers, and relevant content work you have supplied would it make sense to not measure your results? And then what? How can you now reapply this found insight into your continued strategy? It is a must and don’t think that this part is easy. It is the hardest part but the most worthwhile. Search is an ongoing process that must constantly be refined. Also, it can become more and more specific based on the criteria you are measuring.

There is the top level view of clickstream analytics in reporting the results of how much traffic is coming in on which pages, how long they stay there and how many pages they have traveled to. Then you can move into specific IP addresses and follow purchase patterns and how the user navigated the site, where they linked to, what they were interested in and for how long. Sessionization will show you when they departed the site and when then returned. You have the ability to mine users for behaviors and social network effectiveness. Create scalable data queries that look into strictly behavior analytics. Customer patterns galore! Google Analytics does a nice job of generating decent reports and it’s free. If you are looking for more in depth analysis with some customized solutions then there are other analytics software out there from which you can choose.

In the end with the introduction of Penguin and Panda we no longer are trying to ‘beat the system’, though in effect I suppose we are always looking to get the best results. What becomes the driver is the relevancy of your content throughout every element you place on your site, your blog posts and your social networks.

Genuine content that makes complete and perfect sense to your audience is where it is at. I would love to fill this whole page up with nifty ‘tricks’ on how to circumvent that but it would help you not. Don’t we all want to provide the information that best educates, enlightens and motivates our readers to actually do something? So stop the keyword embedding you will be penalized. Write short relevant copy that describes concisely and overall use your BEST content and not manipulate the system!
… so now what? You’re ‘good-to-go’ right? Not so fast rabbit.

Continued Online Growth is next because it just “never stops” and neither should YOU!

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.

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.

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!

What’s Luck Got to do With It?

In a recent post by my buddy @jamesoliverjr, founder of WeMontage, he asked if successful entrepreneurs are just lucky. He concluded success boils down to luck, and he is not alone.

From a distance, some success stories defy logic, but a consistent pattern emerges upon closer examination. This is true for a number of successful entrepreneurs and peak performers of all types.

luck

photo credit: wilhei55 via photopin cc

Let’s see if we can uncover this mystery by dissecting one of these “lucky” individuals. For this experiment, Bill Gates is the perfect specimen.

So, what is the pattern?

Obsession

Many talk about following your passion but the ultra successful have something closer to obsession. To understand the difference, study the lyrics of the 1980s hit “Every Breath You Take” by The Police:

Every breath you take

And every move you make

Every bond you break, every step you take

I’ll be watching you

 

Every single day

And every word you say

Every game you play, every night you stay

I’ll be watching you

 

Oh can’t you see

You belong to me

How my poor heart aches

With every step you take…

 

Clearly, this guy needs a restraining order.

A passion is something you love but can do without, while an obsession is something you have to have now and will do almost anything to get. The word obsession carries a negative connotation, but how else would you describe someone like Gates? Judge for yourself.

In interviews, Gates describes his early exposure to programming and how he coded for up to twenty to thirty hours a week in his early teens. While his parents slept, he would sneak out in the middle of the night to code at a nearby university. The fact he did not have permission to use the university computers was not enough to stop him. He needed to code. By the time he was seventeen, Gates logged thousands of hours of programming experience. This during a time when few others had access to computers at all.

Passion? This behavior sounds like something much stronger and puts the next trait on autopilot.

Insane Effort

This is not ordinary effort but painstaking, tedious work that would make most people want to yank their eyeballs out. You would think this obsessed group has a special contract with the universe granting them 30 hours in a day. The difference is they steal time where others kill it. Instead of playing Farmville while standing in line at the DMV, they read, research, plan and write. They start the day hours before everyone else and stay up long after their friends enter dreamland.

Quick Action

An obsession is difficult to hide, because the obsessed become so consumed in the activity. If the need arises for someone with his or her skills, everyone knows whom to call.

This happened with Gates during his senior year of high school when he was asked to work on a project with TRW. He jumped at the opportunity to further pursue his obsession. He spent the spring coding under the tutelage of a much older and seasoned programmer, like the young padawan Sky Walker learning at the feet of Yoda.

Surely, those around him marveled over his stroke of “luck,” but he was not lucky. He was ready!

When opportunities come along, there is no need for the obsessed to get ready or prepare. Preparation happens years in advance.

Balance

Though this group is anything but balanced, they recognize the need to have others around them who are. Gates started Microsoft with Paul Allen, who was three years older and more mature. He later hired his friend Steve Ballmer to manage the business side of Microsoft. Would Gates have been as successful without his team of balancers? We can never know for sure, but I doubt it.

What’s Luck Got to do With It?

Even Gates describes himself as lucky because of the access he had to computers, but his small group of piers had the same access. What they lacked was the obsession.

We can all learn a lot by studying the lives of the so-called “lucky” instead of attributing their success to the alignment of the planets. Then, we need to analyze ourselves to see how we measure up.

If your obsession involves standing outside of Macy’s for hours watching the girl at the counter, seek professional help. If it is a skill or talent with the potential to provide value or solve problems, go for it. But find some strong personalities who can pull your head out of the weeds and provide you with a balanced focus.

Godspeed and I look forward to seeing you in The Players Lounge.

What do you think, is success dependent on luck, or the right sequence of actions? Please leave your comments below!

Two reasons to get stoked and make an ebook

Happy Cyber Monday (by the way, I hope you had an amazeballs holiday weekend)! People will be buying new tablets – iPads or their mini-mes, Kindle Fires or Droids and join the growing tablet consumer base.

Ebook

photo credit: Jules Holleboom via photopin cc

You can write. We write on a daily basis in text messages, blogs, emails, Facebook and Google chats, the rare snail mail, and we write in the air when we speak or sign.

So…why don’t you write an ebook to adorn these new tablets? I suspect some of you are groaning and I feel you. But you can. There are two key reasons why business owners, community managers or website owners should consider writing an ebook. Woot! Let’s get the fire under your tush going, no?

Lead Generation

Ebooks are an effective way to get subscribers to your blog, newsletter and increase exposure. When you build a base of loyal subscribers over months and years, your chances of revenue increases (i.e. customers will be inspired to call you for consultations, buy more books in the future, or refer you to someone in their network).

Short and appealing ebooks are easily shared and saved, leading more unique vistors or repeat ones to your website. I have a folder on my desktop full of helpful ebooks at my disposal and I love it. Repeat exposure is positive. We reread books, watch our favorite movies more than once because we love them.

You can read this great how-to blog from Aweber (one of the most popular email marketing tools) to send free ebook to your subscribers. I know there are other ways to achieve the same goal for your blog, including MailChimp (free for beginners!) and I’d be tickled happy to have you share your tools and experience in the comments.

Digital Books are Smarter (and you’ll get smarter too)

TED is about ideas worth spreading and golly have I got one for you. I got to attend a TEDx event recently and one of the speakers was Dominique Raccah from Sourcebooks.  I will say I didn’t expect it to be one of the most memorable speeches. When the printing press came out, it was revolutionary. In the old days the technology enabled ideas to act as change agents and circulate in mass publications. Now, digital books are today’s most compelling change in how we interact with literature and the ideas are shared much more rapidly.  Read about a killer example from the Sourcebooks blog: Shakesperience - how the user interface improves the learning of Shakespeare.  You can include social media for sharing or links to relevant context to help the reader and enrich knowledge for all, including yourself as you write and research to prep for your author debut(s)!

Bonus: Even there is a Google analytics for ebooks – Hiptype. Sign up for their beta version!

Hold your horses…a few tips before you make an ebook:

  • Do not make it too long. Two to ten pages would be fine (but if it’s on the longer end, it should have a lot of visual breaks and comfortably sized text). People want to digest ebooks easily especially for free. Paragraphs, short sentences, quotes that take up half of the page can work. If the reader is serious about investing time and learning, they’re more likely to look for a book to purchase or read longer books and you don’t want to shoot for this the first time.
  • Eye candy. Pictures, quote bubbles and a few bold colors.
  • Ponder about the audience. What problem does your ebook solve? How will it better their lives or business?
  • Have a tweetable and epic title that makes everyone else 1) wish they had thought of it and 2) feel they’re missing out if they don’t download it.
  • Worry about the format later. Get the important stuff out. Hijack your creativity.
  • It HAS to convert to PDF before it’s universally downloadable. Open Office or Word can work just dandy!
  • Good content won’t get anywhere without design to enhance its appeal and readability. Blurb is a stunning hub for self publishers and even includes Instagram, Blog, Facebook or Wedding print books and ebooks.
  • Our own Phil Gerbyshak, a new Steamfeed member, recently came out with an ebook of his own. Check out The Naked Truth of Social Media and you’ll see why a catchy title and graphics will make you go “Oh, I’m SOLD.”
  • Write when you’re actually stoked about the topic!

Who’s excited?? I think ebooks also make a fitting New Year’s resolution…