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Social Networking

Sure, everyone knows what a brand is. Coke, Pepsi, McDonald’s. But that buzzword is getting thrown around a whole lot in career and job search conversations these days, too. And you might be thinking to yourself, “why do I really have to care about this?”

Here’s why: Whether you’re on the job hunt, a student, or gainfully employed, you must think, act, and plan like a business leader. With the surge of social media, you have not only the ability, but you now have the need to manage your own reputation, both online and in real life.

Employers will Google you before they even invite you to an interview. (Your current employer probably has an eye on what you’re doing, too.) And when you interact with people, both online and offline, they’ll build up an image of who you are over time.

And here’s where you come in: You want to be in control of all of those impressions. Why leave your professional reputation to chance, when you can be your own PR guru and manage your image?

Your personal brand is all about who you are and what you want to be known for. And while that’s a pretty broad concept, I’m going to break down the process for building your brand into a few easy steps, which we’ll cover over the next few weeks.

Your first task: Developing your “brand mantra.” Basically, this is the “heart and soul” of your brand, according to branding expert Kevin Keller. It’s the foundation of all of your branding efforts.

It’s not a mission statement (check out Guy Kawasaki’s blog post for the difference)—rather, it’s a quick, simple, and memorable statement describing who you are and what you have to offer. Ivanka Trump is “an American wife, mother, and entrepreneur.” FedEx is “peace of mind.” Disney is “fun family entertainment.” Rick Ross feat. T-Pain is “I’m a BOSS.”

And yes, those are all famous options, but the same basic principles apply for your own brand. Ready for your turn? Here are four simple steps to creating your mantra:

1. Determine Your Emotional Appeal

For starters, think broadly about your personality and how it affects the experience someone will have with you. Are you insanely organized? Do people love working with you for your killer sense of humor?

Make a list of words that best describe these features of your personality. These words are known as emotional modifiers. Hint: They can be as simple as Disney’s “fun.”

Questions to Consider:
  • How do I make people feel?
  • How do people benefit by working with me?
  • What words do others use to describe me?

2. Determine Your Description

Your next step is coming up with a descriptive modifier that brings clarity to the emotional modifier, identifying what or who your brand is for. In Disney’s case, it’s “family.” In Nike’s mantra, “authentic athletic performance,” “authentic” is the emotional appeal, while “athletic” tells you what the brand is for. As an individual, yours might be an industry (“healthcare” or “education”), or it might be a tangible skill (“creative” or “strategic”).

Questions to Consider:
  • What field or industry am I in (or do I want to be in)?
  • What are the words I would use to describe my work?
  • Who is my target audience?

3. Determine Your Function

Lastly, write down what, exactly, you do (or will do). It might be something that directly relates to your career: writing, graphic design, or financial planning, for example. Or, it might be something more broad, like Disney’s “entertainment.” Are you a manager, a creator, an organizer? A connector of people?

Questions to Consider:
  • What service do I have to offer people?
  • What do I do that makes me stand out from everyone else?

4. Put it All Together

Finally, look at your three lists of words, and see how you can combine them into a short sentence or phrase—no more than five words. Your brand mantra should communicate clearly who you are, it should be simple and memorable, and it should feel inspiring to you. You might be a “dependable, strategic planner” or “a creative professional connector.” Or, your mantra might be something like, “motivating others to do their best.”

Now—what do you do with this statement? Check back soon for tips on how to use your mantra and build your online brand, as well as how to live your brand, every day.

This article was originally posted on The Daily Muse. For more on the best ways to market yourself, check out:

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2012/02/14/the-first-step-to-building-your-personal-brand/

Last week, in writing about the top social media influencers I was struck by the sheer scale of connectivity that leading influencers create for themselves. Chris Broganfor example has an astonishing 122,000 identifiable followers onTwitter (up from 115,000 last week) and strong followings on LinkedIn, Facebook, andGoogle + where he has almost 67,000 followers. 60,000 people subscribe to Mari Smith’s public updates on Facebook, along with approximately 77,000 identifiable people who follow her on Twitter.

Two things are remarkable about the numbers.

The first is the scale. Chris Brogan has a pull or reach that is over 3,000 times more powerful than that of the average Twitter user. Mari’s reach (or social pull) is 1800 times greater than the average Twitter user’s.

The second is the fact that we can identify those 122,000 people through tools like PeekYou analytics. In building a web of identifiable people we’re also moving the point of connection in business from the corporation to the person and creating more opportunities for a more individual form of captialism where the person, the networked power of the individual, is the new capital.

To get a better handle on that I asked three of the social media power influencers about their network building and what it means to their businesses to have strong social media influence.

The three are Mari, Pam Moore and Jason Falls.

Jason is exceptional in having a very large average network size (13,000). That means the average network size of each of his followers is 13,000. Mari – with a much larger following – has an average network size of 11,000. Pam Moore with an identifiable following of  around 41,000 has a reach, or social pull, approaching 1600, that is 1600 times the average Twitter user.

Q: I wanted to know when they decided that this was a goal for them – to grow a powerful network:

Jason Falls

My focus on networking for business purposes began in earnest in late 2005 and early 2006. I was transitioning out of a niche area of public relations into mainstream marketing and PR, and social media was beginning to percolate as a subject in the broad marketing world. I’d used social media (blogging and social network platforms in particular) for personal reasons for a long time and knew my way around.

As I began to add professional contacts in the mainstream world, my network began to grow. It wasn’t until late 2007, early 2008, however, that I started speaking at conferences and focusing my networking on influencers. That’s when I went from 1,000 social contacts to 5K, 10K, etc. At BlogWorld & New Media Expo in the fall of 2007, I decided to target the power players, get introduced, ensure they knew who I was and I was working with brands and knew a thing or two. Every bit of my networking since has been targeted and purposeful.

Mari Smith

I joined Twitter in September 2007; I was already active on Facebook about four months prior to that. At the time, I was running my business fulltime from the road, traveling the U.S. in an RV. I would share all manner of photos from my various travels and my network began to grow from there — people would tune in to find out which city I was in and what activities I was enjoying. I kept my growth milestones moderate at first, growing to my first 1,000 followers, then 2,000 and so on. I was never aggressive in pursuing followers, but I was proactive.

Q: I asked what are they are most focused on?

Pam Moore:

I don’t like to focus on one network over the other. Instead I like to focus on an integrated strategy that leverages content to connect with audiences with a goal of meeting both life and business objectives.

How I use each of the following:

Blog: Provide the best possible content I can to inspire and connect with target audiences.

Twitter: Enables me to reach a large network of folks who enjoy and share my content with their friends.  Also enables me to build communities that are taken offline and on to other social networks for further nurturing.

LinkedIn: Where people validate what I do, what I have done and who I am.

Facebook: Enables me to more intimately connect with people via my personal Facebook page, business page and private groups.

YouTube: Similar to my blog but in video format. It was a key success contributor while in startup mode.

Google+: Similar to all of the above but enables me to connect with my most favorite, geeky friends.

I get the highest number of qualified leads from LinkedIn. However, I have also received hot leads via Twitter DM and Facebook messages. I have been a member of LinkedIn for many years. I have a network size of 1700+ and know most all of the people I am connected to. I have over 50 recommendations from current and past colleagues and clients.  The growth of this network has been 100% organic and a spill over from past employers, other social networks and life!

TweetChats: I host #GetRealChat on Tuesday 9pm ET. We average 12-18 million impressions for a single TweetChat. The community has grown substantially since January. We have had many guests including AT&T, Argyle Software, Klout, Webtrends, Kred, EmpireAvenue and many more. It enables me to connect with brands as well as give back to the community who has helped me. I have seen people join the tweet chat not knowing how to do a retweet. Many of these same people are now leading communities, quitting their corporate gigs to pursue a life of their dreams.

MS: Facebook has always been my “first love” when it comes to social networks. I proactively, but slowly, built my friends to the maximum of 5,000 over a period of approximately 18 months from 2007 to 2008. Once Facebook launched fan pages for businesses in late 2007, I also began to slowly build up a fan base. It wasn’t until 2009 that my fan page really took off, though. Now, with the recent introduction of the “Subscribe” feature on personal profiles, I gathered over 60,000 subscribers in just 2.5 months and have passed the number of likes on my fan page (57k). Amazing. I’ve found the Subscribers to be the fastest growing social channel I’ve ever seen.

Q: I wondered were there particular thresholds that were like waymarks where the network building started to grow or change. Mari has some interesting points to make there:

MS: Yes. On my Facebook personal profile, those thresholds were at every 1,000 friends – especially given I had been very deliberate about hand-picking most all individuals with which to connect. I was deliberate in reaching out to many influencers, authors, speakers, leaders and Internet marketers. On Twitter, the threshold seemed to be 10,000 followers – once I got to that point, my growth, reach and impact was exponential. I saw some decent traction on Google+ too; I got up to 30,000 followers fairly quickly (less than three months), but am still testing how G+ fits into the mix for my social media marketing plans.

 

Q: I also asked what are the business gains from having this scale of network?

JF: Credibility is the big thing. CEOs of some companies will call me back. Marketing managers of brands who pay a bit of attention to Social MediaExplorer will take my calls. I’m not cold calling if they at least know my name. Micro-celebrity does have some benefits. Being recognized and given a head start on credibility is one of them.

PM:

1.      24/7 Market Research: One known fact about social media is there is always someone to talk to. I love the power of real-time conversation. If you have a question about anything, even at 2 am on a Saturday night you are guaranteed to get a handful of solid opinions and suggestions within a few minutes at the tweet deck!

2.      Agility: Having an always on engaged network provides agility in brand awareness and time to market with new products or business ventures.  As an example, our agency ZoomFactor is experiencing much growth as a result of social media. We have a new business partner and are excited about how agile and accepting our audience is as we transition our brand and launch new services. We take them along with us each step of the way.

3.      Ability to establish authority. Because of the reach a solid network provides, it’s easier to establish authority in a specific topic or content area. This of course assumes you have knowledge and real authority on the content area.

4.      Trusted Voice: Our ability to walk the walk, not just talk the talk helps us close deals and earn trust of new clients based on proven methodologies. By earning our clients trust earlier in the engagement cycle, we can more easily help them become a social business and integrate social media into their business versus simply hiring us to setup their Facebook page (which is what they usually initially think they need).

5.      Hang with the right peeps. I always say that if you hang with 9 brokes you’re going to wind up being the 10th!  It’s important people new to social media hang out with people who are going places. Don’t sit on your lonely Facebook page wishing someone would “like” and talk to you. Instead get out there and engage.

MS: Three primary benefits that I enjoy: 1) the ability to help people out, share their content, and bring a spike in traffic to a quality post, new resource or tool, 2) greater opportunities to participate in – and speak at – online and in-person events around the world, and 3) early invitations to beta test new platforms, tools, and apps.

 

Is there much network crossover, i.e. people following you from Twitter to elsewhere?

JF: People who follow me on Twitter inevitably try to connect with me elsewhere. I’m more choosy on other networks — I want high quality connections, not just passing acquaintances — but I have a fairly low threshold for who’s worth connecting to. I like being connected to a lot of people. It helps you drive more action when you need to.

MS: Absolutely. I intentionally cross promote across my various social channels. At times, I’ll tweet out a permalink from a Google+ post to bring more people over to my Google+ profile. I do the same with the permalink of a post on my Facebook fan page from time to time. I often say to my clients and students that, of all the social networks, Twitter is the easiest to proactively grow. Even though the relationships are non-reciprocal, when you follow people the majority will follow you back. Whereas on a Facebook page, it can be much slower to gain momentum – the act of liking other pages doesn’t create an increase in your own likes. Page owners need to be creative in building a highly engaged community in order to grow their network.

 

Advice to newbies?

PM: Focus on the people. Relationships are the life raft of evolving technology change. Focus on the art of social media over the science. Knowledge of the tools will come with time. Network growth will come with time.  Invest your efforts in connecting to real people, one person at a time. Focus on the heartbeat of social which is real people.

JF: Make sure you’ve got substance to stand on. You can be popular and know everyone, but when they start reading your materials, asking you to speak at events, look at your experience … if there’s little there to speak of, you’re going to be just another follower to them. You’ve got to have a foundation of experience, wisdom, smarts, clients or something to solidify yourself with influencers in your field. Then you can become one yourself. Those without substance don’t last long.

MS: Be active every single day, if only for a few minutes a day. (Okay, you can take Sundays off if you wish, but that’s often a very active day on social networks. Plus, Sunday is Monday on the other side of the world!) During that time, 1) share quality content, 2) engage back, and 3) proactively friend/follow a few more people. You can always do this via your mobile device when away from your desk.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2011/12/08/how-to-be-a-social-media-power-influencer-and-why/1/

How to Use Social Media for Research and Development

Have you ever wished you could use social media to conduct a focus group on your product or service offerings? No, you can’t just open a Twitter account and say, “Hey, what do you think of our new recipe for pie?” But you can approach social media and use it for research and development two different ways: social media monitoring and directly seeking customer feedback. This is feasible even for a small business or one without a research-and-development budget.

The first approach is to use social media monitoring to gather intelligence about your company, product or service, competitors or industry. By listening to online conversations about certain topics your customers might be talking about, you can gather competitive intelligence that can inform your decision making and produce a better offering.

Let’s say you make custom handbags and sell them from your brick-and-mortar location in San Francisco that and they sell fairly well. But you need some R&D or at least some market research to know if what you’re planning to produce makes sense for the new spring line you intend to roll out in the coming weeks.

So you go to a free monitoring service like SocialMention.com or even invest in something a bit more sophisticated, like uberVu, for about $40 per month. You enter some keywords and tinker with a search until you start to see some relevant results for conversations occurring from users in or around Northern California. For instance, “My handbag needs more dividers. I can’t keep my stuff organized,” is a phrase you might see pop up a couple of times.

Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220812

Make yourself more marketable on LinkedIn

Overall, LinkedIn is the best social media platform for entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals. Unfortunately, your LinkedIn profile may not be helping you to create those connections.

So let’s tune yours up with six simple steps:

Step 1. Revisit your goals. At its most basic level LinkedIn is about marketing: marketing your company or marketing yourself. But that focus probably got lost as you worked through the mechanics of completing your profile, and what started as a marketing effort turned into a resume completion task. Who you are isn’t as important as what you hope to accomplish, so think about your goals and convert your goals into keywords, because keywords are how people find you on LinkedIn.

But don’t just whip out the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and identify popular keywords. It’s useful but everyone uses it—and that means, for example, that every Web designer has shoehorned six- and seven-digit searches-per-month keywords like “build a website,” “website templates,” “designing a website,” and “webmaster” into their profile. It’s hard to stand out when you’re one of millions.

Go a step further and think about words that have meaning in your industry. Some are process-related; others are terms only used in your field; others might be names of equipment, products, software, or companies.

Use a keyword tool to find general terms that could attract a broader audience, and then dig deeper to target your niche by identifying keywords industry insiders might search for.

Then sense-check your keywords against your goals. If you’re a Web designer but you don’t provide training, the 7 million monthly Google searches for  “how to Web design” don’t matter.

Step 2. Layer in your keywords. The headline is a key factor in search results, so pick your most important keyword and make sure it appears in your headline. “Most important” doesn’t mean most searched, though; if you provide services to a highly targeted market the keyword in your headline should reflect that niche. Then work through the rest of your profile and replace some of the vague descriptions of skills, experience, and educational background with keywords. Your profile isn’t a term paper so don’t worry about a little repetition. A LinkedIn search scans for keywords, and once on the page, so do people.

Step 3. Strip out the clutter. If you’re the average person you changed jobs six or eight times before you reached age 30. That experience is only relevant when it relates to your current goals. Sift through your profile and weed out or streamline everything that doesn’t support your business or professional goals. If you’re currently a Web designer but were an accountant in a previous life, a comprehensive listing of your accounting background is distracting. Keep previous jobs in your work history, but limit each to job title, company, and a brief description of duties.

Step 4. Reintroduce your personality. Focusing on keywords and eliminating clutter is important, but in the process your individuality probably got lost. Now you can put it back and add a little enthusiasm and flair. Describing yourself as, “A process improvement consultant with a Six Sigma black belt,” is specific and targeted but also says nothing about you as a person—and doesn’t make me think, “Hey, she would be great to work with.”

Share why you love what you do in your profile. Share what you hope to accomplish. Describe companies you worked for or projects you completed. Share your best or worst experience. Keep your keywords in place, leave out what doesn’t support your goals, and then be yourself.

Keywords are important but are primarily just a way to help potential clients find you. No one hires keywords; they hire people.

Step 5. Take a hard look at your profile photo. Say someone follows you on Twitter. What’s the first thing you do? Check out their photo.

A photo is a little like a logo: On its own an awesome photo won’t win business, but a bad photo can definitely lose business.

Take a look at your current photo. Does it reflect who you are as a professional or does it reflect a hobby or outside interest? Does it look like a real estate agent’s headshot? A good photo flatters but doesn’t mislead. Eventually you’ll meet some of your customers in person and the inevitable disconnect between Photoshop and life will be jarring.

The goal is for your photo to reflect how you will look when you meet a customer, not how you looked at that killer party in Key West four years ago. The best profile photo isn’t necessarily your favorite photo. The best photo strikes a balance between professionalism and approachability, making you look good but also real.

Step 6. Get recommendations. Most of us can’t resist reading testimonials, even when we know those testimonials were probably solicited. Recommendations add color and depth to a LinkedIn profile, fleshing it out while avoiding any, “Oh jeez will this guy ever shut up about himself?” reactions. So ask for recommendations, and offer to provide recommendations before you’re asked.

The best way to build great connections is to always be the one who gives first.

Source: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-to-market-yourself-with-linkedin-profile-6-steps.html

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Slowly but surely, business leaders are shifting their attitude toward social media — from seeing it as a threat to discovering its very real opportunities.

And their attitude matters, a lot. Social media is about people, not technology. Its business value does not come from social software or a snazzy website, even one with 800 million users. Its value stems from how business leaders, from senior executives to managers, use it to foster new collaborative behaviors that materially improve business performance.

Leadership attitudes, and the organizational culture they spawn, are critical to social media success. They are among a company’s most fundamental social media assets — or liabilities. Here are the six basic categories that business leader attitudes toward social media fall into:

Folly
Leaders with this attitude consider social media a source of entertainment with little or no business value, and they typically ignore it. Where a folly attitude prevails, the approach to a social media strategy must emphasize direct business value tightly tied to well-known and recognized organizational goals or challenges — and it must avoid flabby value statements around improved collaboration and stronger relationships.

Fearful
Fearful leaders see social media as a threat to productivity, intellectual capital, privacy, management authority, regulatory compliance and a host of other things, and often discourage and even prohibit its use. This attitude can reduce the potential risk, but it also stifles any possible business value. To counteract fear, the strategic approach should focus on relatively low-risk initiatives, even if other, higher-risk opportunities might offer greater business value.

Flippant
These leaders may not ignore or fear social media, but they don’t take it seriously, either. This typically leads to a technology-centric approach where the company simply provides access to social media and hopes that business value will spontaneously emerge. This rarely bears fruit. Important in countering this attitude is convincing leadership that purpose matters, and that they should progress beyond the technology and identify good purposes for social media — causes that are strong enough to catalyze and mobilize communities of people to act in a way that delivers value to the community and the organization.

Formulating
Formulating leaders recognize both the potential value of social media as well as the need to be more organized and strategic in its use. The right approach here should build on this positive foundation, emphasizing the broader strategic value of social media and mass collaboration, with a succinctly expressed set of business opportunities that (1) demonstrates social media’s potential impact across many areas of the business, and (2) is strong enough to capture the attention of the most senior leaders.

Forging
In companies where leaders have a forging attitude, the whole organization is starting to develop competence in using social media to assemble, nurture and gain business value from communities. To keep progressing, leaders should recognize previous successes, capitalize on growing momentum, advocate continued evolution and increase investments. They should also promote additional grassroots social media efforts as critical in becoming a highly collaborative social organization.

Fusing
This is the most advanced attitude, and still rare. Fusing leaders treat community collaboration as an integral part of the organization’s work, ingrained in how people think and behave. This is a description of a social organization, and in such organizations the need for an explicit vision and strategy subsides — all business strategy and execution already include community collaboration where it’s appropriate.

How do most leaders shape up? Right now, our analysis indicates that leaders of most organizations have yet to progress to the Formulating stage, which accounts for the high social media failure rate. We know treating social media as strategic can lead to tangible business value and competitive advantage, so the goal is for business leaders to move quickly past the Folly, Fearful, and Flippant stages and get right to Formulating. Ignoring social media, or throwing it over the fence to Marketing or IT could create serious business risk.

Where does your organization stand?

Author: Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald

The old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is truer than ever in today’s organizations. But how do you know whom to know? Here are three types of networks it pays to have:

  • Personal support. Form relationships with people who help you get back on track during a bad day. These may be friends or colleagues with whom you can just be yourself.
  • Purpose. Include in your network bosses and customers who validate your work, and family members and other stakeholders who remind you that your work has a broader meaning.
  • Work/life balance. Seek out people who will hold you accountable for activities that improve your physical health, mental engagement, or spiritual well-being.

Source: Harvard Business Review – Management Tips of the Day