Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

Jump Start Your Job Search on Twitter

Monday, May 18th, 2009

There are now many great resources now to help job seekers better utilize Twitter in their job search.  I have put together a few of my old favorites and a couple of new ones to help job seekers either get started or take it to the next level. 

The first thing to do after you set up your twitter account is follow some people who regularly post job search advice and job openings on Twitter.  The list below was announced this week by Ryon Harms, The Social Executive, and is a “hand-picked collection of the 100 most influential personal branding gurus, power networkers, resume and interview experts, job boards and fellow executives on Twitter. If you’re seeking out resources to assist you with your job search or for career advice, Harms calls his list the “who’s who of career management.” 

Follow TheCareer100 on Twitter to get assorted posts from all of these resources.  I know or follow many on this list, Ryon did his homework.  For more info about the list check out @TheCareer100 Must-Follow Mavens on Twitter by Ryon Harms, and The Social Executive: @TheCareer100 must-follow mavens on Twitter by Stephanie Lloyd.

Next, go to the Advanced Twitter Search and type in the word jobs in the space next to "This hashtag".  Then type in your zip code next to "Near this place".  Companies and recruiters now regularly attach #jobs to their postings on Twitter to make this a convenient way for job seekers to search.

Hope this is helpful.  Feel free to contact me if you need assistance.  And please follow me on Twitter!  @Fishdogs

Some other good resources to get you going are:

Mashable HOW TO: Find a Job on Twitter

The Wise Job Search: Five Best Ways to Use Twitter for Your Job Search!

Fishdogs: Who Should I Follow on Twitter?

ComputerWorld: Twitter Bible: All You Need To Know About Twitter

The Career 100

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Career Tips

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execSearches

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SteveCase
Steve Case

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mashable
Pete Cashmore

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TheSocialExec Ryon Harms

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ExecutiveMoms Marisa Thalberg

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richardbranson

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jack_welch
Jack Welch

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GLHoffman
GL Hoffman

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ValueIntoWords JacPoindexter

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dawnbugni
Dawn Bugni

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DebraWheatman Debra Wheatman

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SimplyHired
Simply Hired

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askamanager Alison Green

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Kristi Daeda

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louise_fletcher

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CAREEREALISM

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Careerbright Shweta @Careerbright

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jobacle

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ResumeSecrets Resume Writer

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jlipschultz


Jeff Lipschultz

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execjobs
Ryon Harms

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GuyKawasaki
Guy Kawasaki

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JobAngels Guardian Angel

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PRjobs
Lindsay Olson

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JobHuntOrg
Susan P. Joyce

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thejobsguy
Ken Horst

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SLIPSQUAD
Slip Squad, CEO

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BillVick Bill Vick

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jobshouts jobshouts.com(tm)

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alisondoyle
Alison Doyle

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lindseypollak Lindsey Pollak

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stewartb2b
Patsy Stewart

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RiseSmart
Sanjay Sathe

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jobnet360
Job Search

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indeed Indeed.com – jobs

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workerswork jobs

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Jacob Share

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Tall_Geek Michael

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jobnob
Julie Greenberg

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ResumeBear

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ATLRecruiter Stephanie A. Lloyd

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rezlady
Sheree Van Vreede

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martinpiraino
Martin Piraino

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YourOnRamp Catherine Clifford

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TwitJobSearch TwitJobSearch Engine

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snagajob SnagAJob.com

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stelzner
Mark Stelzner

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peterclayton
Peter Clayton

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ahjobslist
Andrew Hudson

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RickDeare
Rick Deare

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PinkSlipParty09 PinkSlipPartying.com

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havrilla
Chris Havrilla

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audreychernoff audrey chernoff

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DMular Dawn Mular

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Fishdogs
Craig Fisher

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autosponsor
Dave Carter

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smheadhunter
Soc Media Headhunter

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CincyRecruiter Jennifer McClure

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JenWojcik

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jobsearchnews JobSearchNews

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Ashraf_Chaudhry Ashraf Chaudhry

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HCRGroup
Audrey Chernoff

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MNHeadhunter
Paul DeBettignies

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chriswoodward Christina Woodward

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harveyclay Harvey

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DarrylRMSG
Darryl Dioso

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slv60 Brandy K

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SallyOahu

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KimPope

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Barry_at_IMPACT Barry Deutsch

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kufarms
Keith McIlvaine

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karla_porter
Karla Porter

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DaveBenjamin David Benjamin

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JobSearchAdvice JobSearchAdvice.Net

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williamu
William Uranga

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DavidGraziano David Graziano

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alanweatherbee Alan Weatherbee

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jmapplebeck
Jason Mapplebeck

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imjustagoyle

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headhunterbrian Brian Bruce

 

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ResearchReggie Regina Farr

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AndyInNaples
Andy Robinson

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ceonyc
Charlie O’Donnell

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danschawbel
Dan Schawbel

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tferriss Tim Ferriss

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byosko
Ben Yoskovitz

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sherryfm Scheherazade F Mason

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bencasnocha
Ben Casnocha

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ramit Ramit Sethi

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jjbuss Jason Buss

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cheezhead
Joel Cheesman

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Keppie_Careers Miriam Salpeter

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chrisrussell

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andybeal
Andy Beal

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jasonalba
Jason Alba

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workforce101 Steve Urquhart

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MonsterCareers Monster Careers

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exectweets ExecTweets

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manpower Manpower

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Gayle Howard

 

 

 

 

Organic Branding for Employers

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

I was recently asked by international employer branding news journal, Universum Quarterly, to be the guest writer for this quarter’s edition.  Subscribers in HR organizations worldwide will receive the publication this week.

Universum Quarterly began in 2006 and is the world’s first periodical for Employer Branding.  Each issue brings feature articles which investigate best practices and trends in employer branding, as well as examples of employer branding in action and instrumental tips for succeeding in certain industries, locations and with certain types of talent.

Organic Branding for Employers

by Craig Fisher, Courtesy of Universum Quarterly

An employer brand should be built from the inside out. Just as part of an organization’s marketing message should come from its customers, the employer brand should be championed by its employees.  For better or worse, they are the vehicles by which the message will be conveyed on blogs and social networks. Smart employers will take advantage of this tremendous PR opportunity and embrace social networking, encouraging intercompany collaboration, and communication with those outside the corporate walls by their employees acting as their brand champions in social media.  The brand message itself must be authentic, unique and attractive. Job seekers today do not care about boiler plate HR selling points.  Sure, the message should be stated clearly on an effective recruiting Web site. But if it is not first conveyed to the internal employees and reinforced by meeting or surpassing their expectations, the organization will not have the brand champions it needs to convey that message online to job seekers.

Social networking at work

Organizations that place broad restrictions on the use of social media at work will soon feel the backlash in lower employee recruitment and retention. Workers at many levels these days are used to communicating and receiving information at a speed that is difficult to achieve with standard email and corporate intranets. In economic times such as these, where cutbacks are common, communication with your workforce is vital to maintain morale.  Social networking cannot only expedite communication, but also improve employees’ sense of belonging and worth.

Top firms like IBM and Sun Microsystems have successfully incorporated social networking in the workplace. IBM created a wildly successful internal social network for communication and collaboration. Sun hosts a Twitter account that is automatically updated by Sun Microsystems’ employee blogs worldwide.  Both companies have very clear employee guidelines about the use of social networking encouraging responsible engagement, communication, learning, and contribution.

Reach new talent Web 2.0 style

Jobseekers regularly google a prospective employer to find out what current and past employees are saying about working at that company. How do companies encourage a positive online portrayal by its workers? Social networking best practices should be taught in the workplace. Employees should be empowered to feel they are part of the positive message an employer wants to communicate. Your HR team can double as community managers by setting up employee group pages on sites like LinkedIn, Ning, or Facebook. Companies need to encourage employees to join and share knowledge. They should post helpful tips for new employees to get them integrated and productive quickly by networking with their peers and managers.

Prospective employees should be exposed to such networks to get a sense of the people with whom they will work and a feel for the corporate culture. Your new community managers can even use services like Twitter to announce updates, further promoting the brand.  With such an effort, your social collaboration will become an attractive feature to future employees. 

Control vs. respect

Companies cannot completely control what is said about them on blogs or social networks.  But viewing social media as a potential liability will not help matters. Companies who rely on simply a corporate blog or Web site to convey their message to customers or potential employees will miss the mark. Individual brand advocates within your ranks can be trained to effectively relate any message to the masses on social sites. Zappos.com is a company known for excellent customer service. However, Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, has said that their main focus is not customer service, but rather their internal people. That is a powerful branding statement. One can easily ask Zappos.com’s employees how they feel about it, as many of them have Twitter accounts with names like Zappos_Alfred or Zappos_Lynn.

It is natural to be concerned about what may be said by employees who are laid off by their former employer. Company policies of surprising workers with news that their job has been eliminated, locking them out of their offices, and ordering them off the premises are common place. Smart organizations can avoid this PR disaster with better communication and by assisting their displaced workers.  Instead, companies should set up a network for those who are laid off and post advice and leads to assist in job searching and outplacement.  Taking this a step further, they can even organize a “pink slip” party. Set it up on Facebook and invite local recruiters and career coaches to come and offer assistance to those outgoing workers. Word gets around fast about companies who treat their people well, even in the wake of layoffs.

Reinforce the message

A company’s employer brand must be authentic, unique, and attractive. To consistently have the company message positively reflected in the external comments of workers, a company must clearly convey that brand to current and new employees and work to meet the expectations set by that message. From the perspective of new recruits, there must also be a strong employer recruiting site that clearly states the message and gives a good picture of what work-life at your company is like. Many of the top corporate career sites use recruiting videos that can be viewed on site, as well as on social spaces, like YouTube. These are particularly effective when utilizing current employees rather than actors.

Creating a positive atmosphere of trust and empowerment within a workforce will help to assure that the right message is communicated online. If employers remain true to their message, the brand is built naturally from the inside out. Social media becomes less of a liability and more of a recruiting tool. Empowered employees will be the best employer brand champions.

Growing your brand with social media

• Determine your authentic, unique and attractive brand message.
• Convey the message to employees and on an effective recruiting web site. Meet the expectations it sets.
• Embrace social networking in the workplace.
• Empower your people to champion your brand through social media.

Craig Fisher

Owner Principal A-List Solutions
Dallas, Texas, US

Craig Fisher has more than 18 years experience in sales and is a specialist in IT recruitment.  He is the co-founder of A-List Solutions, a full-service staffing and recruiting firm for management and IT professionals. Craig is also an avid blogger.

A-list Solutions is a full-service staffing firm providing permanent and contract placement services for management, marketing, and IT positions to organizations of all sizes. They consult with both job seekers and employers on branding strategies that utilize social media and web 2.0 technology.

Headquarters: Southlake, Texas, US

Show Your Face(book)!

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Social media is here to stay.  This unique communication mode has so many forms, people are constantly discovering their new favorites and encouraging their friends to join them.  In discussions with friends over the past month, I’ve discovered that many very smart and tech savvy people are still hesitant about jumping into the Social Media ocean and are content only "dipping their toe in the water."  A key to using these tools without hesitation is to know the "unwritten rules" for each and how to fully utilize each.  Most power users of these tools have given definitions for the big three as such:

LinkedIn:  My business networking tool — all professional all the time.

Facebook:  My link to all my friends — mainly fun and mainly social (usually you’ve met these folks before, but sometimes, Facebook IS the mode for "meeting" them).

Twitter:  My link to "new found friends around the world" — quick and easy sharing of current activity and interesting links.

There are many other social media tools that take on similar definitions/purposes and the list is growing.  It should be noted, however, that the roles for these tools are actually blurred.  You can use all three for any of these purposes.  It all depends on how transparent you want to be and what your ultimate goal is for using the tools.

For example, you can share your personal life with your business contacts if you want to share your personality, hobbies and interests, and fun links.  Twitter can be a business tool to link with folks with similar business interests.  Time should be spent exploring each of the tools to truly understand search capabilities and networking aspects.  There are virtual groups on all three, so there is no end to amount of reach you can have.

Facebook offers a great all-purpose middle ground and has recently made attempts to update its interface to make it more Twitter-like.  An article written by Doug Firebaugh has some good insights on how to leverage this tool effectively in networking with friends and beyond.

Social Media Marketing- The Ten Social Media Laws of Facebook

March 21, 2009 by Doug Firebaugh

Where have YOU been?

Unless you have lived in a cave the last 4 years, you have probably heard of this. It is a rocking hot social networking site that seems to be almost everywhere today. On the news. On the radio. On the minds of millions of folks a day.

And there are many different types of people on facebook. I am going to do a post on that soon. But these great folks all participate in what I call the “10 Social Media Laws of facebook.”

Mari Smith would be proud.

Ok- I know that you may be asking,” A LAW about facebook?” Yes, 10 of them for marketing and business success in what you so. I am a marketer and have been for 20 years. Built a training and consulting business that does business in over 20 countries, because of social media and the internet. And there are marketing laws that all marketers and business professionals must follow if they are going to have Success in the marketplace.

It is the same for Facebook. If you are an Entrepreneur, or a business professional, you may want to consider these as they will make a difference in what you do on facebook.

1.) The Law of Visibility on Facebook.

You MUST be visible on facebook of you are going to get your message out. You must spend time on facebook and get to know people. You must put yourself together a “facebook blueprint” and work it. How many hours a week are you going to be seen on FB? How many times are you going to befriend someone this week? How many times are you going to upload photos this week? All of these things put you in the ‘Visibility Zone” on facebook, and on the radar as far as people on facebook. Be SEEN and be THERE on a daily basis. Chris Brogan and Robert Scoble are.

2.) The Law of the Powerful Facebook Profile.

Why would people want to get to know you? One of the first things they check out is your facebook profile. What does it say- but better yet- what does it DO? Does it make people curious and want to get to know you? Does it make them think? Does it make them smile? Does it make them see that you have Value for their life and can help change it?

Powerful facebook profiles are NOT based on what is said in your profile- but what it DOES.

Does it direct them to DO something? Does it tell them you are person they MUST know? Or someone that has a nice picture and a nice profile- with no magnetism?  Put yourself OUT THERE and tell the world WHY they need you as a friend, and get them to take action towards YOU. Nancy Perez and Carrie Wilkerson do.

3.) The Law of the Facebook WALL.

You MUST use your Wall to market or message. many folks regard their Wall as a communication utility like email. It is not that. You already have a facebook email. The Wall is for you to BUILD- BRICK BY BRICK- MESSAGE BY MESSAGE- NOTE BY NOTE- VIDEO BY VIDEO- your Brand on Facebook. Every time something happens with you- it goes on your Wall. Don’t stare at the wall- CLIMB THE SUCKER and make your message the PEAK of the page- and keep yourself out there with the Wall. And answer the messages on your Wall. Thank people for sharing with you their visit or message. This will show up on THEIR wall. This will set you apart from most on facebook. The Wall is simply a BILLBOARD of what you are doing and your friends are doing on Facebook. Use it often and wisely. Matt Bacak and Adam Urbanski do.

4.) The Law of Your Facebook Network.

You are part of a local facebook network and you have access to that network to befriend them. I live in Birmingham Michigan, and the network I am a part of is the Detroit network. There are 640,926 people in my network that I could potentially MEET LIVE in a local place and get to know them and connect with them. You have local folks as well. Where do you find your network? 

Click on “settings” and then click on “network.” You will find it there. This is a GOLD MINE of people in your local area to CONNECT and construct new trust bridges that may lead to business down the road. Timothy Carter and Valerie Maltoni do.

5.) The Law of the Facebook Notifications.

This is an overlooked and rarely talked about utility. Notifications are part of your “facebook email system.” Go to “email” at the top of your Facebook profile page, and then click on “notifications.”This is list of who is thinking about you, talking about you, including you in tags, and generally is pointing to you. This is a GOLD MINE of people that have PROVEN they are behind you and willing to make you a part of their Facebook experience. Pay attention to the facebook notifications. Thank them for their thoughts of you on their Wall and let them know you appreciate it. Include them as well on your tags and other activity on facebook. The notifications are GOLD and is a prospecting Vault of Leads. make sure you stay CONNECTED to them. Coach Deb Micek and Scott Monty do.

6.) The Law of Facebook Link Love.

The Link application on Facebook is a HOT commodity. It allows you to post a link that you like and then sends it out on the news feed that is on your home page. It picks up the image that you want on the link page, and allows it to be a LIVE link. Send out other people’s LINK and given some LOVE. Do NOT just send out your own links. Let others do that. Find interesting links of others and send them out.

WHY? EXPOSURE for you. You will be given credit for the link. People LOVE link love. If you send out a LOT of other people’s links on facebook, they will start sending out YOUR links. Been there done that. Joel Comm and Yanik Silver do.

7.) The Law of Facebook Groups.

Join groups. Join a LOT of Groups. Start your OWN groups. The join MORE groups. Why? EXPOSURE. CONNECTION to other Group members. AUTHORITY. Start your own and be a Leader. REACH. Groups extend your reach into Facebook. MULTIPLIED PROSPECTS. There are more people in a group — then on a profile page.

Duh. Build a list in your own group and then you can become an admin and email messages to them. Make them messages of VALUE and interest. Kevin Nations does.

8.) The Law of Facebook Events.

Attend events. Attend Events. and then attend MORE events. Why? It allows you to leave a message on the events page wall, and create exposure. I attend at least 2 facebook events every week- to learn- and to network. Events can be found on the new Facebook page in the upper right under “Upcoming“-these are the events that are upcoming. One unique twist. You have birthdays under the “upcoming” tag- and you can send presents to folks. THIS will get their attention as it shows up on their wall and the news feed as well. Attend as many events as you can. make them worth your while- learn and grow from them. BUT–always leave a RSVP message about attending or not- with an encouraging message. This will show your professionalism, and caring.

Event UP! This will do you well on facebook. Put the term “events” in the search box, and it will find every event that is going on in your network of friends- a GOLD MINE of new possibilities of business. Become a master of events!

9.) The Law of Facebook Multimedia – Videos and Photos.

People LOVE photos and videos. They are the most looked at and watched pages on facebook. Make some videos and upload them. Upload some photographs. Not only will the be seen on your wall and the facebook news feed, but also will allow you to “tag” others on these. This means that you can pick out people you have befriended and let them know you are thinking of them. And when you tag someone- it shows up on THEIR wall. Now isn’t THAT cool? It is called EXPOSURE! Larry Hochman and Diane Hochman rule with facebook Videos.

10.) The Law of the Facebook NEWS FEED.

This is the big kahuna of exposure on facebook. This gets you out to ALL of your friends and creates a massive exposure vehicle that can keep your brand in front and recognized. You also will be many times on the “featured” part of the new news feed on the right. This gives you HUGE exposure. Whatever you do, like change your status, upload a video, write and publish a note, or just comment on another person’s message on the facebook news feed- it SHOWS UP in the news Feed. Be seen- and be seen often if you are trying to brand yourself on facebook.

Yes, you need to establish relationships, and build community. But if you are going to MARKET on facebook-then you need to at least get a guideline of what and how to do it. The 10 Social Media Laws of Facebook hopefully gave you some idea in your social media marketing.

For the more advanced Power User of Facebook, check out this link for more tips.

Employees Help Build Social Brand, Interview with Loomis President, Mike Sullivan

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Loomis_Podcast Sometimes its who you know and who they know.  Last summer I was introduced to the president of The Loomis Agency, Mike Sullivan.  Maybe re-introduced is more accurate.  We first met years ago at the wedding of mutual friend, Lauren Mulkey.  Now Lauren, in her business development capacity with Loomis, a 20-year old Dallas creative firm, was getting us together again to talk about some ideas to get Loomis more brand recognition in Social Media.

Like many companies, Loomis was sort of half way into social media.  But Sullivan knew they could do more.  And being a brilliant executive, he consulted with people who had expertise.  And he also talked with me.  I had a couple of suggestions that they actually put into practice with great success.

Loomis had a few things going for them that I suggested he take advantage of.  One of those things was numbers.  They have a pretty good sized team.  I recommended getting everyone in the shop to get on LinkedIn and Facebook to help Loomis establish a presence there.  From an SEO standpoint, having all those users with Loomis as their current employer, and with links back to the Loomis homepage, LinkedIn and Facebook would be a great asset and would give them additional Web real estate at a very affordable price.  

Mike Sullivan himself is a pretty dynamic guy.  So I also suggested a targeted company blog with Sullivan being very visibly involved.  I thought that would be enticing to both prospective clients and prospective employees.  It also gives the current staff a solidified vision straight from the top. 

Recently I caught up with Mike to see how his plan was coming along.  I knew Loomis had done a great job with their revised blog.  And I had seen a viral holiday video they produced that was a stroke of genius.  So I was curious to get his feedback on the impact social media branding has had on Loomis.

Me:  This summer we met for a brainstorming session about corporate brand marketing through social media (social networks, corporate blogging, personal branding of employees, etc.)  What ideas from that meeting have had an impact on your strategy?

Mike: First off, I’ve encouraged all of our team members to get on LinkedIn and Facebook and begin using those tools actively. We’ve created a company presence in both those places, as well. We’ve used both tools as a means for generating traffic to our blog site, and I’ve noticed that it seems to have improved search results for our company.  If you search “Dallas ad agency,” for example, we’ve moved up quite a bit.  Depending on the day you search we pop up just above or below the fold.  I believe that’s largely a function of the increased social activity of our team members. 

Me:  What new steps have you taken to boost your brand awareness?

Mike:  I’ve personally built a fairly tight LinkedIn contact base. I think I have somewhere around 290 professional contacts, and most of my team members have fairly large, but tight, contact lists as well.  We have extended the distribution of our regular monthly e-newsletter, “Off The Chain,” to this group of professional contacts.  I think our total team member list is somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple thousand contacts on LinkedIn.  Of course, we have an opt-out option, so we are not engaging in SPAM tactics.  But, we’ve received a ton of positive feedback on the content of the e-newsletter and I know it’s been forwarded to others.  We used this tactic to launch our “sock puppet” video during the holiday season and that video was ultimately viewed by more than one million people.  Again, the content was the rocket fuel for that, but the initial LinkedIn database was the launch pad.

Me:  How has this new approach complimented your more traditional marketing efforts?

Mike:  I think that’s just what it is-a complement to the traditional business development work we’ve done for years.  We still do all of the traditional stuff–OB calling, direct, networking–and the social networking and blogging has been an excellent overlay for that activity.  The goal is to show up in as many places as we can, and this helps us accomplish that with limited resources.  We’re exploring other ways to use the social tools, as well. For instance, we are putting the final touches on our first monthly podcast this week and will be distributing that the way we’ve distributed our blog and e-newsletter.  The social sites will play a big part in that distribution.

Me:  Has this had an impact on your efforts to hire or retain talent? 

Mike: It certainly has been great for hiring.  We were fortunate to be in hiring mode recently and found several excellent candidates through LinkedIn and hired two of them.  We always prefer candidates who come with a referral from somebody we know and trust, and both of these panned out that way.  The interesting thing is that one of the hires came directly from a referral through one of our team member’s LinkedIn contacts (2nd degree).  If it hadn’t been for that tool, we would never have found that particular candidate.

Me:  What kind of feedback have you received?

Mike:  It’s been excellent.  Certainly, great content drives the best feedback. A really good blog post or something like our sock puppet video garners attention and generates a lot of positive feedback.  With respect to the video, we had people calling and e-mailing from all over the country.  That was fun and effective, and we plan to do it again. Of course, we’ve also had a lot of companies contact us asking if we can do videos for them. 

Me:  After your research and experience in the process of social brand marketing, what advice would you offer to other business owners and executives?

Mike:  First, just be sure to get in the game and encourage your staff to get out there and represent you.  Old school thinking tells people to stay away from this stuff during work hours, but I think nowadays our professional and personal lives are blended to the extent that it simply doesn’t make good business sense to try to restrict social networking activity during business hours.  Encourage it, and recognize and reward those who do the best job of it on behalf of the company.  Writing good blog posts and making smart use of social networks requires good thinking. 

Second, stay current because it changes fast.  Twitter is a new frontier for us, as an example.  It feels like that just popped up and we’re already playing catch up.  But I know a lot of people swear by the results they are seeing with it.  Staying current also requires a forward-leaning disposition as a company.  It needs to be an encouraged activity.

Finally, it still all comes down to quality content.  Are you communicating something people want to hear, read, or watch, or not?  The marketplace will vote as it always does.  Be sure to use the right side of your brain when you’re leveraging all this left-brain technology!

5 Things to do when you’re unemployed. Hint: It’s not job hunting.

Monday, March 9th, 2009
Penelope Trunk Keynote PRSA 2008 Detroit

Penelope Trunk  recently wrote a great article with some take-action suggestions for anyone who is laid off or otherwise out of work.  She suggests spending time creating projects for yourself that will lead to increased productivity and networking.  This is very good advice that anyone can use to get moving in the right direction while on the job hunt.

5 Things to do when you’re unemployed. Hint: It’s not job hunting. | By Penelope Trunk

Let’s say you get fired, or laid off, or you quit because after two weeks you know you’re at the worst company on the planet. In all of those cases, you will face the interview question: What happened at your last job?

Here’s the answer you should always give: “I left to do x.” And you fill in for x.

Which brings me to what you should be really focusing on when you are unemployed: Learning and growing. Because this is what you are going to talk about in job interviews.

Most people require about six months to get another job. This is a big chunk of time that you can piss away sending resumes to Monster and wondering why no one responds. But you cannot job hunt for eight hours a day. Really. You’ll go nuts. (Wait. Here’s a time-saving job hunt tip from my mom.)

So spend the time creating projects for yourself and executing on them. This is good for you mentally – because you are doing something meaningful with your time and that will keep your spirits up.

But this is also good for you in your job hunt. Because when you talk about why you left the last company, you spin it in a positive light by talking about how you are excited about doing what you are doing. Your interview should include you telling a good story about focused personal growth, and no one will get stuck on why you left your last job. Here are five ways to set that story up:

1. Create a job for yourself. These projects can be wide ranging, but they have to show that you are driven, ambitious and focused. During one stint of unemployment, I worked for free for my boyfriend’s company for a couple of hours a day. That way I didn’t actually have a gap in my resume; a resume doesn’t show part-time or full-time and it doesn’t show pay or no pay. So volunteering at my boyfriend’s company for a couple of hours a day ended up looking like a full-time job on my resume.

2. Focus on ambition and execution and not so much on work per se. Another time I got laid off I spent my days learning to swing dance. I took one or two lessons a day and practiced at night, and after my six months of job hunting, I was good enough to teach dancing just off Broadway. I didn’t put that on my resume, but when people asked me why I left my job, I told them about how I gave myself time to fulfill lofty goals as a swing dancer.

3. Start a blog about the industry you want to go into. Blogging is a great way to keep up in your industry, network without looking desperate, and leverage the fact that you have more time on your hands that people who have jobs. Everyone who is unemployed should be blogging as a way to get their next job. Put your ideas out into the world and connect with people that way. This is why you want to be hired, right? For your ideas. So show them. The reason that people who blog have great careers is that bloggers are always thinking about issues in their industry. Show that side of yourself to people. Blogging takes a lot of time, sure. But you have a lot of time. So use it. Here’s my guide for how to start a blog.

4. Start a company. Do you have a company idea? Try it now. During unemployment. There’s nothing stopping you. You have time, and you can try ideas to see which one sticks. Also, whether or not your company does well, you’ll be able to talk about it in an interview as a huge learning moment that will deflect from any problems at your last job. The company that never got out of your parent’s basement can sit on your resume as professionally as a stint in the Fortune 500. It’s all about how you write the bullet points: talk about accomplishments and learning.

5. Practice talking about yourself with everyone. High performers practice for interviews. So now you know what you’re aiming for, but you need to talk about it with everyone – parties, at the gym, on the phone with friends. When they ask how you’re doing, talk about what you’re doing like you are in the job interview. And the good news is that the better you get at talking like that, the more you will actually believe your story, the story that being unemployed is lucky because you have learning opportunities.

What’s important to remember here is that no one can tell you what experience you can gain and what you can’t. You don’t need a job in order to learn cool stuff and be on cool projects. You control what you do with your time and you can make it useful. Talk about that. There is no reason to talk about why the last job didn’t work when you can talk about the great things that leaving opened up to you.

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Twitteriffic Susan Kang Nam Gets Creative with Reasons to Twitter

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Award_Image1 by pinkolivefamily.A big question I am often asked about Micro-Blogging service, Twitter, is simply this, "So what do you do on Twitter, just tell people what you’re doing?"  And my answer is usually, "No".  I use Twitter to network with early adopters and people all over the world who have similar interests in social media and web2.0 technology.  I post helpful links about careers, employment, and job searching.  And I use it to promote my blog, where I write about using those technologies for recruiting, career branding, and employer branding.  I also use Twitter to promote my company, A-List solutions, a full service staffing and recruiting firm for management, marketing, and I.T. positions.  (how about that shameless self promotion!)

One of my Twitter networking friends, who I originally met through on RecruitingBlogs.com, is Susan Kang Nam.  She is what I like to call a social media darling.  She is a master networker with a knack for recruiting, collaborating with the top players in social media and recruiting.  She supports her sister’s boutique, Pink Olive Inc. based in NYC, where she uses various social media tools to network and build relationships with customers, vendors, and community organizers around the world.  Susan also has responsibility on the boards and committees of numerous groups and associations related to social media, recruiting, and careers.  You can see a full bio of her at her Google profile page: http://www.google.com/s2/profiles/117560664691580702505

When we talked last week about ways to encourage more participation in a Twitter networking group that she runs on Talentbar.com,  she told me that she had been invited to sit on a panel at the upcoming BlogHer conference.  She thought this was slightly ironic because she doesn’t have a blog.  In January we had talked about her plan to start a blog and she told me at the time that she hadn’t done so yet because she was still finding her voice, -deciding on the right content, key players, and collaborators- to present persuasive information that is original and unique to readers. 

Susan excels at the concise format of micro-blogging, which, with the help of Twitter, has become the hottest new form of blogging.  The BlogHer panel she has been asked to sit on is a "micro-blogging" panel called "Is MicroBlogging the Key to MommyBlogging Bliss?".  But she is still working on the idea of a real blog.  She has encouragement from blogosphere luminaries like good friend Chris Brogan.   But she is in no rush to set one up, having such enthusiasm for twitter (She’s happy to be a micro-blogger) offering values & engaging in interesting dialogues via tweets.

Still she joked, in a tweet she sent to me after our call, that she doesn’t do that much creative writing.  I tweeted her back with a gentle nudge and she responded the way I would expect her to.  By writing something so useful that I wanted to blog about it.  She posted the following note on Facebook shortly after our exchange.  It’s a great lesson for would-be bloggers.  And it is great info for anyone wondering what this Twitter thing is all about, highlighting some of the multiple ways that it is useful. 

Why Tweet? Tweeting for 5 reasons so far…

By Susan Kang Nam

Thursday, February 19, 2009 at 2:23pm

Encouraged by my latest "tweet" from a twitter recruiting pal Craig Fisher, I decided to "practice" my creative writing on this post via FB notes today. His tweet to me was:

Fishdogs (Craig): @PinkOliveFamily (Susan) That’s crazy. You are plenty creative. It’s like anything else. Research + Practice makes perfect : )

Ha! So as much as I’d like to believe that I am a creative writer. I solely admit I am not. However, here is my further attempt to continue writing and exploring via this post.

Many ask me why I "tweet" and there is no short answer for that obviously. To be honest, from the beginning it was just another tool ~ an exploratory tool that I have used after hearing it from a couple of recruiters over at recruitingblogs.com back in late June of ’08.

I tweet for the following 5 reasons:

1. Content: Initially I came to twitter to review and correspond with other recruiting professionals to share content. I find some of their links that they share online quite useful i.e. Fistful of Talent to various other recruiting bloggers that showcase their knowledge and thoughts. I also came in initially to reach out to other pink olive customers and to provide value i.e. Tory Johnson over at ABC news Good Morning America, Women for Hire CEO – as her little one was a fan of pink olive boutique in east village location. I was happy to reach out to other Pink Olive customers and give information back to my sis Grace Kang, founder/owner/designer for Pink Olive Boutique. Other contents I valued overtime include Social Media in general, Marketing sources as well as reaching out to mainstream media professionals (i.e. CNN, Wall Street Journal to Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick etc and the list goes on and on). As I continue to look out for my next executive recruiting position I’d like to continue to explore connection via Twitter and find it worthwhile. In the meantime, appreciate sharing contents via peeps I follow on Twitter.

2. Contacts: As I started to lead a club called Boston Salty Legs Career Club, I have utilized all social media tools including Twitter to reach out and get referrals for our membership roster. I found it quite helpful and the contacts I have made via twitter has been phenomenal. Of course, I talk about Chris Brogan quite often however since I have the great opportunity to meet him via his New Marketing Summit I have been in awe of what he has brought reference to contacts I have made via Twitter. I highly recommend following him on twitter if you have not yet to recognize the "value" that he brings to connecting with professionals all over the world utilizing this platform. And yes I would not have had the opportunity to connect with someone like Tory either if it wasn’t for our tweets shared back in October of ’08. Currently I have little over 4400 followers and I am humbled by what they know and share (even funny jokes really helps – that reminds me – can’t forget about @animal – aka recruiting animal ;P).

3. Presence: At Jeff Pulver’s SocComm summit I had the opportunity to share my thoughts via being part of his twitter team in NYC. At the Summit, many mainstream media industry moguls spoke on topic of "presence" on social media. I highly recommend to attend his next SocComm2 Summit in June and continue the conversation on various topics. The topic of "truth" from Fred Wilson was an eye opener for me for sure. His thought processes intrigued me.

4. Branding: There has been lots of tweets regarding Branding lately and I hope to explore more on this topic as I am not 100% clear on both personal or professional/employer branding. I’d like to "think" that I know what exactly it means to brand yourself using twitter however that topic is open for more to come.

5. Fun: I know we speak of ROI for everything ~ however twitter is also about having "fun" engaging in conversations while making an impact in this "new" social media world. For good example, Jyl Johnson Pattee and Carissa Rogers, founders of MomITForward and #GNO have done a great job energizing the 200+ mommy professionals providing "fun" content on Twitter along with their efforts to reach out. Their mission is "to change the world one mom at a time." achieving that by 1) strengthening women, 2) helping them become the best moms they can be, and 3) providing ideas, opportunities to, and recognition for carrying out the Mom It Forward mission in small and large ways, locally as well as internationally. I am in awe of their efforts & energy and I do my best to join their #GNO hashtag party in Twitter every Tuesday night from 9PM EST.

As a micro-blogger, I am happy to share content, RT contents, making contacts, defining presence, learning about branding and having fun utilizing this tool. It helps me to pinpoint what I’d like to get out of for that day. Usually I’m on from 5:30-9:00AM on weekdays to engage in conversations (except this week I am "suppose" to be on vacation ~ so I have been on more often than usual ;P). On weekends it really varies. Sunday early mornings are an interesting "time-frame" to tweet.  Why?  Hmm, that can be another post.

So, why do you tweet? :) What drives you to use this platform over others out there, not to mention already "addicted" to twitter ;P

Susan
On Twitter
@pinkolivefamily
@shuffergreene (for #GNO ladies and gents)
@saltylegs (private for members and guest speakers/ update for the club)

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