Blog Archives

Your Personal Brand and LinkedIn.

linkedin tipsI spoke with a niece of a friend recently who had just graduated from college and we were talking about marketing. I asked her if she was on LinkedIn and offered to connect with her.

She mentioned that she didn’t have her profile filled out just yet. I was surprised since I assumed that the younger generation was more hip on social media and that she would know that LinkedIn is the single most important place to post your digital resume.

My dad works with his local chemical engineering association to line up speakers of interest for events. He recently had a recruiter speak that emphasized LinkedIn as the number one place where businesses and recruiters go to find talent.

If there is only one thing that you do today for your personal brand, go out and make sure your LinkedIn profile is filled out 100%.

  • Optimize your headline for your job search. What keywords will people search for you?
  • Ask friends and colleagues for a reference – LinkedIn makes it easy.
  • Make sure you have skills identified as those are searchable for employers.
  • Fill out past positions with keywords and descriptions of your past jobs.
  • Personalize your LinkedIn URL.
  • Use a professional picture on LinkedIn.
  • Have a blog? Add a link to it. Use anchor text with keywords in the link (select Other and name the blog using keywords).
  • Add social media accounts like Twitter.
  • Check the apps and add any that might apply like Amazon Reading List, Slideshare or TripIt.
  • Join a relevant group in your industry. Talk with others in the group.
  • Ask a question in Answers. The community is very helpful.
  • Keep your profile updated as you go. It will always be a work in progress and updates keep your profile fresh.

Now you are ready to go. Also, build your network before you need it. Connect with everyone that you have done business with and make it an ongoing process.

Small steps can go a long way to ensure your future!

Image by smi23le on Flickr.

IT Project Management Roundtable Teleconference on 5/5/11

Focus is a diverse community of 5,000 business experts for various industries. I discovered it while networking online through Twitter. Focus offers Q&As, research and events to connect the world by sharing industry-specific knowledge. It is quite a compelling site and a great place to go for seeking business advice.

My client will be moderating this panel for the technology community. This opportunity is a result of utilizing Twitter for networking. If you seek to establish yourself as an industry expert, Focus paired with LinkedIn Answers will give you a great starting point.

Toll-free Dial-In Number: (866) 951-1151
International Dial-In Number: (201) 590-2255
Conference # : 
4999006

Please join us for a roundtable teleconference on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 11:00 am PT/ 2:00 pm ET as we address project management issues related to complex business transformation initiatives, including ERP, consolidation and outsourcing. Our panel will discuss specific topics such as:

  • Choosing and managing vendor partners
  • Preparing the organization for impending change
  • Ensuring top management engagement throughout the project

Rob Prinzo, Founder and CEO of The Prinzo Group, will moderate a panel discussion featuring the top project management and IT experts in the industry:

Attendance for this event is free.

Follow the conversation:
On Focus:

  • Follow the Project Management or ERP topic pages
  • Submit your own question and use “Project Management” as a topic tag

On Twitter:

  • #FocusRT

What Twitter Can Do For You

I remember when I set up my first Twitter account a few years ago. I registered, signed in and then stared at a blank screen thinking, “now what?” I was a solo marketer at a small technology company and was trying to keep up with social media as well as my traditional marketing role.

In the years since creating my Twitter account, I can say first and foremost that it has offered me personal and professional development.

I was able to find a community of B2B marketing and PR professionals who were supportive and offered help, feedback and opinions. It was refreshing to find a group of individuals who were so supportive.

I was also able to listen and monitor prospects at trade shows and find and follow edtech leaders, a target market of my job at the time. By listening to this group as well as learning about their daily struggles, I felt that I better understood their perspectives as customers and teachers.

As a parent, I had this group of teachers available to ask questions and get feedback about education. One example when my sensitive five year old daughter (in kindergarten at the time), was shown The Wizard of Oz without my knowledge. She had nightmares for two weeks. I received a lot of support and feedback and advice as to what to do as far as approaching the teacher and school.

In addition to finding communities relevant to my work life, I was able to find people with similar interests. My youngest daughter has food allergies and I had trouble after her diagnosis getting support and advice. Friends and family tried to help, but I have had to educate them as well and they just didn’t understand the constant stresses of coping with food allergies. I have found tremendous support from fellow food allergy moms and dads on Twitter. It is a relief to find other people facing the same challenges in life and to share our experiences.

I have also been able to reach people directly that I would have never in a million years been able to reach had I gone through traditional channels. On the fun side, I asked Stewart Cink for golf advice for my golf enthusiast father and he sent me advice that I then included with his birthday gift.

I was able to research and poll people using Twitter and LinkedIn for a project – just like with a focus group. And Twitter can be used to help with your job search.

When Atlanta ran out of gas, I used Twitter and the hashtag #atlgas to find gas.

The applications are endless. People are on Twitter right now, ready to help. Why aren’t you?

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PR and Social Media – Great Resources from Sarah Evans

If you are researching PR and social media, you will need to bookmark this white paper from Sarah Evans as well as her articles, bookmarks and chats on the topics of journalism, PR and social media. Here is a link to it on slideshare.

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Job Search Tips in a Down Economy

It is a tough market out there. How will you stand out from the high numbers of job applicants? Find a way – differentiate. Here is what one smart fellow did to get attention.

Here are some job search and resume writing tips and statistics from the GADOL:

How people are finding their jobs:

Internet search – 3% jobs found here
Company web sites – 8% (and rising)
Newspapers – 5%
Staffing agencies, recruiters, libraries, churches, etc. – 15%
GDOL – 1%
Networking – 80% of jobs filled are NEVER advertised. (Wow.)

So where should you spend most of your time on a job search?

Resume Writing

Write for the HR Manager
– 9 out of 10 resumes don’t pass the first screener
– Put specific job at the top of the resume – customize each one
– Include keywords (industry, skills, qualifications, attitude)

Recommended books:

  1. 101 Best Resumes to Sell Yourself
  2. 2500 Keywords to Get you Hired
  3. e-Resumes – The Best Way to Work the Internet

Survey – HR Managers look for

  • Job skills – 15%
  • Teamwork – 20%
  • Attitude – 65%

Resume Tips

  • Don’t use improper email address for contact information (hotmama at hotmail.com)
  • Bold number and email address
  • Customize title of resume to job you are applying for at top center of page just under contact information
  • Just list jobs in the last 10-15 years unless it’s relevant to the job you apply for
  • Don’t put your year of graduation

Job search and other tips:

Indeed.com – aggregate job search engine (use different keywords for job titles)
11 Alive job search
Order 250 free business cards from VistaPrint and just pay shipping.
Network with everyone you are in contact with.
Write thank you cards – get a pack at the Dollar Store.
Get a memory stick and keep resume and work samples on it.

Other sites I have found while searching:

Jobfox.com – list resume free, show full profile, get text messages when company looks at your listing
Visualcv.com – list resume and portfolio, share through social media
Linkedin – online resume and networking site
Twitter search – search for jobs using keywords like “sales manager” on Twitter
Social mention – social media search engine – search sites for jobs and set up alerts

See my original job search post here – Laid off? Job looking shaky? Now what do you do? 5 Tips to Build Your Network Right Now.

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30 Day Social Media Challenge for B2B Companies Looking to Make the Plunge

Not sure if social media is right for your business?
Don’t know where to start or what to do?

Take this challenge. In 30 days, you will determine if your company is cut out for social media.

You may find yourself asking What is social media all about?

Social Media Surrounds Us

Social media is a hot topic these days. Your friends are using it, your employees are using it, even some of your competitors are using it.

CNN and ESPN broadcasters ask you to become a fan on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Business associates are sending you LinkedIn requests. People are rating movies on Netflix and products on Amazon. Even small businesses list their Facebook fan pages on their signs as you drive through town.

Social media seems to be everywhere.

Do you at times wonder “everyone else is doing it, but why should we?”

Good question.

It might not make sense for your company to utilize social media as part of your integrated marketing strategy. It all depends on many things.

What are your goals? Who do you sell to and where do they seek out your kind of products or services?

Social media does not cost a lot of money, but the time commitment and resources that it takes to build a social media program can be demanding.

Here is a 30 day test to see if you can successfully incorporate social media into your marketing and PR mix.

Week 1 – Fish Where the Fish Are

Chris Brogan, a social media expert, say to Fish Where the Fish Are. And he’s right. Where did your customers find you? Do you know? If not, ask them.

Your customers can give you a wealth of information with a simple survey. Offer a free giveaway or chance to win a larger prize and ask them a few questions.

Do they belong to associations? Do they go online to forums, message boards and industry blogs? Which search engines do they use? Do they still use the yellow pages or do they go online? Put together a list of 5 – 10 questions for your customers. Send out a free survey and analyze their responses.

Have your sales and customer service teams ask where call-ins heard about you (if they don’t already.) Put together a list of these responses and the survey answers and you should be getting a good idea where your customers are finding you.

Week 2 & 3 – Listen

Start slow. Listen. Go where your customers are online. If you don’t know, ask them.

Start a spreadsheet of forums, message boards, industry blogs, etc.

Take time to set up some listening posts about your company and industry.

Set up news alerts for your brand and industry keywords on Google, Yahoo
and Bing.

Look up your brand and keywords on Social Mention and Twitter Search. Set up alerts – Social Mention has different tabs, so you can set up an alert for each category.

Search blogs through Technorati and Google Blog Search.

Bookmark LinkedIn Answers under the appropriate categories or set up the RSS feed in a Reader and check daily. 

Look up any blog comments about your company or industry through BackType.


Yacktrack lets you search for comments on your content from various sources, such as Blogger, Digg, FriendFeed, Stumbleupon, and WordPress blogs.


Use boardtracker.com to get instant alerts from threads citing your name. Boardreader and Big Boards are other tools that work similar to this one.

Use iGoogle or Netvibes to set up a dashboard with these sites and RSS feeds.

Now that you have set up your listening posts, check them in an RSS feed a few times a week.

This will help you get an idea about what people are saying about you, your competitors, your industry.

You will be able to track trends and hot topics and will be ready to take the next step in social media.

Week 4 – Comment

Once you set up your listening posts, schedule 1-2 hours a week to monitor and comment on any relevant blogs, articles, etc.

Answer at least one LinkedIn question in each of the categories that applies to your business. Make sure you have a free company page set up in LinkedIn.

If people are talking about your brand in a good or bad way, respond directly to them and offer your help.

Build trust and relationships. You may be surprised how helpful the social media community can be.

End of the Month

By now you should have an idea of what social media is about.

Hopefully by doing this challenge you will learn more about your business, your customers and yourself. Social media does not cost a lot of money, but it sure involves lots of time.

In 30 days, if you find that you do not have the time or resources to do these basic monitoring tasks, you might not be ready for a full social media strategy.

If you are able to do these monitoring tasks, then you are ready to take the next steps in social media which will be covered in the next post.


How to Use Social Media for Research

I recently tapped into my social network to research a topic for a blog post. Specifically, I asked marketers how their paid search agency could better serve their clients. I received some great feedback and wanted to share how you can use your network for research.

First, I posted a question on LinkedIn Answers. This is one of the most useful features of LinkedIn and if you are not familiar with it, start reading answers in your industry and try to answer a few. Also you can ask members in LinkedIn groups questions in the discussion boards if you are also a member. Two great starting points for your research.

I also found some industry-specific forums and posted questions there (see Google groups, Yahoo groups, search industry keyword + group or forum) and on Business.com. There are many relevant sites for every industry and it is amazing how people are so open to giving advice and sharing knowledge. Once you find these forums, get involved and participate in helping others. It can be rewarding and helps build your network.

Then I went to my network on *Twitter and asked the question with the link to the LinkedIn questions. I also sent direct messages to some folks who were active in the industry to try and get their feedback. I also searched industry terms on Tweetgrid to see if anyone was having a discussion about the topic.

*I have been building a network on Twitter for personal and professional development. One group that I interact with is marketing professionals in the US. I started talking to people on Twitter when I was at my last job and was a one person marketing department. I discovered that Twitter was a great resource to share ideas and information. The feedback I received when I posed questions was valuable and in real time. I could have conversations with other professionals in my industry and I didn’t feel alone. Having built this network, I was able to ask questions and get some great answers. Building a network on Twitter (and on all social media sites) takes time. People should build their networks a little bit every week. Participate and share and be sure not to just sell – that is a huge turnoff. Twitter is a place where people can learn from one another.

Using social media, I was able to get great insights and feedback from a group of talented people in only a few days.

Our society is more plugged in than it has ever been and people are looking to make a connection online and offline. Social media can serve as an extension of your research efforts – it’s like an instant focus group.

My blog post  – How to Be a Better PPC Search Marketing Agency.

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Free Social Media Tools to Build Your Online Profile and Start Networking

Every day it seems there are more tools, widgets and apps to keep up with. Technology is changing at a faster pace than we have ever witnessed in the past. Social media is now a part of our professional and personal lives. It gives us insight into the way customers and friends live their lives and shares their views much more than any focus group could gather.

Have you googled yourself lately? How you appear online has become as important as writing a solid resume. Human resource professionals and universities are looking at social media profiles for job and college applicants. There are many other reasons for having an online profile, but you get the picture. You need to be there, and be sure what appears is the real you.

As you build your online profile, here are a few neat tools to share your social media contact information and build your presence online.

Have a blog? If not, start a free one with WordPress.com. This is the best way to show up in the search engines. Fresh content is king and you can blog about your industry, expertise, hobbies, whatever you would like to write about.

If you aren’t ready to blog, create a Google Profile. It is a one page profile that lists your social media contact information and a brief profile and picture if you want to post it.

Join Linkedin for business and discover a networking community waiting to help you with industry and work related questions. Set up your online resume and ask fellow colleagues for references. Add a picture and join some industry groups. Join in the conversation and answer questions in the Q&A section. Build your network every day.

Join Facebook for finding long lost friends and keeping up with new ones. Share photos of your family and send status updates on what is going on in your life (once a day is a good amount.) Share links and videos to your friends in one post instead of emailing your entire address book. Be sure to set your privacy settings to friends only.

Twitter is a microblogging platform. In 140 characters or less, you can converse with other people on any type of topics. Find and follow people with like interests using Twitter search. Create a full profile and use a photo of yourself – closeups work best. Include keywords in your bio so people can find you. Learn the lingo and how to retweet, send direct messages and @ messages. Hashtags (#+word) help you find other people discussing a current event like the Olympics as they occur. Tweetgrid can help you monitor keywords and topics. Use Twhirl on the desktop to track conversations (tweets.)

Delicious is a social bookmarking service where you can bookmark and tag articles for later review. It a great place to store research, reference information, statistics, anything that you might need to reference later in your personal or professional life. Create one for your business and one for personal bookmarking. Share the business link on your web site and in your emails. Add industry links and interesting articles for your customers and prospects.

When you have your profiles set up, add a Wisestamp signature to your web mail address. It contains links to your social media profiles and blog if you have one.

If you like to comment on other blogs, set up a Gravatar to enhance your profile and it will add a picture and even a link to your last blog post with your comments.

Building your online presence is something only you can do. And it can only help you – whether you want to contact old friends or find a new job. More adults are using social media sites as part of their internet experience. Social media is here to stay. And who knows what future the internet will bring.

Join the conversation and meet new friends and colleagues online today!

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Laid off? Job looking shaky? Now what do you do? 5 Tips to Build Your Network Right Now.

If you are reading this, then I am very sorry for what you are going through. Allow yourself time to mourn being laid off and feeling bad. It is part of the process. Just know that it will get better.

I have been laid off twice in my thirtysomething life. It sucks, and no matter what anyone says, you take it personally. Here are some things that will help you build your network if you are laid off or think you might lose your job in the near future. (Everyone should already be building their network a little bit each day, even if you don’t need one right now.)

1) Create accounts (if you do not already have them) on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Post your profile and mention in your status that you are on the job hunt and for what particular job/industry you are in. Your network is anyone and everyone that you know and making these connections can be valuable in many ways. Search for friends and previous coworkers on LinkedIn & FB, join relevant industry groups, ask and answer questions and get references on LinkedIn, follow industry leaders and people in your profession on Twitter and join in on the conversation.

2) List your resume on job boards – Monster, Careerbuilder, JobFox.com, Craigslist, etc.. Don’t just list what tasks you did at previous jobs. Think benefits. What skills can you offer an employer? Think if you were hiring someone, what qualities, experience and strengths would you look for? What do you want in your next job? Is it a good time to make a switch to another career or do you want to stay in the same role? Do some soul searching and talk to friends for advice.

3) Search indeed.com for jobs on multiple web sites. Create email alerts with it and other job search sites. Create Twitter and Google keyword alerts. Search blogs on Technorati about jobs in your industry.

4) Create a blog. Identify and follow/read the leaders in your industry. Read the local newspaper. Start reading and learning all that you can about your industry and write in your blog about it. Share your thoughts and expertise. Link to your profiles on Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin/JobFox listings. Read other blogs and comment on them and link back to your blog. WordPress offers free blogs.

5) Face time. Utilize the resources at the unemployment office, local churches and if your former employer offers job assistance/outreach. Go to local networking meetings and talk to people. Don’t just rely on the computer and internet. You need face to face time as well. Ask around for a local recruiter in your industry and make a connection. Check the newspaper for local networking meetings, find tweetups and check meetup.com for local groups of interest. Get a personalized business card at MOO to hand out while networking.

There are so many things you can do. Remember, most jobs are found through networking. Get connected and get going! Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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Five Low-Cost Small Business PR Tips

Getting the word out about your latest company news whether it is a new product announcement or customer win is tough. If you don’t have a marketing or public relations department in-house, use a freelancer or outside agency, the task can be daunting. Where do you begin?

First, make sure what you are going to announce is newsworthy. Write your press release with all of the key components of who, what, when, where, how and why included in the first paragraph. This way if it is edited, all of your important news is included.

Once you have a release that is ready to go out, set up an account on Pitch Engine. It is free and you can create and distribute compelling social media press releases online. It even appears on Google News when it is posted.

What is a social media release? It is simply your press release with relevant links to graphics, video, web site links, etc. It offers a wealth of information for those interested in finding out more about your company.

You should also have a targeted media list of relevant contacts in your industry and for local, regional and business news, if relevant. Building your list is an ongoing project and if you don’t have a subscription to a database like Vocus or Bacon’s, you can still build it from going to media web sites and finding the journalist that covers your particular industry. Be sure to read a few articles to make sure they are the right person to contact.

Once you have this list, also send a short pitch with bullet points and a link to your Pitch Engine press release. Include your contact information as well and don’t include attachments. When writing your pitch, think from the perspective of the journalist and ideally, their readers – “What’s in it for me? Why should I care about this?” To learn more about pitching, check out the Good Pitch BlogBad Pitch Blog and see an example of a great pitch on Peter Shankman’s Help A Reporter web site.

You can also post your press release on a blog, include keywords as tags and then go to Technorati and claim your blog. This helps when people search your industry keywords. WordPress offers free blogs and a neat dashboard feature to track web traffic.

Set up a free Twitter account and find and follow people in your industry. Listen and engage in conversation – not to sell but to be part of the community. Offer expert advice and links to relevant industry news. LinkedIn also has a question and answer section where you can help people with relevant questions in your industry.

If you want to take it a step further and try to pitch journalists looking for story sources, subscribe to Help A Reporter (HARO) a free PR newsletter, and look for relevant queries. There are strict rules and if someone pitches off topic, you will be removed from the list.

And that is a great start into the world of public relations. Small steps. It is also a doorway into social media – the best way to learn it is to try it. One step at a time. You might like it!

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