It’s been a big week for the internet- Obama is on Facebook, we got to hear what everyone and their mom thinks about the Essena O’Neil thing, and then, if that isn’t ridiculous enough, everyone flipped out over a red cup. Here are a few things I read this week that aren’t ridiculous.
Career and Job Search:
I love reading real interview questions, have you seen this one from Google- “how many tennis balls fit in a limousine?” Excuse me, what? Obviously that question is testing your ability to reason and think through the process, not if you actually know the answer. Here is a post that HubSpot put out this week with Real Marketing Interview Questions. Some of these are tough, but this is a great way to prepare for an interview.
As a self diagnosed control freak, I get frustrated during a job search when I feel like there is nothing I can do but sit and wait. Side note- my best friend is also job searching so sometimes we have contests to see who can go the longest without looking at their email, we don’t last long! Anyway, here is a fun and informative post with much more productive things to do during your job search than refreshing your email 57 times a day.
Social Media and Digital Marketing:
If I hear the phrase content is king one more time I might throw up, but it’s still such click bait for me because it is so true. I read a few good posts on content strategy this week. This post by Lyndsay is a great breakdown of what you should be considering while developing your content strategy, and this post on why visual content is an important part of strategy as well.
I’ve been doing some research on the “newer” social media platforms (like Periscope and Snapchat) and their impact on digital marketing. Every time something new comes out I wonder how can these silly apps can possibly be an asset to a business, but then time and time again these new platforms become the next big thing in internet marketing. Here is an interesting article about how Snapchat is going to change your life.
Thank you to Lexi for putting together this List of Bloggers from Blogging, Business, and Balance, the webinar hosted by Taylor and Helene earlier this week. It was so much fun chatting with such a supportive and inspiring group of bloggers.
What did you read this week?
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard of the newest trend in social media, Periscope, but do you have any idea what it actually is? If not, you’re certainly not alone.
What is Periscope?
Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, is essentially a live streaming app. Kind of like Skype, but broadcasting to the masses instead of just one person. Periscope also offers a live stream of comments which show on the screen so the entire audience can follow along. Sounds terrifying, right? Maybe, but as their tagline states, Periscope allows users to “explore the world though someone else’s eyes,” offering a unique and authentic way for you to reach your customers.
If your company is not currently using social media platforms to engage with your customers, you may not want to start with Periscope, but if you’re experienced and well versed in the world of social media and you’re ready to take it to the next level, it is a great option. Periscope gives you an opportunity to share your company culture with your followers and can really help your customers (and potential customers) get to know your brand.
How can Periscope help my business?
Behind the Scenes. Your customers want to get to know you and getting an inside peek helps make your brand “real”. Periscope can be used to show a behind the scenes look at your office, your employees, or your product.
Tutorials and Demos. Periscope is a unique way to demonstrate your products. This can be especially valuable to your customers if there is an initial set up required, or if you get a lot of technical questions about the use of a product. Plus, watching a live demo, where you can ask questions, is way more fun than reading a boring instruction manual.
Live Events. Chances are your company is involved in some kind of community event or charity, let your customers see this side of you and Periscope it! If you attend industry events or host a seminar, your customers and prospects can feel included. This kind of interaction helps your customers get to know you and makes you a more trusted expert in your field.
Q&A or Mini Webinars. Offering informational services is a great way to bring in new customers. Try hosting a Q&A or mini webinar that relates to your industry or brand. All you need is one expert, Periscope allows you to host this kind of event without all the planning and hassle of doing a live in-person seminar.
Announcements/Product Launch. Everyone wants the first look at the newest thing on the market, Periscope is a fun and different way to announce new products or share other updates with your customers.
Real Time Customer Service. Opening up the Periscope platform allows you to service your customers live, in front of other customers. Engaging in real time is a strategy that became popular on Twitter and can really be enhanced by the truly live nature of Periscope.
Special Offers. Promo codes are hot right now, try offering a special promo code or hosting a flash sale, just for your Periscope followers. Consumers love exclusive deals, Periscope can be a great way to make your customers feel included and valued.
Used correctly, Periscope can offer your customers an inside look at your company, helping them get to know your brand and trust your products. Although intimidating at first, Periscope is extremely user friendly and could be a great addition to your social media strategy.
Have you tried Periscope? What do you think of it?
I consider myself to be an outgoing introvert. I’m good at making conversation with strangers, but not without some degree of effort. So trust me, I get that your are nervous about your first (or maybe your 10th) networking event. Attending any kind of event alone can be intimidating, but an event where you’re supposed to sell yourself and branch out of your comfort zone? The worst. Any time you walk into a room full of strangers, it can feel like you’re the only one that doesn’t know anyone. Luckily, people attend networking events to meet new business connections, so take a deep breath and follow these tips- you’ll be just fine!
- Dress to impress. Wear something professional that you feel comfortable in. If you have trouble walking in high heels- skip them. You have enough to think about during a networking event, you don’t need to worry about wardrobe malfunctions.
- Arrive early. If you’re uncomfortable or nervous going into the event, arrive early, that way people won’t already be clustered into groups when you get there.
- Introduce yourself. Most people attending a networking event are there alone- and even if they’re not, they are there to make connections. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation.
- Don’t forget your business card (or your resume if you’re job searching). But use them sparingly. If you pass out a card to everyone you meet, you’re just killing trees. Save your business cards for those you make genuine business connections with.
- Quality over quantity. It’s better to make one or two solid connections, than make contact with 20 people that won’t remember you.
- Share information when you can. It’s not always about getting everything you can out of an event, it’s also good to give back. If you’re speaking with someone and you have a piece of advice, or a connection you can share, do it!
- Do your homework. Do a little research, find out who will be there and what companies will be represented. Know who you want to connect with going into the event.
- But don’t be creepy. If you’ve done your homework, you will probably come across someone you’ve stalked on LinkedIn. Ask them normal getting-to-know-you questions. Its usually best not to let on that you know their entire professional past as well as their dogs name.
- Remember details correctly. Do your best to remember names. If you use someone’s job title, or company name, make sure you get it correct. If you’re unsure, its ok to ask.
- When in doubt, ask questions. Everyone likes to talk about them self, if you’re at a loss for topics, focus on the other person. Find out how they started their career, or how they ended up in their current position. Listen to what they say and try to learn something.
- Follow up. Send the organizer a thank you note. Email anyone you made future plans with and send LinkedIn in connection requests to people you talked to.
Have you ever attended a networking event?
Do you have a piece of advice or a success story to share?
Twitter is a fantastic tool for raising the awareness of your personal brand, blog, or business. A brand’s success on Twitter can be measured in a variety of ways; number of followers, click through rate, use of your brand’s hashtag, etc., but the arguably the most important – retweets. Every time your content is retweeted, you are reaching a new audience. Good timing combined with a relevant, witty, and perhaps controversial tweet, are the keys to getting your tweet noticed and shared. Over the last several years, the big brands have caught on. Here are some of my favorites:
“Ellen’s Oscars Selfie” by Samsung
Although posed as a spontaneous moment between friends, the selfie taken by Ellen DeGeneres and the Samasung Galaxy Note 3 at the 2014 Oscars is the most retweeted tweet of all time. A-listers including Jennifer Lawrence, Bradly Cooper, Brad Pitt, my personal favorite Meryl Streep, and several others, all squeezed behind the phone screen to pose for the selfie which was re-tweeted over 3 million times, breaking the twitterverse for 20 minutes (basically forever in twitter terms). Ellen tweeted the pic with the text “if only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #Oscars.” Maurice Levy, CEO of Pubilcis, who handles Samsung’s international marketing, has stated that the selfie has a value between $800 million and $1 billion, because of the absolutely massive reach of the tweet from social media sharing. Now for the important question; how much would it be worth if Bradley’s arm was longer?
“You can still dunk in the dark” by Oreo
A blackout during the 3rd quarter of the 2013 Superbowl turned out to be a highlight for Oreo’s marketing team. With an entire crew on standby during the game, Oreo responded quickly to the unplanned outage by tweeting “Power out? No problem,” with an image of a dark Oreo and the text “You can still dunk in the dark.” The very saturated, not to mention pricey, Superbowl adverting platform should take a lesson from Oreo. The quick witted tweet was retweeted 15,000 times, no comparison to the numbers posted by Beyoncé half time show, but please… it’s Queen B.
“Can we have our hat back?” by Arbys
When Pharelle Williams took the stage at the 2014 Grammys, Arby’s Social Media Manager, Josh Martian, was working from home. It was his lucky day, as Pharelle was wearing a brown, suede, Smoky the Bear style hat, very similar to the hat in Arby’s logo. Martins quick thinking should have won Arby’s a Grammy for his tweet; “Hey @Pharelle, can we have our hat back? #grammys” With the help of other huge brands Pepsi, and Hyundai, the final retweet count exceeded 75,000. Perhaps the most memorable retweet was from Pharelle himself adding the text “Y’all tryna start a roast beef?” Well played, Pharelle!
Do you use Twitter to promote yourself or your brand?
What is your favorite tweet to add to the list?
For months, I have been stalking LinkedIn for new job postings. Time and time again, I came across an ad with a title that looked promising, but upon further inspection I realized it was a volunteer opportunity. After clicking on that ad countless times, the wheels in my head started turning and I emailed the poster.
When I didn’t hear back within.. an hour (I know, I know), I got impatient and turned to Google. I came across this really awesome site called Volunteer Match, where you can search for local and, get this.. virtual volunteer opportunities! I didn’t know that was a thing, but what a great concept!
Volunteer Match works pretty much the same as any job board. You search for what you want, select local or virtual, and then you get titles and descriptions that match your selections. Most opportunity descriptions feature information like how many hours a week they would like someone to commit, and who the opportunity would be good for (retired people, college students, etc).
Doing a quick search for Social Media and Digital Marketing brought back a thousand or so returns. I quickly found 6-8 that looked promising and submitted my info through the site (which was super simple). Very quickly, within an hour, I was getting emails back- and these organizations welcomed me! So much more fun than job searching! I set up a few phone interviews and got to talk to some awesome people doing amazing work across the country.
Eventually, I heard back from the original opportunity I found on LinkedIn, and that is where I ended up. The organization agreed to let me work on my own time, and understands that I have a “real job”. I have since added this volunteer opportunity/internship/working-for-free to my resume. I have brought it up in interviews and to potential employers and the response I have gotten has been overwhelmingly positive.
Here are a few reasons you should consider a volunteer opportunity while you are job searching.
- Gain experience and knowledge
- Show you are serious about working in your field
- Expand your network
- Demonstrate your ability to handle multiple responsibilities
- Increase your confidence in your skills
- Give yourself something to focus on other than the rejection that comes with job searching
- Gain a possible reference or two
- Help an organization that needs it!
Have you ever “worked for free”?
Would you try volunteering to help your job search?
Reading everything on the internet is impossible, but I sure try. Here are my favorites from this week.
Social Media and Digital Marketing:
While I don’t consider myself a Millennial, I am technically on the cusp of being considered one. True Millennials are a fascinating breed, those that literally grew up online, and I’m always interested by the research of their future buying behavior. Millennial Marketing: Getting Their Attention Through Intent is a great piece about how Millennials may be a very challenging group to market to, and how we can over come those challenges.
This week, I’ve been doing a little research on email marketing and thought this post was fun and informative- 11 Personalized Email Examples You Can’t Help but Click. I am such a sucker for online shopping so the ModCloth one is my personal favorite!
Digital marketing and SEO is hard, this article is a good breakdown for those new to the field or small businesses that are just getting started with marketing online- Beginners Guide to Being Found Online.
This is a really cool new to me digital marketing blog I came across recently. This post about “Smarketing” has fun, comic style graphics, and I couldn’t help but smile reading it (nerd alert), check it out.
Speaking of fun graphics, this is a great post on Why Visual Communications are a Vital Part of PR. It contains some interesting statistics on memory retention from visual vs text ads.
I came across this post and kept thinking yes, YES, YES! It can take a lifetime to find a career you love, or you can just know. Either way, this post- A Step by Step Guide to Finding a Career You Love encourages you to constantly re-evaluate yourself and your career desires.
With the holidays just around the corner, everything seems to slow down a little bit, including the job market. Here are several good Reasons to Keep Up Your Job Search During the Holidays.
So, this is kind of a big deal… If you’re not familiar with Helene and Taylor, you might want to get on that ASAP. Both have hugely successful and awesome blogs and they are co-hosting a FREE Webinar! Check it out here: Blogging, Business, and Balance Webinar.
Since I’m new to this whole blog writing thing, I’ve been looking around online at lots of writers blogs. From what I have gathered so far, Kristen Lamb is kind of a genius. This week she posted about how How Writing Quickly Can Improve Your Storytelling. As someone that struggles from perfectionism writing, this was a great reminder for me to get past The Wall and into The Zone.
What did you read this week that I can’t miss?
These days, everyone is on social media, and while we all make bad judgment calls from time to time, there are certain inexcusable sins.
I love a reading a good ‘airing of the dirty laundry’ post as much as the next person, but posting one is not a good life choice. If your girlfriend cheated on you with your best friend, social media is not the place to handle it. Keep those battles offline.
Social Media is designed for interaction, hence the word social. If you neglect your accounts, or fail to interact with your followers, you’re not participating the way you should be. Be sure to stay on top of replying to comments and liking the posts of those in your network.
Don’t post negative things about other people or their successes. We should all be rooting for each other. Instead, show your support! Share posts of uplifting stories, congratulate an acquaintance that recently had a baby, or help your friend find a new job by reaching out to people in your network.
Social media is a highlight reel of the posters life. Make sure to stay humble and keep it real. Posters that only post the very best things that happen to them are less relate-able.
Unless you’re a food blogger, don’t post every meal on Instagram. The ice cream sundae you just posted is making me hungry… and cranky (because I can’t have one right now). I also don’t enjoy logging into Instagram at first thing in the morning and seeing your 3am post-bar feast of brisket and cheddar topped fries.
Posting a picture with a wad of money, or talking about how much is in your bank account, is only going to get you robbed. Also, I’m happy for you that you got a new car, but I don’t need to see a whole album worth of pictures of it.
I don’t know about you, but I’m friends with my high school band leader, my boss, and my Dad’s best friend, on Facebook. Let’s all just save the sexy pics for Snapchat (but that probably isn’t the best idea either).
Are you guilty of any of the 7 Deadly Social Media Sins? (I won’t judge you… promise!)
I love to read, but sometimes when I’m reading a book I’m “supposed” to read, you know- something educational, I have to be in the right mood. That was not the case with Sticky Readers: How to Attract a Loyal Blog Audience by Writing More Better by Margaret Andrews, which read more like a long, conversational blog post, than a how-to book. I came across this book while looking for something entertaining to read about blogging, but I didn’t want anything about monetizing, or growing a blog. I was looking for some writing inspiration, and that is certainly what I got.
Sticky Readers is a humorous, but helpful book about writing better blog posts. While the book is helpful for all writers, it was written with bloggers in mind.
Sticky Readers explains the various ways to make your writing more engaging (i.e. less boring) so that a reader will “stick” around for the whole thing, rather than read the first paragraph, get bored and leave.
Sticky Readers is not a book about English grammar, but a book about how to tell an engaging story.
It also includes a section about combating writer’s block and a list of Top Ten Mistakes that bloggers make to drive readers away.
At just 78 pages, Sticky Readers is definitely a quick read, but it is full of insightful information and inspiring anecdotes. If you have taken any kind of writing course, or have real experience with writing, a lot of the information will probably be review, but that’s not to say you won’t get anything out of it. This book is full of quick tips and Creative Writing 101 reminders.
My personal favorite was Chapter 5: Include a Universal Topic or Theme. This is one of those concepts that I kind of already knew in my head, but Andrews was able to put it into words for me. She talks about how when you have a specific story that only a small portion of your audience can relate to, you can engage more of your audience by adding a universal topic or theme- something that everyone, or almost everyone, can relate to. Now instead of excluding all of your readers except for those that can relate to your specific story, you’ve included the majority of you audience.
Throughout the book, I kept thinking I need to flip back through later and write that down, lucky for me, the final chapter is a Quick Reference Checklist of the main points throughout the book.
Sticky Readers is a great book that I would recommend to anyone new at blogging, or that wants to expand on or refresh their creative writing skills.
You only have one chance to make a first impression, and your resume is most likely the first impression you will make on a potential employer. Most of the resume tips you find online are stylistic preferences and recruiters opinions, but these Ten Commandments are the must-follow rules of resume writing.
1. Thou shall study the job description and customize thy resume accordingly. It’s great to have a resume ready to go as soon as your dream job opens up, but take a few minutes and make sure your resume is in line with the job description. Buzzwords change company to company and using some of their verbiage will help your potential employer see you as part of their team. Be cautious though, the person reading your resume most likely wrote the job description, and they will notice if you steal exact words and phrases.
2. Thou shall not lie about thy past work experience. This should be a no-brainier but a surprising percentage of people lie about past work experience on their resume. Do yourself, and your reputation a favor, and stick to the truth.
3. Thou shall list thy more important and recent accomplishments first. My first instinct has always been to list accomplishments in chronological order, but the truth is, most people just skim resumes. By listing the most recent information under each header, the recruiter will be more likely to notice it.
4. Honor thy past achievements. When you sit down to write your resume, think about what you are most proud of, and be sure to highlight it. Take advantage any awards you have won (no matter how small) and anything extra you have done like volunteering for a special project, or classes/certifications you’ve acquired in your industry.
5. Thou shall make use of spell check. And a proofreader. Make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes on your resume. This one is obvious, but it happens more than it should.
6. Thou shall provide specific examples and results of thy past work. When listing achievements on your resume use the formula “result, action.” Don’t just explain what you did (the action), but be sure to include the business result of that action. Here is an example: Increased employee retention by 25% year over year (result) by implementing new on-boarding and training processes (action).
7. Remember to ask thy references before listing them. Getting a phone call from a recruiter out of the blue, asking for a referral for someone you worked with three years ago, can really throw a person off. Even if they have nice things to say about you, being put on the spot could take away from their positive review.
8. Thou shall not include obvious and unimportant information. You may be an expert at making copies and taking out the mail, but these skills are just taking up valuable space on your resume.
9. Thou shall utilize white-space. A wall of text is always intimidating to read. Break up your resume by using headers and bullet points. Be sure to include space throughout your resume to allow the reader to flow comfortably from one section to the next.
10. Thou shall be sure to include thy contact information. Your resume is impressive and the recruiter wants to call for for an interview. And… you forgot to put your phone number on your resume. Don’t make this mistake.
Which Commandment do you think is the most important?
Do you have an 11th Commandment to add?