5 Ways for Job-Seeking Millennials to Clean Up Their Social Media Profiles Today

by Christie Carton and first published on Recruiter.com

Graduation has come and gone. If you’re like so many young people today who were unable to secure professional employment in the field of their choice before leaving college, you’re likely still hunting for those ideal job postings, submitting applications, and going on as many interviews as possible.

Resume in order? Check. Networking events attended? Check. Social media accounts cleaned up? Hmm.

If you haven’t done so already, you might want to seriously rethink what you’ve put out into the social media universe as well. This, believe it or not, is a critical part of the job search.

A recent survey conducted by my nonprofit, the 1,000 Dreams Fund, via Toluna Quicksurveys found that half of job seekers polled between the ages of 18 and 25 don’t plan to clean up their social media profiles before applying for jobs. This is a big mistake, especially given that employers say they use social media to screen and possibly eliminate candidates, according to another recent survey.

The bottom line is this: Don’t let some social media goof overpower your stellar application and prevent you from becoming the next promising employee at the company of your dreams!

Here are five tried-and-true tips from other successful grads about cleaning up your social media profile during the all-important job hunt!

1. Google Yourself

Search yourself to see what comes up. Be sure to dig deep and see what each page contains. What you see may surprise you – and it’s the quickest way for you to gauge what employers are seeing.

2. Keep It Private!

Depending on what you find during your Google search, it may be a good idea to make your Facebook profile private so that only those in your network of friends can see all the fun you had in school.

3. Delete, Delete, Delete!

Your employer can access pretty much anything online. If you wouldn’t want them to see a specific post, tweet, or picture, delete it. If you find something on a third-party site you don’t want out there, reach out to the publisher or editor to see if they’ll remove the post. In most cases, they will, especially if you are clear that it could impact your ability to find a job.

4. Keep it PG

Getting ready to post an update, or maybe a pic from that girls’ night out? If it’s something you wouldn’t want your teenage cousin or grandmother to see, you should probably reconsider! At the end of the day, there’s no way to gauge who is looking at your pictures or posts, so you should be sure to avoid posting anything controversial.

5. Leave It to the Pros

Cleaning up your social media presence can be a time-consuming process, so it’s important to know that there are professional “scrubbing” services you can lean on. These services are especially useful when you’re dealing with something that’s hard to remove, because they pride themselves on cleaning up messy digital footprints.

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Christie Garton is an award-winning social entrepreneur, author, and creator of the 1,000 Dreams Fund.

Facebook Best Practices: 4 Ways to Spice Up the User Experience

By Tom Brodbeck and originally posted on SocialMediaToday.

Facebook has lots of different features available on their business pages for business owners.  So many that they can be overwhelming and confusing.  

Just in the past few months, Facebook rolled out some new updates that you may not know about and you can use them to add more spice and some character to your business Facebook page.  

Here are a few of the common features that I like to utilize when I am setting up a Facebook business page.

Add a Call-To-Action to Your Cover Photo

Facebook best practicesBack in March, Facebook changed their user guidelines about what text can be added to cover photos.  The previous restrictions allowed text but businesses were not allowed to put their address, website or other calls to action. Now, those restrictions have been lifted but the text of your cover photo cannot be more than 20% of the image.  

It can be confusing to measure the 20% restriction, so Facebook has a tool to help you determine if your cover photo meets the new guidelines. Another tool you could use is this one by Paavo. Just put in your Facebook username and then a grid will overlay on your photo to see if you pass the 20% test.

Take advantage of the loosened restrictions by adding your website, or advertise for an upcoming event!  Need some ideas? Here is a great post highlighting businesses that are already taking advantage of the new rules.

Add Featured Page Owners

To add a little personality to your Facebook page, try adding featured page owners.  The featured page owners will appear next to your business information when people click on the “About” link below your profile photo.  This is especially nice if you are a small business and gives people more of a personal feel.

If you would like to add a featured page owner, in the admin panel of your business Facebook page, click “Edit Page” then “Update Public Info” and then “Featured” which is on the left side, and then “Edit Featured Page Owners.” There you can choose which administrators you would like to have featured.

Add Featured Likes

In the same section as the featured page owners, you can also feature likes of other businesses.  This would be a great place to add some of the businesses you work with or a place to highlight clients.  

To add a featured like, you must sign in using the business page by clicking on “Edit Page” and then choose the “Use Facebook as …” option.  Then go to the pages you’d like to feature and like their page.  Next, go back to the admin panel, click on “Edit Page”, then “Update Public Info” and then choose “Featured”, which is on the left side.  Above the Featured Page Owners is where you can choose which pages you would like to highlight.

Enable Replies 

Facebook as also recently rolled out a new “reply” feature for business pages that will allow you to reply directly to comments left on posts and start a conversation thread. But to utilize the feature, you have to go into your admin panel and activate it. 

To activate it, click on “Edit Page” in the admin panel and then click on “Edit Settings.” One of the last items on the page says “Allow replies to comments on my Page.”  Click the check box next to this option and save your changes. 

(Facebook cover photo / shutterstock)

9 Questions To Consider Before Developing a Social Media Strategy

By  and first published on business2community.com.

Most marketers already understand that the biggest benefit to adding social media to their marketing strategy is that a brand can join its customers where they meet and exchange information.   One billion people are talking to each other on Facebook.  They’re discussing everything from the movie they saw last night to the horrible customer service person they just dealt with on the phone.  Brands can sit back and let their customers control conversations related to their product or service – or they can join the discussion and become an active participant in the shaping of their brand’s image.

If you’re a marketer who hasn’t implemented a social media strategy (yes, they do exist), the first thing you’ll want to do is develop a written strategy.  By developing a strategy, you’ll avoid common pitfalls down the road.

To develop an effective social media strategy, you’ll need to address these 9 questions:

1.    Who is your target market?

This seems like an easy task, but you’d be surprised how many new business owners don’t know who their target market is.  Spend time giving this some serious thought.  If you already know your target market, think about additional markets you can tap into.  For example:  You currently sell women’s shoes.  Have you ever thought about developing a specific strategy that targets African American women?  Once you’ve determined your target market, do you know which social networks they use?  Establish a strategy for approaching your target market without coming off as a pushy salesperson.

2.    Who are you?

Do you really understand what your organization does? Do you understand how your organization’s product or service benefits the consumer? I’ve trained a lot of marketers at the senior level who didn’t comprehend the full scope of their organization’s products and services.  A marketer can’t successfully promote something he doesn’t understand.

3.    What are you trying to accomplish?

There’s a reason you decided to use social media as part of your marketing strategy: what is it?  Are you trying to launch a new product?  Are you trying to increase sales? Are you trying to build brand awareness?  Whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish, set specific and measurable goals that will help you determine the success of your social media campaign.

4.    Who will create, implement and manage your campaign?

Some organizations are large enough to afford a social media team that consists of marketing professionals on all levels.  The executive level person develops the strategy, the senior manager implements the strategy and the entry-level person manages the day-to-day tasks of posting updates and responding to community members.  Some organizations outsource one, or all, of these tasks to a third party.  Regardless of who you choose, those people (or that third party) must have extensive knowledge of social media and must be passionate about building and maintaining relationships.

5.    What tools will you use?

There are hundreds of social media tools on the market – many of which are free to use.  Some of the tools you might want to consider using are blogs, your own website, video sharing websites, social media press releases, content management and tracking tools, apps developed for your smart phone or tablet, and content curation tools.

6.    Where will your content come from?

The one concern I hear often from business owners struggling with their social media campaign is “I sit at my computer and try to figure out what to post on my business page, but I always draw a blank.”   The main reason these business owners sit staring at a blank screen is because they didn’t establish a social media strategy before they added social media to their marketing strategy.  If they had, deciding what to post on their business page would be simple.

I always advise business owners and marketers to establish a content marketing strategy as an addendum to their social media strategy.   This content strategy will include a plan for developing content and it will include a content calendar.  Your content should be a good mix of your own content (blogs, pictures, videos, promotional items) and other people’s content (OPC).   Before you post any content, you should always ask yourself:  will my community find this content useful, informative or entertaining?

7.    What milestones will you establish?

Establish time-frames for accomplishing short-term (3 – 6 months) and long-term (1 year) goals.  Consider timing your milestones with product launches or major corporate initiatives.

8.    How will you measure your progress?

Measuring your progress is extremely important, especially since you probably have a boss you have to answer to.   Besides having a boss who will want to know exactly how the company’s social media strategy is progressing, you’ll want to know your progress so you can build on the activities that are working well and discard any tasks that are wasting time and money.

Use Bit.ly or a similar URL shortener to track clicks on links you’ve posted on your social networks.  Tracking tools, like Bit.ly, will help you track how often your content is shared and these tools will help you monitor the level of engagement with your content.

You’ll also want to track any leads generated by your social media activity.  And of course, you’ll want to track any revenue related to your social media activity.   Tracking other conversions, like the growth of your e-newsletter, will provide you with a clear picture of the success (or failure) of your social media strategy.

9.    How will you manage your brand’s reputation?

Assign a person to assume the responsibility of monitoring the social media sphere for mentions of your company’s name.  That person should also watch for mentions of any key executives at your organization.  There are dozens of social monitoring tools that will help you stay alert.  If a problem arises, your brand manager should put out that fire quickly.  She should respond to questions, comments and complaints from your social community.

Brands that take the time to write a solid social media strategy will develop a great relationship with their social community.  Those brands will also avoid common pitfalls that damage a brand’s reputation.  By establishing an effective content strategy, brands will generate content that gets their community engaged and keeps them returning to the brand’s web properties time and time again.  A successfully implemented social media strategy will turn a brand’s community members into brand evangelists who, by default, sell the brand’s products or services to their friends and family.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/social-media/9-questions-to-consider-before-developing-a-social-media-strategy-0468673#xhGbckEVKXRAibx4.99

Going Local on Facebook in 2013 – What’s Nearby?

This article first appeared in Websites Magazines January 2, 2012 issue.

by 

As the social Web continues to expand with more ways for brands to connect with their customers, there is still one network that outperforms the rest – Facebook.

This is because the world’s largest social network allows brands of all sizes to reach a user base that includes 1 billion active members. However, in order to reap the benefits of such a large user base, businesses must first foster a community of fans and then work hard to stay visible within users’ newsfeeds and the search results.

However, the strategies for becoming more visible on Facebook vary greatly depending on the size of your business. For example, global brands need to focus on providing relevant information to fans around the world, while small businesses should be more interested in engaging their loyal consumers and attracting a larger number of local fans. Luckily, Website Magazine has put together a guide to help both large- and small-sized businesses find Facebook success with a local audience in 2013:

Big Businesses

Facebook made the localization process much easier for international businesses back in October when the company launched Global Pages. The Global Pages structure allows brands to provide a better-localized experience to their customers because fans are automatically directed to the best version of a Page based on the country where those users reside. In fact, Global Pages enable brands to offer localized cover photos, apps, milestones and “about” information to their audience members without taking them away from the brand’s global community.

Each brand’s Global Pages structure includes local Pages for specific markets and a default Page for all other markets. Users from all countries see the same Page name translated in their local language, and each brand uses only one URL to promote in off-Facebook campaigns. Furthermore, Global Pages provide businesses with global insights for fans in all countries. Moreover, brands that currently use a multi-page strategy are able to transition their existing Pages to the new Global Pages framework. Companies like Kit-Kat and the Holiday Inn are two companies that already leveraged this capability.

However, it is important to note that the Global Pages structure currently only works for countries and not for the state or city level. This means that businesses with multiple locations in one country, such as the United States, will need to continue using other strategies to reach local customers within various regions. These strategies could include posting geo-targeted status updates, launching region-specific advertisements, occasionally including a placemark within posts and maintaining updated location information for all brick-and-mortar stores within the “Map” app on Brand Pages.

Small Businesses

While Facebook made the localization process easier for global businesses in October, the company helped level the playing field for all brands in December. This is because Facebook updated its “Nearby” feature within the company’s iOS and Android applications to make it easier for users to discover nearby places while on the go.

The updates enable users to discover local destinations that friends recommended, checked in at or liked when they tap the Nearby tab within the app’s vertical menu bar. After checking in to a location, users can share information about their experience by rating or recommending places. This is good news for businesses with an active social following because results become more personalized based on the amount of people who rate, recommend and check in to places – meaning that local businesses can move up in the search results with positive reviews, ratings and frequent check-in activity.

Local business owners can optimize their brand’s visibility within the Nearby search results by maintaining a Page that includes updated location information and the correct category listing. Furthermore, Page owners should encourage or incentivize their fans to like, check in, rate and recommend their places on Facebook. It is important to note, however, that even though optimizing your Page to show up in the Nearby search results should prove to be profitable, small businesses can also implement some of the aforementioned big business strategies to attract local customers, such as posting geo-targeted status updates and advertisements.

Mobile, Social and Local in 2013

Due to mobile’s rising popularity and use, expect localization to be among the top trends of 2013. That said, many consumers leverage social networks on their mobile devices, which means that appearing in the local search results on networks like Facebook will be more important than ever for businesses of all sizes. This is why it is vital for brands to maintain a presence on social networks to not only communicate with customers, but also to be found.

Reach of Organic Posts Is Down, Engagement Is Up

This article first appeared in AdAge’s online edition.

By: 

Posts Are Now Seen by Smaller Group of Brand Loyalists

Over the past year, a hard, cold fact has sunk in for brands about Facebook: If you want to reach your fans, increasingly you have to pay for it.

That’s a growing concern for agencies doing business with Facebook, so now one of the very biggest, WPP media-buying unit Group M, is investigating the matter.

Research conducted by Group M Next (a unit devoted to sourcing new technologies) into pages operated by 25 brands finds that the share of Facebook users seeing organic posts from a brand they “like” was down 38% in the five weeks after Sept. 20, from 15.56% (consistent with the average 16% Facebook has often reported) to 9.62%.

While those findings won’t be heartening to brands, researchers found a silver lining: engagement on posts in the form of comments, likes and shares is up significantly, from 0.76% before the algorithm change to 1.49% after. That’s nearly identical to the results of aEhrenberg-Bass Institute study of 200 top brand pages earlier this month.

The result is that while fewer fans are seeing organic posts in their news feeds, those who do are more likely to have a real affinity for the brand, as opposed to users who may have clicked on the “like” button to enter a contest.

The bottom line is that many brands will have to ante up more ad dollars to maintain the reach among fans they were accustomed to. But the study also digs into the change in newsfeed reach by post type to give brands insight into what content performs best in the new environment. It finds that links took the biggest hit from algorithmic changes and were being seen by 68.19% fewer fans after Sept. 20, but text status updates started getting viewed by 19.48% more.

The conclusion is that brands that change up the mix of their posts to rely less on the ones that saw the biggest drops in exposure can maintain their newsfeed reach at above 12% and thus use “paid advertising as a supplement, rather than a full replacement,” according to the paper.

“If you reallocate, you can make some of [your reach] back so it’s not 40% that you’ll have to go out and pay for,” said Brandon Fischer, Group M Next’s Director of Predictive Insights. “You’ll still need to supplement with some kind of paid strategy.”

Group M Next didn’t provide a list of brands in the study but says they represent a cross section of categories and have Facebook fan bases in the multiple millions at the upper end. Group M agencies MindShare, Maxus, Mediacom and MEC boast clients like Unilever, IBM and Volkswagen.

The findings are at odds with Facebook’s continued rebuttal of the contention that organic posts are reaching a smaller portion of fans. (The related inference it most objects to is that the change was made to encourage use of its ad product “promoted posts” to offset the lost reach.) Facebook contends that algorithmic changes were made to weed out spammy, non-engaging content, but that median reach of pages hasn’t changed.

“A few times a year we perform quality checks on the news feed algorithm to ensure high-quality and relevant posts,” Facebook said in a statement. “Based on a recent quality check, we made an adjustment to the news feed algorithm to respond to the negative feedback signals of spam and people hiding posts. Current signals show the adjustment has been successful. Median reach of Facebook pages has remained the same, while spam complaints and stories hidden by users have fallen significantly.”

But if the higher post engagement Group M Next observed is true across a wide spectrum of pages, the case can also be made that Facebook’s news-feed algorithm changes are a net positive for brands.

“It allows us to hone in on the segment of the audience that truly is interested and engaged,” said Jeff Semones, president of the Group M-operated social-media agency M80, who also observed that the change in news-feed exposure for a client with a sizable and consistent Facebook ad spend had been “neglible.” “What we’re seeing now is a benefit to marketers in spite of the reduction in reach.”

Group M agency Mediacom’s client Pennzoil has observed both reported phenomena of diminished newsfeed reach and increased post engagement over the past two months, but Global Associate Brand Manager Suzanne Clerkin says her team doesn’t intend to increase Facebook ad spend as a result. She says the increase in post engagement is a desirable outcome.

“We understand that not everyone who likes our page will able to see every post we monitor, but we’re hoping that Facebook will help us continue to monitor the fans who appreciate us the most,” she said.

Are You a Digital Native or Digital Immigrant?

by Mike Dickman

 

Have you noticed that in the last 5 years, electronic gadgets no longer come with user manuals? If you want to learn how to use your new iPhone or Xbox, you jump on your computer and ‘Google it’. That is because the majority of users are considered to be Digital Natives – those whom have grown up with electronic devices. The rest of us are Digital Immigrants, those whom have had to immigrate into the new world of technology. That is why this thing we refer to as Social Marketing seems to be so foreign, so scary, and childish. And by the way, when did Google become a verb?!

Recently, I spoke before a group of business people regarding Social Marketing and how they could become engaged, without being overwhelmed. The first thing I wanted to clarify was the difference between Social Media, Social Networking and Social Marketing.

Social Networking is something all of us have been doing for years. We all have been participating in local Chamber events and fundraisers. And, while some may think they are doing it to support the cause, the real motive has been to network, right? The only difference is with online networking, you don’t need to leave your home or office. It’s quite a bit less personal from what we are all used to, but it works. And, in some cases, it can actually provide the social courage to join a group or participate in a conversation.

Social Media can be defined as the software which is used to participate in social networking. So, think of the Media as: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the latest, Google+. These are the tools that marketers use to market their brands and products, socially, online.

Social Marketing is the act of preparing a marketing plan based on the use of Social Media and incorporating the social aspect with the business’s overall marketing objective.

Notice that the words ‘Networking, Media and Marketing’ are all words that we have used as part of our Marketing dialogues for years. However, the key to Social Marketing is in the word ‘Social’. Social Marketing is just that – SOCIAL. It is word of mouth marketing, peer-to-peer. It is all about a conversation, referrals and sharing.

So, some of you are probably thinking that you don’t need to be chatting with a bunch of high school and college kids on a social network. “They are not my client or prospect demographic.” But did you know that the fastest growing age group on Facebook is 55-65 years old? And, a new user joins LinkedIn (considered to be the ‘professionals’ social network) every second. This year, more than 93% of marketers are using social media for business. And it’s major brands that are doing this. Why? It’s because they can have a persona. They can appear to be human. They can influence thoughts and behavior because we think of them as peers or friends – because we LIKE them.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you are participating on a social network on your computer that you have everything covered. Social Marketing goes far beyond the social networks and desktop computers and extends your marketing into the mobile realm. Are your business and personal reputations mobile ready? In my next article we will discuss taking your marketing mobile. And we don’t mean sticking a magnet on the side of your car!

This Is Google Changing All of Information Sharing

by  

This post originally appeared on gizmodo.com

Google announced a new social sharing project today called Google+. It’s among the company’s most ambitious ventures to date, up there with Gmail, Android, Chrome and, yes, Search. It represents Google’s very future. It’s going to be huge.

Google+ is a concerted effort meant to turn the ship around. Google famously has a poor social track record. Buzz and Wave were failures, so it needs to get this right. But Google+ goes far beyond just sharing status updates or photos with friends: It aims to change the very way we share and communicate. As it notes in a new blog post today, “We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests.”

While there is much more to come, there are three major pieces announced today:

Circles

Circles let you share selectively with certain groups of people. You create a new circle, add contacts to it, and can share with just those selected people. As Google says “[t]he problem is that today’s online services turn friendship into fast food—wrapping everyone in friend paper—and sharing really suffers.” This seems to be somewhat like Facebook’s friends lists. But the big difference is that it isn’t a walled garden. You don’t have to opt into Google+ to be included in a circle. If I want to add someone to it who’s not a Google+user, I can do so via email and they can still take see the things I want to share with them.

Sparks

Sparks is essentially a topical section that delivers news videos and blog posts on subjects you define. But moreover it lets you discuss those things with other people, or as Google puts it, “nerding out and exploring subjects together.” This is something that Google is almost uniquely positioned to deliver. If you think about your Facebook feed, or, say a Tumblr tagged feed, they contain items placed there by humans. Google can deliver an endless supply of newly relevant items using an algorithm.

Hangouts

Hangouts is an online meetup space with live video that includes up to ten people. But it’s designed to let people come and go, dropping by at will, rather than be locked into scheduled meetings. It sounds a bit like Campfire with video.

Mobile

Mobile is the last major component announced today, and it has several moving parts. The table stakes are that you can always add your location (or not). Instant Upload automatically adds your photos to a private album online. Finally, Huddle is a group messaging tool that lets you communicate with a self-selected circle on your mobile device.

But these are just the beginning stages, the initial rollouts that are part of a much larger project led by Vic Gundotra. Wired’s Steven Levy followed Google+ from the inside for more than a year, and has the inside scoop. As he notes, it’s a huge drive by Google. In fact it is, more or less, Google’s future—an internal Manhattan Project meets moon shot.

Developed under the codename Emerald Sea, it is a result of a lengthy and urgent effort involving almost all of the company’s products. Hundreds of engineers were involved in the effort. It has been a key focus for new CEO Larry Page.

The parts announced Tuesday represent only a portion of Google’s plans. In an approach the company refers to as “rolling thunder,” Google has been quietly been pushing out pieces of its ambitious social strategy—there are well over 100 launches on its calendar. When some launches were greeted by yawns, the Emerald Sea team leaders weren’t ruffled at all—lack of drama is part of the plan. Google has consciously refrained from contextualizing those products into its overall strategy.

That overall strategy will begin now, with the announcement of the two centerpieces of Google+. But even this moment—revealed in a blog post that marks the first limited “field tests” outside the company—will be muted, because it marks just one more milestone in a long slog to remake Google into something more “people centric.”

“We’re transforming Google itself into a social destination at a level and scale that we’ve never attempted – orders of magnitude more investment in terms of people than any previous project,” says Vic Gundotra, who leads Google’s social efforts.

The entire story is worth a read, complete with outsized personalities, massive stakes, and secret murals. But the takeaway is that this isn’t just about social networking. As Levy notes, it’s much bigger than that: It’s about organizing information around people.

As Tim Carmody points out on Twitter, “Google doesn’t actually care about social. Google cares about identity. Social (such as it is) is a means to an end.” And: “Not accidental that social, identity, apps, & browser are all linked. This is Google’s play to control the whole stack like Apple does.”

I agree. Google’s biggest screwup wasn’t ceding social space to Facebook. It was ceding identity.

Google wants to get to know you, and help you to get to know yourself. It wants to be the go-to place where you show who you are and what you care about to your friends, your family, your coworkers and the entire world. It wants to be the key you use to unlock the Web and the internet as a whole, the passageway through which all your interactions flow. Today is a big step in that direction.