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.

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

#HashtagsIn2013: A Hashtag How-To for Businesses

This post first appeared on Social Media Today and was submitted by: Tomeeka Farrington

hashtag strategy

If your company regularly uses Twitter, then you know how crucial hashtagging is to a successful social media campaign. Unfortunately, Twitter’s popular method of interest-driven communication is about to have a contender in the ring it didn’t expect: Facebook. But don’t get too excited just yet; the social media giant is planning to unveil hashtagging capabilities on its site in the not-so-distant future. Coupled with an updated News Feed interface, this could be the push Facebook needed to catapult itself into the advertising go-to for the digital age.

How can your business make the best use of its hashtags? Simple. #Don’t #Hashtag #Every #Word. Every social media maven knows that populating a Tweet or a photo on Instagram with every other word hashtagged is the PR intern mistake of the year. Hashtags should #looklikethis (no spaces!) and if you want to drive your point home, use capital letters to make your tag #EasytoRead.

Starting a hashtagged phrase is a great way to gain new customers.  It also allows companies a way to drive customers to their business through creating unique tags that represent their brand or message. Creating a catchy hashtag campaign, such as Paramount Farm’s use of #CrackinStyle during its ad in the 2013 Superbowl is a great example of unique hashtagging opportunities. This will ensure that your message isn’t lost in the hashtag spam, thus cluttering the commonly used tags for your industry.

Hashtags are a great way for companies to give further insight into an image or product. They allow for categorization, interest honing, and drive targeted consumer purchases. Think of hashtags as warm leads. If a tag is used properly, you will find that clients found it through researching the broad scope of your product or service. (Examples Include: #Tech, #Apparel, #Outdoors, #Gaming, etc.) Using hashtags to draw attention to a particular part of an image, spec of a product or app, or new design is ideal. You can keep hashtags broad spectrum or niche to your industry—the opportunities are endless! Be forewarned that many popular tags are, as we said—overpopulated. This is why creating a unique hashtag specific to your brand, and encouraging your users to use it is crucial to success.

Facebook aims to reportedly group user interests through the use of hashtags, but its ultimate goal is to get them to sell ads. Using hashtags to drive attention to a promoted Facebook post will be a great way to gain attention when hashtags finally roll out on your client’s news feed.

Keeping your hashtag campaign thriving in 2013 is simple if you follow these steps:

  • #KeepItShort – Nobody wants to see a #Hashtagthatlookslikethis. If you must use a longer message, make use of capital letters to separate words and enable readability.
  • Create a message – What do you want your clients to takeaway? Craft a hashtag around a particular message. Make yourself unique.
  • Don’t stay with the popular crowd – It’s easy for your social media post to get lost in the shuffle if you use a well populated hashtag.

What has worked for your business in the world of hashtagging for social media campaigns? What hasn’t? Do you have a hashtag nightmare to share? We’d love to hear your story! Connect with us in the comments below.

TOP POSTS OF 2012 @ Website Magazine

Following are the top articles posted on Website Magazine in 2012.

:: 15 Fresh (and Free) Fonts for 2012 

:: Best WordPress Comment Plugins

:: The BIGGEST Mistakes in Web Design

:: New Study Reveals Top Google Ranking Factors

:: Here’s How jQuery is Creating the Interest in Pinterest

:: Google Flip-flops on Page Layout

:: Get Started with Parallax Scrolling

:: 10 Minimalist WP Themes for Maximum Inspiration

:: Google SEO: Algorithm Changes – February 2012

:: 8 Ways to Improve Your Site Over the Weekend

:: 10 Mind-Blowing jQuery Plugins for Developers

:: Crafting an SEO-Friendly Facebook Page

:: SEO Meta Data Mechanics: Titles & Descriptions

:: Google SEO: 52 New Changes to Know

:: Here’s What’s Hot – 13 Super Startups to Watch

:: Give Up the SEO Dream?

:: Getting Wild with Wireframes

:: CSS Frameworks for Responsive Web Design

:: Awe-inspiring Twitter Brand Page Designs and Tips 

:: Getting Started Selling on Amazon

:: The Facebook Timeline Countdown is On

:: 3 Pinterest Plugins for WordPress

:: Pinterest Optimization for Internet Retailers

:: Turn Your Pics Into Profits

:: Loyalty, Reward & Gamification Plugins for WordPress

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.

5 Big Social Media Questions from Small Business Owners

by Erica Swallow

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum.

There are a lot of buzz words on the social web these days: group buying, location-based services, SEO, just to name a few. Sorting through the information to figure out what’s just hype and what your business can actually work with can be a daunting task — it uses up resources, including time and money, and sometimes leads you and your social media strategy in the wrong direction.

With technology adoption rates skyrocketing among small businesses and small business social media success stories popping up all around the web, it’s likely that more SMBs will be joining the social revolution in the near future.

But how does your business decide which social venues are right for your company, customer base and goals? It’s a tough call, but it all boils down to doing your research and creating a clear-cut strategy.

While serving on a panel at a recent social media training session for small business owners, I received a number of questions on how to grow a business using social media and other free or low-cost tools on the web.

Five particular questions stood out as being highly relevant and oh-so fresh, so I would like to share them with the greater community of small business owners looking to promote their companies via social media. Add your own thoughts and questions on these topics in the comments below.


1. Is group buying right for my business?


Read more . . .