Tag Archives: social media

Building a career in the public eye

Confession: as a student in public relations, I always thought I’d be a behind-the-scenes practitioner. I didn’t really like shining the spotlight on myself and thought my strength would always be hiding in the shadows shining a spotlight on the company or cause I was working for.

Now… Five years since I’ve graduated, I’ve gone in a completely different direction. My first realization was at my first job, where I had tied all my social media accounts to the company I was working for, I was also blogging strictly on our company blog. It felt rewarding and seemed right at the time. However, a year after I started there, the company was acquired and suddenly it felt like all the work I had done was suddenly irrelevant! In fact up until yesterday even my LinkedIn URL was tied to that first job.

Even though I had been operating as a corporate account, I had also been learning the personal advantages to participating in social media. After launching our company blog, I spent a lot of time commenting on other related blogs, because 1. I was generally interested in learning more about the industry and the people involved in it and 2. I wanted our company blog to be a success and it seemed like a good way to drive quality traffic. Well I was tickled a few months later when a prominent blogger emailed me and told me he was writing a book and wanted contributions from other industry bloggers. Wow, if only he knew I was 22 years old and less than six months out of college! I obviously accepted the offer and was very proud of this personal accomplishment that I never expected or even purposely pursued!

Also I have to note here how lucky I was to have a great role model and nurturing boss. She had built a great network of contacts which was really the foundation of her successful business. Also while many junior PR people start their careers ghost writing for executives or superiors at work, my boss encourages me to get my own name out there as much as possible and she was always eager to give me credit for the work I had done.

So that’s how I started to build up my own name in social media–I was further motivated when I started looking for my next career move and found that tying myself so closely to the business had also created the impression that I was an email marketing specialist and not a more general communications practitioner, which is how I saw myself. I knew I was passionate and excited about social media –which I had been using at work for two years by that point, and on a personal level for many years prior, so I started this blog with a focus on social media as a tool for communicators. It’s obviously gone through more than a few transitions over the years and currently I’m at a cross road about exactly what I want it to be but I’m hoping to commit more time to writing it and connecting with my readers.

Anyway, the biggest lesson I’ve learned since graduating is learning doesn’t end when you graduate–it’s really just the beginning. And building your career out in the open… in a public forum (such as through a blog and/or on Twitter or other social media) is tough work. The smart, influential and established people you look up are often reluctant to connect with someone they don’t already know. This is something I used to take personally, but have since learned to understand there are SO many people out there vying for attention, asking for favours, and trying to be noticed, that the more you build up your own profile the more you have to be choosy about who you interact with, because on the most basic level, there just aren’t enough hours in a day to interact with every interesting person out there!

Secondly as you learn, you make mistakes. In fact making mistakes, acknowledging them and learning from them is definitely the best and fastest way to learn. Of course when you publicly make a mistake people don’t see it that way. They may call you out on it–or worse just think less of you without telling you. Personally I think I’ve gotten better at dealing with public mistakes, and more importantly, I am more forgiving and sympathetic to others who make mistakes (and acknowledge them).

Another struggle is to not let success go to your head. Fortunately for me, it seems like the point when my head starts to inflate happens to correlate with me making a stupid mistake so it usually evens out pretty quickly.

What I love about social media (or generally being well connected) is if you look, you can always find someone out there who is smarter and more successful and that can give you a new goal to strive for.

On that note, you also don’t always need to be looking up to continue learning. I love meeting and talking with current students and recent graduates because they have such a fresh perspective on the working world. While I continue to learn so much, I also realize that I tend to forget important things I learned in school. Also when we get really good at something, we tend to get complacent and then we stop learning. Working with students or junior professionals is a great way to realize your own complacency and put a stop to it.

I’ve learned so much over the past five years, but I need to remind myself I’m still early in my career and have a long way to go. The frightening part is that every step along the way is documented online and forever findable on Google. I hope this will be to my advantage–so far I’m proud of everything I’ve done–including the mistakes I’ve made. The ability to look back at what I’ve done hopefully will just help me even more in the future.

Using social media (and networking) to find a job

One thing I’m really passionate about is teaching others is how to use social media to find a job. I’m passionate about it because I *know* it works–I’ve had many job offers and opportunities come to me through social media–and I know a lot of others have too. This is a presentation I’m delivering to a group of students tomorrow…

While I’m going to share my own personal story, I didn’t want to make the whole thing about me. After all, one of my best attributes is having a strong, close-knit network of awesome people, it’s only fair that I put it to use once in a while? So instead of making my own list of tips. I simply tweeted:

And within seconds, the tweets started pouring in! I got *so* many great responses,  I wish I could have included them all! I did make a point to thank everyone (and give the students a good starter list for smart people to follow on Twitter!).

Anyway, here is the slide show, of course you’ll have to just imagine me talking around it (or bring me in to speak to your group)!

I’d love to hear your thoughts.. Any other tips to add? Any advice for students?

New Twitter tool, Nambu, manages multiple accounts, groups, searches & more

So just when I finally decide that Tweetdeck is the best Twitter app out there and tell everyone about it…. I find one that I love even more!

Nambu is hot off the press and still in beta, but has already won me over. Apologies to my PC friends, but it’s only available for Mac (you can, however, still use Tweetdeck, which is a great tool).

One thing I didn’t like about Tweetdeck, was that while you could create and manage groups and searches, if you closed those windows, they were gone forever. With Nambu, each subsection you create lives in a convenient sidebar for future use. Also, this is the first tool I’ve seen that is great for managing multiple Twitter accounts (I have three) which is a huge timesaver.

Here’s what my Nambu looks like:

picture-6When you first start up Nambu, it will ask if you want install the Growl notifier–this will allow notifications to pop up on your screen for new tweets (You can also edit in preferences whether you want to have notifications for all tweets, or just private messages). This I find convenient on my big iMac screen because I can glance over and see if anything interested is going on without opening Nambu, however on my Macbook, I find it takes up too much of the screen and is far to distracting.

It is in Beta, so don’t expect everything to run perfectly–however I haven’t had any problems yet, so I’m happy. Another thing I will come oto love about Nambu is after it’s out of Beta it will allow you to integrate other services, (identi.ca, Friendfeed and ping.fm) but right now those features are disabled in beta. If you’re a social media fanatic without the time to manage all these services (like me) Nambu might prove to be a life saver.

Have you tried it yet? What do you think?

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Social Media Book Club Ottawa – Feb. 5

So a while ago on the Startup Ottawa blog, Scott Lake came up with the idea of doing a social media book club, which I thought was a great idea, so I jumped at the chance to help organize it.

Now I’m proud too announce it’s become a reality! The first Social Media Book Club will take place on Feb. 5 at the Lieutenant’s Pump on Elgin. Full details over at Startup Ottawa or RSVP to the Meetup Group.

Hope to see you there!

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Social media: What's ahead for 2009?

It only makes sense to make the first post of 2009 about what’s ahead this year for social media. Please add your input, as I’m really just providing a few jumping points. Maybe at the end of the year, we can look back and see how well we did.

1. Twitter will hit critical mass

And no, I don’t think it has already because many of my friends still gave me odd looks when I mention my “tweeple” or that I’m heading to a “tweetup.” However, in 2008 Twitter had so much momentum and I think it will just keep growing. Also I think Twitter may start trying to monetize. Not sure how, though, ads? Any other ideas?

2. “Personal branding” will have more clout

I have been telling my friends all year to get online and start building their personal brands. Start a blog, an online portfolio, get on Twitter, ‘professionalize’ your Facebook profile, etc.

Now with words like ‘recession,’ and unemployment at an all-time high, finding a job is much more about marketing yourself. Companies are going to be faced with increased competition for positions, and you can make yourself stand out by showing your ability to change with the times and demonstrated initiative.

3. 2009 will be the year of meaningful metrics

With budgets tightened and staff skimped, many companies will turn to social media to maximize ROI–this is nothing new, but the tools to measure success need improvements. I track the traffic to Web2dotwhat.com using three tools- Google Analytics, Feedburner and Clicky. Sadly all three report different numbers (not sure which is correct, but I think Clicky is most accurate). Those who have a really good understanding of metrics and analytics will be in a great position to help others. I for one hope to see an easy-to-understand/use tool aimed at PR/marketing folk for blog tracking.

4. Content quality will become the crucial element

Right now, if you are publishing any sort of content, if it’s not blatantly terrible you’ll probably get traffic, comments, new subscribers, conversions, etc. However this year I think quality will trump quantity as the noise ratio out there is just getting too high. When hiring someone to produce content, make sure he/she has solid communication and writing skills, as well as an expert understanding of the medium.

5. It’s all about you, forget about me

I don’t mean literally! But there’s still a lot of “me, me, me” content out there, when it should be “you, you, you.” While this concept is certainly nothing new, it desperately needs to be put in practice. If you’re not sure what I mean, find a site you like and read through it, is it speaking to YOU, or is it talking about ME (or we)? Chances are, if you like it, it’s probably speaking to you. If you think the content comes across as cocky or arrogant, it’s probably speaking about itself. As competition steepens and budgets deplete this will be more important than ever.

So what do you think? Am I accurate? Do you have other predictions to add?

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Vote for Canada's most influential man/woman in social media

Dave Forde over at Profectio has initiated a contest to find out who is Canada’s most influencial man and woman in social media. Voting closes at midnight Dec. 31.

I am extremely honoured to have been nominated as one of Canada’s most influential women in social media, but I do feel like I have a lot more to do before I’d be worthy the title. So I’d love your support but I also acknowledge there are many other fabulous women on the list who certainly do deserve it! Also I’m super happy to see someone from Ottawa on the list, though I wish I had been paying attention during nominations because there’s a few other Ottawa gals who should most definitely be there. (@Suzemuse and @zchamu come immediately to mind)

As for the men, there’s quite the list. I actually haven’t decided who to vote for because there are so many great choices. (And a few Ottawa folks too–9 by my quick count!) So what are you waiting for, go vote!

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Social Media Monitoring Review: Techrigy SM2

Image representing Techrigy as depicted in Cru...

OK, so it’s been a while, but SM2 is one of the tools I’ve been enthusiastic about reviewing since I started. (To recap, you can check out my review of Social Radar as well as Radian6). One thing I particularly loved about Techrigy SM2 is it has a ‘freenium’ option! Which is really handy if you do not have a big brand and lots of keywords to manage and no budget for social media monitoring–such as I do.

But on to the good stuff. There’s two things that really stood out about SM2, for starters I was impressed with what they offered in a free account and secondly it looks very similar to Google Analytics. This is great because if you’re already a GA user, you’ll have no trouble finding your way around.

One thing about SM2 is it says it’s created specifically for PR/Marketing agencies. However, I would argue that it’s a perfect tool for small companies that have a big presence online. Not to say it’s not good for agencies as well, as you can create separate profiles per client, but it’s easy to use and again, looking like Google Analytics makes it easy for anyone already familiar with the layout.

Here’s a few screenshots of the product (from the site as they’re much more interesting than the ones I tried to make:

Demographics--breaking down your audience
Demographics--breaking down your audience (click for larger)
Trends - keyword mentions by day
Trends - keyword mentions by day

So to re-cap, here’s what I like about SM2:

  • Familiarity in design (similar to Google Analytics)
  • Great data about your audience. Gives you gender and age of authors writing about you, which is great if you are sending pitches to bloggers.
  • Author tags give you an idea of what other topics sites that mention you are talking about. Again great for crafting pitches, as well as to give you context to what people are writing about.
  • Collection from a variety of sources, includes microblogs
  • Sends you a daily email of search results on your keywords. Love this, don’t need to log in everyday, get a quick summary and I can go in for more details when needed.

The only downside I saw to SM2 is it doesn’t have the build-your-own dashboard that the other tools I’ve seen had, it’s definitely a solid tool that will definitely ease your analytic mind. And I am definitely going to continue using it for my own work at SmartHippo.

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Why you should follow your brand and respond to blog posts…

Socialmedian logoHere’s a little success story I’d love to share because it affected me personally! Back in September, I wrote about some social media apps/community sites that had fallen out of favour with me or just off my the radar. One of those applications was socialmedian a social news sharing site that I had struggled to get interested in. In fact because I had lost interest I was actually getting annoyed by the daily emails I was receiving about it. Though I thought it was done and over with I hadn’t got around to unsubscribing which is why it made my list.

Well socialmedian founder Jason Goldberg reached out right away via the comments with a heart-filled request to give socialmedian another chance. I remembered when I originally signed up that I saw a lot of potential in the site, so I took his advice and committed to giving it another chance. Well now I love it. I’m skimming my news almost daily, clipping articles and even commenting on news story I like. I haven’t worked it into my everyday social media routine but I’m well on my way.

And *that* is why it’s important to follow your brand online and reach out when necessary. Not only am I re-engaged in the site, but I’m writing about it here! Great work Jason, and keep it up with socialmedian!

PS- Check out what I’m reading and sharing at socialmedian

**UPDATE** Looks like Mashable wrote did a much more in-depth review/interview with Jason Goldberg. Check it out…

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Social media and community management resources

I’m speaking to the Algonquin Public Relations students about social media and community management  and I wanted to share a few resources with them. I was going to throw it all in a PowerPoint presentation, but that’s not very Web 2.0. So here it is compiled in a blog post. Of course if you have anything to add, drop a comment! Also, be sure to check the comments for more great suggestions

First, a little primer in social media:

(more videos like these on Commoncraft.com)

Groundswell Cover

Books to read:

Groundswell (which I’ve reviewed here before) is written by two senior Forrester Research analysts. It is focused on social media strategy for enterprise businesses. It includes some great case studies of large brands using various social media.

Cluetrain Manifesto does an excellent job of explaining the idea of markets being conversations, and the importance of companies listening to their customers. It clearly details the backbone of social media–and it was actually written 10 years ago! (And hey–the authors are so passionate about their ideas, that the entire text of this book is available on the web site..for free!)

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott is next on my reading list, but I feel confident recommending this book because of the great reviews it’s received and because I really dig David’s blog…

Want to get started? Here’s a few blogs to learn more…

Web Strategy by Jeremiah – A ‘social computing’ analyst for Forrester and long-time social media advocate
Chris Brogan – a well-known expert in social media and community
Six Pixels of Separation (blog and podcast) Mitch Joel is “Canada’s Digital Marketing Rockstar”

Prefer to listen? Try these podcasts
(podcasts are simply audio and/or files, which you can listen/view to from a web site, or subscribe to receive each episode in iTunes and listen from your computer or mp3 player)

Want to build your personal brand? Try getting involved with these sites…

  • Twitter (warning! Can be highly addictive!)
  • LinkedIn (unofficially called Facebook for professionals)
  • MyRagan (social network for PR professionals)
  • Sixent(a very cool Ottawa-based social network that lets you manage multiple profiles)

Want to start blogging?

  • If you have a good understanding of the web/HTML/CSS Check out WordPress (If you’re really savvy-go self-hosted)
  • If it’s all new to you, Blogger is a great starter blogging platform..Have your blog up and running in minutes!
  • Somewhere in between? TypePad is a good choice too.
  • Oh, and check out the Bloggeries Forum for tricks and tips to promote your blog!

Social media tools for PR people

  • CNW Social Media Releases – Canada’s leading news wire now offers social media release services
  • Pitchengine – create a social media release, free!
  • PRWeb – a newswire services that allows you to incorporate social media elements and search engine optimization into your news release
  • Radian6 – A social media monitoring service for PR firms (previously reviewed)
  • Social Radar by Infegy – A social media monitoring service for small/medium businesses (also reviewed)
  • SM2 by Techrigy – Another social media monitoring software that gets talked about a lot.

Want to network with social media folks? Check out these regular events in Ottawa

And finally, some random tools that make your life easier:

  • Delicious.com – social bookmarking site. Don’t you hate when you’re on a different computer and can’t access your bookmarks? Wish you could share bookmarks with friends? Delicious addresses both these. You’ll never use browser bookmarks again!
  • Digg is a news site where users vote on the news they like best. The more votes they more exposure the news gets.
  • MyBlogLog – Promote your blog and find other bloggers
  • Evernote – If you use multiple computers and a mobile device, this really rich notes program syncs them all. (thanks to @jpblogger for this tip)
  • Firefox is the essential browser for the social media junkie, because you can get all sorts of add-ons to manage your social media tools efficiently.
  • StumbleUpon is a fun program that takes you to a random web site based on your interests. Also it’s great for promoting blog posts.
  • Ning – If you’re really ambitious and passionate about something, why not start your own social network around it?
  • Socialmedia.alltop.comGuy Kawasaki kindly put all the best social media blogs on one convenient. In fact, go to alltop.com to find an Alltop page on almost any subject!
  • CoComment is another great tool if you are commenting on people’s blogs… It will track all your comments and follow up comments all in one place.
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Announcing… My new job!

Well you may have wondered… If I’m such a social media enthusiast, why am I not doing anything related to it in my day job? When I started working at the City, I was hoping I could get more experience doing what I went to school for–and I absolutely did–and it also gave me the opportunity to put more time and effort into my personal brand via this blog, twitter and all those other wacky tools I waste all my time on.

Smart Hippo LogoHowever, when the right opportunity comes around, you know it. And while it was a tough choice for me to make (should I leave a public sector job for a startup??!) I’m confident it was the right choice, and that’s why I’m pleased to announce, that as of today, I’m Community Manager at SmartHippo!

SmartHippo uses the power of community to help consumers save money on financial products and services…On the site, users can compare, rate and review mortgage rates (and soon other financial products as well) in order to find the best deal. But what about the big financial crisis in the States? Well that’s actually a little exciting for us, because, in theory, if consumers start educating themselves and collaborating with others–instead of relying solely on financial institutions to tell them what to do–well, we might have this financial crisis solved once and for all. OK maybe that’s a little idealist, but it’s certainly true that Internet tools have transformed the way other industries do business, yet financial institutions still hold all the control. However, it’s also a good thing for financial institutions, because as soon as they can break down the barriers and incorporate more transparency in the way they do business, the more confidence consumers will have in them. Bottom line is you’ll get the best rates, and banks will run business better. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

As community manager, I will be blogging over at the SmartHippo blog, and of course, twittering about industry news and site updates (Follow me @smarthippo). I will also tap into my other skills, hopefully getting us some good press and as well doing our email newsletter (I’m just never going to get away from email!). And probably lots of other fun stuff in the mix too. Pretty much what I’ve always wanted in a job.


SmartHippo CEO George Favvas wrote a nice post welcoming me on board!