Tag Archives: Social network

Building your personal brand with Twitter and Linkedin

This is a continuation of a class I did with the Algonquin College first-year PR students (The aptly named “Twitter party”). If you are one of the students–thanks for attending and I hope you’re able to continue to build your brand as well as understand the tools for practical PR application. Also, feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the presentation, or if you have any questions.  If you weren’t there, well my hope is you’ll get value out of these resources anyway. Also, I’d love my readers to drop a comment and add any more resources that will help them excel with Twitter & LinkedIn.

Twitter

First here are my slides on Twitter:

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(note: I have to give credit to my friend Sean Power… I originally created this Powerpoint for the Project Management View webinar I did a couple weeks ago, but last week I found his awesome post “Twitter new user survival guide” and revised a few points. Thanks Sean!)

And to recap, here are the 11 things you need to remember to succeed with Twitter.

11. Build a profile

The more information you can put in your profile the better. Try to load up your bio with keywords that will help potential followers identify what you’re all about and what you’ll be tweeting about. Do not worry about having complete sentences–it’s often better not to, so that you can get more info in. Also–put up a photo. It doesn’t have to be a photo of you if you’re camera shy, but at least find an icon or something that represents you.

10. Find people to follow
Once you’ve set up your profile and posted a  few tweets, you’re ready to find people to follow, here are some sites to help you out:

  • Twellow is the Twitter yellow pages. Search for people based on info in their profile (user name, bio, location)
  • Twitter’s search function can be used to find people who are tweeting about a certain subject or keyword that may be of interest to you. Also you can use the search to follow a hash tag (#) that interests you and follow those people who are tweeting about it.
  • Mr. Tweet is your personal twitter assistant who will make recommendations on who to follow. All you have to do to get your personalized report is follow @MrTweet

9. Get used to 140 characters
That’s the limit twitter gives you, so you may find yourself editing to get your message across clearly and succinctly. Remember if you want people to retweet you, you may want to keep it even shorter (110 is a good guideline)

Also, if you want to tweet links you may want to use a URL shortening services,

  • http://idek.net is my favourite because it provides stats about who clicked on your link
  • http://bit.ly if you’re really serious about tracking and stats, bit.ly lets you create an account and track all your URLs.
  • http://is.gd creates the shortest links, so if you’re pressed for space it’s a good choice.

There are tons of these services out there, and you can drag them onto your browser bar for easy one-click URL shortening. Also if you do decide to use Tweetdeck, it has URL shorteners built in, so it’s even easier!

8. Listening vs. Tweeting
I recommend you spend 80% of your twitter time listening to what your followers have to say, and 20% tweeting. This will help you get more benefit from those you follow and help you avoid over-tweeting.

7. Ask yourself “Who cares?”
If you are looking to build followers, ask yourself “who cares?” before you post. You want to provide value to your audience with each post. This doesn’t mean you can’t inject a little personality, but make sure you’re providing valuable information.

6. Put yourself out there!
If you want to build followers, don’t protect your updates–if someone doesn’t know you, they will not likely request to follow your updates.

5. Promote cool stuff –and not just your own.
It’s perfectly OK to post links to your blogs, or maybe a cool project you’re working on (so long as it’s of value to your followers) but don’t *only* promote your cool stuff. If someone else tweets something you like, retweet it by putting RT @[their_username] and copying and pasting the original tweet. Also if you happen across a cool web site in your daily life, tweet it!

4. Join the conversation
To reply to another user: type @ before the user name. It will automatically link to his/her profile and show up in the side bar even if he/she is not following you.

If you want to join in a hash tagged conversation, just stick # in front of an established keyword or acronym. If you want to start your own, just stick # in front of a keyword of your choosing. To follow hash tag conversations, go to search.twitter.com and search the tag (note you can search inside Tweetdeck too)

One example of a regular hash tagged discussion is #journchat it happens live on Twitter every Monday from 8 to 11 p.m. EST. You can follow the conversation here–by typing in #journchat into search.twitter.com

3. Learn three ways to tweet
Stuck on what to say? Try these common types of tweets:

  • Ask a question: Twitter is great for asking question. Ask anything from “What Twitter apps would you recommend?” to “Where’s a good place for lunch in downtown Ottawa?” The larger your twitter network the more answers you’re likely to get.
  • Share a resource or wisdom – Post interesting facts, tips and quotes, people love them! Also, if you find a great website, share it with your twitter network. These types of posts can really add value for your followers, so go crazy.
  • Report on news and/or events – If you happen to hear/see something before it hits mainstream media, tweet about it! Some great examples of news stories broken on Twitter include the Mumbai bombings a few months back as well as the plane crash in the Hudson river.

2. Try some Twitter Apps
First and foremost, try Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck allows you to create groups of followers to track separately from your entire stream. For example, you may want to create a PR group that includes your classmates, profs and other PR grads on Twitter.Tweetdeck also allows you to search,
Also you can use Twitscoop to see trending topics via a ‘tweet cloud” (i.e. a cluster of words of various sizes that shows you what’s popular on Twitter)

Also, for a ridiculously exhaustive list of Twitter apps, check out the Twitter Fan Wiki. At least take a few minutes to read through what’s out there. There’s an app to do just about anything with Twitter.

1. Be yourself & have fun!
Self explanatory…

Tips for using LinkedIn

I totally agree with Andrea and strongly recommend you also join LinkedIn. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, and here are some tips to get the most out of using LinkedIn–which unlike Twitter, does not require a lot of time commitment–at the very least sign up, create your profile and just leave it at that, but you can do much more with it if you choose.

  • Think keywords when building a profile. Like Twitter, before filling out your profile think of keywords that will describe you professionally. For example, don’t just say you’re a public relations student. Say you’re a public relations student interested in media relations, corporate communications and social media looking for work in the nonprofit or private sector. (Or whatever it is you’re interested in)
  • As a general rule, only invite/connect with people you’ve met/interacted with in real life. Unlike other networks, people like to keep their LinkedIn profiles with real life contacts. Some may allow “virtual” connections, but unless you’ve heard them say it, avoid adding someone you haven’t met.
  • Give–and ask–for recommendations. Personal recommendations not only help you look better, they help your profile turn up in search results. Also some LinkedIn jobs require you to have recommendations to even apply so it’s not a bad idea to ask for recommendations from former/current employers and colleagues. If you’re too shy/timid to ask, than recommend some people yourself, they just may return the favour.
  • When sending an invitation to connect, write a personalized message. Unless it’s someone you know really well, take a minute to write a personalized message in the invitation. This is especially key if you’ve met someone at a networking event where they might have also met many other people, if possible mention something you spoke about. (e.g. “Hi Fred, We met recently at the Night of the Roundtables event at Algonquin College. We had a great chat about doing PR in the nonprofit industry. I’d love to connect with you & stay in touch.”)
  • After collecting someone’s business card, add them on LinkedIn. Personally, I’m famous for collecting business cards and never following up (unless we discussed something to be followed up). However, now I treat LinkedIn as my personal contact database – I add someone after I meet them (with a personalized message) and then instead of digging through business cards if I need to get a hold of someone, I just look them up on LinkedIn. And *yes* almost everyone is on LinkedIn these days.

As we also discussed in class, both these tools are fabulous for promoting events and/or campaigns. However, if you start using them now–and not just when you want to promote something–you’ll be able to build a solid network of influence so that when you do want to promote something, you’ll have genuinely interested people who’ll listen and want to help you out!

Social media events in Ottawa

As great as online communication can be, it still doesn’t beat face-to-face communication. If you’re interested in social media and want to learn more, here are a few local events I’d suggest attending.

  • Social Media Breakfast happens about monthly and always features an awesome speaker. Costs $10, but well worth it!
  • Third Tuesday Ottawa – is a PR/social media event put on by Thornley Fallis. It’s free and always a great time. Don’t be fooled by the name though, it rarely *actually* happens on the third Tuesday. Sign up for the meetup group to get alerts when it’s happening.
  • Social Media Book Club – is put on by me and Scott Lake. About every 2 months we read a book and get together in a bar to chat about it. The good news is you don’t actually have to read the book, but it helps!

Good luck with the last few weeks of your first year!

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Should you change your Twitter avatar?

Have you thought about changing your Twitter avatar? Are you scared to? Do you think it’s important to always keep the same one?

@djwaldow brought this up today, which prompted an interesting discussion. One that I was particularly interested in, since I was forced to change my Twitter avatar while attending SXSW! (Ok, maybe forced is a strong word–the story is my Twitter avatar was blond, and I dyed my hair a dark brown a couple months ago, it seems whenever I meet Twitter friends they are shocked to learn I’m not blond! I caved under pressure and snapped a new photo)

So the issue is how often should you change you Twitter avatar? Aside from my little mishap, my opinion is barely ever… and with good reason. I think you Twitter avatar should match your Facebook profile pic, your LinkedIn pic, as well as MySpace, Ning and any other online profiles you maintain. Specifically if you are trying to develop your personal brand, it won’t do you any good if people don’t recognize you from one site to another! And it takes quite some time to go through all to update your avatar. On the other hand, if you’re already pretty Internet famous you probably don’t need to worry too much.

The good news is, according to dj’s poll, it looks like others agree:

How often should you change your avatar?
How often should you change your avatar?

What do you think? How often do you change your pic? And is a hair colour/cut a viable reason to change your avatar? (Seriously!! People were making fun of me!!)

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Facebook's new Terms of Service: Are they out to get us?

This is a follow up to my recent post: Concerned about privacy on the social web? Particularly because of the recent news of Facebook changing its Terms of Service. The story broke on Consumerist, and there’s still a lot of buzz going around.

There’s a lot of talk about how ‘scary’ it is that Facebook and other sites get access to all of our personal information and tell us they will use it however they wish. Personally, I don’t worry too much. The first thing you’ve got to remember is ANYTHING you post online pretty much becomes public domain. And it’s there permanently. Even if you delete your profile or a web page it still exists online in cache files and chances are someone can find a way to access it. Don’t believe me? Check out the Wayback Machine an internet archive site that shows you past versions of any web site. (tip: it’s a lot of fun to look up big brands like Pepsi and see what its website looked like in 1996).

Mark Zuckerberg
Image by jdlasica via Flickr

One thing you have to remember about Facebook is it’s not a big company formed by fat cat executives. It was a couple of college students who created a site to keep in touch with friends. Yes, it’s exploded and Mark Zuckerberg is now a millionaire–and yes Facebook is now a *real* company with shareholders and executives and the likes, but it’s also already very profitable and doesn’t show any signs of struggling. So why would it want to ostracize it’s gigantic user base and screw us all over? I don’t think that’s a feasible explanation. And really–what’s the worst they can do with your information? Sell it? Tons of companies are doing that anyway. I don’t like it either, but it’s certainly nothing new. In fact, my guess is this move was more to protect themselves BECAUSE all your information is cached and they still have access whether you delete your account or not.

Who knows, maybe Facebook will prove me wrong. Whether you are concerned about this issue or not, the important lesson to remember is DO NOT post anything online that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with the world.

**UPDATE**
So Facebook reverted its terms of service, posted a message to users AND created a group looking for user feedback. I can’t help but feel I was a little bit right about this…

picture-3

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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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5 Tactics land a job using social media (plus tips to do it right)

Times are tough right now and only getting tougher. This means finding a job right now amidst mass layoffs and a tanking economy is definitely not easy. But I’m saying fret not, and use the power of social media to land a new gig.

Whether you’re looking for a job *in* social media or a traditional communications role that probably involves social media, you can definitely use it to your advantage in your job search. In fact, I’ve had great luck with job opportunities through social media and I’ve done the traditional job searching and it’s never worked to my advantage.

Here are some tactics you can start right now which can help you find job opportunities and also to put yourself out there and let the opportunities find you:

Get on Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image by via CrunchBase

This is the first thing I tell anyone who’s looking for a job. Actually I pretty much tell everyone to join Twitter for any reason really. I’m sure you already know networking is the best way to land a job and I consider Twitter to be the ultimate networking tool. If you aren’t sure what to post about (You don’t have to take “What are you doing?” so literally) start by posting articles, blog posts and web sites that you find interesting.  Build a profile that includes a real photo (doesn’t have to be a photo of you, but something personal yet professional will work best). Include a brief bio that includes what you are interested and what you like to tweet about. When you’ve got a few posts up, head over to Twitter Search and start searching topics that interest you and find interesting people tweeting about them and follow them. When you start to follow people, reply to their tweets (by starting yours with @[username]) to start a conversation. Once you get going it’s a lot of fun and you’ll meet lots of interesting people. Once you join, follow me and let me know you read my post and I’ll send some interesting tweeters your way. (Oh, and if you’re in Ottawa looking for a job you may want to follow @ottawatweetjobs – my other Twitter account.)

Join relevant social networks

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...
Image by via CrunchBase

There are literally thousands of active social networks these days and chances are there’s a handful that touch upon your interests or that can help you in your job search. First of all, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, get on and start finding all your past colleagues and acquaintences. Complete your profile and consider asking for recommendations from former bosses and co-workers as recruiters do regularly use the sites to find candidates. I can recommend a handful of others depending on what you’re looking for, so feel free to contact me if you’re having problems finding ones to join.

Build an online portfolio

Showcase your work so it’s not only easy to send to potential employers, but it will come up in Google searches and also allow for others to pass along. If you’re worried about your technical abilities, worry not–just head over to Blogger.com and start a blog as a hosting place for your online portfolio. Put links to social networks you’re a part of (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, if it’s not too personal) and include a link to your resume. For an example, you can see an online portfolio I put together a while back on blogger…

Once you’ve built the portfolio (and tested all your links!) be sure you reference it in cover letters to potential employers and even include the link in your email signature. You never know when a potential opportunity may be hiding in a regular email communication.

Read and comment on blogs that interest you

If this is all new to you, you may want to start with iGoogle. It is a personalized Google homepage that displays RSS subscriptions as widgets (and you can get other handy widgets like the weather, your gmail account etc.) The City of Ottawa has a fabulous page that explains how you can set up your iGoogle page for RSS. Once you’re all set up, use Google Blog Search or Technorati to scope out blogs that interest you and click the RSS subscribe button (usually a little orange icon).

Start your own blog

If you’re really passionate about what you want to do, and can dedicate the time to maintain a blog, then consider starting your own. Blogging is a rewarding experience in its own, especially if you love to write. Check out my previous post “Social media and community management resources” for links and resources for blogging. Consider joining communities like MyBlogLog or the Bloggeries forum to help learn as you go and to promote your blog.

Tips to succeed in social media

Think you’re ready to go out and conquer social media to help find your dream job? That’s great, but it also involves a lot of ‘putting yourself out there’ and if you’re not careful it could backfire. So here’s a few quick tips to keep you on the path to success:

  • Consistency across social media – If you’re building a personal brand you want to make sure you get credit for all your effort. Build your own ‘brand’ by developing a user name, photo and brief bio to use across all social networks so that people will recognize you at each and it won’t seem like you’ve developed a multiple personality disorder.
  • Think before you post – Sometimes when we finally open our mouths, we can’t seem to shut them again! Remember that *anyone* could be reading what you’re writing so you may want to steer clear of controversial topics like religion or politics. Also you’ll want to ensure that you come across as a responsible professional so don’t drink and tweet!
  • Commit time to do it all – An abandoned profile or blog may give off a negative impression of you, so before you start, make sure you can commit the necessary time to keep it up.
  • Remember it’s about conversations – Be kind and polite to others, and always try to respond to comments posted on your profile page or tweets or however some one may be reaching out to you… Even if they don’t have a job offer for you.

That’s all I have for now! Have any tips that have helped you land a job? Have you tried something else I didn’t list here? Leave a comment!

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