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@socon11 This Weekend!

February 3, 2011

This blog has been a little quieter than I would like!  But I have been working on some exciting stuff that I hope to share with everyone over the next few weeks so be sure to check back for updates on the things I have been working on.

socon11 atlanta

One thing I am very excited about is SoCon11 this weekend!  It is a short conference here in Atlanta with a social media focus.  This is their 5th year and they have had great feedback in the past.  So I’m looking forward to learning some new things and meeting new people! 🙂 I will fill in my reads on all the details of the conference next week.

I hope everyone else has a good weekend!

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Networking in Reality

January 6, 2011

Online Social Networking is my thing but bottom line ‘face-to-face’ interaction is necessary once and a while.  Being new to Atlanta I try to go to as many networking events as possible and I found out about Networking In Atlanta last month.  So I gave it a try last night.

Networking In Atlanta

It was a great event.  They are held the first Wednesday of every month at The Opera Night Club in Mid Town.  It is a great space for the event and there were a lot of people there.  I was even told that this was a smaller crowd than usual.  I’m attributing that to the post holiday rush and bad weather.  The event is not industry specific so it is a great way to expand you network and connect with a whole new group of people.  For more info on Networking in Atlanta check out their web page.

The crux of this post is not about the event specifically but rather what people need to know/do when networking.   I am always surprised at networking events when people are not ready with the following.

1.  Have a business card!  There is no excuse for not having a hearty supply of business cards when attending a networking event.  If you are starting a company or looking for a job there are tons of affordable or even free options for getting business cards.  If you are looking for a job, don’t thinking of it as a business card, think of it as a “networking card.”  Never leave the house without them.  Check out Vista Print. They have lots of designs, some free options and always run deals.  No excuses  people!

Business Cards

Why do you need a card?  How else will people follow up with you?  The day after a networking even I send an e-mail to every person that I talked with and friend request them on Linked In.  Without that card there is no way to follow up and the whole point of meeting that person is totally dissolved.  No business card = waste of time.

2.  Have your elevator pitch ready.  You should always be ready to describe yourself and what you do with perfect articulation in under 20 seconds.  At a networking event you should be spewing your elevator pitch hundreds of time.  It should just be part of your introduction.  You need to practice it so that it is natural and comfortable for you.  When it becomes part of who you are it will be genuine and believable to the person you are speaking to.  Have confidence in yourself and your business.

3.  My personal pet peeve at networking events is when they don’t have a tweet screen and an event # tag.  I think it is a great way to merge digital networking with the real world.  It is an easy way to follow and stay in touch with those you have met and it spreads the word about the networking event so more people will attend next time.  If you go to an event that does have a tweet screen here are a few guide lines.

  • Make sure you always tweet with the # tag
  • Tweet when you get there so you show up on the screen
  • If you’ve had a particularly engaging conversation with someone send them a tweet when it is over.  Great way to follow up before you’ve even left the event.
  • Tweet what a nice time you’ve had before you leave.

4.  If there is food there, have a snack, but it is not dinner.  You didn’t come there to eat you came there to talk to people and that is hard to do when you are stuffing your face.  I know most networking events happen right around dinner and you are starving.  Try to eat a power bar or a piece of fruit in the car on the way there so you can make it through without stuffing your face.  If you do eat, pop a breath mint when you are done.  Nothing is worse than a loud networking even when you have to lean in to hear someone and you get a whiff of beer and garlic on their breath.

Does anyone else have any good networking tips?  I’d love to hear them!

 

 

New Facebook Profile and Your Job Search

December 10, 2010

Last Sunday night on a 60 Minutes interview Mark Zuckerberg rolled out the new Facbeook profile.  Currently users can opt into this format or stick with the old one (for now).  I usually go ga ga over every new Facebook update and this one is no different.  While most people complain about the changes, I like them.

For those resistant to the changes here is something that you should know.  If a user has opted in for the new look, they will see all profiles in this look, not just their own.  So even if you don’t like it, your friends or potential employers may be seeing your content in this new format.  Here is what my profile looks like in the new format.

New Facebook Profile

To me the most striking element of the new lay out is the predominance of the photos.  No longer does it take several clicks or scrolling through screens to get to photos of the users that they OR friends have tagged.

How is this going to hurt your job search?

When job searching the privacy settings on your Facebook account are VERY important.  Even if you think your photos or content is innocuous  you never know what an HR hiring specialist is going to think.  Make sure everything is set to “Friends Only”  or at the very least “Friends of Friends”

If you don’t have your photos set to private, with this new setting they are going to be the first thing that a perspective employer will see.  Unless you are an actor and all of your tagged photos are professional head shots, you want your photos set to private.  Don’t give a future employer a false reason not to hire you because someone tagged a photo of you drunk five years ago!

Right above the photos, in this new look,  is all your personal information.  This is all information that you have provided and has always been on Facebook, but it is just out there in a new way.  It is a very social way.  You have your elevator pitch for meeting people in businesses and this new format is essentially your elevator pitch for your social life.  Those two pitches are always going to be slightly different.  Most of the information in this section is illegal to ask in an interview, relationship status and age being tops on that list.  But if you don’t have this information set to private,  it is not illegal for an employer to see it.

What should a future employer be able to see?

Job searching doesn’t mean you delete your Facebook account.  You do want a nice, professional, clear profile picture of you and your name.    So when they do search for you, they know they have found the right profile and don’t waste time looking at someone else with the same name.  You never want to be confused with anyone digitally.  Then maybe a few basic “likes” public.  It is ok to have a life when job searching.  Employers are usually happy and supportive of employees who have hobbies, support causes or are active in their community because it means they are ambitious. If someone outside of your network searches for you, this is what they should see.

Bottom line – Let Facebook and social media work for you in your job search.  Everyone and every organization is going to view the use of Facebook and a user’s content differently.  For me, I am very public on all social media outlets, and I am looking for a job in the social media world.  My presence on these networks has a different significance than most job seekers.   It is important to come up with your own digital marketing plan and stick to it.  Let your best personality traits shine.  You never know how it will be perceived, so I think it is best to proceed with caution.

Is Social Media Driving Your Family Apart?

December 1, 2010

This a great parody that I found on Mashable.com.  Obviously it is funny and a bit over the top, but it does have a point.  There are a lot of studies showing that Social Media brings people together.  It is great for connecting with friends from the past or making new business contacts.  But how does it effect your relationships with those closest to you?

I am a social media junkie.  Dan, on the other hand, is not.  A typical conversation that we’ve had in the past has been:

Terry: “bla bla bla bla bla something about a cake I recently made.”

Dan: “I didn’t know about that.”

Terry: “WHY NOT, I WROTE A WHOLE BLOG POST ABOUT IT?  Don’t you read my blog?”

Dan: “uuuummmmm, I live with you?”

Terry: (evil eye)

Dan: “I’ll go read it now.”

This was all before Dan was more active in the cake making, but really you can insert any social media outlet in place of “blog post.”  I am pretty much always connected and he is… well… not.  It is a difference in our personalities that we have learned to live with.

But I want to hear from you.  Are you a social media junkie?  How does your family deal with it?

Social Messaging

November 16, 2010

Yesterday Facebook announced that it was launching a new messaging system.  There were a lot of rumors floating around about Facebook adding e-mail to their services.   That is only part of their new messaging system.  Below is a video that I found on YouTube that does a pretty good job of explaining the way it works.

If you are still not sure how it works, check out Facebook’s Facebook page.   There you will find a longer video that goes into more detail and it comes from the source.

Personally, I’m excited for this!  I’ve thought for the last few years that e-mail was heading towards a more profile based system.  I think that it is a lot more personal and easier to just click on a photo of the person I want to message than to type in their e-mail address.  It is also hard to keep up with people as they change e-mail addresses.  This new system eliminates that worry.

Another nice feature is that all your communication with a particular user will be logged.  I know Facebook is primarily for personal use, but I can totally see the benefit of this function in a business setting.  How many people have searched through their inbox or specific folders looking for one particular e-mail from a coworker?  With this system, all you will need to know is the person’s name and you’ll quickly be able to search all of your communications with that person.

For now Facebook is only testing the system on a small group and will slowly roll out the product to the masses.  As soon as I get an invite to try it,  I’ll post my thoughts on it.

How do you think you’ll use the new Facebook Messages?

Thoughts on #smalt

November 15, 2010

social media atlanta

Last week was the first Social Media Atlanta week, which was a series of free events across metro Atlanta focusing on Social Media.  I had heard someone tweet something about it a week or two ago, and I didn’t think much of it.  I just assumed it was a conference and I was too late to have signed up.  As I started to see more and more tweets about it during the week, I finally looked into it.  Lucky for me, the events were free and there was still some space open.

As you know, I am new to Atlanta so this event came at a perfect time for me.  I was able to meet a lot of really cool people in the industry and learn some new places in Atlanta.  All of the other major cities that I have lived in had great public transportation.  Atlanta…not so much.  City driving has been an adventure for me, and this week gave me a lot of practice!

The events I attended were on Thursday and Friday.

First I went to The Creative Circus and heard Willie Jackson speak.  His presentation was good but was intended for a less experienced crowd.  I really wanted to hear more about new technology and trends in interactive development.  I got a bit more of that later in the week when I returned to The Creative Circus.  I had heard the Circus’ ads on the radio but hadn’t actually looked into them yet.  After the event on Thursday I decided to take my nephew, who is a senior in high school, back on Saturday to their open house.   The Creative Circus provides two year programs in areas like art direction, photography and  interactive development.  Interactive development and design  is a really hot topic, and I feel like few places are offering stellar training in the area.  What we saw at the Circus was really impressive.  If you are at all interested in digital marketing check out the work the students and instructors are doing.

After my time at the Circus, I headed over to Georgia Tech for the GenY panel.  This turned out to be a really interesting discussion.  I’m in the upper bracket of GenY and I’ve spent the last three years working on a university campus, so I feel like I have a pretty good pulse on GenY’s internet activity.   I expected the discussion would take a typical turn of a lot of baby boomers in the crowd trying to pick the panelists’ brains.  In actuality, there turned out to be few baby boomers in the crowd.  The discussion took a turn of Tech vs. UGA, as there were a few UGA students and alumni in the crowd, and then students vs. young professionals.  I think that the general consensus of everyone in the room was that it was a bad sample.  Obviously students studying at Tech with a tech related major, students from UGA with a marketing/comm focus, and young professionals in the marketing/comm industry are going to have a different point of view on the subject matter than an average college student.

Next, I headed over to the Spice Market for The Crave Tweet-up (where no one tweeted).  Crave is a group that supports the growth of female entrepreneurs and business women in Atlanta.  I met some cool people at the tweet-up and had some very yummy drinks (I recommend the mango mojito), but I wouldn’t pick the Spice Market for a networking event in the future.  It is centrally located, which is good in that everyone can get there, bad in that you will have to battle a lot of traffic to do so.  Secondly the bar area just lent itself to a sit down environment.  The group spent a lot of time sitting in a circle.  You had to make a real effort to be able to get around and meet everyone.

I think the most interesting and useful panel that I went to was on Friday.  It was at SCAD and the focus was on Old vs. New Media in journalism.  The panelist were all very knowledgeable and clear leaders on the subject.  It was a great space for the event as well.

Finally the week ended with a closing night party at Fado’s Irish Pub.  It was a fun night and for me a great way to meet some really interesting people.  Overall, the theme of the week was human connections and how to use the tools of the net to increase those.  For a first year, I felt like the event ran relatively smooth.  It was a lot of work on the organizers part and I’m very appreciative.  Already looking forward to 2011! 🙂

Coco’s Back!

November 8, 2010

I'm with coco

Conan is back on tonight on TBS! 🙂  Now, I’m not actually an avid fan of late night TV.  Until recently my bed time was at 9:30…But what I love about Conan and his team is their acceptance of Social Media.  At the beginning of 2010 you may remember the war that broke out on NBC over the late night hosts, Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno.  Conan had recently taken over The Late Night Show with Leno moving to an earlier time slot.  After a very brief time, the network decided to give The Late Night Show back to Leno and kick Conan and his staff to the curb.

Conan fan’s were outraged and one fan in particular, Mike Mitchell,  started a Social Media movement “I’m With Coco.”  The Facebook page quickly grew and currently has over a million fans.  The Tonight Show, NBC, nor Conan’s staff did anything to prompt this movement, but went with it.  They did a fantastic job of keying in on the emotions of their viewers and not exploiting them.   At no point did Conan’s staff take credit for “I’m With Coco” but were grateful and appreciative of the fan support.  Instead of taking it over or controlling it, they joined them and engaged.

Conan and his staff have of course had good reason to jump on board the I’m With Coco movement.  Support and social credibility in that volume is hard to create and must be nurtured.  In preparation for tonight’s show, they gave away 10,000 t-shirts  (1,000 each day for ten days)   from Busted Tees.  To get one of the shirts you had to be following @teamcoco on twitter.  Each day they would tweet a code and web page to enter the code.  The first 1,000 to do so would get that day’s shirt.  Each day was different and the shirts were gone in minutes.  I’m wondering if anyone out there was able to collect all ten?  I got the Halloween one, Zombie Conan.

Team Coco Tshirt

If there is a t-shirt to be won, I will win it. No luck on the lottery yet...

As a small business you don’t have the influence that Conan does, so starting a movement solely generated by fans with no prompting on your part probably isn’t going to happen.  But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t out there talking about your business.  Follow the lead from Conan’s team and let them talk and engage with them!  Social media is all about the conversation, so make yourself part of it.  The more open and casual you are in your interactions, the more you will fit in the environment.   No one will listen to you if you sound like a paid ad, but putting in the time to interact with your clients will pay off in the end.

What is your best tip for interacting with your customers online?

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