Why YOU should have a LinkedIn; Branding Yourself

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{This article will be the first of a blog series… Stay tuned}

Seemingly enough, there are tons of people who stay absent on this professional social network. The question that I raise in my mind is why are people not staying constantly active on this site, but will search for jobs on Indeed, Monster and Career Builder? We live in such a digital driven society that it seems that as if social networking has become almost innate. However, there is still a profound misunderstanding as to why you should be socially present and regularly active on this career driven platform.

As a young professional, I try to update my LinkedIn profile consistently as my experience increases/updates. The ability to “brand yourself” in this day and age is crucial. Obtaining a degree is not the only quality that will set you apart from the competition in the corporate world, but maintaining and managing a strong online social presence might just do that. Therefore, I feel as though it is imperative to be socially present across as many social networks as possible. This will create substantial data that generates content on the web that will help create that “branding” of the image you want to portray to your “future employers” or “future network contacts”. It doesn’t cut it to just socialize with people in a face-to-face dynamic but interacting online is just as essential (maybe even more critical in 2014…).

I first learned the term “branding yourself” in my undergraduate days from professor Dr. Karen Freberg. She teaches courses at the University of Louisville in the Department of Communication. Freberg repeatedly expressed a strong emphasis on creating a strong brand of yourself online across all social networks that which one is present on. I find it relieving that FORBES reiterates these same strategies that Freberg taught during my time at the University of Louisville. LinkedIn gives users a chance to create a personalized image to convey to the world. One should use their LinkedIn profile as a platform to upload previous work and achievements that add to the individual branding process. I personally have uploaded several pieces from my portfolio on my LinkedIn profile. I try to bolster the pieces that truly create the brand of myself, correspondingly also mirroring my strategic skill set. So, UPLOAD your work on your own profile, and try only displaying a few pieces that truly reflect your own brand image. One does not want to upload every single document that one has ever created because viewers might feel as though they have hit information overload. Key words: Share sparingly.

Tips for pieces to upload:

  1. Business/Marketing/Social Media Plans: Most of my courses in college required students to write often. I had to create several business plans, marketing plans and social media plans. Obviously in 2014, it is important to associate the three as one as everything is becoming more and more digitally driven. Incorporate the best practices of social media for a company in your marketing and business plans… The three almost always tend to interconnect.
  2. Writing Pieces: As I mentioned in the latter, college students write consistently and regularly. Upload PDF pieces of the writing pieces that truly reflect the line of work in which you want to pursue. I upload multiple pieces on my blog that reflect the writing style I obtain. It is important to remember to EDIT. Spelling errors or confusing sentences will not reflect a strong professional online reputation.
  3. Published Work: If you have been published, SHOW IT! Insert a link as to where your work has been publicly published. During my internship in the UofL Athletic Department, I had to write a blog every week that was published on my boss’ blog. I have inserted that link into my “experience” section on LinkedIn. It is important for employers to be able to easily access your work, so make sure the link is active and directly sends them to the right place of interest.

#DietCoke on #SocialMedia

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            In 2014, social media is not only intended for individuals to connect through different platforms. However, social media has evolved for brands to become apart of the online engagement. After analyzing several companies’ social media performance, I have found that Diet Coke has done a phenomenal job with managing their online social presence. It is critical for brands to create social media accounts on every platform. Why? Because these brands are trying reach out to all their consumers and keep up with what is #Trending or what is being said about them. Diet Coke is present on many popular social media platforms that include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These are the three essential platforms that a brand wants to be recognized on because these three tend to be the most popular across a wide range of demographics. The key to keeping a successful online social presence is how will being online tap into the psychographic aspects of all consumers?

            Diet Coke is currently completing the latter task. On multiple of their social media platforms, they are tapping into the buying behavior of their consumers. Recently, Taylor Swift was apart of their advertising campaigns. One can agree with this because the campaign is reflected/seen through all their social media platforms. It is important for your consumers to remember what statements the brand is trying to make and it seems that Diet Coke has been successful of this. Not only do people refer Taylor Swift as being apart of Diet Coke, but also they are encouraged to buy the product because of it. This is what we call successful marketing and quality social media practices.

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            As I previously mentioned, Diet Coke is present on multiple social media platforms and here are a few screen shots to of their online social presence. Notice how many people are liking, following or keeping up with their accounts! The images speak for themselves; Diet Coke is not just a beverage but is blowing up on social media. I personally follow them on all three social media platforms I have included. I really enjoy reading their tweets because they are clever and actually really do subliminally make me want a Diet Coke. This brand is successful at not just only sending out call to action messages, but encouraging their online audience to interaction and engages in conversation.

            However, there is always room for improvement. I do feel that Diet Coke does a wonderful job at maintaining a fabulous social presence, but I don’t know if someone is monitoring the accounts with detail. If you look at the Twitter screen shot above, it is very hard to read their ‘about’ section on their profile. The brand’s colors are red and silver, as seen as the background image on Twitter, but the white wording makes it hard to read on the silver background. Their audience is missing out on what they are trying to say about the brand at first glance. If the audience can not read their about me section, will they continue to read their tweets? Design and formatting issues are simple things to take care of and need to be professional and readable, to say the least.

            All together, Diet Coke is represented online and obviously is an admired brand in the world. They have over a million viewers on their social media accounts, and are reaching out to so many different countries. I enjoy reading and seeing the content that they send through all three platforms and so do many of their other consumers. Good job #DietCoke on keeping your #SocialMediaGame on point and interactive.

Snap Chatting is Cool?

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Social media is evolving constantly and growing more rapidly in 2014. There are so many more social media platforms besides the basic Facebook and Twitter accounts that one updates on a regular basis. Having a smartphone in today’s world is like having a constant connection with everyone around you. One can update the world on where they are or what they are doing through their fingerprints. These updates are occurring on multiple social media networking sites/apps a million times a day and the options are limitless. What is the hottest app out right now that is increasing the interconnectivity of everyone? That would be Snapchat, my friends.

Snapchat is an app that is compatible with the iPhone and android. It creates a connection with all the contacts that one might have in their phone and allows users to interact with each other in a unique way. One would open the app and ‘snap’ a picture of something and then send to any users in their contact list within the app. There is also video capability that can be shared with your contact list. However, the catch is that these images or videos can only be seen for a certain amount of seconds that the admin controls. Also, if a one is sharing a picture and the receiver ‘screen shoots’ the image an alert will be sent to the sender that this has occurred. Snapchat is a new innovated application that college students have their hands on!

Mashable just wrote a blog about how brands can increase their Snapchat game with this younger audience demographic. Furthermore, Mashable say’s the app’s core audience is aged 13 to 25, so tapping its marketing potential is a challenging, though highly worthwhile, endeavor for organizations (Knowblauch, 2014). Snapchat is specifically a new hot trend for teens and college-aged individuals. It is genius that brands are getting on board with the Snapchat train and increasing their brands’ awareness through the app. It is definitely interesting to see what brands associated with Snapchat are sending out and receiving to increase user engagement. Marketo just released a blog with interesting infographics that pertain to the effectiveness of the implementation of the app with the college-aged demographic. The infographics portray that seventy percent of Snapchat users are women and is used by eighteen percent of iPhone users. Snapchat users are sending approximately 400 million “snaps” a day. Pew Research also estimates that Snapchat has 26 million active U.S. users (Rothman, 2014). This constant interaction through sending and receiving ‘snaps’ is shockingly still continuing to grow daily.

Well it is no wonder why these brands have become apart of the Snapchat phenomena. Some of the brands associated with Snapchat are Taco Bell, Acura and Wet Seal. It seems that their “snaps” are very influential to their consumers because they are receiving fabulous feedback from their users. It is important for brands to keep up with the latest trends and stay up to date with what all different age demographics are doing. Staying connected and consistent with a wide variety of different audiences is important in this day and age. Especially when social media platforms are in control of sending and receiving all new types of news. Social media is inevitably apart of life and keeping on top of the different platforms is what will set one brand apart from another. Trends do come and go but it does not look like college students are going to break away from Snapchat anytime soon.

“There is only a slim number of active college students that don’t use Snapchat, it’s a growing franchise and will continue to grow”, says John Meldrum, student at the University of Louisville. John’s Snapchat score is 20,145 and what that number transfers to is the number of ‘snaps’ he has sent out since he first activated the app on his iPhone. He prefers to use the app to stay connected with friends and finds it more entertaining to “snap” than to text people on his phone. Creating new ‘stories’ that will be displayed to all users on his timeline has become a hobby for him and his friends in his fraternity.

The University of Louisville Athletic Department has also created a Snapchat account to increase their fans’ engagement with UofL.. There are other sport’s teams that have implemented the app into their social media plan, such as Ohio State and University of Kentucky. It is obvious that universities want to stay in the loop of things by activating this app because of the increased attraction among college students. Pro teams are also getting involved with the newest trend and sending out ‘snaps’ to fans regularly. Who knew that the ability to send out a picture that can only be seen by a user for a certain amount of seconds would become such a hot trend?

It is exciting to see a new emerging trend among college students that has brands interested in being apart of the ‘snapping’ process. It goes to show that companies want to be apart of the newest and latest innovations that seem so simple. The purpose of Snapchat is just to be able to send photos and videos to your friends instantly without them being able to save the content to their phones. This type of interaction has increased with brand awareness and sending out special offers for exclusive Snapchat users and followers. What a great marketing strategy that has surfaced through the interaction created by college students. If you or your brand doesn’t know how to ‘snap’ yet, you better get on it and be apart of the coolest app as of today.

 

 

Knoblauch, Max. “How to Boost Your Brand’s Snapchat Game.” Mashable. N.p., 15 Feb. 2014.

 

Rothman, Dayna. “[Infographic] Leveraging Snapchat for Brands.” Marketo Marketing Blog Best Practices and Thought Leadership. N.p., 18 Feb. 2014. Web.

HootSuite University: I AM CERTIFIED!

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            As a student and a digital native, I am very familiar with all different types of social media platforms. I feel as though “staying connected” is a part of everyday life. The first notion I have when I wake up is to check my text messages, Facebook notification, Twitter mentions and my LinkedIn’s timeline. Honestly, I could not imagine not being connected to the world through my fingertips on my iPhone. Social media has definitely been very rewarding to those who take full advantage of being able to utilize all the platforms to their fullest potential. Before taking Dr. Freberg’s social media course, I did not realize the infinite amount of possibilities that social media offers to the world. To be more direct, what social media offers to brands that want to make their online social presence visible.

           

During the social media course, all students have to become HootSuite Certified. What does that mean? HootSuite is another social media platforms that ultimately makes sending out multiples messages on different social media networks easier. The coolest thing I learned on HootSuite was that one/a brand could schedule all the messages they want to send out via social media directly on the HootSuite platform. I never knew that this tool was available to the public. Amazingly, I did not realize that multiple organizations were already utilizing HootSuite for their organizations. All of the possibilities are endless when it comes to this program. The analytics this programs offers is beneficial to the organizations tracking to see how their posts are performing on all the social media platforms they engage through. One can see what their target audience wants to interact with and what posts are doing better than others. Genius! The development of this site has minimized time spent trying to post on multiple social media platforms and maximized the brands potential for total outreach.

           

HootSuite is not something students are learning in the classroom. However, organizations are trying to further their knowledge about the program. I am so glad Dr. Freberg has made it mandatory that all students enrolled in the social media course at the University of Louisville become HootSuite Certified. The fact that young professionals have this certification and are knowledgeable about this program and all of its opportunities is putting us a step ahead of the game. Having this certification displayed on my LinkedIn, WordPress account, etc. shows that I am branding myself as being a professional in the social media arena. I am happy to know that when people come across my social media platforms that they will see my HootSuite certification logo and know I am capable of utilizing it for their brand.

 

Our class has already found it evident from our guest speakers that this site is used daily in local businesses in Louisville! Specifically, HootSuite is used regularly by Joey Wagner, owner of J Wagner Group. Mr. Wagner visited our social media class and talked about the challenges of monitoring his client’s different social media accounts and utilizing crisis communication. He discussed the importance of HootSuite and how it makes his job a hundred times easier. The ability to access all of different platforms these brands are present on and analyzing the interaction with all of its users is what makes crisis communication run more smoothly. One can target what topic of information needs to be addressed on any given platform by staying active on HootSuite. When Wagner said this, I as amazed. His guest lecture is what made me want to educate myself on all of the entities HootSuite offers.

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed taking Dr. Freberg’s social media course and learning about the realms in the discourse. As a digital native, I had no idea to what extent social media plays as a role in big corporations. HootSuite most definitely opened up my eyes to that. I do think all of the videos and exams are very educational. However, I wish we discussed in class more about the different techniques one can use on the program. I was a little hesitant at first to throw myself into the program because it can be a little confusing when you first start to actively engage on the site. However, I do think that the HootSuite University course is very helpful and beneficial. This social media platform has done a great job of educating those interested in managing multiple social media sites from one central location. I am excited to use the knowledge I have gained from this course and HootSuite University in my future career. I wish that all of these sites offered a educational course that HootSuite offers, because it makes it easier for those who are not fully aware of how to even start becoming active on the sites.

 

I am passionate about social media and all of the opportunities it offers to an individual and a brand. As Dr. Freberg has repeatedly told our class, “What are people saying about you or your brand?” and “How will you monitor the interaction?” The answer is to be active and present on all of these different social media platforms and utilize them to the fullest potential. I am excited to see how social media will continue to evolve and what is the next big social media network. Maybe I will be able to add it as another tab on my HootSuite dashboard. Thank you HootSuite for helping young professionals become more knowledgeable about your site and all of the opportunities it offers!

Senior in College Guidelines

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Dear readers,

As you probably can tell from my previous blog posts, I am a senior graduating May 2014. I attend the University of Louisville and receiving a Bachelors of Science degree in Communication. College has been the best experience for me. I have learned more than just what is in a text book or what I am tested on a exam. Yes, there are classes that challenge your comprehension, but also there are courses that inform you on what to expect when you enter the corporate world. As the fall semester comes to an end, I am starting to look for potential career paths. I have always kept graduate school as a top priority for after I finish my undergrad. However, I am very eager to start my career in the business world. Currently, I am interested in pursuing a career in advertising, academic advising, or marketing. 

In college, I have found these next few guidelines very helpful when beginning the “dream job” search:

  • Manage your online reputation across all social media platforms
  • Keep an updated resume and professional cover letter
  • Definitely make a thorough LinkedIn profile on all you have accomplished in college and experience
  • Stay updated on current issues and trends going on in society
  • Surrond yourself with motivated and success-driven people

I have found these few guidelines very helpful as graduation creeps up. Searching for a job after college is not as easy as it might seem to appear. Networking is CRITICAL. It is not all about what you know but more of who you know. Try to go out and network with new people and learn things you might not obtain in a higher education institution. Put yourself out there and experience different parts of the world. Always keep in mind, “what will set you apart from all the other people applying for the same position you are trying to obtain?” Stay positive and do not hold high expectations, and always keep your options open. Opportunities arise from all different areas, and always be open-minded. I hope you find some of my insights helpful because they have helped me so far in the graduation/job search process! Good luck to all who are in the graduating class of 2014! 

Crisis Communication and Social Media

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As a digital native, I have grown up being able to have access to any company via the World Wide Web. Consumers find this online presence of different business’ very helpful for many reasons. One can look up any type of product that would be of interest to purchase. People can look up different reviews on different products, interact with different users on online communities, and talk about the brand from which they are making a purchasing decision. Thus, the Internet and social media have evolved the nature of a business’ interaction with different companies and consumers. 

 

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[http://www.baerpm.com/blog/?p=952]

 

With all of that being said, what course of action do companies take if something negative is being said about their brand online? How do they handle customer service on all the social media platforms in which they are active on? The answer I have for one interested in this matter, is a company will participate in effective crisis communication in order to resolve an issue associated with their brand. 

Dr. Freberg has lectured about crisis communication to us students at the University of Louisville. The information she presented does not only help with companies, but also with individuals who engage on social media. 

Top 5 tips:

1. Post material that is not controversial

2. Manage the online social presence that is apparent of an individual or a company, across all platforms

3. Respond to a problem posted on social media within 24 hours… The sooner you respond and resolve the issue… The better!

4. Participate in strategic communications… Have a plan and strategy ready… Be able to act quick on your toes.

5. Be honest and hold a trustworthy reputation with your online audience… Build your credibility!

Whipple, Whipple, Whipple !!!

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Going into advertising? Then you have GOT TO read this amazing book by the advertising king, Luke Sullivan. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This. This book was introduced to my Creative Advertising class at the University of Louisville by Mark Rosenthal, Art Director at Creative Alliance. I have been in this course at Creative Alliance for about eleven weeks now and have developed a firm grasp on the key concept to advertising: creating an idea. However, an idea is not just created in a couple of minutes, it takes time to develop a really great idea that could potentially be the basis for a really great ad. 

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Rosenthal teaches this “idea” philosophy based on Luke Sullivan’s writing in his class. Sullivan says it all starts with a great idea. His book gives the reader different tips on how to better the idea creating process. Brainstorming and researching are essential aspects that factor into the process. Do not stop at just a few ideas… Come up with as many as you can possibly think of. Write the ideas out.. Draw them with pen and paper. This is the process of where a great ad is grounded. I highly recommend this book all interested in the advertising business, whether that be creative or on the business side. Truly a fabulous book! 

 

PS: Buy the fourth edition… Includes Social Media!