The Secret Hook: How To Engage and Keep Your Customers

You’ve probably heard that millenials and Gen Y as a whole is the “trophy generation,” meaning they think the mere act of participating in something should result in an award. Many grew up with teachers and coaches that gave them a trophy for virtually everything.  You may think of this as coddling or ridiculous, but businesses and higher education would benefit if they would stop fighting the “helicopter parent” mentality and show some appreciation not only to Gen Y, but to their customers as a whole.

Celebrities are the best at this. Take this scenario: Kim Kardashian will occasionally retweet a fan’s comment. Fan freaks out. Tells all her friends on Facebook & Twitter. However many friends that fan has, now knows about Kim Kardashian and is more likely to see who she is and what she does. Conveniently, there is a direct link to her new perfume on her Twitter profile. Coincidence? I think not.  That is the mark of a savvy businesswoman. By the simple act of recognition, her follower becomes an even more avid fan, and new followers may engage with her social media presence that might not have done so before.

You may be thinking that you’re not a celebrity, so obviously the same scenario couldn’t happen to you. I’ve got a few examples that would beg to differ, however.  This phenomenon is an example of a new trend in consumer behavior: recognition. They want to have their questions answered. Be featured on your social media pages. Thanked for sharing your posts. Feel like someone is paying attention to them period.

My definition of recognition is a little broader than the trophy concept. It’s showing your customer respect. Respect for their opinions, showing that you listen, and demonstrating that you act based on what you heard.

How do you show that you’re paying attention to your fans?

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LinkedIn for Students – Making the Most of it

To build upon what I wrote about on SoshITech, I wanted to share some more information about how college students can leverage LinkedIn in the job search and as they start their careers.

Jasmine Hall shared the infographic seen below and shared an excellent blog they posted here. Check it out!

Pinterest Infographic: Uses in Education

Linda Ross shared this great infographic on how educators are using Pinterest & I wanted to share it with you all.  I especially like the tip on creating an online library.  While our career library is a great resource, students seem to rarely use it these days, so referencing more up-to-date editions and how they can access these resources seems like a great idea.

Though I have yet to use the collaboration function, it seems like it has potential. Pinterest users have the ability to open their boards to collaborators (ones you select, or it can be open to the public) to share information around a specific topic.  It could be an academic subject, news, job leads, anything you can imagine.

Check out some additional tips below!

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest

Thank you Linda!!!
From: Online Universities Blog

Pinterest & Higher Education: What’s the deal?

Pinterest has been blowing up the social media news and it was reported that it’s now the 3rd most visited social media site behind Facebook & Twitter.  Pinning, boards, followers, activity…what does it all mean? Today I wanted to give a brief overview of Pinterest and how you can use it for your customers, students or other targeted populations.

Let’s start with boards.  Think of these as a bulletin board that you use to visual represent online resources (videos, blogs, podcasts, articles, etc.) around a specific topic.  Pinterest has been most popular with those designing a house or getting prepared for an upcoming wedding, but it can be used for informative purposes as well.  Below is an example of how the UGA Career Center uses Pinterest:

Pinterest Board

Click on the “Add” button and you can upload documents, link to other websites or create a board. It’s user friendly and pretty easy to navigate.  If you’re just starting, I recommend clicking in the search bar in the top left corner and searching for other users that are “pinning” about topics you are interested in. After you start your search, 3 links will pop up directly underneath the search bar to help you find pins (aka links), boards, or people.

By using Pinterest and pinning more interactive media (videos, podcasts, etc. on our boards), we’ve been able to cover topics in a way we’ve never been able to before. We don’t have enough staff to create YouTube videos and podcasts at this time, but we’re able to leverage the resources we find on the internet to share the best tips for our students in a format they like to learn.

Have you been using Pinterest?  Do you have other ideas on how it could be used in Education?

Getting Out of a Twitter Rut and Generating Good Content

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Twitter. It’s a great tool that I find really useful for researching what’s going on in social media and career services (my two main areas of interest), but we can have a love/hate relationship sometimes. She is VERY high maintenance and requires a lot of attention.

Because of this, I really enjoyed reading this blog. It’s always good to go back and remind yourself “what’s my purpose?” Who is my audience? What am I trying to say?  It’s easy to get stuck in the mindframe of mindlessly sending out content just to get something out there.  To be considered active on Twitter, you should already be posting a minimum of 2-3 times a day if not more, so it is tempting to tweet just for the sake of tweeting.

If you’re starting to get tempted to do this, here’s what I recommend: 

  1. Start asking your followers what they would like more information on.
  2. Retweet (useful!) content your most interactive followers are posting.  This will help further build your relationship.
  3. Start commenting on other Twitter users’ posts in the meantime until you have an idea for new content.
  4. Google it! Tweet interesting articles, video or blogs.

This should be a good start to get you out of a Twitter rut.  Do you have any other ideas for tweets when you run out of original content?

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

As I began composing an application for a Marketing and Branding award based on the Career Center’s social media strategy, I began to get frustrated.  It’s difficult to explain what you do day in day out.  Sitting down and trying to convey into words the communication strategy was more difficult than I imagined and it got me wondering…why?

Sometimes when we focus so much on measurement (clicked links, total student attendance, reach, etc.), it becomes easy to lose sight of the goal.  I knew I had a plan in place.  I would post tweets and Facebook posts on specific career topics timed when students would likely read them. Sounds simple right?? That’s because it is.

The more complicated your plan is the more difficult it may be to measure.  More complicated does NOT equal more successful. Set a goal before you begin and post it in a place where you can’t overlook it.  This way you remain focused and ever reminded that all you do should contribute to the goal set before you.

My goal for the week: post on Facebook & Twitter about networking & the job search.  Why? Because this is the time of the year we get a lot of questions about those topics. Simple, right?

Branding: If you Build it, They Will Come

Just a few days ago was the UGA Career Center Spring Career Fair where over 160+ companies came to campus to recruit students from a variety of majors.  The event was well attended with over 1,800+ students attending, but I heard a few employers mention that they weren’t seeing enough students from a particular major or set of majors.

I can certainly understand that frustration. You spend time and money to come and hire people (it’s a down economy. Why aren’t they here talking to me, right??) and for some reason they just don’t come to talk to you. Is your display not big enough? Were you not in the right location? These are all questions you may ask yourself.

What I’ve found over time is that the most successful companies that recruit on campus have branded themselves effectively through consistency and the size of the displays they bring in and the location of where they are in the fair do little to deter quality candidates from seeking them out. Being consistent means interacting with your targeted audience OFTEN: through class presentations, networking events, career fairs, hosting student interns and so on.

It’s also important for you to be consistent online as well.  What is the first thing you do when you seek information? For this generation they Google it.  Social media typically pops up on the first page of search results, so revisit your sites and make sure they are up to date and make you appear engaged. Check out your website and make sure it’s been updated and jobs you list can be prominently found. Sharp students will seek you out: online, at a career fair, or at a networking event.  They won’t seek you out if they don’t know you typically.

Lesson of the day: Google yourself. Do you like what you see?

Timing is Everything Especially in Social Media

The title says it all.  A common worry I hear expressed by people looking to use social media professionally is that they don’t have enough time in the day to manage it.  I agree that it’s tough, but as I explained in my previous post about Hootsuite, you can easily schedule future posts and monitor your presence on multiple sites through one source.

One thing that I did not touch on in my last blog was WHEN to post.  Think about when your audience would be likely to see your Tweets, Facebook posts or LinkedIn updates.  Even though you may have time to tweet at 8am in the morning, ask yourself if your audience is going to be up at 8am diligently looking for your post.  They just might be…or they might not.

This is partially why I use bit.ly in conjunction with Hootsuite.  It’s easy for me to quickly scan down my shortened link list to see if my audience is clicking on my links.  I also monitor Facebook Insights to see how far my post was able to reach.

The only way to figure out if your timing is good or bad is to monitor your clicked links (can be done through bit.ly or Hootsuite) or to check your Facebook insights.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with the timing of your posts.  One of my most viewed links came from the day after Christmas!  Check your statistics often and you may begin to see some trends of when your audience engages with your social media sites.

Social Media Personas: Are you too much?

When is your personality too much? Many companies and organizations have posted about what is and is not appropriate to publish as a representative of an organization when using social media.  There are statements that can be added to an employee’s profile if they indicate an affiliation with their employer or other terms that can be added if speaking from an organization’s standpoint.

Overall it seems like a good idea, particularly the setting of social media policies that clearly outline what is expected of their workers if they engage in social media on the company’s behalf. My question, however, is when does an organization lose its voice? Is it ok to show a little personality versus a business-like tone in some cases?

If your audience is likes to use slang terminology or pop culture references, mirroring your audience and the way they communicate could be a great way to connect.  It’s a fine line to balance depending on your company image/culture, but it is something that deserves thought.

If you want to be perceived as…

  1. Professional –  steer away from exclamation points, slang, politically charged topics, connect to other professional accounts
  2. Young – consider using current slang, exclamation points, emoticons, reposting similar users’ content, comment on popular culture in addition to topics relevant to your industry/area
  3. Innovative -discover new sites for your connections to visit, comment on cutting edge technologies in your area, provide advice to followers

The list goes on.  Any other suggestions or thoughts?

Networking: Creating TRUE Fans vs. Passive Followers

I attended a job search workshop targeted to MBA students yesterday and left feeling inspired. My main takeaway from the talk was the importance of networking while job searching.  Even though networking was discussed in the context of the job search, it made me think about how valuable true networking and relationship building can be in any setting.

When you engage in social networking for your employer,  do you think about how to cultivate a deeper relationship with your followers & fans?  Are you participating in meaningful conversation, or are you shouting from your soap box?

No one wants to be “that girl”–you know the type. The girl that only talks about herself and could care less that you just got promoted or took up ballroom dancing. Let me be clear by stating that I’m not suggesting that you go totally off topic and delve into your followers’ social lives. Rather, are you actively listening to their needs and fostering the relationship? If you don’t listen to what they have to say, then why would they listen to you?

Comment on other people’s blogs & statuses. Pose questions and ask for feedback.  Retweet an insightful post from a follower. That will help to create a more meaningful AND reciprocal relationship.

 

Lesson of the day: You have to give to get.