Finding your voice…social media voice that is

Determining Your Voice

I think one of the hardest parts of social media for professional or business use is determining your “voice.” What do I mean by voice? I’m talking about the feeling you give to your readers about who you are and what you (or your business) represent. It’s your personality. Your “it” factor. It’s what makes you different that anyone else posting about the same topic.

I’ve struggled with this personally myself. I currently coordinate the UGA Career Center’s Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest accounts and figuring out my voice on those accounts versus my personal/professional Twitter & Facebook accounts has been difficult. Being in a field where teaching professionalism is your job also makes it hard. Personally, I love entertainment news and following humorous accounts on Twitter and Facebook, but is it appropriate for the Career Center? Is it appropriate for any “serious” business to delve into pop culture and try to sound that way?

I’m still on the fence. On one hand, you don’t want to step too far to where you start losing credibility. On the other, you run the risk of being to stiff or boring. The key thing you need to ask yourself is who’s listening to me and who is most likely to interact with me on social media? The answer may be different depending on the site.

The companies that I find to be most successful answer questions directed towards their accounts quickly and politely. If their focus isn’t creating conversation with consumers, you either need to be funny or informative with a dash of random. The dash of random is what humanizes  you and your business. It may sound silly, but without it you lose something. Businesses are trying so hard to figure out a way to monetize social media and by doing so they miss the point of why social media was created: to create real relationships. Many of us choose our friends because we have something in common with them and they let us in. They let us see both the good and bad aspects of their personalities.

Do I think businesses should expose the bad parts of themselves? No, not necessarily. However, if all you’re doing is posting information that can be found directly on your website or Googled, you’ve missed the point and even if you have a lot of followers, you don’t have an audience. You’re a part of the noise.

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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?

How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar

It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is.  You can create one on Google, Outlook, or (what I do) through Publisher.

The trick is figuring out WHAT your audience wants to hear about and WHEN. That’s not easy to figure out necessarily either, unless if you have kept track of your analytics using something like Hootsuite or Bit.ly.  If you’ve been shortening your links using Hootsuite or bit.ly and identifying popular topics, all you have to do is lay it out on the calendar.

Here’s a basic outline of what I plan on posting for my audiences this Fall.  Note that’s it’s not complete, and I did that intentionally.  You can’t give away all your trade secrets, right??

If you haven’t been keeping track of how your audience is engaging with you, I recommend that if you go ahead and create a content calendar that you also create a plan of how you are going to measure whether or not your calendar was effective.  Facebook insights and Hootsuite can tell you a lot of information as to whether or not your followers/fans are paying attention to what you’re posting.

Note that with many things in life, sometimes it’s trial and error.  You may think you’ve got the perfect plan in place, but it’s important to monitor your progress to see if you need to adjust in the future.

Do you have any other tips on how to create a content calendar?

Consistency is Key in Social Media

I’m guilty of not following one of the cardinal rules to successfully using social media for your business/organization: consistency.  I’ve been traveling and working on several different projects for my office, so posting blogs got pushed to the back burner temporarily.  It’s no excuse, but it’s what happened.

We all have times like this in our lives where the here and now overtake us and we lose sight of other things that are important.  Sometimes you can’t predict this, but other times you know it’s coming.

 

That every September you’ll get rush of clients.

That you’ve got a big deadline coming up.

Ultimately, that something else more important that social media is happening in your life.

If you can predict these things are coming up, it’s important for you to go ahead and plan early.  Go ahead and write a few “filler” blogs or social media posts.  You can even go back and recycle some of your content because likely your audience isn’t going to remember you already posted that tweet.  They could’ve missed it all together.

We don’t always know when we’ll be busy or when things we can’t predict are going to come up.  We can, however, have our “just in case” content in place to keep you on track.

 

SEO, SMO & Your Job Search: Why you SHOULD care

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What do you do when you need to find the answer to a question? Pull out an encyclopedia? Head over to the local library? Talk to the reference librarian? Likely not.  You probably go on Bing or Google to find the answer online.  Employers are no different when they are trying to answer the unknown: are you a good fit for my company? Do you seem like the kind of person I want to work with day in and day out? Is this person hireable?

If you work in marketing and don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of SEO: Search Engine Optimization as well as SMO: Social Media Optimization. Unfortunately for job seekers, these are terms you likely never heard of but they can directly impact whether or not you get your next job.

Many laws are still up in the air regarding social media and…

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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?