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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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

SoshiTech - Soshitech.com

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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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?

Hootsuite Analytics

As promised, I’m going to go through why Hootsuite analytics have been so useful in helping me to measure the effectiveness of the UGA Career Center Twitter Account.

Let’s go through the quick steps of how you can get the exact report that’s show above:

  1. Select the 3rd icon from the top in the left vertical tool bar that looks like 3 bars.
  2. Click on “Quick Analytics” then “Ow.ly Summary Stats.”
  3. This automatically creates the graphs that you see in the center of the above screen.

If you scroll down the page, you can see it starts to identify the top posts with most clicks.  You may be surprised to find (as I was), that the content students click on the most may not be the career articles you are posting.  A little variety and sharing of useful information outside of career may increase the engagement with your audience.

It isn’t immediately apparent on the surface all of the implications these statistics have. You can even become a paying member to get more in depth statistics, but a lot of information can be told from this alone—

  1. Students ARE paying attention to the tweets  that are streamed on the homepage of www.career.uga.edu as evidenced by the “Top Referrers” graph.
  2. I can also infer trends of popular topics from the “Most Popular Links” section.  These statistics are only for the month of December, and what is being clicked on seems to be anything other than specific to the job search.  Perhaps students are checked out at this point or focused on their exams.  Perhaps this could be a new addition that I could add to my tweet strategy—adding “nice to know” information rather than only career information.
  3. The line graph at the top gives you a hint as to which days your audience may be most engaged with your content.  Large amounts of clicks could imply that you are posting a popular topic, but part of the popularity may also be that you aren’t tweeting that at 8 in the morning.

All in all, it’s important to try a few different strategies to see what works. You may also want to revisit older ideas that were deemed “failures” to see if perhaps the timing was off or you may need to identify new ways to appeal to your audience.

That’s it for now, but Happy Holidays Everyone!!

The Value of Social Bookmarking in Higher Education

Have you ever had to update the website for your department or business and everyone heaved a collective groan?  I went through the same thing this past summer as my department tried to update our website from mostly Flash into a snazzy website that used HTML 5, expression engine and several other technical pieces of software that I’m clueless about.

That’s not what I wanted to talk about today though.  Through this experience it made me realize how difficult it is to keep everything up to date on a website.  However, it did inspire me to open my eyes to something new: social bookmarking.  Think of all of the websites you bookmark and folders you create to organize your bookmarks in your internet browser.  Now go to delicious.com.  Delicious stores  your bookmarked sites online and solves the frustration you may have felt in the past because the site you’re looking for was bookmarked on another computer.

Currently, I will use this to “fill in the gaps” that I currently notice in the content that I provide to my college students on my departmental website.  I have created folders (which delicious calls “stacks”) around topics that there currently isn’t a place for on my website. This will also prevent plagiarism if you weren’t sure how to add content to your site beyond restating what someone else already stated on their website.

The beauty of this is that I don’t have to change my website in any way, nor do I need to pester our technical team trying to add in information that doesn’t fit in the overall design of the site.  It is easy to use and requires little skill to operate. Since I’m just linking to other sites, I also don’t have to worry about updating information other than checking back to their site to make sure they are keeping their content up-to-date.

So to all of those people that relate to the collective groans heard across the world when “new website” is said, here is a solution for you.