Best Practices for Live Tweeting at #NACE13

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Heather Tranen is spot on with this blog. Read this if you plan on tweeting during an upcoming professional conference!

Best Practices for Live Tweeting at #NACE13.

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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.

How to Use Twitter to Job Search

For those that are on Twitter, I don’t need to explain the value: it keeps you up-to-date on who you follow, informs  popular news & is less cluttered than other social media sites. For those that don’t use Twitter, it’s a harder sell to use it period, let alone to job search. Why use it instead of Facebook or LinkedIn (or in addition)? Do employers really use it to hire people?

The key point is that not many job seekers ARE using it to job search. In this age of information-inundation, it’s important to do things that are different increase your chances of being noticed by hiring managers, many of whom receive hundreds of emails a day. If they are on Twitter, they will likely receive less tweets directed to them than emails, so why not use it?

Basic Ways You Can Use Twitter in Your Job Search:

Get a professional bio. Help someone understand why you’re on Twitter and what you’re hoping to get out of it. Include your area of expertise, a blog or website link and your purpose. Some people like to include a few personal hobbies or other details as well, but use good judgment when deciding what to include. Here are two examples:

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Google it! If you don’t know if a recruiter uses Twitter, Google “the employer name + Twitter”. You can also search employer name + recruiter + Twitter” to see who pops up. If anyone shows up in your results, their Twitter account was MADE for you. They want you to contact them! They wouldn’t identify themselves as an HR representative if they didn’t want you to reach out to them.

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To get you have to give. Comment on other people’s tweets. Retweet their posts. Ask appropriate questions and mention others (@Twitterusername) to get the conversation started. Be the expert in the world that you wish to see–share professional articles, videos or general tips.

All of this will help you to get noticed. If you aren’t sure what you’re supposed to say or do, sit back and watch for a few days before joining in the conversation. You can learn a lot by observing.

Just do it. There is no RIGHT way how to tweet. Try not to over analyze whether or not you’re using Twitter correctly because everyone uses it differently. The most important thing for you to do is to join the conversation and put yourself out there.

There are a lot of worse things in life than being ignored or  rejected. Namely, missing out on a great opportunity. The question to ask yourself is what will I lose by NOT trying??

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.

 

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?

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.

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!!