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?

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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.

Are you a barnacle?

In a previous post, I mentioned the importance of identifying the leaders in your field–social media field that is.  Twellow, WeFollow, and Listorious are all great sites to identify the leaders in Twitter when you are getting started.

While it is important to benchmark and constantly survey the landscape to make sure you’re on par with your competition, at some point it is important to branch out.  To try something new. To take a risk.  If you do the same thing as your competition, what sets you apart?  Instead of being a barnacle that clings on to someone else’s idea, be the foundation others wish to emulate.

Easier said that done right?  The way that I try to “branch out” from my peers is to bounce ideas off of other people I trust.  It’s okay if some of your ideas seem crazy or off the wall.  Some of the best ideas seemed crazy at first I’m sure.  Even if your ideas end up being deemed “too crazy” and not feasible, the exchange of ideas might lead to another insight that could just work.

Great leaders also surround themselves with great people.  My social media intern came up with an excellent idea: have a “theme week” or topic to focus on that week.   It keeps people engaged in your topic and so far we have had a lot of success through implementing this new idea.

Try it out and see if it works for you!

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.