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How Often Should I Be Logged Into Social Media?

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computer-typingBeing a social marketing professional I have noticed the same question popping up over the years — how often should I be logged in? This and other questions seem to reform themselves and surface in most conversations regarding social media strategy. The problem is, it is entirely the wrong way to look at business.

To truly understand social media you must stay on top of it daily, read continuous amounts of articles and insight from other industry professionals, and overall just use it. Compiled below are a list of three social media questions that seem to arise in most conversations with people who may not truly understand social media. They are as follows:

  1. How often should I be logged in? The better question I have is how often can you afford not to listen to your customers and engage with them? When you word the question that way it is much more difficult to even ask. Social media does not start at 9AM and stop at 5PM, especially if you are a global brand. For some companies, their best engagement happens after 10PM. This is why it is very important to have at least one dedicated social media specialist at an organization, and depending on the size of the organization you may need more. For the entire General Motors brand, they have…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=18211

The Band With No Name

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band-with-no-nameLast week, I went with my wife and a couple of friends to wish another friend “Happy birthday.” We went to a honky-tonk-type bar in a part of town I have never been to before, The atmosphere was relaxed. The dance floor was filled every song with patrons dancing their hearts out to mostly country songs. The food was simple, The drinks were cold. The band was good. While it was not necessarily my type of bar, I can appreciate good music when I hear it. When I asked, “What is the name of these guys?” The only answer I received was, “They don’t have one!.”

Nobody quite knew why they did not have a name. The fact was nobody cared. The music was good to them, and that is all that mattered. I knew why. I thought about it the rest of the night.

Each of the individual members of the band were good musicians. They knew their parts well and enjoyed playing music. They play for the same pay at the same bar every week. So why is it that their band does not have a title, a name, something? The reason is they know who they are. They know what they do. They do not need recognition. They do not need something more. They purely love playing good music to people who will enjoy it week after week.

Would this not making an interesting concept for an organization? No titles, just people who enjoy doing the work and collaborating on the same level. No office politics or drama. No colleagues trying to shoot for a promotion that they do not deserve. No one begging for a fake trophy or recognition. Efforts being given to the team as a whole only. It is an interesting concept.

Below are three interesting and very different organizations with similar philosophies. I have taken an excerpt out of each article on the importance of no job titles to them.

  1. The Nerdery“Our job titles are designed to empower us, not to limit us!” Bucklin wrote. “Put your business card on the desk in front of you…This card does not define you. You are a Co-President. You are bigger than your defined role, and you are much more than your job title. Play your part—transcend your job title, be a hero.”
  2. Valve: Titles specialize employees, and put them in a little plot where they’re allowed to work. Specialization sets employees against each other, carving out little kingdoms of responsibility. Anything outside their kingdom is beyond their purview, and anyone stepping within that kingdom is encroaching upon their pride and their job security.
  3. Sun Hydraulics; How does a company grow to that size with such an organization?  By spending a lot of time hiring the right kind of collaborative idea-generating individual who doesn’t need to be told what to do. 

What is your band? Could this approach work in your organization? Why or why not?

5 Steps to Landing the PR Internship You Want!

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You, the millennials, are looking for internships and neomillennials will be shortly. It is both a scary and exciting time. Getting your first job in public relations is not that easy. There is a ton of competition. When you finally land a job, it may not be all it was cracked up to be. These five steps will help put you in the best possible position to land your dream internship in public relations or any industry:

  1. Your sell sheet! The first thing that any potential employer will see is your resume. You on paper. Use this resume to sell yourself, Before you even send one out, do some research on resume writing tips. Make sure to have your resume reviewed and critiqued by as many people as possible including teachers, friends, relatives and even professionals. It is widely known that the average human resources professional looks at a resume and makes a decision in under 10 seconds. Make sure your resume stands out.
  2. Escape social beheading! Social media is more powerful than ever, I do not need to tell you that. However, I do need to tell you to review your accounts. After your resume passes approval the next thing that is looked at is the social media profiles. If anything of your is public it is now connected to you. Before you even have the opportunity to talk to someone you could be nixed because you looked wasted in your profile pic. Clean up these profiles. Review them alone and with a friend, critically. Google yourself and see what else comes up. Do your own PR damage control before the damage is done.
  3. The 3 P’s! If your resume gets through and your social media profiles pass the test, it is time for the interview. The 3 P’s are simple – practice, practice, practice! Practice your interviewing skills. Ask your PR professor or another student if they will do a mock interview with you. Online there are many sites with common interview questions. Research them and decide on some talking points to those questions. Along with this it is important to listen to yourself, so record it. Every iPhone has a voice recorder. This will allow you to adjust things that may get in the way of the interview, such as ending every sentence with “So… yea.”
  4. Get your swag on! Prepare well in the last three steps and you will get the interview. From the time you arrive in the lobby until the time you leave you need to be well put together, not just in clothes but in mannerisms. The number one thing that you need to remember is that every person you talk to was in your place at one time. They are only human. Have confidence, dress the part, and most of all be yourself.
  5. Get the eye of the tiger! See what you want and do not stop until you get it. Following up is an important and underrated part to the interview process. In my most recent internship interview process, only 1 in 7 millennials sent a follow-up note. Follow-ups are important because they might be that extra little boost you need to stand out from that other stellar intern that you are competing against. Put together a well-written, passionate note and either email or mail it to the employer. Handwritten notes allow for a nice personalized touch. This will show them you have drive and lets potential employers see you roar!

These five steps will elevate your chances of landing the internship you want and deserve greatly. You may have heard pieces of this before, but it is a process. One or two  of these steps could be solid but without any one piece you will falter. Think about it this way, skip a step and automatically the best you can do on the test is 80%. That is, if all other cylinders are firing correctly. Challenge yourself to shoot for 100%.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in regards to interviewing for an internship?

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Article originally posted as a guest post on http://emuprssa.com/2013/09/13/5-steps-to-landing-the-pr-internship-you-want/

What Happens in Vegas: Brand Immersion in the American Culture

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whathappensinvegasOnce a brand is so heavily immersed in the American culture, it creates a huge amount of staying power. The brand name turns into a word or phrase used to describe entire categories of products or a lifestyle choice. The perfect example of one brand applying to an entire category is Kleenex.

Growing up i, like many others, did not know the word ’tissue.’ Kleenex is what everyone I knew called them, no matter the brand. To this day, I never use the word tissue. It was something built into my culture as a specific word. When a brand has this amount of pull, the staying power is immense. This of course applies to only one product category. Can you think of a brand that spans the gamut of all product categories?

Cadillac is one such brand. Cadillac has been synonymous with applying as a phrase meaning the “gold standard.” What do mountain biking tips, health care. grilling, power cables and surf shops have in common…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=18181

Burning the Candle or Burnt Candle? Personal Brand Lessons

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fireIn the midst of a conversation the other day I was posed with the question, “How are things going? Busy?” The question made me think heavily about the term busy and how it is used so lightly. Everyone is busy. In the same respect, every person has a different definition of what it means to be busy. To the question I simply replied, “I am no longer burning the candle at both ends; The whole candle is on fire!” Uproarious laughter ensued.

In my post Busyness or Business, I touched on the shortcomings of saying the much overused phrase “I’m busy.” This post goes a little further to discuss the source of being busy and what you can do about it. When the burning candle that is your life is no longer just burning at the ends, you should ponder these next few thoughts:

  1. Self-reflection: Harvard graduate and executive consultant Dr. Robert Pasick describes self-reflection as one of the most difficult things for business people to do. “Self reflection is merely spending time asking ourselves important questions which others ask of us but we fail to ask ourselves,” say Dr. Pasick. Being self-reflective will not only allow us to change things that we may not always see that is wrong with us but it may also help us understand where we are letting things slip in work and life. This will teach us what things we can let go and what things we need to pay more attention to. It will ultimately allow us to realign one of the most precious aspects of our life – time.
  2. Minimalism: Some people, myself included most days, try to be all things to all people. This does not work for long periods of time. It is important to minimize your lifestyle. What is the excess? What does not matter as much anymore? What matters more? These are the things we must consider. Minimalism is not just for the people who go through life with little or no possessions. It is also a mindset for the “busy” individual who needs to refocus their personal brand.
  3. Healthy balance: Many of us have work, home life, friends, volunteer activities, church, hobbies, and the like going on every week. Not to mention trying to find time to hit the gym, clean your house and spend time with kids or family. It is important to find a healthy balance. Thousands of articles will tell you to find a balance and give you all the ways to make it easy on you, which it is not. As long as you know you need a healthy balance it is easier to focus on it. Once you know you want it just do it. Delegate tasks. Plan more from the beginning. Let lower priorities wait longer. Tomorrow, it will still be there waiting for you.
  4. Letting go: Some perfectionists, like myself, have a difficult time of letting certain things go. Whether it is a nagging work project, mowing your lawn, cleaning your house, and the like, it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to assign a project to someone who may not be completely versed in what to do. These tasks all take away precious hours of your week that could be better spent elsewhere. It may not be easy to let go of some things, but it is necessary.

Read the article again. Understand why these four points are needed in life to strengthen your personal brand. I can already see the flames off your candle dying down. What is the fifth thought you would add to this list?

4 Brand Twitter Fails and 4 Ways to Prevent Them

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Capitalizing on trending topics can give businesses the reach that they need on Twitter — if used correctly. Sometimes the tweets do not work and just come back to haunt the business. This is particularly true when it relates to political and social events. While tweeting about a trending topic can be a great way to advertise your company, it can also have harmful effects. Hashtags can be friend and foe to large corporations. Here are four examples of Twitter fails in relation to political events:

  1. #DreamDay: The Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most revered speeches in history. It holds the actual dreams of an entire generation of people who went through unnecessary evils. The Golf Channel decided to capitalize on the 50th anniversary of the speech with this tweet:@GolfChannel Tweet your ‘golf’ dream on the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech using: #DreamDay: I have a dream that ___________. 

golfchannel-tweet-fail

  1. #frankenstorm: Hurricane Sandy was a national disaster for all those on the East coast of the United States. Lives were taken, worlds crushed and changed forever. Urban Outfitters decided to make light of the situation tweeting this #fail…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=18109

17 Quotes from Social Media Visionaries

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17For some people social media is in their DNA. For others, it simply is not. This compilation of 17 Quotes from Social Media Visionaries will allow the experienced and inexperienced to gain insight to the very core of social media. These are not the 17 best or most inspirational quotes. They are quotes that will open the mind of the average business person when looking at their social media presence. They are quotes that will remind the seasoned public relations professional what social media is all about. They are – never mind, just read for yourself:

  1. Social media allows us to behave in ways that we are hardwired for in the first place – as humans. We can get frank recommendations from other humans instead of from faceless companies. – Francois Gossieaux, The Hyper-Social Organization: Eclipse Your Competition by Leveraging Social Media
  2. Social media spark a revelation that we, the people, have a voice, and through the democratization of content and ideas we can once again unite around common passions, inspire movements, and ignite change. – Brian Solis, Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web
  3. How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable? – Seth Godin, Guerrilla Marketing for Home-Based Businesses
  4. Passion is the gasoline of social media. – Jay Baer
  5. In Social Media the “squeaky wheel” gets the oil. You have to put yourself out there, to find people who will relate or even debate with you, depending on what you are looking for. – Jessica Northey
  6. A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is. – Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit
  7. We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it. – Erik Qualman, Author
  8. Quit counting fans, followers and blog subscribers like bottle caps. Think, instead, about what you’re hoping to achieve with and through the community that actually cares about what you’re doing. – Amber Cadabra
  9. Think like a publisher, not a marketer. –  David Meerman Scott, Marketing Strategist
  10. Our head of social media is the customer. –  McDonald’s
  11. Social media allows big companies to act small again – Jay Baer
  12. Engage rather than sell … Work as a co-creator, not a marketer. – Tom H. C. Anderson
  13. Social Media puts the “public” into PR and the “market” into marketing. – Chris Brogan
  14. Stop Marketing. Start engaging.- Scott Stratten
  15. You are what you tweet. – Alex Tew
  16. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it. – Erin Bury
  17. Social media is just a buzzword until you come up with a plan. – Unknown

Which quote did you like best? Is there another social media quote that should be added to the list?

We’ve Always Done It That Way

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change-aheadThe famous term that all innovators either love or hate to hear depending on their outlook is “We’ve always done it that way.” This is used to explain everything from where a brand advertises, to promotions that are run, internal company processes, and just about anything else you can think of.

At one time in America, more respect was given to authority. The idea of questioning an authoritative figure was simply out of the question. You followed orders. In today’s day and age there is still a level of respect but this answer is no longer an acceptable response. In many instances you will find that this process was in place for so long that nobody can quite explain it to you.

So, as soon as you hear the words “We’ve always done it that way,” it is your time to shine. You as the innovator, the brand ambassador, the pillar of change, needs to stand up and make change in this part of the business. How do I do that, you ask? Here is how:

  1. Brainstorm ideas for change: Jumping to a snap judgment and saying it is a flat-out horrible way to do things from the start will put a wall between you and decision makers. Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to start on a side project and bring it to your boss. They want to see that entrepreneurial spirit shine through. As soon as you hear that dreadful response, you need to…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17976

Cadillac is Back at Hero Status

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bob_ferguson_cadillacOn June 14, 2013, Bob Ferguson, Vice President of Global Cadillac, spoke to a large group of industry professionals at the Adcraft Club of Detroit GM Day. Ferguson is clearly focused on the long-term brand strategy to bring Cadillac back. After some neglect and declining market share for more than thirty years, Cadillac recently has had its highest sales spike since 1976.

Ferguson focused his discussion on Cadillac as an epic tales of sorts. The hero is the automobile, with various sections of the story revealing its true character. Ferguson describes it as a tale with three acts.

  1. Act One: Cadillac is described as the hero in its infancy. It is born. It leads. It is iconic. It holds the virtues of the American public. As many know, Act One lasted for many years, from approximately 1902 through 1976.
  2. Act Two: Things were shifting and the hero that is Cadillac was lazily focusing on size and its past status. Cadillac, the hero, slumped. It was caught off guard by its enemies and the new idea of what an iconic car should be.  Act Two lasted a lot less longer than the previous act, from approximately 1976–2012.
  3. Act Three: Cadillac is described simply as redemption. The hero…

Read my entire article originally published on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand here: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17905

Step Up and Make Change

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changeIn a flight back from Washington-Dulles airport the other day I realized one very important thing that many employees today do not – the power to make change. Between my snoring neighbor and two pre-teen brothers fighting beside me, I caught myself daydreaming.

What happened was I read article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Influence: How to Get It; How to Use It.” The article reminded me of my strengths and the relationship I have built with senior leadership in my current organization. While day dreaming, it dawned on me that the average employee at our company does not feel as if they are able to talk and influence them as I have previously been successful doing. Couple this with internal issues that some of our employees are experiencing and it makes for one interesting daydream.

Many individuals in corporate America do not realize that they themselves have the power to make change. Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) in Mad Men says his iconic line “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.” While that is the fictional advertising world it rings true today in real life. The trouble is, most colleagues are waiting for someone to ask them or tell them before change happens. Usually the ultimate change occurs; they move on to a competitor. I knew it was time to step up and make change.

While on that flight I put my mind to work with one question and one answer on my mind – “Why? Because someone has to do it.” As soon as I made it back to the office I had an impromptu meeting with a Project Manager (PM). This PM is one that I personally feel is well-respected and has a very keen sense of judgement. We spoke about an idea to develop a company program where employees feel empowered and can be part of the change. Currently we are writing out a clear purpose, methodology and follow-up policy for the group. We plan to gain senior management buy-in throughout the coming weeks.

This entrepreneurial spirit can live, thrive and survive in your organization. Sometimes you have to step up and set up a system to allow employees to be part of the change, and sometimes they take charge and do it themselves. What can you do to be part of the change in your organization?