Learn To Use New Social Media in Marketing

27 08 2009

I’m currently in the process of writing a “How to use social media” guide for students which will appear on this blog as soon as it’s finished. The reason for this? Despite the recent surge in discussions and commentaries on the advantages of new social media channels, the actual implementation rates can often be very low. This is true even for the Generation Y talents and my classmates who are graduating from university and letting some of the best opportunities slip either through mismanagement or ignorance of professional uses of social networks. And they’re not the only ones.

Who should be using new social media for marketing?

  • soon-to-be  and recent grads: market yourself in a professional way in the daunting job search
  • professionals: Are you maintaining your personal brand? Are you considered an expert in your field?
  • businesses: Do your customers know what you’re doing? Are you open about your business strategies? Are you attracting new customers?
  • nonprofits: Is your charity getting enough publicity? Do people know about you? They can’t help if they don’t know you exist.

How can you use social media for marketing?

If you’re an individual, make sure your profile is complete and puts the best reflection on your professional credentials. LinkedIn is extremely useful if you’re currently job hunting – use the search options to get yourself a referral at the company or find out who the hiring manager is so you can contact them directly. Make sure your profile is in line with the personal brand you’re trying to portray (for a great article with more information see Dan Schawbel’s “How To Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn” at Mashable).

For companies and nonprofit organizations, LinkedIn can be a great source of professional publicity. Do you appear in the “Company Search”? Are your employees on LinkedIn and saying good things about their job? Use LinkedIn to manage your professional network and maybe attract new talents.

  • start a blog

Blogging is a great way to establish expertise. Are you following the news in your industry? What happens if you do a “vanity search” and put your name (or your organization’s name) into Google? Do you like what comes up? Do you have a strong online presence? Writing a blog allows you to control the content that appears online and is a great way to present yourself to potential employers or your customers. Blog about what your business is doing. Blog about the cause that your nonprofit is supporting. Blog about your knowledge of the industry and the skills that you’re developing. Then put your blog url on a business card and make use of this wonderful channel of marketing.

Tweeting about your company can provide you with great feedback. Use the search engines to find out who (if anybody) is talking about you. Individuals should tweet too. You can use Twitter to promote your blog posts. You can use Twitter to share interesting articles that pertain to your field and which your followers and customers could find valuable. Build your social network and strike up conversations. Make sure the content you post is useful and engage with others. Present news about your organization. Mention the seminar you’re attending to advance your career. Work on your personal or business brand in the vibrant Twitter community.

This is especially useful for businesses and other organizations. Set up a Facebook Page and post information about new products or innovations, about events and workshops that you’re holding. Allow people to connect with you and seek feedback. Gain new supporters on one of the largest social networks.

How are YOU using social media to market yourself or your organization?

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Soon-to-be Grads: What are you doing now that will help you later?

26 08 2009

I’m about to enter my final year of university. This is both an exciting and uncertain time as I don’t know what the future will hold after I leave the relative safety of university environment behind me. I have had two amazing years at Cambridge and enjoyed every second of it. And I’m eager to make the most of my final year as well. The workload will be high but also rewarding and I’m keen to take on everything that comes. At the same time, however, it is hightime for thoughts about my future direction after Cambridge. The “scary” job search is getting nearer and nearer. And whilst the possibilities of gaining internships and summer work experiences are mostly aimed at first and second-years, soon-to-be grads are left with great tools that can help in the future job search.

The best time to implement these, of course, is before you get into the swing of your senior year and schoolwork occupies most of your time. The summer before your final year at university should therefore be used not only to get some needed last-minute experience but also to prepare for what lies ahead and make your future job search a bit easier.

So what can you do now that will help you later?

  • update your CV and learn how to write cover letters and market yourself to potential employers

Put in the effort, do your homework, and make your CV stand out. Think about all your activities, skills and experiences that could show what you’ve achieved so far. Use the Situation-Activity-Result process to identify how your achievements can be presented on your CV. Research cover letter requirements and make sure you show yourself in the best light.

  • build your online presence

Almost 1 in 2 companies will now check your online identity before they make you an offer. That means almost a 50% chance that you’ll be “googled” before you even get an interview. Go now and perform a “vanity search” – putting your name into Google. What do the results tell you? Is your online presence strong? Is there something that you wouldn’t want a hiring manager to see? Check for unflattering information and then work on building up your positive online image. Social media can help you a lot and I suggest starting and maintaining a LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed and a blog. This way you can influence your personal brand on the web and prove your expertise and commitment.

  • build your knowledge of the field

School is not the only place to gain knowledge. Read blogs that talk about your industry. Follow experts on Twitter. Watch inspiring talks or listen to podcasts. There are many ways in which you can gain new expertise and thus enhance your job prospects.

  • devise a plan of attack

When and where will you start with your job search? Is there anything you need to do beforehand? Who will you ask for help? How will you balance school and job hunting? Sit down and make a plan of action. Figuring all of this out in advance will save you precious time later.

  • broaden your network

Networking is still one of the most important strategies in any job search. Do you know any people who could help you? Have you been in touch with old connections, classmates or peers? Start building and broadening your network by realizing who you already know and then building up on it. Attend events, get involved in Alumni groups and social networks. Work on your network now and offer value and help to others before you need help yourself.

What are YOU doing now that will help you later? Any other strategies that you would recommend?