Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Five Easy Places to Find Social Media Content

Do you ever find yourself staring at your computer, wracking your brain for the answer to "what the heck am I going to post on Facebook today"?

Fear not social media mangers: there are easy ways and places to find content that are right under your nose. Many of the places I look for content are easy to search and filled with oodles of content just for you!

1. Google Images: The neat thing about Google Images is that you can literally search anything and at least something will come up. Let's say you are doing social media for a lawn care company and you are trying to find a picture to encourage engagement on your page. Google "funny lawn" in images. The page literally doesn't end and there are hilarious content pictures for you to use!

Caution: If you are going to be publishing something using one of the Google images, make sure you are not breaking copy write!

2. Twitter: Twitter feeds are filled with a wealth of relevant information for your company if you know how to search for it. An easy way to find related content is to go into the search box and use a hashtag term to look for content. Let's use the example of a marketing company. A marketing company may search hashtags such as: #marketing, #SEO, #socialmedia, and #advertising. An endless Twitter feed of information will appear and I promise you will find at least one article or tip you can use for your social media.

Caution: Make sure to click the link before your re-tweet to actually read the article and make sure the link works. If bad content is present, you may upset your followers.

3. Wikipedia: Yes I know you are saying, "what is she thinking?" but seriously, it works for finding topics to search for. Let's say you run social media for a handyman company. Put "handyman" into the search bar and quickly skim through the article. Scroll down and you'll see a section of the article that gives you a whole list of "handyman jobs". Now, you can use those as search terms on other sites to find content.

Caution: Wikipedia is meant to be an "idea box" (in my opinion). It gives you a good overview of information, but many of the facts, figures, and articles listed on that site are not reliable and you want to caution yourself against giving false information to your customers.

4. Pinterest: The best thing about Pinterest is the variety of content. Not only can you find good pictures, you can also find articles on virtually any topic, websites you've never heard of, and that "perfect post" you've been waiting to find. It's easy to search for key terms and browse general categories until you find what you are looking for.

Caution: If you are re-pinning any of the material you find, make sure to click on the image and see where it goes. You don't want to direct your customers to a dead-end website or a competitor!

5. Social media sites for companies like yours: Who knows the industry better than your competitors? Similar social media sites can be a great resource. What I mainly use this for is seeing what topics they are posting about, how often they are posting, and maybe to use some of their content.

Caution: Is this content poaching? Well it can be if you steal all their content all the time,so use this one in moderation.

I hope that this gives you some ideas of where to find a variety of quality content for your various social media sites!

What resources do you use for finding content? How do you keep your ideas fresh and interactive?


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Resumes and Personal Branding: Basic Resume Building Tips

You may be thinking: Why is she writing about resumes on her marketing blog?

Well, resumes can be the first impression a potential employer receives of you and it is your chance to market yourself! Self-branding is extremely important in your career; think about what you want to do, what your long and short term goals are, and who you want to be as a career women or man.

Resumes can be tricky. It is hard to know what to include and what not to include. You may also struggle with making your minimum wage job sound like the best learning experience in the universe. And many people struggle with knowing where to start when creating a resume.

That's what I'm here for! I am going to run down my top tips on creating a simple resume and how to make it stand out and shape your personal brand.

We'll start with a simple list of what to include and what not to include.

  • Make sure to include: 
    • Education level: You worked hard to get into college and/or grad school and you want to make sure to include that hard work is on your resume. If high school is the highest level you completed, you'll at least want to state that you have your GED or high school diploma.
    • Your correct contact information: Be sure to include a current address, phone number, and email address that your possible employer may contact you at.
    • Keywords: Because employers receive so many resumes, many large companies will use something called a parser. Basically  they send your resume through a scanner and look for keywords, allowing the "best" applicants to rise to the surface. Applicant tracking systems are becoming more and more advanced and have become a staple at many companies. An easy way to make sure to include keywords is by seeing which keywords are repeated in the job description and using relevant terms from the industry.
    • Accomplishments, not just duties: Instead of simply listing the duties you performed, make sure to include accomplishments and goals achieved to support why they are important enough to be listed on your resume. Instead of saying "Sold medical equipment" say "increased sales of medical equipment by 11% from 2011-2012"
    • A custom file name: Simply saving it as "resume" and sending it over will allow your resume to get lost in a sea of job applicants. My recommended format is Lastname_Firstname_TitleofCompany. This shows them that you took the time to customize the resume to fit their company and will also allow them an easy reference point of who's resume they are looking at.
    • Bullet points and organization: Organize your resume in a way that fits the career best and that is easy to understand for any one looking at it. Use bullet points, white space, and lines to help aid in the organization and spruce up your resume at the same time.
  • Make sure not to include:
    • Your picture: This is a debated topic, but it my opinion, you want to avoid having a picture so the potential employer cannot make a judgement about you before even reading your resume.
    • Your age: This goes along with the photo-why would you want to give your potential employer a reason to pre-judge you?
    • Your objective: This is also debated. Many will say you need to include your objective to ensure that the employer knows your long term career goals. But let's be honest, the objective of turning in a resume is to get the job you are applying for, so why do you need to state that on the resume? A more appropriate place for this is in the cover letter attached to your resume.
    • Spelling errors: The wrong use of a verb, spelling errors, missed commas, and any other grammatical errors you can think of will be a huge turnoff for potential employers. If you cannot take the time to check for spelling errors as an applicant, what makes them think you will do a quality job as a new hire? 45% of executives said they threw away a resume after just one typo; 31% said they discard them after two
    • The award that you won for the spelling bee while you were in fifth grade: Yes this is oddly specific, but what I'm hinting to is that you should include only relevant, timely, and important information on your resume. Employers already spend so little time on your resume, why fill it up with information that they won't care about?

Having a solid base for your resume will help you create your personal brand piece by piece. Yes resumes need to be professional, but it doesn't mean it can't have some sort of personality! As you have more jobs that help you grow in your field, you'll see your personal brand develop right in front of you.

Two side notes: All resumes should also come with a custom-crafted cover letter in an appropriate format that outlines basically why you should get the job that you applied for. Resumes should also be an appropriate length-I recommend a one page resume with a reference to visit your LinkedIn profile to see the full resume.

What tips would you give a person that is new to applying to jobs? What has worked well for you in the past?

Good luck to all of those career seekers out there! With the right resume, you can get your foot in the door of that dream job.


"If you call failures experiments, you can put them on your resume and claim them as achievements" ~Mason Cooley

Monday, May 13, 2013

Five Marketing Focal Points for Small Businesses

Are you a small business that is just starting out and needs to know what to focus on most? Of course with opening your own business, you know that there are many important things that you need to put your energy toward. I do not personally own a small business, but I've worked with many small business owners and based off of my own experiences, below are my personal top five marketing focal points for small businesses.

1) Social media platforms
Social media platforms are great; they are free and they are easy. They work well in trying to get out your message in an effective and engaging way. Social media platforms are growing in users and variety and really can cater to any kind of business.

Social media comes with its challenges, however. Although the platforms are free to use, they are not free to run when you take into account your time and effort that goes into them. And yes the platforms are easy, but you must learn the difference between how to run a personal account and how to run a business account!

2) Networking events
Networking events are a great way to market your business and yourself as a business owner. Many events have a networking portion where you go around the room to hand out your business card and collect others in exchange. There are also events hosted that are purely for networking; at these events people are asking to be told about your business and how it can help them. Be sure to prep your elevator speech and bring plenty of business cards.

Networking does take time, effort, and a little bit of money, but can pay off quickly when you meet that client that can help take your business off the ground!

3) Purchase a good website
You are going to want to pay a little more to get a website that is fully functional for your business needs, is mobile optimized, and has great SEO. Of course you want to live within your means when purchasing a website, but you want remember to create a website that is easy to use and provides your customers with valuable information. In this day and age, you need to make sure that your website is mobile capable if not mobile optimized. Many customers now access their information on a phone versus a computer—you want to make sure you aren't stopping your customers from doing so! And finally you want to spend at least a little time on SEO for your site. You need to make sure customers can find you via search queries and that you have a high page rank.

Websites can get expensive quickly, so make sure to be prepared for a large total if you are looking to build a large website with all the bells and whistles.

4) Blog
Blogs do many great things for your business and your website. It provides your customers with valuable information in addition to providing a reason for them to keep coming back to your site! If you are consistent on the timing of your blog as well as providing great content, you will attract subscribers and in turn, customers. An extra benefit of having a blog is that it keeps your site active and shows Google you are making updates to your site often, proving that you are a business that does real business!

Blogging does take time and effort to do correctly. You need to post consistently and constantly come up with new topic ideas that you think will interest your customer enough to make them subscribe.

5) Business cards
Spend a little extra money and get custom-designed, high-quality business cards. Having these from the start help you to establish your brand and your credibility. Business cards can be used at networking events as well as your place of business; they help to remind your customers you exist!

They can be expensive to get designed, but your business will thank you later.

Of course the marketing tips for small businesses are truly unlimited. Do you own a small business? What marketing tips do you have for potential entrepreneurs? 

Until next time!

"Behind every small business, there's a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores - these didn't come out of nowhere." ~Paul Ryan

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Social Media for Business Part 3: Pinterest for Business

I am completing a three-part series on social media platforms for businesses with one blog for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Welcome to Part 3!

I will be highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of using Pinterest based on my own experience; I do social media marketing for almost ten different companies, so I'll be sure to take the best of the best advice to pass on to you!

Let's begin with the advantages of using Pinterest for your business:
1) Pinterest is a visual platform: In general, people are lazy! Pinterest makes it easy to visually share things related to your business as well as your product without requiring the user to do all that much work.
2) It's easy-really easy: Pinterest is basically a digital bulletin board and they make it work exactly as such. It's also very easy to browse content and search specifically for content for your pages.
3) Just like other social media platforms, you don't have to just talk about your business: Let's say you own a flooring company. You can make boards for the wood you sell and picture of houses you've done. You can also make boards of neat home remodel ideas, pin about the town your business is based out of, and even a DIY board for home improvements. The possibilities are endless with Pinterest and it's easy to gain interest just by having interesting content.
4) You can use hashtags and key terms to make your content more searchable: Just like Twitter, you can add hashtags to your pin to increase the reach of your pin.
5) It's good for your SEO: Google indexes Pinterest and can help your SEO greatly.

Pinterest is still new, so some of the disadvantages may be fixed soon. But for now, here are the disadvantages:
1) You can't schedule posts ahead of time: Pinterest does not have an internal scheduling system like Facebook. There are some early developed third party applications that let you "pre-pin", but I have yet to have the time to try to use it.
2) It's easy to create a "flood" in the stream of pins: A flood is created when you pin onto the same board many times over; this give the user a "flood" of pins from that board. This will often cause the user to skip over the entire bunch of pins.
3) It's a little difficult to get users to follow your brand: Pinterest is on the newer side as far as social media goes, so some users are still unfamiliar with the platform. Following company pages and brands is even newer. An added challenge is balancing promotional content with content users are interested in.
4) Watch out for copyright infringement and spam: Sometimes users pin things that they are not supposed to. Always click on the pin and see where it goes to make sure it is what the pin says it is!

Pinterest is new but it is growing quickly! Grab your business name as soon as you can and pin away.

Have you began a business Pinterest page? What do you like to pin for your business?

Until next time!