If anyone needs proof that social media is different for everyone, I’ve got it. In the past week or so I’ve been part of three different presentations on social media. By the third, there should have been no prep, right? Just rinse and repeat.
Not so much.
Last Tuesday I joined Phil Buckley to speak to small business owners at the Cameron Village Library about social media. Then last Wednesday I flew to Chicago to talk to a $100+ million dollar company about social media for B to B. And last night my audience was students at North Carolina State University interested in personal branding.
Small business owners wanted to know:
- How do I combat bad comments?
- How is it not a waste of time listening to what everyone’s saying on Twitter?
The business to business company wanted to know:
- How do we measure ROI?
- Who should be the company’s “voice” on social media?
- What’s the value of a follower? Do followers lead to conversions?
- How do we make our company relevant to a B2B audience? We get how it works for Coca Cola, but we’re not selling Coke.
The NCSU students wanted to know:
- How do you create a personal brand if your name is not unique to you?
- What’s Linked In?
- How important is a resume?
- How long should a video resume be?
- Where do you draw the line between personal life and professional persona?
The takeaway: You must tailor your social media strategy to your (or your company’s) needs.
Since the NCSU presentation was the most recent, I’ll recap some of the points made by Jeremy Smith of Twine Interactive, Phil Buckley of McClatchy Interactive and myself. First, thank you to the students who attended. You had great questions, and we had a great time with you!
The first step to personal branding is naming your brand. You must have a name with which you can distinguish yourself within your multiple online communities. If your own name is distinct enough to use, go with that (I use morgansiem because I’m the only one). But if your name is more common (like Jeremy Smith), you have to be a bit more creative. Jeremy uses jeremysaid and Phil uses 1918. Once you name your personal brand, you can help a potential employer find you on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Twitter, etc.
What we found surprising was that most of the students didn’t know about Linked In. Attention all job seekers, get on Linked In and fill out your profile completely. For students, this is your opportunity to take advantage of the connections you make when you’re interning for free every summer or semester.
Resumes are important only for the sake of having. If you do a good enough job branding yourself, your reputation will precede you, and your resume will be irrelevant. Just because your interviewer will only look at it for two seconds, though, doesn’t mean you can just show up without one.
Video resumes are a good way to set yourself apart. If your personality is your best trait, show it off. But keep it brief. A minute and a half is enough.
As for personal versus professional life, the line is beginning to blur. With the rise of social media, it’s more common to know what your coworker and employer are doing on the weekend. However, you will have to decide for yourself how you want to portray yourself online. If you’re eyeing a job in certain industries, you’ll need to keep it clean. For other industries, though, not so much. If you’re adamant about not hiding anything about your crazy lifestyle, you might end up doing yourself the favor of not being hired by a stuffy company that wouldn’t suit you anyway. I don’t say that sarcastically.
Final point: You are on Facebook. You all raised your hands. That said, use privacy settings. Period.
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