Get Your Commute On Ann Arbor

May in Ann Arbor means, the Commuter Challenge, and the Interns at Ingenex, a Michigan Social Media Agency, say, Game On!  May is National Bike Month, to celebrate this, GetDownTown.org organizes the Commuter Challenge every year where local businesses compete to see which business can engage the most commuters. You can commute by bus, carpool, bike, walking, or even motorcycle.  Commuters  only have to pledge to commute one day in the month of May to be eligible to sign up.

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Photo Credit: Elena Nadtochiy

Studies show that the healthiest people are those that commute to work; they are healthier than even those that commit themselves to the gym 3 times a week.  Commuting is also better for the environment, and cost effective because you don’t have to pay for gas (or as much if you are a motorcycle) or worry about parking with all modes except motorcycle.

Are you a local business in Ann Arbor? If so, ask your employer to get involved, even if you don’t have 100% participation, you will still inspire colleagues and maybe they will sign up next year.

 

Why You Should Become a Blogger

So, you want to break into the field of digital media? It can take time, but a great way to gain experience while still in school or working in another field is to start blogging. Choose a specific topic to write about, but try to not keep it too narrow. Maybe you will write about a hobby or passion you have, or maybe it will be a blog about trends in social media, anything that excites you. Once you decide on a category, the next step is to chose a platform.

Photo Credit: CollegeDegrees360

There are many free platforms you can choose like WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr. WordPress and Blogger are more traditional styles while Tumblr is more visually oriented. If your hobby is an outdoor hobby that can be accompanied my many photos, you may to use Tumblr. If your topic is more professionally orientated, Blogger or WordPress may be a better choice.

After that it is time to build up a community on Twitter. If you are not already on Twitter, set up an account. If you are, start following similar users and start reading their blogs, commenting, and retweeting and replying to their tweets. Think of similar bloggers as your allies, not your competition they may be your only audience for a while. Many seasoned Twitter experts  advocate for using your own name and having your profile picture be of yourself. It makes it more personal that way, people will be more likely to engage with a person, rather than an icon image.

Getting an audience takes patience and time, but does pay off. The trick is to publish often and regularly. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Once you are established, guest posts are a great way to get more exposure. I was lucky enough to land a guest post on a popular blog with a large readership and my post was re-syndicated on the PR Daily. This would have never happened if I published the same piece on my own blog.

So go ahead, let the world hear your voice speak with authority on a topic you know about. You may enjoy it even more than you though, and it might even land you a job.

When Networking: Think Locally!

Photo Credit: Graves Neal de Armond

When networking for a social media job, it is important to remember to not only “think globally”. I had been networking on Twitter for years and made many valuable connections, but most of them were living in different states and sometimes different countries than me. I also only met about a dozen of them IRL at a Tweetup in Salt Lake City, but it was for fun, not to further my career!

I started to see the error in my way and began attending local chapter meetings of the Social Media Club of Detroit (SMCD). It was there I met the person who does the social for Pure Michigan, who became a great mentor for me. He kept suggesting I attend an ongoing business networking lunch called LA2M, which was in my hometown Ann Arbor.  I always seemed to have a conflict on the day it was held, so I let months pass by without going.

Finally, one Wednesday my plans were expectantly cancelled so I took the opportunity to check it out. Wow. I was so glad I did. After listening to the speaker talk about mobile apps and eating a delicious lunch, I was able to talk to a lot of interesting people.

However, I have to say, the very best part was my chance to meet Derek Mehraban, the founder of LA2M and CEO of Ingenex. We chatted about my going to school for my Master’s in Public Relations and he mentioned he was looking for interns. I sat down for an interview with him the very next day, and was hired on the spot! He seemed impressed by my portfolio, but admitted it was like I had just fallen from the sky, he had no idea I existed until the day before even though I had built up a pretty substantial social media presence.  Again, my folly was focusing on a global level and overlooking the people that were doing what I was doing in my own town.

I also can’t stress enough the importance of networking with people face to face. Twitter is great, but nothing tops a personal connection with people in your industry, especially if you are job seeker. Job fairs, networking meetings, business workshops and seminars are all a great way to meet local people, in person. So make it a goal of yours to check out local networking opportunities, you may get a job out it.