Managing your Social Media Footprint in the Digital Age

In an ever competitive job market, your online presence is becoming an important part of the interviewing process. Employers aren’t necessarily trying to “dig up dirt” on you as much as they are trying to make sure you’re the right fit for the company. Dan Schawbel, author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success,” told MSN News, “Over 90 percent of recruiters use social networks to review candidates’ backgrounds.”  It goes to show just how important your online reputation is. Follow these easy steps to make sure you’re marketing yourself correctly:

Photo by: Search Engine People Blog

Photo by: Search Engine People Blog

Google Yourself
Start out looking at what employers would see if they searched you. Google, Bing, Facebook, etc. search your name. It will give you a good feel for what kind of digital footprint you’re leaving behind, whether it be positive or negative. If you can’t find you, then chances are recruiters are going to have a tough time too. However, that’s not necessarily a good thing; you want to be found in search results, for positive reasons of course. Searching yourself will give you a look at how much work you have ahead of you to clean up your image and make yourself more searchable for all the right reasons.

Clean It Up
Delete inactive social media profiles. There’s probably no reason to keep that Myspace from middle school, completely stocked full with embarrassing pictures. Once you determine what profiles you want to keep, and you realize they aren’t as professional as you’d like them to be, you might have your hands full. One useful (and free) tool students can use is SimpleWash. This application looks through your Facebook and Twitter and shows you everything from photos, to things you’ve liked or tweeted that have questionable content. You can also search specific words for the app to scan through. After it finds everything, you can sift through and delete things you don’t want employers to see.

Facebook Privacy Settings
They may be a pain, but they are important to keep up-to-date on so what you don’t want people to see, stays private. Facebook’s Privacy Settings are often changing, so you need to keep up with it. There are a lot of handy features to manage your profile. One of my favorites, Timeline Review, allows you to approve or hide tagged photos or posts before they are seen on your timeline. Gone are the days where you have to worry about quickly untagging yourself from an unprofessional (or just flat out unattractive) photo your friend posted from a night out. If there is anything questionable, you have have the ability to decide what can be seen.

Twitter
There are a lot of ways you can use Twitter, however some of them are better than others when it comes to getting a job. It might seem funny to tweet from the bar, but it won’t seem that funny when you can’t find a job after graduation. If you lack the self-control that so many college kids do, consider protecting your tweets. People will request to follow you, giving you the control over who sees your tweets. If you have your tweets public, remember who your audience is. Have an objective and make sure your tweeting relevant information.

Be Smart and Think Before You Post
Once it’s on the internet, it’s out there for good. Don’t post something if you are unsure of how it may be received by the public. Try to stay away from anything controversial. You don’t know the beliefs and values of recruiters who may be looking at your profile, so don’t say anything that could potentially offend them. Refrain from posting about politics, religion or anything illegal. “Posting while emotional” is another trap some fall into. We all say things we regret when angry or upset, but don’t share it with your entire online community.

Manage Your Friends and Followers
We’ve all heard it before, but don’t accept friend or follower requests from people you don’t know. Know who you are connected to and what you’re sharing with them. You can classify your friends into groups and share content that is specifically for them. As you get older, you might want to go through and manage your friends and followers to make sure they’re still relevant connections.

It’s important to keep yourself professional, but that doesn’t mean you need to sound like a robot in the process. Be yourself! Employers want to see your personality and the positive accomplishments you’ve had. Sprucing up your social media profiles may seem like a daunting task, and it may take you a few days to look through all those pictures from your college years, but it will be well worth it when your profiles are recruiter ready.

My kind of birthday town, Ann Arbor is

“How many birthday deals can you get in one day?” That was the question that drove the creation of the Ann Arbor Birthday Deals video I had the opportunity to work on. The piece is posted to TheDigitalBus.com, the blog run by Ingenex Digital Marketing.

The premise: Derek Mehraban, the Ingenex Digital Marketing CEO, celebrated his 40th birthday in August with the entire Ingenex team. Everyone piled into The Digital Bus — a fully-restored 1972 Volkswagen Westfalia Camper — in search of free birthday offerings. A number of Ann Arbor businesses provided complementary food and gifts — birthday candles, ice cream, truffles, cupcakes, ice tea, etc.

Erin O’Neill, content producer at Ingenex, drove the project. She shot the video and developed the concept. She said she wanted something “madcap” when she gave me the raw footage to edit. Drawing inspiration from reruns of “The Monkees” and Buster Keaton films, my touches included speeding up the action, creating humorous titles, and adding light uptempo music. Both Erin and Derek offered tremendous input during the editing process.

Working on projects such as this affirms my love for digital media and digital marketing. I find digital technology streamlines the creative process. Erin captured the footage on a small digital video camera and I edited it on my laptop using Final Cut Pro software. Digital also provides a mass outlet where others can provide immediate feedback. Various versions were uploaded to YouTube so the Ingenex team could offer input, and the finished piece was promoted through social media.

The video also serves as a showcase for Ann Arbor and its various businesses. The city is a great place to live and work and that comes across in the piece. Thank you to the following companies that were visited during the birthday outing: Ben & Jerry’s, Bubble Island, Cake Nouveau, Circumference, Cupcake Station, FOUND, Northside Grill, RoosRoast, Schakolad, and TeaHaus.

For a complete list of “A2” birthday deals, go to: http://arborwiki.org/Birthday_Deals.

Row, row, row your show, gently down the stream

Online video streaming is pretty convenient, wouldn’t you say?

I now stream most of my entertainment online which is why I haven’t been inside a video store in years. A trip to the video store used to be such a routine part of enjoying TV shows and movies. Now, the concept almost seems archaic – driving to the store, browsing the shelves, waiting in line to check out a DVD, having to return a film to the same location, etc. And don’t forget late fees! Oh, those late fees!

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

What had been a successful business model for years began to erode once the concept of online streaming caught on with the public and the amount of available content became extensive. Blockbuster, once the nation’s dominant provider of home video and video game rental services, filed for bankruptcy in 2010. My independent neighborhood video store closed long before that.

I’ve been a Netflix member for a few years now, and I subscribe to their streaming service. I’m fond of documentary programming and they have an extensive selection of shows from National Geographic, Discovery, and History Channel. I’ve also watched several cable TV shows via streaming – “Mad Men,” “Weeds,” “Louie,” etc.

It’s been interesting to observe Netflix’s business model change as a result of streaming. When I first joined, the company primarily handled DVD rentals. Their streaming selection was limited and it was included as a bonus to members. Now, their offerings are vast and feature many newly released mainstream movies. The service now holds real value, and so I can understand why Netflix recently began offering streaming as a separate service.

And then there’s YouTube. I admit that I’ve enjoyed all the top viral videos along with what seems like the rest of the general viewing public – “Chocolate Rain,” “Friday,” “Charlie Bit My Finger,” etc. I’m amazed that a family video of one brother biting another brother can be viewed 484 million times!

I love the controlled chaos of YouTube. It’s like decades of pop culture exploded and landed on the site. YouTube satisfies whatever random thing happens to enter my head at any given time on any given day – a favorite scene from a movie, a song I enjoyed when I was a teen. It’s rare that I can’t find something.

Again, streaming comes down to convenience and accessibility, concepts the digital marketing agency knows well. If the mantra of today’s consumer of news and entertainment is “I want what I want when I want it,” then providers like Netflix and YouTube are happy to oblige.

Social Media Makes Customer Service Better

Something I found out firsthand this past week is confirmed by a press release last week via Garntner, a British technology research firm. Companies that don’t use social media to connect their customer base is the modern-day equivalent of ignoring customers’ phone calls!

 

 

“The dissatisfaction stemming from failure to respond via social channels can lead to up to a 15 percent increase in churn rate for existing customers,” said Carol Rozwell, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

This issue will matter more to businesses the more widely-adopted social media and internet marketing becomes, as it is an fast, flexible way of reaching out to customers with concerns and advertising products.

The reason behind this? Businesses are more successful when they reach out to their customers in the channel they would like to be reached in, and more and more people are choosing to use social media for much more than talking to friends. Take, for instance, a company like Comcast. After a frustrating round of phone calls when my Internet was just about (it was really slow!) down, I decided to reach out through their customer service twitter, @ComcastCares. It was very friendly and fast, and got my issue taken care of roughly two days before the customer support phone number told me it would, and it was certainly a good demonstrator of the power of a good social media agency.

Google and Facebook the Better, Faster, Stronger

In the digital world, companies challenge each other to be the better, faster, stronger.  The competition is escalating and Google and Facebook are advancing. How do they maintain this success? Because they cater to the public by constantly improving their applications and making them even more simple and user-friendly.
Just in time for the school year, Google updated some of its major applications like Google Docs, Calendar, and Sites by improving accessibility, for example the addition of short cut keys. Also in Google Docs there used to be only one way to share a document and people could edit right on the page. Well now there is a comment only access to Docs, so now you can have friends look at your document without ever having to worry about them editing your original.
How many times have you gone on your Facebook account and you are dazed by the new design and format of the social networking site. Facebook is incessantly changing and the newest latest and greatest is the introduction of Timeline, it is a new type of profile that highlights the greatest moments of you that has been recorded on Facebook.  You have full control on what is on your Timeline profile and even old friends can easily catch up on your life. Stay tuned this application is available in a few weeks from now, possibly the same time as the release of the iPhone 5!

Facebook and Twitter Additction OK

In high school and early years of college my Facebook addiction appeared to distract me from what many others thought I “should” be focusing on. As I got older my Facebook addiction led to a fascination with Twitter and other forms of social media. Suddenly I was studying social media and digital public relations strategies in school. Within three years my degree in public relations went from cool to awesome. I was taking innovative journalism classes tailored to social media strategies and search engine optimization and all things digital. Was this too good to be true? Can I really make a career out of this?

Photo: DirJournal.com

It turns out you can. And there is quite the demand for digital agencies and social media strategist as the digital revolution continues to grow according to The Detroit News article, Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs. There is real value in social and digital and more and more people are recognizing that. The job market is fierce and there is good news for college students. According to The Detroit News Article. “By 2018 a million new jobs expected to be created.”  I don’t know if fate or luck or destiny brought me to my current internship in the digital marketing field, but the future is looking nice for me and for the digital agency.

The Detroit News: Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs

Virtual Conference; more than just a green way to network!

Not in a million years would I have fathomed receiving digital marketing advice from David Plouffe, President elect Barack Obama’s campaign manager, let alone be able to ask him questions.  Thanks to the incredible Digital Maketing World conference held by Marketing Profs on April 1st, 2009 I can actually say I have. 

A week ago if I was asked to attend a conference where David Plouffe was to be the guest speaker, despite my interest in it, I would have declined thinking it would be out of my budget to travel to the conference, pay for a hotel, and actually pay the fees to attend the varied events and seminars.  Today, my answer would be different. 

Marketing Profs Digital Marketing World virtual conference allowed everyone and anyone with an interest in digital marketing to attend a conference with some of the leaders in the Digital Marketing industry from the comfort of their own home at no cost.  Platform provider InXpo in conglomeration with Marketing Profs created an online conference that was far beyond any I have been to in person.  The conference included everything from an image of a beautiful convention centre where the conference was being held, to an auditorium where the speakers would present, an exhibit hall where companies could hold their booths, a resource center where you could download information provided by vendors and the event schedule, to a lounge where you could mix and mingle with others attending.

conference

The conference also eliminated the need for vendors and participants to travel to the site.  It eliminated the need for vendors to create elaborate exhibits, print stacks of pamphlets and informational packages, as well as spend money on chotchkies and doodads to give away.  Making it one of the greenest conferences I have attended.

Other benefits to the online aspect included the fact that there was no line up in front of a booth for a chance to have a conversation with a vendor, there was no rush to get a seat at a seminar, or even the awkward conversation about the weather whilst trying to mingle with others around you. 

trade-show-floor1

When you arrived at each booth a chat window would open where you could see all the conversations going on and join in, or ask for a one on one conversation.  There were several representatives at most booths so there was no waitin in line necessary.  Each booth also had ample information for you to look at with links to their websites, blogs, and so on.  Some vendors even went as far as to provide an opportunity to win prizes like an I-Pod or a book to those stopping by.

The auditorium held a scheduled set of speakers who provided visuals to go along with their live podcast as well as a question and answer session to which you could submit your questions via the live chat window, or via e-mail. 

It was an easy to use, entertaining, intriguing event with so much to offer.  Thankfully all the content and resources from the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing World virtual conference are still available for 90 days for anyone that missed out.

Deepti Dewan Chowdhry

David Meerman Scott’s “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” receives rave reviews from Michigan State University graduate students.

David Meerman Scott’s “The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly” is being used as the lead text for Michigan State University’s New Media Drivers License course offered to Communication Arts and Science graduate students.

 

davidmeermanscott4

The New Media Drivers License (sm) is a graduate level course designed to provide its students with the tools and techniques to best use new media and digital communication tools which include: Facebook, Linkedin, Blogging, Podcasting, New Marketing, Digital Public Relations, Google Tools, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) including Google Adwords, and Presentation Zen techniques.

 

David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly” is the prime text used to provide the groundwork for the New Media Drivers License (sm). “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” gives the students a perspective into new media that is relevant and up to date through a conversational style of writing exclusive from other textbooks they may have used in the past. Scott’s unique ability to provide information without any fluff in an easy to understand, unambiguous way have students raving.
Scott is an “award-winning marketing strategist, best-selling author, conference speaker, and seminar leader” whose words will truly help you get to where you should be in today’s digital world.
With a price tag of under twenty dollars and wide availability through chain bookstores and several online vendors “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” should be at the top of any advertising, public relations, or marketing professional/to be professional’s wish list.
More information on the New Media Drivers License (sm) can be found on the digital bus.

More information on David Meerman Scott and “The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly” can be found on Scott’s website.

Deepti Dewan Chowdhry

 

 

 

 

Yahoo CEO Steps Down

In recent new, Jerry Yang, CEO of Yahoo,has just announced that he is stepping down. Yang said he would continue his duties until the board announced his successor. He also agreed to assist in the process for finding his replaceent. Finally, Yang said he would continue to work for Yahoo and return to his previous job as “chief Yahoo,” a corporate strategy role in addition to remaining on the board. Yang was in control of Yahoo for about a year and a half.

The decision is said to have been mutual between Yang and the board. Although the board was grateful to Jerry’s contributions over the past year and half, they are looking for someone to take the company to the next level.

Ross Sandler, analyst at RBS Capital Markets, saw this change as a positive decision from what he calls a “shareholders perspective.” He said Yang did little to restore confidence in any of Yahoo’s shareholders, employees or customers after botching the Microsoft deal. In February, Yang refused to accept Microsoft‘s bid of $31 a share. He attempted to show some willingness to sell the company but at a much higher price Microsoft was not willing to pay. Due to this, Microsoft rescinded its offer in May.

Yang attempted to develop a plan to help Yahoo compete against Google. He made several cuts in the staff and planned to lay off at least 10% of its 15,000 employees. During the time that this was stated, Yahoo’s net income fell 64% and lowered its revenue projections for the year. Yang made an advertising deal with its rival Google. The deal was supposed to bring Yahoo $250-$450 million in additional cash flow for the first year. Under pressure from regulators over antitrust concersn Google backed out of the deal. Since this deal fell through, many analysts have stated that yahoo might be forced to consider a deal with Microsoft or a merger with AOL. Who know’s what is in store for Yahoo in the near future.

Althouh Jerry Yang seemed very dedicated to the Yahoo corporation, his ability to take Yahoo to the next level did not go as expected. Although he dissapointed the board, he is at least sticking to his company and continuing to support it despite his job situation. As Yang most recently stated, “i have always, and will always bleed purple(in reference to Yahoo’s corporate color).”

New Ad Format: Facebook’s Attempt to Appeal to Marketers

The popular social networking site Facebook Inc. is trying out new tactics to churn out steady revenue from its advertisers.  New ads called “engagement ads” appear on the main screen when a person first logs into Facebook. Then the user is prompted to do something with the ad i.e. commenting on a movie trailer or RSVP for the finale of a TV show, etc. If the person goes through with the action, Facebook then sends a notice about what the person has done with the ad to their friends.

Facebook has been testing this new ad format since August and just this month has started making it available to advertisers. According to Facebook, 70 of the U.S.’s 100 largest advertisers have advertised on its site since 2007. Despite Facbook’s attempted efforts, competitor MySpace.com is still the market leader with 15.9% of display-ad spending.

 

It has been said that buying ads on Facebook and MySpace usually cost less than buying ads on sites such as Yahoo or AOL.  Facebook has hired top ad sales executives from top companies and has also sent teams into agencies to pitch products and generate awareness about its research tools.

The only problem Facebook may have is people getting frustrated with a ton of new ads popping up. Something that used to make Facebook unique from MySpace was that it was not flooded with a bunch of different ads.  Within the next few months, we will see how users react to the new and more prevalent ad usage on Facebook. Since most of Facebook’s targeted users are college students and young adults it could be seen as a downside; however, for marketers it could be seen as a great aspect.