Making the Investment

When starting a new job, it’s easy to get sucked into the newness of it all. You want to do well, you want to be sure that your organization values your presence, and the everyday treadmill can feel as though it’s on incline 8.0 at speed 7.5.  However, as one of my superiors recently mentioned in one of my company’s “peer lunches,” it is critically important that we all take time to “make the investment.”

What did she mean by “make the investment?” She meant that as young professionals,  our personal brand and reputation does and should extend past the confines of our current job.  We spend all day (and sometimes nights) investing in our clients, making sure they are succeeding in achieving their goals, but we have to take time to invest in ourselves.  

Much like our clients have business goals to guide their strategic communications,  we should have career goals to guide our strategic personal branding.  Here are 5 steps to help all of us make the investment in ourselves:


1. Write down two goals you’d like to achieve in your next year of your career. Note- these should be personal goals, not client-based or company-based.

2. Ask yourself, your peers, or even your boss (where applicable) what the best way is to achieve these goals.  What do you need to do between points A and B? Write these down in specific, realistic terms.

3. Start with the simplest action first. (I find tackling a daunting list can be best achieved by easing yourself in.)

4. Congratulate yourself! Take the time to celebrate that you’re making an investment in your long-term professional brand.

5. Complete the rest of the actions on your pathway list.  Now celebrate! You’re well on your way to achieving your goals,  and you’ve taken the time to make the investment.


So you’re not at SxSW…


While the Twittersphere blows up during SxSW (South by Southwest, a social media and music festival in Texas), I’ll be at home grading midterms and working on preparations for Life Gets Better Together (an LGBTQ youth advocacy conference in Syracuse this April).  Just because I’m not attending, however, doesn’t mean I will miss out on all the insights, and neither should you!  The following 5 steps will help all of us not physically present at SxSW make the most of this next week.

1) Find the SxSW programming schedule online, and find the sessions that interest you most.

2) Use HootSuite’s “Search” stream capabilities to save those session titles as streams.  If there is an official hashtag for those sessions, use that instead.

3) Create Google alerts for blogs/news about those sessions.  It is very likely that attendees will be writing about those sessions, and you can gain great insights from reading these write-ups!

4) Create Twitter lists to follow your favorite experts presenting at SxSW, or even just people you know who are attending.  You can then turn these lists into saved streams in HootSuite, giving you a quick and easy way to follow along with the presenters and attendees experiences.

5)  Don’t forget to search platforms like Storify and Slideshare for stories and presentations from SxSW.  While they may not be posted immediately, they will be gold mines of SxSW knowledge after the fact!

Top 5 Tidbits for Job-Seeking Success

I’ve compiled the best advice from last night’s #HRRoundtable at the Newhouse School into a brief post for all of my fellow job-seekers!  Enjoy.

  1. Show your PERSONALITY in your cover letter.  As Brooke Popko of W2O Group said, companies don’t just want an employee with the right skills. It’s about showing how you are the right fit for the culture of the organization.
  2. 70-80% of positions are not posted online! Leveraging your personal and social networks will help you find these hidden opportunities, said Beth Guerra of APCO Worldwide.
  3. “Everyone you know should know that you’re job searching.”  You never know who could be the right person to connect you to that next opportunity.  No need to be shy about who you are and what you are looking for, said Guerra.
  4. “Treat LinkedIn as your headquarters.”  This advice from Brian Batchelder, VP of Recruiting for Fleishman-Hillard is perhaps the key to job-seeking in today’s world.  Be sure that your resume directs readers to your LinkedIn, which then can direct them to your online presence through Twitter profiles, blogs, etc.   Make the recruiter’s job easy.
  5. When looking for work, make social media tools work for you!  Batchelder recommends using a service like Hootsuite (my personal favorite) or TweetDeck to create a stream with updates from your target companies.  This will help you stay on top of their news, whether it be an industry award, media coverage or even a job posting.

Do you have any tips to add to the list?

For more, check out my Storify of the event: HR Roundtable


5 ways social media changed “The Big Game”

1.       People kept their eye on the…ball?

Actually, they didn’t.  According to Mashable, 24.1 million tweets were sent during the course of the game and Beyonce’s halftime show.  That means that on average, about 5 million tweets were sent each hour of the programming.  As we all know, social media takes formerly single-screen experiences and transforms them into multi-screen, multi-dimensional experiences.  Whether a football fan, Beyonce fan, or just an observer, an online conversation was ready and waiting for you last night, and odds are you chimed in.

2.       People demanded more.


It seemed that everyone involved in last night’s game was up for public critique, from the broadcasters, to power companies, to performers, not to mention the players and coaches.  From a public relations standpoint, this provided plenty of interesting examples of how brands can best respond to such criticism.  For example, Entergy, the power company for the Superdome, updated their Twitter feed with information on their efforts to find the source of the 34-minute outage, and even released a joint statement with the managers of the Superdome today. Every communications manager from every organization even remotely connected to such a huge event was on-call last night, as should be the case in our world where crises never sleep.

3.       A blackout blew up.

Rather than losing viewers due to technical difficulties during a game that seemed to be no-contest, CBS actually gained viewers, said one Yahoo! News report.  How did this happen? Likely the same way that Tracy Morgan and Jimmy Kimmel’s Emmy awards fainting hoax did.  The news of the blackout went viral on Facebook and Twitter, and people tuned in immediately.

4.       #AdBowl winners won, instantly.

According to Mashable, 30% of the tweets during the game were about the advertisements.  Breaking this down further, they mapped out exactly which brands were the most talked-about in the online conversations, with Taco Bell and Budweiser taking the lead.  While these numbers do not factor in the question of positive vs. negative mentions, they certainly provide a good basis upon which the winners and losers of last night’s #AdBowl can be judged.

5.      A good ad gained value.

For those companies that created the most popular ads of last night, they got far more than their money’s worth.  The ad they would have paid millions for ten years ago suddenly gets thousands of free viewers as it spreads through social media.  Bad ads, however, become worse catastrophes.  Rather than being complained about on a couch of four people and forgotten minutes later, they are torn apart online over and over.  Thanks to social media, there was much more than just the Lombardi trophy at stake last night.

Congratulations to my favorite Twitter success of the evening….oreo

Syracuse University’s Kate Brodock on Social Media

“You will get out of social media what you put into it.”

Today in our social media strategies & tactics class, we were given a firsthand look into how Syracuse University manages its social media efforts from Kate Brodock, Executive Director of Digital & Social Media for the university.  Drawing from her experience at Syracuse and elsewhere, Kate provided us with many valuable insights into the world of social media management.  A healthy balance of content creation and curation, providing consistent ‘value’ to your followers and the importance of social media in a crisis were all stressed.
Particularly interesting were her insights into the use of segmentation of social media.  As such a large institution (somewhere in the range of 14,000 undergraduates alone), Syracuse University has found it necessary to segment its social media outreach.  Users who engage with social media accounts are doing so to serve their own needs; in order to meet those needs, SU has split its main social channels into several social channels.  For example, its main Twitter account (@SyracuseU) serves almost 17,000 followers, all with a variety of experiences, locations and desires.  Some may be alumni, some current students, some faculty and some even local community members.  Rather than ‘spamming’ all 17,000 followers with content and information irrelevant to them and their connection to SU, the university has divided into several niche accounts, including @SUCampus and @SUSqueeze.  Across all of its platforms and accounts, SU has found a way to brand itself consistently, something many large organizations struggle to do.

“You want likes that will stay with your brand!” 

 In describing the importance not just of the number of ‘likes’ or followers on a brand’s page, Kate stressed that providing consistent value to your followers is key.  Value can be “warm fuzzies,” meaning some kind of visual or other content that tugs at a user’s heartstrings.  For Syracuse, these warm fuzzies could come in the form of their “Throwback Thursday” photos of SU many decades ago, which engage alumni in a meaningful, even emotional way.  Value can also be humor, however.  Perhaps your organization’s users simply want to “crack up” every day, she said, “and if you keep them laughing, you can keep them coming back.”  Whatever the type of value your users seek, be sure to provide it consistently in order to increase user engagement with your brand or organization.  

“When a crisis hits, it will hit the social media platforms first, and it will hit us in incredibly high volume!”

As the social media director for a major university, Kate has been exposed to several recent crises at SU, including the Bernie Fine scandal that rocked campus last spring.  While these experiences were by no means an easy job for those running the SU social channels, Kate and her team were able to learn quite a bit about social media’s role in a crisis during those times.  Her instructions for crisis response are:

1) When hearing rumblings of a crisis, stop & listen.  Gather as much information as you can.
2) Acknowledge emotions.  People are feeling a certain way, and those emotions are valid.
3) Respond with 1st party content (from your organization) when ready.
Lastly, Kate stressed the importance of coordination and collaboration during a crisis.  “Cross-department coordination can make or break a crisis,” she said.  If social media managers are not allowed a seat at the crisis management and preparedness table, they will be incapable of effectively communicating with an organization’s publics during a tumultuous time.    
Many thanks to Kate Brodock for sharing these insights (and many more below in my Storify) with our class!  

“Social media tools are not free, unless you consider your time valueless!”


[View the story “Syracuse University’s #SocialMedia Strategy” on Storify]