Archive for ‘Branding’

August 15, 2012

I challenge you to Google yourself! [Infographic]

A simple Google search to see what results come up when your name is punched into the worlds biggest search engine – It’s just a smart thing to do. Feel free to head over to Google now to do a quick search…I’ll wait…Did you like what you found?

You may be surprised to know that you are not the only one searching for information about you online. It turns out that just about everybody wants to know more about you, and it’s not just your family and friends:

  • 79% of HR recruiters and hiring managers screen job candidates by reviewing online information about them.
  • 86% of hiring managers have told candidates that they were rejected based on what was found online about them.
  • Even 12% of College admissions officers said that posts which include photos of alcohol consumption, illegal activity, and the use of vulgar language have negatively impacted a potential student’s chances in being granted admission.

Sometimes I think that too much of the “Google yourself often” conversation is framed around the fear of having bad things appear online about you. This fear approach may motivate some, but I prefer to remind people of the opportunity angle. Yes, I firmly agree that it’s a good idea to keep your questionable behaviour offline as much as possible, but it’s also good to remember that hiring managers are looking to find out good things about you too…so they can hire you. This infographic from 2011 says that 68% of recruiters have hired a candidate because of what they saw about their potential hire on social media. Some of these reasons were because the candidates profile:

  • Gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit
  • Supported their professional qualifications
  • Showed the candidate was creative
  • Showed solid communications skills
  • Demonstrated the candidate’s awards and accolades
  • etc.

Googling yourself isn’t about vanity, egotism, or a sense of self-importance. It’s about ensuring your online presence is an accurate representation of who you are personally and professionally. You wouldn’t submit a resume without proofreading it, so it just makes sense to take a few moments each month to Google yourself and “proofread” the information available about you online. If you don’t like what you see, you can take steps to remove questionable posts/photos and change your online behaviour going forward. It’s better to start now than to wait until you are actively looking for a job.

For some additional facts, stats, and tips to help you find out what the internet is saying about you, check out the infographic below from www.backgroundcheck.org.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This infographic asks you to log out of Google to get “unbiased results”. It is true that this will disconnect the search results from any information Google has stored about your Google Account. But Google also uses third-party cookies that your browser has stored to customize your results as well. To turn off both of these customizations at the same time, all you have to do is add the simple “&pws=0” URL parameter to the end of your search URL, hit enter, and you will see the results most people on the web will see. The URL should then look something like this https://www.google.com/search?q=Your+Name&pws=0. Big thanks to colleague @erichollebone for sharing the URL parameter tip.

The Google Yourself Challenge
From: BackgroundCheck.org

…And, on a lighter note, a final thought on “Googling yourself” from 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy and Tracy Jordan…

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June 26, 2012

YouTube shares the secrets that could make you an online video star

I recently stumbled across the YouTube Creator Playbook – a 91-page guide to producing online videos. It provides a detailed breakdown of how to create, publish, and promote great content.

Each section has an overview, details, examples, and a how-to-guide to help all of us amateur YouTubers become a little more professional. It’s quite thorough, and contains sections covering:

  • YouTube Analytics
  • Grabbing your audience with a 15-second hook
  • Calls to action
  • The importance of consistency: Releasing content at scheduled intervals
  • Tent-pole programming
  • Optimization (metadata, thumbnail, channel page, publishing, etc.)
  • Involving your audiences
  • Spreading your videos onto other social netowrks
  • Video annotations
  • Playlists and video responses
  • Video production and publishing checklists
  • And more

If you’re in the online video business, I strongly recommend this read.

BUT…If you’re in the Ottawa area this week (Wednesday, June 27th), you could also drop in on the YouTube Workshop – Create, Engage, Monetize to get some first-hand instruction directly from two senior YouTubers. This FREE event bills itself as “an informative hands-on session to understand what it takes to ‘go viral,’ reach the right audience, and ultimately monetize your content!” During the YouTube Workshop, attendees will hear personal experiences from presenters about how they were able to engage with their audience and make their channel a success. Basically, the whole event is about learning how some content creators are doing gangbusters online, and how to follow in their success.

As an added teaser, there will be a “special guest appearance” from a popular YouTube star. I asked the event organizer if they could share more details and was told “It’s someone with incredible experience using YouTube, Google+ and Google hangouts as a way to expand and monetize their brands.”

I’m definitely looking forward to this event.

More about the speakers:

Andres Palmiter, Audience Development Strategist for YouTube, who previously worked for comScore where he managed the global sales of their video measurement service, Video Metrix. Before joining comScore, Andres worked at Next New Networks (NNN) where he went from intern, to executive producer, to partner manager. He’s most proud of recording the NNN chime that ends every NNN-distributed video (ding). Over 1 billion views and counting! Andres’s current YouTube subscriptions include ZeFrank1, Numberphile, Vsauce, and AgentXPQ.

Brandon Gross, Sr. Strategist with YouTube’s Next Lab, where he works with funded partners and identifies new talent to grow on the platform. Prior to joining YouTube, Brandon founded and was a Managing Partner at Urgent Content, the agency responsible for the award-winning Flip Video broadcast and online campaign. Prior to forming Urgent Content, Brandon was a Creative Executive and then Director of Brand Engagement at Current TV. He has produced hours of non-fiction broadcast and online television and co-created the G4 TV series, “2 Months, $2 Million.”

May 10, 2012

Do you do “Social Media Spring Cleaning”? Here’s how I’m polishing up my accounts…

Ensuring that my social media profiles are up-to-date is something I think about often, and speaking with other communications professionals, I know that I’m not alone. The trap that I fall into is that I know I have to update my profiles, but I procrastinate, work on more “pressing issues”, and never get around to it. But this year is different. I’ve decided to put an annually-reoccurring event in my calendar titled “Social Media Spring Cleaning” to force myself to take the time I need to make sure all of my information is clean and current. Here’s what I’m suggesting:

Start by visiting all of the social media profiles you have signed up for. First, you want to get an idea of what you signed up for, and second, you want to see how they look. Read all of the content to make sure that you’re pleased with it. Identify what needs to be changed/updated. Start with the networks you use most often, then start looking for other ones that are less active or you just plain forgot about.

Update your profiles. Make sure your information is consistent. Be sure to add new information from the year past. This is also a good time to take a peak back at what you’ve been posting to see what you have been up to the past few months. You may feel the need to remove some postings that you made that are no longer relevant or are completely off topic.

Delete any old accounts. Consider deleting (or disabling) any accounts that you haven’t used in the past 6 months, or don’t intend on using in the future.

Google yourself. But spend some time and go deeper. Take a full hour to search google images, videos, YouTube. Then go to other sites such as Peekyou.com, pipl.com, wink.compeople.yahoo.com, or zuula.com to search for your online presence. If you can’t find yourself, try including other things people may know about you when searching, like your city, place of employment, previous schools you attended, or friends/family connections. All this can be done for you personally, and/or the brand that you manage.

And I’m happy to report that I do take my own advice. Here’s what I’ve been able to do:

…It took me between 2-3 hours to complete it all.

If you have any other suggestions about what to include in a “social media spring cleaning” exercise, leave a comment and let me know.

March 13, 2012

We are impatient and rude…and Google is to blame! [Infographic]

The infographic below (originally shared with me by @gvoakes) paints a picture of a speed-obsessed, impatient, and rude population… and I don’t think it’s far off. With astonishing numbers like:

  • Google answers 34,000 questions every second (3 billion daily Google searches)
  • 25% of people abandon web pages that take more than 4 seconds to load
  • 50% of mobile users abandon a page if it doesn’t load in under 10 seconds, and 60% of those users would never return to that site
  • 40% of mobile shoppers will abandon an eCommerce site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds

It clearly shows that we just can’t wait to get that online content. Perhaps this is because we know that we can get what we are looking for elsewhere online. If I want to buy a new Android phone online, I have virtually unlimited options – if Virgin Wireless isn’t loading quickly enough, I’ll hop over to Comcast, or Rogers, or Bell, or Cellular One. And if I’m looking for the latest news headlines, well there really is no end to where I can find this information.

But what I find the most interesting about this infographic is how this “instantly connected” feeling has changed our offline consumer behaviour. Perhaps this is because the last section of the infographic reflects elements of my own behaviour.

  • 15 minutes is the MAXIMUM time I will wait for a service
  • I have boycotted several shops and restaurants for inattentive or slow customer service
  • And I hate to say it, but I’m sure I have been rude to folks who are serving me too slow. I try to be as understanding as possible, but what’s taking so long?

What do you think? Are you one of those rude, impatient, speed-obsessed members of the “Google Generation”? Or are you happy to wait 45+ minutes to eat at Red Lobster because somethings are worth the wait?


Created by: Online Graduate Programs

March 7, 2012

Ladies Love Pinterest…87% of users are female [Infographic and eBook]

If you’ve been following social media trends over the past few months, you will have noticed that Pinterest has been something like a phenomenon. Although not a “new” social network (launched in early 2010), users have been joining in the millions since fall of 2011. And if you have recently jumped on the “Pinsanity” bandwagon, you’re probably a woman… at least according to the infographic below – created by mdgadvertising.

Women have traditionally out-participated their male counterparts in social media, with the exception of Google+, so this finding isn’t shocking. I was, however, a little surprised that the gender gap was so big on this network – 87% of users are female.

Even though I’m part of the 13% – I really like Pinterest for a number of reasons:

Pinterest is highly visual. Your main job as a “Pinner” is to share, and re-share, photos and videos.  This creates, often stunning, “pin boards” of content. Pairing the demographic information with the ability to tell a visual story, marketers have done a great job using this newly-popular social network. Most of the top ten brands using Pinterest focus on home design/decorating, beauty tips, and fashion.

It’s a home for different content. Pinterest is not just another place to post the same content you have on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr.  No matter what, your Pinterest content has to have a multimedia component. Though this does make for a very “pretty” user interface, the heavy priority placed on the visual can limit your effectiveness of sharing blog posts, or articles, that don’t have a quality image. In some cases (not many) I have not been able to pin stories because a relevant image wasn’t available.

Solid referral traffic. Pinterest is showing early signs of being a real player in the web traffic referral game. Since starting to use Pinterest, I’ve noticed a modest boost in web traffic on my blog, with a few hundred referrals from Pinterest. This could be due to how active and engaged the users are – It seems like “Pinners” are not being shy about “liking”  or “re-pinning” posts.

But watch out for the copyright cops. If you read the Pinterest terms and conditions closely, you will find that by using the service you declare that you are the lawful copyright owner of all images, and videos, posted. You also grant Pinterest permission to use your content as they please. This has the potential to leave you open to a lawsuit. I don’t think it’s very realistic to think that the average user will be targeted… but you never know. You can learn more about the Pinterest copyright concerns on Social Media Today.

Now for the infographic:

If you are hungry for more information about using Pinterest for yourself, or your business, HubSpot has created a great eBook. The first two chapters are “What is Pinterest & Why it Matters”  and “How to Create a Pinterest Account and Get Followers”. Then it goes on to discuss how to use Pinterest for Marketing and provides some examples of how brands are currently using the platform. If you’re interested in Pinterest, this eBook is a must.

February 15, 2012

4 conclusions on Social Media ROI [Video]

This week, I was invited to participate in a unique event put on by VIA Rail and the Fairmont Royal York on the opening day of Social Media Week: Toronto 2012. The event spanned the entire first day of the conference and was focused on discussing the business case for social media:  in other words, the “social media return on investment” (ROI). Social media bloggers from Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Kingston gathered on VIA’s recently restored Glen Fraser Lounge car to debate topics centred around social media, community management, client relationship management, mobile marketing, customer service, and of course ROI.

The “pre-conference” aboard @VIA_Rail ended with a great 2-hour speaker panel and Q&A session at the @FairmontRYH. The speakers included academics, entrepreneurs, C-level executives that were seasoned media, PR, and marketing leaders from both the public and private sectors (learn more about the speakers). Some tried to explain ROI with mathematical formulas, some took the “trust me it works” approach (then asked for the ROI on a toilet), but all of them provided examples of where they saw ROI for their particular brand(s).

After 8 hours of constant talking about social media ROI, I came to a few conclusions (for now) about calculating social media return on investment:

1. Social media ROI is difficult to do properly, but it’s completely doable. There’s no magic formula, or straight-forward way, to calculate social media ROI that applies to each case. The first thing you really need to understand is how social media is used in your industry, then figure out what you want social media to do for you. If your goal is to have  a Facebook page for your business, you have already failed. If you plan to use a Facebook awareness and acquisition campaign to drive traffic to the eCommerce section of your website because you know that customers referred from Facebook are more likely to make a purchase than those referred from Twitter, you’re off to a great start. Those are the outcomes you are looking for.

2. You don’t need to measure EVERYTHING. Once you know what you want to do, you now have to measure your efforts to see if you are working towards achieving those goals. It’s important to find the “right metrics” to demonstrate the effectiveness of your tactics, and, as importantly, to help you make decisions. If you measure everything, and draw no insight, then you wasted time measuring for the sake of measuring.

3. Measuring social media ROI requires a tailored solution. After reading my first two points, you’re probably thinking, “OK, what do I do now?” Well, it’s time for the hard work, so start thinking about your goals. Start answering some of the tough questions. What do I want to achieve? How can social media help me deliver on my business plan? What business function can social media assist with? What are the costs if I don’t engage? What are the costs if I do engage? Do I work for a social organization? What are my competitors doing? If we implemented social media, what would it look like? What is our content creation strategy? How far do we go with content curation vs. creation? How can social media be tied into the DNA of your organization and to your existing business practices? Etc. etc. etc.

The good news is that there are people out there to help us do this. Academics, business leaders, strategists, and entrepreneurs lose sleep about this each night, and many of them are for hire to help organizations thrive using social media. And don’t be shy, most organizations need some level of specialized help with this. One thing that is certain, measuring YOUR social media ROI is not easy, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

4. It’s all about influence. At the end of the day, we as social media participants (including brands) want to be influential. We want to be able to drive consumer behaviour, influence legislation, promote our personal brand, make connections, etc. You can’t do them all, so you need to pick what your want to have influence over, and tailor your social media strategy to achieve that.

The video clip below is just one of the presentations at the Social Media ROI: Myth or Reality evening event at the Royal York. This clip features Dr. James Norrie, who presents his quadratic equation for measuring ROI that revolves around leveraging the power of your “captive community.”

Social Media week is where social media becomes even more social. It is a 5-day conference that takes place in 21 cities around the globe.  Each year, Social Media Week attracts more than 60,000 attendees across thousands of individually organized, and mostly free, events. It’s a great collection of minds, from the casual social media user looking for more information on their newly forming passion, to business and academic leaders who share their latest insights on the future of communication and ROI for business. And, of course, there are a lot of us nerdy bloggers.

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