Category: - Memes & Memos
Memes & Memos
A big thank you to Laura Gainor (@LauraGainor) who came to speak to our class last week about the social media strategy she used to land a great job and tips for how to develop a personal brand through social media.

In terms of developing your personal brand, some of her best advice includes:
  • Be consistent across social media channels. This includes the name you choose and your personal photo.
  • Know your message and know your audience. Why should people follow you? What have you learned that can benefit others? (I love this!)
  • Set goals. What do you want to accomplish? Track your results when you can.
  • Engage in conversations. Reach out and connect with people, especially on Twitter.
  • Play with social media. New tools are popping up every day. Try them out and see what they can do for you.
Check out more of her great insights on social media and personal branding via the SlideShare presentation below.
In the past six months, I've been asked to watch the Social Media Revolution video below several times. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth the watch.

I also came across its sister video, Social Media ROI, also below. Both videos were created by Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business and its corresponding blog at Socialnomics.

When I first saw this video, I questioned some of the stats. If interested in checking the sources, Erik has outlined them on his blog here.
Last week we had the opportunity to hear socialpreneur Philip Nowak discuss how some big brands are diving head first into social media without a solid business strategy or revenue model. At first, this sounds shocking, but it's strikingly simple: finding success with social media is about trial and error. Eventually, you will find what works best for your brand.

Philip also talked about some of the reasons why brands use social media. Here are some of the reasons (and my commentary).
  • Fishing where the fish are. People (consumers) are using social media tools. Brands can too.
  • Avoiding brand jacking and other potential PR crises. Get involved before your brand has to.
  • Matching the competition. Your competitors are there. Do you want consumers to connect with them and not your brand?
  • Getting instant feedback. Only from those who want to provide it.
  • Building loyalty and brand ambassadors. Certainly.
  • It's more affordable than traditional marketing. Sometimes. I would argue that finding success with social media as a marketing tool takes time and resources.
  • There's potential for a viral explosion. This is not something that can be controlled and could have positive or negative results.
All of these reasons are relevant, but what wasn't stated directly is that the goal behind all of these reasons is to make money. Brands are using social media tools to make a profit, by using platforms to reach new consumers, maintain visibility, drive marketing campaigns, gather information, manage reputations, or build customer relationships. There may not be a silver bullet approach (think: Facebook page), but the tools are worth exploring.
Crain's Chicago Business recently posted an article about a local business owner who put his everything into social media to successfully market his bar. In the end, he decided to back off and delegate the management of social media activity to another staff member. As he put it, "I was looking down more than I was looking forward." Social media was helping him build his customer relationships online, but it wasn't helping foster his offline relationships.

Engaging in social media takes time, and it's easy to let the scales tip. At times, social media can feel like a hungry beast that constantly needs to be fed.

Internet pioneer and writer Jaron Lanier felt the same way. So he quit social media. Now he reports that he feels more innovative. In addition to eating up our time, does engaging in social media stifle creativity? This article on Neon Tommy sums up his sentiment: "If everyone collaborates on everything, then nothing is original."

How can we find balance with social media before we all throw in the towel? Lots of folks have suggestions for how to maximize social media tools for efficiency and tips for how to manage time online. Here are some of the reoccurring themes that can be helpful:

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish online using social media tools.
  2. Evaluate which tools will help get the job done and exactly how you will use them.
  3. Set limits on the amount of time that you spend on social media sites.
  4. Recognize when you are being distracted.
  5. Get outside and get some fresh air (and don't bring your iPhone).

Finally, I think this quote from a 2009 BusinessWeek article still applies:

"If the productivity best practice is to target your social media very precisely to attain your goals, then the productivity worst practice would be to indiscriminately hook into multiple sources of poorly defined static. To use social media effectively, just be sure that you aren't putting more effort in than the result you're getting. "