Category Archives: YouTube

10 steps to building and managing your personal brand

Personal Branding Formula

Personal Branding Formula (Photo credit: stefano principato)

“All of us need to understand the importance of branding… we are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. …our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called you,” wrote Tom Peters, an American writer on business management practices, in Fast Company. Are you branding yourself in everything you do and developing and refining your personal brand?

What is a personal brand?

Personal branding is also knows as your career or professional brand. It is the way you present yourself to your colleagues and your network online and off. With the growth of LinkedIn, blogging, social networking and people use search engines all the time, it is important to portray your brand in a positive professional light. Just like a company differentiates itself to stand out from its competitors by identifying and articulating its unique value proposition, you should do the same. If you take a proactive approach to your personal brand, it can benefit your career.

There are 10 key steps to help you develop and take control of your personal brand.

1.    Search the major search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) to search your name and its variations

What are the search engines saying about you? Is there someone else in the world that has your same name? Is your identity correct online? If there are variations of your name, have you search those names? The first place to start with your personal brand, especially online, is to find out what is being said about you and what information comes up first in the search engines about you.

2.    Clean up your web presence

Are you looking to do some “spring cleaning” because you don’t like what you see? You may want erase some of yourself from the Internet by using a tool like justdelete.me. This website ranks the process of erasing yourself from easy to impossible. Social networks like Twitter are easy to delete while others like Pinterest are impossible.

3.    Proactive create your online reputation with free tools

Create your own personal website that lists all of our social networks with a free tool like about.me. Or use brandyourself.com that will give you a letter grade relating how your name ranks in search results. Read 10 free tools to manage your personal brand and online reputation. Also, launch a blog (see step 7).

4.    Claim your social media profiles and your personalized URL on LinkedIn

Have you protected yourself from cyber squatters when it comes to your social media profiles? To ensure you secure your desired username or vanity first, visit namechk.com to see if it is still available. You should also secure your personalized URL on LinkedIn. It also may worth creating a Google+ account to ensure you should up on the right hand column of search results. You may want to create a Twitter account to share helpful information with others. I found that my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to show up near the top of my search results since I share a lot of articles through these networks.

5.    Buy your own domain name (even if you are not using it yet)

Do you own the URL of your name? If not, you should secure it at a website registrar like godaddy.com or networksolutions.com. You may want to read 3 reasons why buying a domain name for your child is a good idea. By owning your own domain name, you can be sure that if you use that URL, you will rank high in search results. If you don’t own your name, you are leaving your online reputation in the hands of the unknown. Purchasing your name is around $10 to $15 a year. Read why you need a domain strategy.

6.    Set up an ongoing monitoring alert system

It is important to constantly monitor what is being said about you online. Set up Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts, a free alternative to Google Alerts. When you create the alerts, make sure you put your name with and without quotation markets. You should also include the different variations of your name.

7.    Launch a blog where you can publish content and show your perspectives

I found that my blog is ranked within the top 5 search results in Google. You may want to create and publish content on your blog using a platform like wordpress.com or blogger.com. Read best free blogging websites. When you do start up a blog, remember the Internet is a copy machine. Think before you publish. If you get angry or emotional reacting to something you see online or someone else is provoking you, you may want to email yourself first or ask yourself: would my parents, friends or colleagues like to read this post? A blog is a great way to demonstrate your personal brand. It helps you position yourself in a way that you want to be seen. A blog helps you grow your network beyond your work colleagues, may position yourself as a thought leader at your company, demonstrates your expertise on a topic or topics and shows that you know how to write and communicate (skills your current and potential future employer value).

8.    Take some time to get to know yourself and share helpful content on a regular basis

What do you want others to think of you as online? What types of articles do you share with others? Are they personal growth articles, leadership articles, career articles? What do you want to be known for? Your personal brand reflects who you are. It is important to really know your strengths and weaknesses and do what you love. If you can’t blog, do you share useful tips to your colleagues about the industry you work in or how to do PR or marketing better? By learning who are you and what you are good at, you can better take control of your personal brand.

9.    Create your elevator pitch and key messages

Just like a company brand creates its elevator pitch of who the company is, why it is unique and different, and why you should care, the same goes with your personal brand. Do you have your elevator pitch created and validated? What are your core or key messages? A good example of where you should really have your elevator pitch down is your LinkedIn summary section or your bio page on your blog. That paragraph or two should sum up your personal brand in a short, concise and compelling way.

10. Develop a feedback loop with those you trust and evolve your personal brand

Just like company brands change over time, your personal brand is constantly changing and evolving. As you gain more work and life experiences, your brand changes to reflect who you are at work and in life so it important to build a feedback loop with friends, family, colleagues and others you trust so they are helping you polish and refine you and your personal brand.

As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, one said: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Do you know people are saying about your personal brand online and off? Are you taking steps to build, polish and refine it? The key is to remember your personal brand is more than just your job, it is your career. It is the brand called you!

What helpful tips would you add to this list?

5 common social media mistakes and how to avoid them

Photo Credit:   All rights reserved by infekted.it

Photo Credit: All rights reserved by infekted.it

Social media can help grow your personal and company brand, if done right. If social media is not done properly, it could send the wrong message to your community and it could hurt your brand. It is important that you don’t put your social media on autopilot and you don’t neglect it. Social media takes a lot of care and feeding.

We have created a list of five common social media mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Not customizing your message to the social network

How many times have you seen @ signs on LinkedIn? Probably a lot. Do you listen to those messages when you know they are for another social network? Probably not. What about learning about LinkedIn on Twitter? Are you really going to read an article about LinkedIn tips on Twitter? It is a common mistake that people make is not customizing posts for each platform.

The fix: Remember what the purpose is of each network is and its ins and outs. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals; therefore, your posts should be more professional. Facebook is a network for friends; so these posts should be less formal, more casual. Remember to cater your message to the platform. For some that is communications 101 but for others that is a common mistake.

2. No strategy

Have you ever asked yourself why you are on Facebook? What about Twitter? Are the people your company trying to reach on that social network? Are your friends still on Facebook or have they left for another platform like Instagram? Who are you trying to communicate with? Before you or your company joins a social media platform, ask yourself: why?

The fix: Create a social media strategy. Having an intern manage your company’s social media presence is a big mistake (here are 11 reasons why). A seasoned and experience professional should be handling your company’s social media presence because he or she knows your business well and can avoid crises.

3. One-way communication

Social media is not a platform to blast messages one way. It is a way for people and brands to listen, learn and engage. How often do you see a brand or person never respond to a post or a message they sent? How often do you see questions or concerns go unanswered by brands and people? It shows a lack of understanding the true essence of social media: being “social.”

The fix: Social media is way to humanize brands (here are 20 tips on that topic) and open up possibilities for people to connect with people around the world. Social media is a platform for two-way not one-way communications. For everyone @ mention on Twitter, reply back. It doesn’t take a lot of time to say thank you to your followers who care about you or your brand.

4. Selling. Selling. Selling.

Social platforms are not for selling. People don’t join social media networks to be sold to. They join them to converse, see what others are doing and learn about the world. How often do you see posts about companies talking about themselves too much?

The fix: Share news and expert content that is helpful and shareable. Find a balance of posts that promote others and you or your company once in a while. Share content created by your colleagues and industry experts. Be helpful not salesy.

5. Inconsistent or no posts

How many times do you see a company create a social network but they haven’t posted in months or years? The page looks like a ghost town. For example, how many Twitter accounts have you seen where the person still has an egghead and has never tweeted? Inconsistent posting on social sites can say more to your followers than what you are actually posting. Would you work with a company that didn’t care about its social media presence? How you would be treated as a customer? Would you get neglected as well?

The fix: Make sure you post at least once a week. On some social networks, you may want to post once a day but you don’t want to clutter your followers’ feed. For example, Twitter is a much faster moving feed so posts can be much more frequent than Facebook. On LinkedIn, you may want to make an update at least twice a week because your home feed on that platform is getting more activity recently with the launch of sponsored updates.

What would you add to this list? What are you seeing that others are doing wrong on social media?

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Cassandra D’Aiello, social media manager at Perspectiv3

3 free image editing apps for social media

Image courtesy of YaiSirichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of YaiSirichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

If you are active on social media, you know that social networking sites frequently change the look, feel and functionality. Look at what happens almost on a monthly basis with Facebook. Not to mention LinkedIn and YouTube. They both recently underwent a series of updates and changes.

One day you have a perfect background photo and the next day you don’t.

It is important for you and your company to keep up with these changes because it is a key component of making a good first impression and keeping your community coming back for more. They are more likely to engage with you and your brand with eye-pleasing images that make their experience on your pages enjoyable and fun. Not to mention, it also provides an opportunity to show off you and your company’s personality.

But social networking sites don’t make it easy.

Have you tried to edit your graphic or photos using Adobe Photoshop or your pre-loaded image editor?

Have you tried over and over to successfully maneuver your way through editing a picture to the correct pixel size that each social network requires?

As you may know, Facebook requires your timeline cover photo to be 851 x 315 pixels, Twitter requires your background to be 1920 x 1080 pixels and YouTube requires your header to be 970 x 150 pixels.

We feel your pain.

Below is a list of three photo-editing apps (with their pros and cons) that can help you edit you and your company’s social media images for free (now you won’t have to use image editing websites that charge a hefty monthly or program subscription fee).

1. GetPaint.net

Pros: Range of effects; straight-forward interface; and diverse menu items.

Cons: Software download required; limited brush types; and lack of layer effects.

2. Pixlr

Pros: Facebook compatibility; basic layer canvas feature; and no download necessary.

Cons: Limited import/export options; no frame options; and no option to save favorite effects.

3. PicMonkey

Pros: Easy to use; variety of editing and features; and blemish fixing tools.

Cons: Lack of undo option; many options not free; and limited fonts available.

What free image editing apps would you add to this list? Let us know!

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Cassandra D’Aiello, social media manager at Perspectiv3

The A to Z guide to social media

alphabet stamps

alphabet stamps (Photo credit: river seal)

Sometimes it’s worth getting back to basics.  Here is a compact roadmap to social media – compiled as an easy-to-follow A to Z guide.

Access. Some companies still deny access to social networks at work.  According to a Cisco study, 33 percent of college students and young professionals under the age of 30 say they would prioritize social media access over salary in accepting a job offer.

Balance. Brands and people should balance the amount of time they spend on social media and the amount of time they spend on each of the different social media networks.

Channels. Don’t get caught up in social media channels – instead develop a social media strategy.

Democracy. According to some reports, social media has sparked democracy. What do you think?

Engagement. Social media provides brands with direct access to their primary audience: customers. Read 21 rules for social media engagement.

Facebook. Despite some people getting frustrated with Facebook, it is still the top social network a majority of us still use. According to Business2Community, 77 percent of B2C companies acquired customers via Facebook.

Google+. This is now the second-largest social network. Google+ is appealing to many because of three reasons: search results, hangouts and the new Communities.

Humanize. Social media is humanizing brands. Humans connect with humans – not with brands or logos. Social media helps tear down the traditional walls that large organizations put up. Read 10 ways to humanize your brand on social media.

Instagram. Despite Instagram recently losing 25 percent of its daily active users, it is still the choice of photo sharing today. Read 5 things brands can learn from the Instagram fallout and 3 ways to grow your Instagram community.

Journalists. We are all now citizen journalists. In other words, we all play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. Remember how social media played a big role in the US Airways airplane crash into the Hudson River.

Knowledge. You can learn a lot on your social networks. As a job seeker, you can learn about your future company before you interview with them. As a brand, you can learn about the digital body language of your customers.

LinkedIn. This network keeps growing with more than 200 million users. It is the top social network for many B2B companies (read 7 steps to LinkedIn success for B2B companies). Their new endorsements feature has negative and positive reviews but the jury is still out. In the meantime, you may want to read how to make the most of LinkedIn endorsements.

MySpace. Justin Timberlake is bringing sexy back to MySpace. But is it enough? Only time will tell but it is worth keeping an eye on. Read 5 things marketers will love about MySpace.

News. People now go to Twitter or other social networks to find out their news since it can break faster than through the traditional media outlets. Read how social media is taking over the news industry.

Openness. Whether you like or not, you are learning a lot about your friends and brands than you ever did before … the good, bad and the ugly. Social media is breaking down the traditional “walls” of information that friends or brands put up.

Pinterest. This network has exploded. It is on its ways to becoming a household name in social media. Pinterest is addictive and it recently launched business pages. Read 5 ways brands us Pinterest to authentically connect.

Quora. With the death of LinkedIn answers, this Q&A site has a lot of potential. Bing has integrated it into its social search. Read 9 ways to get more out of Quora.

Relationships. This is what social media is all about. Connecting with others.

Slideshare. This is the most underutilized site out there. Read 7 reasons why B2B marketers should love SlideShare and 11 ways to use SlideShare for content marketing success.

Twitter. Twitter is where a lot of news breaks these days. According to Twitter, there are over a billion tweets sent every three days.

Universe. Social media opens up your world to the entire universe, not just your city, town, neighborhood or street. You can connect with people all over the world with a couple of clicks.

Voice. It is important to find your authentic voice in social media and craft your own voice. Read how 5 brands crafted their social media voice and 5 tips to strengthen your company’s social media voice. Have you developed your own personal social media voice? What about your brand’s voice? Read 20 great social media voices and how to develop your own.

Widgets. Social media networks have developed stand-alone applications that you can embed into other applications like a website or a desktop. Some of the top social networks widgets: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.

X-factor. Social media is changing the game. It can be hard to truly describe social media’s influence on marketing, public relations, organizations and people but social media is changing worlds.

YouTube. Gangham Style video on YouTube now has more than 1 billion views. Need I say more about the popularity of this social network?

Zest. In other words: vigorous and enthusiastic enjoyment. This is what social media is all about. People enjoy spending time on social media. In the United States, people spent 121 billion minutes on social media in July 2012, according to Nielsen’s 2012 social media report. That is 6.5 hours per person (if every person in the U.S used social media).

What would you suggest as alternative letters to this list?

Top 10 viral YouTube videos of all time

 

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

We all love video. So I thought it would be fitting to create a post on the 10 best viral YouTube videos of all time.

In doing research for this post, I saw many other top viral video lists varied based a number of variables and criteria. Basically, the list depends on how you slice and dice it. In other words, these types of posts are very subjective. So what really makes up a viral YouTube video for this list?

Here’s my criteria:

  1. The video needed to reach a large age range
  2. Be a part of pop culture
  3. You can watch it on YouTube
  4. Ranked by number of YouTube views

To help create this post, I referenced the YouTube Chart of all-time most viewed videos.

Here’s my list:

10. Lazy Sunday – Saturday Night Live

Views: 5 million +++ (taken down by NBC from YouTube so not sure final count)

9. Evian Babies

Views: 14 million +

8. Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Views: 30 million +

7. Will it Blend? iPad version

Views: 10 million + (note: many different versions of “Will It Blend” so I ranked this higher)

6. Numa Numa

Views: 41 million +

5. Miss Teen USA 2007 – South Carolina answers a question

Views: 49 million +

4. Battle at Kruger

Views: 60 million +

3. D&*K in the Box – Saturday Night Live

Views: 24 million + (owned by NBC so numbers are off – most likely tons more than listed on YouTube)

2. David after Dentist

Views: 85 million +

1. Evolution of Dance

Views: 168 million +

What video(s) would you add to this list?

These are a few of my favorite social media things

Favorite logo

Favorite logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the musical film The Sound of Music. The song that everyone knows from this movie is “My Favorite Things.” In tribute to this movie and song, I would like to share with you a few of my favorite social mediathings.

Video

A refresh of the original Social Media Revolution video with new and updated statistics. The facts in the video come from the book Socialnomics by Erik Qualman.

PowerPoint

This is a great presentation, courtesy of the Social Media Club of Greenville.

Database

A list of 126 social media policies, all in one location. Also, another must-read for developing and implementing your social media policy: 10 Must Haves for Your Social Media Policy.

Quote

Chris Brogan from his new book Social Media 101: “Social media lets you go wide, but YOU have to make it go deep.”

Want more social media quotes? Then, you should read 99 favorite social media quotes and tips.

E-Newsletter

PR Daily — a daily e-newsletter and website from Ragan Communications — that highlights the top stories from the web about social media, marketing and public relations.

 

What are some of your favorite social media things?

Show your constituents some love

We’ve been featuring Alumni Valentines in our GW Colonial Cable alumni e-newsletter for three years running. I typically have some trouble finding couples to profile, but this year was different.

We leveraged social networks and asked couples whose relationship began at GW to share their stories. I posted a message to our GW Alumni LinkedIn Group and on Twitter (@GWAlumni) and watched the messages rolled in.

We received 25+ stories, more than enough for our e-newsletter, and enough to spill over into a “More Alumni Valentines” story next month. The story received two to three times as many click-throughs as our traditional feature story in our e-newsletter.

On this Valentine’s Day I encourage you to show your constituents some love by engaging them across your social networks to help you tell more interesting stories.

Know Your Audience

We try to segment our social media outlets and target our messages accordingly. Here is how we focus our communications on each of the GW Alumni social networks (recognizing there is some audience overlap):

LinkedIn– Build awareness of career services, opportunities, and news, encourage peer connections, find story ideas, and open conversation through “discussions”

Twitter – Quick hits to build prestige around the university and its alumni (top news and prominent alumni), support relationships, and find story ideas

Facebook – Promote events, share regional-specific information, encourage peer connections

YouTube – Share highlights from alumni and university events, build awareness of leadership in the university and alumni association

Flickr – Repository for event photos, maintain engagement

Social media is by its nature not about simply pushing information out, but learning about your constituents needs and engaging them in dialogue. GW graduate and social media consultant Steve Goldner recommends bringing an “LCR mentality” to your social media outreach – Listen, Conversation, Relationships.

One powerful way to encourage conversations and build relationships is by soliciting advice and feedback from your audience on story ideas. In this case, the quality of our engagement through social media is just as important as the quantity.

Recognize Your Reach…and Limitations

For most organizations, social media provides another platform to reach a certain segment of your audience. Our largest GW Alumni social network – LinkedIn, with 10,430 members – only represents about 5% of our alumni population.

According to research by Forrester (see Josh Bernoff’s post on Social Technographics) 17 percent of U.S. online adults are “inactive” on social networks and the largest percentage group are simply “spectators” who read, listen and watch, but do not take an active role in a conversation.

It is important to use a variety of communication platforms in your outreach. For our Alumni Valentines feature I solicited names of couples during in-person conversations, through e-mails, and on social networks. The story was e-mailed out through our e-newsletter, featured on our website, and posted on our Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook pages. The piece included a call to action for others to share their Alumni Valentine stories, which allows us to build off the original story.

Create Winning Content Through Collaboration

Some people are more interesting in 140 characters than others. Some videos on YouTube become viral hits and others flounder. Some individuals on LinkedIn spark thought-provoking discussions, while others come off as completely self-promotional. And some stories in your e-newsletter receive more click-throughs than others.

Creating content that resonates remains crucial. Develop content with input from your constituents on a variety of social networks and share that content across several different platforms. You will engage more individuals, hear more ideas, and produce a better end product.

How have you seen success by engaging your social networks in developing content?

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Matt Lindsay (@lindsam8). Matt is the director of alumni communications at The George Washington University (GW) in Washington, D.C.

Living in the social media age

social-media-logos

More than 56% of marketers plan to incorporate social media into their businesses next year, according to a recent survey by the Center for Media Research.

With so many social media channel options to choose from, which one do you use for your marketing communications strategy?

In July 2009, Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law study of national business leaders highlighted that the most popular social media channels were the following:

  1. Facebook (80%)
  2. Twitter (66%)
  3. YouTube (55%)
  4. LinkedIn (49%)
  5. Blogs (43%)

In my first blog post, my audience confirmed that Facebook and Twitter were the most popular social media platforms. So, as a marketer, should I use the most popular social media channel or a combination of both? Well, the short answer is that it depends. Since each tool works in a different way and with the social media landscape changing everyday, the key is to find out what your targeted audience likes to use.

The bottom line is that you need to be a part of the conversation because these conversations are happening, whether you are in the social media game or not.

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