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Build Your Online Brand With Twitter

Did you know that there are 465 million Twitter accounts across the globe and 175 million tweets being posted daily? That’s a sizeable chunk of the world’s population mixed together with a massive amount of conversations taking place, wouldn’t you agree? Now that’s you’ve taken in the sheer size of Twitter what do these statistics say to you? Do you see how Twitter can be an incredible opportunity for you to expose your brand?

Twitter is a market leader in the world of social media. Since its arrival on the web in 2006, Twitter has shown rapid growth and continued success as a social networking and micro blogging platform which is ideally suited for business. So my question here is: How can you NOT have a social media presence, namely on Twitter?

Social media marketing continues to be somewhat of a grey area because it is difficult to justify its credibility and the return on investment in terms of spending. Many business owners will question – “What does social media deliver?” or “What are the tangible results?” These demonstrate the reality that social media, although a powerful method to engage with your audience, still has no benchmark yet. On a more positive note, implementation of strategic social media campaigns is proving to indicate an increased level of business success.

How can you harness the power of Twitter to build your brand online?

To develop a successful social media marketing strategy it is important to consider the positive aspects of your chosen approach. When you utilise Twitter as part of your online marketing mix you will benefit from being able to:

  • Open a channel of communication between you and your audience. Be human and join in the conversation. Like face to face networking, your followers will either ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the feeling they get from the exchanges you share. Social media allows you to reach out and connect, so ensure you do so in a positive and welcoming way.
  • Raise awareness of your brand. Everyone strives to achieve greater brand exposure. Share good content and engage and interact consistently with your followers, and you will gain the attention of more targeted people. Your supporters will ‘talk’ about your brand and boost your online presence.
  • Create an online reputation. Set and meet your brand standard. Make sure your brand and business values are met with every tweet you post. Focus your post and retweets on building a trusted and mutually beneficial community of followers. Research how the big brands such as Disney and Virgin build their successful online reputations. What do they do that works? How do they encourage their followers to become their greatest advocates?
  • Build a network. Building a successful online brand is not only about you promoting what you have to offer. It is equally important to reciprocate, to create win: win opportunities. Think strategically about who you connect with. How can they help you and vice versa? Will they become a trusted supplier that you refer? Will they become a paying client? Do you see collaborative potential with them?

One thing is clear; social media is here to stay.

Now is the time to embrace this new social world; to join in the Twitter conversation, to experiment and learn, and focus on your goal to become the brand everybody is talking about.

Guide to Self Marketing – Matching Your Mission with Your Vision

When managing your career, be mindful that the biggest mistake many people make is letting others make decisions for them.

It may be that a recruitment agency tries to pigeon hole you into a ‘box’ but you don’t feel this represents either your true skill set or desired job role. This can often happen, as it makes their job much easier but could result in you not selling or marketing yourself in the way you desire.

Equally it may be colleagues, family or friends who have a perceived view of what you have to offer the market place, which may have been true in the past but not necessarily in tune with your new mindset and the direction you wish to be moving towards, especially if you are looking to change career.

It is definitely beneficial to seek help from a Career Coach to steer you in the right direction, especially as most of us find it difficult to ‘blow our own trumpet’ and sell ourselves in the best light. However, make sure that you don’t put your future in someone else’s hands by abdicating responsibility for your own decisions, as it is your career and future at stake!

A Four-Step Process

A good approach for managing your career is to consider yourself as MD of your own company, in charge of your future success, growth and survival.

You are also the marketing director, responsible for managing your job search campaign, creatively packaging and creating a need for the company’s star product – you!

Taking this approach and following the marketing guidelines will provide you with the necessary focus to help you take control of your career and become the ‘architect of your own future’. Like him or loathe him, David Beckham is the master of this.

1. Define your product (i.e. know yourself)

  • To create a desirable package for your product, you must determine why it’s unique
  • What are your special skills and talents?
  • What are you selling to potential employers?
  • What makes you different or better than other products (candidates)?
  • Is your product appropriately priced or do you need to make improvements (e.g. acquire more skills)?

With the market being fiercely competitive, creativity is the order of the day. How you package yourself, your skills, abilities and talents will ultimately determine the effectiveness of your ‘campaign’, whether in or out of work.

  • Be proactive and understand the benefit of marketing yourself on a regular basis
  • Don’t just market yourself when it becomes necessity, because you are facing redundancy or unemployed
  • Assessing and clearly defining your skills and attributes is not an easy task and you may well need help, as often we cannot see the ‘wood for the trees’
  • You definitely cannot sell yourself effectively if you are unclear about your marketability
  • Are your skills right for the type of job or career you are seeking?
  • Evaluate and establish any obvious gaps, to look at what training or development will be required to become competitive
  • Personal development programmes can be of great benefit to boost your confidence, focus and approach to selling yourself

2. Determine your market

  • Who are your target customers now and in the future and why would they buy your product (i.e. yourself)?
  • Without a clear understanding of your audience, you cannot ‘package yourself’ or create an effective marketing plan
  • If you are employed, your target market can be internal, external or both
  • You don’t have to leave a current employer to advance in your career
  • Marketing yourself internally is easier than external networking, which often means making “cold” calls to people you’ve never met

3. Make a plan (your campaign strategy)

  • Good marketers create and follow a plan that includes a description of their target audience and how best to reach it
  • Create your own marketing plan and then follow through on the details
  • All your efforts and activities should support your goal, whether it’s to become better known in your present industry or a different field
  • A key consideration, as with any plan, is to review and change course where necessary
  • Failure to do this is likely to end up with you veering way of course!

Most professionals know the basics of job hunting but may not understand how to continuously market themselves as a product.

Proactive marketing helps you to become known and visible to ‘buyers’. It requires making connections, maintaining a network of people and persistence. This way you are likely to be noticed when career opportunities arise.

When putting your plan into action, be positive about discussing your career goals. If contacts don’t know what you need or want, they can’t help. Experience shows that most people genuinely like to help.

4. Use effective marketing channels

The most effective form of self marketing is ‘networking’, although the very name puts fear and panic into many job seekers!

Why is this?

In the UK, our ‘British reserve’ automatically puts up barriers and our ‘limiting beliefs’ get in the way i.e. all the negativity and reasons why not to and why it won’t work! In the US it is just a way of life so is second nature.

5. The importance of Social Media

Facebook, LinkedIn (Professional/ Business version of Facebook), Plaxo, blogs and the like have revolutionised the way we connect with people.

Building and maintaining your networks would have previously taken weeks or months to really get going now the power of social media can help you achieve this in only days. Remember to continue to optimise and maintain your networks.

6. Finding effective help and support

  • 1:1 Career Coaching and Career transition workshops that are aimed at helping you overcome your limiting beliefs and building your confidence are a great source of help to ensure networking becomes a natural and effective part of your everyday self marketing strategy
  • Joining professional, industry, community and specific networking groups should all form part of your strategy
  • When you really start to analyse your network of contacts, it is reassuring that you actually know many people from all walks of life; family and friends, existing and ex work colleagues, business acquaintances, acquaintances through sport and leisure activities, parents from your children’s school, community activities and so on.
  • All these people can be helpful to unlocking your future
  • It is invariably the most surprising people who ultimately do unlock your future and these can often be the friends and contacts of the people you already know!

If you are seriously considering a career change but finding it difficult to break into your chosen market, consider offering your services for a work placement either on a voluntary or ideally paid basis as this can be a useful strategy.

You immediately have something live on your CV and become instantly more marketable!

By taking these approaches and following your heart and talking passionately to people about your career mission and continually reviewing your progress towards your goal, you will become the architect of your own future and match your mission with your vision!

If you want to know more about developing your career, visit our Career & Personal Development website

Guide to Job Search

How would you like to cut to the chase of the Job search process?

Our experience shows that there are a lot of misconceptions about job search; not least that it is a very simple activity. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Job search in today’s world of technology, degrees and fierce competition has become an art form and almost a job in its own right!

Here are our top 10 myths, in no particular order except the first!

Myth 1 – You only need to look on the internet as it is the best way to find a job

Myth 2 – You only need to register with Recruitment Agencies to get work

Myth 3 – You will always hear back from job applications, especially if they want to know more information

Myth 4 – The majority of jobs are always advertised

Myth 5 – You don’t have many contacts, so networking won’t work

Myth 6 – There are plenty of jobs so it’s easy to find the job you want

Myth 7 – You cannot move between from the Public sector to the Private or Charity sectors (or v.v) without the sector experience

Myth 8 – Speculative applications do not work

Myth 9 – You are too old if you are over 40

Myth 10 – You are worthless without a degree

There are always exceptions to the rule, however research and experience supports these misconceptions time and time again. Have you spent hours, days, weeks, looking and applying for jobs on the internet only for your applications to disappear into the proverbial ‘black hole’?  Would you believe that around only 20% of Management opportunities are ever advertised? Conversely, are you aware that anything between 65-85% (depending on which research you believe) of all job opportunities are never advertised?

SMP Solutions top 5 tips for successful job search:

1) Treat your job search as a project and develop a plan, taking account of the 4 main job search methodologies:
• Applying to newspaper, trade journal or online advertisements
• Utilising Recruitment Agencies, Executive Search agencies and ‘Head Hunters’
• Direct speculative approach (must be personalised, targeted and professional)
• Personal networking (including online / social networking e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook)

2) Awareness of you as a product (who you are and what you have to offer!)

3) Finding out about the hidden job market and how to access it

4) Learning the art of networking, developing contacts and making your existing contacts work for you both online and offline

5) Discipline and persistence. Don’t give up; persistence pays but only if you are on the right track. No point in keep firing blanks. You may need our help to review and help steer you in the right direction

Other key secrets to successful job search:

• Not the ‘scattergun’ approach that many people adopt
• It is an art and like most things in life involves planning and focus
• One of the most effective routes to success is learning how to crack the ‘hidden job market’

What is the hidden Job Market?
It is all those jobs that you never get to see or hear about, unless you are in the know!
Many of us will have got jobs as a result of being known already, through friends, family, ex work colleagues, contacts of contacts and so on. This is so much easier, quicker and more powerful with the massive growth of social media/networking and professional sites such as LinkedIn. Be found and find other like minded people!

If you want to know more about developing your career, visit our Career & Personal Development website

How Social Networking Can Help Your Job Search

In these days of web 2.0, online forums and blogging, having an online presence is equally important as offline.

Most of us have heard horror stories about how a person’s online profile wrecked his or her job search or career. However, there are increasing amounts of social networking sites and both candidates and forward thinking employers are now tapping into this new low cost resource.

By getting yourself known on the web, you can develop key contacts, business networks, exchange information with other people either in your field or a different field and advance your career to even find a new job!

What Works

Consistency of your online profile

Take great care with your online profile. The viral nature of social networks means that anything unprofessional on a site, blog or forum could come back to haunt you!

Often recruiters and hiring managers get mixed messages about job candidates based on their online profiles. For example, you might have a LinkedIn profile that portrays you as a driven go-getter with an excellent background in marketing but your Facebook profile portrays you as someone who lives the life of an 80s rock star! Ensure all your online profiles portray the same person i.e. a respectable, professional and high achieving individual.

Choosing Your Social Network

Be selective about the online networks you choose. The demographics vary hugely e.g. Facebook is ideal for those in their early twenties and marketing opportunities but no so ‘cool’ for the 40 plus brigade. For managers and executives LinkedIn is the most respected business networking site but new ones are springing up all the time. Check out the link to this excellent article on how LinkedIn can help your career!

http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/24/technology/linkedin_social_networking.fortune/index.htm?source=yahoo_quote

Develop your reputation

You can do this through an effective hard hitting profile, briefly describing your work history, strengths and notable achievements. Write this similar to a typical thirty-second ‘elevator speech’ you may have already prepared about yourself. Also, having interesting and useful comments to add to blogs and forums helps to show your knowledge and expertise on a subject and is likely to get you noticed.

What doesn’t work

Provocative photos

Unless you are looking for work in the ‘glamour’ sector, having near naked photos of you is unlikely to impress a potential employer, unless they have another agenda for recruiting you! It may be great to impress friends on Facebook but you might rue the day you uploaded photos for the eagle eyed recruiters to see.

Derogatory remarks about your employer or boss

Be warned – as with interviews, this is a simple but golden rule i.e. never ;slag off’ an employer or boss, regardless of whether this is your current organisation or in your past career. Your thoughts might be funny to your friends and fellow bloggers but could overshadow all the good work you have done to develop your career and your networking to positively raise your profile.

It may be very tempting but essentially, if you are serious about developing your career, then be totally professional in your social networking to keep your professional image intact.

Follow these simple tips and social networking can open up new career opportunities for you, especially in the current economic climate where employers will be looking to reduce the cost of recruitment.

To find out more about job search strategies visit our Career & Personal Development website