Becoming a social media maven not that difficult

Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed.

Eating lunch outside in Old Town recently, a man I didn’t know approached my table. “You’re the social media queen!” he said. I looked behind me, convinced he was talking to someone else. Social Media Queen isn’t a label I’d attach to myself.

My confused look prompted him to explain. Turns out he’s the business partner of a woman I know, and he and I had connected through her on LinkedIn (an online business networking site). Then I remembered that recently, I have been more consistent in posting updates on my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Suddenly, a wave of joy swept over me. If this little bit of extra effort was building my reputation as an active social media maven, hooray!

People in my life would tell you that when it comes to jumping on technology advancement bandwagons, I’m usually hiding under them. But as much as I resisted the idea of social media, eventually I admitted that it offers some pretty cool pluses: direct connections to supporters and an effective, efficient way to differentiate myself.

So rather than fight it further, I’ve made social media part of my routine. Each Monday, I pick a theme, usually some universal topic such as passion, fear or courage. Then I study my calendar for the week, looking for ways to tie that theme into 140-character statements (the maximum length on Twitter) related to my activities.

For instance, this past week’s theme was fishing (in honor of summer), and one day’s post was, “True story: One job hunter sent a resume and intro letter to 20 co’s that she liked, but who weren’t advertising jobs. She landed a job offer!”

Once I’ve composed my five statements for the week (I reuse the same posts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter), I schedule their delivery using a tool like The entire process takes less than 30 minutes, yet voila! My messages are posted Monday through Friday, and people confuse me with being a social media guru.

Turns out it isn’t painful and doesn’t take much effort. So I still have plenty of time to enjoy lunch outside in Old Town.

Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed., is the author of “The Career Coward’s Guides”, and provides career and job search support with Career Solutions Group in Fort Collins. She can be reached at 224-4042, or send email to

Original Article

O Magazine – The New Rules Of Networking

By Barbara Safani and Louise Fletcher
O, The Oprah Magazine  |  

1. Join LinkedIn, which will allow you to connect with current and former associates—and their networks, too. “At this point, if you’re not on LinkedIn, people wonder why,” says Safani. (Bonus: Recruiters often use it as a database.)

2. Request information, not a job. “When you ask for a job, there is a yes or no answer,” says Safani, “and it can feel like you’re begging.” Instead, explain exactly what you want and inquire about others who might be good for you to talk to. “Or pick their brain about the industry; that can be flattering.”

3. Be on-message all the time. Prepare a succinct, compelling pitch about what you’re looking for and why you’re qualified. Then keep this message consistent in your résumé, your online profiles, and your conversations. Never say, “I’ll take anything.” If you do, people won’t know how to help you.

4. Be helpful to others. “Networking isn’t just something you do when you’re looking for a job,” says Fletcher. “If you help people out whenever you can, those favors will come back to you when you need them.” 

Tips for Cold Calling for a Job

With our economy headed into a double-dip recession, with all economic indicators heading downward, this is going to be a challenging period for job hunters.  Yet, we all know that some people are getting jobs.  Are they better than you?  No, they’re just better at finding the jobs.

When you have exhausted your personal contacts, worked Facebook and LinkedIn to death and attended every networking event you could find and still don’t have any viable job leads, it’s time to start cold calling and meeting new people to invigorate your job search.
One of the most challenging skills to master is the ability to effectively cold call.  Cold calling, by my definition, are calls made to people you have never met before where you are looking to establish a business relationship.  It is truly the most difficult process in business.

Cold calling can be made either by sending a letter, e-mail, or phone call.  I personally like calling a new contact.  People today get way too many e-mails which can be daunting for most of us.  I would never e-mail a person if you have never met them.  It’s not productive to send information to a potential contact via the e-mail and disrupt their personal space.  In fact, if they do not know who you are they’ll probably delete your e-mail without opening it or it will end up in their Spam folder.
Cold calling should be based on a marketing plan you have comprised.  It is essential to have some sort of a game plan before you pick up the phone and start calling a prospect.  This is what separates you from a whiney job seeker who doesn’t get return calls from someone who gets return phone calls.
Once you identify who you are contacting do research to see if they have been honored for anything recently or have written any articles lately.  This will give you some insight into how they think and may give you an advantage in your early communication with them.  Compliment them on their achievements: make it about them, not you.
Know that these people you are calling on are extremely busy.  They probably have piles of paper on their desk, fifty e-mails to be answered, and an almost full voice mail.  This is the kind of environment we work in today and will continue for the foreseeable future.  So remember whoever you are contacting cold is probably overworked, tired and bombarded by a number of other people who are trying to reach them.
When you are making a cold call by phone you may only reach a voice mail.  If you do reach a voice mail then leave a short message of who you are, why you’re calling and your telephone number.  You may get a return phone call depending on the business ethics of who you are calling.  Many successful executives will return calls out of courtesy but a number of business people will not.  In most cases, you will have to call back a few times.  Don’t call back at the same time each time you call.  Be creative and tenacious, but not annoying.
Companies are hiring people, just not at the pace people are losing jobs.  Firms are always looking for new talent.  The key is to be in the inner circle of hiring.  I recognize that personal referrals into a company are easier and sometimes better when looking for a job, but it also limits your chance of getting a job. Personal referrals are quickly exhausted and then what do you do besides applying online as everyone else does?
You have nothing to lose by cold calling.  Just make sure that you target the right people to call.  Do your homework by knowing something about the person you are calling. Compliment them on an article they published or a promotion, something they feel good about and feel compelled to respond to you to thank you for acknowledging.
Be enthusiastic, confident and informed. This confidence and enthusiasm will be infectious.  Whether you leave a voice mail or speak directly to the person you are attempting to reach by phone, make sure to make your proposition clear.  The mission of a cold call is not to sell your goods on the spot, but to open the door with this person for dialog.
Great sales people make great cold calls.  Take a cue from them.  Meet with one of your friends who have made a career in selling and ask them what they do.  This is not a time to sit back and wait for a phone call.  Get out there and keep talking, until you get the job you want.

Original Article

10 Tips For Aspiring Community Managers

As the world of dominant brands becomes more fragmented, established companies and startups are hiring community managers to cultivate an engaged community in a digital world where customers’ experiences with the product is amplified through social media, whether good or bad. And it’s not just the experience that users value; the relationships and connections they are able to make with companies and fellow consumers are just as important.
As a result, engaging users online and off has become evermore important for both companies big and small. That’s because social media has revolutionized the idea of word-of-mouth marketing, providing not only an opportunity for companies to expand their brands but also creating the risk of a customer service nightmare.
Community managers, who come in all shapes and sizes depending on the company and its mission, are often the online face of their companies, and more increasingly, offline as well. They’re the social strategist, community builder, storyteller, marketer, product manager, designer and evangelist rolled all into one. But most importantly, they’re responsible in projects and initiatives that strengthen the community of consumers, users and customers of the company.
Though there’s no silver bullet to being a successful community manager, for those aspiring to become one, we’ve gathered some tips from community builders on what it takes to land a job and be effective at cultivating community.

1. Be an Expert and Evangelist of Your Product or Company

Effective community managers are not only experts of the company or product they represent, but also are passionate about it. Chrysanthe Tenentes, Head of Community at Foursquare (Foursquare
), said good community managers are ones that are genuine advocates and evangelists for their products and their users.
“The best community managers are superusers of their products and can understand the passion of the user base, whether someone is complaining or offering feedback,” Tenentes said.
This means doing your homework on the company and product. It’s important to research the relevant aspects of the company with a “fine tooth comb mentality,” said Seamus Condron, Community Manager at ReadWriteWeb. This will not only prepare you as you go into an interview for a community spot at a company. Aspiring community managers should do a thorough “social media audit” of the company they’re interviewing with, said Daniel Honigman, Social Media Manager at Sears/KMart Home Electronics. This also means knowing the competitive landscape.

2. Love The Product and Company, But Be the Users’ Advocate

Understanding the product will help you become better at engaging and understanding the customers and users as well. Mario Sundar, Senior Social Media Manager at LinkedIn (LinkedIn
), said you should love the product or company you represent, but you should also have an understanding of users’ pain points. He said a community manager should be empathetic, that will help them be better at responding to complaints (and, at times, rants).
This is particularly true of customer service teams, and companies like Zappos, he said, have set the bar high in building customer support by empathizing with consumers. “A community manager’s role is no different,” he said.

3. Work on Your Communication Skills

One of the characteristics a community manager should have is that of an engager. A good community manager can engage people in an effective dialogue, said Andres Glusman, Vice President of Strategy & Community at They understand that their role is to help people and enable their community to connect with each other, he said. To do this, they have to be effective communicators and articulate themselves well.
To prepare yourself for a career as a community manager, having a background in either marketing or journalism helps, Tenentes said. Having a communications background and experience in writing will help you be an effective communicator.

Tips 4 – 10

Ten Common Job Interview Questions and Answers

Whether you’re an entry-level candidate looking for your first job or an experienced professional looking to switch gears, the job interview process can be one of the most intimidating and frustrating steps in securing that perfect position. Oddly enough, many interviewers stick to a standard list of questions, regardless of the position being applied for. This standardization can be used to your advantage, as it allows you to prepare and even rehearse your answers to typical interview questions.
Here are ten of the most common job interview questions, and some tips for handling them.
Job Interview Questions and Answers #1: Tell me about yourself.
A lot of less-inspiring interviewers start off with this cookie-cutter icebreaker. It’s a pretty easy one to field: tell them about yourself. Just make sure to think before you speak. Don’t ramble; don’t say anything incriminating; don’t be offensive.
“I love to drink tequila and watch porn,” is probably not appropriate information, no matter how true it is.
If possible, try to tie in some elements that explain why you, an an individual, are a great fit for the company or the position. Interviewing to work with an all-terrain vehicle manufacturer? It might be worth mentioning that you’re an outdoors and motorsports enthusiast.
Job Interview Questions and Answers #2: Tell me about your last job.
This is another question that often comes at the beginning of interviews; it can be a bit tricky to answer. Your goal here is to explain why this new position is better suited to you than your last job without whining or bashing your former company. Potential employers are extremely wary of anybody who has an overabundance of negative stuff to say about their last job.
As an example, let’s say you used to work at an insurance company’s call center, and you’re trying to move into a quality-control role. “Those dumb bastards didn’t have a clue,” is probably not something you want to say about the insurance company.
Instead, try something like, “I enjoyed the customer service element of my previous position, but there simply wasn’t enough problem-solving to keep me engaged. That’s why I decided to look for a position with a little more responsibility that draws upon my technical skill set.”
Job Interview Questions and Answers #3: Tell me about a difficult situation you’ve had with a customer/client and how you handled it.
This can be a very tricky question for entry-level candidates who don’t have a whole lot of formal work experience. If you don’t have a good answer, admit it, and instead try drawing on an experience you had with a friend or family member. Basically, the interviewer is looking for proof of your people skills, so just tell a story about a time when you were able to make an unhappy person happy.

Questions 4 – 10

Your LinkedIn Profile Is Done. Now What?

As Jason and I spend time coaching clients and prospects on LinkedIn, the first thing we do is educate them on the steps involved in creating a complete profile.
We often refer to this (and all social media infrastructure setup) as “the plumbing” because it’s a necessary step before you can effectively use any social media tool.
So once your LinkedIn profile is complete, what are some of the things you should do next?
Here are  7 LinkedIn Quick Tips to get you headed in the right direction…

LinkedIn Quick Tips

  1. MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Ideally, you will spend some time on LinkedIn every week. A good way to remind yourself to do that is by setting up a recurring, weekly calendar appointment for a minimum of 15-30 minutes dedicated to LinkedIn. In fact, cut and paste these LinkedIn Quick Tips right into your calendar entry to remind you what you need to do each week!
  2. CONNECT TO PEOPLE: Start connecting to people that you know, trust and respect. There are a few ways to do this and you can see them all by clicking “Contacts” at the top of the page and then  “Add Connections”. And when you send an invitation to someone, be sure to personalize it!
  3. RECOMMENDATIONS: Provide recommendations to those “rock stars” you’ve worked with over the years. Be authentic in your recommendations and write them in a way that lets people know why the person is great to work with. For examples of recommendations, take a look at some that Jason and I have written and received on our LinkedIn profiles. (Note: You must be logged into your LinkedIn account to view these.) Mic’s LinkedIn Profile; Jason’s LinkedIn Profile 
  4. SEE WHAT YOUR NETWORK IS UP TO: If you click on “Home” at the top of the page when logged into your LinkedIn account, you will see a list of updates from people in your network and groups that you belong to. See what they are saying…see who they are connecting to….see what updates they are making to their profile. You never know what opportunities might come up. If you aren’t paying attention to what people are doing, you’ll miss those opportunities!
  5. JOIN, AND PARTICIPATE IN, GROUPS: If you click on “Groups” at the top of the page when logged into LinkedIn, and then click on “Groups Directory”, you will see that there are tons of groups that you can join and participate in. Do searches for groups in your industry or groups that interest you (I am a part of several Jayhawk/KU groups..shocking, I know!) This is another great way for you to connect with like-minded people and share your opinions and expertise.
  6. TAKE A LOOK AT WHO’S HIRING: Many people don’t realize that there are jobs posted on LinkedIn. Click on “Jobs” at the top of the page when logged into LinkedIn and take a peek at who’s hiring. That might give you some insight into companies that are growing…or you might know someone that you can refer to a company. Again, if you don’t make a habit of looking, you miss out on those opportunities.
  7. FOLLOW COMPANIES THAT ARE CLIENTS OR THAT INTEREST YOU: Using the search box in the upper right hand corner of LinkedIn, search for companies that are your clients, that you are interested in, that you used to work for, etc. Once you’ve found them, you can choose “Follow Company” on their LinkedIn Company Profile Page. For an example, and to follow Blue Gurus, click here:

Those are just a few helpful tips to get you in the habit of proactively using LinkedIn each week.
Have you put these tips into practice? What have you learned? Do you have other tips that have been helpful to you or your business?

Original Blue Gurus Posting