Social Tools for Demonstrating your Expertise

By Stephen Joyce

There are many tools available for demonstrating your involvement in social media and your comfort with customer engagement.  Many of these tools you are probably already using without even thinking about it.  Let’s take a look at a few of the the tools/sites that you can use to demonstrate your expertise:

  1. Facebook – Focus on your Facebook page and avoid creating a Facebook profile for your business. You will want to focus as much attention on the business as possible and since the Fan page is publicly accessible, it will provide the greatest search benefit. Feel free to syndicate your blog posts through your Fan page but try to create content that is relevant just to the Fan page as well.  This might include asking questions of your fans or updating on Facebook only specials or promotions. Since you will have a fairly low fan base to begin with, you will need to make it more enticing for people to become fans by inviting them directly or giving them an incentive for joining. Invite your customers to post their own comments, recommendations, or tips. Because Facebook fan pages are publically accessible, I recommend you post photos and videos to the fan page first. Although Flickr is more photo oriented, we are not necessarily talking about high quality photos, these are for sharing purposes.
  2. Twitter –  Similar to the Facebook fan page, your Twitter account should not be used exclusively for delivering notifications of content posted on your blog site. Use your stored searches in Twitter to find out what people are talking about with regards to your preferred subjects and use your twitter account to respond to tweets from other users. This engagement will show that you are both listening and responding to customer (and potential customer) requests in the channel. When you contact customers via phone, email, or through the web, be sure to ask them to follow you on Twitter. WestJet has a weekly event called “Winglet Wednesday” where customers tweet their photos of WestJet winglets. The event has become a very popular part of the twitter experience.  The idea is to build interest by providing unique content that is geared towards the audience on Twitter rather than simply re-hashing existing content.
  3. LinkedIn – B2B social networks are particularly well suited to organizations that are selling to businesses. There are a number of groups and sub-networks within LinkedIn that may be of interest to you. If the principals of your business do not have LinkedIn memberships, I highly recommend they create profiles. Use the tool to create connections with existing partners, vendors, and even customers. The opportunity to participate in groups will present itself, but you will want to establish your profile first before trying to market the business.
  4. Ning – You may want to consider forming your own social network around your particular business or niche.  For example, if you are a wine tour company, you may want to start a social network around wine enthusiasts.  Be sure, though to keep the content and the social network separate from your brand.  In the same way that the Savvy Operator blog is sponsored by Rezgo or the Small Fish Big Ocean network is sponsored by TourCMS, you are free to sponsor your social network, just be careful not to make the network a sales platform or you will not attract or keep members.
  5. BuddyPress – Another option to creating your own social network is to use BuddyPress, which is a plug-in to WordPress.  BuddyPress uses the existing blogging platform can allow your members to write their own posts and articles as well as message each other and create a profile page.  Although BuddyPress is a free opensource platform, the installation and set-up can vary in complexity.

I recommend that you focus on the the primary accounts and add only where you feel the addition is valuable to your brand or reputation. In the case of existing accounts, make sure that each account has a link back to your primary website. At the very least, these existing memberships should be driving traffic back to your main website. If the account has no way to link back, then leave it for now.  Remember that the quality of interaction is more important then the quantity.  Having a few social media channels that are well used and popular is more productive and will have more impact on your business then created profiles on a hundred different sites.
You’ll begin to see results right away with the demonstration phase. Because this phase is all about engagement and communication, you will be actively communicating with customers, vendors, or partners using the various social channels you have created. Whether you are responding to a message on Twitter, a wall post on Facebook, or a group message in LinkedIn, you will see the responses almost immediately and you will be able to gauge how engaged your customers are in the arenas in which you choose to engage with them.

Original Article

The Digital 100: The World’s Most Valuable Startups

Welcome to the Digital 100: The World’s Most Valuable Internet Startups!
In this year’s list, we’ve looked at and evaluated more than 300 startups and ranked the top 100.
We’re looking at common stock value here–the price the public market might put on the company (not the valuations achieved using sweetheart terms in some preferred stock deals).
So what are the 100 most valuable digital startups in the world?
Facebook tops our list again, with a valuation of $25 billion, up radically from $6.5 billion last year.  Facebook continues to grow at a tremendous clip and now has more than 500 million users worldwide. The company will generate revenue of over $1 billion in 2010 and become cash flow positive.
Rounding out the top five: Zynga, the social game developer; Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia we think could be worth $5 billion if it tried to make money; Skype, which might go for $5 billion in an open market; and Craigslist, the wildly popular listings site that could coin money if it ever decided to do so.

About The List
Last year, we expanded our original list, the SAI 25, into the SAI 50+. We valued and ranked some of the world’s leading private online companies’

This year we expanded our search and analysis yet again. We found a ton more companies that are earning a lot of money and / or growing their businesses rapidly. The result is this year’s new and improved “Digital 100″ — 100 of the world’s most valuable private digital startups.
Notable companies not included on last year’s list include Groupon, the beloved daily deal site.
What’s New
A lot has happened in the past year: The economy crept back from the beating it took the last two years, venture funding trickled in for category winners, and online advertising staged a comeback (of sorts).  E-commerce and virtual goods sales, meanwhile, continued to hold up relatively well.
As a result, there are some changes to last year’s rankings. Most notably, LinkedIn, the professional networking site, doubled in value, perhaps reflecting the shift in job-hunting strategies with the rebounding economy.
Methodology
We used the same valuation methodology as have the last two years, which you can read about in detail here. Obviously, our valuations are only as good as the information we have, so please feel free to comment in the post or send an email to afusfeld@businessinsider.com.

The Digital 100 Top Ten:
1. Facebook
2. Zynga
3. Wikipedia
4. Skype
5. Craigslist
6. Twitter
7. Vente-Privee
8. Yandex
9. Betfair
10. LinkedIn


Here’s the complete Digital 100:

Quick Tips To Get Started Using Twitter For Your Job Search

Do you Tweet? If not, maybe you should.
Perhaps it would be misleading to say that as a job searcher you MUST be on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social and business networking sites. But, assuming that you use social media in appropriate and professional ways, being connected and networking in these ways can only help. And, few people would argue that you shouldn’t seize on any edge that you can give yourself in a job market that is widely being called the most competitive in a quarter-century.
Twitter, for those unfamiliar, is a service that allows you to communicate and stay connected with your colleagues, current and former co-workers, friends, family, and other contacts through the exchange of quick, simple answers (140 characters or less) to the question, “What are you doing now?” While the premise is simple-so simple that you might at first question how “Tweeting” (Twitter-speak for posting an update to Twitter) could be helpful in your job search-I would urge you to take another look. Twitter has become vastly popular and you might be surprised at how many of your colleagues, friends, and even top experts in your field or profession are on Twitter.
If you are actively involved with managing your career or conducting a job search, here are just a few benefits that will justify the time you spend setting up your free Twitter account and learning how to use it:
1) Twitter can be a great tool to help you build, enhance, and promote your personal brand. Briefly, your personal brand (as it relates to your career) is what differentiates you and makes you and your contributions uniquely valuable in the workplace. As a job searcher, you can use Twitter to make your followers aware of your expertise, post links to interesting news stories about your industry, or post tips related to your profession. All of these are brand-building activities that will make you memorable to your contacts, boost your credibility, and help set you apart as a leader in your field.
2) Twitter is an extraordinary networking tool. Remember that networking is all about building relationships. Twitter helps you stay in contact with people in your network in a quick and easy way that was never before possible. It will allow you to keep your contacts up-to-date on your job search, it is a great way to learn about unadvertised job openings, and it is often an easy way to get referrals to people you should talk to. Of course, it is important to remember that networking is also about providing reciprocal help, and Twitter allows you a fast, easy way to let people in your network know about job openings you’ve heard about, or give other help or advice to your contacts when they need it.
3) Twitter provides you with a way to connect almost instantly with recruiters and other hiring authorities in your field. More and more recruiters are using Twitter and other social media tools to find candidates for job postings. Some companies are actively encouraging their employees to Tweet about (or discuss on LinkedIn or Facebook) job openings that they are trying to fill. If you are regularly Tweeting about your job search and posting other on-brand Twitter posts, it is just a matter of time before you start uncovering and being referred for attractive job or business opportunities.
Are you convinced? Even for the time-challenged professional (does that describe nearly all of us?), Twitter is easy to use. You don’t even need to be sitting at your computer as Twitter is mobile and can easily be used on your iPhone, Blackberry, or cell phone.
When you are ready to get started, here are some quick tips:

1. Sign up for your free Twitter account and fill out your profile. Remember that you will be using your account for networking and professional purposes, so use discretion and only include information or a photo that you would be comfortable sharing with recruiters, your colleagues, and the world. If you have a reason to keep your business and personal life separate, you should create separate accounts.

2. Search for and “follow” people that you know. Twitter provides easy tools and instructions for doing this. Consider friends, family, current and former co-workers, industry contacts, people you went to college with, etc. Once you are following these people, look through their contacts and selectively follow some of their contacts. Even if you don’t know someone, if you have a reason to do so, follow them. This is a way to build new relationships.

3. As you begin to build your list of people you are following, many will begin to follow you. When you are getting started, try to post Tweets daily-perhaps twice daily. Besides just answering the basic question “What are you doing now?” (always keeping in mind that your Tweets should be appropriate and follow basic rules of etiquette) try to regularly post useful, on-brand information and links.

4. When your contacts Tweet, respond if you can answer a question or have useful information or tips for them. Twitter gives you two ways to do this: direct messages and replies. Be selective about which method you use. A direct message will only be seen by the person you are responding to. A reply will go to everyone that follows you.

5. Search Twitter for keywords. This is a good way to find out what is going on and being discussed on topics of interest to you among people that you aren’t already following. You may also find interesting people that you will want to follow. The place to do that is search.twitter.com

6. Do you have a Facebook account, a LinkedIn profile, a blog, or another website? There are options to link them all and post status updates simultaneously to all of them. This can be a great timesaver, so it is worth taking the time to learn how to link them. You could also consider including your Twitter user name in your email signature files or on business cards. Doing so will quickly build your following, and the larger your following, the more beneficial Twitter will be to your job search and career.

One of the nation’s leading authorities on resume writing , personal branding, and job searching, Michelle Dumas is the founder of Distinctive Career Services LLC. Since 1996, Michelle and her team have empowered thousands of professionals all across the U.S. and worldwide with resumes and job search strategies that get results and win jobs fast. Visit http://www.distinctiveweb.com for more info and follow Michelle on Twitter @michelledumas.

Facebook’s Job Search App — BranchOut

We know Facebook is the No. 1 visited site in the U.S. We also know that Americans spent the most time on Facebook as compared to other websites. However, when it comes to job search, we all go to LinkedIn.
With the attempt to maximize the utility of a Facebook user’s connections, which may also be referred to as a person’s social capital, Facebook introduced a job search app called BranchOut (http://superfan.com/). I signed up for the service and gave it a trial. BranchOut is very much like LinkedIn in this stage. With this app, I can see a list of companies in which my friends work or worked before, my friends’ work histories, post a job for free, refer a friend to a position (with bonuses), and invite my friends’ to join the network. I believe I am the first one among my network who has added this app.
We discussed how people may lose their jobs because of Facebook posts and how people can manage their online reputations before. I believe BranchOut will bring Facebook to a more professional level. Because Facebook is so important in people’s lives already, BranchOut may become another important job search tool soon, which means Facebook users need to be even more careful of what they post on Facebook. So, what do you think about BranchOut? As a manager, will you use BranchOut to recruit staff? As a regular Facebook user, will you use BranchOut to search for jobs?

Original Article and additional career advice.

Get Your Resume Noticed

Expert advice on how to make your resume really stand out from the crowd

Wouldn’t it be nice if employers flocked to you for a change? With some tweaks to your resume, they can. Phil Rosenberg of reCareered has some tips to help your resume be seen and shine:
Resume search optimization
“The majority of times, your resume will be pre-screened by a database looking for keywords,” says Rosenberg. He recommends focusing on five to ten keywords or phrases that best describe what you want in a job and what you are qualified for. “Include these keywords and phrases verbatim within the context of your bullet points,” says Rosenberg. This will increase your resume’s chances of showing up in important job databases.

Explain your experience
An old saying from Rosenberg’s recruiting days was “If it’s not on your resume, it doesn’t exist.” Don’t assume that a company knows everything you’ve done at previous jobs. The best way for them to know everything about your work history is to have it in front of them on your resume. Rosenberg suggests starting by taking a targeted approach: “Focus on what you do better than anyone else.”


Keep it simple
“The average time a reviewer, recruiter, or hiring manager spends reviewing a resume is 15 seconds,” according to a poll done on Rosenberg’s blog. Get their attention and make the most of your 15 seconds of fame. “Club them over the head with relevant examples, and customize your resume to the specific job,” says Rosenberg. “Job seekers who get indignant and feel that the reviewer ‘should know what this means’ end up in the ‘Don’t Interview’ pile.”

Get it out there
“Plastering your resume all over creation is rarely valuable, even for the active job seeker,” says Rosenberg. Instead of saturating the web with generic resumes, Rosenberg suggests sticking with a handful of sites: “At a bare minimum, post highlights of your resume on LinkedIn and attach a copy of your resume,” he says. “I recommend posting your resume at no more than five job sites.”
With some research, reorganization, and reach, your resume will be seen by more of the companies you want to see it.
Phil Rosenberg is the president of reCareered, which helps great people break through the challenges of modern job searches.

My So-Called Setback: Learning to “Do My Own Thing”

Aly Walansky

Aly Walansky is the beauty and fashion editor for MyGloss.com and a style columnist for SheKnows.com.
Five years ago, I sat at my desk at a New York-based educational children’s publisher and was dealt a blow I thought signified the end of livelihood as I knew it. Reading may be fundamental, but the children of the world were not reading – and my company could no longer afford to keep half their employees as a result.
I had always dreamed of being a writer, but it was a desire that remained in the realm of fantasy – to take that leap would mean abandoning the comfort zone of guaranteed income. Like so many of us, I was a great deal more concerned with maintaining what was predictable and comfortable, even when it was at the expense of my own dreams.
Suddenly, that carefully clutched security blanket had been ripped away from me, and surprisingly, I discovered my own clarity about my life’s purpose did not diminish, but grew stronger. There was anxiety about that financial instability and the great unknown, but suddenly I realized without the predictable, comfortable day job, I had finally quieted the anxiety that had kept me from pursing what I long knew was my destiny.
It was hard to reprogram myself: Learning to focus on my own fulfillment instead of simply survival – but learning to do so immediately filled me with an incredible sense of hope and empowerment I hadn’t previously imagined would be possible.
I made that decision to concentrate on developing myself as a writer. I always knew I loved the creative aspect of the craft, but I knew little about how to make it into a vocation. I had an English degree, and was confident I had writing ability — that alone was a start. The next steps were learning the process of querying editors, submitting story ideas, and learning how to accept the inevitable rejections that come with the successes.
The freelance life is a constant journey — one that continues to include financial roller coasters and professional highs and lows — but I am a working writer, with a constantly rewarding career I love. Gratifying as it is, it’s a path not without setbacks and hurdles – for many of us there were significant work gaps before steady assignments began — and if you are considering taking this leap yourself, there’s steps you must keep in mind;
Leaving the corporate ship: Years ago, as I was researching colleges, I committed myself to maintaining lists of goals — educational, financial, professional. Embarking upon a life of self-employment is similar. Know your mission and services you wish to provide – your own clear understanding of the path before you is the key to delivering this message to your potential clients.
Count your pennies: Many of us entered the freelance world without a safety net. You can find success with this route, but the ideal is to plan ahead. Unless you are beginning your new career with a pre-existing list of clients, there will likely be initial expenses that are coupled with income gaps. Borrow a lesson from your “in case of emergency” savings plan and save six months of living expenses before leaving your day job.
Budget: Regardless of your business specifics, make sure to maintain a spending plan from the starting gate. I have a personal practice of using Excel to budget my weekly expenses, be it groceries or office materials and home expenses. This will be an essential tool during the inevitable ebb and flow income inherent to self-employment.
Finding clients: There’s a great deal of advantage to the freelance life, and this includes freedom. We can choose our own hours and work setting, and accept only those projects we are most interested in. However, for many, this can lead to lack of discipline. Keep in mind that you are your own boss, but the nature of freelancing also means that work is not guaranteed. Your livelihood is dependent on your ability to market yourself, seek out work, and staying on top of all pending assignments. When I made the leap to freelance, the first step I made was learning how to create pitch letters, and the submission guidelines for various publications of interest. We must do our homework if we expect our work to be well received.
Networking: Working for yourself can be a lonely experience, especially if you are used to the office dynamic. A great way to maintain a healthy life-work balance, but also maintain and grow your contacts, is to network. Look into email discussion lists and sites like LinkedIn, to get to know others in your line of work — this is a great way to find out about new opportunities, but also make friends.
Whatever your career or life dream, believe in yourself and make it a reality. Armed with a plan, you will celebrate the small victories and enjoy each step along the way. As your business grows, as will your sense of empowerment, motivation, and imagination of the possible: Nothing is as meaningful as that which we create for ourselves.

 

Follow Aly Walansky on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AlyWalansky      

Original Huffington Post Article