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Social Media Strategist Notes: You Blog, Right? Tell Me Why Not Again – Career Path Planning

Screen Shot 2012 04 11 at 1.09.36 PM Social Media Strategist Notes: You Blog, Right? Tell Me Why Not Again   Career Path Planning

Blogging is the key to understanding social media.

Are you thinking about starting a blog? Are you working, leading, exploring social media as a career? Okay. So if I Google your name, or your Twitter ID I’m going to find… what exactly?

I remember when Dell installed Andy Lark to replace the ousted Mark Jarvis as CMO. He like rugby and he blogs. That’s about all we, an internal group of friends at Dell, knew about it. At least he blogged. It showed he was "with us" on the technology of getting the message out. He was a believer. Andy Lark’s The Daily Lark. He still is even as he has moved onward and upward from Dell.

Okay, so neither you nor I are poised to become CMO or VPs of global tech or banking companies. That’s fine. But what are we doing?

How are you processing the massive amounts of information and data coming at you? I mean beyond processing your INBOX on a daily basis and attending your daily business meetings. How do YOU stay on top of what’s coming in marketing and social media? Pinterest, for example. Heard about it? CHECK. Got an account? CHECK. Pinned a few things? CHECK. Okay, so how is your next job or project going to leverage Pinterest Mania? How can Pinterest be added to your marketing plan?

Most of us don’t have marketing plans that have a Pinterest angle. Today. But we’ve got to understand and think about Pinterest. If it’s the third largest web referral network and we’d better have a plan when someone asks about it. Of course, without having the "project" to use Pinterest we might get complacent with the first three steps of our learning process: HEAR. JOIN. TRY.

I’m sorry to inform you, that’s not enough.

The rest of the process is: PLAN. LAUNCH. MEASURE. OPTIMIZE. TRY AGAIN.

And you should be thinking about the last four steps as often as you are exploring the first three. Sure, Pinterest is cool and interesting and you’ve Pinned a few things. Errrrr. And…

I’d propose the next step, regardless of your *project* or current role within a company, is to PLAN how Pinterest would fit into an online marketing plan. And if you launched your PLAN what kinds of things would you need to measure? Do you know enough about the Pinterest demographics to make educated assumptions in your plan? No. Okay, that could be a good data point to bone up on.

Today we all know everything, and we all know that if we don’t know it we can Google it. And probably you could cram the night before a client presentation is due, and add in your single Pinterest strategy slide. And I believe that’s how a lot of social media strategy gets done. But you can do better. And you should.

A blog is the training ground for so many things. Content development. Layout and Information Architecture. Design. Metrics and Analysis. Optimization. Goals and Sales Funnels. "How’s it workin for ya" kinda stuff. You need to be engaging in all of these parts of the process of social media strategy as well. If you don’t know how to explore your own Google Analytics and generate a meaningful report or at least an "insight" how are you going to do it for your next client?

BOTTOMLINE: Your blog is where you can write the theoretical plans and strategies for new social media sites or online opportunities. And as you are forming deeper thoughts about "Pinterest for Technology Sales" you are also honing the skills content development. Did your Twitter post generate 10 x the views and tweets of your average post? What was it that generated the interest and traffic to your blog? Can you repeat that process?

Here is the core of your Social Media Plan and how you can answer the questions related to your understanding of any technology: Example Pinterest.

HEAR: "Pinterest is the third largest referral site on the web." – Nice. Now what do you know about it. You need to take a few more steps.

JOIN: "Yes I have a Pinterest account." – Good for you. What do you use it for? Why would I care about Pinterest?

TRY:  "I’ve Pinned some stuff." – Engagement means spending some time on the site and using it to understand a bit more about the conversations and opportunities.

PLAN: I wrote a POST about that, "Pinterest As a Driver For Stock Photography Sales." – Articulating the idea and explaining the process. Just like you would in a real client meeting.

LAUNCH: "In my examples I started Pinning ancient Greek images and found a sweet spot that started getting a lot of RePins." – Strategy and leadership as part of your writing.

MEASURE: "When I look for actionable analytics, I focus on what action I want the visitor to take on the site." – Experience you can get from optimizing and working your blog.

OPTIMIZE: "I started seeing the traffic going up and bounce rate going down after I added Pinterest as a Category and a Tag." – You have to do it to understand it.

TRY AGAIN: Let’s try, "Pinterest-Like Sites Flooding the Fashion Market" for our next post.

You can do some of this extracurricular work on your own, without blogging. And you can cram your innovation education into a long night with Google and Powerpoint. But if you blog about the work you do, or the work you WANT TO DO, you will develop understanding that can be gained in no other way. You have to DO social media. You can’t just read and write about it. A blog is the first step towards satisfying many of the requirements for understanding social media.

And when that potential employer Google’s your name they will be impressed when they see more than your LinkedIN page and Twitter account.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

permalink:  https://uber.la/2012/04/social-media-notes-blog/

Note: You’ll want to keep those compromising pictures off your blog and your Twitter posts.

A few more Career Path Hits:

Other posts to help you kick ass in social media:

Most people don’t really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can’t help it. (from Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement)

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Career Path Template: It Is That Time of Year Again

Screen shot 2011 05 29 at 3.50.45 PM Career Path Template: It Is That Time of Year Again

Target is not a plan


Lots of graduates are looking for what to do next. A lot of us parents are trying to figure out how to help them. The retire at Target path is not what I am hoping to create. So here’s a short course in why you need to go to college and an outline of some of the skills you will develop there.

College or straight to work after high school? While it’s true you likely won’t find work exactly in your degree program once you graduate, the difference between learning in high school and college is quite important. I got my degree in English. I work in marketing. And I actually failed my only Advertising course, by trying to skip the 200+ class sessions and doing the assignments. They had that idea figured out. A big F. And that’s a bit harder to recover from these days. So IF you do go, at least go to class 90% of the time.

It might be a good motivation to go out in the world and work for a bit BEFORE attending college. My experience as a parking garage manager and art gallery wonk were good enough to show me I needed to go ahead and get my degree, in something.

I believe that college teaches us several lessons we weren’t ready to learn in high school.

A passion for learning. It doesn’t matter what class it is, but if you go to college you are likely to CLICK with some class. And your eyes will be opened to a whole new perspective. For me it was Zoology 101. It was during that semester that the Discovery shuttle blew up on launch. Something connective happened at that moment. I was already a bit "environmental" but after understanding the web of life that interleaves all of us, and the huge disappointing tragedy of science, I was humbled a bit.

How to collaborate. We should teach collaboration as a core skill in high school. Maybe we should do more with collaborative learning from elementary school on up. Because collaboration skills are the most important thing you need to learn to make your way in the world of work. You need to learn how to lead a project when asked. But almost more important, you need to learn to be a member of a team, and work with a lot of other personalities, some of whom might not be helpful in getting your project completed. This is the way the world works. Some people will provide energy, ideas and enthusiasm. Some people will care less about your project and more about their plans for Friday night. Some people may even try to work against your project, even if they are on your team, because they don’t want you to be too successful. And some people are inept. Each of these players has to be factored in. And you have to learn to turn in a successful project in spite of the obstacles. You will learn your work style. How do you perform as a member of a team? What are your weaknesses? How do you lead? All critical path requirements for getting ahead in your career. And you simply don’t learn this stuff in high school.

How to manage your own time. For once you are no longer under your parents watchful eye. So the responsibility falls on you to party or perform. Perhaps you can do some of both, but the balancing act is one that you will work towards for the rest of your life. YOU can set your bed time, but when Monday morning rolls around, YOU have to get your ass out of bed and into the job. Even if you are less than enthusiastic about what you are working on or who you are working for.

Meeting, Aligning With, and Influencing People. In high school a lot of energy and motivation can be generated through popularity, or lack thereof, perhaps. In college you will no longer be a superstar. You MIGHT join a fraternity/sorority to try and recreate some of that "inclusion" but in the world of work, there are no "cliques." There are teams. And you won’t always be on the winning team. So you neet to meet people. You need to provide value as a team member when ever you are invited to be part of a team. (If you don’t think you can provide value, you can either learn how to do it anyway, or you can decline the offer, being uncommitted is the worst thing you can do for the team.) As you are successful as a team member for people in power, you may get invited to work on more powerful teams. You may even be given a leadership position.

Learning to Lead a Team. IMPORTANT: Make sure you have the support of your executive sponsors before accepting a leadership role. As you succeed with projects you will find opportunities to climb a bit higher up the chain of command. But it’s no longer about how handsome or pretty you are, and it’s not about what kind of car you drive. Your value to the company, to a leader, and to a team, is strictly limited to your ability to succeed on a team, in any role you are given.

Always Be Learning. If you spend most of your time watching TV or partying on the weekends, you will likely find yourself in the same position year after year. Time is the primary commodity we have control over. Work is going to consume a good bit of your time, right off the bat. And sleep is going to take another large chunk. So you are quickly going to be left with nights and weekends. It is what you do during those times that you have the most influence over. And if you spend them like you did in high school, you might not make the progress you could. There are several things you can do that will advance your career as much as any of the other items listed above.

Read. Plug information into your brain. Find something that you are passionate about and then read about it. Absorb all that you can about it.

Write. If you are not blogging, you might consider it. Where else are you going to make your position known? Where else are you going to refine your convictions? NOTE: Your blog may be more important than your resume in finding your next job. Especially if your world of work is in online marketing of any kind. (yes I can show you directly how this blog has landed my last two jobs)

Network. Find a group you are interested in and go to their meetings. While I am not a developer, I have met some amazing people at local Ruby on Rails meetings. And I am fascinated by the hybrid language concept.

Start a business. You can start a t-shirt business online with zero dollars using Cafe Press. You can learn more about marketing, merchandising, social media, advertising, and commerce by simply doing it. You may not make any money on your t-shirt business, but the first rule of Technology Ventures still applies, "Everyone needs a good t-shirt." Get good at t-shirts. Get good at online. Get good at expressing your ideas and communicating that "message" to others. (It will be a fantastic resume discussion point.)

That’s it. Short and sweet. And here is the Career Path Template I adapted from the Boxes and Arrows blog.

And if you have any specific questions, I am very reachable and happy to chat with you. (not as a consultant, for free!) Put your questions in the comments, or send me an email or a tweet.

And have a good summer. Wear sunscreen.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

permalink: https://uber.la/2011/06/your-career-path/

Two other Career Path Posts:

Other posts to help you kick ass in social media:

See Also: The Introduction to Social Media Marketing

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