Sunday, January 24, 2010

Big Brother's Following You...

Big Brothers Following You

...on Twitter that is. A recent study by talent management companies Saba and Human Capital Institute finds that local, state, and federal agencies are joining Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social networking sites, and they want you to be their friend. As a matter of fact, 66% of government workplaces are using social media and 65% use more than one type. The study compares the use of social networking by private sector companies to that of the government and the results were somewhat surprising.

Here is a look at who is using what:

Threaded discussion boards:

Private: 33%

Government: 26%

Instant Messaging/Chats:

Private: 54%

Government: 23%

Blogs/Wikis:

Private: 39%

Government: 31%

Communities of Practice Groups:

Private: 54%

Government: 32%

Don't Use Social Networking Tools:

Private: 15%

Government: 29%

The report also found that many government agencies use tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace.

Federal agencies are more likely to use the tools than local agencies and many agencies report a number of concerns as to why they are not using social networking, with the biggest one being security. A number of media outlets reporting on the study say they hope that government transparency will extend to employees use of the social media, just as it does with email and other government web use.



Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Potential Employers Are Checking Your Social Networking Sites

More than half (53%) of employers are currently checking social networking websites to research potential employees. At least that's what a recent survey by CareerBuilder.co.uk found. In addition to that, 12% plan to start using networking sites to research potential employees in 2010.

The survey was completed in December 2009 and 450 employers participated. Of those, 43% said they use Google or other search engines to research candidates, 12% use Facebook and 12% use Twitter. Only 3% search for a blog.

Without a doubt, the screening led to some job candidates not receiving interviews or being hired. What were the main reasons for being disregarded?

  • 38% said the candidate lied about their qualifications
  • 31% said the candidate showed bad communication skills
  • 13% said the candidate made "discriminatory comments"
  • 10% said the candidate posted about drinking or drug use
  • 9% said the candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photos or information
  • 9% said the candidate bad-mouthed a previous employer
  • 8% said the candidate revealed confidential information from a previous employer

On the other hand, some employees said they were more inclined to hire a candidate upon screening them online and encourage job seekers to advertise themselves this way. Reasons for this include:

  • 61% said the profile supported a candidates qualifications
  • 41% said the candidate had good communication skills
  • 37% said the candidate was "well-rounded"
  • 28% said they got a good feel for the candidate's personality from their profiles
  • 24% said the candidate seemed creative
  • 22% said the candidate had a professional image
  • 15% said the candidate received professional awards and accolades
  • 15% said other people posted good references about the candidate

But just because you've landed a job doesn't mean you should throw all care to the wind when it comes to social networking. Nearly half of employers (48%) monitor current employees online and 28% have admitted to firing someone after finding information on his or her social networking profiles. The reasons for this included mostly, sharing confidential information, talking poorly of the company or another employee, or participating in unprofessional behavior.

If you are currently looking for a job, this situation is easy to avoid. Clean up anything that could be used against you such as photos of you in unflattering situations. Consider using your Facebook or other pages to connect with other professionals vs. your old friends from high school. This shows you are dedicated to your job search and your field. Try to keep things positive and even mind who you're friends with. Also, if you're still employed, don't mention that you are looking for a job. But if you find yourself running into any problems, you can always make your various social networking websites "private."



Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Get More Twitter Followers

Get More Twitter Followers

Last week, I mentioned that getting yourself retweeted can help drive your blog traffic. One key to getting retweeted is to get more followers but how do you go about doing that? Below are some tips and easy ways to grow your Twitter following, giving you more prospective blog readers and retweeters!

It may be somewhat hard to pinpoint your target audience on most social media websites but with Twitter, it's super easy. You can establish a relationship with your audience without being pushy or annoying (unless you just set out to be pushy and annoying), and overall, it can be a great marketing tool. The more followers you have, the more potential blog readers you'll have.

The easiest way to get followers is to follow people first. Most people will follow back, especially if you appear to be interested in the same topics. Some people even have their accounts set up to follow anyone who follows them. Paying attention to your target audience is key. If you blog about politics, following people who tweet about gardening may not be very productive. Using a search tool called Twellow, which is kind of like the Yellow Pages for Twitter, you can search keywords that are relevant to your preferred topic.

Once you've done your search, follow people who appear to be a big deal in your field. Maybe they have tons of followers or maybe they are celebrities outside of Twitter. Generally, these people are all about self-promotion for one reason or another and will scan their own feeds for their names, or the products and services they offer. Take a chance and tweet to or about them and you may get a response. A response isn't guaranteed of course, but in the event you do receive a response, their followers will see that person talking to you and may be inclined to follow you, themselves.

Also, expose your account whenever possible. Maybe you always put your blog link in your signature on emails or when you comment on other blogs. Throw the link to your Twitter account in there, too. Make it so that people who read your blog can follow you on Twitter with a simple click of their mouse.

Pay close attention to your numbers of followers vs. people you are following. If people see you are following a large amount of users and do not have many following back, they are going to assume you are a spammer or otherwise undesirable. If you have more followers or are closer to an even number of both, you'll appear as someone with some influence. If you start following too many people who aren't following back, use a program such as Twitter Karma to remove those who aren't following you.

A few more ways to make yourself more appealing: customize your twitter page. Add photos and bio info and give your page some personality. People want to follow other people who they can connect with or receive quality information from, not salesmen or spammers. Which leads me to: engage yourself! Talk to people! Don't just post your blog links over and over. Make friends! That's a sure way to encourage people to pay more attention to you. Lots of people may even click your blog if you put it in the "link" section to see if they're interested in following you. I've had many people tell me they began following me because they found my blog interesting.

Finally, be consistent on every website. Use the same picture for your avatars or the same user ID on various sites. Develop yourself as a brand, starting with Twitter. If you have a picture of you and your dog as your Twitter avatar, make sure that same picture is located somewhere on your blog. And be consistent with your tone and message. If your blog is about tech gadgets, tweet about tech gadgets in addition to other things. Don't tweet about running, with the occasional blog post about iPhones. It's fine to tweet about both things, but make sure you're doing both equally.



Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Get Yourself Retweeted & Get More Readers

Get Yourself Retweeted & Get More Readers

Admittedly, when I first joined Twitter, it was all about getting more blog readers. I was obsessed with my daily numbers and a good friend and fellow blogger told me she'd seen her numbers double since joining the social media site. I signed up for my account over a year ago and while Twitter soon became more than just potential blog readers to me, it did help me build my readership and begin making a name for myself and my blog. Below, I have listed some tips and ideas for using Twitter to help you do the same.

Twitter is generally about real time and even the most famous users with the most followers aren't going to make something go viral with one single post. The key to getting your link out there is getting the people who do follow you and who are watching when you post live to "retweet" your post. In a nutshell, retweeting means someone liked your post enough that they want to share with their followers, so they post it in their stream, as well, placing the letters "RT" to identify that it is a retweet and your user ID to identify that you are the original poster before the actual post. The more influential the person, or the more followers they have, the more likely your post will be retweeted again and again and again, with even more people taking notice. In the business world, word of mouth can be one of the strongest advertising tools there is. On Twitter, word of mouth is also the quickest way for something to spread.

So how do you get people to retweet your post? For starters, you need to stand out. There are millions of blogs out there and most people are following hundreds of other Twitter users. There's no way any one person can keep up with every single blog or tweet. Your title or the words you use to accompany the tweet need to stand out and grab attention. You have to make people want to click on your link or you can forget being retweeted.

Once you've decided on a catchy title, you need to make sure your post is engaging and appealing. Lists are always good ideas for posts because they aren't long and drawn out, and are easy to read. People don't have time to read long paragraphs about a topic unless it's something they're truly interested in. Make your post easy to read, easy to skim (most readers don't read word-for-word) and be sure to add pictures and bullet points to make your post appear more organized and visually appealing.

So now you have your super-awesome article with a catchy title and you're ready to post it on Twitter. But what can you do to help ensure you get a few retweets?

  1. Make your Twitter post short. There's nothing more annoying than having to shorten someone's long-winded post in order to retweet. You can only change "and" to "&" and "three" to "3" so many times. You only have 140 characters to work with; make sure you leave room for your followers to add your username and "RT."
  2. On your blog, you can add buttons that allow your readers to tweet your posts, themselves. Tweet-this and TweetMeme buttons will allow readers to post your hard work with the simple click of a mouse.
  3. Post your articles more than once. Post at different times of the day, when different users are online. Most people won't mind your repetitiveness (especially if you post other things in between) and seeing the same title a few times over the course of a couple of days may even intrigue them.
  4. Just ask. This isn't my favorite way to go about getting a retweet. I find it slightly tacky and prefer to earn attention through hard work, not begging, but several influential and popular writers will add the words "please RT" to their posts and it seems to work for them. If you're not comfortable doing that, send out some direct messages (DMs) to a few twitter users who you have a good relationship with and who you think might be interested in what your post is about. You may even attempt to contact influential people with large numbers of followers. If your content is good quality stuff and the person is not a complete jerk, they will most likely help you out.
  5. Be pleasant and engage the people who do retweet or comment on your blog post or article. Thank them and answer their questions and chances are, they'll start paying closer attention to your future tweets. As a matter of fact, look for followers who share your common interests, especially if it's the topic you blog about. Befriend them and you've most likely got a new friend and reader on your hands!




Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.