Join me July 17th @SandboxSuites And Make Social Media Part Of Your Summer

One of the things I have the pleasure of doing in my career is speaking. As I’ve advanced through my career in the past few years I’ve found myself teaching and lecturingsocial-media-crystal-ball-300 about social media to professionals, students, and interested parties at conferences.

If you’ve wanted to learn social media, join me on Thursday July 17th, at Sandbox Suites in Santa Clara at 6:00 p.m. for Social Media 101 with the Ignition Foundation, a 501(3)(c) not-for-profit bringing technology related topics to the masses. Best of all, this is free and food is provided. Bring your laptop!

Those new to social media and also looking to learn more should join this event. Here are my top 4 reasons to come:

  1. Social media is a critical component of marketing now – and it’s important to think like a social marketer. Knowing how to create conversation socially is one thing, but using social media for business is another.
  2. Social media as a career is a growing position – Do you want to be a part of that?
  3. Social media is not just social media. There’s analytics, content management, content creation, and more involved. Love video? Measuring numbers? Writing? There’s a spot for you in this industry. Come and see where you would fit in!
  4. Your personal brand matters more than ever: How are you positioning yourself on one of the web’s most visible platforms? Social media can help you and we will show you how.

If you’re interested, head on over to the Ignition Foundation website, email the founders, and bring your laptop day-of. There’s food and drink provided as well!

See you there.

Why We Need to Try Harder in Our Content Marketing

If I or you had a dime for every top ten, life-assuming changing list out there today, we’d be millionaires. No – billionaires. Scratch that – how about trillionaires?

Trillionaires isn’t even a word according to Google Chrome’s spell check.

There’s no doubt that lists drive web traffic. Marketers understand that in order to get the most traction out of their traffic, especially on the business-to-consumer end, twitterwriting lists, sharing cat photos, and doing top ten videos are the way to go. If that’s the way to do it however, then what does that tell us about the rest of society?

As a social media and digital marketing professional, I understand that some of the work I do serves as the junk food of the web. From writing vague and inspirational statuses to sharing the content everyone else has shared, the experience sometimes feels like an endless circle jerk. I’m guilty as much as someone else for writing top ten lists that only serve to take care of a Tuesday afternoon content blast when there is nothing out there. However for a society that used to read a whole lot more — and longer — why have our attention spans dropped to where they are?

We need to try harder.

We need to try harder because as marketers, our audience and customers do deserve better. If we’re selling widgets, simply sharing the top ten reasons why widgets are a good thing aren’t enough. Educating about widgets isn’t enough either. Remember, as marketers we are not just salespeople but also storytellers, gatekeepers of truth, and steerers of the conversation. Instead of steering our conversation towards the stable of top ten lists, why not encourage deeper thought and deeper meaning?

And with that, I invite you to start a better conversation today.

Dear Social Media Graduate…

Every spring, I put together a letter addressed to social media and marketing graduates as they prepare to walk the stage and join the real world. This year’s letter is no Read on for a what graduates should be hearing when they receive their diploma.

Dear Social Media Graduate,

Word on the street is that you are graduating soon. With your tassels, gown, and diploma in hand, I am very sure you are ready to take on the world at large.

First though – I’ll let you take that selfie.

Done? Good!

Your classes, late nights, extracurricular activities, and so much more have led you to this very spot: graduation. For many of you, this is the end of roughly 20 years of schooling. There were times where you no doubt wondered whether you made it this far, and here you are with a paper that states you mean something to somebody and should be hired right on the spot – or so you think so.

Hint: You couldn’t be more wrong.

Even though we are out of the shadows of the great recession, hiring simply isn’t what it used to be. A lot of the folks who were priced out during the great recession are in the very jobs you covet, trying to earn back all the savings they lost six short years ago. While a college degree is required these days for a job, the currency of job hunting is beyond that in experience and having actually demonstrated competency in the workplace. If you think you’ve worked hard these last four years (plus) for college, brace yourself: You’re about to work even harder – even if you know how to post to Facebook, explain what the EdgeRank Algorithm is, as well as create a hashtagged campaign.

However that said, fear not. Like every generation before you there are ways to get ahead. Here are some of a few that have helped me get further in my career as I move forward that you can consider for yourself:

  1. Learn how to Code: You may wonder why a social media person is advocating for social media graduates to code. The answer is simple: Because this is actually what is in demand these days. If you can code and you can do social media, it makes you a triple threat. Much of what involves social media these days also involves a great deal of creating the experiences that come along with it. Learn these skills and you will be golden.

  2. Figure Out Your Brand: Gone are the days where you create your resume and share it with everyone around you. In addition to doing your research on other brands you must create your own as well, and tailor that to the career that you seek. Don’t go into the workplace without a message.

  3. Network, network, network: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are not replacements for the networking you ought to do offline. Make business cards, get out into the field, and connect with the people you need to meet in order to get your name out there. Networking was something I didn’t nearly do enough of when I was just graduating. Don’t make my mistake.

  4. Start a Blog: One thing that I have learned a great deal of in interviewing is that having a personal blog/website really helps. It allows recruiters to ask deeper questions beyond what your strengths, weaknesses, and preferred way of being managed are. Create a consistent content calendar and share your content on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

  5. Pay it Forward: Finally, pay it forward and help others. While you may be in direct competition with others for similar jobs, it’s important to show up and assist others. You are after all in this experience together, so be kind because everyone will be fighting a tough battle. Helping others goes a long way in making a better environment for everyone.

Once again, congratulations. Take time to celebrate and be present towards your upcoming journey as you seek the job that you desire. None of this is supposed to be easy, especially in this industry, and that’s exactly why we do it.

And it’s why I believe you do it too.