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5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Young Professional Should Make

31 Dec

Ah, what a year 2013 has been. If you’re anything like the majority of the population, you’re probably looking forward to the new year, and with it, a fresh start. But instead of making the standard resolutions this year, like eat better, lose weight and save more money, try these 5 ideas: 

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1. Forget the Fear: How many things have you not done in your life because you were afraid? Whether that’s going out for a new job, telling your boss you’d like a raise, or even saying hello to someone new at a networking event, it’s time to lose the fear and just do it. Especially if that fear is a fear of failing. Those who have succeeded have done so by being courageous and taking the “risks” that others wouldn’t. In 2014, let go of fear and take a chance. 

2. Make New Friends: A lot of articles going around suggest putting down the phone and living in the now in 2014. I challenge you to take it a step further–put down your electronics and put yourself out there, meet more people, make more friends. Success in many industries, including public relations and advertising, is all about who you have in your corner. Surround yourself with people who motivate, encourage and inspire you. In 2014, make friends with people who are smarter, more successful and more motivated than you are. It will rub off.

3. Work on Your Personal Brand: We live in a #digital world, and because of that everything you do online is going to follow you IRL (in real life). How do you want your boss and future co-workers to view you? Your social media profiles is an extension of who you are–put your best foot forward and show everyone the best you possible. There used to be a thing called a diary, which no one else was meant to read. If you must get it off your chest, put it there. In 2014, clean up your social media profiles and appear more professional in your online activities. (See: “How social media can help (or hurt) you in your job search” via Forbes)

4. Find a Mentor: The most important lesson I have learned thus far in my career is that the only way to achieve maximum professional growth is to learn from someone who has already done it. Find someone already in the job that you want and study from them, ask them questions, take the good with the bad and learn from their experiences. If you’re still a student, use that student card! Kick the fear (see #1) and email someone you admire, ask them if you can take them to coffee to ask them questions about their career. In 2014, find your footing by studying someone else’s footsteps. 

5. Learn to Work Well with Others: Yes, we all hated those group projects in school. But, guess what? Group projects happen every day in real life. In fact, your career will undoubtedly be built on the ability to work well with other people. Learn how to play well with others. Observe how others work and understand how best to communicate with them. Teach yourself how to lead a group, and when to sit back and let others lead. Great leaders know how to bring the best out of those they work with. In 2014, practice collaborating with others to produce the best work you can. You cannot succeed alone. Trust me.

Lastly… HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2014 be the best year yet.

Have others you’d add? Comment below!

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Reputation Management: Yelp and Apple Maps Unite

3 Oct

Unless you live in a world completely disconnected from the media, you must have heard chatter about the newest iPhone and the subsequent software update ios 6. What you may have thought much about, however, is how Apple has stepped up the importance for reputation management in social media. 

The latest iPhone software update has integrated Apple Maps with Yelp profiles. Now, when you search for a location in your Apple Maps app on your iPhone, search results are accompanies by Yelp profiles.

Yelp ratings show up in location search results on Apple Maps

The platform even allows the user to browse through Yelp reviews without ever leaving the Apple Maps app.

Choose the “Reviews” tab to check out what others are saying

Hypothetically speaking, if I am in a new town and want to find a place to get a cup of coffee, I can go into the Apple Maps app and type “coffee” into the search bar. The search results will then show me the nearest places matching that description. I click on the closest one. It has an average rating of three stars, so I decide to learn more about it by checking out customer reviews. When I land on the tab, all I see is negative comments about how poor the service is and how overpriced the coffee is. Obviously I am going to choose to go somewhere else.

To someone who hasn’t worked with brick-and-mortar brands before, it may not be apparent at first the implications of this integration. The main take-aways are:

Monitoring is necessary. This integration makes it so that ever SMB and enterprise-level business needs to dedicate some resources to monitoring its Yelp profiles for negative reviews. Companies should also work to turn those negative reviews into a positive experience by addressing customer concerns and showing that your company cares.

Reviews can impact revenue. With this further integration of social and search, negative reviews have even greater impact to upset revenue. If customers are constantly unhappy and voice concerns, others will begin to avoid your store as well. Studies have shown that 70 percent of people trust online reviews–that can be a fairly devastating decline of in-store traffic OR a fantastic increase in traffic from positive reviews.

Locations need to embrace social media. The marriage of social media and search is an inevitable shift in the way we find and interact with brands. The companies that are going to win in search are those that embrace this idea and invest time in making their locations easy to find through search/social mechanisms.

This integration of Yelp in Apple Maps is just one way that search is being impacted and changed in social. Facebook has even teased at creating its own search capabilities.

Brands need to pay attention to how their reputation is being set on various social media platforms, and actively listen  and adjust to what is being said by customers. The only way to win in this scenario is to take every review seriously and position a company as one that genuinely cares what its customers think.

If you are interested in learning more about search and social, and how brands can utilize various tools to manage their online reputation, Like this blog post and I will write a follow up! 

Hard Work Pays Off: A lesson in work ethic and finding balance

6 Aug

I thought I would take a break from social media and public relations today to offer up a mantra that has kept me going these past few years–“Hard work pays off.”

When I began working two jobs for a total of 40+ hours a week this summer, many people told me to take it easy, “You work too hard,” they told me. Maybe its just the old-school work ethic instilled in me by my hard-working parents, or maybe I am simply an idealist, but whenever someone says that I am working too hard, I have to shake my head. “No,” I say, “I am not working hard enough.”

Thousands of college students graduate each spring, looking for a way into the workforce. The reality is, less than half of them will actually find jobs right out of college, and many others will be forced to take internships before they can find full-time employment. Receiving a college degree no longer guarantees that you will find employment–those days are long gone.

In order to find a good job today, we need to work harder than ever before to get good experience and make those crucial network connections while still in school. We need to have more than one internship on our resume, prove to our employers that we can handle anything they throw at us and stand out from other applicants by demonstrating ability and dedication to succeed in the workforce.

So, what does it take to “work hard” and still have a life?

  • Discipline: The ability to delegate time to multiple tasks is very important in public relations and marketing. If you are working at a firm, you will sometimes be responsible for more than four or five clients at one time, which means you need to figure out how to accomplish everything asked of you by your deadlines.
  • Understanding your limits and how you work: Knowing when to give yourself a break and call it a night is important to the quality of work
  • Saying ‘Yes’ more often than not. The way I see it, saying ‘no’ to your employes is a luxury. You have to put in your time and pay your dues before you can even think that word. This means that sometimes weekends need to be sacrificed when clients move up deadlines.
  • Above all, Balance: If you value the personal relationships in your life, you will need to understand how to balance your work load with your personal life. Sometimes it can be tricky, and I can personally attest to the fact that it is not always easy, but it is extremely necessary.  Remember to take a weekend off once in a while, see your family, hang out with your friends, spend some quality time with your significant other. The way I see it, success means nothing if you don’t have people in your life to share it with.

When things get tough and you feel you are running out of steam, stop. Take a breath. And remind yourself, “Hard work DOES pay off.”

Kickstarter Tips for Success

26 Jul

(Disclaimer: I originally wrote this blog post for Olive PR Solutions, Inc.)

Need money fast? Turn to the crowd! Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter again takes center stage in the press with a creative and impressively successful campaign by Penny Arcade. With the promise of an ad-free site, Penny Arcade raised $200,000 in two days and hopes to reach $1 million by mid-August.

While this type of wild success is rare, plenty have played the odds. Out of more than 64,000 Kickstarter projects to date, approximately 44 percent were funded, according to a recent CNN article.

SOLO Eyewear, a San Diego sunglasses startup that donates a pair of prescription glasses or sight-saving eye surgery for every pair of shades sold, is part of the lucky minority that has had a successful campaign with Kickstarter. Exceeding its original goal, SOLO Eyewear ended up raising more than $30,000 in one month.

So, how do you up your chances for a successful campaign like SOLO Eyewear or Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter campaign?

The first thing you need is enticing rewards. The key to offering awesome rewards is knowing your audience and matching their wants with what you can realistically give for their contribution. Penny Arcade is offering rewards that surely have the web comic’s readers digging in their couches for loose change. The list of rewards for Kickstarter backers includes being immortalized in a new video game, to hanging out with the Penny Arcade crew for a night.

SOLO Eyewear cleverly used their Kickstarter campaign to pre-sell their summer collection of sunglasses. By offering sunglasses and swag at different levels, SOLO effectively mobilized their fan base and gave them the motivation to give money, get shades and change lives.

The second factor that plays into a successful Kickstarter campaign is timing. Penny Arcade launched right before Comic Con. They even campaigned a bit at the conference, according to CNN Money. Before you launch, think about the timeline of the campaign. Are there any big conferences that pertain to your company that you can plan around? Are there any holidays or special events that you can hook into to advertise your campaign? Strategy is key in any crowdfunding campaign.

And on the topic of strategy, one of the most valuable components to a Kickstarter campaign is publicity. Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter campaign has no doubt been helped by the fact that CNN, Mashable, Geekwire, and many other national and industry-specific publications have covered it.

For lesser known companies like SOLO Eyewear, social media plays a huge role in building that awareness aspect for a successful crowdfunding campaign. SOLO Eyewear used Facebook to reach out beyond its immediate circle by appealing to existing fans and followers to spread the word about their Kickstarter campaign. By providing frequent campaign progress updates and enticing followers to help reach the next level of funding with promises of style and color reveals, SOLO Eyewear drew significant traffic to its Kickstarter page from Facebook.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Be strategic, be creative and plan ahead, and your Kickstarter campaign could be just as successful as that of Penny Arcade and SOLO Eyewear.

Want a job? Get on Social Media

12 Jul

Social media recruiting is becoming common practice for human resource departments across the U.S., according to a recent study by Jobvite.

With 92 percent of respondents indicating that they plan to use or are using social media to find and hire job candidates this year, its safe to say that if you want a job its time to get social. But where are these employers looking, you may ask?

  • 93 percent turn to LinkedIn (89 percent have made a hire)
  • 66 percent are using Facebook (26 percent have made a hire)
  • 54 percent are using Twitter (15 percent have made a hire)

Before you rush to their Facebook pages and tear down the photos from Saturday nights pub crawl, you may be interested in what recruiters are really peeved about. While 47 percent of respondents indicated a negative reaction to alcohol consumption on an applicants social media profile, 54 percent of respondents indicated that bad grammar and spelling mistakes were even larger hiring deterrents.

But that’s not to say that if you use proper grammar in your Facebook statuses and then post a picture of yourself in a bikini that you’re in the clear. In fact, you may want to think twice before posting those Vegas photos.

  • 78 percent of recruiters had a negative reaction to illegal drug references
  • 67 percent were turned off by posts of a sexual nature

Moral of the story? If you’re looking for a job, you need to clean up your social footprint right now. There is a 92 percent chance that your future employer is looking for you right now on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

For more results from Jobvite study fill out a quick request form on the company website.

Google Analytics: Tracking SEO Success

27 Jun

After conducting your SEO research for the best search keywords and implementing them in your site, track the success of your keywords by using Google Analytics.

How to measure your SEO success with Google Analytics:

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Google Analytics: Implementation

27 Jun

Now that you know how to implement SEO from the previous post, you should know how to track and measure your website with Google Analytics.

It will take more than one post to go over all of the individual aspects of Google Analytics. In my next few posts I will get more in depth with the Google Analytics program. For this post I will explain how to set up analytics on websites and blogs.

Follow these steps to get analytics on your website or blog:

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