Facebook and Twitter are not just fun things to do in your off hours; they are tools for success in business. They are living, breathing devices that create networking opportunities and business leads. If you want to continue using social media as a way to keep up on celebrity gossip, photo stalking, and your most recent game of Farmville, please do. But if you want to see what opportunities are available in your life, it’s time to truly become social.
Are you maximizing Twitter’s unique business potential or wasting and damaging your reputation?
Twitter is instrumental in hirings, firings, revolutions, public outcry, networking, and connecting you with the newest celebrity fad, yet few people take it seriously. So, why haven’t you pulled a Regis and given your account a facelift with a new biography and photo? The image that you put out, the things you say, and words people associate with you will follow for life.
Does your account look like this? Or even worse, is it blank?
“Life, laugh, love. It’s all about Anchorman and going to the movies. Missing my girls from school, but blogging about my children. Love everything social media”
Twitter allots users 160 characters for searchable biographies. Those that want to interact and network use keywords to search through biographies on search.twitter.com . Additionally, there are plenty of Twitter applications that allow for user searches by keywords (Tweetspinner, etc,). How would someone find you?
Too many Twitter accounts profess to be used by social media fanatics and yet don’t understand the power of brevity. It takes 4 seconds for someone to read your biography and make a judgment call. Don’t worry about complete grammatical correctness as users understand space limitations. Additionally, if it’s an acronym or abbreviation that no one would understand, stay away from it.
So, what should you do to craft a compelling biography and leave space for future additions?
- Think of six things that you love to Tweet about. Do you love fashion? Television? Desperate Housewives? Do you love fantasy sports?
- Are you an athlete, dancer, musician or guru of any sort?
- Are you a single parent looking to bond with others? Or perhaps a Mom blogger?
- Does your business have a social media strategy that requires you to post that “I flip burgers @GenericBurger but my thoughts are my own”?
- Do you host any sort of Twitter chat?
- Are you proud of your alma mater?
- *Optional* Use # for keywords instead of commas to separate
So what sort of formula should you follow?
c + b + a + f + e + d – (1/6 a) – filler words. Or, less confusingly…
Single Mom, Coffepreneur and Dancer. Fashion, TV, Movies, Wine, and Body Building. Marist Alum and proud host of #genericchat. VP @GenericBurger. I own my tweets
Finally, make sure you have a semi-professional headshot. Many believe that you should invest in professional head-shots, but that isn’t necessary. Instead, ask your friend to take a shot of you (preferably not when you’re taking a shot). Make sure to use this as your base photo for different professional accounts; consistency across social networks is key.
What do you know about Kris Humphries? I’m sure that you’ve heard that he and Kim Kardashian are getting divorced. And, by association, I assume you know that he played (pretty poorly) for the New Jersey Nets. Of course, you could learn all of that by following tabloids, but following professional sports will strongly benefit your career. Look no further than the our most recent heads of state, President Bush (owned the Texas Rangers) and President Obama (loves his Chicago Bears).
I’m often asked about why I spend time doing worthless activities such as fantasy sports. To me, it’s a career move, much like knowing office lingo, golf, or how to turn on a computer. Discovering how to speak to my friends and coworkers was just as important as having knowledge about world events
When in an elevator with Greg the sports-aholic, what should I do? Attempt to talk about the weather or politics? Being known as the awkward guy that talks about the weather can’t be the path to go. And, politics should rarely, if ever, be discussed in the work place. I doubt that Greg wants to know about my beliefs on immigration (outside of players being recruited to play in America).
So, why learn these seemingly irrelevant games?
1. You learn to discuss something that there is very little animosity about.
Politics and religion are a no-no in the workplace and with some family. Besides Yankees-Red Sox, Ohio State-Michigan, Army-Navy, Bruins-Canadiens, Cowboys-Eagles etc. rivalries, people tend to like those with differing sports opinions. In most cases, the only situation to miss is when rival sports teams play. Knowing what they mean when they say that Aaron Rodgers went off last night is important.
2. Your coworkers and boss probably follow it.
While athletes in most major televised sports are males, watching sports for entertainment is becoming an increasingly coed activity. At my house, it is my mother, not my father, who spends the most time watching baseball and football. Why not ask your boss if they saw the game last night or what they think of the NBA lockout? Sharing something in common with your boss can only help when looking for that raise
3. It’s a social activity.
Currently, I’m in three fantasy football leagues with friends from High School and College. While gambling on these leagues or on sports can get you in trouble, check Verizon firing employees due to Superbowl Gambling, the positives outweigh the negatives. Further, it is something to do with others at family gatherings or while out at a bar. Check out Yahoo and ESPN for Fantasy Sports. In my leagues, we use social media to stay in touch
4. You have something to talk about with your 10-year-old nephew.
For those of us that have younger relatives, what do we discuss with them? Well, if you’re not up on your Justin Bieber or Twilight Series, sports knowledge is your savior. I advise knowing your sports at least in preparation for Thanksgiving Day Games
5. You can unite on discussions of athletic greed.
Did you hear that CC Sabathia is getting paid by the Yankees $122 million to pitch for 5 more years? Yea, that’s a bit of money.
6. Do you remember Yao Ming?
Before ankle and foot became seriously injured, he was the pride of China. Does your company do business in China? Hello discussion topic!
I get baffled when I hear of small business owners not using social media. To me, that’s like a company saying they can’t benefit from having an email address or a phone number. Can you imagine a business turning down free channels of engagement because they aren’t comfortable using it? It’s shooting yourself in the foot and trying to hike a mountain. Pizza places, PR firms, law offices, car dealerships, ski mountains, and oil companies can all benefit from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, etc.
The people that resist the most are those in a fields that are “not directly related to social media”.
I’ve been fortunate to have multiple social media proposal requests. As a social media specialist, I love this sort of stuff. I get to keep my skills fresh and I learn about new types of business. Recently, I had the opportunity to research social media utilization for metal refiners. Obviously, this is a fairly niche field. Think refining of gold for carburetors, computer chips, etc. What a weird field to market in, right?
Wrong! I live by a concept called “raising the bar”. Essentially, find what your competition is doing online and raise the bar a bit more. Whoever is most active becomes your level of mediocrity. If you want to do succeed, you need to do at least a little better than them; we all want more bang for our buck. If you offer a 10% discount, I’ll offer 11%. If you’re not doing anything in social media, I will jump right in there and set the bar myself.
But what is the ROI of Social Media?
This is another problematic thing for me. I hate to echo Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library as much as I do, but social media marketing can’t be measured in a traditional way. A business needs to “outcare” its competitors.
Example 1: I am a struggling restaurant, what are my options?
Yesterday, I tweeted, “Writing a blog entry about twitter handles on resumes. Thoughts?” and received varying responses.
@tcmassie: @jonathanyantz @aclinkman I even have my twitter handle on my business cards. It’s another way of reaching me. You already know that. 🙂
@jonathanyantz : @aclinkman I think if it’s professional & you tweet about your industry pretty often, go for it-I did. Might help employer get to know you.
@asabilia:@aclinkman I once saw a resume w/ blog listed. Blog was about life & “bad-for-you-food” author eats on weekends. Not the best impression!
Long gone are the days of hiding our secrets. There are well-known cases of job searchers walking into interviews and being asked by HR to open up his or her Facebook account and consequently not receiving the position.
So, should we put our twitter handles in our resume?