Get social for a job

Occasionally, I find an intuitive post on hiring that really blows my mind. With a PR client that’s in the hiring space, I find myself consistently reading and tweeting with those that write on recruitment for new grads and seasoned veterans.

Yesterday, I read a piece on BostInno “Congratulations Graduate! Also, 9 Reasons Why I Will Never Hire You” by Mark O’Toole and it actually caused me to do a double-take. The piece outlines thinks that I wish I was told as an aspiring PR guy and that I will now tell my future interns.

What left the largest impression was not the dress to impress regardless idea, rather, it was “you don’t get social media (but think you do).” And this can be a big problem for anyone now coming out of school. We think that because we grew up on Myspace and Facebook that we’re naturally experts in social media. A 30 second dissection of someone’s social network profiles would unearth the lack of actual social-ness behind their networks. If you’re not ruling Twitter or connected on LinkedIn with your friend, his/her parents, and your entire graduating class, you’re starting at a major disadvantage.

Sadly, to be truly good at social media, you need to understand that you’re not any good at social media. By the time you truly become an advanced user, another network has come out or your head becomes too big and you begin neglecting what actually got you there. Maybe you learn the best way to market using Instagram, but in the time you spent mastering that skill, a new update came out, or worse, an even better social network has taken it’s place.

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How important is customer service? My experience at Valvoline

Excellent customer service, whether online or in person, makes or breaks a business. We’re not in a Seinfeld-esque world where people will tolerate “Soup-Nazi” style service, instead, we’re living in a time where EVERYONE can have a voice. Businesses that focus on providing kick-ass service online and offline will make it through and flourish.

Too many people misunderstand the importance of what social media is and what it’s capable of achieving. Many of my friends perceive my infatuation with social networks as worthless and assume that it’s a fetish comparable to being an adamant sports fan. Understanding social media is further convoluted by those that staunchly believe that they have never and will never buy anything on Facebook, from Pinterest, or as a result of someone’s tweet on Twitter. At least once over the next year, I guarantee that you’ll make a purchase (or not make one) that was influenced by social media.

Last Monday, in recognition of my favorite president, Grover Cleveland, I celebrated Presidents’ Day by purchasing an oil change. A few days prior, I had received a coupon in the mail for a discount off of my next oil change, and, as a person fixated on getting the most bang for my buck, I brought along the $10 discount coupon for my premium oil change. I’ve been getting my oil change at Valvoline and expected the traditional “upselling” and subpar service that often accompanies a trip to a car mechanic.

I wasn’t disappointed as I received both terrible service and an inquiry on the condition of my car. I didn’t mind the “upsell” as the gentleman was very nice while asking about my sparkplugs. What did bother me, and what will keep me from going to a Valvoline again, was a combination of bad customer service throughout my stay.

Before proceeding, let me clear up one thing. I rarely write reviews as I often empathize with customer service workers dealing with disgruntled customers.

My day at Valvoline starts …

  1. I drove to the Valvoline Instant Oil Change, walked inside, and was told to move my car up to the garage door and park it next in line.
  2.  Once I walked back inside, no one is at the counter.
  3. The line behind me gets longer. Seven minutes pass and no service.
  4. The clerk takes my keys after I tell her i’m looking for a high mileage – premium change. She doesn’t thank me but moves on to those next in line looking for an oil change by asking “who else needs a change?”.
  5. After my oil change, the clerk calls “Honda Accord”. That’s not my name.
  6. She starts to ring me out, but calls me by my first name, Andrew. Somehow she actually knew my name.
  7. She rings me up after I give her my $10 off coupon. She puts it in as $6 off. I nicely point out the error and she explains that the $10 off is for a tire rotation. I mention that i’m from out of state and that the coupon does say $10 off a premium change.
  8. She goes out and speaks to her manager to ask if this is okay She comes back in, attempts to input the $10 off, it fails. She goes back to her manager and he comes in as well. They explain to me that because my discount is out of state, they won’t honor it, but will give me the $6 discount.
  9. They don’t place the oil sticker on my car, rather, they hand it to me.

There are many reasons why my experience could have been so sub-par. Perhaps the clerk felt under the weather or was having a bad day. Maybe they were completely understaffed and trying to do the best job possible. Or maybe they just didn’t care. Whatever the reason, people that go to the Internet and social media to write about their bad experience are impacting future sales for the business. If I raved about Valvoline, I might tell all my friends. If I had an awful experience, I might swear off of Valvoline Instant Oil Change forever. And, worst of all…

I could go on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp etc. and explain my situation while pushing it to my six-thousand+ contacts. In this situation, unless Valvoline Instant Oil Change is watching social media, they won’t realize my dissatisfaction with their service or what I would be saying about this brand.

Why does this matter? Let’s say I convince three current Valvoline customers to never go there again because of a bad customer service experience and they can identify with me, that $4 compounds into much more. Considering people like to frequent the same mechanics and auto body shops, this adds up. Now, maybe each of these three people convince another three…

Sure, a large business, such as Valvoline, won’t be greatly impacted. But what if this was a small restaurant or business?

And what can Valvoline do to change? The easiest fix is to monitor social media channels, take me offline, and remedy the problem. Perhaps then I will give them an excellent online customer service review for their handling of the situation. Obviously, they could also change their store customer service, but having a brand notice the problem is enough to hopefully start making a change.

That’s great, but won’t people just abuse this? They haven’t yet, why would they try? It can be embarrassing for someone to spout off about a business, have the business remedy the problem, and continue doing it. This is why people mock others behind their backs but won’t say anything face-to-face.

Is social media powerful? Absolutely. Can your small, mid-sized, or large business afford to avoid what’s being said about them online? Do you ever share your less than positive customer service experiences on your social channels?

Am I more social when focusing on Klout?

Your Klout score may mean everything in social media. Well, not everything, but it means a lot. For all you social media fanatics, or even job searchers, this post is for you. 

Klout is a scoring system analyzing your activity on social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram among others. 

Many social gurus and social freaks HATE Klout. They dislike it so much that they choose to opt out or consistently rant about how it’s ruining social media and relationship building. 

To be honest, I once shared that same mindset. 

My old mindset was this: Klout is ruining interpersonal relationships. Those concerned with their Klout score focus more on adding mass amounts of followers and less on maintaining relationships. 

People trying to game the system care more about the numbers than the interactions. 

It’s a great argument and one that isn’t wrong; it’s just incomplete.

WARNING: “social gurus and experts”, please close your eyes.

I’m guessing that if I focus on improving my Klout score, I will improve my score by at least 5 points and make new friends along the way. Will this make me a bad person that cares only about self improvement? No. It will signify that i’m sick of sitting around and waiting for individuals to come to me and show that i’m interested in creating and nurturing new relationships. 

It will accomplish the real aim of social media, which is to aid in social interactions. And maybe i’ll get some cool stuff from Klout, too! 

Watch out LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Stumble Upon, and WordPress. I’m coming for you. 

My goal is this: until December 10th rolls around, I will focus on raising my Klout score as much as possible. Each week I will provide an update with my score and with news of my progress, or lack of it, and tactics that i’ve found help. I’ll strengthen this Klout muscle.

Am I ridiculous for focusing on my Klout score? 

Words of Motivation from Twitter

Words of motivation can come from strange places; mine came from Twitter.

“What are you doing to follow your passion?” via @winetonite

These words emerged on my Twitter account “Home Feed” and I really had to ask myself that. What am I doing? Well, I just moved, didn’t I? Isn’t that enough?

No.

While this post is more personal than one’s that i’ll normally write, it may become more commonplace.

On Saturday, I began the new phase of my life. I moved to Boston. I’ve been working in Boston for a couple months now,  but something just wasn’t right. My daily train commute of 4 1/2 hours was turning me into an irritable person that I didn’t want to be. So, I devised a plan to move to the city to gain back these precious moments of my life.

But that’s not enough

I think we’re our best and worst critic. Sometimes we elevate ourselves to thinking we are better than we are. I’m guilty of this. Conversely, we can think we are worse than we are. However, the person that motivates you need to be you. And that’s what I am going to do. It’s time to “push it to the limit”

If you want to be truly notable, you need to bring it into every aspect of your life. Mediocrity is done. Starting today, i’m no longer operating at 70%.

I’m challenging myself to become a better organizer, musician, employee, networker, guy on the street, friend, boyfriend, son

I’m challenging myself to become the best that I can be

What are you doing to follow your passion?

Underscores in Ye Old Twitter Handle

Al underscore GoreUnderscores in a Twitter Handle are an abomination! Think about that person who has a really obnoxious spelling of their first name. Instead of the traditional Andrew or Brian, it’s Andriu or Briyane, which appears as if a two year old threw additional letters into the name to get a higher Scrabble point score.  This is exactly what a twitter handle with an underscore looks like for people that want to send you a tweet or direct message. It’s odd, confusing, and easy to misspell.

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Tweet While You Work: Developing a Social Graph Helps Business

Facebook and Twitter LogosFacebook 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.

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Fake Gurus, Mom Bloggers, and Making Your Twitter Account Searchable

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?

  1. Think of six things that you love to Tweet about. Do you love fashion? Television? Desperate Housewives?  Do you love fantasy sports?
  2. Are you an athlete, dancer, musician or guru of any sort?
  3. Are you a single parent looking to bond with others? Or perhaps a Mom blogger?
  4. Does your business have a social media strategy that requires you to post that “I flip burgers @GenericBurger but my thoughts are my own”?
  5. Do you host any sort of Twitter chat?
  6. Are you proud of your alma mater?
  7. *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.