Sunday, November 16, 2014

A New Normal

Havas Chicago is recruiting the next crop of winter interns. While that may be nothing new, the method of recruitment is.

Potential internship candidates are prompted to ditch the traditional resume and cover letter, and pitch themselves via social media. Using the hashtag #winternshipiscoming, students will compete "Game of Thrones" style with Instagram content and Snapchat pictures. The recruitment process is meant to give candidates creative freedom and use the platforms that are already second-nature to them. And it's a win-win, as Havas is more recently designated as a socially savvy agency. It's only right that the new recruits be at the top of the social game.

The first round consisted of applicants submitting content on Instagram with the corresponding hashtag. The assignment was to post unique photos and equally as compelling captions explaining why and how the applicant possesses certain traits paramount to a successful intern. One applicant went so far to prove his loyalty that he got a tattoo. Needless to say, competition is fierce.

The Instagram round narrowed the applicant pool to approximately 75 candidates, where the process now jumps to Snapchat. Applicants will have 24 hours to prove their worth however they deem necessary. Submissions will be judged on November 18, and the winning interns will be announced on the 24th.

Social media is awesome way to recruit interns. Not only is it a more honest and transparent picture of who the candidate is, it's good incentive for these candidates and future applicants to remain cognizant of what they are putting out there on the web. The candidates are also optimizing the content they post and learning what companies like Havas look for in entry-level positions, as well as how the company is growing toward social media. Candidates are putting in the extra effort to present themselves in a competitive light, and that will transfer to other positions they apply for in the future.

Havas presented applicants with a good exercise that is similar to what they'll be asked to do as young professionals in the industry. There is no doubt that within agencies the younger employees are included in almost any conversation about social media strategy. Following the success of Havas' social media recruitment last summer (with the hashtag #Imheretotakeyourjob) and this latest installment, it's likely social media accounts will play an increasingly larger role for both parties involved in the job search.

Digiday article here.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Offline, Online and Back Again

YouTube has been and continues to be a breeding ground for a new generation of celebrities. I've written before about some of the best practices to pursue and develop an influential channel and how to use the social platform to address consumers. Several YouTube stars have managed to expand their brands offline and successfully engage with fans through other, more traditional means; kind of rounding out the brand presence.

Adweek recently ran a cool story about three women who did just that. Each had started her own YouTube channel to express certain interests and play with the freedom of uploading personal content. Michelle Phan, Rosanna Pansino and Bethany Mota candidly admit that they never intended to develop a brand or even a small army of followers. Now these women are YouTube icons and the faces of the social network's latest marketing push. They're also pursuing their own new ventures and enjoying the rare opportunities that come along with the fame.

Mota teamed up with AĆ©ropostle and developed a special clothing line for the store, and she is currently a contestant on Dancing With The Stars, partnered with Derek Hough(!). Phan created a makeup collection for L'Oreal, as well as starred in a national Diet Dr. Pepper commercial. Pasino worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, where fans have chosen to use their wishes to meet her.

This article supports the notion that social is great, but can often pack a more powerful punch when coupled with offline endeavors.

It's awesome to see how YouTube supports the big-name content creators and even awesomer that the social network chose three smart women to spearhead its national campaign.

Adweek article here.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lots going on these past few weeks, so nothing new. Treated myself to a vacation, some birthdays and a (disheartening) GA/FL game. Back at it soon.

In the meantime, you can keep up with me on Twitter or Pinterest

Monday, October 20, 2014

Live Tweets Rule

Last month, Twitter released the results of its study on live-tweeting TV shows and how it effects tweet reach and audience growth. As logic would suggest, when the stars, writers, judges, producers and/or official TV show accounts live-tweet the show, viewers happily tweet and follow along. In fact, in the survey, 66% of Twitter users revealed that they like to see tweets from the official show accounts and 61% are especially delighted by tweets from the cast or contestants. ABC's The Bachelor and Scandal continue to be wildly popular and quite successful in this arena.

The purpose of this study was to give television programs and their marketing teams a few insights and pointers on what this means and where to go. The rest of the study reveals some crazy-high numbers, all pretty consistent with the notion that a primetime TV show can't go wrong incorporating live tweets into the TV-watching experience. It's a win for everyone involved.

While the following tips are meant for TV shows and their various accompanying Twitter accounts, they can be tweaked a bit to fit into a more traditional brand's social media strategy.

1. Make Social Sharing Easy for Your Cast and Crew
The study plainly states that the cast and actors are a TV show's greatest asset for making an impact through live-tweeting. Various non-TV-show brands like a department store, a cosmetics line, or cookie company can interpret this as empowering stakeholders. Employees do not necessarily have to live-tweet events and happenings, and they shouldn't have to. Brands can equip their advocates and insiders (with the technology and platforms), and call on them to infiltrate commonly live-tweeted events, using the relevant hashtags and handles appropriately.

2. Anticipate Social Storylines
Tweets, while building a brand's reach and chatter, could very well be negative. A brand should prime and prepare for such sentiments, as well as forecast tweetworthy moments, where engagement is at its peak. For TV shows and other brands, live-tweeting appears spontaneous but should actually be very carefully planned and thought-out. Conversation can stray in several directions and those tangents should be considered, too.

3. Identify High Impact Conversations to Create Winning Moments
This point encourages conversation between TV show and viewer. It mentions that the live-tweeting actor or TV show account realistically cannot reply to every tweet during the program, so instead to identify the influential players and respond to them. TV show accounts often reply to and retweet celebrity viewers who have voluntarily engaged online. The associated tweets and messages exponentially increase reach, attention and the program's "Twitter-share." Other brands can do the same by recognizing similar users and relevant social opinion leaders.

4. Build a Team of Passionate Players
This starts with a passionate community manager; someone committed to developing mutual excitement and deep relationships with viewers or followers. Meaningful content infused with emotion and shared values will nurture a loyal fan base that will engage with a brand over and over again.

Good Luck!

Convince and Convert article here.

Twitter study here.

Follow me on Twitter here.

Comments open to all.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tweet Home

"Drill down for what? Science."

This is a real tweet from the Curiosity Rover, the spacecraft that's been exploring Mars for the last two years, and I just became a huge fan its account, @MarsCuriosity.

If you're like me and have ever wondered or been concerned about how our spacecrafts are faring being so far away from home, just look to Twitter. Since 2008, spacecrafts like the Curiosity Rover and the 37-year-old Voyager have been optimistically reassuring us that they are happy and healthy.

Roughly six years ago, NASA's three-person social media team created online personas for the distant robots and their missions, and they did so with admirable finesse. The team quickly learned it was much easier to tweet in first-person when bound to 140 characters and discovered that a relatable personality paired with logical updates best resonated with followers. Then, high engagement was garnered through sharing photos and weaving-in current event humor. Followers respond well to the casual tone and intellectual tidbits offered by the various spacecrafts. Followers also just think it's cool to "communicate" with a pal that's literally billions of miles away. (Or maybe that's just me...)

Each spacecraft has its own account and unique voice. The @MarsCuriosity is the friendly, chatty new guy on Mars. The @CassiniSaturn is quite witty and stoic as it studies Saturn and its rings, and the @NASAVoyager is noted as the bravest satellite of all, the veteran with a bit of wanderlust. While the tone for each robot may be different, the model is the same: Their tweets incorporate some mix of audience interaction, current trends and specific, detailed updates. 

NASA and its spacecrafts use Twitter as a human-connectedness tool, in such a way to encourage people to care about the often-forgotten goings-on in outer space. It lets the world know that our intergalactic buddies way out there are doing ok.

Tying this all back to social media marketing, the spacecrafts' Twitter handles effortlessly intrigue and engage online audiences; take a generally undervalued topic and humanize it for maximum interest and reach. How cool is it that these rovers take a second to check-in with us earthlings and let us know it's all good? 

The Atlantic article here.

Follow these cool rovers and missions: @MarsCuriosity, @CassiniSaturn, @NASAVoyager

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Monday, October 6, 2014

This One's for You

Jobseekers, you are participating in social media marketing whether you like it or not. Your personal brand is likely getting pieced together right now by a recruiter combing through your social accounts and profiles. You, much like a brand, should be targeting your online efforts to achieve a desired outcome a.k.a. a full-time offer from your dream job.

Quite a few similarities exist between the consumer looking for information about a brand/product before purchase and a recruiter performing a background check on a candidate before offering an interview. Both the consumer and the recruiter will start with social media and their social networks. They'll also place a premium on friends' recommendations, so know that word-of-mouth counts. Like a brand, you should cater content to your intended audience, make logical and meaningful connections, and occasionally and gracefully toot your own horn.

According to CareerBuilder's most recent survey, 45% of recruiters use social media to research a candidate, and 11% plan to use social media as a background check tool in the future.

If you find yourself eager to land your dream job in a few short months, or at least break into the industry, here are some general guidelines about social media upkeep to help you with the process. (Keep in mind these will vary from industry to industry.)


Stay active. At least maintaining an online presence shows that you know how to use the platform, and it allows you to regularly monitor yourself. It also shows a bit of initiative if you go a step further to follow the leaders and people you admire in the industry. I retweet and favorite content from MSLGroup pretty regularly, and after a year of a consistent show of interest and active engagement I earned a follow from Pascal Beucler, the SVP and Chief Strategy Officer. A small, but mighty personal accomplishment.

Share. Blog posts, retweets, photos, check-ins... The content you share is a window into your likes, hobbies and aspirations. It humanizes your digital presence and helps create a more complete picture of who you are. Now a recruiter (or anyone, really) can connect with you on the basis of shared interests or qualities of an ideal candidate.

Use consistency of message. Make sure you are the same person across platforms. Your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts should have a little bit of overlap, in which a recruiter can verify the accounts belong to the same person. It's ok to let a little professionalism seep into your social accounts, and vice versa. All your social profiles should be facets of you and your "in-public" personality.

Think twice about posting content that includes...

Risky behavior. Yes, you may be applying to a company that boasts happy hours and booze carts, but err on the side of caution, you jobseeker you. Funny and harmless photos could be the deciding factor between you and an equally qualified candidate. That photo of you from last year on the beach at Georgia-Florida will be held against you.

Anything politically charged. Political statements tend to polarize people and usually lead to argument. You may alienate the recruiter or someone with which you could potentially work. It's a judgment call depending on your desired line of work.

Health issues. Many people turn to social media to seek solace or support in the midst of health problems. If you choose to post your health issues online, you will have a hard time proving health-related discrimination occurred should you be refused the job, since you made the comments public. The law gets a bit tied up on this particular point, so again it may be best to be cautious and aware.

Good Luck!

Personal Branding article here.

Build Your Brand article here.

Follow me on Twitter here.

Comments open to all.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Help vs. Hype

Social and online content that helps, rather than sells, is the best way to win the hearts and minds of consumers. Especially in modern business, when there is huge competition for attention, how you build your business in terms of trust and consumer confidence matters.

Jay Baer is a New York Times bestseller, marketing consultant and the second-most retweeted person by B2B marketers. In a nifty little podcast, he explained the difference between the two social media marketing approaches, and here is my summation:

Utility, or as Jay coined it "youtility," is key. If you want your brand to stand out, provide tools or content that helps your consumer make educated decisions or access crucial information. The target audience should find some use or benefit in your offering, whether or not its directly related to your product or service. The preference for your useful content can drive the consumer toward a preference for your brand.

According to Jay, brands tend to shy away from providing an adequate level of helpful marketing for free for fear of losing proprietary stock or competitors imitating content. However, withholding your "secret for success" is working actually against you. There are no secrets, and if you don't provide helpful content for your consumers, someone else will. Just because you have all the ingredients and a recipe, doesn't make you a chef. Finesse and focus make all the difference. Successful brands hone in on a niche audience or content type/style and give away all they know bit by bit.

Helpful content also facilitates trust between brand and consumer. Brands that capitalize on help-centric marketing are confident in their own thought leadership and are comfortable when other people begin to advocate for and tell the brand story; a hallmark of a thoughtful and mutually beneficial relationship.

On the other end of the spectrum, hype marketing is essentially tooting your own horn. It's the intent to sell without any depth, youtility or consideration of the end-user. Hype casts a wide, overly-optimistice net and lacks focus; a marketing interaction that consumers tolerate, at best.

Jobseekers, apply Jay's thoughts on helpful marketing to yourself and your job search. Don't just tell 'em, show 'em.

Jason Swenk featuring Jay Baer article here.

Comments open to all.