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Make your digital profile stand out with a personal video

November 20, 2012 7 comments
video for personal branding

Creating a video resume gives you a dynamic way to make your personal brand stand out and to leverage word-of-mouth across social networks.

Have you considered creating a video introduction  for your personal brand? It could be a difference-maker in your career advancement or job search.

Anyone who has had the experience of seeking a job in the past four years already knows it is tough terrain.

Aside from the difficult economic times, the job search game has changed dramatically. Applications are only accepted online, where they are deposited into a database of potentially thousands of candidates.

Another reality of the modern job search is most jobs – as many as 80 percent – are never posted. Advertising open positions on websites and job boards is the last resort for recruiters looking to fill a position. Their preference is to search candidates from within their network before looking outside it. In this environment, getting on the radar of recruiters and hiring managers requires a new approach.

We are all marketers now

The cold-blooded irony of today’s job market is that the most-prized candidates aren’t actively searching for a new job. They are pursued. Job seekers need to become the pursued. They need to think like a marketer, specifically like an inbound marketer in the digital world.

The inbound marketer focuses on creating content that is found and valued by desired customers. For job seekers, I would break it down to two imperatives: be found and be awesome. Develop a personal brand identity that distinguishes you from the masses and build a digital footprint that demonstrates your value. Here is how I have built my digital footprint:

My blog is the content hub for sharing information and showing my expertise and thinking about marketing strategy.

My weekly e-news digest extends my digital publishing profile and demonstrates knowledge of business technology trends affecting the marketing industry.

My personal website is where I have dedicated pages focused on accomplishments that reinforce my personal brand identity.

My LinkedIn profile is search optimized to be found by recruiters for the skills I want to be known for. It is also the primary platform I have for sharing content and engaging with my network of influencers.

My Twitter account is exclusively used for engaging with professionals in my industry. I approach tweeting as a publishing platform, with consistent topics balanced with regular engagement. Anyone looking at my Twitter stream will get a good idea how I use social media as a marketing channel.

My Facebook profile is primarily for personal use. But it is open for the public to see and many of my friends are past colleagues. I consider it a part of my professional digital footprint.

Most recently I have added YouTube video to my footprint. Here is my video resume.

What video can do for your personal brand

Inbound marketers know the power video and images have to persuade and engage users. Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. When you are found by a recruiter, a video can break through the clutter and quickly convey your personal brand message. Here are the primary objectives for my video.

BRINGING THE BRAND TO LIFE

It tells my story in a unique, engaging way. In it, I can include aspects of my life experiences and work history that a hiring manager cannot discern from a resume. The use of images humanizes the storyline of my career path and reinforces the unique traits I have that comprise my personal brand:

  • Learning. My lifelong passion for continuous learning, inside and outside my profession
  • Creating. My creativity in developing strategy and producing marketing communications
  • Leading. My history of effective teamwork and serving as a leader
  • Achieving. My record of accomplishing objectives and striving for improvement

ENGAGEMENT

According to flip.net, videos have a 400 percent higher engagement than static content. My objective is to get attention, build interest and push recruiters deeper into my digital footprint to learn more. The call-to-action is to discover the details of my accomplishments and contact me to talk further.

BEING FOUND

Uploading video to YouTube with the proper tags and keywords increases the likelihood of being found on search engines. According to MarketingWeek, video results appear in 70 percent of the top 100 search listings. YouTube is the second-most used search engine after Google.

WORD-OF-MOUTH

A video gives me one more way to spread the word through social sharing. Besides embedding it in my LinkedIn profile, the video can be shared via this blog post, on Facebook, Google+ and other social networks like Twitter. YouTube reports that 700 videos are shared on Twitter every minute. With some luck, mine – and yours – will be one of them!

Technology has enabled video creation to be within reach of anybody with a laptop, smartphone or digital camera. Content marketers and brand managers leverage its power to engage, enchant and influence customers online. Job seekers can do the same.

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Why is consistency hard?

November 14, 2012 6 comments
consistency and context marketing

Old Town Cozumel

For marketers, consistency has been a simple rule to follow for communicating across channels and optimizing customer experience.

However, it’s not always easy to achieve consistency. Let me illustrate with a story.

One of my favorite vacation spots is Mexico. Years ago I discovered Cozumel, and became infatuated by its charm. It offers all the things I enjoy in a getaway: tropical weather, beautiful beaches, authentic food and interesting tourist attractions like Mayan ruins.

Wandering around the port district is an escape into old town Mexico, where roving Mariachi bands and bazaar merchants are framed by colorful, historic architecture. It is an atmosphere that takes you into a different world.

One year I planned a return trip, but all the hotels were booked solid. The alternative was to go to Cancun instead. It was nice, but not the same experience I had in Cozumel. In particular, the shops did not have the same native charm. In fact, they weren’t shops at all. They were strip malls with all the slick stores and merchandise you’d find in any city in the U.S.

The contrast was striking. It set my marketing brain to reeling. Logically it makes sense for retail chains to create a consistent shopping experience for customers wherever in the world they may be. But the context didn’t fit my expectations. This consistency seemed, well, inconsistent. Does consistency matter as much as we have assumed?

The case for marketing consistency

Consistency is a key ingredient for social influence, brand loyalty, customer satisfaction and integrated marketing communications success. Consistent actions and messages deliver many positive benefits.

Consistency builds trust and integrity. In Return on Influence, Mark Schaefer’s book on influence marketing, he notes “a high degree of consistency is normally associated with intellectual strength, logic, rationality and honesty.”

Consistency establishes authority. This year Altimeter Group published a report on digital influence identifying topical relevance as a pillar of influence. When an individual or brand invests in a topic of interest, they earn authority and expertise from a community of focus.

Consistency builds confidence. Successful relationships thrive on predictable actions and messages. When others know what to expect of you, they are comfortable in knowing you will deliver on promises.

Consistency strengthens your message. “People cannot focus on two conversations at once,” says Harry Beckwith in Selling the Invisible. A focused message repeated over time has power to influence and persuade.

Consistency sells. “Would you like fries with that?” There is a reason fast food cashiers are trained to ask you that. Joseph Sugarman, author of Triggers, says once a purchase commitment is made, a buyer tends to act consistently with the decision and is more agreeable to buy more.

consistency and context marketing cancun shopping mall

Cancun shopping mall

Challenges to consistent messaging

The “always-on” nature of new media puts demands on business communications that make it difficult to maintain marketing consistency. In an environment of rapid change, it can even render consistency moot. Consider:

Information overload. With the sheer volume of information on the Web, social media messages can evaporate soon after they are published. One recent study found the median lifespan of a tweet to be 18 minutes. You have to question the real impact of consistent messaging in that environment.

Real-time communications. Being able to respond to events as they unfold on social media is a powerful marketing opportunity. In the heat of real-time marketing it is also an opportunity to veer off-message and off-brand.

The attention economy. Because of information overload, we are increasingly challenged to find ways to make ideas stick. In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath note one characteristic of a sticky idea is that it is unexpected. One way to get someone’s attention is to break a pattern. They explain, “Humans adapt incredibly quickly to consistent patterns. Consistent sensory stimulation makes us tune out.”

Putting it in context

Are we witnessing the end of consistency as a marketing maxim?  I don’t think so. It’s more of an evolution pushing content marketing toward a higher degree of context. It’s a call to a deeper understanding of customer and prospect personas to reach them where and how they are consuming our message. And of course, this has a shiny new name: context marketing. One of the better explanations I’ve seen describes it as using known qualities of prospects to present content in a frame of reference that is natural or noteworthy.

I’d like to hear your thoughts. Has marketing consistency become irrelevant?

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Measuring Klout: Love it or hate it, influence marketing is here

November 6, 2012 6 comments
Influence marketing is here

Social scoring has touched a nerve with some consumers, but it is a revolutionary business opportunity for marketers to reach influencers.

The Klout phenomenon escaped me for a while. It seemed to divide people into two camps: those who object to the principle of saddling individuals with a rating score; and those who obsess over gaming social media activity to elevate their score and lead them to glory. Much of the dialog felt like the jocks versus the nerds during homecoming week.

Now I realize both sides are missing the big picture. I finally got it when I read Mark Schaefer’s book Return on Influence. It was an eye-opener, which I can only describe in two words. Awe. Some. I knew I was in for an interesting read when I came across this passage in the introduction:

We are at the dawn of the creation of a new social media caste system determined by how and when you tweet, connect, share and comment. The haves may score better jobs, higher social status, even better luck on the dating scene. The rules of personal power in our world have been changed forever. And there’s no turning back.

The new rules of online influence

The book lays a solid foundation for understanding online influence from its historical applications in marketing, to its basic elements, its role in content marketing, scoring processes, and current and future applications. It covers a lot of ground and is a compelling read for today’s online marketer.

In the first section he talks about the evolution of earned authority on the Internet. The glut of information available to users renders choice irrelevant. So we have a natural inclination to seek out authorities as a filter. Authorities earn trust by an online presence characterized by consistency, commitment and affinity.

Scarcity also plays a role for online influencers. While content is free, the real commodity is time, attention and reach. Influencers serve as brokers or gatekeepers to move content. The real power on the social Web is in reciprocity, the subtle indebtedness of exchanging favors for the distribution of ideas and content. These new rules are a dramatic change from traditional marketing. And they are being incorporated by marketers in new ways.

Influence marketing in practice

In another section, Schaefer outlines several case studies of companies using social scoring as a driver of marketing strategy. It is a powerful testimony of the potential for leveraging influencers to create buzz that achieves business objectives.

APPLYING SOCIAL PROOF TO TRADITIONAL MARKETING

An online merchant that matches buyers with trustworthy sellers added Klout scores to seller listings and saw likelihood of sales increase by 500 percent. Social proof gave juice to the purchase decision. The scores gave buyers added comfort in purchasing when they could see how long sellers have been online and how active they were.

ENGAGING INFLUENTIAL FANS

Auto manufacturer Audi used Klout to engage technology influencers outside of traditional trade press to nurture brand advocates on the social Web. They also used Klout scores to interact with millions of Facebook fans, employing targeted content. It enabled a more meaningful engagement. The outreach resulted in the buzz and reach they were seeking over and above traditional marketing.

Return on Influence coverINTEGRATED INCENTIVE PROGRAMS

A consumer packaged goods marketer devised a conquest strategy by combining social listening and Klout data to identify unhappy competitor customers and targeting them with coupon promotions. It is part of an overall strategy to move from expensive coupon blasts inserted in newspapers to more organic advocacy and pass-along activity online.

MANAGING ONLINE SENTIMENT

One company CEO interviewed is integrating influence scores into customer service to craft rapid responses to customers with the most potential for spreading negative word-of-mouth online.

PUBLIC RELATIONS AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT

A corporate director shared how he used social scoring to manage a potential PR disaster that could have affected company stock prices. A blogger posted that a key client might be going bankrupt, an assertion based on faulty data. After reviewing the influence scores of tweeters sharing the information, he concluded the misinformation was unlikely to spread enough to have an impact. The data gave the management team confidence to watch and wait. The meme quickly died.

These are a few brief examples of how businesses are currently using social scoring outlined in Schaefer’s  book. Beyond the applications of early adopters, he concludes with a look to the not-to-distant future.

The future of social scoring

In researching the book, Schaefer interviewed 70 prominent thought leaders on social scoring and influence. Here are some of the developments they foresee for influence marketing.

1. The social scoring trend will help people reclaim their data and the value of that data.

2. Scoring algorithms will advance to measuring the dollar value of probable referral sales from the individual.

3. Technology will enable the understanding of network structures and influence of interactions in the network. Scores will be more about subjects of influence and the impact on the network.

4. Social scores will integrate into other key business metrics such as customer loyalty, satisfaction, retention, attrition, CRM.

5. Marketers will look to combine influence scores with location-based data.

6. Technology will seek to connect online conversations with offline behaviors.

7. Social scores will evolve into a form of social currency, where services are customized to individual levels of influence.

In this video, Mark Schaefer talks about the ideas behind influence and social media marketing discussed in his book.

‘We are numbers now’

It should come as no surprise we have arrived at a time when we can put a score to our individual influence. Google and Facebook keep track of massive amounts of data about our activities, habits and preferences. We are scored for our creditworthiness. Database marketers score us for propensity to buy. The natural progression leads to scoring our influence on social media. It has gone mainstream and has led us to new opportunities.

For those who struggle with the humanity of being rated for social influence, Schaefer offers this concluding thought: “Yes, we are numbers now. Unavoidably, we will be known for our Klout scores and followers and badges of social proof. But the smartest marketers will always remember that we are people too.”

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