Entries Tagged 'Training' ↓

Let’s call it a Twitter comeback

In less than two weeks, the new President of the United States brought back a social media outlet that was getting stagnant: Twitter.

I was one of the earlier users of the social media tool. I’ve documented how I’ve used it many times here on this website and in others places including AARP’s blog and YouTube channel. I’ve always seen why the tool is useful for communications. But through the years, I have watched as Twitter did not protect people whose careers and lives were threatened and at times destroyed with the help of anonymous, angry people. I watched many influential women and men stepping back a bit from using the tool because of intense attacks or threat of attacks.

But enter President Donald J. Trump. He has joined a list of public figures who have decided to use social media as the major platform to distribute information and opinion. Twitter reports there are 313 million monthly users. 79 percent of those users live outside the United States. About 38 percent of those users visit Twitter daily. With the current political climate, the number may be higher.

I watched a lot of new people join Twitter recently along with a lot of people who joined but never really used it. My Facebook stream was full of people asking for help as new users. That’s why I decided I wanted to share my years of Twitter use and Twitter trainings to more people. Tonight, I held my first of what may become many Facebook Live lessons. I figured Facebook Live would reach people who are much more comfortable in that space versus the less friendly-feeling world of Twitter.

I broadcast a Twitter training live on the Born Just Right Facebook page since it’s easier to broadcast live from a computer on a brand page versus a personal page.

Using a simple streaming tool, I shared a presentation from my Google Drive and toured Twitter live. It wasn’t perfect but I’m excited to get live lessons rolling. I hope to offer regular tips and tricks. I also hope I’ll hear from more new users with questions that help me tailor future lessons.

You are a brand.
Own it.

[This is an extended version of a piece I wrote on LinkedIn]
I harnessed the power social media and personal branding long before it was a term. I organically grew up as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so many other networks were very young. It is natural for me to reach out, connect, and talk to my peers and to people I feel can offer me more insight in my career.

I’ve had many years to look back and hone the skills that came to me naturally. These days, my job is to teach those lessons to help an entire membership-based organization grow to be better connected and successful.

I also have opportunities like this week when I get to speak to Stony Brook University’s Women’s Leadership Symposium about the power of a personal brand. I plan to share a peek into how I’ve taken my career into new directions thanks to social media branding. I hope my insight to professors, students and other professionals will help each woman walk away looking forward to owning her personal brand.

First, I think it’s important to note that you can own your personal brand without sharing your personal address. You can do a few things that make it easy for people to contact you without releasing your official phone number or address.

Use Google Voice so you can share a phone number without feeling that you’re giving away too much information. It’s a great tool. If you purchase your own URL spend a little extra to keep your account information private. If you hope to use a lot of snail mail in combination with your online life, it can’t hurt to consider purchasing a post office box or a mailbox at a shipping store.

Second, think about how you want to be portrayed online. What type of skills and experiences do you want to be known for? Then, it’s time to get to business.

Search your name on all browsers
When I say “all” browsers, I really mean focus in on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Make sure you aren’t signed into those services. That will give you a better picture of what other people see when they look up your name. Searching for your name online helps you get a look at your personal brand. It shows the digital footprint that already exists with your name. Often this footprint can exist without you even trying. Just participating in public events or having articles written about you can build up a digital footprint. Why not own it yourself? You can, but it means you need to create additional content on the Internet.

Do you have a name everyone seems to have?
That’s okay. Search your name and where you go to school or the name of your current workplace. You can also search your name and a generic term for the industry you work.

Do you like what you see?
Awesome. Then keep up the good work you’re already doing. But if you want to see more of you in search, there are ways to build out your online presence with the help of social media and blogging tools.

Create a personal website and social media accounts
If you want to build your name online, you need to own your name. I decided a long time ago I wanted to be known with a combination of my maiden and married names (I legally changed my maiden name into my middle name). I became “Jen Lee Reeves” each time I joined a social network. I also made sure I used the same profile picture with every account. That makes it easier for a person searching for you to know your accounts are connected.

personal-branding-diagramFor example, I’m writing this post on this blog, but a similar post is on LinkedIn. If you establish yourself on a blog tool like BloggerWordPress or Tumblr, you have a free tool to own your work and your presence. Only telling your thoughts and ideas on social media means those products own your work. I strongly believe in offering your insight on your own website and distributing your thoughts across social media platforms. I’ve included a graphic that explains what I mean.

Another example was a time I held a really great conversation on Facebook with a special needs community I lead. I took that conversation and broke it down on my blog, Born Just Right, so I could give more context and continue to own the conversation instead of Facebook.

Everything either starts or ends on your personal site.

Join social media sites and link to your personal website
Search engines pay more attention to your personal website when more sites link back to it. If you have never joined any social media accounts before and you want to focus on your professional status, I would join in this order:
1. LinkedIn
2. Twitter
3. Facebook
4. Google+
5. Pinterest
6. Instagram

All social networks have the potential to be a tool to help you gain more insight for your career. LinkedIn is the most obvious. It’s focused on making connections with people with whom you have a professional relationship. I have a personal rule where I do not connect with someone on LinkedIn without having some kind of professional contact. I also do not connect unless I know I’m able to give a reference about that person if a potential employer asks me questions. The only time I violate that rule is if someone connects to me who can offer me an opportunity to help others find employment or I have an extra employment opportunity.

Twitter is the most public space to make connections. For me, it’s been the most important space to reach out beyond my existing circles of influence. It’s also a great space to just read what others have to say. According to Twitter, 60 percent of users ONLY read content and do not post or interact with other users. You can be that person, but you won’t be using it to its fullest potential.

Facebook has the ability to connect with just your friends and family but you can also offer public posts that anyone can read. You can also make your personal profile public. I consider this an additional space to share my personal resume. I only share professional information publicly. The majority of the music festivals and kid events are shared to friends only. The professional stuff is shared for all.

I feel the same way with Google+. Your profile is a great public space to help more people see you. Also, sharing your personal website links on Google+ is bound to get it into Google’s search engines a little faster than any other social network.

Pinterest is a huge link driver. If you use good visuals with your post, it can catch someone’s eye and lead them to your personal website. You might be surprised to see the kind of traffic Pinterest can bring.

Instagram is also a professional opportunity. You can share a personal link and share a mix of personal and professional. I can’t tell you how many conferences I’ve attended this year and the first thing someone says is they love my Instagram feed. Images are more memorable and taking the time to share those moments can go a long way.

Don’t jump into every social media space at once
Building your personal brand is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Take your time and think seriously about which social networks can help you reach your goals.

My goal? These days it’s to help spread the word on how to be a good steward in the web word. That means being true to yourself when you “talk” online. Be a good person and treat every post you share as if you were putting a bumper sticker on a car or a sign in the lawn in front of where you live.

To make sure everything goes well, an important item you should also think of as you join each account is your security. A professional person inside social media does everything he or she can do to avoid getting accounts hacked. Use two-step login security features. Connect your cell phone and take the extra step to confirm that you are really logging into a service. It’s worth the protection.

Make sure you keep track of your social social media presence
There are some tools that help you keep up with all of the tools you use to manage your personal brand… Especially if you plan to not only use social media to listen but to also share content and interact with others. For tracking Twitter conversations and post, I love Tweetdeck. It’s eye candy to track topics and conversations. But if you want to follow multiple social accounts at the same time, it may be worth spending $10 a month using Hootsuite. Another way to save time is using Buffer, which will share social posts during what the company considers optimal times to publish posts to your followers. But if you use scheduling tools, be aware that you’ll see social media users interacting with you and if you sent a post encouraging engagement, you should be ready to participate.

Social media posts can be treated like email. You should reply but you don’t have to reply immediately. But if you are sharing posts during live events or ask questions, you should be ready to reply relatively quickly.

Make sure you share all of your social spaces
I always share my social media spaces on my websites and on all of my social sites (you can share all of your links on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+) but I also absolutely love about.me. The site offers a free spot to claim your name and share every single social site where you can be found. Check out the simple one page website I’ve used for a long time.

Personal branding is obviously my passion. It’s made my entire career possible since 2005. You have the chance to use any and all of these tips to create a digital footprint that you can proudly show off to anyone searching your name. Good luck and have fun!

Plan before you post that vacation picture

Oceans, yummy food, the family having fun… They’re all moments you want to share when you’re on vacation. But before you head out on your big family trip for the summer, you might want to think about who is reading your social media posts about your epic trip. There are steps you can take in person and online to make sure your sharing doesn’t put you, your home or belongings at risk.

Neighborhood Talk
The first thing I’d recommend is making sure you have someone stopping by your house to make sure it is safe while you’re away. A house sitter is a great way to know for sure your home is getting the love and attention it deserves.

With or without a house sitter, you also want to to visit the neighbors you know well and let them know when you will be out of town and what your house sitter’s car looks like. Ask them to keep an eye on anything that may look strange.

There are also a few more traditional things you will want to do:
     *Cancel your mail service
     *Contact your local police department to let them know you’re out of town. (Some police departments
         have online forms to help alert them about your vacation plans.)
     *Arrange for grass mowing, leaf raking, or snow shoveling.
     *Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked, including garage doors.
     *Don’t leave keys hidden outside.
     *Put lights on timers. (You can also put the TV on a timer.)

Social Settings
If you want to share stories about your trip on social media, you will want to assess your sharing settings. Do you trust all of the people you connect with on Facebook? If not, it’s time to create friend lists. You can see how to create lists in this step-by-step guide I created for anyone who has already joined Facebook. Make sure when you share information on Facebook, you are comfortable with who can see it.

Other social sites are more public and have fewer privacy settings. If you have public accounts on Twitter, Vine and Instagram, do not forget that anyone can search your accounts and see your mentions of vacation online. I used to post a lot of vacation photos on Instagram but now it’s easy to visit my Instagram page from a web browser. That means you do not have to be an Instagram user to see my posts. I’m not saying you shouldn’t post about your vacation on public social media sites, but if you didn’t take precautions at your home *before* you left town, you should be more wary about posting your travel information.

One of my favorite social media travel options is creating an account on Tumblr that doesn’t tie to my name to post photos, videos and quotes from your vacation without tying it back to the social media sites you normally share. I have used Tumblr to capture our yearly vacation for the last three years and it’s turned into a really cool family photo album. It also gets my need to share photos and stories about our trip online without broadcasting our travel on larger social networks.

I tend to take a lot of photos and do not have time to organize them after the trip. I give myself time during my vacation to upload most of my photos to a Flickr account. My privacy settings allow only a small collection of friends and family to see my photos.

With a little bit of preparation before your trip, capturing the cool moments on social media is possible and can be a lot of fun.

If you have extra question or thoughts about travel, join me and Samantha Brown in a Facebook chat at 2pm ET on June 18th.

Twitter Hack Tips

If you use Twitter, you’ve probably seen messages and tweets that don’t seem right. They include links with generic encouragements or shocking statements that make you want to click on the link. Recently, I’ve seen more and more people across Twitter with these type of messages. The most recent type of hacked accounts auto-send tweets to the people they follow. The messages look like this. (Take note: anytime I see a suspicious tweet, I let the person know so they can fix it as soon as possible.)

If you see any tweet or direct message that looks like this, do not click on the link. If you see a colleague or a friend with a similar tweet, it can’t hurt to give them the heads up that their account may be hacked.

If you think your account was hacked, go to Twitter.com on a browser (you can do something similar on your Twitter app if you only have a phone with you):

1. Log out of Twitter
2. Click “sign in”
3. Click “forgot password”
4. Type in the email affiliated with your Twitter account
5. Follow the steps in your email to create a new password
6. You should be back to normal.

If you were hacked and you sent out public tweets with bad links, it can’t hurt to acknowledge your account was hacked, apologize and feel free to delete any tweets that include hacked messages. That will help prevent others from clicking on the links.

You can also add an additional layer of protection to your Twitter account if you’re willing to connect it to a phone. Here’s how:

1. Go into your Settings on Twitter.com
2. Click on the “Security and Privacy” link on the left-hand side
3. You can choose two options to protect yourself from someone else logging into your account:
   a. Send login verification requests to your cellphone
   b. Send login verification requests to your Twitter phone app
4. This will help verify you are the real account owner looking to change a password on your account. All of these steps will help better protect your use of Twitter and prevent any of your followers from possibly clicking on a hacked link.

All of these steps will help better protect your use of Twitter and prevent any of your followers from possibly clicking on a hacked link.

Using Scavenger Hunts to Learn

I recently led a two day bootcamp on social media basics for communications leaders from a number of AARP state offices. I love getting the chance to help build onto the foundations of communication skills and hone the skills behind. My biggest challenge with all-day training is finding opportunities to get up and move. I think I found the best formula yet: A social media treasure hunt.

Near the end of my career as a journalism professor, I watched a team of former Missouri School of Journalism doctoral alumni team up to challenge their journalism students with a week-long social media scavenger hunt. Students were challenged to find all kinds of interesting things across campus. The class with the most findings would win.

I decided to tweak that idea and fit it into an hour or so in the middle of my first day of training. Here’s how I did it:

At the beginning of the day, I and a couple of other co-trainers met with each attendee to make sure they had installed, signed in and connected multiple iPhone applications to social media sites. iPhones are a standard tool used by most AARP communications professionals and I wanted to make sure we were all using the same tools together. I recommended a long list, but I focused in on:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • Magisto
  • Vine
  • Foursquare

Once we had everything set up, I and additional trainers in the room talked on the basics of personal and professional use of Twitter and Facebook. We were also fortunate to also have a chance for Facebook representatives to share some of their insight with the attendees through a webinar/conference call. With a good lunch and open conversation about different ways to use two of the most used social media tools, I set the group up for the scavenger hunt challenge. I handed out a two-page sheet with a list of tools I wanted them to use and a list of point-based challenges. They had one hour to complete the challenge.

I offered participants the chance to win prizes for the most points. I also offered a “Wild Card” option where a person could earn an extra 10 points for doing something different and possibly outside the app list I shared. The result can be found on many different social media platforms by just searching #AARPhunt. I especially enjoy seeing the #AARPhunt Twitter stream because people who didn’t attend jumped in, engaged with attendees and even offered additional challenges or tried out technology on their own that was mentioned during the hunt. You can see a full collection of the hunt on this Storify collection.

In the end, I think adding a scavenger hunt to the bootcamp made it a real hands-on experience. Instead of opening each app and walking the room through how to use it, we just used it. Jumping in and trying new tools are one of the fastest ways to understand how they work.