A Summer at Home – Life & Work Lessons Learned from a 2 Year Old

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This summer has been a huge blessing in disguise.  Granted, I am still fully seeking employment and hope that it shows up on my doorstep sooner rather than later but I wouldn’t change things for anything.  Just as I told one interviewer that I wouldn’t change anything about the path I’ve taken in my career I also wouldn’t change anything about how things have panned out this summer.

This summer I got to be home with our wild, crazy, curious, stubborn, and all boy toddler.  We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, I’ve kissed many boo boos to make them better, and we’ve gone on more than one adventure with the hopes of becoming a “super dude.”

There have also been some key lessons that I’ve learned while managing through this stage in his life.  Lessons that can be applied to both life & work scenarios.  So here goes:

  1. Strategy is everything.  If you don’t have a strategy for the day, you’ll get nowhere.
  2. Expect to get nowhere even with a strategy.
  3. Be ready to switch gears at the drop of a hat.
  4. Naps are EVERYTHING!…for both kiddo and parent.
  5. Don’t cry over spilled milk.  Your kiddo might, but you shouldn’t. Let the little things go.
  6. Don’t try to conquer a mountain, climb a mole hill instead & work up to climbing that mountain one day.
  7. Practice, practice, practice.  Eventually you’ll get the hang of hitting a ball with a bat and be able to swing for the fences!
  8. Always be learning.  There’s so much unknown still out there!
  9. Repeat things…over, and over, and over, and over, and over…people will either lose interest or just give in.  But at least you tried to get your point across.
  10. Push boundaries and try to do things on your own.

There are so many more lessons but I love our little dude and what he’s brought our life.

“The State of Social Marketing Report 2015” Overview

I just downloaded and read the 2015 state of social marketing report from Simply Measured.  As we all know, social media isn’t a fad that is going away.  But, how big of a role does it “really” play in the marketing mix?  How much of the budget should it take up?  How much time should you invest into it?  These were all great things to learn about.  I even tweeted out some screen shots, so be sure to follow me on Twitter, @Linder83.

So let’s start from the top in my own words:

How large of a role should, or does, social play in the marketing mix?

  • Large enough that it has its own strategy
  • Large enough that if possible the “team” has more than just one person setting the strategy & executing upon it, looking at analytics, and writing the content

How much of the budget should social get?

  • According to the report, the breakdown should be the following – overall marketing budget should be 10% of the company revenue (this we should all know already), digital marketing should get 25% of that 10%, and social should get roughly 10% of the 25% –>this last number is on the rise!!!

How much time should you invest into social?

  • Ideally, enough time to set a strategy, execute upon it, listen & respond to your customers, analyze the metrics, write the content, and anything else.  The actual “time” depends on how large your team is and how large your business is, or how large your reach is and how many platforms you are on as well as how different the content is on each platform.

Relevant Quotes:

  • Modern marketers don’t have to make purely qualitative decisions. The data available for any digital channel arms marketers with the ability to quantify their entire social marketing process.”
  • Social is now viewed [as] a legitimate channel in the marketing mix, which means there are three distinct needs, just as there are in other areas of digital marketing, like email or web:
    • The ability to define and plan a social strategy.
    • The ability to execute on that strategy.
    • The ability to measure the success of the strategy and execution.”
  • 2015 is the year to focus on video on Facebook. Video has made a big impact for brands, and is a major component of Facebook’s strategy to keep users engaged on the site. Make video a large focus of your Facebook marketing plan.”
  •  “Regular tweeting is key to brand success. 74% of brands tweeted at least three times per day (including Retweets and @replies).
    • •Tweeting out links is becoming the social standard. The number of links tweeted by brands increased 72% from Q4 2013 to Q4 2014.”
  • Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks in history…Instagram has become the go-to platform for users interested in both sharing visual stories, and consuming them.
    •  Publish at least one post per week. Seventy-five percent (75%) of top brands publish at least once a week.
    •  Don’t keep your brand off Instagram just because it’s not obviously visual. Many unexpected brands have found success on the network.
    •  Pay more attention to caption content than length. Caption length has no correlation with engagement levels.”
  • Over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and generate billions of views each day.
    • Know what your best type of content is, and maintain a regular schedule.
    • Reach out to communities that are relevant to your videos. “
  • Pinterest has been raising brand eyebrows for some time now due to its ability to connect social and commerce.
    • Be sure to use general, highly searchable terms in your pin description, the origin URL, and your original photo title.
    • Create a foundation of evergreen content: content that is not news-, time-, or even product- based, such as how-to images. This will increase the chances that your pins get recycled through Pinterest and retain their positions on the top of search results pages.
    • Varying your posting timing can expose your brand to different segments of the Pinterest population and lead to more exposure, repins, and followers.”
  • Tumblr has over 234.6 million blogs, with more than 110.1 billion posts to date, and has attracted some of the biggest brands in the world. This is largely due to the customization and creativity that Tumblr encourages. Brands on Tumblr can build a blog using one of the thousands of templates the network offers, or by designing their own in HTML. Few social networks allow this type of flexibility.
    • Use the tools that Tumblr provides. Their marketing blog (marketr.tumblr.com) and brand resources provide tips and tricks that any brand can use.
    •  Focus on amplification. Tumblr posts last longer than other networks, but only when created with longevity in mind. “
  • Google+ may be the most powerful social network you never use. Integrated with YouTube, Gmail, and several other services, Google+ has over 2.2 billion registered users…Despite criticism about declining adoption and low engagement, Google+ has attracted 78% of top brands, and 66% actively posted in the month of April.
    • By adding your circles and select individuals to your share settings, you trigger a notification for those users that you’ve shared a post directly with them.”
  • Marketing programs constantly evolve, and social media is no exception. The real challenge will be for social marketers to understand the relationships and inter-workings of other digital marketing channels, develop a common language with other teams, and continue to measure and improve programs.”

Lastly, go ahead and download this awesome report from Simply Measured!

 

Adding a Retail Strategy in a B2B Business

I’ll tell you about something that makes me, as a marketer, cringe. Allowing sales to run with a retail strategy without any involvement from marketing.  The reason that I cringe isn’t because I don’t think that sales has a part in this kind of strategy, they absolutely do.  However, to say that “we’re taking a different approach” tells me that only the sales and selling side is being considered.

I cringe because a mentality of “anyone can be a marketer” is being applied.  A lot of business efforts need to keep marketing and branding in mind.  In order for your customers to know who you are, regardless of what market you are focusing on, you need to have a consistent message.  By letting everyone run their own campaigns you are going to get away from your core brand…unless of course everyone is completely in sync with everything which would be truly amazing.

Marketing has the unfortunate job of being the nay-sayer now and again, the teacher, as well as the communicator of what can’t/shouldn’t be done due to the importance of maintaining the integrity of the brand.  This is even more critical when you are talking about a retail side to your business.  This is where you are coming face to face with your direct customers who are seeing your brand because it is what they are looking for…and if they don’t see something they like, then see you later!

What do you think?

Facebook Changes its CPC Definition

Yesterday I began exploring Lynda.com.  It’s been a while since I visited the site and it has changed tremendously.  Before going ahead with my free 10 day trial I wanted to watch some sample episodes and the one that caught my eye was the free marketing tips.

As it turns out…Facebook has decided to change its CPC definition which for all of us in the marketing world means that we’ll actually get to truly measure the effectiveness of our Facebook ads.  We will no longer have to say that we’re doing a good job simply because people are clicking “like” on our ads.  We will actually be able to track link clicks, which is what we’d measure for all of our other efforts.  In essence, how many real conversions did we get from all ads and compare Facebook ads to other PPC ads.

Hallelujah!

Read more about it on brainpulse.com or visit Lynda.com

Working at Multiple Companies. A plus or a minus?

For me, that’s a plus, and as an aside…I love the above cartoon.  I have learned a lot from all of my positions and wouldn’t change my career path for a second, not even the times that I’ve been unemployed.  Those times have been very nerve racking but lessons none the less.

However, I can see why I could get a question about why have I worked in 4 companies over the course of 9 years.  I have no problem answering those questions because if I hadn’t made the choices that I have made, I wouldn’t be at all able to apply to the roles I am applying now.  But the question does make me wonder if the person on the other side is truly understanding that notion.  I think it all comes down to how I deliver the message and how willing they are to understand it.  It also depends on their background and if they come from a position of a similar background or one where they have worked in the same place for years and have been granted wonderful opportunities.

If I were them and was able to partake in the same kinds of opportunities in the same great company, of course I would be happy to call one place home.  However, and having seen this first hand, being in one place for too long has its negatives.  People might perceive you to only know about one particular market, which isn’t a fair assessment because as long as you took on new responsibilities who cares where you have worked, it’s all about the experience and what you took away from it.

All in all, this little ditty is about making sure you can deliver your message clearly and stand by what you say.  For me, it’s that I’m quite proud of my varied background and the extra skills that I can bring to a job.

Good luck in your search!

Pre-Fall Fashion

There is a crispness in the air and although I am very sad to see this exceptionally special summer come to an end, I was happy to finally be able to throw on a pair of jeans and be comfortable in them rather than dying of heat exhaustion.  As a side note, here is a secret…I have a new pair of amazing jeggings and a flowy top in my car trunk that I am keeping if I land a new j-o-b.  I cannot wait to wear those two with a pair of heels!

But I digress, slightly.  Here are some fall fashion options for all you office folk!  Enjoy!

Cardigans. Love them. This one is great! That waffle-like texture is so comforting and the color is perfect.   40 Fall Winter Fashion Outfits For 2015 | http://stylishwife.com/2015/05/fall-winter-fashion-outfits-for-2015.html   Poppy Delevingne in a preppy chic blue combination.   Simple colors, different textures, a print & one contrasting color. It works!  #workwear #officefashion  {Oscar de la Renta runway}   LOLO Moda: Cool women fashion. Work outfit.   The Classy Cubicle: Pants Party. {fashion blog, young professional women, office style inspiration, corporate work wear, fall fashion trends, plaid, tartan, pants, banana republic, brooks brothers, adea, monogram necklace, gold choker, stella mccartney sunglasses, kate spade, gold toe flats}   Beautiful and simple office fashion in winter.  #fashion #officefashion   lime + navymaternity workwear 2   Women's office clothes blue Boise with black skinnies and heels

 

Work Life Balance

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Balancing a career, a child and all that goes with that,  as well as being a wife and homemaker can make anyone feel like there is no balance at all.  The reason may be that when you are doing any of those things, you’re trying to do them at 110% each and every time.

It can be hard to explain to a potential employer that the reason you’re asking about what regular hours are like is not so you can have leniency but so you can juggle all of those other balls while contributing both at work and financially.   A new employer does not know how dedicated you are, so it is up to you to prove that to them and show that during the hours that you are there you are committed to the job and making them look good.

I personally try to be the first person in, rarely take a lunch, and do as much work as humanly possible while I am at work.  But when I know that it is time to leave so that I can go pick up my child, I have to go. Staying late is an absolute option but not one that I can commit to 100% of the time at this point in my life.  But that does not mean that after my son has gone to bed I will not be checking my phone and answering emails.

It’s all about that balance and making sure that all the balls are constantly in the air.  How are you ensureing to keep a work life balance?

Dating & the Job Search

Finding a job is like dating.  Will he call?  Why hasn’t he called? When will our next date be?  Will we become exclusive?  If I don’t call, will he think I’ve found someone new and come back? It’s one big mind trick and it all depends on how you persevere through it until you find “the one.”  Hence why the job search is like dating.

So what do you do to get through it all?  Keep going, have fun, be the best you, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  You need to make sure that you are putting you first and making sure that whatever choice you make it’s not just so you can say you have a job, although sometimes you do have to make that choice, but that it’s the right fit for you and your life.  I’ve had opportunities not work out where I was incredibly bummed but had to pick right back up again and found some better fits career wise.  I’ve also moved on to opportunities which I should have been more cautious about and watched for the red flags in interviews.

Do what’s right for you and truly make sure it’s the right fit.

Good luck!

Unemployment Tips

Today, I’ll talk about the unemployment process as explained to me in a career center.  Now, it isn’t anything new to me, but there are certain things that have changed since the ’08/’09 era.  So here are the top three things to keep in mind.

REA process – This is something kind of new.  REA stands for Reemployment & Eligibility Assessment.  Long gone are the days of your unemployment getting extended so you better be on your A-game.  What’s happened is that the US government has started to take a true interest in reemploying its citizens, as many other countries have done for years.  For a long while only about 30% of the unemployed had to take part in this assessment, now it’s grown to 80% and as a gentleman in the Brockton career center stated, it’s only a matter of time until everyone will be included.  You are required to attend a seminar and sign up with a local career center.  You will then be required to come back in and show how you’ve been looking for work, a little more on that below, show your resume and a sample cover letter to your assigned councilor, and sign up for a seminar.  I suggest taking a look at all the centers around you as they might all have slightly different offerings.  One near me even had an expert level LinkedIn course which I would be very interested in if time allowed.  You won’t be able to get away by not taking these steps, because the threat of your unemployment ending if you don’t complete these actions is real!

Keep track of where you apply – Oh my gosh, I cannot state this enough.  Someone who sat next to me in that first session had no idea where he applied and who he had interviewed with and now had to fill out a work search log as part of his REA process.  First and foremost, who cares about the process?  You need to have a spreadsheet or a folder on a thumb drive or on your computer that has a list of the places you’ve applied to.  I create subfolders for the jobs I send cover letters to and then have another Word doc with the actual job description.  I then move files to other folders titled Rejections or Interviews.  Good grief, I’d have NO idea how to be at all professional and get ready for an interview if someone called me about a job I applied to but had no record of.

3 days, 3 different ways – The key to success in your work search log is to keep a running spreadsheet of where you’ve applied and when.  Now the trick is, and you can’t get away with something else is that you have to list three different days and three different ways you looked for work.  It’s a bit crazy in this day and age where everything is done online but you can be creative and call things something other than “web” and state that you’re networking.  I will say that it has pushed me to do some “unconventional” things in order to achieve the three different ways.

Good luck and KEEP TRACK OF WHERE YOU APPLY!