Get Ready for Co-op Students!

I’d like to start today’s post off with a little off topic story that led me to write this post.  Often times I boggle my fiancee’s mind.  He simply cannot understand how a girl who was born and raised in Latvia came to like country music.  To him, country music is sad dogs, trucks and a lot of beer drinking.  To me, it’s songs about the simple pleasures in life.  But, how DID I come to like it?

Well, I was trying to find my very first co-op internship at Northeastern University.  Unwilling to leave all of the deciding to the career center I decided to venture out on my own and look at monster.com.  I came across what seemed like the best job in the world. The job description was written in all caps and it talked about working with TV, Radio, sports casters, etc.  I was blown away.

I took the orange line out to god knows where and wore a suite but comfortable shoes, as the interviewer specified on the phone.  I arrived at some open concept office and waited for my turn to interview for the job of the century.  After about an hour and a half about 6 of us were going to be taken on a little field trip to see if we like the job and the sales people would pay for lunch!  Oh boy!  So we piled in, I was in a red jeep with one other recruit and two sales people.  We drove to…the middle of nowhere in NH.  What proceeded was 5 hours of going door to door and trying to sell Domino’s coupons.  At one home we were told that the previous home owners we spoke to had had a quarrel pretty recently and the husband pulled a gun on his wife.

No, this was not the job I ever wanted or would wish upon anyone.  We were asked at the end of the day, at 6pm with an hour and a half drive back to Boston ahead of us, if we wanted to head back to the office and fill out paperwork for a full time co-op position.  I politely declined.  HOWEVER, during our drive back the guy driving the Jeep turned on a country music station.  Keith Urban was singing one of his little ditties and I was so happy that the day had come to an end that THAT is when I began liking country music.

But now, to the task at hand.  It is time for a lot of Co-Op students to find…a co-op for the summer.  First and foremost, think about what you have learned so far in school and figure out what you liked.  Then, look at your major or minor and see how those interested might fit into them.  This is your time to figure out what you like and don’t like.  Don’t take a menial job just to pass time, try and do something that might really make you bust your hump but at the end of those six months you’ll know whether the work was rewarding or simply awful.

Go in to your interviews with confidence, but keep your over confidence in check.  No on wants to work with a know it all.  Lastly, make sure to leave a lasting impression.
* prepare!
* shower
* show up on time, this might mean that you need to go to the place a day ahead to make sure you know where you are going
* be nice to everyone in the building, you have no idea who the boss, interviewer or secretary might be
* give a firm hand shake
* send a thank you note to everyone you interviewed with

If you really want to blow them away then go on vistaprint.com and create some business cards that give your name, address, phone number, e-mail and what your major and minor are.  It’s these little things that are so simple, yet so memorable that may just get you the job you want.

Good luck students!  What did you do today?

My Two Cents: Facebook Has Come A Long Way

There has been so much talk about Facebook buying up Instagram lately, people saying that Facebook is the big bad wolf, everyone wondering what’s next and contemplating shutting down their page.  So today I thought I’d write a theme about my experience with Facebook and share my two cents on this acquisition.

Picture it, a la the Golden Girls, it’s 2004 and a young Linda finds herself in Madrid, Spain on what her undergrad International Business guidance counselor likes to call “an expatriate year abroad.”  My brother was going to be attending his freshman year at Northeastern University and I was bummed that I was so far away from family, granted Madrid is much closer to Latvia, and that I wouldn’t get to show my little broski around campus.

Then he told me, there’s this cool new website where he was able to figure out which of his high school buddies would be at Northeastern as well.  The site was called, “the facebook.”  The premise was that only college students could log in. This was great, I could interact with my friends back home and I could share photos with my parents without sending zillions of big files through email!  This was the new age and we all loved this new website.  As we know, Mark Zuckerberg later dropped the “the” from the name to make a bigger statement with simply calling the site “Facebook.”

Through the years, more of my friends have joined Facebook, some have also closed their accounts, but through it all, it still remains the biggest networking platform out there.  But what else remains the same is Facebook’s ability to keep changing, evolving, and as much as we all hate to admit it, improving.

We all hate change, but when Facebook first came on the radar, everyone was so thrilled to interact and quite honestly spy on those they used to know or might not know but wish they did.  Then came the stronger privacy policies and people were given the ability to hide some updates, or hide their profiles altogether.  Through out all of it, Facebook kept increasing the amount of sharing you could do amongst your closest networks and friends.  You could also play online games, share photos, share videos, link to articles, the list goes on.

But why were all of these things becoming more and more available on this one site?  Well, here are my two cents.  We, the people, are the ones guiding where Facebook goes.  We first just linked to pages, so Facebook took that and upon linking to a page an image showed up…an image that was linked to that page via meta descriptions and alt tags and all other kinds of html mumbo jumbo.  We then wanted to (and began to) share some of our videos, so Facebook made it possible to put links within your profile which were actually housed within Facebook in an app.  Whoa!  Apps, what are those things?  Let’s get a bunch of apps and tell people about all of our activities.  What’s better?  I’m going to let people know exactly where I am in case they want to meet me…or rob me.  Well, welcome to 4square and Facebook check ins.

My point is that this Instagram acquisition, as insanely huge and costly as it is, did not come out of the blue.  We have all been linking Instagram photos with our Facebook profiles and sharing those photos with all of our friends for months, if not for at least a year.  It was pretty much time for Facebook to truly get on board and not get just a slice of the pie but the whole darn baked good!  So thank you users of Facebook for making this an easy decision for the minds behind the social networking platform.  We, the people, guide what happens next.  So watch what app becomes popular on Facebook next and I’ll bet you that Facebook will either acquire that site (Pinterest?) or make its own knock off app.

And those, are my two cents.

What did you do today?
P.S. as you can see, I have moved to blogging once a week. With everything that I have going on in life currently I want to keep blogging but the only way I’ll be able to pull it off is if I scale back.  I hope you’ll keep reading!

My Two Cents: Library Week

Did you know that Sunday was the beginning of library week?  Neither did I, but my calendar did! I was happy that I had just purchased my book for Real Simple’s No Obligation Book Club.

This month we are reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants, did you know that’s he has a Latvian friend? How nea!

My two cents? If you don’t feel like reading, at least visit a library this week and be among the books?

What did you do today?

SEO to the Next Level

This week one of our webinars was led by our moderator, Bob Tripathi.  He was going to lead a webinar titled SEO for Social Media Professionals.  I had an idea of where this might go but was very surprised and really learned quite a bit.

For those of you that may be LinkedIn to me may have seen that I linked to an article titled, For Social Media Marketers SEO is Must More Popular than PPC.  I linked to it because I agree with its title.  I am much further into the SEO camp and always try to think about how things are optimized for search.  The reason behind my not being behind PPC, Pay Per Click, marketing is because in my personal life I never ever click on the paid google links along the right hand side.  Maybe it’s a pre conceived notion from years past when those links would always be spammy.  Whatever the reason, I like SEO, Search Engine Optimization.

The basics of it for a website are that you want to make sure that your title tag and meta description are optimized for your key words.  What that means is if you are a bread company in the title tag, the tag at the top of the browser window, might say something like “Artisan bread company – fresh bread M-F – also gluten free”  You would then also want to make sure that your meta description, the description that shows up in searches below your title.  You might write something like “Artisan bread company is your source for the freshest bread in the Providence area.  Choose from a variety of 15 different types of bread.”  Lastly, you want to make sure that the photos on your website are also optimized.  Instead of just uploading a photo and leaving the name of it as dsc1506.jpg, why not name it “Artisan bakery-rye bread?”  This way, if anyone is looking for images of rye bread on google you actually have a chance of popping up in the search!

This way, someone knows what they are clicking on and why.  There is no ambiguity.  Now, you want to do this on every page of your website and alter the title and meta tags as they relate to each page. There is much more information and many more steps that you can take this and I encourage you to peruse SEO Moz’s Free Beginners Guide to SEO.

Now the last thing that Bob covered was LinkedIn.  For those that rea this blog, you are probably tired of me drumming into you the importance of it and making sure that you have your keywords in the top five spots (the headline, current and past job titles, summary, skills). However, I had never once thought about naming my photo.  What a silly oversight!  I immediately made sure to go on and give my profile picture a name, my name to be exact.  This is your personal brand page, you need to do everything right in order to get found! 

Now go out there and optimize your company pages!

What did you do today?
P.S. Happy Easter!

The 4P’s of Marketing Aren’t What They Used to Be

Last week we had a fantastic speaker, Sima Dahl, dial in to the social media webinar.  Her topic for discussion was about social media for business.  But, what really got me listening was her take on the 4P’s of marketing.  We should all know that they are Price, Product, Place and Promotion…don’t worry, I needed a refresher too.  Now that things have become more social the 4P’s have changed to the 4C’s!  These would be Community, Content, Conversation and Conversion.  Do we have your undivided attention?

Sima went on to share her three strategies for social media in general.  So here we go, straight from the presentation and as her website claims…”Sima says…”

Strategy 1: Get cozy with your customer
*Outline your social media objective
**Start with your target customer…find out what social media platform this kind of customer is using.
*Tune into online chatter

Strategy 2: Contribute to the social stream
*Select a social media channel and consider your comfort zone…how chatty are you?
*Assess your content and don’t just give off noise, i.e. self promotional info 24/7
*Start a conversation but clearly set expectations.  You won’t answer all of the time and you may not answer all questions, make that clear from the beginning.
*Be creative and let your personality shine through.  How do you want the brand to sound?

Strategy 3: Fail early, learn fast
* Monitor things closely and respond to issues quickly. Silence can be deafening at times, especially if you usually post often.
* Measure conversion. What were your initial goals? Are you meeting them?
* Practice continuous learning and watch others.

But, most important of all, HAVE A PLAN!

Let’s all thank Sima for all of these great tips!

What did you do today?