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9 Steps to Creating a Personal Brand Strategy

Check out this great infographic below on 9 ways to create your personal branding strategy.

You can’t just create a LinkedIn profile and hope for the best, a lot of thought and work goes into creating and maintaining a personal brand. When creating your personal brand strategy, you need to determine who you are versus how you want to be perceived, or more who you want to become. Changing that party image to one of professionalism and experience. A few tips are:

  • Define who you are
  • Set specific goals
  • Be original, don’t just be your job title
  • Connect with those in your industry, create a network
  • Start conversations and monitor your online personal brand

9 Steps to creating your personal brand strategy infographic

6 Tips For Strategic Thinking

Strategic LeadershipI recently read a very interesting article in Inc. magazine by Paul Schoemaker; 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

The article focused on the six things that strategic company leaders do well.

  1. Anticipate upcoming changes in your industry by looking beyond your current business strategy and expanding your external networks.
  2. Think Critically when faced with a problem. Question everything to determine the root cause, so the same issue does not recur. Challenge current belief; do not assume that all management or business fads will work for your business. Look beyond the fad and understand the entire impact of a change.
  3. Interpret all the data available when making a decision. There is so much information available at our finger tips today, use it to find patterns and test hypothesis. By doing this, you will decrease any associated risk when a final decision is made.
  4. Decide where you stand on an issue and hold your ground. Develop a system that works for you for making decisions. Even if you are not 100% sure about your decision, be vocal about how you feel about an issue. Don’t sit on the sidelines.
  5. Align your goals with those that you work with. Try to learn what motivates the others on your team and bring the uncomfortable issues to the forefront to discuss. By doing this you will open up a dialogue for new ideas and build trust between team members.
  6. Learn from your mistakes. This is a simple lesson that we have been taught since childhood. Do not ignore or pass the blame when a mistake happens, because no matter how perfect you are mistakes will happen. The most important thing is how you, as a leader, respond to a mistake. When a mistake happens, ask your team for an honest debrief of the situation from their perspective to better understand why things went wrong. If you are in the middle of a project and you feel that the current course of action is wrong, speak up right away to shift the focus of the project in a new direction. Do not wait and hope the current path ends up “okay”.

Check out the full article on Inc.com to learn more about how to become a better strategic leader.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Newsle – The News You Want To Know

There are many social media platforms to join and watch this year. However, there is one new platform that is getting a lot of buzz and is very intriguing, it is called Newsle.

Newsle is a web app that finds and sends you articles in the news about you, your friends, and anyone that interests you, as soon as they are published (at least within a couple of hours of time of publication). Newsle searches through every major news source and blog published online, as well as many of the smaller ones.

I had one big question when I found this new site. “How do they know if an article is actually about me?”

Well, their search algorithm is very sophisticated; it can determine whether or not the person you asked it to search for is actually the person mentioned in an article. How it works exactly is a secret, but I am quite impressed either way.

A feature I really like, is that you can import both your Facebook and LinkedIn contacts. This feature is important because typically one’s Facebook community is much different from their community of LinkedIn connections. Also, I am personally more interested to know when someone I am connected to newsle logo on LinkedIn is mentioned in the news, than when one of my Facebook friends is. Newsle is a great tool to stay informed about what is going on in your industry, without actually having to dig through the all the articles published online everyday. I also imagine that people interested in sports and/or participate in fantasy sports leagues would be very interested in signing up for Newsle to keep track of their favorite teams and players.

Above all, this new platform is a great way to monitor your personal brand, or your company’s brand. Google Alerts has been my monitoring tool of choice for a while now, but I tend to receive many results that are not relevant. With Newsle’s algorithm, the list of stories I receive is much more pertinent. Because of this, Newsle is a great tool to monitor your online reputation. I would definitely recommend this platform for college seniors looking for jobs. Find out what your future employer might see about you in a Google search, before they even get your resume.

Newsle Homepage Layout

Similar to what we are used to seeing on the Facebook and Twitter homepages, the Newsle homepage features a feed of the newest articles about those you follow. There are two feeds on the homepage, one for your friends and the other for public figures. In the public figures feed, you can choose to filter your feed by the public figures you chose to follow or today’s top people in the news.

To find out who is getting the most results right now, check out the Trending People list in the right hand column. It is an easy way to see if you missed any of today’s BIG stories.Newsle Homepage

Personal Newsle Profile Page

When I went to my Newsle profile for the first time, I noticed that I was able to choose the URL of my personal page. I really like this feature, because it will be easy to share my profile in the future. (A combination of a dozen or so letters and numbers does not make for easy sharing) When creating a unique URL for a social media profile, I recommend staying consistent and straight to the point. For example, my Twitter handle is @brianna5mith so to maintain consistency I try to use the same wording in my social media URLs. Therefore, I made my Newsle public profile URL http://newsle.com/brianna5mith. (This is just a small personal branding tip; you do not have to set up your personal URL this way)

Here is a screen shot of what my personal profile looks like. Unfortunately, there are not any recent news articles out there about me so it looks a little empty. However, I do like the robot that fills up the empty space. (particularly neat touch)Newsle Personal Profile

Since my page is not terribly exciting to look at right now, I thought I would share the Newsle profile page of a local New Orleanian, Fleurty Girl Lauren Thom. Below is a screen shot of her Newsle profile. Lauren’s page is a excellent example of what this platform can do.

Newsle Profile Lauren Thom

When visiting someone’s personal Newsle profile, you can do many things:

  • Check out all the recent articles about them and/or their company.
  • See their most recent Tweets using the right hand column Twitter feed.
  • Choose to follow them on Newsle
  • Sign up for email alerts for when new articles are found.
  • Submit articles about them that are not currently listed.

Other Newsle Features

If there is an article about someone that you do like, you can share it on Facebook or Tweet it right from his or her profile. There is also an option to tell Newsle if an article is about the right person, or if the search got it wrong.

You have may have noticed a blue circle with a number and the words Fame Factor on both the profile pictures. Lauren’s circle has the #28, while my profile only shows the #0. Fame Factor is a scale Newsle created to rank a person’s prominence in the news, on the scale of 0-100.

If you are curious about what is out there about you on the internet, or if you want an easy way to follow you favorite celebrities, authors, etc., I highly recommend checking out this new site. This is definitely a website to watch in 2012.

How Colors Affect Purchases

Does color affect a customers’ purchase experience? Will it increase the chances that a customer will by your product?

The answer to both of these questions is YES! Color is one of the most important factors that a customer considers when making a purchase, both consciously and unconsciously. Check out the infographic below on how colors affect purchases.

Here my 3 favorite facts:

  • 85% of customers say that color is one of the primary factors that they consider when choosing to buy a product.
  • Color can increase brand recognition by 80%.
  • Colors can even entice the right “type” of customers. Using orange in your ad will entice impulse shoppers, so use shades of orange for big sales. Budget focused shoppers respond best to navy blue and teal.

Also, check out below what emotions your brand’s colors invoke when your customers see your logo or product. The infographic also breaks down how time, overall design, and words can impact purchase decisions.

In the comments below let me know what you think of the infographic and/or if color has ever swayed your decision to make a purchase.

How do  colors affect purchases

4 Social Media Platforms to Watch in 2012

When the Pinterest phenomenon began, I was personally caught off guard. Even with all the marketing blogs I follow, I did not hear of the new popular social media platform. After reading and writing about the new addicting platform, I became curious about what else could be on the horizon.

Everyday new social media platforms are created, and the creators believe it will be the next “Big Thing”. However, not every idea can be the next Facebook or Pinterest. I do not think I will be able to predict the next craze, but there are four social media platforms that I think look promising and very interesting.

Get Glue

GetGlue is a social network that allows users to check-in to and share what they are watching, listening to, and reading. By checking into TV shows or movies, users GetGue Logocan receive recommendations, exclusive stickers, discounts, and other rewards. There are already over two million users signed-up for this new platform.

While I understand the check-ins, recommendations, and discounts, I do not understand the stickers. Users who earn stickers can have them mailed to them. Though, I do not know how many users actually want physical stickers. I am curious to see how this platform will grow, whether or not it will stay independent, or if it will become part of a bigger platform like Facebook.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Users all over the worldKickStarter Logo can pledge money to music, film, art, technology, design, food, and publishing projects. In order to fund a project, users must reach their goal amount by a set date. For those who pledge money, funds are not withdrawn until the project reaches its target amount by the set date. Those looking to invest in a project can search by project type and location. Therefore, you can help locals trying to get a project going. Each project includes a description and details on what donors will receive in return for pledging money.

An example of a local New Orleans project that was successfully funded through KickStarter was the New Orleans Film Society presents “Movies to Geaux” project. Those who pledged money received great things in return. If a donor pledged $20 or more, they received a New Orleans Film Festival t-shirt and a ‘thank you’ on the NOFS website. The benefit a donor receives depends on how much they pledge. For this project, if a donor pledge $55 or more they received a new Moviegoer membership and a ‘thank you’ on the NOFS website.

Storenvy

Storenvy is a social marketplace for indie sellers. I would compare this platform to the other popular online marketplace Etsy. Store Envy LogoOn the website, it state that “Storenvy is doing to e-commerce what Tumblr has done for blogging”.

Storenvy has several advantages that other free e-commerce sites, such as Etsy or EBay, do not offer. Some of the Storenvy features for sellers are:

  • An individual URL that you can use on business cards and other business items. (example –  http://mystore.storenvy.com)
  • Customizable store layouts that are easy to use and can be altered with or without CSS & HTML knowledge.
  • A store profile on the Storenvy marketplace, which displays products in search results.
  • Allows customers to follow your store.
  • Store promotions with a Facebook “Like” button and postings of new products to your Facebook wall automatically.
  • Store admin panel to track orders, inventory, and traffic statistics. As well as, the ability to set up discount codes, add up to 5 images for every product (you can add unlimited products), and manage your SSL certificate and payments.

Storenvy also gives shoppers a social experience:

  • Letting them find out who is following their favorite stores.
  • Comment on and join conversations about products.
  • Like the store on Facebook.

Tout

Tout is a video sharing platform that allows users to share 15-second video status updates in real time across many different platforms. Videos can be shared on Tout.com,Tout Logo Twitter, Facebook, SMS, and sent to email contacts. This platform is already popular with celebrities and news outlets, such as USA Today, ESPN, and CBS.

Users can also follow other users to get real time updates on new video status updates and see who else follows them. Most videos are classified by a hashtag to make searching and sharing easier. If a user likes a video, they can “ReTout” it. ReTouting is the same as retweeting a tweet to followers. To create a more social atmosphere, users can reply to (comment) on videos to join conversations with other users watching the same video.

Gen Y Working Women Infographic

I came across the infographic below (posted by Mashable) on generation Y women in the workplace. Generation Y (also known as Millennials) is composed of those born between the later 1970’s and the early 1990’s. As it is, I happen to be part of the Y generation.

Some of the facts that I was not surprised by were, Gen Y women:

  • Use Facebook for personal usage rather than professional uses.
  • Are more familiar with social media sites, and tend to log onto them every day.
  • Have the most positive outlook for women in the workplace, compared to other generations.
  • Work-life balance is the most important career factor. This does not surprise me since this is something very important to me. I think gen Y women are aware that to be  happy one must be fulfilled not only in their career but also in their home/personal life.

Here are some of the takeaways that I found most interesting:

  • Even though we have a more positive outlook, we still are less likely to speak up then our male counterparts and feel underpaid (more than other generations).
  • Almost half of gen Y women lack a clear career path. This surprises me since there is so much information and many tools on the internet about defining and managing your career goals.
  • That only 50% of gen Y women (ages 25-29) have children. This seems surprising, because growing up we were under the assumption that you go to college, get a job, get married, and have children, in that order. You are never really told that there are gaps in-between, during which you are building your career and/or married but do not yet have children.

Oh, and between 1997 – 2011 the number of women-owned firms increased by 50%. Not surprising, we like to be the boss!

Generation Y Working Women Infographic

Top 5 Tech Trends from SXSWi 2012

Brianna Smith:

There are a lot of blogs out there right now about SXSW Interactive 2012, but this is one of my favorites. It gets straight to the point and breaks down the 5 tech trends that were getting the most buzz:

  1. Path – Personal social journals. Not sure if I want to know more about people than I already do through Facebook. Do you have a personal social journal?
  2. Social Discovery Tools – GPS enabled apps
  3. Mobile Payments – I haven’t tried Mobile payments yet, but I can definitely see using them in the future.
  4. Interface is King – Connecting design themes across platforms
  5. Beautifying the Web – Photo Sharing

Originally posted on Nineteen.Three:

For those of you who don’t have the time to sit and read my long-form recaps of SXSWi, I put together some of the most important topics and trends to watch from South by Southwest Interactive 2012. The following are what were, in my opinion, the top 5 tech trends from this year’s conference.

Top 5 Tech Trends to Watch

  • PathPath is the personal social journaling app where users can share every detail of their life, including: location, photos, thoughts, music, who you are with, and even when you wake up/sleep each day, and the app is currently sitting alone with its unique approach to social relationships
  • Social Discovery Tools – GPS-enabled apps that let people learn more about others nearby and notify about common friends, interests, etc. were all the rave this year (and the “official” battery suckers), including:  HighlightBanjoSonarForecast
  • Mobile Payments

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9 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros

The Social Media Examiner recently posted a great article about the 9 best Social Media Marketing Tips:

  1. Draw attention to your custom tabs in the new Faccbook timeline – they share great applications to create custom tabs, such as: Lujure and ShortStack.
  2. Add the LinkedIn company follow button to your site
  3. Use Bufferapp to manage your social media marketing – I really like the Buffer app for managing your Twitter account because it spaces out the tweets nicely, but I did have trouble using it for Facebook because the share option did not appear in my posts.
  4. Get YouTube subscribers just by asking
  5. Create a Facebook plan you can stick with – don’t plan to post 5 times a day if you can’t keep up with it. It is better to post once every day than a bunch every 4 days.
  6. Be consistent
  7. Prepare now for tough ROI questions
  8. Focus on dollars
  9. Fix the appearance of your links on Facebook – links with pictures have a higher share rate than those without!

This is a great article with great recommendations from the pros that use these tools everyday. Check it out! 9 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros | Social Media Examiner.

10 Ways To Generate Trust With Your Landing Page Copy

Via Scoop.itBeing Your Brand

Demian Farnworth of The Copybot describes ten ways to generate trust with your landing page copy.

10 Steps To Creating Great Copy

  1. Match Ad Copy with Landing Page Headlines
  2. Write Seductive Headlines
  3. Create Compelling Landing Page Copy
  4. Display Impressive Numbers
  5. Supply Endorsements
  6. Highlight 3rd Party Certification – are you an accredited business? If so, flaunt it!
  7. Display Press Mentions
  8. Don’t Skimp on Design – if your design looks cheap, it doesn’t matter how great your content is because no one will stay on your site long enough to read it
  9. Tone Down Those Terms and Conditions
  10. Testimonials – Customers trust other customers more than they will trust what your company says

Check out the whole article to find out more about the 10 ways use content to build relationships with your customers.

Via blog.crazyegg.com

5 Steps to Using Twitter Effectively

Check out this great blog on 5 easy steps for using Twitter effectively.

This post explains why each step is important and how to complete it successfully.

Some of the steps covered are:

  • What to tweet about
  • When to tweet
  • Why to re-tweet
  • Using hashtags (Hashtags are one of my favorite ways to draw attention to your tweets!)

This post also has some great links to social media resources.

Hunger Games Social Media Strategy Breakdown

The promotion of the upcoming Hunger Games movie is a great example of a multidimensional online campaign incorporating an interactive website and social media. Fans are not located on just one social media platform, so it is important to develop a multi-platform strategy. The strategy should also include ways to drive traffic across platforms and ultimately to the main website. The online promotion of the Hunger Games movie has successfully integrated multiple platforms, driven traffic across platforms and to the website, built a community, and created an on-going conversation about the movie. Below is a breakdown of the four social media platforms incorporated, how each was used, and how they connect to each other.

Facebook

A Facebook page has been created for each of the 12 fictional districts of Panem. Each page includes the following:

  • Information on the tributes selected from each district
  • Possible opening ceremony costume designs for the tributes
  • Information on the district

Check out the District 12 Facebook page here!

Tumbler

An online Capitol fashion and culture magazine was created using the social media platform Tumblr. The online magazine is called Capitol Couture and is meant to be a realistic representation of what a Capitol fashion and culture magazine would be. It includes pictures of the extravagant shoes, clothes, and hairstyles that would be all the rage in the Capitol. Hunger Games Tumblr Capitol CoutureArticles about different characters such as Effie Trinket, Cinna, and President Snow, as well as articles predicting what the tributes will be wearing in the opening ceremony cover the pages of the site. The writing has both a superficial and light-hearted tone, just as you would expect from a fashion news source in the Capitol of Panem. As expected, all the articles are pro-Capitol and make sure to portray life in the Capitol as fabulous. All the authors write as if they are actual Capitol citizens, and as if the games have not yet happened. There are even articles on how to throw a “capitol style” party to watch the opening ceremony. The content writing is perfect at creating a realistic world. This is exactly what one would expect to find Katniss’ prep team, Octavia, Venia, and Flavius, to be reading as they wait for the tributes to arrive in the Capitol. As this is a multidimensional social media strategy, the Capitol.PN Twitter feed has been incorporated into the page to drive cross platform traffic.

Twitter

Twitter campaign is probably the most complex component of the social media strategy. Twelve Twitter users have been assigned as the twelve district recruiters and tweet daily about Hunger Game topics and news. Twitter fans can follow each of the twelve district representatives, as well as the main District Discussion RatesCapitol account @TheCapitolPN.

The list of district representatives can be found here.

Hashtags have also been assigned to help fans follow the Hunger Games on twitter:

  • #District1PN (corresponding hashtags for each district)
  • #HungerGames12
  • #HungerGames24 (Tweets including this hashtag are displayed in a “Panem Citizens Discussion” feed on the Capitol.PN Network website)
  • #LookYourBest

Twitter followers can also check out the Capitol.PN Network website to see a chart depicting the current discussion rate of each district. The discussion rate is based on the usage of each districts’ hashtag (example: #District12PN). I think that this strategy is more complex than that of the other platforms because there are 13 Twitter handles and multiple hashtags to monitor, in addition to it being a 24/7 real time feed.

YouTube

There are two official YouTube Sub-Channels for the Hunger Games: Capitol TV Productions and the District Citizens Reel. Capitol TV Productions includes all the official videos of the movie, including the official trailers and scenes. The page even states, “These videos have been officHunger Games YouTube Channel CapitolTVially sanctioned by the Capitol for the consumption of District citizens”. The District Citizens Reel includes only user-created videos that are related to the Hunger Games and include the tag “CapitolTV”. The District Citizens Reel gives the illusion that the videos were created and uploaded by the citizens in the twelve districts of Panem. They have created a great balance between the Official/Propaganda tone of the Capitol channel and the authenticity of the Districts channel. Each channel also connects users to the each of the twelve district Facebook pages and the Capitol.pn Network website. Keeping with the basic purpose of social media, to create a conversation, a question is included below the videos for users to comment on. I really like the idea of posing a question instead of just asking for comments. Sometimes it is difficult to decide what to include in a comment, but a question opens up the conversation.

Hunger Games Website Strategy

Like many others, I have read and fallen in love with the Hunger Games trilogy. Upon finishing the last book, and with the knowledge of the upcoming movie, I decided to check out the movie’s website to watch the trailer. As I dug deeper, I found much more than just a website full of information about a movie. I found a multidimensional online campaign incorporating an interactive website and social media. The Hunger Games online marketing campaign has not only promoted the movie; it has created a world in which it feels like the country of Panem actually exists. In this post, I want to break down the official Hunger Games websites that serve as the core of their online marketing strategy.

Hunger Games Website Design & Strategy

As with other movies, a general Hunger Games movie website was created that features the movie trailer, photos, posts, countdown, and more.

http://www.thehungergamesmovie.com

Digging deeper into the site, I noticed that they had created an online world around the idea of a real country called Panem. A separate site connected to the main Hunger Games movie website called the Capitol.PN network was created.

http://thecapitol.pn

Hunger Games Capitol Network Site

Upon entering the Capitol Network Hunger Games website, I noticed that I did not recognize the top-level domain. My first thought was “what in the world is .pn?” After doing a quick Google search, I discovered the top-level domain.pn stands for the Pitcairn Islands. This domain is only used in a hand full of other URLs, including ESPN and Groupon.

So why was this uncommon domain picked? It actually seems like a VERY smart choice. They are creating a world in which it seems that this website is the official website of the Hunger Games (not the book but the actual games) created by the Capitol of Panem. This may seem like a very miniscule change, but this was actually a highly significant decision because the URL is on all promotional materials, both online and offline.

Upon entering the Capital.PN Network, users must register as citizens of Panem. Registration can be completed by using your Facebook or Twitter account. After registering, each “citizen” is assigned to a district (this will be pivotal to the social media strategy).

Sections within the Capitol Network site include

  • Opening Ceremonies – This section includes information on how to watch the live broadcast of the red carpet premier.
  • Reserve seats – Where you can purchase tickets to the movie.
  • District Tributes– where you can view the profile of each tribute along, which includes specific QR code for more information. This information would be beneficial in Panem for betting purposes. A live feed of Capitol updates is also located in this section.
  • Capitol TV – This section features only the official trailers for the movie, or in relation to the book, these are the Capitol sanctioned videos.

Here is the Citizen of Panem ID card I was issued during registration:

It is the small details make this online marketing strategy that make it intriguing. For Example:

  • On the Reserve Seats page, there are several mentions  “Attendance is Mandatory”
  • The Capitol Updates feed on the District Tributes page makes sure to mention “Your Trusted Source for News”
  • The Capitol TV page refers to the trailers as Official Capitol TV Productions.

Though small, each of these things helps to create a more real and concrete world.

Both the design and layout of the site do an exceptionally good job of portraying the culture and control of the Capitol. Almost the entire site is designed using shades of gray, which may represent the cold control the Capitol holds over the districts. The only other color included in the design is gold, which may represent the power and importance of the Capitol. The style of the layout is highly formal and technical; it reminds me of what I imagine a website that a secret organization used would look like. I think that the design and layout of the Capitol.PN Network site does a perfect job of portraying the control and unemotional rule of the Capitol over the fictional country of Panem.

Check out my other post just about the use of social media for the promotion of the Hunger Games movie. I breakdown how using multiple platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) helped to drive site traffic, build a community around the movie, and sustain a conversation. Hunger Games Social Media Strategy Breakdown

What do you think of the Hunger Games website?

Check out my other  information on website strategy and design: