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Ah, it feels good to be back. After a little more than two months without blogging due to personal reasons I have found the motivation again. Now, you may wonder what personal reasons could keep one away from blogging for more than two months? Believe me, you don’t want to know. It wasn’t pretty…

Along with the personal reasons I also had a move to organize, and not just any move. I left the US after five years and I am now back in Stockholm, Sweden, and I am getting ready to start looking for a job. All of you that have been following my efforts to find a job a job in the US could expect to see something from me soon again. However, my old efforts, like that Facebook page, are still up and running, but I feel I want something that is more geared towards the Swedish market. I just have to figure out exactly what I will be doing and how I will be doing it. The brain is working hard though.

This leads me into today’s blog topic. I think it is safe to assume that we have all, at least once, sat down and tried to write a resume. You know it is not the easiest thing. You want to make sure you use the right words, and that you don’t leave anything out, or maybe even make sure to leave certain things out. And all of your past experiences should preferably fit on one single page.

Well, I just came across a new app called Vizualize.me that will turn your LinkedIn profile into a cool looking infographic. In other words, no need to struggle with trying to put together the perfect resume. Instead, you just update your LinkedIn profile, and then this app will pull all your career information from your profile and create a clean graphical representation of your skills, work history, and even your connections.

To get the data from text to a nice graphic, Vizualize.me crawls your positions held, education, skills, recommendations and number of connections from your profile, assuming that all data has been entered already, and entered correctly. Then, attributes such as skills are weighted by the level of expertise you’ve attained and how many years you’ve been using it.

Obviously I have saved the best for last. The infographic-like resumes are customizable too! While Vizualize.me is in beta (which it will be soon), users will be able to choose from a variety of different themes and templates, which will be both free and premium. Eventually the plan is to let users specify their own colors and typefaces as well.

Interested to see how it would look? Well, here is Ashton Kutcher’s Vizualize.me:

(picture belongs to Vizualize.me)

Vizualize.me will be available as a public beta August 1, 2011, but you can get early access by signing up. You can do so here.

As an aspiring social media marketer I find it important to try to stay on top of new tools that become available to me. I like to get in on it when it is still in its Beta stage and play around, and get familiar with it.

Today, we have social bookmarking, social networking, blogging, microblogging, and the list seem to get longer for each day. Do you have to use all of these tools in your marketing effort? Of course not. But should you? That is debatable too.

The way I see it is that is a common marketing misconception that businesses should take advantage of every tool available to them if using that tool could potentially attract new readers, visitors, or customers. While all those three things are great, and so is trying out new tools, attempting to try every tool in your marketing effort will probably end up costing you more than it will do you good, especially if you insist on always being first in.

When a new social media tool is released, early adopters rush in (myself included), but from a marketing perspective, being an early adopter is not a great move. Why? Uhm, simply because it is a NEW tool. If your customers aren’t using it, then what is the point of you using it? If your target market is not using the tool then you will spend time and effort on something that will not generate any revenue for your company. Your marketing message has to reach your actual market (one of the basic principles of marketing), something that is sometimes forgotten in the hype of social media. Basically, if you’re clients/customers are not there yet, what is the point of you being there?

My opinion is that as a social media marketer you need to stay on top of the game and be aware of all the new tools. Try them out if you can, just so you know what they are all about just in case a client would come to you asking if you could do something with that specific tool, but don’t push it onto your clients unless you are absolutely sure the target audience is already actively using the tool.

Lately, I have been reading a lot of blog post where employers lash out on prospective employees for submitting their resumes the wrong way, or sending a cover letter with spelling mistakes etc. I do agree with the blog post I just lined to. Some of the mistakes listed there are just not acceptable, and I feel like the employer is entitled to dismiss resumes on that basis. However, sometimes employers act in a bad way as well.

I would like to take a second and question the approach of some employers, and kind of tell them that it is time they step their game up as well, it is not just job seekers that are doing things the wrong way.

I am currently actively looking for a job, and I have had some pretty awful experiences, and I am going to share one of them with you. I will not be mentioning any names or things like that, but I will try to provide you with enough information so you can understand what I am saying.

On a Monday a few weeks ago I was scheduled for an interview in New York City at 10.30 in the morning. I decided to drive down the night before to my girl friends house outside of the city, a 5 hour trip one way, and then I took the train into the city in the morning. I show up at the office of the interview 8 minutes early (10.22am), and this is where the awesomeness begins. At 10.30 there is no sign of the HR person that is going to interview me. At 10.47 the receptionist tells me that the person is running a little late, and I think to myself “no big deal, that is understandable.” However, after waiting another 20 minutes I start getting a little frustrated, and then finally the person shows up. By this time I have waited 51 minutes (the 8 minutes early not included), and the HR person doesn’t even apologize for being late. We walk to this person’s office and the interview is nothing special, just a regular interview. After the interview is over we decide that I will reach out to this person at the end of the week to figure out what the next step is going to be, which is something I personally hate, but that is a different topic.

Anyway, this is where the story gets really good. At the end of the week (Friday afternoon) I decide to give this HR person a call to figure out what will happen now, or if they have decided to go with someone else, you know the drill. I call, and I reach a voice mail – no big deal, I just leave a message and the company will call me back and let me know their decision. Well, they didn’t call me back at all on Friday. On Monday I call again, twice, and end up leaving two voice mails. I decide not to call on Tuesday or Wednesday to give this person a fair chance to call me back. Nothing. Thursday rolls around and I call again, and again I reach this person’s voice mail – leave another message. On Friday I still haven’t been able to get in touch with this person so I decide to send an email. It has now been 9 days since I last tried to contact this person, and they haven’t gotten back to me at all.

I realize that I probably didn’t get the job, and that is ok. However, I think it is really low by an HR person to cop out like that and avoid someone for over a week. Why are you an HR person if you don’t have the balls (excuse my language) to tell someone “Sorry, not this time”?

Let me ask you, if this person was to call you up tomorrow and offer you the job, would you take it?

Not too long ago, Google revealed their weapon against Facebook’s ‘Like’-button, the +1. The thought behind it is very simple; you recommend search results in Google with the click of a button.

This new social service has the potential to become huge. However, the question is: How many people will actually use it? You can only get recommendations from your network that also have and use a Google account, and let’s be honest here, how many people are actually signed into their Google account when they are using Google for searching? Until that question is answered, and we see a real number, can we start thinking about how great of a tool +1 really is.

Another issue with Google trying to “go social” is that they have never really gone behind search. Yes, they had an attempt at their own social network (if you don’t know about it, don’t worry – it tanked), and now they are giving it another go. Like I already said, they aren’t very social, and I believe it will be hard for Google to beat Facebook, or even become a threat to Facebook’s ‘Like’.

Think about this. How many people have a YouTube account? How many people have a Gmail account? Whatever number you can find, compare that with Facebook’s over 500 million members. Who do you think will be more prominent?

For something like the +1 to be successful, or even useful, it has to be used by a large crowd of people, and it needs to be used by a large variety of people. Chances are the people actually using the +1 functionality will be early adopters (no shock there), and therefore the information being +1 is going to be very niched. Google needs more people to sign up for an account with them, then they need to make sure people are signed in when conducting searches, and finally they need to encourage people to +1 the search results they find helpful.

I believe in the potential of this product, but I am skeptical it will have the breakthrough a lot of people are anticipating.

 

In response to…

The other day I came across a blog called The Ad Contrarian, and read a post named Social Media’s Massive Failure, which describes Pepsi Co’s social media efforts, and how it was a huge failure.

The background: Last year, Pepsi substantially abandoned “traditional advertising” in favor of social media. They canceled its annual Super Bowl advertising, and instead diverted tens of millions of dollars to create the “Pepsi Refresh Project” (instead of spending the money on traditional advertising). Pepsi Refresh was an online social media initiative in which Pepsi gave out $20 million.

So what happened? Well, last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pepsi-Cola and Diet Pepsi had each lost about 5% of their market share in the past year. Also, for the first time ever Pepsi-Cola has dropped from its position as the number two soft drink in America to number three (Diet Coke is now number 2). These are pretty horrific statistics, however, the Pepsi Refresh Project also registered over 80 million votes, almost 3.5 million ‘Likes’ on Facebook, and gathered almost 60,000 Twitter followers.

The author of the blog article concludes by saying “Social media has taken a huge hit. Only zealots and fools will continue to bow down to the gods of social media.”

I am perfectly fine with saying that I think the author is wrong by saying that “Social Media is a failure” and “only fools will use social media.” I believe social media is huge for any company. It provides them with the opportunity to engage with their consumers, and hear (and respond to) consumers’ thoughts about a brand in a way that hasn’t been possible before. What happened with Pepsi was that they gave up completely on traditional advertising and therefore did not have any channels that encouraged buying their product. The utilized social media in a perfect way – they got the engagement etc., but lacked in the selling of their product, which is easiest done through traditional “interruption advertising.”

I don’t believe for a second that social media is a failure. Social media provides us with the opportunity to engage and connect with our consumers like never before, and it also helps smaller businesses with non-existent marketing budgets to get the word out. However, even though I think huge corporations need to have a presence on social media, they also need to continue with their “Here we are, and this is why should buy our product”- approach. I simply think the author is a little quick on judging social media as a failure. Yes, he might be right, social media will not necessarily increase your sales, but it will definitely strengthen customer loyalty if done right, among other things.

Those of us who “will continue to bow down to the gods of social media” are certainly no fools. I would argue that people, who try to ignore social media, and argue that it is a huge failure, are the ones that are the fools.

 

With the girlfriend on vacation in Florida, I have had some free time on my hands. This has lead to countless hours in front of the TV at night when I come home from work. The other night, TBS was airing Hitch, a movie I have always liked. I decided to watch it, due to the fact that I hadn’t seen it in a while.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie – it is about Alex Hitchens (Will Smith), who is a matchmaker in New York City. His latest client Albert Brennaman (Kevin James) wants Hitch to hook him up with social heiress Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta), and while doing this Hitch falls for a gossip columnist (Eva Mendes). It is a funny movie, and up until the other day it was just that to me – a funny movie. I was sitting there enjoying the movie, and then it hit me – Hitch is a marketing/PR pro!

The major focus of Hitch’s techniques is brand management, and he also realizes that no marketing strategy can be successful without thorough research of the target audience (in this case Allegra Cole). In the movie, Hitch’s research involves understanding important dating techniques in order to connect the audiences with his clients. Depending on the target audience it is important to understand what key messages will capture the audience and connect them with the brand (Albert).

The foundation on which Hitch builds his business is client confidentiality and trust. As a marketer or PR practitioner you should always, ALWAYS keep critical information about clients a secret.

Hitch also demonstrates positive energy and confidence. Two things that are crucial to make a brand successful. He also understands the importance of catch phrases and slogans, just take a look at this Hitch quote:

“Always remember, life is not the amount of breathes you take. It’s the moments that take your breath away”

Mashable.com published an interesting Infographic (see below) earlier today. The image depicts what to think about when you are about to use social media as a marketing tool. You can see what different platforms are good for, and in what areas they are lacking.

For example, Facebook is great to use as a tool to communicate with customers/consumers and for brand exposure, but at the same time, it may not be the best tool for increasing traffic to your website, and it is definitely not a good tool if you are trying to maximize your SEO. The links from Facebook (and Twitter) are so called ‘No Follow” – links, which basically means the links you post on Facebook and Twitter will not provide you with any SEO credit.

Take a look at the social media platforms you are currently using, think about how you are using them (what is your purpose with that platform, why are you using that platform), and see if you are doing it “right”. Enjoy!

 

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