Category Archives: Hot Topic

The JourneyCast Podcast with guest Katie Uhlaender

courtesy TeamUSA.org

courtesy TeamUSA.org

It’s not every day you get the chance to chat with an Olympian. I originally read about Katie Uhlaender’s story prior to the Sochi Olympic Games, due to her link with former Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Despite not medaling, she inspired many with her grace and toughness.

I was really honored to have had a chance to chat with Katie during a break from her duties at her farm. She shared her thoughts on farm life and her experiences in traveling around the world. Katie also touched on social media and that bond with Manuel, through her late father, Ted.

Katie is a great role model for hard work, dedication, and never giving up.

The JourneyCast Podcast, Ep. 6 with Katie Uhlaender

Let me know your thoughts on the podcast and leave a comment below.

You can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

Personal Branding: One Twitter Account is Enough

One of the more popular questions I get during my CEO of You personal branding talks is: “Should I have separate Twitter accounts for personal and professional?” It’s a great question because there are so many opinions on this. There’s the camp that states it is absolutely necessary to have both because you do not want to confuse followers about your brand. A recent article on “The Savvy Intern” blog stressed the necessity to have a recreational account for topics that aren’t “on brand.”  Tip of the blog cap to Reganie Smith (@ReganiePR) for sharing the post on Twitter.

managing multiple social accountsI fall into the other camp: I don’t think it is necessary to have two Twitter accounts. On full disclosure, I do have two accounts. One is for my business, JRM Comm; the other is me, @JasMollica. The difference, though, is that I don’t feel it’s essential for staying “on brand” to have a second account for myself. My JRM Comm account is strictly business; my @JasMollica account is a mix of professional and personal. Here are my reasons why you should focus on just one Twitter account.

  • Time- Regardless of whether you know how to use Tweetdeck, HootSuite, or Twitter’s app, it’s not easy to juggle multiple accounts. Focus your time on making your personal account great and show people you are worth the follow.
  • Confusion- One of the more important aspects of personal branding is giving people a good idea of who you are and what you do. If you have two accounts, who should I follow? The real person or the other account that just tweets business/career information? Don’t fall into the trap of being confusing. That only makes your brand clouded.
  • Transparency- I’ve stressed in many of my talks to students and professionals that the need for openness and transparency are essential. To me, multiple Twitter accounts do not help. I want to know who you really are… and so do other pros and potential employers. And, frankly, if you put the more personal tweets on another account, people will still find it.
  • Noise- We’ve all heard folks complain about too many tweets. Two accounts from one person adds to the Twitter noise. We see people tweet the same information, at the same time, from multiple accounts. That adds to the noise. Tweeting information that is valuable to your followers from one account cuts down on noise and confusion, too.
  • Personality- I’m in the camp that wants to see your personal side and that’s not to sound stalkerish. Before I hit follow, I look at what you’ve tweeted about. It gives me -and others- a better idea of who you are and what you do. If you posted something about last night’s hockey game, that’s great. We don’t, however, need to see the posts about beer pong or being hung over.
  • Smarts- Twitter and many other social networks may be free to sign up for, but they all require responsibility. You can make your one Twitter account great by just displaying some smarts. Don’t be so quick to hit that tweet button. Take a moment to consider your audience and your brand. Displaying smarts on your one account will go farther in strengthening your personal brand.

Focusing on your personal brand can be very difficult. The more honest you are with yourself and your audience, is not only great for your brand, it will be great for your career as well.

What are your thoughts on multiple Twitter accounts? Let me know in the comments!

5 Tips for Making Social Media Work Together to Boost Your Reach

(Jas’ note: I’m glad to welcome back Alicia Lawrence with another great guest post.)

If you’re like most business owners, you probably want to use social media to expand your marketing efforts and reach new customers. After all, social media is a powerful, free tool — you can use it to access countless new contacts. Here are several tips for having social media work together to expand your influence and reach new customers.

1. Make Social Media Complementary

According to a survey done by Accenture this holiday season, over 65% of customers preview products online before looking for them in stores. This makes it crucial that your online presence accurately reflects how you and your products are in person. In addition, 63% of people also plan to do the opposite — check out products in-store and then shop online. That means it’s important for the transition between your actual store and social media presence to be as seamless as possible. To do so, focus on a few channels and make sure you’re always delivering content that is entertaining and useful to your audience. Remember: your social media efforts should complement your brick-and-mortar business — if the two work together you’ll almost certainly attract customers.

2. Have a Blog

boosting reachOne of the best ways to gain customers’ attention and trust is to have a business blog. Now more than ever users are accessing news, information and articles online. They highly value content, especially if it comes in the form of a well-written blog post. If you regularly post original, engaging content you’ll very likely attract followers. You can write about a number of things — for example, if you’re a software company, you can write about tips for buying a new computer. The more you can tie your business in with information users want to hear, the better. Remember: consumers want a relationship. The more you share with them the more likely they’ll be to buy your products in return.

3. Work Together, But Be Different

When managing multiple social accounts, it’s easy to fall into posting the same content on each one. Instead, get to know the users on each different channel and learn what they would want to see on your social feed. This might mean sharing entertainment Facebook, news and deals on Twitter, and product reviews and photos on Pinterest. If you can pin down what your followers are looking for on each channel you have better chance of boosting your reach to others who are looking for the same info. The brand Havahart does a great job at this on their Facebook and Pinterest.

Beyond that though, some sites allow you to tailor content to different contacts. On LinkedIn, for example, you can sort connections by category and send a private message to everyone in that category. Do a little research, and figure out how to tailor your posts on various sites and platforms. This way you may be able control which followers receive regular blasts and updates, and which receive messages only occasionally. At the very least, you know how many contacts you have in each category, which is very useful when you’re developing a new campaign. It can also allow you to see if one social media platform is more successful, and if so, you should ask yourself how you can emulate this success on your other sites.

4. Hashtag It

Even though you’ll be sharing different content tailored for each social channel, that doesn’t mean they should never connect. Hashtags are a great way to integrate your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and even YouTube videos! Just in 2013, hashtags on the YouTube video Dance Pony Dance helped it go viral on both Facebook and Twitter.

5. Know Your Brand Mavens
Brand mavens are individuals that are highly influential to your target audience. This isn’t just celebrities, they can also be those just with a large following or with a blog that has high traffic. Make sure you identify your brand mavens on each social channel so you know who to outreach to when you have a message you think their fans should hear.

Alicia + Page

Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for WebpageFX and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land and CJ Pony Parts. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Yahoo! Small Business, and Spin Sucks.

Can You Be a Leader, But Not Lead?

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” —Gen. George S. Patton

Think of a great leader or someone you believe is a great leader. What are their leadership qualities? What have they done to prove to be a great leader? These questions should be easy to answer, however, they aren’t as easy as you think. Why? Because the word “leader” is thrown around like “jedi,” “ninja”, and “expert.”

You can be called a leader, but not lead. You’ve seen the statement, “John Smith is considered a leader on social networks” or “When it comes to public relations strategy, John Smith is a leader.” In some cases, these statements are true. But more often than not, the word “leader” is not fact. For example, most people believe that CEOs or presidents of companies are leaders. But, just because they have that title, one shouldn’t assume they can lead. Sure, they may up provide stability and maybe even help the bottom line, but that doesn’t make someone a good leader or good in leading employees.

I began to think this week about leadership and what it takes. There’s an old quote from Vince Lombardi; he said, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made.” That is absolutely true. To be a great leader you have to show three qualities:

Mark Messier is considered a great leader

Mark Messier is considered a great leader

1) Trust- You need to trust your colleagues and they need to trust you. If you don’t have either, you are sunk. Trust is the ultimate quality in a leader.

2) Patience- You must be calm in the good and the bad times; especially the bad. Your fellow pros and co-workers will be more apt to listen to you if you show calmness in the face of rocky times. Regardless of your political beliefs, people like President George W. Bush and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani showed great leadership in the days and weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. If not for their patience, the recovery may not have been what it was in the U.S.

3) Humble- You can be confident in your skills and still maintain your humble nature. People don’t like cocky and overconfident, especially in a leader. They want confidence, but with the ability to show that you are willing to give credit where credit is due.

So, how can you be a better leader? Start by setting an example for those that will come after you, whether it be as a PRSSA leader or in a local Social Media Club. Want to be your own boss one day? Start showing people you can handle criticism with grace, you are willing to sacrifice for the greater good of your chapter, organization, or club, and, most importantly, be trustworthy.

Who are good example of leaders? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday Tip: Being Humbled

Every once in a while, we need to fall flat on our butts to wake us up. Here’s how I was given a wake-up call and why I’m better for it.

How have you been humbled? Let me know in the comments!

Simplicity: A Better Way to Blog

“If you can see the lights shine in front of me. If you can see the lights shout out where you’ll be.”- Simple Minds, See the Lights

It’s no secret if you follow my blog via email, WordPress, or on social networks, that I haven’t done this in a while.  There have been a number of factors why, none of which are great excuses. That got me thinking. Why is it so hard to blog sometimes? Sure, there are probably a few factors: Time, can’t think of anything to write about, and over thinking a topic.

IMG_0970I think I may have found a way to make it a bit easier for you to blog. Simplify your thoughts and stop trying to write the next great blog post. Just write a blog post that will work for you! We all want to get some traction on our blog, but if that is what enters your mind first, you are destined to sit in front of your screen for hours.

Here’s how to simplify your time and posting:

  1. Keep a memo handy- Whether it is your iPhone’s recorder or a planner, if an idea comes into your mind, jot it down. It may not be your end topic for your post, but it could spur something further.
  2. Read other blogs- I’m not advocating plagiarism, but sometimes reading other blog posts get your brain’s juices flowing. It’s happened to me many times and I’ve done my best work (I think) when I can debate something.
  3. Don’t stop brainstorming- Take a few minutes and just jot some ideas down. Everything from PR tactics, social media outreach, etc. Then again, it may not be either of those things. I’ve found inspiration watching Iron Man! An idea can present itself at any time. Be ready!

Do you have a tip or two to share with my readers? Leave them in the comments!

When Personal isn’t really Personal

On Tuesday, July 30, a story came out that a reporter at a television station in Alabama was fired for what she posted on her personal blog. It immediately became another instance of: Is what you write on a personal blog really that personal?

To summarize, Shea Allen, the now-former investigative reporter for WAAY in Huntsville, did a blog post, titled, “No Apologies: Confessions of a Red Headed Reporter.” Ms. Allen states in the post that she has gone bra-less during a live broadcast and that she’s taken naps in the news car. You can read the rest of her post by clicking the link above. The post made waves with her station’s management and she was fired.  The move made some wonder if this was a violation of Ms. Allen’s first amendment rights.

photo credit: WAAY

photo credit: WAAY

Reaction to the story has been mainly supportive on Twitter; the comments on her blog appear to be 60-40 in favor of what she wrote. Here’s where I say I understand the personal blog “boundaries,” but for a person in the public eye, it’s not so personal.

Ms. Allen was employed by WAAY, therefore she should have been a more careful in what she posted on her blog, even though it’s labeled as “personal.”  We know way too well that despite saying in your Twitter bio “tweets are my own” or “tweets do not reflect my employer’s opinion,” if you say something that isn’t appropriate or can bring bad publicity to your employer, you are going to get in trouble. The same goes for a blog. Did WAAY have something in its contracts with employees that talked about social media or blogging? I’m not sure.  In this age of social media and quick posting, it’s necessary to think first, then post.

However, I need to defend Ms. Allen because, unless the reports of previous reprimands are true, this shouldn’t have been a one strike and gone issue. Yes, she re-posted the blog after initially being asked to take it down. Are the things she posted a little out-of-bounds? Maybe. But she’s an award-winning journalist, was respected by her peers, and this certainly isn’t something like the Larry Mendte/Alicia Lane issue in Philadelphia back in 2008. There should have been a suspension, at the least.

This is a teachable moment for young reporters (and even young PR/social media pros): Just because it is labeled “personal,” what you put online (blog, social media, etc.), isn’t personal anymore. It’s public.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Is Social Media Evolving or is it Stuck in Neutral?

Over the weekend, I was going through some mementos of my younger years. I found one of my old yearbooks, a scrapbook of newspaper clippings from the first space shuttle launch and when the 1986 New York Mets won the World Series. Oddly enough, I also found an AOL start-up disk. If you are like me, you remember they came in the mail with an offer to try it free for 30 days. Ah, dial-up.

That's the QuestionThis find got me thinking. AOL and Prodigy went by the wayside pretty quickly; it sort of evolved, but then ended up dying. Prodigy is a footnote in online history. AOL, as it was then, isn’t the same. Are we in for the same sort of slow shuttering of social media platforms?

Now, this blog isn’t meant to be the “Five Reasons Facebook will Die by 2015″ or “Why Twitter can’t stay free” type post. As a matter of fact, I’m trying to go in the opposite direction. Over the coming weeks and months, I’m going to be starting a frank conversation about social media and whether it’s evolving or is stuck. We’ll talk to pros and students about their feelings and findings. You be able to see and hear these things via my YouTube channel and brand new podcast.

But, let’s start the conversation right now. Is social evolving or is it not? Leave your feelings in the comments section.

Path: Gaining Traction or Social Clutter?

One of the things I enjoy about my job is researching new ways to help clients in marketing their businesses and brands. So, I tried Path at the recommendation of colleague. Launched in 2010, Path is a more personal social network than Facebook and Twitter. On iTunes, it says that Path is, “the best way to share life and stay connected with family and friends.”

PathI’ve been using Path for almost a year and there are many things to like about it. Path is a tad more personal than Facebook, but still (like Facebook), allows you to comment on friends’ posts. You can also add emoticons to a friend’s Path (without leaving a comment), much akin to the “like” on Facebook. A few of the other items that are a plus is how it allows you to add photos (like Facebook), tag where you are (like Foursquare), and let people know what music you are listening to at the current moment.

I’m never one to totally close the door on any social network, but as I’ve used Path I’ve come to these questions more than once: “Why am I using it” and “How is it really different?” I’m not sure I see how Path fits for a brand, business or even for personal use. Sure, the “more personal” side may be great for some, however, just what value will it bring me or even a client?

Of course, not every social network is made to be used by businesses. In the case of my personal use of it, I’ll admit that I haven’t embraced it totally, although I do post and react to friends’ posts.

I asked this question on Twitter on Tuesday: “Working on a post on Path. Why do you use it? What do you like/dislike?” Here are some reactions…

Path Twitter post 1

Path Twitter 2

Path Twitter 3

While this is only three people, it gives you a good idea what some feel about Path. Heather’s point is very well taken. I do see some different emotions there than on Facebook. Harrison’s point, though, is how I tend to feel. It doesn’t pull me away to say, “I have to post on Path right now.”

At the end of the day, a social network needs to be appealing and have something that other ones don’t already.  Ask yourself these questions: “Is it worth my time?” and “Will it enhance my social experience?” If your answer is no to one or both, don’t use it.

What say you on Path? Let me know in the comments!

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