What’s Missing From Your LINKEDIN Profile?

Today’s post is courtesy of Beyond the Hype posted by Lois Paul. 

 

One of my particular passions is to help the executives I work with become stronger storytellers. I always advise them to make sure that the first place an influencer or conference organizer looking for an article source or a speaker will go to “check them out” is LinkedIn, so it’s really important that they have an effective profile. I then proceed to audit their current profile and tell them the missing elements they need to fix to help them stand out from the crowd. 

There have been posts on how to put together an effective LinkedIn profile, including this one I noticed while Tweeting during Sunday’s less than scintillating Super Bowl. They include basic recommendations such as clearly listing your name, your title, your company, your actual location (as close as you can get) up front, along with your key industry. Industry can be tricky for IT professionals who participate in other industries such as Financial Services, Health Care or Manufacturing because you can only choose one industry on LinkedIn. However, you can highlight Skills in other sections of your profile if you determine that it’s important that you are associated with your core industry first and your IT expertise second.

The biggest missed opportunity on LinkedIn for most executive spokespeople, in my humble opinion, is the Summary option in the Background section. Most people list their chronological job experience in this section without a Summary. A good Summary is a few short paragraphs that describe what you do today for your company, threading in the key  messages or themes you can talk about and demonstrating the strengths you bring to the market, your company and your customers. If done right, the Summary definitely is about the individual, but it also provides goodness and positioning for your company.

 
Here’s an example of a great Summary that Mark Bernardo, GM of Automation Software for GE Intelligent Platforms, includes in his LinkedIn profile:

1“I have worked in industrial automation as a supplier from every angle—engineering, new product introduction, quality and customer support. With over 25 years of experience, I help customers optimize their processes and increase business performance. To remain competitive, to keep their municipalities or shareholders happy, I believe facilities will need to find ways to empower today’s workforce—a workforce that wears multiple hats, has increased responsibilities, and needs to do more with less at a faster pace than ever before. 

Knowledge workers are critical to the equation; we need to help them use technology to free up their time so they can work smarter. At GE, we are working to change the game through the use of SCADA, mobility, integrated analytics, collaboration and high performance solutions. Through an enhanced paradigm called Real Time Operational Intelligence (RtOI), we can marry these capabilities together and provide the right information to the right people with the right context when and where they need it so they can make the right decision for their operation. I’m proud to lead the Automation Software division here at GE Intelligent Platforms and add our thumbprint to the innovations taking place in this space.”

Mark is a very effective spokesperson and this Summary makes it clear to anyone who checks LinkedIn what his expertise and views are before they contact him. He also does a good job of highlighting what his company does for customers.

Beyond the Summary, your Experience should include not just a litany of jobs you’ve held and timeframes for those positions, but a short description of what you did for each job that highlights your expertise that would make you a good spokesperson. Only the most recent positions that are relevant to your current position and thought leadership platform need to be fully fleshed out.

Another missed opportunity is the Contact Information section of the LinkedIn profile. Most of these include links to corporate websites or blogs, Twitter handles, and possibly email. What’s usually missing is a brief sentence or two that describes your passion or interest, such as “Contact Sam Smith to discuss how the Internet of Things is impacting the semiconductor industry” or “Mary Jones is always interested in a lively discussion of all things mobile, especially related to how companies need to make sure they are balancing the security of mobile devices and the need to address employees desire to BYOD.” You see the difference?

Overall, LinkedIn is not just an online public resume repository. And it’s not just a place you can use to find a new job. It’s a place for someone to get a feel for you and your background and to sample your thinking and your knowledge. They can learn more about you with a more thorough LinkedIn profile that has you telling them what you do and why you do it, backed up by any relevant blog posts, articles or white papers you have written, as well as video interviews or podcasts. We recently were able to secure a keynote speaking opportunity for one of our clients based on the strength of a video clip we shared with the conference organizer. Having that kind of work sample on your LinkedIn profile is a great resource that may create great results like that for you.

Because LinkedIn is also a living breathing profile, it should be refreshed and updated regularly with new content that makes sure that any new aspects of your work or your thinking are appropropriately represented. If you purchase a higher level participation in LinkedIn, it will guide you (in some cases, to an annoying degree) to make these updates frequently. They are worthwhile, even if you do have to spend some time “turning off” the helpful reminders.

2Last point:  I personally am not a fan of the Endorsements on LinkedIn.  This does not imply any disrespect to anyone who has endorsed me for any of the skills I have listed.  I just don’t find this section helpful so I don’t use it at all.

Recommendations can serve as more powerful third-party endorsements to help learn a bit more about a person. However, I still firmly believe that the best way to represent who you truly are on LinkedIn is to use your own words in the Summary and Contact sections in particular, as well as the links to published materials or videos.  Don’t miss the opportunity to make LinkedIn an effective way to position you as someone who would be a great source for an article or a white paper on  the key themes or issues you care about.  If you skip this step, you may not make the cut for the busy editor or show organizer who is moving fast.

What PR Courses Actually Need To Teach PR Undergraduates

Ed Zitron PROn today’s Monday PR Tips we have Ed Zitron, the founder of EZ-PR, a PR and Media Relations company based in New York City and Raleigh, North Carolina. He is also of the author of “This Is How You Pitch: How To Kick Ass In Your First Years of PR,” an Amazon bestseller in the PR category. He has worked with companies large and small, including Target and The Nature Publishing Group, as well as smaller startups and tech figureheads.

He was featured in PR in Your Pajamas and discussed the information gap between the PR taught in institutions of higher learning and what graduates need to know and actually experience in the industry.

~~~

In 2005, I took a public relations course at a major state university – PR 101 – and remember the lesson plans clearly:

  • the history of PR
  • writing a “communications brief”
  • writing a press release
  • press conferences

Eventually, I moved on to further classes. They mostly covered press conferences and “advance communications,” a vague summary of different techniques that you might want to use in general PR… activities.

At no point did the courses actually address the media.

This was nearly a full year before Twitter would launch. Facebook wasn’t available outside of colleges. Jon Gruber had been writing for 3 years, and TechCrunch would launch not too long after. Thus we completely missed a chunk of the “social” aspect that makes up the new world of PR, or indeed the importance of bloggers.

Regardless, reading over current PR courses and many textbooks used in courses, it’s clear PR undergrads are being taught to do things that are not part of most PR people’s days. Yes, it’s very exciting to be taught that you’ll be handling big campaigns, or “handling webinars,” or how important AP Style is (which in the grand scheme of things is mostly irrelevant), or how to handle a press conference — one of the most irrelevant skills that you’ll find before a career in high-end corporate PR.

While it may not be deliberate, this is a horrible misrepresentation of the industry as a whole and is leading students down a dark, dark path. The reason behind the failure at the educational level is simple: Many of these teachers are either not active practitioners, or others are fundamentally not good at major parts of the current world of PR. It’s easy to become obsolete if you’re teaching but not practicing.

After some research, I’ve come up with what I believe are the core elements that need to be applied to just about every PR curriculum. They are:

The Realities of PR

PR is no longer about event management. It is not press conferences. It is not glitz and glamor and fancy parties. At least not initially. The world of PR they are entering is cold, over-staffed, over-worked drudgery. It is mostly behind a computer, and the salaries are lower than ever. It’s potentially immensely lucrative if you become well-connected. It does not start that way.

These core lessons need to be ingested immediately:

  • The best way to network is to be yourself. It is not to have a personal brand or “love the media.” It’s about being an interesting human being.
  • Read a lot more. Reading and knowing the news and the world around you is more valuable than being popular on Facebook or loving to party.
  • PR is not flashy, and you will probably not deal with flashy clients for a long time. Many PR agencies sell themselves as working on huge clients like P&G, Samsung, and Gucci. This is not what most will do initially. They will probably work in small tech firms or with restaurants or with non-profits – immensely demanding clients that will not educate them.
  • The first years of PR will be a lot of document-writing, package-stuffing and document work. This fact is for some reason completely hidden from new PR professionals.

Media Relations

Many PR professionals on many blogs say media relations isn’t the core of PR. It isn’t a thing that you “have” to do. I’m sorry, but it is. It always will be, especially for new PR people.

The core elements of media relations are:

  • Researching an outlet and a reporter. This should focus on how to read properly, how to understand and have a rapport with a reporter, and how to understand the structure of each news outlet.
  • Writing a pitch. This should be taught in such a way as to write a pitch that will work to get a response and what you want, under 150 words. This is a very specific skill that is almost totally diametric to how Public Relations courses are taught.
  • The difference between a blogger, a reporter and a producer. The first two parts are somewhat blurred these days – a reporter can blog at a newspaper and a blogger can be called a reporter. However these people are fundamentally different and need to be approached in different ways, especially TV and radio producers.
  • What things are truly newsworthy, and how to actually get reporters to care about them. If a teacher can’t teach this, and teach the reality that many stories are kind of boring, they are not worth their salt.
  • How to actually talk to a person whom you want to write a story. This is really about not talking to them about anything and getting to know what they want to hear about. Once you know that, you can send it to them. Or not, when you don’t have it.

The Reality of Social Media

Social media is taught in a critically dishonest manner by the education system. It’s really exciting to talk about social media in a way that suggests it’s the new golden goose — that a single tweet can spread your news faster than anything else, and that, you too, could have thousands or millions of followers who will share your news in the most passive and useful manner.

Social media classes need to teach:

  • How to use Twitter or Facebook or Instagram in a real sense. You should not just be tweeting out endless praise for your company, or how great you are. You should be an honest company or an honest person.
  • You don’t need always need Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. There is no actual need to have every company with a social presence. Conversely, for many brick and mortar businesses, such as Angie’s List and Houzz for contractors and service businesses, some social media platforms are incredibly important.
  • How a real social media following is built through trust and a reason to actually care. If a company or a restaurant or anyone is just spilling out fatuous nonsense about their lives or how great they are, very few people are going to care.
  • That a social media calendar or strategy can be a waste of time. Mapping out a bunch of tweets or Facebook updates or “special days” for many companies isn’t necessary unless they have an active Facebook or Twitter following.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything they should know, but the core problem with PR education is that a 101 class should give the basics — the groundwork from which a real PR professional should theoretically grow. In the same way that pre-med and med schools exist to give the factual and theoretical ideas that will be used in the actual workplace, PR courses need to provide the theoretical foundation and background knowledge today’s PR professionals will need in their day-to-day work.

The Selfie Culture

Here is a definition of what selfies are courtesy of Wikipedia.

“A selfie is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. Selfies are often associated with social networking. They are often casual, are typically taken either with a camera held at arm’s length or in a mirror, and typically include either only the photographer or the photographer and as many people as can be in focus. Selfies taken that involve multiple people are known as “group selfies”.”

Love them or hate them, they are here to stay. Selfie was named “word of the year” in 2013 by the Oxford English Dictionary.The popularity of selfies is largely due to how easy they are to create and share and also the control they give to the photographer over how they present themselves. Many women, and men, take photos that would characterize them as ‘attractive’ or ‘sexy’, birthing trends such as the ‘duck face’ which emphasized a person’s lips formed to mimic an exaggerated kiss.

First Family selfie — Michelle and Bo Obama, August 2013.There are various schools of thought regarding the psychology behind selfies. Some regard it merely as a tool to capture a moment to share with friends on or off social media. Others however associate this culture with narcissism and body image issues especially in young girls aged between 18-24 seeking approval from their peers. Whatever your reason for capturing a photo of yourself alone or with a friend, know that one million other photos are being taken  and shared each day. Even Michelle Obama is taking them.

Check out the infograph below titled ‘Selfie Syndrome – How Social Media is Making Us Narcissistic‘ courtesy of Best Computer Science Schools that paints a grim picture of the selfie phenomenon and the effects of excessive use of social media on an individual. You may want to evaluate yourself and your use of social media after reading the statistics.

There is however no reason why selfies should not be taken if it is merely for the reason to share with family, friends and fans a captured moment in your life. You can go here  for a guide to taking good selfies. Below is an infrograph shared from the page about what you should consider before, during and after taking a selfie as well as reasons behind most selfies. 

selfie

Why do you take selfies? Let us know on the comments section below!

10 things you never knew about Facebook

This article is courtesy of Daily Star written by Dave Snelling

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! As Facebook turns 10 today, here are some facts about the social network, including why the logo is blue…

Facebook, 10th Birthday, 10 fun facts, Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook usersHAPPY BIRTHDAY: Facebook turns 10 today [DAILY STAR ONLINE]
Facebook fans across the world will be popping champagne and eating cake today.

The social site is 10 years old and, although it might not be the coolest website anymore, it’s still one of the most popular.

Computer geek, Mark Zuckerberg, created Facebook in his Harvard university dorm, and it now has over a billion users worldwide.

So on its 10th birthday, here are some fun facts about Facebook.

FOUNDER: Mark Zuckerberg, left, founded Facebook 10 years ago [FACEBOOK]

1. The Facebook logo is blue because of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s colour blindness. The colour that he can see best is blue – decision made!

2. There are currently more than 1.25billion Facebook users across the world with more than 33million of them in the UK.

ORIGINAL: The site used a picture Al Pacino until it was removed in 2007 [FACEBOOK]

3. The original Facebook website had an image of a man’s face on it. Dubbed the “Facebook guy” it was recently revealed that the photo was actually Hollywood legend Al Pacino.

4. On average, users spend 20 minutes per day on Facebook. If you want to know just how many hours you’ve wasted on the social site, there’s even a calculator that will work it out.

TIME WASTER: [TIME]

5. Four days after Facebook went live it had just 650 users. On September 14, 2012, the team at Facebook watched the one-billionth user sign up.

6. Around 78% of all traffic to Facebook comes from our smartphones and we upload around 350million photos to the site every day.

SMART MOVE: Most of use our phones to check what’s going on on Facebook [FACEBOOK]

7. Internet entrepreneur Steve Chen worked at Facebook for a few months before quitting to set up a small website called YouTube!

8. Coca-Cola is the most “liked” company on Facebook with more than 79million fans giving it the thumbs up. Disney comes in second place with more than 46million likes and fashion label Converse is in third place.

WE LIKE: Coca-Cola has the most likes on Facebook [FACEBOOK/COCA-COLA]

9. According to the Guinness Book of Records, on March 30, 2013, Guru Shri Rajendraji Maharaj Jaap Club (India) achieved the most comments ever made on a Facebook post. A whopping 15,626,405 people decided to have their say on his page.

10. Finally, if you fancy taking Facebook off Mr Zuckerberg’s hands you’d better have a healthy bank balance… It will currently cost you a cool $134billion (£82billion) [KES11.5trillion].

 

 

Social Media: Facilitating County Progress

jamhurimagazine.com

jamhurimagazine.com

Here is an extract from an Internews article titled Social Media: How County Governments can Benefit by James Ratemo. 

“..gone are the days of one-way communication systems where governments were monopolies of information and only transmitted censored information to citizens. Today citizens have leeway to vent their frustrations on leadership via the social media and a government that cannot listen is doomed to lose touch with the grassroots. The social media even gives Kenyans in the Diaspora a chance to contribute to county governance debates, meaning the leadership is able to curate varied opinion that would enrich its decision-making process.

Already a section of governors have borrowed a leaf from corporates and are quite active on social media. The Nairobi County Governor Facebook page for instance had over 138,000 likes as at November 11 2013 [currently over 148,000]. The governor has used the platform to communicate the work of his office and to arouse debate among his followers.

Dr. Kidero has even gone a notch higher to use the Facebook page to announce all upcoming events of his office and sharing key recordings from past events. This has seen the governor garner more and more followers thus able to track what Nairobi residents or other stakeholders think about the county’s projects and activities. His therefore is an example of how county governments can engage Kenyans on social media.

A quick survey across Facebook, Twitter and other social networks indicate that most counties are yet to establish official presence on the platforms. The county pages littering Facebook are either being run unofficially by individuals and contain no meaningful updates from the counties.

With more and more Kenyans now able to access the Internet via mobile phones, it is easy to stay connected and engage county leaders around the clock. Since it is impossible for county leaders to meet all their subjects one-on-one, engaging a majority of them via  social media platforms would be a sure way of receiving useful feedback. It therefore means leaders should develop a mechanism of monitoring what their subjects are saying on the social media for clues on what should top the county priority list.

Just like corporates have taken to social media to enhance customer care, county governments, through their communication desks should develop social media monitoring tools and policies to ensure constant touch with their constituents. As county governments struggle to have working structures in place, they need input of the citizens to exactly know their needs and wants. Constant surveillance of the social media can partly tell what citizens think about projects or plans being implemented across the counties.

Travis Crayton, an American social media enthusiast says “it is not enough for county governments (or any governments, really) to simply have accounts and post press releases. The pertinent questions should be: What value does these tweets and posts add to government? How do these posts advance citizen engagement and how do they improve the lives of citizens and make government better?”

Current trends indicate that most frustrated citizens opt to unleash their anger online. It is therefore upon county leadership to address issues behind such anger after crosschecking with the offices concerned.”

For the full article, click here.

To add to James Ratemo’s words, it is empirical that counties start and run pages that allow full interaction with the public. It could break down all the sectors in the county and dedicate a set amount of time to give information, answer queries, enact suggestions from the public and give a full evaluation.

The public also needs to be educated on their right to information. With this in mind, people can put pressure on their governor to perform office duties as is expected of them. This can also work to reduce corruption and other inconsistencies that often present themselves in public office regarding projects and budgetary allocations.

Accountability and transparency should be the themes of each county page set up. It would make it easier for voters gauge the developmental progress their governor has brought about and decided whether or not he/she deserves a second term. 

From this list of best and worst performing governors, those in their respective categories can and should make use of social media to analyse the social landscape and work to improve less that satisfactory areas.

Just as all organizations post only the good aspects of their company for PR purposes, this bias is likely to present itself in many if not all of these county pages. A way to curb this is have a separate entity not affiliated with the governors’s office manage the page.

The challenge may arise when rogue Kenyans use the platforms provided to conduct a witch-hunt, post malicious or false/inaccurate comments or even use them as advertising platforms. Kenyans need to be educated on the need to use the pages as a means to facilitate development and not stir up controversies that would only hamper development.

Social Media Wednesday: Lupita

Lupita-WikipediaShe has, at this point in her career, received over 30 awards from almost every prestigious award giving entity in Hollywood. Her name is currently being mentioned more times than seasoned Hollywood actresses, many of whom are singing her praises. Not unless you have been living in the earth’s core for the past three months, Lupita Nyong’o is showing the world that Kenya has more to offer than long distant runners, the Maasai, wildlife and being the homeland of the first black president of the U. S of A.

With an average of 18, 000 Google searches per month (Google Adwords), information of this multi-award winning actress is very much sought after. Note that this number is not inclusive of searches made on online entertainment sites and other mediums that share information about this rising celebrity. This is attributed to her performance in 12 Years a Slave by Director Steve McQueen.

instagramSocial media is an important tool in that it allows users access to information in real time.  If any given person wants to know what Lupita is wearing to award ceremonies, who she has being hanging out with or what nail polish colour she fancies, a quick look at her Instagram account will answer your questions. A great deal of the information shared on social media about the star, text or visual, is not available on other sites.

It is worthy to note that Lupita does not always run her Twitter or Facebook accounts since most tweets and posts are in third person. Her certified Twitter account has only been active since early January 2014 but currently has more than 33, 300 followers. Lupita has been on Instagram since December 2013 and currently has over 125, 000 followers while  her Facebook fan page that has been running since December 2012 recently reached over 112,000 likes.

In Lupita’s case, Facebook is the preferred social media tool not only because of how long it has been running but also because Facebook allows integration with other social media sites especially Twitter and Instagram. Facebook pages also allow for more information to be share than is possible on Twitter and users can interact freely with the information shared.

However, given the numbers, Instagram is the most used social media site that fans use to gain information about the star. It could be that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, wouldn’t you agree?

Uhuru-lupitaIn the new media age, many feel that if an event was not documented on social media then it never really happened. This could have prompted Lupita to join both Instagram and Twitter in order to remain relevant in today’s fast paced society. Fans can now reach her on the three popular sites whenever they want a piece of her.

 

Blog News Releases

Are you a start-up and wondering how to share your news releases without having to go through a journalist? A company blog is the way to go. If you do not have one, it is imperative that you do, and not just for the purpose of publishing new releases but also sharing other vital information with your customers and employees. This does not only apply for small organizations but even larger ones. With this approach, your company can achieve the efficiency and effectiveness it desires by saving both time and resources.

Journalist generally use news releases to attain news and information and will not necessary bring out the story as you would like it told. With a blog post, there is much freedom in portraying the story in the best way possible. Another added advantage is that you can include visuals in the release; this eliminates the use of discs that are normally incorporated into a media kit. It is also easier to embed visuals on blog post than it is on web-based news releases. This will create both visually appealing and engaging content for your targeted audience.

If you would like your work published online or on traditional media, it is not simply enough to send news releases to journalists, it requires a pitch. When doing so, with a blog post you can make the pitch shorter than is normally required and send a link of your blog post. This is also much better than downloading an attachment. It also allows the journalist to gather other information from your website about your service and product. This way they are able to capture the essence of your company.

Online newsrooms circulate news about your company much easier and faster than print media. With your blog however, you have the freedom to share on as many social media sites as you wish by adding a share button at the end of the content. Remember, the news releases are not merely facts and data; they are stories that ought to be shared by stakeholders, customers and employees as well.

Most of all, one can evaluate and provide measurable statistics to how many people viewed the page. It specially helps the PR personnel to give qualitative data to the success of the information shared and work toward increasing traffic not only to future blog post news releases but to the company website as well.