Are you concerned about your job? Or do you want something even better? There is one thing that you can do to make yourself ready for a change – build your online network.

In times like these, it is essential to build your network online. Start making virtual friends with those in your field all over the world. Here is a list of some necessary steps to take online.

  • Go to Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, etc. and build your network of friends
  • Go to these social networks and join groups that surround your profession and PARTICIPATE
  • Participation is key. Be active and be well known and thoughtful
  • Join FreindFeed and subscribe to top professionals in your area (and me if you want!)
  • Join Twitter and follow top thought leaders and professionals in your area (@samsova)
  • Find top bloggers in your area and put them into an aggregator (like myyahoo.com) and learn
  • search for free or cheap events in your city

The biggest thing to take out of this is to build YOU online. Understand how people follow one another and how to be followed so that you are well know. Start a blog, contribute to a blog (comment). Be thoughtful. Just participate.

Hopefully taking some of these actions will help you understand more what is going on in your profession and will open up opportunities in these tough times.

It is interesting how people associate things like work and sports with the term WE if they truly feel part of it. A few weeks back I was in Minnesota visiting some friends that I have not seen for years and really noticed this when everyone started talking about their jobs. Most people worked at places that nobody has every heard of (one being Fiserv) and it was interesting to see the difference in descriptions of the organization. The big thing was the use of either “WE” or “The company does….”

So for example, one friend said, “I work at xyz company. We are the biggest manufacturer of nuts and bolts in the world with over 50,000 clients worldwide.” Where the other one said, “I work for abc company. ABC is the second largest publisher in the nation.” The big difference was WE. The people who used the term WE were truly engaged in what there company did and cared. They felt part of it. It was more than just a pay check and a 9-5. For the other example, you could tell that it was just a job for them. They really weren’t brand ambassadors. I sure wouldn’t work there or believe much by the way he talked about the organization.

People do this with sports too. I had a huge debate with a friend in college when I started talking about the Brewers baseball team as if I was really on it. “We will go to the world series this year.” When you are a true fan you are a brand ambassador for that team.

So the big question is do you use WE when you talk about your company? Are you a true brand ambassador? If not, it may be time to start doing or get out.

With all of the hype in the last few years, I think it is essential to make sure that you are all on the same page with the technologies that are available. So….let’s assume that they somewhat get it – or atleast your co-workers know that you can listen to podcasts on more than just an iPod. What is next? Time to build a plan.

The plan is essential to explain what you will be doing with social media in the mix of things at the workplace. The first part, and focus of this post, is to determine the target audience.

Determining the target audience is key in building this plan. Are you targeting your co-workers (internal) or are you going after clients, prospects, analysts, etc. (external). This can be determined from key initiatives that you may have heard about in meetings or corporate comms. One that I heard a ton of when talking to key decision makers was that we needed to do a better job at effectively educating “our own” on a consistent basis. Another thing that I have heard is that we need to hear more of what our clients want (be careful with this one). From the research that I have read I would recommend starting internal to get some more buy in from the skeptics. Integrate current methods with some of these new Web 2.0 tools.

A BIG PART of this step is once determining if you are going to target an internal or external audience, to look at that group’s current online usage and participation. If you have a budget, you can hire agencies to actually figure this out for you….but most of us will not have budget for this and will have to do it on our own.

If you don’t have budget for true primary research on your specific target audience, take a look around you. Think of the median age of your workforce – this will determine eventually what types of tools to implement.

If your workforce is around the Boomer era, as a whole they are most likely not creating videos and putting them on YouTube, or writing their own blogs. They are not on Facebook actively commenting on photos and status updates. They are probably reading news and blogs online and watching videos (collectors of information) or rating and commenting on products and blog posts.

If you workforce is Gen Y and Gen X, as a whole they are most likely creating videos and blogs, on social networks on a daily or weekly basis. They as a whole are more active, and are more likely to participate by uploading video and writing blog posts – commenting and joining the conversation on a larger scale.

When looking at your target audience, just look around you. This will help you in later steps in the planning process to determine the best tools to implement to get your social media initiative revved up.

Recently I have been seeing a ton of news about Twitter. The most eye popping to me is Guy Kawasaki saying “I think Twitter is, arguably, the most powerful branding mechanism since television.” Check out the post and video from Robert Scoble here.  This is huge guys. Guy and Robert are the guys that you pay to see talk about social media and the future of the space. This is when you stop and really listen.

But if this is so huge, why is it not picking up in the Gen-Y group? When I look, it is mostly colleagues or people digging deep into social media or techies that get it. It is not my college buddy who I drank beers with in college giving his 140 word update of what he is doing. Example – Last week I posted a status update asking about twitter and if anyone is using it to friend me or let me know what they think. The result – no friends and five people within minutes ask me why the hell I use twitter! So does this, and Guy’s comment, mean that Twitter is more of a corporate/business/techie social function?

If you look at Facebook it started as a social function from the Gen-Yers, then was pushed out to the corporate/business world with SOME success stories, but not a lot. This is still where I keep in touch with those beer buddies. This is where I see those friends engaged (or unengaged). So looking at Twitter and just my own little experience here, could it be the opposite? More of a corporate/business function (or something with early adopters of mostly techies and web gurus) that eventually turns into a social function of the masses?

I’d love to see what you all think. I think it is awesome. I see how it can be HUGE to my employer, but also to keeping in touch with all those beer buddies…but to do so they have to believe in it. Do you?

Implementing a social media strategy in the enterprise has been something that I have been working on and passionate about for almost two years now, and I really think that explaining the basics of Web 2.0 and social media has been the toughest thing in my young career. I write this series of posts based on my experiences in the enterprise and with folks in the industry that have also shared their experiences.

Rule One – Define the “old school” tools in social media

Basically, define what you have grown up with – like a blog, podcast, vodcast, forum, wiki, social network, etc. You wouldn’t believe how many executives asked me if by creating podcasts we had to buy all of our associates iPods to view it. Could you imagine the numbers going through their head! Crazy, yes…but understandable. If you are a Gen Y-er, then you probably at least know a few of the terms, especially a blog since you are reading this! But think about the older generations. You need to clearly set definitions for how you will refer to these tools in YOUR organization. So in my case, I nixed the whole podcast term for now and have referred to our online videos as – “online videos” because everyone gets it – and because I define a podcast or vodcast as something that is downloadable to an mp3 device and we have not taken it to that step yet. Truely baby steps.

The biggest thing about this generational gap is the adoption of this technology. By confusing or making it unclear what tools you are planning on using in your strategy, you will miss the boat with those that have no clue. If you make it clear of what you are using and keep it basic, easing the older generation, you are bound for more adoption and success.

When most of us give presentations, we naturally get butterflies before we deliver to any size audience. Eventhough we have prepared and practiced and “know our stuff” we still have that natural fear – Our natural fear of speaking in from of an attentive audience – all eyes on you, right…

Well the game has changed big time with crackberrys and iPhones basically in pocket’s reach of all of your attendees. Now, presenters are going to have to keep their presentations so interesting that they keep the eyes on them…instead of one’s portable device.

Over the last year I have been to a respectable amount of conferences, have been in numerous presentations, and have even been giving my own presentations to groups ranging from 1 to 125. The one thing that I have noticed is the number of people that are checking email during the presentation – I am even a victim of it. I was at the Online Marketing Summit last week and saw this first hand. Overall the conference was good, but there was one presenter that was just so damn boring that I had to pull out my blackberry (like everyone else!) and check my email. In a way I felt bad, but I was paying to see her speak and even more – giving up valuable work time to see it. And obviously everyone in the room felt the same!

So here is the scoop. If you are planning a presentation in the near future, it has to be interesting enough to hold your audience. Less text, more videos and photos. If you are talking about a Web site, go to it and give a quick demo. Embed some videos or have an entire slide with just a photo that your discussion will be revolved around. The old days of text-heavy presentations are done. If you are going to take the time and/or money of others to hear you speak, do it right or you will be talking to a crowd focused more on their email or the Web than with what you have to say.

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