Motivation

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Life
Tags: ,

Today I’m going to talk about something a little different, the idea is motivation and the focus is on my friend Dan’s blog called cglfgamerzreview.

As you may have guessed by the blog title, it’s a blog about video game reviews by someone who is very passionate and dedicated about what he is doing. The blog itself is fairly new only having been created a couple of weeks ago but you would guess it’s been running a bit longer considering there’s been a post almost every single day. Not the droll kind either that makes you fall asleep reading it. The content is authentic and written with an sense of outgoing crazy humour that I can say is well in-tune with the author’s personality. He also, rather than giving any type of rating system simply makes his suggestion at the end of the blog post whether you should buy the game, rent it, or burn it in a bonfire while washing your eyes for having had to look at such a monstrosity.

But the real motivation that I’m seeing is from the author himself. I’ve seen him at both his ups and his downs, and I don’t think I can say I’ve ever seen him on more of an “up” than since he started writing this blog. It goes to show how doing something you’re totally passionate about can increase your own happiness and self-worth.

I won’t say anything about his plans for the blog (they are there), but let’s just say we can expect to see some good things coming.

And by the way, motivation is contagious!!!

 

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I’ll start this entry off a little bit differently. Instead of getting right into it I want to mention where the back story for this particular post is coming from. Earlier today I helped to co-present a 75 minute workshop on social media at the District 60 Toastmasters conference in Markham, alongside with Promod Sharma – our club president and social media guru. Although our audience was smaller than we had anticipated at 11 people, the content which we delivered, the questions that were asked, and the experience for everyone (including Promod and I) was valuable.

The presentation was geared towards using social media for Toastmasters, however it could also be applicable for both personal and business life.  One of the common questions that kept popping up during the workshop was along the lines of “Where do I get started with social media? There’s so much!”

This is true. If you’re unfamiliar with social media, it can be extremely confusing. Even if you are familiar with it like me it can still be confusing. I only finally figured out how to use Twitter effectively a couple of months ago and there’s still more to learn.

As confusing as it is, I think I’ve done a pretty good job at breaking down social media into four categories.

This is an image I developed specifically for the workshop that I used in one of my Powerpoint slides. Let me summarize these four categories.

1. Content Generation

Before you can start using social media, you need to have a purpose. Assuming you want to do more than simply share your current status and comment on photos then this means contributing information to the Internet. In order to do this, you need a place where you can generate that content. If that content is in the form of videos, then you’ll want an account on a place like Youtube or Vimeo that allows you to upload videos you either made or have rights to use.

If your content is audio, then you might want to look into Podcasts (something I’m not entirely familiar with right now so I won’t post any links, feel free to leave a comment if you have a good source). If your content is music that you made then you may want a Myspace account.

And if your content is simply articles that are mostly text, then consider starting a blog on either Blogger or WordPress (blogger is easier to use but WordPress gives you a lot more customization).

Whatever your content is, there are plenty of social media sources available.

2. Content Display

Content display is like having a home base where you can combine everything. Sure, you can have a Youtube account, a Myspace account and be putting out Podcasts, but do you really want to put effort into keeping all of those sites nice and smooth all the time? Also, if someone checks out your Youtube page and likes what they see, how are you going to get them to see your other stuff and follow you on Twitter?

Content display is all about having everything you do on one main web site. For this, I recommend either having your own personal paid domain and hosting (you can get an amazing deal at Netfirms. Much better than a place like Godaddy whom spends all their money on advertising and charges you more) or having a blog for free. If you do have a free blog and start getting a lot of use out of it, you’ll probably want to eventually get your own paid web site, but this is easy enough to transition to after you feel comfortable running a blog.

Also, if you don’t know how to design web sites, don’t worry too much. Netfirms allows you to build your own website using either Weebly drag and drop builder or a variety of other simple to use tools like WordPress, or Joomla which don’t require much more than a very basic technical knowledge to use on a simple level. (Netfirms isn’t paying me to say any of this, I just have had nothing but good experiences using them).

3. Content Sharing

Once everything is out on display, you’re going to want people to see what you’ve been putting out. Yes, some people will find your content on their own through Google searches (or Youtube searches if that’s what you’ve made), but the problem with this is that it’s still a very passive approach. In order to get people to see your content, you’re going to need to share it. This is where Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter come into play.

Arg! Again, which one to use?

Let me sum it up.

Facebook = your personal network (friends and family)

LinkedIn = your personal business network (co-workers, former employers, etc.)

Twitter = everyone and their mother

Basically, anything you put on Facebook and LinkedIn will only be view-able to your personal networks. This means people that you are friends with (on Facebook) or connected with (on LinkedIn). This CAN be changed if you start using Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups which gives you access to a wider audience, but for simplicity sake, we’ll save those topics for another day and just concentrate on Twitter which is simpler.

Through the use of hashtags (these # things) you can very easily make anything you post visible to anyone who follows that particular trend. For instance, I’m going to post this article to Twitter using the hashtag #Toastmasters which means anyone who follows #Toastmasters on Twitter will see me linking this article. Twitter also lets you have a wide range of followers who are interested in what you have to say, but I’m not going to talk about how to get followers here, as I’ve already done that over here.

4. Content Effectiveness

Finally, you can be putting out all the content in the world but how useful is it really, if you don’t get any feedback? This is where the final step comes in and it’s a website called Klout. Klout assigns you a personal score from 1 to 100 that tries to measure how persuasive you are online. It assigns you a score (that changes over time as you continue to deliver content) by connecting with your various social media accounts and looking at your followers. How many followers do you have? How many people are following them? Are your followers clicking your links? Are they commenting on your posts?

Klout also shows you where you stand compared to your contacts that also use Klout and it tries to categorize you on a matrix classifying you into categories such as a networker, a feeder or a conversationalist.  At the time of this posting my Klout score is 41 out of 100. One point higher than it was yesterday. It’s very very difficult to get a high score on Klout so don’t be discouraged when you sign up, just realize it gives you something to work towards.

To sum it all up…

Get at least these three social media accounts to begin your journey. A blog (using Blogger or WordPress) to generate and display content, a Twitter account to share it and Klout to evaluate it all. Everything else is nice to have, but these are the essentials.

Why to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job

If you’re anything like I was then your online job search probably was restricted to using online job hiring boards such as Monster.com, Workopolis.com, or maybe even Craigslist.com. In fact, with the plethora of job banks out there why would anyone even consider going to use social media to aid them in their job search?

Here’s why.

As it turns out, LinkedIn has a few nifty features in place for anyone looking for a job through the site. What are they? Well let’s find out.

#1 – It’s not about what you know… It’s about who you know

It’s a saying that we’re all familiar with and one that LinkedIn happens to be founded on. Unlike other job boards you will always see exactly who is posting the job, even if it’s just an external recruiter. This gives you an opportunity to potentially check out the employer’s LinkedIn profile and perhaps get a basic idea of the type of people that work at the company you’re applying for. Even if that’s not the case then at the very least you will have a name you can address your cover letter to.

But the biggest advantage to “who you know” on LinkedIn is the referral section. Yes! If the employer and you have a common connection to someone then LinkedIn gives you the option to send a message to both the employer and the connection asking for a job reference. All you have to do is click on a button that says “request introduction to [employer name here]”. The system even provides a well written default template that goes like this:

To the employer:
[employer name],

I have asked my connection [connection name] to provide a short recommendation for my qualifications for the position you posted, entitled ‘[position title]’. Here’s a link to the job:
[job link]

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you for your consideration,

– [your name]

To the common connection:
[Connection name],

I am applying for a job I found on LinkedIn, and would sincerely appreciate it if you could take a moment to write a short recommendation for me, which you can then forward on to the job poster.

You can find details of the job I am applying for here:
[job link]

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you very much,

– [your name]

Of course, two things to keep in mind when asking for a referral. #1, don’t just ask any common connection. Make sure it’s someone you feel comfortable asking and ideally someone you have worked with and can give an objective referral. #2, make sure your common connection actually checks their LinkedIn. You may want to send them an email or give them a phone call as well just to be sure.

#2 – They can see your profile immediately

This could be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how well you have updated your LinkedIn so make sure your profile is something you feel proud of sharing. This route has certain advantages as well. For instance, you can fit a lot more on your LinkedIn profile than you can on a standard resume. Not only that but you can send Tweets to your profile, links to your blog articles and so forth. Say you’re applying for a job in marketing. What would carry more weight – emailing your resume or having your LinkedIn profile viewed with tons of links to your content?

#3 – Specialized Search Options

Are you a student or a new grad (like me)? Well LinkedIn has a job search option designed specifically for that category of job seekers. Just hover over the “Job” tab on the top and select “Students and recent grads”. Then select the job category you are searching for and voila! See a selection of jobs for your experience level in your chosen field. You can then further filter the list down to only display jobs in which you already have a common connection to the employer which is useful if you want to ask for a referral.

Also, if you’re willing to pay for LinkedIn’s service Job Seeker Plus then you can get even more specialized options to aid you in your job search, including the ability to send mail to anyone you see on LinkedIn. If you want the extra edge then it may be worth it, but I suggest trying out the free route first.

If you have any additional tips or tricks for using LinkedIn as a job search tool, please post a comment to let us know!

How to Get More Website/Blog Visitors Without Using SEO

This is a very simple and straightforward process for getting more visitors to your new website or blog without having to use any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques.

All you’ll need is…

  • 1 Twitter Account
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 teaspoons of salt

 

Actually, scrap the last two. All you’ll need is the Twitter account.

 

Basically, Twitter is an exceptionally powerful marketing tool when used well. Probably more so than Facebook and LinkedIn combined.

 

Now the first thing you’ll need to do is make a Twitter account for your website or blog. Or you can use your own personal one like I am currently doing. It’s your call, but think about the type of audience you want to reach out to. That Twitter account should be following and have followers related to the content you are putting out.

 

The second step is to add your new (or existing) Twitter account to a directory. I like to use Wefollow.com but you can also use other directories (or multiple ones) like Twello. Adding yourself under certain Hashtags related to your content will allow people to find your Twitter account by searching those terms. For instance, if you’re starting a gaming blog then you could try adding yourself under Hashtags such as #gamers or #gamereview. You can also use a website like Tweetreports.com to try and figure out which Hashtags work best… or simply type them into the Twitter search bar and see for yourself.

 

The third step is to start following people yourself. Remember those Hashtags you entered under your own name? On the same directory search out people using those Hashtags as the search term and start adding followers. Try to shoot for adding about 50 people a day to get started. I find that about 1 in every 8 people you follow will follow you back. As long as the content you are putting out is directly related to someone’s interests, they are more likely to continue following you.

 

The fourth step is to add a live Twitter stream to your website or blog and start sharing the content you put out. If you’re using WordPress you should be able to set it up so that every post you make is automatically added to your Twitter feed. If you’re running a website, then you don’t want to link people directly to your checkout page as doing so seems rather pushy from a sales perspective. You might want to consider adding a blog portion to the site and linking posts on there to your feed in order to build trust.

 

It’s as simple as that!