Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Three Ways Social Media Helps Recruiting

Why should a company use social media as part of the recruiting process? There are at least three good reasons that are valid both for small businesses and large organizations.

Probably the most common way that companies use social media is simply to raise awareness of job opportunities. Since social media has, in theory, global coverage by posting to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter you reach a much greater population than traditional job advertising. If you craft the post so that it is very appealing random people will also share it to their network, making it even more visible. That's the reason why a job ad should never be boring. But there are two obstacles to this: there are no truly global social media -- you might need to use multiple channels to reach your target demographics -- and some people spend very little time reading content, they just post their links then move on.

Where social media really helps companies to find better talent is in social network data mining. Back in the day you would advertise a job, some people would apply, you would sort through hundreds of CVs, interview the most promising candidate and then make the choice. Today you can get a premium LinkedIn account and simply search for all the people with the qualities you are looking for then reach out to the ones that look most interesting. The advantages of this approach are that you reach even people who maybe are not thinking of a new job and that the whole process is much simpler, faster and cheaper. You don't reach everyone this way, though, because there are still a few people who refuse to use LinkedIn, but maybe you don't want someone unfamiliar with the business tools of our century anyway.

But there is also another reason for using social media in your recruiting, A well-managed, professional looking social media campaign can foster a favorable climate for the recruiting by creating a favorable image of your company.  Most young people and many older people would be deterred from applying for a job at a company that appears to be clueless about social media. This is sometimes viewed as an alarm system that the workplace still has a 1990s feel or worse. By demonstrating an understanding of social media practice the company will look much more attractive, even if the position is actually filled in some other way.

Managing social media effectively is neither difficult nor expensive. Anyone can learn to manage the process and to operate the social media machinery with simple workshops and courses. But since the technology is continually evolving you also need to keep up with new developments to be effective.

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching, Writing

For lectures, workshops, one-to-one coaching and writing about social media and digital marketing you can contact the author Andrew Hennigan by email at speaker@andrewhennigan.com or by phone at 0046 730 894 475 or 0033 6 79 61 42 81.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Preparing for a Presentation Begins Earlier Than You Think

In popular forums like the Q&A site Quora one question that appears regularly is How do you prepare for a presentation?

Quite what they are looking for I am not always certain, but when people write that they need help preparing for a presentation coming up in a day or two I realize that many people are leaving the preparation until it is too late. But while it might be late for this time it's probably a good idea to start sooner the next time you need to create a presentation.

Assuming that you do have enough time, how exactly can you prepare more effectively for a presentation if you have the basic speaking skills mastered already? There are two key areas where many people could usefully apply more effort -- and they need to start earlier to be most effective.

Consider the influencing context. One very common mistake is to focus simply on making slides and practicing what to say, without considering the context of the presentation. The classic Hollywood-style business presentation is always something that comes as a surprise to the audience but miraculously convinces everyone the moment they see it. Reality is very different and to influence people the presentation is just a small part of the process. What works better is to talk to stakeholders about your ideas in advance of the presentation. This prepares people to accept your ideas -- people usually don't like an idea the first time they see it -- and it also lets you test your content. Talk to others about the ideas you plan to put in the presentation and you will soon identify weaknesses, mistakes and flaws. With the benefit of this information you can refine your presentation to make it more effective. After the presentation you also need to followup with stakeholders to make sure that they understood your message and to address any doubts that they might still have.

Focusing on the message. But to do this you need to have a clearly defined message and this is the other part of the preparation that people often skip over. Most people spend too much of their preparation time creating a slide deck, looking for images or even -- very unwisely -- tacky animations. They should instead be dedicating more time to deciding what the overall message is and the points to be covered. In an ideal world you should be able to create, learn and deliver a spoken version of your presentation that contains this information. Later you can illustrate it with slides, which should support rather than replace the talk. This approach makes the presentation stronger because it clarifies the key ideas. It is also very useful for helping to remember what to say and helps when you get lost.
While speaking and presenting are essential tools for influencing other people the presentation alone is not enough to convince people. To be an effective speaker you need to be a good speaker, but at the same time you need to have a well-filled influencing toolbox.

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching and Writing

For lectures, workshops, one-to-one coaching and writing about speaking, presenting and influencing skills you can contact Andrew Hennigan on 0046 730 894 475 or 0033 6 79 61 42 81 or through email at speaker@andrewhennigan.com.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why Ignoring Social Media Completely Isn't a Good Idea

Every so often I meet someone who doesn't like social media. There is nothing wrong with that. But then sometimes people go further than that and decide that they will not use social media at all. For most people this is a bad idea for several reasons, mostly related to search engines. Any presence on a web site will show up on a Google search eventually, but for most people the highest ranking sites that they will be on are usually social media sites, making these critically important.

Until about ten years ago a private person -- then the norm -- could have no presence on the world wide web and this would not be a problem. People using search engines would not be specially surprised if they searched for a person and found nothing. But today this doesn't happen. Having a digital footprint has become more common than not so a lack of presence is interpreted differently. Even worse: the rise of content scrapers and fake profiles have undermined the option of opting out of the world wide web and social media. And the shift towards online presence being the norm means that a missing presence creates uncertainty.

Content Scraper Profiles: At one time if you didn't create any online profiles yourself then a Google search would not find any. This no longer happens because of the rise of bottom feeding content scraper sites that gather information from publicly available data, email lists and other sources to generate profiles in your name. Most people never see these profiles because Google ranks them at the very bottom, beyond the last search page you would normally look at. When someone has created no genuine profiles these scraped profiles rise to the top. What this means is that like it or not you will have some sort of online profile, but if you didn't make it yourself the ones that appear will be out of date, inaccurate and irrelevant. For example, just from the email address robert.pickles@acme.com a content scraper could recover first name, last name, name of employer, their contact details from the domain records and much more.

Fake Profiles for Scams/jokes:  Another risk of not having a real profile online is that scammers and jokers might fill the void with their own fake profiles. If I search for someone and see two profiles I will try to find out which is real. If I find just one I am more likely to believe it. Scammers sometimes set up fake LinkedIn profiles for people who don't have one. They use these profiles to get the trust of others and gain access to private information. Jokers might also be tempted to fill the gap with a joke profile. In the absence of a real profile it is harder to tell which are real and which not.

Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt: The other reason why not having an online presence is a bad idea is that it creates fear, uncertainty and doubt. If a potential employer discovers that someone has no online presence this could mean that they are a very private person. But it could also mean that they have poor computer skills or are out of touch. This absence of any information creates some doubt in the mind of other people and means that people with no presence will always have a disadvantage when compared with people who do have a presence.

There is one simple and certain countermeasure for all of these risks and that is to create at least a basic profile on LinkedIn and Facebook. You don't need to be an active user but at least keep your basic profile information and photo up to date. Creating a few other profiles on top social sites helps to protect your reputation in other ways but this is at least a good start.

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching and Writing

For lectures, workshops, one-to-one coaching and writing about reputation management, digital marketing, social media and other communication topics contact Andrew Hennigan on 0046 730 894 475 or 0033 6 79 61 42 81 or by email at speaker@andrewhennigan.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Blue Ocean Branding: The Norwegian Airlines Case

Looking up into the sky recently I could just see an airliner starting its descent towards Arlanda airport. It was too far away to see it clearly or recognize the aircraft type, but it obviously belonged to Norwegian Airlines. Why? Because in a world where airliners are either painted a uniform color or with horizontal stripes, it is the only airline I know of that chose a radically different paint scheme that is instantly recognizable.

This is effectively a "blue ocean" approach to branding and it can be very effective. Most brands try to look somewhat like existing brands in the same space. Wine bottles, for example, don't need to be labelled "wine" because that is generally obvious from the shape of the bottle and the style of the label. In much the same way other products try to not distance themselves from rivals, so that customers can tell what the product is without looking very closely.

But there have been many cases where a highly distinctive product has brought advantages. One of the classic cases is the Volkswagen Beetle, a vehicle so distinctive that it has been instantly recognizable from any distance. Back in the 1960s Doyle Dane Bernbach's classic print campaign "A Volkswagen obviously" played on this theme with copy mischievously explaining that you could recognize a VW under snow because was the one that started, when in fact the famous outline was still plainly visible.

Another classic case of a distinctive brand style is the legendary Toblerone. Many rivals are rectangular, some are round but none copy the triangular package design used by Toblerone. There is a reason for this. The company is famous for aggressively defending its intellectual property and while many rivals have tried to copy the packaging none have succeeded in beating Toblerone's intellectual property team.

A blue ocean branding strategy like this is more challenging than a me too approach, but this is certainly one way to differentiate a product. Nobody can confuse a Beetle with another car, nobody will confuse a Toblerone with a rival and even from a distance any Norwegian Airlines plane is instantly recognizable.

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching & Writing

For lectures, interactive workshops, one-to-one coaching and writing on branding and other communication topics contact the author Andrew Hennigan at speaker@andrewhennigan.com or call 0033 6 79 61 42 81 or 0046 730 894 475.