Pin Me Pretty: What is Pinterest?

Hello there!

I’m back after a loooong silence that has been mainly caused by extreme busy-ness, no inspiration and a general drought when it comes to ideas. Today, I’ll do my comeback with a new social network that has been stealing a lot of my time lately. The talk is about Pinterest, a social photo sharing network that enables users to collect their favorite images by ‘pinning’ them on ‘Boards’ as they surf the web. The concept is very similar to scrap-booking, just in a more social, trendier and digitalized version.

English: Red Pinterest logo

Hmm.. OK, Pinterest may not be big news, as it has been around for quite some time now. The first closed beta launched exactly 2 years ago. Nevertheless, I heard of it and discovered its potential only lately. Maybe because I have had so much free time on my hands, so it came as a perfect pastime for my days. The main audience for Pinterest is Women who make up the majority of the site’s users (unconfirmed sources claim it’s due to its similarity to scrap-booking). An interesting infographic about the users can be found here. But the gentlemen shall not worry, cause there is even a competitor targeting men, welcome Gentlemint.

Pinterest

Pinterest (Photo credit: stevegarfield)

All of the great publicity Pinterest has been gaining lately, its skyrocketing number of users, its target group as well as its sleek, visualinterface; all lead (me) to one question: How can we use this new tool for marketing? This in my opinion poses a great challenge for marketers, who all of a sudden need to communicate without the ease and convenience of words they so much love. Of course, this (might) exclude a few industries and companies with unappealing products, but it definitely leaves an unanswered challenge for the rest of them. Some companies are already on board and doing it well, e.g. Whole Foods and Elm Street. Of course, many have realized this potential, so tutorials and tips are popping all around the web. Here a beginner’s guide for marketers, from Mashable. While marketing strictly with visual material might be tricky, it also holds a tremendous potential because if it is done right and is RAN (Relevant, Attractive and Non-pushy), it will be welcome and remembered.

So whatcha waitin’ for? Follow me: http://pinterest.com/elenmilen/ 

Pin Pin Pin!

Posted in General Interest, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Social Job Hunt – Part II

Last year I wrote a post entitled ” The Social Job Hunt: Build your online brand and Tweet your way to a great career” which appeared in the 2011 Entrypark International Career Book. This year I would like to take it one step further and show you exactly how to land a job through social and professional online networks. This post appears in the 2012 Entrypark International Career Book.

Here’s a quick re-cap of why social media is great for job search and personal brand building.

Social Recruitment is HUGE!

An astonishing 90% of employers either use, or plan to use, social media for recruiting – that’s a 10% rise over last year – and 63% claim to have successfully hired through social networks. Moreover, after referrals, internal transfers, and direct sourcing, recruiters claim that social networks bring in the highest quality candidates[1].

Despite the enormous potential and demonstrated success of social recruiting, only 48% of job seekers interact with employers on professional networks (e.g. LinkedIn and Xing), and 29% on social networks (e.g. Facebook or Orkut)[2].

Social Media is Your Canvas

A job application is no longer about an inflated description of past experiences and a laundry list of skills and abilities, it’s about you as a dynamic multidimensional person – your interests, your ambitions, and most importantly, your personal approach to career development and life in general.  Use social media as a canvas for painting the best picture of yourself, a picture recruiters can’t help but look at.

In fact, many recruiters are so adept at using social media for recruitment they can spend months, maybe even years, following passive candidates (i.e. those not looking for a job)  they believe would be a good fit with the company. By monitoring a candidate’s blog posts, tweets and profile changes, recruiters can customize their approach and come with a job offer so well matched to the candidate’s skills, abilities and personality, they won’t know if they’re being courted for a job or a date.

Tools for success

Whether you’re striving to be a social media content creator or a more skillful social media consumer, here’s a few tools and tricks to help get you started in your social media job hunt. Focusing on two types social media platforms: Professional Networks (e.g. LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo), and Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, Orkut).

Professional Networks

Research tells us that 66% of job seekers want to connect their professional profile with those of recruiters, and 74% of job seekers want to search for available jobs on professional networks like LinkedIn, Viadeo. and Xing[3]. While it’s clear most job seekers are aware of the benefits of professional networks for job search and personal brand building, how many know how to really leverage these networks to actually land a job? Here’s how:

  • Keep your profile up to date: Apparently LinkedIn has predictive algorithms that can tell when someone is looking to move on from their current job – something to do with the way a user starts updating their profile. This is one more reason why you should always keep your profile up to date.
  • Get recommendations/references: This can be a tedious task for a young job seeker but it is worth the effort. Recommendations bring you higher in search results, and portray you as a more credible candidate in the eyes of recruiters. If possible, try to get an old boss or colleague to write you a recommendation – often it’s easier to write them one first.  If you have no previous work experience, ask your professors or people you do extra curricular activities with – a soccer coach or volunteer group leader, for example. It’s always best to try and get quality recommendations from people more experienced than yourself.
  • Use key words: Pay close attention to how you present and express yourself on your profile. Keep your professional summary, list of skills and work experience concise and to the point, using as many key search words as possible. Recruiters use key words to locate and narrow down the candidate pool for a specific position.
  • Link to professional content: Improve your appeal by linking out to blogs or articles of professional relevance, as well as other relevant groups you belong to. This is a great way to highlight your interests. Moreover, integrate your other social media activities into your professional profile – Blog, Twitter, personal website, Slideshare, etc.
  • Connect and build your online network: Import your email contacts and get connected to classmates, colleagues and professional acquaintances. Having common connections with a recruiter on a professional network will inevitably help validate you, and the more contacts you have in common with a recruiter, the higher you rise in their candidate search. The best way to keep building your professional network is to connect with people immediately after meeting them in real-life (i.e. try to collect as many business cards as possible and introduce yourself through the online network with a message like: “It was great meeting you at the ____ today, let’s keep in touch via LinkedIn”.  But remember, timing is critical, if you wait to long the person may not remember you, and therefore may not accept your connection request.
  • Follow your target employers: Most professional networks allows users to follow companies. If you really want to work for a particular company, click “follow” and activate the alerts to get notified when someone changes positions, when 1st level connections join the company, or when the company posts new jobs.  

 

Social Networks

Job hunting and personal brand building through social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Orkut, hi5) is just as useful, and often more fun, than through professional social networks. In fact, today, 20% of job seekers use social networks to find career-related information – that’s an 8% rise over last year. However, although 35% job seekers still feel social networks are an inappropriate platform for career networking, 42% are comfortable with employers contacting them through social networks if they met them in real-life[4].  Here are some quick tricks to help you land a job through social networks like Twitter, Blogger and Facebook:

  • Interact with your future boss: don’t be afraid to connect, share, or tweet your potential future boss or colleagues in an effort to learn more about the company, industry and employment experience. Although it’s best to try and be specific with your interaction, something like: “ I read a great article on the ___ industry today that I’d like to share with you, I think it will have major implications for your firm, what do you think?”
  • Comment, share and re-tweet the content of experts: showing you are interested and up-to- date on the latest ideas, concepts and discussions going on in your field is an indication of your commitment and desire to learn. Make sure to link up all your social networking activities with your professional profile – an insightful tweet or post on a company or industry you’re interested in will have a much more profound effect if it appears on multiple platforms simultaneously.
  • Be seen on #HireFriday: Every Friday, tweet the hash-tag #HireFriday along with a short description of yourself and a link to your online resume or professional profile. The better your online profile is, the more often you will be “re-tweeted” by recruiters  following this feed.
  • Join Groups, Follow Pages and Lists: most employers have created groups or pages on Facebook to engage with job seekers in a fun and interactive way. If you’re interested in a job with Cisco, PWC, Bayer or O2, etc., then you should certainly follow their respective Facebook career pages. Moreover, job boards like Entrypark.com have aggregated the Twitter feeds of some of the best employers. This is a simple way to receive an automated updated of available jobs and career information from some of the best employers. Check out: twitter.com/entrypark/internationalcareers

There are countless ways you can use social media to build your personal online brand and land a great job. Whether you use Xing, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin is irrelevant, what matters is that you put yourself out there and are visible to recruiters searching for their next great candidate. Social media provides you with limitless opportunities to showcase your personality, skills and competencies. Moreover, it’s a great medium to find jobs and interact with recruiters. The best thing about social media is that it’s a long term investment – someone you engage with today may be the one to give you a job ten years down the road. Your career is boundless, and often its your most casual acquaintance that helps you realize your full potential.

You can watch this presentation for more information.


[1] Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, 2011

[2] Potentialpark Trend Studies, 2011

[3] Potentialpark Trend Studies, 2011

[4] Potentialpark Trend Studies, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Mobile – 7 Reasons why it’s perfect for marketing (+1 more)

Building further on my thesis research, here are a few tidbits of why the mobile medium is so perfectly suited for marketing communications.

None of the points below should be new to anyone closely following the growth and development of mobile. Nonetheless, this list is just a simple reminder of why advertisers plan spend $13-14 billion in 2011 on mobile advertising, worldwide.

There are eight main reasons why the mobile medium is perfectly suited for marketing communications:

  1. The growing penetration levels: in 2013 it’s expected that the total number of smartphone subscribers will reach 1.28 billion (Morgan Stanley Report, 2009)
  2. It is possible to target an ad on the most precise level possible
  3. Marketing messages can be sent/received/processed anytime and anywhere
  4. Interactive communication and ‘calls to action’ are viable: campaign results, data and analytics can be gathered immediately and used to improve engagement)
  5. The mobile channel is capable of viral marketing: the mobile device lends itself to enlarging the reach of a campaign through viral effects
  6. The high response rate of correctly targeted campaigns: the response rate of mobile marketing campaigns was reported at 31%, while the same figure for permission-based email marketing is from 1% to 8%, and the response rate of printed advertising is reported to be 0.15% to 0.60%
  7. Mobile marketing campaigns are relatively low-cost and cost-effective

** Updated - 8. Mobile seamlessly integrates with the physical world: the mobile channel can greatly improve the effectiveness of cross-media marketing campaigns. Right now QR codes and augmented reality are examples, in the future we will see more RFID tagging and NFC.

” …the special features of the mobile channel can be listed as: mobility and reachability, direct marketing, interactivity and two-way communication, branding, viral-marketing, time, and personalization.” – Heikki Karjaluoto et al. (2007), Insights into the implementation of mobile marketing campaigns.

What this looks like in real life. This picture was taken a few weeks ago on the Stockholm subway. Swedes are pretty much captivated by their smartphones.

20111122-185041.jpg

Posted in Communication, Marketing, Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Employment Market Exchange: Do Top Job Seekers have leverage?

In order to complete our Masters degree at the Stockholm School of Economics, all of the authors on this blog are required to write a master thesis. My thesis will attempt to analyze how firms implement a mobile recruiting strategy in the context of a larger integrated recruitment market communication program.

In order to get some feedback on the progress of my paper, I thought it would be wise to blog a bit. I’ll attempt to adapt the style of writing to fit the medium and the audience, but for the most part I’ll simply cut and past a part of the paper into this blog. So blog lovers, please excuse the academic style writing.

Now let’s get started….

At the beginning of my paper I attempt to introduce the idea of recruitment marketing by defining recruiting (i.e. the first step in the employment relationship) as a form of market exchange akin to a high-involvement consumer market exchange (e.g. like buying a car). In this sense, the goal of recruitment marketing for the employer is to facilitate the exchange in order to maximize human capital returns (i.e. the skills, abilities, experiences the applicant can bring to the organization).

Defining employment as a market exchange forces recruitment marketers to consider job seekers as employment consumers free to choose another supplier of employment – just as a consumer may choose another product/brand. So in order to be successful in recruiting target talent, the employing company (i.e. the seller) is required to recognize potential applicants (i.e. the buyers) as valued customers of the organization, rather than simply “assets” to be owned. In this context:

-the product is the job offer
-price of the product is the salary and benefits offered (i.e. functional and symbolic)
-the place is the place of employment
-the promotion is the communication that the organization has with its prospective applicants

Adopting this perspective, recruitment marketers should focus on understanding the desires, needs and expectation of job seekers, and work towards meeting those needs by adapting and shaping the marketing mix (i.e. product, place, price, and promotion).

If the employment relationship is analogous to a market exchange, all actors party to the exchange will attempt to maximize their utility (i.e. extract the greatest value for least expenditure). In a labor market, hiring firms will attempt to attract and employ the highest quantity and quality talent for the lowest expenditure of time, money, and effort possible. In a similar fashion, job seekers attempt to obtain the greatest amout of monetary and non-monetary value possible for their respective level of human capital (i.e. skills, abilities and experience).

How can top talent negotiate this type of market exchange in order to maximize their returns?

This is where the whole analogy gets complicated. If your a top tier graduate looking for work, the market information you’re receiving can seem contradictory and confusing. As a top job seeker coming out of the best university with the best profile, you’re simultaneously told that unemployment is on the rise and companies are reducing hires, AND that there is a full on ‘war for talent’ and employers are struggling to find qualified talent. So which is it? Are top graduate supposed to be desperate buyers, taking anything they can get? Or should they use their position to leverage a better deal?

If you’re a candidate from the best University, involved in exclusive extra curricular activities, completed some of the most sought after summer internships, and a member of exclusive top talent type networks, how exactly are you supped to navigate this type of marketplace? If you really know your worth as an employment consumer, how do you negotiate this exchange in order to not only land the job, but also receive those extra benefits most ‘regular’ job seekers wouldn’t even dream of asking for?

I don’t know the answer to this question, but a few weeks ago some of my “top tier” classmates – the type of candidates employers dream of – debated this question. We came to the conclusion that, if top talent have that much value and truly posses the type of human capital employers are going to “war” over, then they should be able to enter this market exchange with at least a little bit of confidence that they hold on to something the employer wouldn’t be so flippant to loose.

We went on to joke that the next time one of us went into the negotiation round of the recruitment process, we would attempt to do what Jack Donaghy does in an episode of 30 Rock.

In this episode Jack has to negotiate licensing fees with the company that now owns NBC. While he struggles to figure out his tactics for this negotiation, he gets worked over in the salary negotiations with his trinidadian baby nurse; which teaches him that when you own or care for something of great value to the other party you can use it as leverage to get what you want. At the end of the episode he realizes he has leverage with his new employer (i.e. the life and success of NBC) and uses the same tactics as his baby nurse to get what he wants from the negotiation.

Basically, he enters the room, makes his demands, then sits back and peals open an orange while saying “so, whatcha’ wanna do?” Exactly what his baby nurse did. And he gets what he wants.

– I Can’t find a video clip, but will add one when I find it. Its 30 Rock, Season 5, Episode 15. Here’s a picture of it to give you an idea of what I mean—

Now imagine yourself, as a really top job seeker, going into the negotiation round of a job interview with the same confidence as Jack does. Wouldn’t that be amazing?! Sitting back and saying: “here are my skills, values, experiences, qualifications, etc., and these are my demands.” And then pealing open an orange while saying… “So whatcha’ wanna do…”.

I challenge any super top job seeker out there who has the confidence to do this, to do it and tell me how it went.

Posted in Communication, Marketing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pomodoro Technique!

Pomodoro Timer

Image via Wikipedia

Haha, what an absolutely great name for a time-management method! Amidst thesis-writing fever and finalization of final versions of final reports, I give to the people of Handels a great tool AND a super cool example of a Thesis topic. (Why didn’t I think of that before?)

The Pomodoro technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo, while he was studying in Rome (in an extensive academic thesis, please). The steps are easy:

1. Choose one task you have to do.

2. Set your cooking timer – or whatever these things are called – to 25 minutes.

3. Work uninterrupted and finish task during this time.

4. After done, you take a little break (you’ve earned it!) and cross the task off the list.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 as necessary.  - P.S. Take a longer break every 4 Pomodoros.

The funny name, well.. is easy to explain. His cooking timer was in the shape of a tomato. Hence, Pomodoro ala Italiano! Now you have no excuses for not delivering your thesis on time/finished/of top quality. Buona Sera!

//e

Posted in General Interest, Management, Stockholm School of Economics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Facebook effect’ on grades?

Today one of the bloggers on Mashable, Jolie O’Dell wrote an interesting post and started an interesting discussion regarding students’ usage of social media and the impact on grades. She asks whether we students perceive our activities on social media to have a positive or negative impact on grades.

I think you all should comment on her post and leave your views on the subject. My opinion is that it certainly could have a negative impact since interaction on social networks does take time, time that could have been used to study instead. On the other hand, how much do we watch television nowadays? I never (or seldom) spend time watching TV and my guess is that the average student did spend more time watching TV a few years ago. Media habits have for sure changed, but the question is if it has any impact on how much time (or effort) we spend on studying? I don’t know. But I don’t think so.

I think it’s relevant, and interesting to look into the usage of social media in a broader sense, beyond grades. (My opinion is that grades aren’t very useful anyway). What impact have one’s activities on social media on the job seeking process? How important is it that you have built an online personal presence when applying for a job? Do you learn other (relevant for your studies) things by using social media, that you wouldn’t have learned without spending time in front of your screen?

I am interested, too, to hear your thoughts and ideas regarding this subject. Is there a ‘Facebook effect’ on our studies? If so, is it mainly positive or negative?

I think it is very hard to compare and say how the grades would have been if I was not active on social media, but I do not think that my grades would have been better without it. It’s hard for me to see any negative aspects, rather I have done a lot of things because of my activities on social media, organized two TEDx events, made presentations, got the opportunity to write my thesis for a company, built my professional network, to mention some of them. But, yes, it is easier to interact on social media than to start reading an academic text and yes, I do spend a lot of time on those networks. Overall, my personal opinion is that the ‘Facebook effect’ on my studies are more positive than negative. What’syour opinion?

Posted in Social Media, Stockholm School of Economics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Entrepreneurship+Marketing

 

G’day everybody!

I thought I would post here the podcast I made for my entrepreneurship course at the University of Sydney, during the Fall semester 2010 (on CEMS exchange). The quality is not good, the editing is poor but hopefully the content is interesting.

I am looking into the topic of marketing for small start-ups and how they manage to promote their business with a low budget. I interviewed two entrepreneurs; Ivo Vasilev and Beau Leese. I found it interesting to hear the opinion of people who are actually on the field..

Take a listen!

Posted in General Interest, Marketing, Student exchange | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment