When I have the opportunity to speak with college students – student-athletes, Greeks or graduate students – I am always curious which point of the presentation will resonate most. Of course, college students believe they already know everything they need to know about social media and assume they are “doing it right.” So when I use examples from their own profiles, posts which are embarrassingly bad, they do tend to perk up and realize they have room to improve their communication skills.
This week, I was so pleased to speak with student-athletes at Cal State San Marcos. Athletic and Club Sport athletes joined me to learn how they can use social media and communication to achieve their goals.
During the presentation, I pointed out that one’s reputation also stands upon the types of posts and things you like and the people you associate yourself with online. Some of the students have liked more than 1000 Facebook Pages. I cannot even fathom what these Pages are, but with a quick glance over many profiles, they are not Pages which work to build a good reputation.
We also discussed the accounts they were retweeting. When Twitter handles like @ReallyStonedPanda and @WeedReport pop up in someone’s news feed, it’s a clear indication that they enjoy the content these accounts produce. Retweeting them is associating yourself with them and their content. And as you can gather from these two examples, this type of association does not work to build a good reputation.
Wouldn’t we love to believe that it’s just college students who do not take care with what they like and who they retweet? Many seasoned professionals have room to improve their skills, as well. So in this week’s video, I mention a few social networks and what you need to take care of to maintain a positive profile and manage your reputation.
A quick breakdown:
Facebook – Be mindful of the Pages you like and the posts you like, comment on, and share. Make sure your “friends” are people you actually know.
Twitter – Take care with who you follow AND who follows you. You are associated with both. Double check the Twitter handle and content of the accounts you retweet.
Pinterest – Follow people and businesses who have good content and who are reputable. Repinning pictures which are linked to “spammy” sites is not a good practice.
LinkedIn – Accept invitations from people you know, have done business with and who add value to your contact base. Remember my advice from my networking video – You want to be able to connect the people in your network. Help them in their business so they will help you with yours. (You can also check out the blog post on networking, too.)
YouTube and Blog Comments – Often overlooked, your comments on blogs and videos says a lot about you. What videos are you watching? What types of blogs do you interact with? If they are controversial on any level, your interaction with them paints you in a negative light. Your comments are discoverable online.
Finally, please remember that NOTHING online is private. It doesn’t take much to learn about a person with a simple Google search and a bit of browsing through social sites. When the recruiter or admissions officer, the media or your colleagues take a tour of your online profile, what will they find? And what will the things you like and the people you associate with say about you?
Tell me in the comments if you are a person who is diligent about managing your reputation. Do you already take care with what you like and who you follow? What other things do you do to protect your brand? Share your advice in the comments! Thank you!
You’ve all read by now that California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed the SB 1349 bill, which prohibits public and private universities from requiring students or prospective students to disclose their user names or passwords to social-media sites. The governor’s office says the law “is designed to stop a growing trend of colleges and universities snooping into student social-media accounts, particularly those of student-athletes.”
This is terrific news. What a wonderful way to urge athletic departments to take a pro-active approach to social media. It changes the department strategy from monitoring what student-athletes say to educating student-athletes how to use social media in a positive and purposeful way. It takes the program from crisis prevention mode to leadership academy.
Athletic programs which provide student-athletes with social media education, are working to improve their players’ communication skills. This type of education can help athletes understand how to build their professional profile, act with self-respect and encourages them to cross-promote other sports, and be positive examples, leaders in social media. It is very much like media training and preparing them for print and television interviews. But social media has a much more immediate and expansive impact than traditional media. Social media permeates every aspect of a student-athlete’s life.
Empowering student-athletes, as well as coaches and staff, to serve as brand ambassadors will have a far more positive impact on loyalty to the department, willingness to achieve specific goals and will produce a much higher ROI. Educating the entire department can effect not only what staff, coaches and athletes say, but when implemented with strategy, can impact ticket sales, community outreach, donor cultivation and improve recruitment efforts. No matter what goal a department may have, communication strategies, which integrate social media, can work to achieve those goals. Monitoring social media does not drive revenue. Enabling staff, coaches and athletes to embrace social media and actively use these networks, uplifting them as brand ambassadors will drive revenue where needed.
It was former student-athlete and Michigan quarterback, Kirk Cousins, who said at the NCAA Convention in January 2012, that the more support they were provided as student-athletes, the more they wanted to give back to the program. And that’s key. Many athletic programs forget that their student-athletes really want to serve as good representatives of the university and are searching for ways they can respond to that demand. When you choose to monitor your athlete communication, your are essentially telling them that you do not trust them and they are not capable of handling the responsibility of representing the university. That’s not a message well-received by students. And fortunately, it’s not a message they will have to hear any longer.
I’m thankful that California stepped up as a leader on this topic and passed the SB 1349 bill. There is no benefit to operating in a reactive mode and positioning your department as big brother over student-athletes. These “kids” are young adults who are attending an academic institution and are keen to learn how to improve their lives. Athletic programs can serve to enhance the academic experience student-athletes enjoy by providing social media education. These are life and leadership skills that effectively make them a better, more well-rounded player and more able to contribute significantly to the athletic program.
Beaming Bohemian consults with university athletic departments to establish social media guidelines, educate staff, coaches and student-athletes, and implement smart communication strategies which work to achieve specific goals. Every athletic department is looking to drive revenue. Beaming Bohemian can help you take advantage of social communication tools to do just that. Contact us at 619.244.2400.
When providing social media education to a group or department, the length of the session usually does not allow for a detailed overview of each network. (Oh how I wish it did!) Every social site functions so differently and allows you to reach a different target audience. But there are some common threads and methods for managing more than one profile. So here are seven handy tips to manage multiple social networks and your personal brand that I often share with my students:
1. Create a content plan.
The big brands do it, and you should do. Do you plan to write blog weekly? Twice a week? How often will you post to Facebook? Will you schedule your Tweets in advance or plan times each day to be live? Most importantly, what content are you sharing? What message do you want to communicate? Get organized and create a plan that will help you strategize your delivery and save you time on a regular basis.
2. Understand your settings, functions and features.
If you have never taken the time to go through the settings on each platform and understand how they work, now is the time to do so. If you adjust setting X, how does it change your profile? Do you read the pop-up windows when the network adds a new feature? Do you understand how each and every function can enhance your profile? It’s time to learn what these platforms do with your information and how you can take advantage of their features to make your personal brand shine.
3. Schedule time each month to review settings, functions and features.
In the digital age, big things happen in the blink of an eye. And some networks add new features without even telling you (Facebook). Take 10 minutes each month to make sure your settings are the way you left them and check if there are any new features you can use to build your profile. LinkedIn just added a bunch of fun settings. Go through each one and see if there is some value for you. Facebook seems to get a kick out of randomly resetting your settings to default just to keep you on your toes. So stay a step ahead and on top of your settings. Otherwise, you might be sharing content with people you don’t intend to share with.
4. Make your bio work for you.
You’ve probably heard this before, but it is essential, especially for job hunters. Use the same photo for all your profile pictures so that people know it’s you. Craft one short and strong bio that you can use in whole or in part across all your networks. Make sure it reflects who you are and why you want to connect. If you aren’t getting some of the results you think you should, or you are all of a sudden attracting a stange crowd on Twitter, change it up. Your bio and your photo are the first impression. How do you want to be perceived?
5. Be strategic about posting photos.
You might really be enjoying that tropical vacation. However, your professional connections do not need to see you at the beach in your bikini, proudly holding up that adult beverage. There is nothing wrong in posting fun and social photos, but how does that photo represent your brand? If viewed out of context, what impression with that photo make? Think a little bit about the photos you post. How will they help you in the long run? Do they enhance your image? What impact that photo make? If there’s the slightest chance that that one photo could embarrass you later, don’t post it.
6. Use lists to manage your connections.
I’ve written about the Facebook and Twitter lists functions before. Leverage this feature to your advantage. On Facebook, using lists can help you with custom privacy settings. And if you have a lot of friends, it will help you check in with some folks who may not be appearing in your Timeline as often as you would like. On Twitter, you can subscribe to other people’s lists and create up to 20 of your own. You can use the list function to separate Tweeps by topic or industry. You can create a leads or contact list. And what’s really helpful is that you don’t have to follow someone to put them on one of your lists. I have a news list and while the list is long, I follow less than a handful of accounts. But it serves as a great resource and good content to share with my followers.
7. Take care with who you friend and follow.
It might seem really cool to have 5,000 friends or followers, but if 80% of those are spammers, bots and porn stars, what good does that really do? If you friend someone on Facebook, Link with a connection on LinkedIn or follow someone on Twitter, you are associated with that person. So it might seem cool that RoxyXXX is following you, and in the spirit of #TeamFollowBack you might give an automatic follow to all who follow you, but when your potential employer finds you on Twitter and sees who follows you, it’s pretty certain that they won’t think you’re all that cool if your friends and followers are less than respectable accounts and people. Be strict with who you friend and link with and make sure to manage your followers. It’s better to have connections with substance than large numbers of fluff. (Note: Pinterest has yet to enable the feature of managing followers, so be careful. They have not responded to requests as to when they will allow people to block followers.)
Ultimately, take a pause before you post anything anywhere and determine whether that comment will benefit you and your brand. Determine if your content will make a positive impact on your viewers or if you leave yourself open to interpretation. Good question to ask yourself – What’s the point? If you can’t find one, don’t post it.
As the Olympic Games in London unfolded, the world’s top athletes took to social media to share their experiences. We saw some wonderful stories develop and fun moments from inside the Olympic Village. We also witnessed one Greek and one Swiss athlete leave the games for inappropriate tweets. British diver, Tom Daley, US Women’s Soccer Goalie, Hope Solo, and even America’s sweetheart, Aly Raisman, landed in the news because of their online activity. These elite athletes taught us that not even Olympians are sure how to use social media beneficially.
The games served as a good reminder that the lack of new media training does not apply only to athletes. It’s an issue for many businesses, too. Private Clubs struggle with the issue even more.
Most every club has an executive team that is comprised of the GM, Membership/Marketing, F&B, Catering/Private Events, Member Relations, and the Executive Chef. All of these departments are essential to a successful team and performance. And each team member has a unique voice which can serve the Club well in communicating with members and prospective members online. But, just like in synchronized swimming, if one team member’s moves and timing is off, points are deducted and the gold medal will remain out of reach.
Social networks are simply communication tools that should be integrated into marketing and communication strategies. It’s essential that your Club integrate social media into your communication plan and decide what role department managers and staff will have. Establishing guidelines for the team to use as a resource is smart planning.
Determine the content each department will contribute. Make a content plan. This is critical so that everyone understands what and when they should post their news. Private clubs, social by nature, don’t need to have separate accounts for each department – personally signing Facebook posts or initialing tweets is acceptable, and actually makes your content look like a team effort. Make social media part of your weekly meetings where you discuss what your communication objectives are and how each member will participate. This will enhance your content plan so that everyone understands the strategy.
In Private Clubs, the responsibility for social media falls on the team. This is not an individual sport like archery or track & field. The Chef sharing food pictures and recipes is just as significant as the Catering Director thanking Mr. & Mrs. Smith for hosting their wedding at the Club. The members appreciate the team as a whole, as well as the individuals who fuel the dynamics. And that’s why the authentic voice needs to shine through. If the receptionist has been assigned as the lead on posting everything to social networks, then every post will sound like it comes from the receptionist. Private Clubs are in such a unique and wonderful position to share the ongoing story of the club and the value of membership. Each department has a special story to tell which enriches the Club’s brand message.
From top to bottom, all staff members should understand your brand identity and message, and take part in helping to achieve gold in the Social Olympics.
Everyone, despite their position or level of experience, can learn to communicate well and to serve as better brand ambassadors. Loyalty starts within your club. One rogue employee, like Hope Solo, can torpedo your brand.
It’s time to train your staff, your managers, and leaders to be good communicators and to serve your club and members well.