To Be Findable, Expand Your Digital Footprint

February 1, 2012

Google your name. The search results represent your digital footprint.

Do you like what you see?

Does your online presence help someone understand 1) who you are professionally, 2) who you are personally and 3) how you see the world around you? Does your digital footprint contain enough information for a prospective employer to “know” you before he or she calls you for a first interview?

When you look at your digital footprint, ask yourself how much of it you actually created? How much it was created by others? Do you have control over your personal brand?

You can expand your digital footprint and actually shape your online image by being findable on at least three social media platforms. I recommend LinkedIn, Facebook and a blog as the basics for building your online image. You can then connect your social media platforms by linking them together. For example, you can put a link in your Twitter profile directing people to your blog. Then, in the “About Me” tab of your blog, you can include links to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

To be findable in a competitive job market, deliberately look for ways to expand your online presence. You really can create and control the size and shape of your digital footprint, so make it impressive.

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These ideas on personal branding were originally presented during two workshops I conducted for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The sessions were attended by current and aspiring nonprofit leaders who came from across the nation for the annual Alliance Management/Leadership Institute, the nation’s largest leadership development and networking symposium for students, faculty and nonprofit professionals. —DH


Reflections after Three Years of Being on Twitter

August 30, 2011

Three years ago today my Twitter handle @duanehallock was born.

First hearing of Twitter only four months earlier, I was proud to consider myself an early adopter of a new social media tool. Although I did not see the real value of microblogging, I welcomed the new opportunity and embraced the new media platform before any of my friends or immediate co-workers followed suit.

Three years hence, I have nearly 1,000 followers. While that’s not particularly impressive by Twitter standards, I am surprised that so many people have chosen to follow my erratic stream of tweets.

I’ll admit that, like many, I am still trying to figure out where Twitter is going. In an attempt to assess Twitter’s relevance in my ever-changing world, I came up with these two lists:

Five things I like about Twitter

  1. Brevity is paramount.  I once heard a great 15-minute sermon delivered in 45 minutes. I hope that speaker has since discovered Twitter and learned the sacred art of being succinct. I hate verbosity and think it’s a great discipline for someone to say something of value in 140 characters or less.
  2. Information flows in real time.  In recent days I’ve tracked others’ tweets to get real-time information on the devastation of Hurricane Irene. I’m writing this blog post while on disaster assignment for the American Red Cross. Ironically, I created my Twitter profile on this date three years ago on the same day I participated in a planning session for Hurricane Gustav.
  3. Hashtags and searches add value. At first, the Twitter stream can appear chaotic, random and cluttered. All that information can be filtered and organized, though, to make Twitter meaningful and relevant.
  4. Read the rest of this entry »

Marie – An Inspiring Volunteer and Storm Victim

June 21, 2011

Before the monster tornado struck, Marie was an active volunteer with the American Red Cross in Joplin. The night the tornado hit, Marie lost her apartment and most of her personal possessions.

Unhurt, she began driving through the debris towards help. Along the way, she helped others, even pulling an injured truck driver to safety. When the debris made driving impossible, she began walking. Along the way, she helped with the initial search and rescue efforts, checking to see if anyone needed help. Read the rest of this entry »


Day 24 – Social Media Plan – Business

November 4, 2010

Develop a social media plan that integrates new and traditional media.

Some people are so obsessed with social media technology that they overlook their communication strategy.

They are so focused on gadgets, applications and tactics that they completely miss the obvious:  These are only tools!

Tools are used to create or build something. Tools, technology and tactics are all a means to an end. The “end” is often defined in a well-written marketing goal. A goal articulates what success will look like and offers a clear, measurable definition of the desired outcome.

A communications plan should 1) target a specific audience, 2) define key marketing messages and 3) select the appropriate channels to deliver the right message to the right audience.

These communication channels should include a mix of traditional and new media. I define the two this way:

Traditional media primarily push information outward from a centralized source. They “broadcast” information in one direction. Examples are television, radio, newspapers, direct mail, newsletters and brochures.

New media (sometimes called social media) work best when the content is user-generated. Rather than broadcasting outward, new media rely upon interactions and conversations. Examples of new media are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress and other social networking platforms.

Traditional and new media must be integrated if you want to build a strong and effective marketing communication program.

Read the rest of this entry »

What Is 2.0? A New Era Defined

February 17, 2010

We hear a lot of people talking about the 2.0 world we live in. Marketers refer to social media tools as Web 2.0. The titles of business books increasingly contain that magical number—2.0.

But what does “2.0” mean? How are things different now than they were before? What has changed?

For starters, let’s agree that the social media revolution has created an entirely new landscape—a 2.0 world. The changes are so profound that those who do not understand it will soon find themselves on the sidelines, confused and perhaps even angry that the world has passed them by.

The social media revolution is really not that confusing. The more we understand and embrace the changes, the more powerful social media will become. Here is my brief comparison of the differences I see between a 1.0 and a 2.0 world:

Let’s look at the nuances between the two. Read the rest of this entry »


20 Years Since Going Digital

December 8, 2009

Exactly 20 years ago today on my birthday, I received my very first PDA (personal digital assistant).

I immediately began keeping my appointments and contacts in an electronic format. Today, two decades later, I have more than 20,000 calendar items that are each tagged, categorized and sorted. I love having a searchable database where I can find anything quickly should my memory someday need augmentation.

I was the first person I knew to own an electronic organizer. Because there were no other such devices to covet I had not yet developed what psychologists might call “gadget envy.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Why Are You Telling Me This?

August 25, 2009

Too often I find myself sitting in a boring meeting, reading a dull newsletter or yawning through another pointless PowerPoint presentation.

I’m tempted to interrupt and ask, “Why are you telling me this?” Or “What do you want me to do with all this information?”

Quietly, though, I endure and amuse myself by mentally replaying a favorite scene from the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Steve Martin, as you may recall, turns to John Candy and says, “When you’re telling these little stories, here’s a good idea:  Have a point! It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.”

Excellent advice, Steve! Effective communication must have a purpose.

As simple as that sounds, communications planning too often begins at a tactical level. In a meeting someone might say, “We need to raise awareness!” My immediate question is “WHY?” Raising awareness is a means to an end, yet we tend to think that “getting the word out” is the ultimate, end objective.

Tactics not tied to strategy only contribute to the noise and clutter.

To help me think more strategically and communicate more effectively, I developed the following chart to visually illustrate how certain questions should be asked in the right sequence.

Strategic-to-TacticalPurpose and Goal. First, why do we want to communicate? What do we want to accomplish? What measurable outcomes do we we hope for?
Target Audience. To whom are we trying to communicate? What do we know about our primary audience? What is our relationship with them? Are there secondary audiences who might be looking over the shoulder of the primary audience?
Desired Impact. Once the target audience has received our message, how do we anticipate they’ll respond? What actions do we want them to take?
Key Message. In one sentence, what single message do we want to communicate to achieve the desired results? If time permits, what secondary messages would we like to communicate?
Barriers. What perceptions or misperceptions might hinder the effective delivery of our message? Are there other barriers that might obstruct our communications?
Media. What are the most effective ways to deliver the message to the target audience? What is the right combination of traditional and new media? A newsletter? Print ads? Web site? Billboards? Twitter? Verbal presentation? Facebook fan page? A blog? News release?
Communications Activities. What specific tasks must be completed to achieve the strategic objectives? Who will assume primary responsibility? Who else will be involved? When is the deadline? What budget is available? How will we measure success?

My mantra is simply this:  Think strategically before acting tactically. Anyone with me?


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