5 Easy Steps to Own Your Online Footprint

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2. Get a branded e-mail address.

After getting a domain, it is extremely easy to use Gmail and have a hosted e-mail address (me@mydomain.com). Even if that isn’t an option, you can secure a Gmail address that includes some combination of your name or initials. This is important when you’re exchanging info, sending resumes or using your e-mail address professionally. While it is great to know that you’re a huge Harry Potter fan, telling a potential employer that your e-mail is hogwartz4life@hotmail.com might not be the professional image you’re trying to represent.

3. Secure social media profiles.

While you may not have plans to use Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, these sites have huge influence on search engines and might outrank your own domain. Having your name locked down in multiple places can help people find you and secure your space on the Web if you ever choose to use it. Use knowem.com to find all the places your name is available to register with the ones you plan to use or want to have a presence on.

4. Create an online footprint.

When I interview a candidate for a position that has anything to do with branding or online marketing, I set their resume to the side during an interview. I always start with one question: “Can you walk me through your online footprint?” For me, my blog is my hub. From there you can read my ramblings on marketing, branding and design but branch out to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and even Flavors.me for more social networks. I share my posts on Twitter and Facebook but try to pull most of the conversation online at chris-moody.com. Walking an interviewer through that footprint is much more powerful than going over bullets on a resume. Map out what networks you plan to use and how they feed each other and practice communicating that.

5. Build and engage your network.

Use Twitter to search for folks with similar interests and watch who they’re talking to, what they’re talking about and find ways to add value to the conversation. Building relationships within your social and professional circles will help you build expertise and connections. This alone has led to numerous hiring and business development opportunities.

5 Reasons Why Social Media Needs Us to Ask “What’s In It For Me?”

balancing-actHow many social media services do you actively use?

How many social media services have you signed up for?

Could you teach a friend how to use every service you’ve signed up for?

A recent study by Pew found that 83% of Millennials online are using social networking sites. The Millenial generation includes ages 18-33. Only two years ago (12/2008), 67% of Millennials were using social sites. Millenials consist of 35% of the entire online population.

Think about that… there was a 16% growth in a population that is over a third of total Internet users. That is a massive shift. So massive, that there is a bunch of rah rah and fluff within social media. A new product is released and all us early adopting Millennials run out and try it.

OneForty is the best source I could find of aggregating many of the social tools out there. Let’s look at a few segments…

  1. There are 117 different ways to checkin to your local gas station or restaurant with location apps.
  2. Currently, I can access Twitter with one of 285 different apps.
  3. I have 61 choices for shortening URLs.
  4. Track your brand with one of 125 brand tracking apps.
  5. Social CRM is real and you can choose from 117 different apps for that.

If we keep using a little of everything, we will continue to be over-saturated with hundreds of different social media apps, tools and services to choose from. We need to start finding the benefits for ourselves and letting the non-beneficial services disappear. Here are five reasons we need to start asking “what’s in it for me?”

1. You can’t drink from a fire hose

We have too many tools, companies, consultants and options today. It is impossible as a practitioner to use everything out there to find what works best. In an entirely unregulated industry, this won’t change unless we force it to change. Pick what works and has value and ditch the rest.

2. Competition leads to better products

The more selective we are, the more power we have. By not buying or using everything, the proverbial fit will survive and evolve to become even better. Things of little or no value will ride off into the sunset. Competition won’t scare the good people, companies or products away. They’ll embrace the challenge. They’ll listen to their users. They’ll take that advice and make their “stuff” even better.

3. A Master of One > A Jack of all Trades

One of the best criticisms I’ve received in my career was that I had a hard time saying no. I tried to do everything. Be involved in everything. I’m information hungry by nature. But, are we stretching ourselves too thin? If we are, our quality of work will immediately decline. Using 50 tools poorly just makes you an idiot. Being a subject matter expert for one or two makes it easy for you to get paid.

It is great to be well rounded and understand lots of things. But, at the end of the day… we have to absolutely dominate something. If you can do both, well played friend. If not, pick your thing and crush it.

4. Accountability is needed

There is way too much anonymity in social media and new marketing these days. Gradually, the top performers (consultants, strategists, services, apps, tools, etc.) will rise to the top… but this takes some digging currently. Until there is more accountability, mediocrity will continue to hide and those not doing their due diligence may end up with a negative perception of the industry. I’m not advocating that we hand-hold folks through their decision making process, but by being more selective and using / sharing the choice few… it tightens up and refines itself.

5. Social media is a business and needs to be treated like one

This is a fun environment to be in. Everyone thinks that social media and community management is a dream job where we play Candyland and check-in at all the cool restaurants and conferences and hang out in trendy cities. While some of that may be true, this is bizness man. Most of us are measured. Most of us do have accountability. Most of us have targets that we have to hit to get paid. Most of us don’t even have 100% of our time dedicated to social. Weeding out the crap in the industry will help illustrate the fact that social media is real, it works (and there are ways to show it) and there are people busting their humps to continue to take it even further.

What social media tools or services can you eliminate by asking “What’s In It For Me?”

An example: I’ve phased out several of the location apps I used to frequent. There isn’t really a need for me to check-in on four or five different apps anymore. I wasn’t getting any benefit there. There are times where certain LBS apps are extremely helpful for me (major conferences), but daily use just wasn’t cutting it. I’ve lost at least seven mayorships in the past month alone. :) And it hasn’t cost me a penny…

Why I was totally wrong about Quora and now love it

I was skeptical.

I have too many things to keep up with already.

Half the time I suck at the things I do keep up with.

I routinely fail at Twitter and checked my Google Reader and Tumblr for the first time in three months today.

Enter Quora.

quora-chris-moody-books

I like good marketing books as much as the zombie kid likes turtles. I asked this simple question.

Now, I honestly can’t keep up. I’ve had incredible responses in minutes. Including Dave Morin, Ramit Sethi and other folks that I look up to. Minutes.

I’m getting an update notification per sentence typed in this post.

Which leads me to my main point…

I am an idiot.

I refer to myself as a dumb guy, but I honestly doubted Quora. Purely for intelligent Q&A alone… this is gold. Consider me sold, hooked, signed, sealed, delivered. This is awesome.

Now I have the best marketing and product book list there is and it is being added to as I type.

Join in with your suggestions.

The Top 10 Marketing Posts of 2010

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2010 was an insanely productive and busy year, both here on the blog and at work. There were more comments in 2010 than all other years combined and Phonebooth was named one of the top business services of the year by BNET.

Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to read a post, comment, share and even disagree with something that has been posted here. It’s always fun to converse with like minds about marketing.

With that being said…

The Top 10 Posts of 2010

10. Want to improve your company, product, career or self? Be humble.

Funny how any article where you expose yourself (figuratively of course) and are personal is always successful. There is a definite correlation.

9. What I Learned At Social Fresh Charlotte – An Exhibitor, Attendee and Speaker Perspective

This was the birth of The Great Phonetree of Knowledge. A really fun SMB experiment that you should check out with short videos answering small business marketing and social media questions. As always, another fun and productive Social Fresh event.

8. How to Use Social Media to Save Customers

We’ve all complained on Twitter once we’ve reached a certain frustration level. Some companies handle this wonderfully and save customers in the process. This post shares a few of my experiences with social customer support.

7. SEO is Killing Our Creativity

Our SEO genius at Phonebooth (Al Scillitani) and I get along great and work together on almost every outward facing communication. But, there are times when optimization and SEO consideration kills the fun marketer inside of me and the lust for a catchy and descriptive title that search engines may hate.

6. Everyone Needs A Dumb Guy – The Ignite Raleigh Video

I like taking risks. Luckily, enough people voted for my preso idea and I was fortunate enough to educate everyone on the value of my kind of dumb guy. Essentially, you need someone who is “dumb” enough to listen without proposing solutions to truly meet your customer needs and expectations.

5. Out of the Blue… Sears has an Incredible Zombie Campaign

I love zombies. You love zombies. We all love zombies. Sears embraced this around Halloween and created one of the best microsites I have ever seen… a zombie-themed e-commerce site with great supporting content.

4. Ten Signs That Your Company Shouldn’t Use Social Media

You can hate me, but social isn’t for everyone. If you have a crappy business or product… social media won’t fix it. It will help publicize the fact that you are crappy though. I compiled ten indicators that you may need to avoid social media.

3. How to Improve Your Blog Community By Being Yourself

Another personal, but sincere and authentic post. I’ve met great friends online (yes, in real life) and the more you let people get to know you… the stronger the bond you’ll have with your blog community.

2. Five Things I Learned by Hanging at Zappos HQ That You Can Apply to Your Company

Zappos OfficeI had a great tour of Zappos at Blogworld and honestly, didn’t anticipate the popularity this post would receive. It was featured on MarketingProfs.com and their 60 second business tip to their large email newsletter for that particular week. As companies, we have to find something that makes us sticky. Something that defines us. Something that others will be like “I need me some of that.” If we don’t have that, we’re competing on price and fighting for business in the red ocean. This is referred to as “the purple cow” by Seth Godin.

and the most popular post of 2010 is…

1. Are You Influential Where It Matters… With the People You Love?

Chris and Nellary MoodyMy wife actually read this post. As did many friends, colleagues and folks I didn’t know. It was me trying to make myself more accountable. I’m not perfect and you aren’t either. But, the rat race for corporate success should never impact the closeness we have with those we love. I admire the folks that live by this mantra. This is an area we can never master and must always keep ourselves in check.

Thank you all.

Thanks for putting up with my rants, my complaints, my bad posts, my mediocre posts and for finding the patience to wait it out until I write something that speaks to you. I’ll continue to work diligently to produce quality content in 2011 and would appreciate it if you stay with me another year.

I truly appreciate everyone who takes the time to read this. Thank you.

CM

Vote for Bandwidth.com in Best Bootstrapped Startup with The Crunchies

It is award time and I need your help. We’ve worked hard to grow Bandwidth.com and are nominated for Best Bootstrapped Startup.

Could you spare a minute to vote?

Best Bootstrapped Startup Crunchie