Twitter: Make It Meaningful

thumbs upDo you feel you add value to your followers?

This is something I ask myself and strive to achieve each and everyday.  Yes, some days are better than others, but by making it a goal each and every day I do my best to eliminate the “fluff” that most of my followers could care less about.

Of course you need to have a personal side, otherwise why would anyone follow you?  But if you have goals such as adding good content and share your knowledge, then you will be able to connect with a greater group out there than those whom you are already connected to.

Expand your presence.  People want to read interesting, inspiring, shocking and insightful information so provide them with your unique value.  Spend a few minutes each day reading articles on what YOU like and then share those with the Twitterverse.

To borrow a word from Scott Stratten (@unmarketing), all this will do is make AWESOMESAUCE to your value!

What Not To Do On Any Social Media Site (a top 5)

It always amazes me at what people will write on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Digg.  It also amazes me as to what video they may post on YouTube, Vimeo or Viddler.  Or any other of the hundreds of sites out there.

I don’t think people truly understand and appreciate just how much the interwebs are searchable and that whatever you write will remain linked to you when anyone conducts a search and see what red flags approach.red_flag

Let’s put in a hypothetical situation.  Your manager does a Google or Bing search to see what the members on her team are doing and what comes up.  The first three links on one employee, you, are from Twitter and Facebook.  Upon searching through the tweets or wall posts, there are some negative work remarks.  Nothing intentionally malicious but they were “geez, I wish it was Friday” or “my team is just letting me down” or “I can’t believe the dumb project I was just given”.  Okay, so these may not be exactly what anyone would write but you get the idea.  These aren’t exactly positive to the persons current job and might create some difficult conversations at work.

Here is a short list of what NOT to write online:

  1. Do not write anything negative about your company, job, manager or team.  Keep things professional.  If you need to vent, call your spouse or a friend but don’t write to the world what is driving you crazy at that particular moment.  This won’t reflect well on your current job and probably not well with a future employer.
  2. Stay away from posting anything alcoholic.  The last thing an employer needs to see is when they click on a picture on Twitter to see a beer bottle or martini glass staring right back at them.  Do you want your college pictures coming back to haunt you?  Probably not.  So why would you post these pictures now?
  3. Watch your language.  Many people I know will stop following someone because of their language.  Frankly, it’s just not necessary all the time.  Yes, it is thrown in here and there but when someone does it all the time that is when it gets a little tiring for a lot of your followers and they (may) start to leave you.
  4. Don’t post 10+ items in a row.  If you use a scheduler, then schedule your posts out over a longer period of time.  Nothing is more aggravating than seeing the same avatar fill up either your TweetDeck screen (or similar tool) or Facebook wall with a bot that posts.  Make your posts personal.  There is nothing wrong with using a scheduler, but be more conscious about the times you set the posts to go out.
  5. Don’t sell me your goods.  People are smart and will come to you for a product or service once they trust you.  If you are one of the many people that claim to know the “secret to financial freedom” or “marketing magic” or whatever fools gold they are peddling, we will see right through it.  Be personable, be yourself and be engaging.  Then we will seek you out but not if you are pushing whatever it is you do.

Remember that even if anyone from your company is not following you (or a friend) doesn’t mean they won’t see or search you out online.  With the social networks, the world is truly becoming a smaller place and you won’t be able to hide everything from everyone or anyone.  Use common sense and this will still work really well, maybe even better than you thought social media would!

BREAKING NEWS: Social Media Is More Than You Think It Is

Yes, social media is about sharing ideas.  Yes, social media is about networking.  Yes, social media is about branding. And yes, social media is about telling your friends/followers what you are doing.  But it really is so much more than that.

 My definition of social media: it is what you make it. checklist2

If you want it to be about telling people what you are doing or where you are going that is fine (but these people are missing something powerful).  If you want to recycle (retweet) articles or comments from others, excellent.  If you want to strive to be a “trust agent” and produce your own unique content and build a stronger friend/follower base and provide insight on your own particular niche, awesome!  If you want to take conversations offline and connect with others then you are really utilizing social media in a powerful way.


 There is still resistance to social media either from spouses, significant others, your employer because they don’t fully understand why you are doing it and what is the impact.


 Social media is not going to provide an immediate ROI, it is a tool where you need to build trust with your friends/followers as you engage with them on any number of countless topics.  If you want to use it more for your business or professional growth, you still need to keep a “human” factor alive in your communication.


We can smell the bots out there and many choose not to follow them, yet some still do.  As the saying goes, to each their own.


My first recommendation or action plan to everyone who is struggling on how they want to create either a business or personal social media strategy: make a plan.  Understand what you want to accomplish and how will you utilize any number of social media tools to achieve that goal.  This is not an overnight process and takes effort, time and consistency.  Above all, be yourself.


But whatever you think it is, it really is so much more because it is something different to each of us and used uniquely just the same.  Remember that your audience is everyone so do it your way… but be respectful.

A Different Spin on Personal Branding

1181758It seems that if you are going by the book these days, your personal brand should be your first name and last name, or something close in that order or something easy like this.  Easy to do if you have a more unique name and more difficult to do if your name is more common.

Me, I buck the trend.

My name isn’t too common but there are a few “Keith McIlvaine” characters out there.  I chose to go with “kufarms” or more accurately “KUFarms”.  Why did I do this?  Simple, I didn’t.  I was branded and I decided to own that brand.

I was branded my first day of college.  My roommate was a 6’4” 310 pound offensive lineman on the football team.  And then there was me… all 5’9” and 150 pounds.  While meeting some of our neighbors in the dorm and introducing ourselves, Keith and Del, and there it started.

Del?  You mean like “the farmer and the del”?  Yep, I became “The Farmer” which was quickly shortened to “Farms”.  So, after graduation, I decided that my email address should be the university I attended initials, “KU”, and “Farms” second.

And there you go.

Some of my friends still call by this nickname and when my wife is angry with me or I’m not listening, I know it by her yelling “FARMS”!!!!!

I find this to be a rather solid personal branding statement and a rather unique one as well.  A great topic of conversation and one that will stick with those I connect with at almost any meeting.

This just goes to show that personal branding does not have to be so vanilla but if you brand yourself correctly it might easily become something for you to really leverage in your career.

So, what is my Twitter handle?  @kufarms

Teaching Social Media in the Workplace

Educate!  Educate!  Educate!

Rear view of class raising hands --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Companies are watching the use of social media in the workplace as well as company activities, news, finances and other undisclosed/non-public information.  I completely understand why this is important and the value in confidentiality from employees – but what I fail to understand is why companies are not educating their employees on best practices and, even more importantly, the value around social media.

Companies are establishing social media policies every single day.  They are posted to the company intranet and it is expected that everyone will read it and understand it.  Most employees will review and move on either in accordance or not in compliance.  Why not have a 1 hour session with your employees to further allow them to understand the why’s and to ask questions so that questions or concerns are greatly reduced.

Companies are also being proactive and blocking social networking sites from employee access.  If employees cannot access a social media site from their office computer, they absolutely will from a mobile phone in hopes of keeping up with friends, recent trends, news and other important topics (at least important topics specific to each person).

Employers need to be astutely aware of this fact and take a proactive approach to educating the employee.  This could be a very simple session discussion do’s, don’ts, how to add value, how not to be smart on social media, and so many other great topics that too many users don’t understand.

A company will choose whether or not to be apart of social networking and social media, that is up to each organization to decide.  What cannot be ignored is the fact that your employees will be out there regardless.  The sooner that companies embrace that social media will be accessed one way or another, the sooner they may adapt and help their employees to be successful.

(Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis)

A Recruiters Plan

It took me a while, trial and error, but years ago I worked out a plan on how to attack my day and it works for me.  I prioritize my day, start with the most important items and work to the least important.  I remember to build in time for the unexpected phone call or the visitor who stops by the cubical.  This is very simple to implement and stick with but it is equally very easy to forget.

Also, don’t forget the follow up phone calls for feedback!  Make sure to build those in especially!

Do you have a plan when you begin the day?