Category Archives: Platform building

5 Simple Ways to Refresh Your Social Media Activity

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Everyone’s looking for ways to squeeze more miles per gallon (i.e., value, $$, etc.) out of their social media activity. But it’s easy to have that activity become a time sink that eventually consumes your waking hours. Here’s what I do to avoid that from happening (your mileage may vary…if so, let me know what you do):

  • Use a social media engagement management tool. It’s fairly common knowledge that most social media posts don’t get read at the first exposure; those posts need to be refreshed from time to time to capture more eyeballs. Some tools let you control the schedule when those posts should be refreshed. Some like HootSuite; others prefer MeetEdgar (I just started using MeetEdgar). Check out a comparison of the two tools. You’ll get some of your time back into your schedule.
  • Work your social media activities at the same time every day. I write my blog and posts to social media early in the morning. That’s my most productive time of day – before noon. Figure out what time of day is best for your efforts, but research the best time of day and days of the week to post on your social media platforms. I write 5 or 6 daily items for Twitter for 5 days at one sitting and I plan out new blog and LinkedIn posts for the week on Monday mornings. Then I schedule those activities in MeetEdgar.
  • Get involved in other writing-related and speaking activities. It’s another way to get your content and brand into other channels. I’m always working on one or two drafts of upcoming books, keynote speeches, ebooks, columns for professional association journals, and Powerpoint presentations. These activities are usually scheduled for after lunch for a couple hours.
  • Get involved with other creative pursuits. Activities that involve other areas of the brain (and body) often lead to creative breakthroughs. I play classical guitar and have my own recording studio. I perform mostly on Sunday mornings at churches around central Texas (I have a Bach repertoire and a few old hymn arrangements) or with my flute partner for public and private performances in evenings during the week or weekends on a regular basis. The idea for my book about classical guitar (Instrumental Influencess – another 2012 IBA Winner) came about while practicing one evening in my studio. I’ve also just re-immersed myself into painting seascapes and landscapes, following my father’s footsteps as a painting hobbyist.
  • Make time for your family with activities outside of social media. Be sure you support the people at home with your time and attention who are supporting you. While my wife and I schedule fun things to do on the weekend, we also have downtime to do whatever (for me, that may include some classical guitar practice or working on book drafts), but it usually doesn’t involves adding content to social media platforms.

My schedule is a busy one, but it’s a well-rounded one that includes my family life, interests, and goals. If you’re involved in many different creative pursuits because you have to be…I completely understand!

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

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Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

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Keep a Log of Project Successes

This sounds like obvious advice, but far too many people think of their project accomplishments only when it’s time to update their résumé, often years later. By then, important details may have escaped their memory. Keeping a weekly log of project accomplishments and challenges helps keep you on course throughout the journey through minor adjustments, rather than having to make a major “dead reckoning” midcourse correction or as the project comes to a conclusion.

Here are just a few reasons why you should maintain a detailed project log regardless of the size of the project.

  • A log of past project accomplishments not only helps with crafting an attention-getting résumé, but serves as a project history and reference guide for when you encounter the same or similar projects later.
  • A detailed project log helps capture your thought processes and how you assimilate, formulate, and execute your ideas throughout the project history.
  • When you need talking points for an annual review, promotion opportunity, or job interview, you have the details handy.
  • A detailed project log shows you the dead ends you may have been down once, and can avoid them in the future for similar projects.
  • It helps you frame your participation as a contribution to the higher strategic objectives of the organization rather than as a “task completion” if you update your résumé further down the road.
  • A detailed project log helps you calculate reliable quantitative data (dollars earned, costs avoided, percent improvements, etc.) that further demonstrates your value as a solutions provider to the organization.

Participating in internal process improvement initiatives can pepper your résumé with notable accomplishments.

My friend Stan Smith was part of a division publishing initiative at a former employer where seven people were charged with designing a new plan for creating, managing, and disseminating technical information to address emerging changes in the publications world. While the cost to implement the 18-month plan was between $1.5 and $2 million dollars (in 1998), the initiative was projected to save $2.3 million dollars in publishing costs and overhead each year after implementation.

Even though Stan wasn’t responsible for the entire initiative, his contribution is mentioned on his résumé. In fact, his detailed weekly log entries were a significant component of the final published study that was presented to upper management.

My wife  kept a project log of how she prepared for taking the exam for the “Certified Fraud Examiner” designation. During the lengthy practice test and study sections, she noted which sections were harder than others, and mnemonics she created to help her memorize key information, terminology, and formulas. Her notes were later published through the certified fraud examiner association website as a study tool for others to use as they prepared for the hugely comprehensive exam.

If you are in the habit of keeping a project log, keep doing it; if not, today’s a good day to start.

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Let’s Talk About Building Your Platform

platform builderYour platform, very simply, is the expertise you have developed that gives you visibility, authority, and a proven influence within a targeted population (profession, market, or field).

Let’s break down that broad definition to its components:

Visibility: Who knows you? Who knows your work or accomplishments? How do you communicate to others outside of your immediate job what it is you do or you’ve done? How many people are aware of it? How does your visibility get distributed? What communities (online, professional associations, etc.) are you a member of? Basically, where do you make waves?

Authority: How solid is your credibility? What are your credentials? (it’s not about how many you have but whether you have the right ones for the right field of work).

Proven influence: Don’t say you are an “influencer”; show where your work has made an impact and provide demonstrable proof of that impact (quantitative measures such as $$ or % really help out here). Oh, and please don’t use the term, “thought leader.” It’s such a cliché in marketing and there’s no way to demonstrate how many thoughts you’ve led.

Target population: Are you most visible to the most appropriate targeted audience? In other words, is your work helping to build your brand within the circles where you already have visibility?

Building your platform is all about putting in a consistent effort from one year to the next–not by calling attention to yourself, but by extending your network of people who are drawn to your brand (your expertise, your personal values, and your professional reputation). It’s building the platform to a point when it starts speaking for who you are (personal values), what you do (expertise), and how you do it (reputation).

Platform building is synonymous with creating and promoting your professional brand, and is an organic process that evolves over time and with circumstances. I read a great article on how authors create a platform (I used some of those ideas here because they parallel most other professional positions), and the author stated that

Your platform should be as much of a creative exercise and project as the work you produce. While platform gives you power to market effectively, it’s not something you develop by posting “Follow Me!” on Twitter or “Like Me!” on Facebook a few times a week.

How are you building your platform? What’s in your toolbox?

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