A random invitation to my dentist

Did you get an invitation today from a random woman you barely know? A standard request that left you a bit confused and possibly a bit curious? I confess it may have been me. Somehow I told Linked In that I wanted to send a standardized invitation to connect to 176 people in my mailbox. I have made many new connections today, which is good I suppose but I also cringe a bit as I feel a bit unprofessional and worry what some of the recipients think…

Who are you?
One of you may be my dentist. Some of you I have probably sent job applications to. About 60 of you are parents to children in my childrens’ Schools and some of you are their teachers or even headmaster…  I think one also went to an author I admire and wrote to say how much I like her books…  We may have been listed together in a mail list, I don’t know. I am just not as certain as Linked In that all of these invitations should have been sent.

To my new contacts
Hello and welcome to my sphere 🙂 Let me derandomize myself. I am a designer/productdeveloper that has just finished a two year vocational degree in Digital Marketing/Communication. I lived in England for 14 years  but now I live in Gothenburg, Sweden. I love creative writing… well, everything creative really, and spend a lot of time with our family dogs Charlie the Lab and Buddha the Flattie.
I am a great believer in the power of the universe so I am choosing to believe this slipup happened for a reason.  Should you have a need for someone like me, or know someone that does… at least you know where to find me now 🙂

To my existing contacts that I wasn’t connected to on Linked In.
Well hello and nice to see you. How are you doing and are your dreams coming true? As you understand from above I am still working on mine. One step at a time. The core of my dream is twofold at the moment. I really miss the creative buzz I got from design and product development but know in my heart I can get the same from writing so either direction will get me to my destination. I also really miss England, but am not quite sure what to do about that.

If you are my dentist, or feel that it was just too random an invitation and we have nothing to share. I apologise and promise I will not be in the least offended if you ignore my invitation.

All the best to you and yours ❤


Social Media is about today – aiming for tomorrow!

I read a huge amount of articles, reports and books about Social Media and how consumers behave in the seemingly transparent world of constant updates. Mostly it feels like the industry is filled with cheerful quick fix articles about how to “increase sales” or other fairly loosely specified targets in three, five or ten easy steps.

After having studied to become a social media manager, I want to ask businesses and SoMe gurus alike to take it seriously. Social media is not about quick fixes if we’re talking B2C or B2B. It is not even to be taken lightly in the context of maintaining personal relationships.

Your friends can see through glossy updates with pictures of strawberries and smiles and customers sense if your reasons for posting are not genuine or not in line with how they perceive your brand.

Well, duh! Obvious statement alert! But if it is obvious, why do so many not take it seriously? Why do I see job ads where they are looking for “a student” to manage a company’s social media? Why do so many still view social media as something “on the side”. If I ran a business I would like to have an expert on Social Media and branding at the helm of what for many people is the point of contact with my brand. Not someone who’s loyalty may not be fully focused on my brand.

Stop and think about what you do that makes life better for other people, two or three layers down, not just that you have a “great product”. For example, let’s say you sell spray on eco-friendly plastic insulation. First layer down you have the financial savings of your product, lower energy bills. Second down the global environmental benefits using less energy has for all of us. Third down you would talk about animal welfare describing the benefits to the livestock in stables insulated with your product. A picture of a happy cow will invoke much more sympathy than a picture of plastic spray.

So, please, take Social Media seriously and investigate who you are, how you can bring value to your audience and how you can do that consistently over time. Not only will you move faster towards your vision and get a better reputation, you will also help cleanse social media streams from mindless, useless posting that nobody finds valuable.

// Jefa

One week and three days

One week and three days my husband said to me this morning and got a blank stare in response. Then I got it. That is the time left before we all go on Christmas leave and when I think about it I have heard many count downs in the last week. Maybe the long and dark November has taken it´s toll.
As I am a student  I did not have a summer holiday this year. I took a summer course about Buddhism and new Japanese religions in the  west instead. It was a fab course, but now my brain really, really needs to rest. My group at School is fortunately of the same opinion so we are really pushing ourselves to finish the group project before Christmas so that we can relax and eat sweeties with a clear concsience. It would be nice to start the new year with energy.
I am hoping for some time where I can relax and to fun stuff with my family, and take long walks with my dogs without keeping one eye on the clock.  Lie ins are unheard of in our house, but at least I won´t have to rush off in the morning, or make a sleepy little person get dressed when all we both want to do is snuggle up in bed and read a story.
Back to work now. I have to finish my part of our group project before Christmas so that I can allow myself to relax, and study for the four hour exam on business economy that shadows my existence until next Friday. I am so looking forward to the end of all the theory and getting to sink my teeth into some real Social Media work when we start our period of internship in Feb.

// Jeanette
Future Social Media Manager

Passion, Pine Apples and Purple Squirrels

The three may not seem to be connected but they are. As a student of social media with a strong interest in content marketing and behaviourism/social labels I think a lot about what we assume, how we react to things and how we portray ourselves in a world filled with expectations. (I also have a fondness for long sentences.) Let me explain.

The pineapple theory.
Years ago I was for some reason home from work and watched an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show. She was interviewing a senior woman about dating and asked the question, don´t you get hurt when you are not chosen; to which the woman answered “No, because I look at myself as a pineapple.” The reasoning was that she knows that even if she is the very best pineapple she could ever be, there will still be people that prefer apples, or mango; but that does not make her a lesser pineapple.

The purple squirrel
is a rare mythical creature also known as ”the perfect recruit”. Do google the term for a more substantial explanation. This person is hard to find of course as specialized and talented people who are able to just blend in and give the organisation what it craves often are.

How does a recruiter really think?
The more I read about recruitment the more confused, and sometimes annoyed I get. I am a mature student, soon to be a fully trained Social Media manager. Reading job ads, as one does when one is soon to start applying for jobs, the listed expectations and qualifications seem more like an exclusion list, a wall, than an invitation to “come join the company and bring your wealth of experience with you”.  Not many people could tick all the boxes. Fair enough they also list things like “social team player” whatever that mean, I suppose that could mean a lot of things to different people. I would like to read about how the new recruit is expected to help the company move towards achieving its vision. Like they have really thought about who they need and why, beyond expansion or workload.

Same, supersame or different?
The older I get, the more I start to resemble a pineapple. Or an orange or a pear if you want to get physical about it. When I was younger I was a bit more like a fruit salad, like Mika sings “I can be anything you like”. Now a days I am still flexible, but I know exactly what kind of fruit I am and also how to use my own “flavour” to enhance others. Recruiting someone who is not already homogenous will force the workplace to look at itself with new eyes every so often and either move with the times or have their existing culture reinforced. If you never scrutinize yourself, progress will be much slower. Of course you should be qualified to do the work but experience from other markets/jobs should be seen as positive. I have a dream that companies would anonymize applications, letting me and everybody else offer up what we know and where we want to go.  My name, my gender, my age should not be relevant only my experience, my competence and how compatible my future plans are to those of the recruiting company. Maybe I should start a competence agency and call it Pineapple!

What about the passion?
Everybody can get, and is, passionate about something. How do we harness this? How can I as a private person use my passion for creative writing or training my dogs, into a transferable skill that I can use to bring value to my workplace? And will it ever make a difference? Well, I do blog, as myself and as my dog Buddha. A way of showing a future employer that I have a genuine interest in writing. I make little videos of how I train Buddha and post on his Instagram, because I like watching such videos myself and to show that I know how to use the media. Hopefully, I will also show that I embrace social media, that I am a patient person, that I am not afraid to try new things and that I enjoy connecting with other people.  Problem is, I don’t know if a recruiter would look at it that way. Anyone? Suggestions and insights are more than welcome

Do you want a squirrel in your fruit salad?
I think transferable skills are like gold dust because they transfer also to colleagues and sometimes the whole business culture. But then again, being a melting pot of experience and competence with people contributing with more than eight hours a day doing what they are told may not be everybody’s cup of tea. If you do work in such a company and happen to be placed in Gothenburg, feel free to contact me.

Maybe it’s because we have studied content marketing for weeks on end now, but if everybody is a publisher, and the whole company is expected to contribute to and live by a content strategy, it kind of follows that companies also need to look for co-workers that connect with their employer on a deeper level or else they cant “live the brand”. Maybe creating your own hybrid fruit/squirrels would be better, instead of waiting for the rainbow so you can dig you could just turn on the water…

From the point of view of a mature pineapple which is still way of its expiry date.

// Jeanette

Observations about media and marketing

Having a home study day today I decided to start with (after dropping my little one off at School, taking my dog to the vet, tidying the house and talking to my mum) going through FB and reading a fashion magazine I found in the mailbox getting back from the vet. With my newly aquired social media glasses and critichal thinikng this is what I found

  • The girl in the Thomas Sabo ad is far to young to be a viable customer, and therefore one would think not a good ”oh I want to be like her” model for the brand. Even so, I am desperate for the bracelet in the ad. The way it glitters and promises me some measure of glamour in my normal mother of three dog walking life. Why do I still want the product when I hate the ad?
  • Humble bragging is annoying. Like ”I didn’t complete the marathon in the time I wanted, maybe it´s …..” I am pretty sure I have read about this before, but in the context of ”why are women so afraid to seem like they are boasting.” Well I feel I could easily write a few thousand words on the subject of society, patriarchy and women being allowed (yes allowed) to express themselves and their views but I shall refrain. This time. The point of the story is not to play on false modesty to get sympathy or attention.
  • Scientists have shown, that the music we listen to during our teenage years stays with us for the rest of our lives. This is so obvious I won´t bore you with the reasoning behind it as I am sure you knew this already. The question is, why don´t I hear more older music on the radio? I mean if you want to get me into a good mood all you have to do is play some Eurythmics and I am all yours.
  • There is a fine balance between invoking anxiety or pleasure. With X-mas just around the corner I am bombarded with recipies and images of homemade buns and cookies and three course dinners. I like both cooking and baking, but all I see is the message that I need to perform at an even higher standard in the most stressful month of the year. They are not engaging me at all!
  • Inequality of all sorts get the most shares on FB, well, apart from cute animals and people parking a small digger on a lorry without getting out of the drivers seat and competitions and… Well, stories that highlight social injustice should get a lot of shares, but maybe that is just my opinion.

This week we had a workshop in school about social media strategies, learning how to identify target groups by common behaviour or needs rather than age or gender. All very interesting but it makes me wonder where marketing will take us in the future. I am already tired of mesages trying to make me feel certain things, I hate to feel manipulated. So what will work next year or in five years time?

The one message that I hear and read all the time is ”stay true to yourself” (or your business mission). My take on that would be, speak to your followers, customers, supporters like he/she is one of your friends. Not your best friend that you tell all your secrets and rude jokes, but a good friend. One you can rely on but know you can´t push too far. But before you can do that as a business, of course, you have to know who you are, not what you are selling.

However, reading  an article about making active choices about what to eat I find the quote of the day, the qoute of everyday perhaps. ”Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative”.(Oscar Wilde) Just imagine how boring life would be if the world wasn´t constantly changing around us.

// Jeanette

Building my brand

After last weeks cold shower from the lecturer at School. ”What!”, shock an horror, ”you´re not as active on linked in as you are on FB?” I have been making an effort to update my status also on Linked  In. At least a few times a week… well, the week just passed anyway as I am not sure how long I can keep it up.  I am pleased to announce my profile views are up by 24% and 88 different users have viewed my updates. Furthermore, people viewing my profile are from my new trade -”communication” which is pleasing.

I am also trying to mix the sharing with producing my own content as that is what all the books (and teachers) say. I try to follow the 4:1:1 rule, but I like writing so much it is quite hard.  I will be monitoring my numbers to see if it works like the textbook says.

This Tuesday I was at an interview for a post as intern next spring. All being well I shall be able to combine my love for dogs  with my need to write by spending almost 17 weeks writing animal related content. And I will get to bring my black boys with me to the office. Hows about that for the best of both worlds:) I wonder how many people get to bring their dog to work, and does that make for  nicer work environment for everybody at the office, or just the dog owner 🙂

// Jeanette

Social Media Frenzie

In English today as I have entered Nonowrimo, http://www.nanowrimo.org  and am attempting to write my 50K novel in English.

Last week we started the second part of our communications course. Finally we are getting the nitty gritty on social media and trends in webb based communications. It seems easy, common sense really, so why do people find it so hard?
There seem to be zillions of DIY books on the subject and almost as many courses, on-line or IRL.  We had a full day lecture from the phenomenal Sarah Bernardt from the bureau Knowit last Monday and got a tour around social media hyperspace that left us dazed and very impressed.

My humble observation so far is that people either find it hard to speak as a person when representing a company because they are brain washed with corporate fancy long words talk, or perhaps they are just failing to connect with the company they work for. Or the other way around.

What stands out so far in this course, on all levels and subjects is that the world is an individual place and people are way to multi-faceted to fit into a simple ”target group”. We invite companies and organizations into our lives based on what added value they can bring to us, or if we associate them with a particular cause that we also support.

I now look at ads and sponsored pages with a new interest. I analyze whether they seem to have tried to add some value to anybody or just desperately want to sell. sell, sell or share this please, begging for my attention instead of earning it. I then look at which ones of my friends like it and try to work out if they really like the product or just found the status update moving, funny or relevant in some way.  As a result I find myself spending much more time by my computer or my smartphone which in turn makes me feel, well not so smart actually. I try to convince myself I do it because I have to know it in order to get a job once I am a qualified Webb communicator.
A nagging voice at the back of my head tells me I will probably be a better and more balanced person to employ if I spent more time doing the things I really care about. Like being with my family, writing novels, sewing and playing with my dogs. Surely you should be able to work with social media without being eaten alive by it!?

Going forwards I am going to be much more restrictive with who I let into my virtual space. All you content producers out there will  have to create some extra special value or I won’t even view your material. I will of course pay careful attention to how the content in my social media flow changes, or not.