The SMBSyr #3: Using Social Media To Grow As A Pro

By Joe Cunningham, Internet Marketing Manager

Poe the Gnome and I had begun the morning more than a little excited to be going to our favorite monthly event – the Social Media Breakfast Syracuse.  However, perhaps since I had just recently given up coffee (12 cups a day to none, don’t try this at home – the twelve nor the “to none”), I managed to lock my keys in my car (awesome!) and break in by myself (cool?); so being a half-hour early turned into being right on time.

We walked in the (already packed!) room on the 6th floor of Destiny USA (my first time up there though I’d tried to break in as a kid) and saw the Panera spread.  I had tea only.  Poe stuffed his face with jelly pastries (of course).

Poe and FriendsWe ran into an old friend, the “Syracuse Man” – Mike Heagerty of NoExcuses Syracuse (@NOExcusesSYR), whose venture has taken a dramatic upturn (I won’t steal his thunder, just follow him and find out).  Poe and I also made some new friends: Holly Rodricks, lead video editor at MediaWorks, and Brent Sears 41 Prospects owner, an internet marketing consulting company.  They were really cool and we all shared a table in the back (which was better laptop-wise).

Poe also convinced our Project Manager, Tracey Gregory, to come along to see what all the hubbub was all about.  I think she liked it.

The Presentation: “Using Social Media As A Pro”

As always, the event was introduced by Kevin Morrow (@UncleDuke), SMBSyr Advisory Committee Member and Executive Director of Public Affairs Strategic Communications at SU, who looked excited that the immense meeting space was standing room only.  Kevin thanked Sara Wallace (@SaraKWallace), another SMB Committee Member and PR Coordinator for Destiny USA, for hosting the event on behalf of Destiny (@DestinyUSA).

Kevin intro-ed Kim and Anne – both with impressive bios.  Kim Brown (@Kimincuse) holds degrees in Broadcast Journalism, Political Science and Information Innovation (Social Media) from Syracuse University, is the Assistant Director of Alumni Programs in Career Services at SU, is a weekly guest on Channel 9’s “Bridge Street,” and was a TV reporter and fill-in anchor for Channel 9 as well!  Anne Messenger (@AnneMessenger) is President of her own Messenger Associates career consulting firm, having served in HR extensively with a list of honors and awards to fit another blog post.  Anne is one of Twitter’s Top 100 “Must Follows” for job seekers.  In short, they picked the right two people to present this topic.

Anne and Kim effectively co-presented, giving us great info on: using LinkedIn as a pro, professional Twitter tips, reputation management advice, and they wanted to be sure to give us (especially Poe) sufficient time for some old-school networking. 

Poe Meets Anne MessengerLinkedIn

“Your LinkedIn can be static or active, and if active it can be a powerful tool to help your career,” began Anne.  She went through several key spots on your LinkedIn profile that can be optimized to get the most out of this professional networking tool.

  • The headline: that’s 120 characters of real estate: use it to talk about the bigger person you are.
  • Website links: you can change the default titles to increase conversions.
  • Your profile URL: defaults as “gobly gook” but can be customized to fit better on your business card.
  • You have to have a picture!  Studies show people are much more likely to engage and connect with you.  Remember, because most people are mobile, it should be a profile, not a body shot.
  • The body copy: use keywords (research on Google AdWords) to position yourself for the future.
  • Recommendations and endorsements: be strategic about them and get some.  They can be very beneficial in advancing your career.
  • Claim your company name & optimize your page.  It’s like having free business real estate on the web’s Wall Street.  Just take it.
  • Use groups!  You can connect and share with colleagues and people in your field, new business prospects and career opportunities.  Note: customize your email settings to avoid being bothered.
  • Your LinkedIn is your new Rolodex!  You can export your contacts’ info to Excel – email addresses too!  (That’s awesome, I didn’t know that.)

Poe Meets Kim BrownTwitter

Twitter is big.

“Wall Street drops when there’s a Twitter rumor,” said Anne.  Twitter is huge!  Anne and Kim ran through some great Twitter tips that pros should know.

  • Be short!  The best tweets are short.  If I want to re-Tweet you, I can’t if you’re long-winded.
  • People follow people who have something interesting to say: who they like and add value to their lives.
  • Follow experts in you field.  It’s how to directly connect and make yourself a guru.
  • Social media does translate into and help real life.  Anne told a story of people she connected with on Twitter that help each other professionally organizing a tweetup in Chicago.  “We’re not just friends,” Anne said, “We learn from each other.”  (Cool!)
  • Use programs to help you manage social media.  “I wouldn’t be doing social media without Hootsuite,” said Anne.  “I agree,” said Kim.  There are so many excellent programs to help you auto-optimize and schedule your posts, organize boards to follow difference communities, and check your followers and the people you follow.
  • “And don’t force it,” said Kim, commenting on using the many social media options out there, “Don’t do seven of them poorly when you can do one really well.”


Among many questions and answers, we discussed guidelines for social media, i.e. adding connections you don’t really know.  Anne mentioned the quality of your connections counts.

Kate Brodock (@Just_Kate), also an Advisory Committee Member and Executive Director of Social Media at SU, made a really cool comment: “I always encourage people to make your own guidelines,” she said, “with what you are comfortable with.”  Kate said she is comfortable connecting only if she actually shook your hand, others if you went to the same conference.  “And don’t be afraid to ignore or deny requests because that goes public when you accept.”

Mike from NoExcuses asked Anne: “How do you connect emotionally with people in 140 characters or less?”  The question went out to the audience via word and tweet.  “Humor!”

“Yes,” said, Anne, “But be careful to note humor in one room can be dramatically different in another.”

Poe Not Paying AttentionNetworking and Wrapping It Up

As promised, Poe had more than enough time to mingle and network.  He met both presenters; Christina Trout (@iTingTrout) who does an awesome job with Café Kubal’s (@CafeKubal) social media, a big fan of Poe, who invited us down to do a Vine video of Poe making a cappuccino (actually I asked and then she invited); Sara Wallace, who he planned a “Social Media Day” at Destiny with; and a few other cool peeps.  As attendees of all the SMBSyr’s, Poe and I saw many reoccurring faces including Joanna Giansanti (@JoannaGiansanti) from Giansanti Design.

Kim mentioned at the start of the presentation, “It’s hard presenting social media to social media professionals,” which most of us were.  I thought she and Anne did a great job anyhow.  I learned a lot.  Between taking notes for the blog which I was going to have written before I got back to the office (yeah, didn’t happen), I actually was logged on to my LinkedIn, making a few changes as they mentioned them that I hadn’t before.

We all got free coupons to Destiny USA and the presenters made sure to add a plug for the next event: “Bridging the Digital Social Skills Gap – Social Media in the Enterprise” by Dr. William “DR4WARD” Ward (@DR4WARD) of SU’s Newhouse (@NewhouseSU), which explores strategies to “bridge the gap” between having awesome social media out there and getting yourself and your businesses on them to help your organization.  Hey, there’s free food.  And it’s going to be awesome.  Sign up via the SMB Facebook page and/or on EventBrite for May 16, 7:30-9AM (yeah, it’s a “breakfast”) at Newhouse.

I’m already signed up and Poe is going.  Of course he’s going to be flirting with college girls but I’ll be taking notes for the next blog.

Big thanks to all the organizers especially Kevin Morrow once again, and the presenters – Kim and Anne!  Great job everyone.  The SMB’s really does two things well (and that’s why I’m excited about them): they bring young (and older) SM pros together and help us learn to use these incredibly powerful tools better for business, not for profit, you name it.  [Insert great cliché to end this thing.  Or not.]

See you at the next one.

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