An entrepreneur’s guide to changing career paths into a corporate role

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SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT AND EXPERIENCED ENTREPRENEUR, GOLDEN ASHBY, EXPLAINS HOW ENTREPRENEURS CAN EFFECTIVELY MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM BEING THEIR OWN BOSS INTO A CORPORATE ROLE…

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There are many awe-inspiring entrepreneurs out there who have learnt more than the traditional employee and they would transition very effectively into corporate roles, if given the right opportunity. The key is being happy doing what you love. Your work takes up a majority of your life, so chances are you will be much happier if you love your working environment. That’s why I went to college for nearly a decade, achieved three degrees, including my MBA, to give me the opportunity to attain my dream career.

I am just starting my transition but have already been asked this question multiple times. If you have been so successful as an entrepreneur why do you want to work full time for somebody else?

My response is simple. I have dedicated (almost) the past decade to building my personal brand in order to make me feel more confident with my disability. Now that I have been so successful at doing that, I am now dedicating everything to finding a well-established company I can grow with and use everything I have learned from being an elite entrepreneur to building an awesome company’s brand image in the same way.

It is important to start off your discussions with hiring managers by making it very clear that you are prepared and look forward to dedicating everything to their company. I promote the fact that I have countless professional recommendations that support the fact that I will fit right into that company culture and I strongly suggest that you do the same. Best practices is to showcase your entrepreneurial achievements and show people you are proud of them. I do this on my websiteLinkedInTwitter, even created a digital portfolio board on Pinterest and show off my successes everywhere I am online.

Image credit: Getty images

It is well known that successful entrepreneurs are very passionate about what they do and are very driven to create results. It is important to accentuate that this is just another business decision, that will achieve the same results as your past ones. I do this by featuring the fact that I was the senior social media strategist and community manager that worked hand in hand with corporate Union Bank and launched their first ever social media marketing presence.

Transitioning careers is similar to dating and you need to show hiring managers what makes you more desirable than the rest! I make sure and disclose how I keep current on the latest social media changes and digital marketing tactics as the Global President of the Social Media Club (the largest professional social media organisation in the world), where I holistically lead large teams internationally in digital marketing, email campaigns, advertising, website development, partnerships, sponsorships and social media management as we mentor hundreds of chapters across the world on best practices and principles.

Savvy entrepreneurs are very passionate about what they do and are driven to create results. I will use Marcel LeBrun, the founder of Radian6 as an example. His company was acquired by Salesforce and is now part of its Marketing Cloud. Salesforce discerned that Marcels had savvy entrepreneur skills that would be beneficial as they advanced into the marketing technology space and hired him full time. Marcel followed his dream and led the Salesforce team as SVP & GM of marketing cloud which they grew both organically and through additional acquisitions.

Image credit: Getty images

It is crucial to understand that corporate leadership styles can be acutely different. The passion, vision and dauntless styles of the entrepreneur will more than likely need to evolve into the unflustered head of a professional manager. The entrepreneur needs to be open to feedback and use it to effectively grow the company they work for. Learning to give up control and trust others is crucial. I have found achieving results through others to the key to advancement, especially in the corporate world.

The way the economy is these days, people want and need to work. Best practices is to go into a career transition with your eyes wide open. I am very aware of what my limitations and my strengths are. I have already proven that I can be successful in multiple types of environments. Now I am only looking to advance my career with a company that has a culture that is aligned with my personal and professional values. Good luck with your own career transition endeavours and feel free to drop me a note anytime for advice or if you know of any opportunities that you think would be a good fit.

Originally published on Virgin Group.

Social Media Can Help You Land Dream Paying Jobs, Buyers or Sellers!

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I am very inspired by social media and technology. I recently blogged for Virgin about how much I love technology for providing me the ability to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships. Social media at its core is just an awesome form of technology that is shaped by the human touch. I have been one of the leading social media marketing consultants since it’s conception. I will be the first to admit that I absolutely don’t know everything there is to know about social media, but I know how to utilize it to produce results and love to share.

Social media is all about connecting people in business and pleasure. If used correctly, social media can be a an almost effortless way to find your dream job, buyers, sellers, or just someone to talk to when you need to feel inspired. 

You should absolutely be active on all social media and announce the news of what you are looking for. That makes it easier for recruiters and lead generation target markets to learn about you. It is essential that you build out your online brand on social media and make certain that everything portrays you in the same way. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, Instagram, YouTube and other similar platforms you utilize to enable people to view you outside of your resume, cover letter, website and LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is the hub for professional online networking, and with two new members joining every second, it is essential for your job search and lead generation. I put together a guide earlier this summer with tips to optimize your profile so you can build your brand image and make the most out of your business connections. Don’t forget to post what you are looking for on your LinkedIn profile as well to let everybody know that you’re on the market.

Be sure to visit your target company’s page on LinkedIn and see how you are connected. Thenen reach out to these connections and see if they feel the company is a good fit for you and see if they can assist you with getting to the right person to help you out. I am a big advocate of helping people in their own business endeavors and mentoring. Not only does it make me feel good to give back, it also encourages people to want to help you.

Everybody is looking for leads these days, so it’s perfectly fine to tell people on social media. Networking is key and it’s much easier to do online with the aid of social media. It’s more about who you know, then what you know. People are much more apt to get jobs and other leads through referrals from people they know. Best practices is to use social media to highlight your skills, ask for advice and connect.

I love Twitter. It is absolutely the most versatile social media platform out there and the potential to fly high in the sky from day one is endless if you use it correctly. One of the best things about Twitter is that require a personal introduction or recommendation, as LinkedIn and Facebook do. Just by following others on Twitter, you can get the inside story on organizations, interviewers, buyers, sellers, inspire people to follow you, or just for sending a tweet to somebody in your industry asking for advice.

Twitter is great for sharing ideas, tips and for showing that you are a thought leader in your industry. If you are engaged and post frequently on Twitter, this can be done easily. As you follow others and post interesting tweets, you build your own following and broaden your personal network. Now get out there and starting interacting with your new Twitter followers that you have never met in person, collaborate and help each other out!

Twitter chats are great for interacting with other thought leaders in your industry. Make certain that you utilize Twitter search. I actually use that more than Google search. Just type in the keywords for what you are looking for, the demographics and the opportunities will start flying by. Twitter also has an advanced search option that can assist you find the latest news and world events faster. Twitter can assist you find jobs, hashtags, buyers and sellers for any topic you can imagine.

Be sure to follow and engage on social media with the companies you are interested in. Chances are they will be a lot more interested in doing business with if you show a genuine interest in them. This will give you a lot more info on the company, what they are doing and how that relates to its industry. The best part about it is you can use social media to get jobs, buyers and sellers from anywhere.

Last but not least, remember to always be smart about engaging with your target market connections and followers. This can be as easy as congratulating a colleague on LinkedIn on a new role with a company you are wanting to get involved with or retweeting a job from a hiring manager from the same company. This creates trust and people are more inclined to help people they interact with.

I hope this helps you out. As I said above I am a big fan of giving back, so feel free to connect with me here on LinkedIn or send me a tweet and we can help each other out. Good luck!

Originally published on Near Me.

The Power of Keywords to Unlock Professional SEO Services

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We all know Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid search are important, but not everybody knows the tricks to attain a high ranking on your keywords that will optimize your SEO. The import thing to remember is there is no possible way to rank for every keyword. If you Google the word “marketplace,” only major sites such as American Public Media, Firefox, NPR, Second Life, Magento, Amazon and Atlassian show up on the first page of your search. There is no mention of the marketplace you have worked so hard to optimize.

As you can see from the screenshots above with such a high search volume and difficulty level being so high this single word can be next to impossible to rank for. That’s where long tailed keywords can be invaluable for assisting with your SEO. Just by adding a slightly longer tail, I was able to make this keyword optimized for the first page on searches.

It is important not to just randomly select keywords. Best practices is to think of the keywords that will be relevant for your website’s content. This will help people find what they are searching for on your site when they use these specific words. Then you can guarantee that the keywords you choose are helpful to those visiting your site. The keywords should also bring in traffic that will result in very achievable organizational goals. For example I researched keywords for this article and as you can see below, both marketplace SEO services and professional SEO services are very optimized, so I made sure to include them in the copy, title and this SEO blog metatag.

By incorporating deeper, more industry-specific keywords and phrases into your strategy you will get much better results. The better Google favors your long tail keywords, the more traffic you’ll get, and the better chance you’ll have at ranking for your primary keywords. The more times that you can use your keywords within your content the better, but it needs to be written naturally so the content flows naturally.

We are fortunate enough to be able to use Hubspot to manage everything, but it is very important that you utilize all the resources out there to holistically develop your keyword strategy. You can go here to check out a great article on the metrics displayed for your keywords. It goes over each of those metrics and explains how we define them (difficulty, visits, CPC, etc.).

I use the Google keyword planner to assist in my research. The Google Adwords Planner will allow you to enter a keyword, and then Google will show you if there are similar keywords to that which are being searched for more often. For example, you may want to use the word “marketplace”, but Google will show you that more users search for the word “marketplace” per month and assists you in determining if there is a more appropriate keyword to use to try to rank your website higher.

I then take the Google keywords and plug them into our Hubspot enterprise and compare them to the hundreds of optimized keywords I am already tracking for our company. Hubspot put together this article on keyword tips which goes over best practices for putting together a good list of keywords for your site. I also track what keywords are working good for competitors. Be sure to check out this great blog postwhich goes into detail about how to research your keywords and get the most out of your keywords in general to help you attain top search engine rank.

Everybody has their own system, the key is to find the system that works for you, using these processes. It can also be very helpful to develop your long-tail keyword strategy around terms that your target market is searching for. For example instead of just using “marketplace” you can utilize the following long-tail keyword examples to raise your ranking. Any keyword with a ranking below 50 can be beneficial.

There is not a one all for one tool to select your keywords. It takes common sense and these kinds of tools to optimize your SEO.Best practices are to ask yourself what your target audience may be looking for and use the tools to analyze those keywords and get more optimized examples. Your keyword research can go a long way in your content mapping and planning your SEO. We have actually increased our organic search ranking by over 400 percent since I implemented our analytics and keywords strategy.

If you put in the time and research the same can happen to you. It can help you refine your writing, or even discover new ideas to write about. It is crucial that before you publish your exciting new blog, article or landing page, you take the time to research, evaluate and refine your long-tail keyword strategy. I have faith that you can become a SEO guru. Good luck and feel free to reach out anytime with any thoughts or questions!

Originally published on Near Me.

Technology doesn’t weaken business connections, it levels the playing field

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I am the networking king and love technology for providing me the ability to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships. I exchange information and ideas, potential possibilities and engage with my connections by utilising technology.

I maintain my focus, and keep my eye on the long-term goal of making solid, long-lasting physical connections that will benefit me over to the course of my life.

I am one of “those” people that holistically mix my business life with my personal life and everything I do is a means to an end. For example, I do a lot of social media marketing consulting and build up my personal brand (means) to make myself more attractive to potential clients (end). The advancements in technology and the rise of social media have been instrumental in helping me and society as a whole achieve those means. By using technology, I am able to stay connected and search out almost anybody in the world very easily.

Image credit: Getty images

Some people see it that we are hiding behind our computer screens and smartphones and this limits social interactions, but I see it as another exciting new means to an end. Why do you think the call it “social” media? People say we text too much, but short to the point text messages are just taking the place of long drawn out phone call. That’s why they call it technological advances.

Some argue that our lives look too perfect in our social media feeds and that we spend too much time on them, but I see it as social media pushing us to excel at our lives. Technology is great for helping you to make smarter and quicker decisions. It’s easy to see there’s value in technology, but we shouldn’t forget the value of connecting emotionally with a face-to-face physical meeting.

Technology should by means take the place of personal interactions, but should work hand in hand to lead us to a more efficient and fulfilled life. If you have 10,000 followers on Twitter, odds are that a few more of them are going to help you out over your 10 real life connections. I am not arguing with the fact that human interaction is very important, I am just pointing out the fact that technology can only help your human interaction if used correctly. It is also equally important to remember to use technology to build real-life relationships to live a fulfilling life.

Image credit: Getty images

My life revolves around technology as one of the top Social Media Consultants and Global President of Social Media Club (the biggest professional social media organisation in the world). I have not met many of my clients in person and lead hundreds of people around the world remotely and that would not be possible without technology. I found out about the Social Media Club from a Twitter post recruiting to join their global board. I applied and was voted on without meeting anybody in person. I eventually met a couple of the other local board members in real life, but moved up to President a year later after only meeting 20 per cent of our board in person.

I have done some of the most exciting things in my life as President of Social Media Club. It has opened up doors that I would not have the opportunity to walk through otherwise. For example, my good friend and colleague, Ali Sabkar, invited me out to share my social media success stories to thousands of people in his region at the Social Media Masters summit at the Kingdom of Bahrain. I’ll be honest with you, this was the first time I had given a presentation to the public before, but thanks in part to my awesome social media interactions giving me support and making me feel strong, it went very well. I made so many awesome real life connections on that trip that happened because of technology.

I have endless, similar stories and am always looking forward to the new doors that technology opens for me. Technology also levels the playing field for people that may have a difficult time achieving everything they set out to do. I would like to share with you my own personal story of what technology can do to for you, in hope that you may feel inspired. The value of technology is unquestionable. I strongly suggest you embrace it and figure out how to best harness it for your own needs or risk becoming obsolete!

I originally posted this article in Virgin Entrepreneur.

Optimize your LinkedIn Profile for Success

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LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks and has 430 million members in more than 200 countries. LinkedIn is the hub for professional online networking, and with two new members joining every second, it is essential for your job search and lead generation. I have put together this guide with tips to optimize your profile so you can build your brand image and make the most out of your business connections.

It is very important to make sure that every section of your profile has been completed and that there are no blank spaces or obvious gaps. Your LinkedIn profile is your online resume, so it is best practices to set it up similar to your normal resume. You need to add your industry, location, current position, 2 past positions, education, three skills, 50 connections and a professional profile picture that represents your industry to achieve an All-Star status. It is best practices to have the same profile picture across your online portfolio and the ideal LinkedIn pixel size is between 200 x 200 to 500 x 500. You can also brand your profile with a background image. The best size for your profile background image is 1400 x 425 pixels.

Be sure and set up your vanity URL. Nobody is attracted to view a URL with a bunch of mismatched numbers at the end. Best practices for SEO is to use your first and last name: https://www.linkedin.com/in/goldenashby. You can go here and click “customize your public profile URL” on the right-hand side. It is still important to have written recommendations from colleagues, management, employees, classmates, vendors or customers. LinkedIn no longer requires three recommendations to have a complete status, but is still best practices to have recommendations and endorsements.  

You need to add your skills and the more people that endorse you for a certain skill will increase your optimization. Endorsements are when your network clicks on a certain skill that they feel you are proficient at. The more endorsements you have for a specific skill, the more likely that you’ll come up in the search results when someone is searching for that skill. For example, I have 99+ people who have endorsed me for “social media marketing” and “online marketing.” When somebody is searching for people with these skills, it is very likely that I will show up on the first few pages of the search results.

I am all for making your personal brand stand out on LinkedIn.  It can be as simple as customizing your website. I added personal company name and Pinterest to replace the generic versions.  This will help optimize your profile and drive traffic to your other sites. Each profile can display up to three website links like this, and they can be customized by editing your profile, clicking edit on your website links, and selecting “other” in the drop-down menu to customize the anchor text.

Be sure to add any certifications, awards, volunteer experience or organizations you care about. You may want to add a projects section to your profile, especially if you are a Consultant. You can easily enter the name of your project and input a URL that will hyperlink the title, after adding this section. You can also add Team Members, and if you are connected to them, their name will hyperlink to their LinkedIn profile. Follow all the companies you are interested in and start networking with relevant connections. You can get lots of great info from joining Groups in your industry. It also helps to post in a few of your best groups, so your profile will get highlighted by industry experts. You can read up on best practices of LinkedIn groups to get the most out of your participation.

One of the top ways to optimize your profile for search engines is to add keywords, your specialties and what you want to be searched for. Best practices is to add these keywords to your summary, specialties, career history and personal interests. I have found that replacing your job title with your most relevant keywords helps optimize a lot.

Now that you have your profile optimized, it’s time to build out your network. LinkedIn has a very nice integration with your email contacts and is a great way to start. Be sure to connect with anybody you interact with professionally. This can be anybody from coworkers, clients, hiring managers to people you went to college with. Be sure to add a personal note reminding your connection request where you know them from. Now that you have your LinkedIn profile optimized people will send you introduction requests as well. I get hundreds of requests every week. Some people are very selective about the people that they connect with, but I feel you never know when your industry colleagues may be able to help you. My Golden Rule of networking is simple: Don’t miss an opportunity.

You are now ready to get out there and start connecting professionally on the world’s largest professional network. Good luck and please let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.

I originally posted this article on Near Me.

Social Media Tips for Shoestring Entrepreneurs

shutterstock_185848994.jpgSocial media marketing is definitely a catchy phrase right now. With so many brands doing awesome things on social media, sometimes we forget about the little people.  I have written about the best practices of social media content marketingFacebook marketingsocial media customer service, and starting your New Year social media with a bang! But what about those young entrepreneurs that are just getting started on a shoestring budget? You don’t have time to waste and here are some things to keep in mind.

Choosing the right platform is crucial

You have a limited budget and time. You don’t want to waste all of your time and resources on Facebook if your target audience is on Twitter and LinkedIn. Having a Facebook page is great, but having 10,000 “likes” doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Visual networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are best for consumer-facing businesses, but if you are trying to reach key executives, I suggest you focus on  Twitter and LinkedIn.  Forbes states that LinkedIn is the top social network for CEO’s.

Engage, engage, engage

Content, audience building, and conversation are the highlights of any strong social media plan. It is very important to deliver value before selling. Great ways to do this is to have content that educates, inspires and answers questions. For example, I usually recommend that 70% of your updates on Twitter be industry related third-party content. It is best practices to promote your own content just 30% of the time. Be sure to make lists of key industry leaders to easily retweet and tweet to them. Your followers will see this engagement and join in the conversation.

Use social sharing to maximise exposure

Having social sharing buttons on your company website or blog can really highlight your brand and get you a lot more exposure for free. We use WordPress and there are lots of social sharing plugins you can use on that platform. Most website developers know how to implement them on any platform. Add This to make a nice social sharing solution in free and pro packages, depending on your requirements. If you don’t have social sharing on your blog then the free version should be great to get you started.

Content planning is crucial  

It is getting clearer and clearer every day that social media marketing and content marketing are synonymous. Content marketing can obviously exist without social media, but your content marketing campaign is no longer complete unless you include social media. It is very important to stay on top of the key content marketing tips for the top social media sites.

Produce budgeted social media campaign’s

Low-budget marketing campaigns are most successful for ‘warm leads.’ With just 20 people on your email list, you can run a Facebook Custom Audience campaign. Select ‘Look Alike’ targeting to find more people who profile like your customers. Twitter Cards can be great to capture leads. Your users can click on your card to get your information, and you get contact info from their Twitter profile. The great thing about them is you only pay when you receive contact information for a potential lead.

Listen to get results

When your resources are limited, the need to know what’s working and not working for your social media strategy becomes more crucial than ever. Gaining insight into where and how your competitors are succeeding and struggling on social media, as well as conducting an audit of your own, is the best way to understand both your position in the market and your target audience. Social listening toolsare available for free to help you to carry out this analysis.

Shoot for quality and quantity

In every successful social media marketing strategy, it is smart to map your customer’s journey from a complete stranger to a devoted fan. Start by defining your ideal customers. Make the first move to engage them by following them on social media.  Work to earn their trust and deliver value via content and conversations, then your followers and fans will start to trust you and what you are selling. If you can devote time and effort to this strategy, you can sit back and watch the sales roll in!

I originally posted this article on Near Me. 

Social Media Marketing Content Success Tips

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We are well into 2016 and it is becoming clearer and clearer every day that social media marketing and content marketing are synonymous. Content marketing can obviously exist without social media, but your content marketing campaign is no longer complete unless you include social media. It is very important to stay on top of the key content marketing tips for the the top social media sites.

It’s crucial to remember that social media requires a fully developed effort from content marketers. If you’re going to grow your presence and maximize your content marketing strategy, it is best practices to focus your social in everything. You need to emphasize the importance of driving leads to these platforms both on-line and offline. Everything you do needs to revolve around driving people to your social platforms. Otherwise, your content marketing efforts won’t have an audience.

Skim Facebook newsfeed to tell your story

I recommend you write your text for skim readers. There is no limits on length of Facebook posts, but it is best practices to consider the decreasing attention span of users. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that people have an attention span of 8 seconds. When applying that to Facebook posts, the first three to four words of your update are crucial to grabbing your audience’s attention.

When choosing content types for your posts, take time to analyze your business and audience. For example, if you want to drive traffic to your blog, the link format likely would work well for you. On the other hand, if brand awareness is your main goal, images and videos are a better fit. When you post a link on Facebook, it creates the metadata automatically and this can be edited. All you need to do is change the description metadata to fit the post description and suit the current context. Facebook is a personalized newspaper. If you want to reach the modern consumer, you need to put your content in their newsfeed.

Tweet your story in 100 characters or less

You should share a variety of content on Twitter. Your text should be short and sweet. A simple type of tweet is great for updates, news, quick facts, and asking your followers questions. Tweets that are 100 characters or less tend to get higher conversions. It helps a lot to highlight your message with a picture that will add an impact to your tweet. Photos stand out more, getting more impressions and more engagements on your content. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video would speak millions. Videos, if integrated into your message, could drastically improve your ability to put your message in front of the right audience.

People love facts and figures. Use statistics that support the arguments you’re making in your content. If your post mentions any publications, industry influencers, etc., make sure to mention them in your promotions. They will be honored and there’s a good chance they’ll share it, so you’ll reach all their followers too. Add a hashtag to boost its reach, and give a clear idea of what the link is leading to. When creating a Twitter content marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to devote your time and resources into using a strong image.

Tell your visual story with Instagram

For content marketers, Instagram can be puzzling. That’s because most content marketers aren’t super savvy at visual content marketing. This is about to change, though. The industry is clearly heading in the direction of more visual content and less text-based content, which means you need to study what successful brands are doing on Instagram and other similar social platforms.

It is very important to use quality images on Instagram in order to accurately portray your story. Storytelling is a powerful tool in all marketing. When it comes to Instagram, you are given the same storytelling opportunities. By using visual content, you can create an experience for your customers, clients and followers so they feel engaged and valued. Hashtags have become synonymous with social media and can be used on virtually every network to find, track, share, and participate in topics of interest. On Instagram, hashtags are the best thing since sliced bread, connecting users to images they might be interested in.

I feel the heart of content marketing is social media. If you want your strategies to be complete, focusing on effective distribution and traffic generation is a good place to start. These two aspects of content marketing can help you to maximize your returns and expose your brand to a larger market of consumers. I hope this helps with your own endeavours. Just like with everything else, I recommend that you test out what works for you and adjust. Good luck and feel free to send me a tweet with any thoughts.

I originally posted on Near Me.