IWL Women’s Leadership Conference 2012: Two Key Takeaways


I had the pleasure of attending the Indiana’s Women Leaders Conference on October 2, 2012. Traffic was an absolute nightmare because even the slightest sprinkle of rain sends Indiana drivers into a world of panic and I foolishly under dressed for this auspicious occasion. The normal attire for SEO conferences is a nice shirt and jeans – nerds don’t go all out.

Fashion issue aside, the conference was full of great information. Speaker presentations and breakout sessions related to the conference theme, “Present & Future: Choices, Chances, and Changes”.

Key Takeaways

Networking is super important, y’all. If you aren’t networking or are networking incorrectly, your chance for professional success diminishes.
  • Colleges, universities tell students that networking is important but they don’t take the time to teach them HOW to network. Isn’t that silly?
  • Hazel Walker shared a pretty cool statistic from her new book “Business Networking and Sex (it's not what you think)": 12K people were asked, “Has networking played a role in your success?”  91% responded “Yes”.
  • It’s better to build your network when you don’t need it than start one when you do need it and it’s too late.

Here are a few ideas on how to groom and grow you network:  
  1. Ask for what you want. What’s the point of having a network if you aren’t going to use it? Be clear and make sure to explain how you can help them in the future.
  2. Create a list of accomplishments and update this list frequently. Be ready and prepared to brag about recent accomplishments with your current and potential contacts, employers, etc.
  3. Perfect your handshake. The correct handshake has nothing to do with how hard you shake: it’s about wrapping your hand completely around the other person’s hand with purpose.
  4.  Follow up with everyone you meet. Don’t let any opportunities pass you by because you forgot to follow up!
Communicate your career needs, wants, and aspirations. Every panel member, and most of the speakers, stressed the importance of communicating your needs, wants, and aspirations to your employer and your mentor. It’s critical to take the time to figure out your career priorities (both short and long term) and then have a conversation to figure out how to take action on those priorities.
  • If you aren’t happy with your current situation, it’s on you to make a change. No one else is going to do it for you. Be the master of your career destiny!
  • Stretch yourself to take on intimidating challenges – you learn as much from failure as you do from success.


Suggestions for next year 

I have three suggestions for the event next year – mainly, embrace the world of social media.
  • Include social media handles and information for all presenters in both the packet and on presentation slides.
    • I like to credit quotes to the speakers but this information was not readily available. I had to search for their handles during the presentation and I’m sure I missed some awesome knowledge bombs!
    • I couldn’t find the conference hashtag! It didn’t appear anywhere on the presentation slides or inside the conference packet. It wasn’t on any of the signage, either.
  • Do not host a keynote speaker at lunch. I was interested in what she had to say but also wanted to network and socialize. Socializing won.
  • WIFI! Please for the love of GOD give me WIFI! The Indiana Conference Center wanted $99 for a single day’s use. Perhaps there is a way to incorporate this into registration fees? I’d pay more for internet.

How to Find Your Target Audience on Social Media

social media target audience
Do you know how to find your target audience on different social media platforms?

Social media is a party and each platform has a different dress code. Do you know which party you target audience will be attending? Better yet, do you know what to wear? Will you know what to talk about once you get there?

All silliness aside, it's important to know what conversation is happening around your area of expertise and who is participating in said conversation. Read on as I explain how to find your target audience on social media in four relatively simple steps.

If you haven't done your homework, finding your target audience on social media channels will be two things: difficult and useless. Know your customer intimately before jumping into the social media pool. Why? Each platform is a different community with different uses and etiquette; you need to know your target audience's well in order to predict their social community preferences and behavior.

1. Research. Identify conversation topics surrounding your area of expertise as well as the people participating (better yet, leading) those conversations.

Here are a few research questions to get you started:
  • What is my target audience interested in? Narrowminded thinking here is a no-no! What does your target audience watch on TV? What is their favorite type of food? What stores do they frequent? What are some of their hobbies? Don't just think professionally; explore their personal interests as well.
  • What is my target audience searching for online? Don't only use Google as a data reference point here. Be sure to collect information from Bing as well.
  • What are some issues or problems that my target audience faces? The idea here is to figure out how to help them; today's consumers love solutions and resourcefulness.

2. Find targeted social keywords. After you've completed your target audience research (you know them intimately, right?), the next step involves more research. This is wonderful for data nerds like myself! Think of/look at a typical conversation taking place over your targeted audience's preferred platform.
  • Find social keywords that are frequently used in the social conversation surrounding your area of expertise. Pay attention to phrasing and tone.
  • It's important to change your mindset from search engines to people when approaching social keywords. Keep the keywords and phrases conversational. How do people in your niche talk? Is it formal, informal? Any common slang or industry terminally used often? The idea here is to pick keywords that will attract your target audience, not necessarily your website.
  • This list of social keywords will also be used as a "cheat sheet" when approaching your targeted audience. If you talk like them and share their interests, they are likely to accept you into their circle faster.
  • Remember, it's okay to have keywords that are both SEO and social.

3. Identify conversations. Now that you know what your target audience is talking about and how they talk, it's time to find out where they are having this conversation. This step is crucial: you don't waste time putting together a social media campaign for a conversation that isn't happening. Worse yet, that is happening but not where you think it is.
  • Use Social Mention to identify and track social conversations around your niche and keywords. This tool uses data from more than 100 different platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Digg and will help show where the conversation is happening. Bonus: You can export your searches to a CSV file directly from the site.
  • Set up Google Alerts for your targeted social and SEO keywords for additional conversation monitoring.

4. Join conversations. Now that you know where the conversation(s) are happening, join them! Contribute to the conversation. Show your target audience that you know your stuff, are resourceful, helpful, and trustworthy.

Here are a few conversation starters:
  • Follow them on social platforms and then introduce yourself
  • Comment on blog posts they share and publish
  • Publish content that answers their questions and/or fulfills a need
  • Share relevant information with them in the format they prefer

How do you find target audiences online? Please share in the comments below.

Follow Friday for September 21, 2012

Here are my Follow Friday picks for this week and why you should follow them (in 140 Characters or less):

@NeRoyMartin



New to Twitter and gets engagement right. He continues the convo while while sharing good social media/PR info.






@butterfly_89000


Music blogger w a love of dubstep that's infectious. Stepped up in a major this week. Finds rad Honey Boo Boo gifs. Read her work: http://bit.ly/VlRiZF






@talknerdy2mebb

Big Brother lover. Had fun live tweeting during #BB14. Check out their big bro #tumblr #blog here: http://bit.ly/UmK3CK Thnx 4 gr8 summer




@meganenemies


@CCDerbyGirl ROCKSTAR. Incredible editor. She's the mistress of content quality & absolutely hilarious. Peep her derby bio page: http://bit.ly/QsvKai





 
@pamelareilly


Team still talking abt her #BIN2012 prezi. Rad woman, natural healing expert. I trust her advice. How can she help YOU? Find out: http://bit.ly/Unou0l





Who should I follow and why? Please share handle and info in the comments below or tweet me (@lediamedia). I'm always interested in growing my network!

Happy Friday!