This past week I gathered with 650 other creatives, difference makers, and socialpreneurs at the legendary Fox Theatre in Atlanta to be inspired and challenged by over a dozen speakers to continue to problem solve and improve the world we live in.
I love traveling to Atlanta each year for this conference because it pushes me to get out from behind my laptop and meet like-minded creatives.
I consider it the Creatives Church Camp... and for people like me who work 50+ hours a week in the creative field, it's a welcoming few days.
Here are nine quotes that inspired me at this year's event and special thanks to Jeff Shinabarger for continuing to inspire me through his books, talks, and putting on such inspiring conferences.
Follow Jeff Shinabarger, @Shinabarger
Follow Jeff Henderson, @JeffHenderson
Follow Rohan Anderson, @WholeLarderLove
Follow Jeremy Courtney, @JCourt
Follow Liz Forkin Bohannon, @ForkinSpoons
Follow Joy Eggerichs, @joyeggerichs
Follow Sid Mashburn, @SIDMASHBURN
Follow Johnny Earle, @JohnnyCupcakes
Say what you will but social media has been an intrical part of shaping the 21st century. Communicating during natural disasters, keeping up on your favorite live event, sharing links with others, and finding your dream job. It's hard to believe there are still those who believe social media is just a fad and waist of time. Let's squash those suckers and teach them a thing or two.
1.) It's a big waist of time
Social media is what you make it to be. If we want to succeed and not be lost in the tweets and #foodporn pics, I suggest scheduling some tweets throughout the day while giving yourself a time limit on the frivolous scrolling you do on social media profiles. My personal limit, 5 minutes every hour.
2.) nobody checks what i post
WRONG. Think before you share an image of alcohol, cuss words or salacious material. You truly don't know who's keeping an eye on your profile or who will stumble across an item you favorited or liked. With Facebook's money hungry advertising lately, if you've "liked" a promoted post or page, the likelihood of your friends seeing that you liked it is substantial.
3.) A LinkedIn profile is useless
Once again, like many social media channels, Linkedin is what you make it. If you're looking to be endorsed for job skills you've never completed, you're in the right place. If you're looking to connect with industry professionals in hopes to gain future employment at your dream job, you're in the right place.
My tips for Linkedin: post at least once a week, share an article about the industry you're in with your thoughts, an original blog post, or a photo of you at a community event (no beer selfies please).
4.) In 10 years, social media will not exist
Shut up. Social media is here to stay whether you like it or not. Like many job professions, it will continue to grow and you will continually have to evolve with it to keep marketable. Take a few seconds in your allotted daily social media time to read up on new features you can use to enhance your experience or find something new about your favorite social channels.
With the barriers social breaks down; distance, communication, visual sharing, etc., social media is here to stay.. it just might not look like your grandma's social media in a few years.
5.)I don't know what to blog about
You don't have to be a professional writer to blog. That being said, you need to establish:
a.) What you should write about: industry insights, food, cooking, hobbies, traveling, community events
b.) Who you want your audience to be: friends, relatives, future employers, industry professionals
c.) How often will I update it: Don't be one of those who start a blog and don't update it at least twice a month. I'm guilty of it from time to time but the important thing to know is that when you write, you're helping yourself become a better communicator and are sharing thoughts with those you care about.
What's one common misconception about social media that you hear often? Leave it in the comments below!
Many people ask what my favorite social media tool is. Hands down, it's Twitter. Why? Simplistic interface, access to engage with role models, and great tool to use as a search engine most of the time.
1.) Optimize Header Info
When you fill out your Twitter bio, include hashtags related to your expertise and experience. Also, if you are an avid volunteer at a specific organization or feel comfortable saying where you work, add their Twitter handles. This increases your likelihood of new followers finding you when they search people using the specific hashtags or the company they're looking to engage with.
2.) Write Blog Posts? Use Twitter Cards
Twitter Cards started out solely for major newspaper and political organizations as a way of showing a preview to the link they provide.
Now, anyone is able to generate a Twitter Card link, allowing bloggers to show a preview of their post without taking away a massive amount from the 140 character limit.
You don't have to be a coder to understand the coding involved in it as well. Go here and Twitter will walk you through it.
3.) Use Twitter As A Search Engine
Thousands of people share links of news articles on Twitter before we see them on the evening news.
With Twitter's Advanced Search functionality, you're able to search as specific as those nearby who have shared an article on a specific topic to as broad as people around the globe talking about a specific politcal and environmental issues, or brand.
Unlike using a hashtag, you're able to search a broader spectrum of information with a few clicks.
4.) Craft Different Tweets About The Same Information
This one seems simple but is often overlooked by many who blog or share content.
Crafting 2-5 various tweets about the same link (Use "in case you missed it", ICYMI, share a quote or statistic from the article), increases engagement by allowing users who might not see your tweet in real time, additional chances to view it, thus giving more chances for others to RT or reply.
Now this doesn't mean to get spammy; manage the tweets by spreading them out in at least 4 hour intervals so those who are on Twitter constantly dont become disengaged with your tweets.
5.) Use A Scheduling Service (Even If You Are Not Tweeting For A Brand)
Every night before I go to bed, I find myself reading articles on my phone about the space I work in; digital media, nonprofit communications, and social media.
After I read the article, I use Hootsuite to auto-schedule the content for the next day. On an average basis, I schedule 3-5 tweets per day on various accounts with articles, graphics, or content I want to share with customers, friends, and followers.
This allows more time to work during the day and keeps your personal brand at a constant on Twitter.
Be careful with auto-scheduling content though. I would not schedule more than 5 tweets throughout the day or you will appear spammy and miss the entire point of Twitter; engaging with followers in real-time.
Ever attended a Dishcrawl event? If not, you're missing out.
Dishcrawl events are scheduled for specific dates and times. A local ambassador leads a group through 3-5 different restaurants in the same neighborhood. Attendees typically walk from place to place; hence the 'crawl'.
Crawlers get to taste 3 different dishes at each restaurant so bring your fanny pack and empty stomach to fill with delicious, local food. (Okay, maybe you shouldn't bring a fanny pack.)
I'll keep this short and sweet but afterwards, promise me you'll finally just do it and attend one of these awesome events. (view events in your hometown here: www.dishcrawl.com)
1.) explore your city's culture through food
We drive past the hole-in-the-walls from our workplace to home nearly every single day. One of the best benefits to Dishcrawl is that you really don't know what restaurants you're signing up for.
All ticket holders are notified of a meeting location via email, 48 hours prior to the event. Typically it's within walking distance and themed so you can get somewhat of a hunch but I've been wrong guessing on my food adventures multiple times. Wrong and so surprised of the delicious food at places; might I add, I have never considered eating at.
Odds are ever in your favor. You'll go on a foodie adventure that spans international cuisine and love every freakin' second of it.
2.) friends + food = even tastier, tomfoolery fun
We've all been there. A group text begins from friends asking where we should go eat this weekend. We throw out a few options and that's when the hour-long decision making process goes into full effect.
Grab a bunch of friends 'just because' and attend a Dishcrawl. No worries about where you're going to go, that's what Dishcrawl is for. Your tastebuds and growling stomachs will thank you immensely.
3.) Avid traveler? Attend A Dishcrawl On vacation
Dishcrawl spans 250 cities across the US, Canada, and the UK. So even if you're visiting across the pond, you can join the Dishcrawl action. Many Dishcrawl events are posted at least one month in advance too.
And let's face it. Vacations = relaxing and eating a lot of yummy food. Attending a Dishcrawl on vacation means your trying new food in a different region, meeting locals, and going to the best places that even some locals don't know exist.
So next time you begin to plan that trip, don't forget to save an evening to Dishcrawl.
4.) Meet new friends
Gather 'round a table with strangers and food and you're bound to meet new friends while having deep foodie conversations about the best Pad Thai in your city or favorite restaurant to sip back a cocktail (or two) after a long day at work .
Step outside your comfort zone. Like the weather, food is a great conversation starter so don't fret or be silent the entire time.
* Note: 2/3 of all Dishcrawl events I've attended solo so yes, I'm speaking from experience. I made new friends, received phone numbers, and still chat about the awesomeness that is food and culture with them via social media. *
5.) It's the perfect date night activity
Dishcrawl strives on promoting local businesses through their crawls. Don't let your date take you to the nearest Applebee's. You deserve better than that.
Dishcrawl dates are the bomb because you're allowed to still have one-on-one conversations without those awkward silent moments, it's thoughtful, and something your date will remember and maybe even tell your future kids about. (Okay, yeah we're talking about food and not making babies but there are a lot of similarities between the two.)
Setting up a Dishcrawl date means you're able to still remain creative with the details but without the nerving thousand pound weight on your shoulders of the 'one' place you should take the love of your life.
Contact your local Dishcrawl Ambassador and get it in place before they sell out!
Who are you to tell me to attend a Dishcrawl event?
I'm Andrew (@andrewjpg on Twitter). Addicted to delicious food, tweeting, #foodporn, and making new friends.
Beyond that I'm a creative thinker / doer at a Memphis creative agency, a Dishcrawl Tastemaker, and a newly dubbed Yelp Elitist.
I once Skyped with the CEO of Dishcrawl, Tracy Lee. Hopefully one day we can share a meal together and chat, yup, through a Dishcrawl.
Food is my passion. Food feeds my soul. Now get your booty to a Dishcrawl event. You'll thank me later.
Find a local Dishcrawl event near you: www.dishcrawl.com
Employee volunteer program engagement is a common problem in the workplace. Is it because of the opportunities or lack of communication? Lets dive in to discuss some common questions about using social media to support volunteerism.
IF WE USE SOCIAL MEDIA, THEY’LL BE ON IT AT WORK ALL DAY
NOT TRUE. A common reality is that if it’s frowned upon or not, many of your employees monitor their social media accounts throughout the workday. That’s okay – for the most part.
Depending on your workplace demographics, a majority of them have at the very least, a Facebook account. Meet your employees where they are. Use social media as the 21st century bulletin board.
If you do not have a workplace intranet, set up a private Facebook group where employees:
a.) Don’t have to be ‘friends’ to communicate with each other.
b.) Managers and employees can easily share potluck info, volunteer opportunities, important work information, policy changes, etc.
c.) This alleviates all of those REPLY ALL emails you receive.
WHY DOES IT MATTER THAT MY EMPLOYEES SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCE VIA SOCIAL MEDIA?
a.) It’s THEIR story (people want employee stories not crafted press releases)
b.) Using social media creates a more effective program – increased participation rates, exposure to different cultures
c.) It leverages social capital
WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS SHOULD MY COMPANY USE WHEN VOLUNTEERING?
Beyond doing good for your community, encouraging your employees to volunteer throughout the community improves your brand identity as well.
Look at Exxon Mobile after the terrible oil spill a few years back. They’ve been trying to reshape their brand image by engaging in the effected communities, volunteering, and giving back.
Sure, not all of the companies who have volunteer programs are trying to bandage a bad brand identity, but regardless, companies need to use specific outlets to promote their corporate volunteerism. By choosing the right outlets, your company will get noticed via traditional media more and your brand’s SEBI (search engine brand identity) will increase when prospective employees or customers Google you.
Uses for specific social media outlets:
a.) Blogs can be a destination for other social media posts
b.) Facebook is convenient for announcements
c.) LinkedIn group discussions are also useful. Does your company have a LinkedIn page? They should.
d.) Twitter is a perfect outlet for reminders and sharing experiences through hashtags.
e.) YouTube videos are powerful tools for recruiting and promotion. Did you know that YouTube is also the #2 search engine on the WWW?
f.) Leverage these social media networks to tap new volunteers / potential employees
SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES VOLUNTEERING WITH COWORKERS EVEN MORE FUN
Organize contests to get your employees involved. Offer prizes. Consider a catchy name for your EVP.
Let your employees compete in an annual or biannual volunteer hour challenge. Honor the winners publicly on social media and you will increase likability, brand recognition, and engage more employees to get involved.
Maybe you don’t want your employees to be BFF (best friends forever) but getting them out of the office and engaged in hands-on activities increases their relationships exponentially.
MY EMPLOYEES DON’T LIKE TO GET DIRTY
With the new trend toward skills-based volunteering, the volunteer opportunities don’t necessarily have to be building a Habitat House or a citywide cleanup. The more you can target your employees with volunteer events based on their interests and they will feel more prepared when they volunteer.
What does social media have to do with this? Give them a choice. Employees like to be given a choice of opportunities. Let a volunteer hub (Volunteer Mid-South if in Memphis) provide you with multiple facets of civic engagement and ask employees via social media what they’d like to do.
WHAT DO MY EMPLOYEES DO AFTER VOLUNTEERING?
Encourage your employees to engage immediately or up to a few days after volunteering:
a.) Let employees blog about their experience on the company’s workplace blog
b.) The Facebook group platform can host polls and solicit opinions and feedback
c.) Request volunteers ‘live-experience’ the opportunity by snapping images and creating content on their personal social media accounts for others to see that your company gives back.
4 C’S OF SOCIAL MEDIA’S ROLE IN VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT
a.) Communicate – share the various volunteer opportunities to your staff.
b.) Coordinate – create teams based on volunteer interests or departments. Make it FUN.
c.) Celebrate – celebrate your employees that take part in employee volunteer programs.
d.) Connect – beyond the experience, have them write blog posts, live share the experience, take photos, create videos, etc. LET YOUR EMPLOYEES GET CREATIVE.
e.) Curate - take the content that the employees create (i.e. photos, blog posts, videos, surveys, etc.) and use it in conjunction with your current social media posts. Your customers will love to see what your employees do to help the community.
HOW DO WE GET OUR EMPLOYEES TO CARE ABOUT OUR VALUES THROUGH VOLUNTEERISM?
We need to take off the employees’ analytical hats. Having your company show how their ideas are associated with things other employees already care about increases their values ownership within the company.
And most importantly, appeal to their self-identities. Not only to the person you hired in the beginning but who they would like to be. Gaining brand trust transcends the customers. It matters to the employees too.