#Xtremechat Round 2

#Xtremechat debuted two weeks ago without a hitch, and we’re prepared to top that with tonight’s second installment of the extreme sports marketing chat. Ski season is over, and its time to grease your bearings, wax your surfboards, and make sure you pick up a bottle of sunscreen with the highest SPF money can buy. Tonight April 14th at 8pm we will be continuing the discussion we kicked off at our initial chat, discussing current (and future) trends in the sports marketing industry. We’re going to kick off tonight’s discussion with the declining snow sports industry, and see why you feel that the sports have plateaued in recent years. At the end of 2013 snow sports sales were up, a good sign for an industry many people consider to be in trouble. Other topics on our agenda include social media and Transworld’s new exposure scoring for extreme sports athletes, Kelly Slater’s recent sponsorship change, and the summer sports that are coming fast as those skis hit the garage and the skateboards hit the streets. Tune in tonight at 8pm for the second installment of #xtremechat!

 

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What to expect in the first #Xtremechat

Strap in and wax those surfboards because #Xtremechat debuts tonight April 2nd at 9pm. Our first feature topic will encompass a variety of current events and trends in the action sport marketing industry. We will touch on a range of topics including the success of the Winter Olympics, Oakley’s retro branding, the declining snowboard industry, the changing seasons bringing around a new year of summer action, corporate cultures, changing sponsorship, and some news about the continued partnership between NBC sports and Red Bull’s Signature Series. Make sure you take a look at a few of these links to shake off the cobwebs before the chat begins tonight. Remember to bring a great attitude and tell your friends to get involved. I would love to submit your own questions to the chat and if you have any please feel free to send them to @locka_flocka by way of direct message on Twitter. See you at 9! Image

5 things to learn from participating in Tweetchats

Ah the Tweetchat. The seemingly always inconveniently timed Twitter discussions have become second nature to me at this point. At first what seemed like a daunting task has now boiled down to what feels like regular conversation if I am in a chat suitable to my own interests. Over the course of my senior year I have participated in quite a few, and have learned quickly that not every chat is for me. The trick is to find your chats and stick to them, soon after you will reap the rewards. Here are 5 things I have learned/gained through my participation in Tweetchats.

  1. How to better interact with Online Communities.
    First and foremost, the number one thing I have learned through my participation in Tweetchats is how to interact with preexisting online communities. Before diving into these chats I was merely interacting on a friend to friend basis, rarely utilizing my social networks to reach out, ask questions, and truly obtain useful content from the Twitterverse. The majority of my interactions would simply be relaying random thoughts that popped into my head. However participation in Tweetchats has changed the way I interact through all of my social platforms, not just Twitter. Although I still like to maintain my personal quirky touch, I find myself interacting very differently online. This has led to the conversion of these platforms into professional tools rather than personal outlets, through which I share content relevant to the fields I hope to soon pursue a career in. Tweetchats have taught me when I should be personal vs. professional as well as how I should approach interactions with peers and professionals via online platforms. I have become more wary of the content I share and the people I follow and choose to interact with. I have also learned that each social platform or specific situation can call for a new type of interaction and may require a different level of professionalism, a different voice, or a different type of content in general such as sharing a video, article, picture, gif, or whatever else may be deemed appropriate to attend to the situation at hand.
  1. Stay up to date, while approaching new topics from various points of view.My first ever Tweetchat happened to be the same place I received the inspiration for my first blog post concerning the deal the NFL had come to with Twitter and displaying a live feed during games. If I had not been participating in the chat, I may have never heard of this news, certainly not as soon after as I had. Not only did I learn about this new information, I was able to discuss the new deal as well as its pros and cons utilizing insights from a countless number of chat participants. By the time the next question was posed I could have written a 5 page novel on the benefits and disadvantages of this new deal just based on the discussions I had, questions I asked, and number of insights I was able to discern from others. Needless to say this chat is not the only one to inspire a blog post, and I often find that shortly after the chat is when I write my most successful posts. Many of the chats I have participated in have turned me on to an array of current events, articles, and recent discussions that I would not have heard elsewhere. In addition to this, the benefit of having so many different points of view in one place is priceless. I am able to see and discuss how recent events are portrayed in the minds of others allows me to share content in a way that is universal and inclusive for all of my followers/circles/groups. Being able to pick and choose which chats I participate in allows me to stay current on topics of my choice whether that is sports, sport marketing, blogging, social media news, business, or job searching/career prep. The opportunities to stay up to date in the field of your choice and enter a valuable real time discussion about them are seemingly endless as you can find a chat for just about anything.
  1. How to build my personal professional network.
    It is easy for one to simply search Twitter and follow thousands of accounts that seem relevant. However, a Tweetchat offers you a truly rare opportunity to interact with these individuals and businesses before you follow them and they reciprocate. Suddenly after interacting with them, whether it is a simple response or them answering a question you posed you become a much more valuable connection in their eyes. These people and brands are often used to attracting the random follower, and this typically means little as you are just another account on their feed. It is your interaction via the chat that gets your foot in the door and makes you seem like a much more valuable account to follow. What I have noticed in my chats is that it is easy to simply be a wallflower. Sit back, watch the Tweets roll in, and pick and choose who you wish to follow. However it is in the chats that I am most heavily involved asking/answering questions, replying to posts, reaching out to specific users and moderators, sharing quality content, and saying hello and goodbye that I have found my most valuable network additions. Those same people that interacted with me in the chat will now interact more frequently with other content I share outside of the chat simply because we have made that personal connection before mutually following. This applies to both parties, as I often find myself engaging more often with users I have connected with via chat because typically the content is relevant to my interests and I have built a sort of trust with them already. I like to apply the 80/20 rule to Twitter and say that 80 percent of your content is consistently engaged by 20% of your following.  Tweetchats have been extremely valuable in helping me build my professional network both on and off of Twitter, and has led to some significant growth within LinkedIn.
  1. How to stand out.
    Being that I’m 6’2 with blazing red hair and one of the rarest names in the book, standing out is something that has always come naturally to me…Until I attempted #blogchat. It was the first time I had truly felt rejected by an online community, but I soon learned not to take it personally. #Blogchat is an established community with an incredible amount of participants which makes it all the more difficult for a new entry like me to stand out. However, I have realized that in many of the less crowded chats I can often interact with others in a way that makes me a major contributor to the chat. I have been able to do this by identifying chats in which I have significant knowledge concerning the subject matter, or something I am extremely passionate about such as sport marketing/business. I can say that one of my most successful chats has been #internpro, where I feel that my content is shared significantly more than others and often by the moderators. I do a number of things to stand out including quick responses to questions, highlighting specific participants I want to reach, addressing the moderators in every post, posing strong questions that call for quick responses, utilizing humor in my posts, and trying to be as creative as possible when addressing the questions posed. Admittedly this is not always foolproof and I sometimes find myself at a loss for engagement. It is in these moments that I do whatever it takes to get my name into the discussion, responding to as many questions as I possibly can, following relevant users and addressing them immediately after, sharing content I have written on my blog, and a number of other appropriate techniques to call attention to myself without straying from providing quality content. One of the dangers of trying to stand out is reducing the quality of your posts. Instead I search for ways to drive engagement without reducing the quality of my posts, rather than searching for any and all engagement I want the right people seeing these posts (although I’m not opposed to some extra blog hits). Being in Tweetchats has helped me refine my style and voice to better stand out in communities that are constantly flooded with content. This has been a great tool for me as I have gained some important connections and dramatically improved the number of followers. In the last two months my following has increased by nearly 75, and growing with another 7 from #internpro tonight. In the virtual world being a 6’2 ginger named Lochlan can only help so much.
  1. Identify key traits of moderators to better understand community management.
    As the end of the semester approaches, the ever daunting task of hosting our own Tweetchat continues to loom over our heads. Needless to say nerves have set in. One of the places I have turned in this time of need is to the current moderators of chats I participate in. I have found that simply by identifying the way these chats are run, and how the moderators interact, I can better identify how I want my chat run. I have found that the moderators of #internpro are some of my favorite, as every time I enter the chat I feel that they are incredibly receptive to their participants. Through my tweetchatting I have picked up on some useful techniques to moderating a Tweetchat of my own. First and foremost you must promote your chat, both within other chats and through your own profile. Once you have established a date and topic it is crucial that you let your followers know, as well as doing everything in your power to reach those outside your following. Make sure you utilize a Twitter Client like Hootsuite or Tweetchat. Even though my initial Tweetchat may be small in size, it is important you make it easy for yourself to quickly engage with participants and stay up the second on responses coming through. This simply cannot be accomplished on the standard Twitter feed. It is important that everyone and anyone feel welcome in your chat and as moderator you do your best to welcome and thank them for coming by specifically tagging them in a welcome post. At this point you might want to pose an interesting question to get discussion flowing in a relevant way, such as asking who their favorite team is if your topic relates to sports. Make sure you have questions (and responses) ready to go. In my experience anywhere from 4-8 questions should suffice as long as they are interesting and engaging! Do your best to respond to everyone you can, but don’t overwhelm yourself. Make sure to focus on the response at hand rather than trying to answer 5 at once. Pay extra attention to new visitors, retweet the best content, and allow participants ample time to respond to questions. It is crucial you utilize some form of metrics and measurement tool, to organize and compile all of the participant’s tweets and send them out after they are archived. Finally reach out to specific people you want involved and ask them to join your chat, and make sure you’re not a control freak. As long as you stick to these guidelines I believe anyone is capable of running a successful chat.

As my own Tweetchat looms ever closer to its debut this Wednesday, April 2nd I can only brace myself for what is to come. I have chosen to discuss current marketing trends in the extreme sports industry. Being my first Tweetchat I have turned to Twitter for advice, and do my best to discern the best promotion and moderation techniques from the Tweetchat gurus that currently dominate the Twitterverse, possibly probing them for questions, and remembering to always utilize these platforms as learning tools.

If you’re interested in extreme sports and the marketing that goes on behind the scenes I urge you to participate in my first Tweetchat Wednesday, April 2nd, at 9pm under the hashtag #xtremechat! Your participation will go a long way and will certainly not go unnoticed. I am ecstatic to get this underway! See you all on Wednesday!

 

6 Tips to Improve Your Personal SEO

In this technological age the first place employers look to when hiring new employees is the almighty internet. The minute you send your resume to potential employers, your name is entered into the Google Lottery, and you better hope you’re a winner. One of the flaws employees of this generation often make is not maintaining their SEO and failing to create a strong personal brand visible to potential employers.

Improving your personal SEO does not mean you have to devote your life to your computer, it can be done very easily if you follow simple tips

Over the course of the last 3 months I have been working to improve my personal SEO and PDI (Professional Digital Imprint) using various social media tools. When I began this endeavor I was already heavily involved in social media, however not at all in a professional manner. So In an effort to improve my PDI and create my own solid personal brand I made some significant changes to the type of content I was generating, how often I was distributing it, and in what places I was distributing it. To my surprise, it was a much smoother process than I had anticipated. In 3 short months I have made some significant improvements in the quality of my content, was hired for a challenging and competitive internship, and have built a much stronger SEO and PDI.

Today I am going to share with you with the steps I took to accomplish this task, with the hopes my advice will allow you to improve your very own PDI.

1. Start Small, Think Big. Select a Focus.

Great things come from small beginnings

We all like to think big, but to get there you must start small. One of the initial problems I faced while improving my SEO was the fact that I was operating too many forms of social media. Because of this I had a large number of profiles which were not being updated regularly and that led to them receiving a poor Google ranking. Remeber to always be sure all of your profile are connected to one another and easily accessible for those navigating them.

One of the first things you should do is select a number of social media sources with which you feel confident you can produce the highest quality content on, in the most consistent manner. For me, these included the big 4; Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Feel free to dabble and find out which areas you would like to focus on most. Whether its through Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit, Vine, or even YouTube, always remember to always keep content fresh and consistent to develop your voice and your brand. 

2. BLOG

Websites like WordPress and Blogger make creating your own personal blog a breeze. Not only is blogging an effective way to document your thoughts on the industry and improve your writing, It can be used to further develop your personal brand, and utilized as  a great networking tool that will score highly on Google search.

Did I say the BLOB? I meant blog, but creating a blog will allow you to create and absorb strong content, similar to how the blob absorbed people in a movie that tormented my childhood

A blog is essential to develop your personal voice and brand identity. Through this blog you should be demonstrating that you have a firm grasp over industry issues in the field of your choice that is of particular interest to you. This is also a chance for you to personally advertise yourself, creating a personal profile equipped with additional portfolios of your choice Presenting a personal website on a resume is a great way to stand out, especially if you have been posting relevant, quality content. Remember to always tag your posts and separate them by category for best effect. Check out some more tips for improving your very own blog!

For myself, the choice was sports, and I have worked tirelessly to translate that message through the content i produce and share via my blog. I have also included an advertising and photography portfolio to showcase my interest in the creative aspects of the marketing profession.

3. Linked In

Creating a LinkedIn is an excellent way to showcase your past and present careers, your recent achievements and build a strong network with industry professionals. There are also a ton of groups and discussions to join, as well as many jobs being posted regularly. Quite simply it’s a great online community to be part of and if you think of it like a professional Facebook, you’ll be alright. LinkedIn also scores very highly on Google search.

Get a LinkedIn to improve your personal SEO and start building your professional network now!

For me this meant revamping my entire LinkedIn profile. Although I had already created my profile, it was extremely basic, failed to highlight my personal brand, and did not showcase any of my work. Over the last 3 months I have steadily improved my LinkedIn account by including links to my blog and other social networks, using an appropriate picture, developing a strong bio and brand, as well as including things such as my education, courses, previous and current jobs, and some relevant projects I have completed in my recent years at school. In 3 months i have gained over 125 new valuable connections and improved my profile status from beginner to all star, I have also upped my profile views dramatically.

LinkedIn is an especially important social tool for you to have. Think of it as your online resume, one that employers will check regularly especially during the hiring season. Remember to always keep your LinkedIn content up to date, and make sure you only showcase your best work!

4. Twitter

Twitter is rapidly becoming one of the most influential and important social media tools at your disposal. As it continues to gain notoriety it has become an increasingly important tool in building your personal and public SEO. Thousands of businesses and professionals in every industry use Twitter to broadcast current events, and industry news so it is a great source of information. Twitter can be used effectively as a tool to share your own industry thoughts and personal observations.

Twitter allows you the freedom to follow and post content unique to yourself and your personal brand. Make it your own!

Prior to my efforts to improve my SEO Twitter to me was simply a social media tool for spitting out any nonsense that came into my mind, or communicating with friends similar to a text conversation. In 3 short months I have increased my following by 200, followed over 600 new and relevant accounts, updated my bio and profile, as well as greatly increased the quality and relevance of the content I share and produce. The majority of which is relevant to the sport marketing industry.

Twitter scores highly on Google search and provides legitimate benefits like unparalleled access to industry colleagues and businesses letting you know what they are thinking and up to. If used properly Twitter has the potential to be a really neat networking and personal SEO tool. Always remember that employers will check your tweets to try and find out more about you. So it is worth considering the type of content you are producing.

5. Google +

Although relatively young, and a small blip on the radar in comparison to Twitter and Facebook, Google+ will work wonders for your personal SEO. More and more organizations and individuals are beginning to utilize G+ as the benefits become increasingly apparent. After all, Google runs the world so having an account with them should seem like a no brainer for someone who wants to improve their Google search results.

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Twitter and Facebook need to make room for Google+ and its rapidly growing community

Before my recent push for SEO I had zero content on my Google+, not even a picture adorning my profile page. Over the course of the last 3 months I have begun to utilize my G+ more efficiently, updating my profile and providing site links to my various social media profiles. As for content, I am aiming to improve and provide more personal content via my profile. I have learned to utilize Google+ as a means of promoting my blog to great effect and suggest you create a profile ASAP to get on G+ while its growing.

Google+ scores extremely high on Google search, and they will even create prime real estate for your posts to appear in other search results. Content you post here will stay around and gain page ranks quickly if it is received well by your community. Google+ is an excellent way to build, manage, and organize your professional network and allows you full control over who sees your posts.

6. Keep an eye on the numbers. Utilize analytic tools. 

One of the most important things you MUST do to maintain a strong personal SEO is maintain a vigilant watch over the performance of your various social profiles. There are a number of tools with which you can measure your performance or your’e influence like Klout, Tweetlevel, Kred, Tweetreach, Blog Level, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and hundreds more. These sites will allow you to track how well your profiles are performing, as well as the number of people that are influenced by your content and interactions.

Remember to keep an eye on the numbers

Over the last 3 months I have vastly improved my social profiles, and have managed to boost my scores on all of my required analytics tools. Over the course of the semester I have improved my levels as follows…

  • Klout: Day 1: 28 — Today: 58
  • Kred: Influence 696/1000 — Outreach level 6/12
  • Tweetlevel: Score 54.0 — Influence Level Curator 
  • Bloglevel: Score 7.5

As you continue to produce content, and develop your personal brand it is crucial you keep an eye on your metrics, and maintain consistent performance throughout the lifetime of your profiles to optimize your personal SEO.

Twitter, Facebook, and the battle for social supremacy in the NFL

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, coats are leaving their closets, fireplaces are burning away the cobwebs and football season is in full swing. Every sunday TV‘s, computer, and phones screens are lighting up as people prepare themselves for the most important day of the week.

The NFL has been on a mission to provide a more interactive and encompassing fan experience in hopes of increasing stadium attendance, and their global reach. Social media platforms have been quick to hop on board with the NFL, who sees social media as a great way to access thousands of new fans, while reinforcing their brand identity in their current fans. Twitter has broken through the NFL’s strict digital distribution rules, and struck a major deal that looks to provide major benefits to both sides.

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Twitter and the NFL working together

The NFL has gained the ability to run promoted advertisements on Twitter feeds. These ads will be integrated in real time fashion as the games play out on television screens, featuring videos of big hits and game breaking plays. Based on Twitters current ad style, they will not interrupt the flow of the users feed. This is HUGE for the NFL as they now have the ability to reach thousands of new potential fans, while keeping their current fans satisfied with a plethora of highlight reel moments. Mobile phones are becoming an increasingly important tool to the common sports fan. Updates are now on a constant stream as content is thrown at us from the endless sea of apps that only continues to grow. The NFL has already made some moves on the mobile market by completely revamping their NFL app to make it more intuitive for fan use. From here you can watch live games and highlights, with a constant stat tracker for every game and every player so fans can find what they want when they want it. Twitter stands to gain just as much, if not more from the deal as they expand their advertising horizons. Twitter has gained exclusive rights to the NFL’s digital content, which has been a struggle for many others who have tried. They stand to gain the most financially from the deal, according to an ESPN and EMarketer Inc. estimate Twitter will double their ad revenue from $583 million to over $1 billion. It will be interesting to see if Twitter will update the way their ads stream on users feeds to make the content more visible.

However Twitter is not the only social media giant striking deals with major sports organizations. Facebook has hopped on the bandwagon, also striking a deal with FOX Sports that will allow the platform to air real time fan feeds on television broadcasts for the NFL, soccer and college football. Neither of the companies are paying each other in the deal, which is solely to increase their reach while increasing fan interaction. Facebook was able to calculate that during prime time television hours, anywhere from 88 to 100 million people are active on the book. They have also noticed a significant jump in activity during football hours, suggesting that fans are making their voices heard via the social media platform. FOX sports and Facebook are giving them a chance to share that voice in real time for an even bigger audience than simply their online friends. Facebook, which is typically not a platform associated with real time activities like this has been attempting to increase its presence in live events, similar to the ways Twitter is used. They have been adopting a number of strategies already used by Twitter such as searchable hashtags, and verified pages. As Facebook looks to increase fan interaction and activity during prime time hours, FOX Sports is looking to increase fans interaction while viewing their programs. They are going beyond simply a live stream open to comments by posing fan questions, casting real time polls, and including a major feature that monitors fan “volume” via their Facebook and Instagram activity during game time.

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Facebook has implemented verified pages to steer fans clear of mock accounts

The NFL has a lot to gain from utilizing its social media outreach. As our society becomes increasingly adept to the multi screen lifestyle, reaching customers via their mobile devices is a necessity in this day and age. Social media platforms also stand to gain a lot from opportunities like these, and have been able to leverage their real time interaction strategies to increase user interaction on their sites. Sports thrive on their social nature. Facebook and Twitter are both great tools used by sports fans, for sports fans. As the NFL strikes deals with them, the NBA, MLB, and NHL will not be far behind as sports organizations look to find ways to increase their fan interaction, because who doesn’t want to feel like they’re part of the team?