Life After College………..

They say get an education, stay in school, don’t do drugs, get your diploma, get your degree, get your master’s, then your PhD……..

But what they fail to explain is life after everything is completed. Did they warn you about the real world? Well in some sort of way they say that REAL life is no joke and that its hard. But then again they say if you want to be successful to do all of the above.

Okay, so I went to school, got good grades, got my degree, and then what? Get a job? Get an internship? Get money?

With the level of students finishing college in May, the level of applicants increases remarkably. We are out of school and now we are ready to make some real money. But exactly how long is it going to take for us to make some real money? A week? A month? A year or two?

But then we are told that now-a-days a bachelor degree is not enough and to go on and get our master’s. My French teacher from college told his students that the school system is simply a way to put as many people as they can on hold because the lack of availability of jobs that can be provided post graduation. The government wants us to stay in school so that we would be postponed to the difficulties of finding a job. I’ll just have to say that I second that.

But then why are there so many job postings on sites such as Indeed, Idealist, and Career Builder? Well, yeah, you’re going to find that there is an available position for your degree but then the requirements would be to have AT LEAST 2-5 yrs experience. And this is for an Entry Level Job!!!! Okay, maybe I over exaggerated a little on the years but most postings do say 1-2 years experience. My thought has always been, “How are you suppose to gain experience if we are never given the experience?” Makes sense right? So throughout college, future employers are basically telling you that not only did you have to have been a full-time student for four years, work while being a student, but also intern for a year or two at the same time. Or, employers are saying that since you did not fit the minimum years of experience requirements that you must work for us for free as an intern and then maybe, just maybe would we hire you. Of course this won’t be until about interning for a couple of months and then we would make the decision. So since the intern is NON-PAID, while you’re interning you must find a regular job because there’s only a certain amount of time that you can go without money.

So, with all that and said, don’t forget to get an education, stay in school, don’t do drugs, get your diploma, get your degree, get your master’s, and then your PhD.

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What Does It Take To Be a Social Media Strategist?

Since the launch of the terminology Web 2.0 in 2001, there has been a change in the way people are able to use the Internet. Web 2.0 is an upgraded platform from Web 1.0 that ties everything together on the World Wide Web. The major aspect of Web 2.0 is the many social media networking sites that are available to almost anybody. However, when social media is being used in a professional manner, it is important for it to be used properly, which is where a social media strategist comes in.

Social media gives the opportunity for contact with others through the web. Positive characteristics of social networking sites is that it can reach out to an infamous amount of people at a single time. It gives the chance to meet people who may have the same interests in a particular field. It’s an opportunity to share ideas and receive feedback. For a social media strategist, it give the chance to market a company and/or agency and build a relationship with its customers.

When working as a social media intern, I was able to learn many interesting things about social media. My first project that was handed over to me was to figure out how financial advisors are using social media. After figuring out what they do in order to gain attention and show-off their skills to other or interested financial advisors, I was able to learn that they network on their own social sites such as Seeking Alpha and Covestor. In other projects, I was able to find out how hospitals, sports teams, insurance companies, and retailers all use social media.

The difficulty in trying to get a business or organization to add social media as a tactic is the lack of definite statistics that will prove that social media will help derive customers or consumers. It’s not necessarily a risk to expand to social media; it’s just a change. There are subscribers such as Radian 6,which is a web platform that is able to measure, analyze, and report social media efforts for businesses and organizations. Radian 6 is a step into figuring out what people are saying on the Internet.

Another major difficulty in getting people involved in social media is proving that people are involved! This may seem a little confusing at first, but with examples, it won’t. For instance, hospitals in social media; some people may believe that hospitals are inactive in social media, when in doubt, they are very active. Every year there are non-profit organizations that list the top hospitals in the country such as The LeapFrog Group. The LeapFrog Group has a list of forty-five top hospitals in the U.S. for the year 2009 in which forty of the forty-five are active in social media.

I am not trying to argue that all businesses and organizations should be a part of a social networking site, but for them to consider it and to try to weigh out the pros and cons.

With the digital shift in communicating, it may be of importance for businesses and organizations to have a social media strategist to start the process of getting “involved” on the Internet. The advantage of having a social media strategist is that they have the knowledge and skill to properly start communicating through social networking sites.

So what does it really take to become a social media strategist?

Patience: Have to be willing to educate and explain others on the different types of social media sites and how it may be a benefit.

Determined and Passionate: Have to be able to argue through research that people are using social networking sites and how social media factors of into advertising, marketing, public relations, and many other communication fields.

Creative: Have to come up with different ways of utilizing a social networking site that may best market an organization and/or event.

Knowledgeable: Know the characteristics of Web 2.0 and how it is a major factor of introducing many social networking sites.

Why H&M?

H&M’s Facebook account has over 2 million fans, which is more than twice the fans of other retailer accounts. The question to this enormous amount is why? This post will try to answer it.

Fashion retailers have to continuously find ways to keep their customers updated on its latest collections. It is important to advertise products for people to gain familiarity to form a sense of what they need or want. Most fashion advertisements are done so through magazines, billboards, posters, commercials, etc. However, with the new generation of communication, what better way to keep customers consistent about certain brands than through social media?

Retailers use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace to upload pictures of new season items, job postings, store openings, feedback on items, events, model calls, contests, and much more. These social networking sites really form a connection between retailers and its customers.

On a rating of the top 10 retailers’ Facebook sites that are visited the most, H&M came in first place with over 2.8 million likes following Hot Topic with over 300,000 likes.

Retailer Likes
H&M 2.8 million
Hot Topic 300,000
Pottery Barn 100,000
Forever 21 900,000
American Apparel 200,000
J. Jill No Account
Pottery Barn for Kids 48,000
The Limited 38,000
Sephora 600,000
Banana Republic 100,000

H&M is a retail store that sells clothing and accessories for men, women, and children of all ages. It was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is now global but at the same time very limited. Its stores are located in selective cities around the United States in the Northeast, the Southeast, and Lower Western parts. In the U.S., products on H&M cannot be bought online and will have to be purchased in the store only.

What makes H&M so unique in comparison to other popular brand such as Express and Forever 21, is that it is very affordable and the products are similar to items that can be worn in a Paris Couture Runway Show. H&M could be described as being the “affordable Couture.” Its clothing could be worn preppy, club, schoolgirl, fitted, and much more. Putting an outfit together at H&M gives off the impression of an expensive designer wear. Its products are a mixture of trendy but then again vintage.

H&M’s Facebook account includes discussions, recent posts from customers, and albums on collections and some social impacting events such as its Fashion Against Aids campaign.

When trying to figure out why H&M’s Facebook account is the most visited, there really isn’t a definite answer. In the past month in a half, H&M likes went from 2.1 million to 2.8 million. Customers leave comments daily from all over the world on how much they love its products and wants more stores to be open in more places.

So why is H&M number one?

Maybe it’s because it is limited due to only being in selective areas, maybe because its affordable, or maybe because it really is a great retail store.

The truth of H&M’s popularity and success lies within its customers and their personal views of why it is on top.

Success of Social Media at UMMC

Ed Bennett, University of Maryland Medical Center’s director of web strategy, explains on how hospitals should use social media in Health-Care Reform Stokes Spending by Top Hospitals, Clinics; “I tell hospitals ‘Don’t get into social media because you think you’re going to get more patients. Do it because you’re helping be responsible to people reaching out looking for answers.’”

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) is a great example of a hospital that is current in social media and receives a great amount of feedback on its social networking sites. It is located on the West Side of Downtown Baltimore, Maryland and is available to the entire state.

UMMC is connected to:

YouTube

Featuring videos of a brief tour of the hospital, nurses and doctors explain what patients may expect in certain medical categories, and connections to YouTube videos on health news.

Facebook

Wall post consist of updates on UMMC and feedback on the website.

Medical questions are also asked on the Facebook wall post but cannot be answered. UMMC redirects members to it’s website to submit questions or call the hospital.

Twitter

Tweets on helpful health care related advice, reminders on special events, and links to articles such as UMMC Blogs and ABC 2 News on health.

Blog

Featuring inspirational stories, nutrition advice, updates on Haiti relief project, and other health related issues. UMMC also received the 2010 HAL Medical Awards taking the spot of 6 out of 10 and being quoted as “having the most breathtaking stories.”

iPhone application

Features 50,000 pages of medical content.

Results

According to Ed Bennett’s presentation on Hospitals and Social Media, UMMC is continuously receiving an increase in video viewers, which also increases awareness. Given that UMMC has duplicated over 100 videos from YouTube to its site has raised the number of monthly viewers from 20,000 in March 2008 to 75,000 in March 2009. This connection links people to the UMMC site raising the number of daily visitors.

UMMC’s location on the West Side of Downtown Baltimore, Maryland is an issue due to criminal activity in the area. In the last year, there have been a reported 37,000 property crimes and over 10,000 violent crimes. And yet, for four years in a row, UMMC has been named one of the nation’s top hospitals for Safety and Quality through the LeapFrog Group, a non-profit organization whose mission wants to change issues in healthcare.

Social media is helping.

The top 2009 hospitals under the Leapfrog Group consisted of thirty-four urban hospitals, eight children’s hospitals, and three rural hospitals; a total of forty-five. Out of the forty-five top hospitals listed, only five facilities (in blue) are inactive in social media.

  • Polk Medical Center; Cedartown GA
  • Stephens Memorial Hospital; Norway ME
  • Waldo County General Hospital; Belfast ME
  • Mayo Clinic Hospital; Phoenix AZ
  • California Pacific Medical Center – Davies Campus; San Francisco CA
  • California Pacific Medical Center – California Campus; San Francisco CA
  • California Pacific Medical Center – Pacific Campus; San Francisco CA
  • Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center; Anaheim CA
  • Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center; Baldwin Park CA
  • Kaiser Permanente Bellflower/Downey Medical Center; Bellflower CA
  • Kaiser Permanente Hayward Hospital; Hayward CA
  • Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Hospital; Sacramento CA
  • Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Hospital; Sacramento CA
  • Stanford Hospital & Clinics; Stanford CA
  • University of California Davis Medical Center; Sacramento CA
  • North Shore University Health System’s Highland Park Hospital; Highland Park IL
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital; Chicago IL
  • Rush University Medical Center; Chicago IL
  • University of Maryland Medical Center; Baltimore MD
  • Bay state Medical Center; Springfield MA
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Boston MA
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Boston MA
  • North Shore Medical Center – Union Hospital; Lynn MA
  • Norwood Hospital; Norwood MA
  • Detroit Receiving Hospital; Detroit MI
  • Harper-Hutzel Hospital; Detroit MI
  • Mayo Clinic – Methodist Hospital; Rochester MN
  • Mayo Clinic Saint Marys; Rochester MN
  • Regions Hospital; Saint Paul MN
  • The Valley Hospital; Ridgewood NJ
  • University Medical Center at Princeton; Princeton NJ
  • James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute; Columbus OH
  • The Ohio State University Hospital; Columbus OH
  • Lehigh Valley Hospital; Allentown PA
  • Bon Secours St. Francis Health System; Greenville SC
  • Vanderbilt University Hospital; Nashville TN
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center; Seattle WA
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Los Angeles CA
  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County; Orange CA
  • Children’s National Medical Center; Washington DC
  • Children’s Hospital Boston; Boston MA
  • Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota – Minneapolis; Minneapolis MN
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Cincinnati OH
  • Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC; Pittsburgh PA
  • The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital

Reasons why UMMC can be such a success throughout the nation would be because of its involvement on social impact (joining the Haiti relief effort) and its surrounding community, its updated website, being a part of social media, and expertise in the medical field.

Hospitals In Social Media

As the social media craze goes into high gear, we’re taking a lot at how various industries are using social media. Last week it was the financial services industry. This week, it’s the healthcare industry. Specifically, we want to look at how hospitals are using social media and whether or not it is effective.

Hospital have a specific need for patients. The factors that most influence hospital selection among Western New Yorkers are:
1.      The best doctors

2.      State of the art equipment

3.      Neat, clean, comfortable surroundings

4.      Best nurses

5.      Accreditation

6.      Safety

Each year, Buffalo Spree publishes a magazine on the best doctors, but for the most part, this is a subjective claim that comes from the perceptions of other people. The best doctors get the best word of mouth. And the new word of mouth is now social media.

With that said, Western New York hospitals aren’t very active in the social media. WNYers are not being early adopters. Some that may show a slight interest in social media is Catholic Health which has a bookmark and share button so that people could share the page on various sites to promote. Also, Olean General Hospital has an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed that allows updates on classes and events to be sent to a standardized format.

These tools do show some capability of the hospitals marketing it self through social media but it is not enough. Bookmark and share and RSS feed are basic ways of forwarding messages. But one cannot simply rely on forwarding a message because it does not always receive acknowledgment.

According to the Hospital Social Network List many hospitals around the country are active in communicating with patients through social media. In the state of New York there are 136 hospitals using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and/or Blogs. And throughout the country, 1,527 hospitals are currently active in social media. These tactics give the opportunity for patients to post what they experienced at the hospital through its social networking page. Canton-Potsdam Hospital in Canton, New York, had a patient recently comment on its Facebook page as her experience at the hospital as being absolutely wonderful!

Some hospitals Twitter accounts, such as Mission Children’s Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, have up to or even more than 900 followers, which do not only consist of employees. The real question that needs answering is “How are these hospitals getting patients to sign up and speak about their experience through these social networks?”

The truth maybe that people feed off of what other people think; one perception gives off a sense of thought to another. Another reason would be asking. What better way to ask someone to post a comment of their experience in a hospital than to simply approach and ask?

An Internet slide show guideline gives some useful advice for hospitals wanting to be a part of social media such as the best ways to connect with people on Facebook and how launching videos of the hospital facility is of use to the hospital. The main point that the slide show focuses on is for the hospital staff to know what the patients would like to see and the best way to do so is through collaborative communication on the web.

Eclipse ‘The Twilight Sage’

After exposing the “dying to see for” clip of the up coming movie Eclipse (third film of the Twilight Saga) at the MTV Video Music award on June 6, 2010, there is already a scare for when the movie hits theaters on June 30, 2010, or is there?

The Twilight Sage is a series of four books about a human, Bella Swan and a vampire, Edward Cullen who fall irrevocably in love with each other. Since the exposure of the love that they have for surfaced in public, complications started to arise between the vampire, wolf, and human world.

Who would have thought that a dream could be turned into a multimillion-dollar movies series? Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight Saga, explains on her website that the idea of writing the book was from a dream that she had back in the spring of 2003. Six months later that dream was published.

When the movie Twilight came out in late 2008, it had a rating of 5.7 out of 10 which was averaged out by over 100,000 IMDb users.  For the squeal, New Moon, even though the movie did make lead the box office as the third highest opening grossing of all time, critics rated the film a 27% out of 100% on the Tomatoemeter. Some explained the movie to be centered around three main points “don’t leave me”; “i can’t live with out you”; and “make me a vampire”: which seems to be the overall gist of the love between Edward and Bella.

Producers of Twilight want to keep its fans interested in the movie squeals, so they do so by using different types of social media. Myspace is not as popular as it used to be but still has a great amount of young users. Marketers of the Twilight Saga created a Myspace page to show trailers, photos, and also able to purchase advance tickets of Eclipse. The Twilight Saga also has a Facebook page with over 21,000 likes and a Twitter account with over 300,000 followers.

How Financial Advisors Use Social Media

Social media is an excellent tool for presenting expertise, which is something that’s valued in a financial advisor. Therefore, financial advisors are trying to understand how social media can lead to more leads without trying to conflict with FINRA, the Financial Investors Regulatory Authority. Below, we’ll take a look at how investors present what they know while still abiding to FINRA’s guidelines.

Social media gives financial analysts the opportunity to speak about current stocks and improvements within a company or the improvement of ones personal investments. They are also able to share how investments started and the approaches that helped that investment gain success.

Analysts are using different tactics to show off their knowledge for others to view such as Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and niche social networks that are designed for investment analysts.

  • For blogs, investors post up articles about current investments in stocks and recent news and events of financial advisors.
  • Facebook gives the opportunity for analysts to create a profile to show off what they have accomplished.
  • On Twitter, investors could link in links to tweets that can take followers directly to recent blogs and articles.
  • Videos of investments are posted on YouTube.

Those are the well-known tactics, however a whole sub section of social media sites have launched that allow investors to connect directly to analysts (and vice versa).

  • Seeking Alpha is a social network that handpicks articles from top market blogs, money managers, financial experts and investment newsletters. Investors or interested investors are able set up an account on Seeking Alpha to follow on recent articles by analysts who show off their personal approach to stock picking and portfolio management.  It also gives the opportunity for Seeking Alpha members to track stocks they follow and exchange investment ideas. Designed for investors, Seeking Alpha offers a collection of ‘potential leads’ for the investment industry.
  • Similar to Seeking Alpha, Covestor is a social network that lets investors create and share portfolios. Interested investors that may need help with their personal stock and trade could follow successful strategies from analysts.
  • Stock Twits is compatible to Twitter, whereas Stock Twits main focus is on investments. Stock Twits is also generated to professional investors sharing ideas that can be helpful to those who show interest in starting an investment.

Even though analysts are subjected to using social media to help gain new customers, some proceed with cautious guidelines to try not to go against any social media regulations towards investors.  For example, Putnam Investments decided to take upon the use of social media to expand its company but doing so was a risk to try not to conflict with FINRA.

As such, the CEO of Putnam, Robert Reynold’s has this warning on his Twitter page.

FINRA has recently updated their regulations to take into account social media, and new media. That said, as you can see from the Putnam example, many large companies are weighing into social media carefully.

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