Career Advice for New Grads in 140 Characters (more or less)

Has another year really gone by so quickly?  This post first appeared on May 14, 2010, but the advice still applies to 2011 grads.  If you contributed in 2010 and would like to update your advice, tweet at me using #Advice4Grads or leave your comment here.  Thanks again to everyone who contributed last year and best of luck to the Class of 2011!

The class of 2010 is graduating on Sunday. In their honor and in the spirit of true alumni networking, I asked many of the alums I interact with on Twitter to tweet me their best career advice for 2010 grads, in 140 characters or less.  

I got a great response and each is a little bit different.  Some of the alums couldn’t stop at just one,  and I included them all.   Us twitter folks are very good at writing concisely, and that is evident as you read through these snippets of advice.  Obviously, 140 characters of advice is not going to land you a job, but it can help you tweak what you are doing in your job search or how you behave in the workplace, to make that experience more successful.

Instead of providing the names, grad years and majors of these alums, I offer their twitter handles.  If you are interested in hearing more of what they have to say, follow them on Twitter; the vast majority have a link on their bio to a LinkedIn profile, website or blog.

You will also see a couple of longer bits here from a couple of alums who e-mailed me their advice, and a few more from some Non-SU alums, but nonetheless great people who I know from Twitter and wanted to help out.

Many thanks to all my Twitter friends who contributed to make this possible!  Many of the alums quoted here I have met on campus or at one of the SUccess in the City events, or spoken with on the phone.  Some I only know through Twitter.  All are wonderfully giving people who wanted to share what they have learned with you.  I would love to have your feedback in the comments section ~ let me know what your favorite bit of advice is and why.    (you’ll probably be able to guess what my favorite is 🙂

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Why I’m no longer Groupon-ing or Living Social

If someone said to you, “How would you like to have an awesome deal delivered to your inbox every day, a 50% off deal (or more!)”…would you want it?

I thought I did.  I signed up for Groupon.  I get Syracuse, New York City and (who knows why) Cincinnati groupons.  I also get Daily Deals, Living Social, and a whole slew of others.

If you’re like me, your inbox is already full enough.  So why do we continue to sign up for services that send us more worthless emails, like clockwork? Every morning when I wake up, I can count on hitting delete a minimum of 20 times for the mass markdowns, not just from the group couponing sites, but from every retail store I’ve ever been dumb enough to offer my email address to!

But I digress…there are lots of emails I hate, but my rant today is strictly for the group couponers.

To the right is a sampling of the “deals” I have been offered lately.  

The problem with these?  They’re not targeted:  I don’t have a baby.   I’ve seen Syracuse from the air; it’s not that exciting.  I don’t live in Oswego.  I don’t shop at stores that have names like Coldwater Creek.  Wall decals? I have my own eye doctor, thank you.

I’ve bought two Groupons in my life.  One for a restaurant that I probably would like, but I would only go to for lunch and I have to drive there, so I’ll never use it.  The other was for Bath & Body Works.  I took it into the store and the manager never even heard of Groupon (is that possible?).  It was only then that I realized that it was online only…so what may have seemed like a deal was really just saving me the shipping costs.  My bad on both counts.

But that’s what these group couponing sites are hoping for.  They hope that you don’t read the fine print, that you lose the groupon or forget about it or never use it.  They don’t care, they get their cut when you put your credit card number in.

What amazes me is that ALL of these companies are using old-fashioned marketing speak to try to sell you stuff you don’t need.  I thought we were over this?  I thought this was the age of transparency, one to one customer service and The Thank You Economy?

Here’s an example from yesterday’s Syracuse Groupon for half-off a helicopter ride:

“Lifting off from Hancock Airport, the sky vessel sojourns south over notable landmarks such as Carousel Center mall and Onondaga Lake. The airborne gaze upon Syracuse like an ant surveying his amoeba colony, as the chopper cuts east toward the zoo, Carrier Dome, and Syracuse University.”

Everybody raves about how witty Groupons are.  Please. This is like really bad fiction. AND PEOPLE BUY IT!

So, today’s lessons are A) stop giving out your email address to everyone that asks.  It’s not a law: it’s your choice, and B) Boycott needless junk in your life.  All of it, including Groupons. Your wallet (and your inbox) will be glad you did.


Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


What’s Instagram & Why is it so Popular?

Although Instagram has only been around for a little over three months, you’ve most likely heard of it, if not used it.  For those of you in the former category, I’ve got an overview for you of what it is and why I think it’s so wildly popular. Instagram is a photo-sharing app for iPhone.  Sorry Blackberry & Android users, it’s not available for you yet.  One of the reasons Instagram is based on the iPhone is because of its amazing camera.  So people are already taking lots of great pictures with their phones, why not try to make them more interesting?

Here’s a bit about the brief but amazingly quick ascendancy of Instagram:   

  • Launched on October 6
  • #1 in the App Store within 24 hours of launch
  • iPhone App of the Week
  • Holds the record as quickest to reach 1 million downloads, occurring on December 21
  • Launched 7 new languages
  • An Instagram photo made the cover of the Wall Street Journal

So why is everyone flocking to Instagram?  What does it actually do?

Easy to Get Started:  Got to the App Store, Download, Set up account, choose a username and upload a profile pic.

Photo Sharing:  You can take pictures within the app or use photos that already exist in your camera roll.  You can give your photo a title, which is helpful and fun.  Photos can be instantly shared, not only on Instagram, but also facebook, twitter, Flickr, Posterous and Tumblr.  You can also connect with your foursquare account and tag your photos with location.  By default, photos are public on Instagram.  If you want people to have to ask permission before they follow you, set to private.  To date, I don’t follow anyone with a private account.  That’s what facebook is for.

Photo Manipulation:  The ‘cool’ factor of Instagram is the fact that they have 11 different filters you can use to up the interest of your pix.  Even boring photos can look amazing with some of these filters.  Instagram has tweaked their filter selection since launch and there are indications that eventually you will be able to purchase additional filters.  Filters range from retro to futuristic.  When you factor in other photo manipulation apps like Diptic, Camera+, Photo Mess and 360, the possibilities are endless.

Social: Instagram, like any other social network, is based around having friends or followers.  On Instagram you ‘follow’ people.  At the top of your profile (or anyone’s profile) you will see the username, profile pic, how many photos have been uploaded, how many followers the account has, and how many they are following.  When you follow someone, their photos show up in your stream. The only other things you can do are ‘like‘ photos and comment on them.  Both are appreciated.  People ask questions in the comments, like ‘where was this taken’ or ‘what app did you use for that?’.  Once you get into using Instagram, you will see how laid back people are and how much fun they are having.  It’s currently a very friendly community.

Finding People to Follow: Instagram lets you see which of your twitter and facebook friends are using instagram and easily start following them.  There is also a ‘Invite Friends’ feature, but that simply links to your address book ~ and the rest is up to you.  Instagram will also suggest users if you like.  My two favorite ways of finding people to follow are 1) the Popular Page and 2) Seeing who is leaving interesting comments on pix I like.  The Popular Page shows you which pix currently have the most Likes.  You will inevitably find 2 cat pictures, 3 sunsets and  4 with really amazing lines (people seem to like symmetry).  You can click on any photo on the popular page and see all the other photos posted by that person, and many times you will want to follow.  It takes a lot of followers to end up on the popular page, so they’re usually pretty good photogs.  From there, I might look at the pix of some of the people who are leaving comments that I think are a) funny or b) similar to my thinking.  Following may ensue.  I also tend to look at the pix of people with interesting user names like ‘kyotosong’ or ‘lioness_in_maui’.  In general, Instagram is not about ‘promoting your personal brand’.  You will, however, find some superstars on Instagram, if you consider tech geeks to be superstars.  Scobleizer and Paris Lemon have accounts, as do Jack Dorsey and Ev Williams.  And a must follow is NPR ~ amazing pix.  National Geographic joined Instagram but has yet to upload a photo. They are, however, taking comments on what you would like to see.

So that’s the gist of how Instagram works.  What makes it so wildly popular?

The photographs.  You will find some of the most amazing photographs you have ever seen on Instagram.  The tools we now have allow almost anyone with a decent eye to take beautiful, crisp shots.  That’s not to say you won’t find the everyday and mundane on Instagram, because you will.  But as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  All the more important to be careful who you follow on Instagram, because its all about who’s in your feed ~ what do you find interesting?  Some people take shots of nothing but weddings, or landscapes, or horses.  Determine what is is you want to look at, or look at whatever strikes your fancy.

There’s no Klout on Instagram. Just because you’re Paris Lemon doesn’t mean you’re going to have a million followers on Instagram.  It’s all about the pix.  So post the pictures of your dog, or the socks you’re wearing or the street signs you pass on the way to work.  It’s OK here.  And no one cares if your follower/following count is upside down, in fact most people’s are.  You can go away from Instagram for a week or two and nobody will notice.  You can peek in and take a look when you want…post some pix when you want.  No one is going to unfollow you.  And if they do, big deal.  No pressure here.

A running documentary of your life. I’ve post 150+ pix in the past two months and I like looking through to see where I’ve been and what I’ve done.  You’ll like it too.

The Community. My experience on Instagram has been extremely pleasant and enjoyable.  I’ve never seen negative comments on people’s pix.  But I have seen people with large followings using those followings to try to do something good ~ ie raise awareness and possibly donations towards those affected by the flooding in Queensland, Australia.  I’ve talked to other Instagram’ers from China and Hawaii, and follow people from Amsterdam, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.  It’s a very global community and has a flat-world feel.

An Education on our Shared Humanity. This is my favorite part of Instagram.  Getting a glimpse into the everyday lives of people who I’ll  never meet, who live in completely different cultures than I do.  What I’ve found is not so much how different we are, but how alike we all are.  People all over the world celebrate weddings and birthdays, cherish their children and pets, appreciate a nice sunset or beach scene, like to drink (yes, they do) and are obsessed with food.  I love looking at pictures from China and seeing the dichotomy between Old China and New China.  And you can find something that fascinates you as well.

Instagram is a keeper.  If you like using Instagram, share with me how you use it or what you’ve learned from looking at all those pix.  If you have a question on using Instagram, or suggestions for some great people to follow, I’d love to hear from you too.


Posted by on January 13, 2011 in Mobile Apps, Social Media, Uncategorized


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Top 10 Twitter Moments of 2010 ~ Personal

I’ve been on twitter for almost 2 years now and it hasn’t disappointed me yet!

2010 was a year of fantastic growth for twitter and for me.  And I have to say that a lot of the great things that came my way this year were in large part due to the little microblogging platform that we love so dearly.

Here are the ones that come to my holidazed mind….all names will be in twitter speak.

  • Social Media Futures / weekend-long charrette that @rotolo invited me to attend, along with @danklamm, as guest blogger & tweeter.  This was my first ‘professional’ gig.  Great experience where I got to meet some of my future co-workers and compatriots including @alyssahenry @dhrosen @tricialing @shaycolson @amedmunds @georgegsmithjr @frosey @nickcicero and many others.  Loved the environment of this collaborative effort held in the Colab Playhouse, which I hear will be no longer, and that’s a damn shame.
  • SU Basketball Games / If there’s one thing I remember about last winter, it’s the rush I got while sitting at home watching SU hoops and being able to share the game with SU fan tweeps all over the country!  This was the first time I think I really discovered the power of twitter to bring a community together.  We were all rooting for @j_flynn and @w_johnson and making a run for the final four!  The best part of one of those nights was when we won a game in NY and the Empire State Building was lit up orange.  Guess that’s becoming something of a regular occurrence 😉
  • Meeting @bethebutterfly in NYC /  This was awesome.  I went to NYC with @aachie35 for fourth of July weekend.  I was going to write a post back then about how it was my ‘social media weekend’ because every part of it was infused with SM, but I never got around to it.  Anyways, when I checked into the W @ Union Square on @foursquare, @bethebutterfly tweeted at me and said she was nearby, would I like to meet for drinks.  @aachie35 (who has since realized this is perfectly normal) thought it a bit strange, but agreed to go along with me.  @bethebutterfly took us to Pure Food & Wine in Gramercy where I  was introduced to White Sangria (delish) and we hung out in the hidden courtyard.  She was great, the place was great…but the best part was this I told her she ought to check out @LvM, that I thought they would hit it off.  As witnessed on twitter, they did hit it off and became friends.  Score! 
  • Winning a suite weekend from @bryantparkhotel / @bryantparkhotel is probably the coolest place I’ve ever stayed in NYC.  When I found them on twitter and realized that they were doing awesome SM marketing as well, I promoted them whenever I could.  They ran a contest to help them get to 5K followers back in the spring, early summer.  To win, you only had to RT them sometime during the time of the contest until they reached 5K.  Imagine my surprise when they tweeted at me that I won!!  This is about an $850 prize ~ biggest thing I’ve ever won!  I’m planning on taking my daughter for the weekend in April, for our traditional spring break trip to the City.  It’s her fav hotel too 🙂 [Note:  I just won another 2 nights in a loft B&B in Atlanta during the holiday #SMManners chat.  Figuring out what to do with that!]
  • Wegmans / @Wegmans has been a big part of my twitter consciousness this year.  @wegmans is amazing on twitter, everybody knows that.  I actually wrote a blog post about how awesome they are after they started carrying my favorite @starbucks drink because I asked them to.  But not just that, how they conduct their customer service overall is amazing, on twitter and IRL.  When @wegmans came to campus to speak in @rotolo’s class, the SM team told me that was their favorite bog post!  In addition, @wegmans became part of the #pricechopperfail controversy that went down early in the fall, not for doing anything, but just because what started it all of was a tweet comparing the grandeur of @wegmans to the pitiful state of Price Chopper.  This became a big part of my world for a few weeks, and brings me to one of my very favorite twitter moments:
  • Being tweeted at & twitter quoted during a live newscast/ @mattmulcahy was covering the #pricechopperfail story on the 10pm news the night of the appearance of the CEO of Price Chopper in @rotolo’s class.  I was tweeting during the newscast about the fact that we were being covered, and the live twitterfall was featuring many of our twitter friends.  During a break, @mattmulcahy tweeted at me to see if I had any further comments about the events surrounding the visit of Price Chopper’s team to @rotolo’s class.  I tweeted back at him and he read it on air as I watched.  Very surreal!
  • Twitter friends becoming real friends, working with me at SU and in social media/I can point to several real life friends who over the past year have gotten jobs at least in part due to their twitter presence.  @jpedde went from 0-70 in less than a year on twitter, and was working in social media within 6 mos of returning to the US from S. Korea.  I first connected with her on @linkedin and convinced her to join twitter, against her objections.  She was very quick study :).  @kimincuse became known to me through twitter and I met her IRL just as I was leaving my position in Career Services. At one point she had confided in me that she was looking to work for the University.  When I met her, I felt like I already knew her, and that she would be a great fit for the position I was vacating.  I encouraged her to apply and she ended up getting the job as Alumni Programs Coordinator.  So now she gets to work with my BFF @danklamm and soon (!) one of my other twitter BFFs!! [to be shortly announced…soooo excited about this].
  • This list would not be complete without talking about another person who got their job in large part due to twitter:  yours truly.  Long story short…I took @rotolo’s class in the Fall of 2009, got to know him and stayed in touch after the class ended.  I told him right up front that I was really interested in doing social media professionally.  However, at this point, there were no such positions at SU.  By the time Spring rolled around, @rotol had been named Social Media Strategist for SU, the official twitter account for @syracuseu had been launched and @syracuseischool had been contracted to handle the University’s social media presence.  When a position was being created for a Community Manager for the University & the iSchool, @rotolo approached me to see if I was interested.  Ummm….yes!!!  Shortly thereafter I had a meeting with Dean @lizliddy and the rest is history.  Dream job accomplished.
  • Afternoon with @nunesmagician/ This was one of my favorite days of the year.  Even before I was the Community Manager (CM) for @syracuseu, I was well aware that @nunesmagician was one of the most popular SU sports bloggers.  I also knew that he lived in Seattle, and I had missed meeting him when he was here during football season for his book signing.  When I knew I was going to be in Seattle with @syracuseischool for Social Media 101,  I tweeted @nunesmagician to see if he would be coming to our event.  He said he planned on it and DM’d me to offer to show us around the Freemont neighborhood of Seattle the day after our event.  Ater I checked Wikipedia to see what Fremont was all about, I was ready to go!  On the appointed day, @rotolo @juliewalas and I took a car over the bridge from downtown Seattle and met @nunesmagician at the Fremont Coffee shop.  This is the coffee shop he frequently works out of, and let me tell you, they make one mean white mocha!  Sean spent several hours with us showing us the sights of Fremont, culiminating with a climb up the hill at Gasworks Park with an amazing view of the city of Seattle.  After a pizza slice “the size of your head” at Ballroom, we were ready to head to the airport.  @nunesmagician’s hospitality was a highlight of my trip to the West coast and a great day with friends.
  • iPad via tweet/ Everyone who knows me already knows this story…but I’m telling it again for posterity.  The first night of our @syracuseischool trip to LA, we had an event at SONY Studios.  I was live tweeting and taking lots of pictures.  At one point I sat down off to the side and in front of me I noticed the professional photographer for the event downloading and manipulating his photos on an iPad.  I tweeted:  “I really need an iPad.  Amazing photo apps would make my life so much easier in situations like tonight.”  Within minutes, I saw the following come across my screen…

 ““““““““““““““““““““““lizliddy You got it! RT @KellyLux: I really need an iPad. Amazing photo apps …“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““

The Dean of @syracuseischool gave me an iPad via tweet. 

What else could I say to that but #AWESOME and TYVM?!?

Those two words sums up everything that has happened during 2010 via twitter.  Even when I was going through some rough times, my tweeps were there for me.  I haven’t been able to list everything that happened, because things happen so quickly and so often it’s almost impossible to keep track without writing them down.  So don’t feel bad if I didn’t mention our awesome twitter moment.  I want to do a final shoutout to some of my tweeps who didn’t make it into the post (only for the sake of length), but have meant a ton to me this year: @claudinerenee (my twitter twin), @tracytilly (my first twitter friend), @rmahtani (my design advisor).  And I would be remiss without mentioning @divacoachdabney who is teaching me ‘to walk in my own magnificence’…she’s truly a unique and positive presence on twitter and I hope to meet her IRL in 2011.  Love you all!!


Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Uncategorized


Are Social Media Community Managers the new 411 Operators?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my colleagues and I are forging a new profession and figuring things out as we go.

One question I have is, how do we sustain an activity that is essentially a 24/7, 365 days per year job?  Have we painted ourselves into a corner where we are at the beck and call of our social networks round the clock?  Have we become the new 411 operators?  

As you approach Thanksgiving and the December holidays, what is your plan for monitoring and participating in your social media accounts?  Are you taking some time off?  Is that allowed?  Will you schedule tweets and peek in to see what’s going on once in a while?

What about your personal accounts?  With Klout scores now updating daily, can you afford to be off the grid for a few days?

These are just some of the questions that I have been pondering.  Would love to hear how you are handling the holidays and social media, whether or not you’re a community manager.

Best wishes for a relaxing Thanksgiving and lots of Black Friday Foursquare deals!


Posted by on November 22, 2010 in Social Media, Uncategorized


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Is The Study of Philosophy Meaningful for Social Media Success?

Yes. You can succeed at networking via social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook by studying and following the teachings of classical Philosophers. Many philosophy quotes that fly through the Twittersphere are either directly from a philosopher or an abstraction of a thought by a philosopher. The best way to resolve the paradox of marketing yourself without marketing yourself is to conduct social case studies of Twitter users themselves. Study what tweets are retweeted; study the A-lister’s actual work habits not just their blog posts and tweets of wisdom. In addition, study the people who do it wrong. After all, we learn what is by determining what is not.

Success is arrived at through a series of habitual actions

While many say success is a journey and not a destination, I’d argue that there is one ultimate destination in life: happiness. On the road to happiness are many stops that require taking a journey. According to Aristotle, happiness is not an emotion but a state of being reached upon complete fulfillment of desires. As long as those desires are not led by emotion and are based on good intentions, they are, therefore, virtuous. Virtuous behavior being a necessary element of happiness, it is vital to behave this way.

The following images are tweets pulled from Twitter users illustrating the link between philosophical thought and Social Media optimization.

Tweet on Aristotle and habit

Tweet from Amber Naslund on blogging habit

The Knowledge Paradox and Social Media Experts

Social media experts are like the Sophists of their time. Paid to teach their wisdom, they became scorned by the true Philosophers who refused payment for their noble teachings. Like the Sophists, social media experts claim to hold the keys to the wisdom employers are seeking. Guess what? There are no social media experts, gurus, etc…. We are all learning with and through each other. Those who take the wisdom they have learned and apply it to their various fields are qualified in their industries, thus deserving pay. However, expecting pay for knowing how to use dirty marketing tactics will have you ridiculed by those who can deliver quality results, not just meaningless numbers.

Philosophy quote from Socrates on knowing nothing

Twitter expert tweet get followers

A tweet on hating twitter experts

Experience is Enough

The only way to establish yourself as knowledgeable in the realm of social media is to do what it is that you say you know how to do. Without lived experience it is not possible to understand the intricacies of human nature as it relates to the business of marketing. However, no one is just going to give you the experience. A good way to get it on your own is to study individuals. There is little better place to do that than through social media networking platforms. Philosophical tenets have proven themselves to be everlasting. Technological advances and changes in culture have yet to make vast differences in basic human behavior. A study of a few philosophical principles such as the ones listed earlier will start you on the path to developing insight into individual behavior and finally figuring out the answer to how to get more followers. Lived experience is not enough, but it is a good start.

Chanelle Schneider, also known as @WriterChanelle on Twitter, runs There From Here where she often writes on the topic of adult internships and other career and life advice for Generation Y with a specific focus on non-graduates, the students who had to leave school but didn’t drop out. Chanelle writes for as the Washington, DC Social Media Examiner, and is the founder of the generational chat: #GenYChat on Twitter.

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Posted by on November 2, 2010 in Networking, Social Media


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Politics 2010 & Twitter: A Comparison

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way our political system works…and how twitter is often referred to as a democratizing force.

If you are so inclined to follow this line of thinking for a little bit, it’s not hard to find the similarities between where we are on the campaign trail, and where we are in the twitter stream.

Here are a few examples that come to mind:

POLITICS twitter
You Like Me You got my Vote! #FollowFriday
I Ticked You Off Contribute to the other guy’s campaign Un-follow
Most Talked About Movie Waiting for Superman The Social Network
This Year’s Darling Cory Booker,Mayor of Newark, NJ @CoryBooker
PR Person’s Nightmare Carl Paladino @BPGlobalPR
What we all Loathe Attack Ads Spambots
Paid to Be On Your Side Lobbyists @KimKardashian
All the News that’s fit… New York Times @Mashable
Party Machine Congressman Aaron Schock @dens
Dream Team Barack Obama &Hillary Clinton @ConanOBrien & @LadyGaga
Elder Statesman Bill Clinton @jack
Break-Out Winner (or maybe not…) Christine O’Donnell Sh** My Dad Says as sitcom
Jump in already & make everybody happy Michael Bloomberg @sethgodin

These are just a few for your amusement.  Agree? Disagree?  I’m sure you can come up with others…

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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Uncategorized


Twitter and (the illusion of) Free Speech

This post appeared today on the Brand Camp University blog:


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Why Wegmans is a Trust Agent [and your Brand should be too]

Everyone knows that Wegmans is the best grocery store in the country. We in Central New York take this for granted because they began in Rochester and have been in the Syracuse area since the John Glenn Boulevard store opened in Liverpool in 1968.

Image courtesy of

If you’re unaware of the wonders of Wegmans, allow me to provide a brief overview.  Way beyond a grocery store, Wegmans is a total experience.  From the beautifully displayed fresh produce (of which there is more variety than you can imagine), their delicious prepared food items and  their friendly and knowledgeable  employees, Wegmans is three cuts above the competition.

Now Wegmans is becoming known for their prowess in another area: social media.  The @Wegmans twitter account is leading the way with 8,700 followers and a Klout score of 45.  What is Wegmans doing that is making them so successful at social media?  Let me tell you.

[At the end, I will share with you my personal story of why I will be a Wegmans customer for life.]

Offering Content their Followers Can Use. What would you want if you were following a grocery store on Twitter?  Wegmans knows.  They share a recipe of the day, information on new products, tips for using a variety of fresh ingredients and news about upcoming store openings.  Wegmans also posts links to well-written articles and quirky videos from their blog Fresh Stories on topics ranging from food and wine pairings to profiles of local farmers who they partner with.  If you’re following a grocery store, this is probably the kind of content you’re looking for.

Joining the conversation. @Wegmans bio on Twitter reads “Can’t wait to talk to you!”  And they really can’t!  If you mention @Wegmans, be prepared to get a response.  I have not seen one instance of a Wegmans mention going unnoticed.  They are consistently ‘on’, and they are listening to what their customers have to say.  In social media, if you’re not talking to people, you’re sunk.  This is a far cry from what Wegmans local competitors are doing in social media.  @PriceChopperNY doesn’t really do much conversing on their account, and they’re follower:following ratio is pretty low.  But at least they’re trying. P&C on the other hand, seems to be a lost cause.  They don’t even have a social media presence from what I could gather from their website.

Having a consistent voice. Even though they haven’t told us who’s tweeting for Wegmans, you get the feeling there’s a real person behind the account.  This is not easy to do when you are representing a brand, trust me.  And not only do you get the sense that it’s a real person, you get the sense that it’s the SAME person.  The tone of the conversation is always consistent: easy, friendly, engaging, without a hint of sarcasm.  You don’t get a young, bubbly voice one day and then a boring monotone the next.  Wegmans is always pleasant, and this fits perfectly with their brand.

Showing they Care. I was going to divide this into several sections focused on what Wegmans does right with their account:  following up, doing what they say they will do, being polite.  But then I realized that they are all about the same thing:  showing your customers that you care.  This is what Wegmans is best at, and it puts them head and shoulders above not only their competition, but most companies using social media.

I promised to tell you my Wegmans story. It’s the reason I wrote this post – and why they have me as a customer for life.

I found a new product that I really liked when I was on vacation in South Carolina recently.  Starbucks doubleshot Energy + Coffee in 15 oz cans.   When I got home, I went to Wegmans and searched the aisles for what I call ‘my new love.’  Hmmm, not finding it in the store.  I found a few similar items, but not the one I really wanted.  Having interacted with Wegmans on Twitter many times, and being the social media junkie that I am, I asked @Wegmans instead of going to the store manager. Then this happened:

1.  They asked me for specifics on the product.  I sent them this image.

2.  They responded that they would check with their supplier and get back to me.

3.  When I tweeted about it to my followers, they responded that they couldn’t promise anything.  That’s fair.

3.  They contacted me a few days later and said, sorry for the delay, we are still working on it.

4.  I got a tweet from Wegmans asking what store locations I usually shop at.  I gave them my #1 and #2 stores.

4.  I got a DM from Wegmans asking me for my email address.

5.  I got a very nice letter from Michelle, a Consumer Services Specialist.

6.  The products will be in both of my store locations of choice by the middle of next week, and I have a contact name in each store to follow up with if there are any questions or concerns.

7.  Customer for Life.

In their best-selling book, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith say this about the emergence of ‘Trust Agents’ in social media:

“People who humanize the Web are trust agents.  People who understand the system and how to make their own game are trust agents.  People who connect and build fluid relationships are trust agents.”

Wegmans has become a Trust Agent – and thereby my loyalty and devotion to their brand.  Isn’t that what every company wants?

Do you have a great @Wegmans story? or a story about another company who has your allegiance because of their astute use of social media?  Share in the comments.


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I work with a bunch of idiots: When & How to Cut & Run

We’ve all had days when we’ve thought to ourselves, ‘I work with a bunch of idiots…what am I doing here?’  Luckily, those feelings usually pass and we wake up to a better day.For others, those thoughts come on a daily, if not hourly, basis.  In fact, what inspired me to write this post was hearing several different people say basically this same thing to me within the space of a few hours.  If this describes the situation you are in, here are some things to consider:

–  How bad is this situation…really. Think about what the real issues are.  Is it the people themselves?  The work environment?  The combination of people? The tasks you are assigned? The hours?  The pay?  Do a rational assessment of what makes you crazy and think about whether or not you can change any of those circumstances.  Many times it’s all in the way you look at a situation that will determine whether or not it is worth enduring.

–  Can you afford to make a change? This is a very difficult economic time for many.  The job market is soft, the housing market is in the dumpster, and salaries are stagnating.  All of these factors affect people’s decisions on whether or not they want to stay in their current positions.  In fact, maybe some of those people who are driving you crazy also wish they could leave.  But before you make any decision, you will have to determine whether you need to have another job lined up prior to leaving, whether you can sell your home (if you plan to relocate) and whether you will be able to start somewhere else at a comparable salary.  The financial considerations may or may not give you the go ahead.

–  What needs to happen for you to make a change? In other words, how bad does it have to get before I have no choice but to leave? Think about your own situation, set some low-end benchmarks, create an exit plan and then stick to it.  For instance, you could say if XY&Z don’t change by December, I will start looking for a new job in January.  Only you can determine what XY&Z are.  And most likely they aren’t going to happen on their own.  Another realization you should make early on in this process is that nothing is going to change without action on your part.

–  Is there someone (anyone) you can talk to about it? Do you have a co-worker you can trust?  Someone who knows the situation from the inside who can listen and perhaps give suggestions?  Do you have a mentor in the company?  Mentors can be wonderful cheerleaders in times of frustration and anxiety.  In addition to someone inside the company, you should seek counsel from a trusted advisor outside the company.  This person can give you an objective outsider’s view and feedback on your assessment of the situation.  Perhaps they can also offer viable solutions that you had not considered.

What’s the payoff if you stay? When you hate to get up and go to work in the morning, the thought of a great retirement package 30 years down the road isn’t all that enticing.  In your planning process, make sure to consider what you will be leaving behind if you decide to go.  What kind of unique benefits do you have, not just monetary, but lifestyle.  Is your dog allowed to come to the office?  Can you work from home a day or two a week?  Do you get tuition benefits that might earn you a degree and launch you into another career?  Think about and weigh the pluses of your situation (if there are any).

–  Deal Breakers. If you are being asked or pressured to become involved in dangerous, unethical or illegal activities, or a combination thereof, you probably should move quickly to find other employment.  The exception would be if said dangerous or illegal activities could be reported to the highest levels in your firm without repercussion.  That being said, protect yourself as best you can and determine an exit strategy.

There are any number of situations that will make you hate your job and the people you work with.  I can say this because I have been in jobs where I thought I would lose my mind if I had to sit there one more day.  Luckily that has not been the case for me in several years.  However, I know how depressing it can become when every day is a struggle and you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel.

If you determine that your situation is unbearable, just don’t waste too much time treading water.  It’s not good for your health, in any sense of the word.


Posted by on July 29, 2010 in Career, Uncategorized


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