It is no secret that the pandemic has impacted us, and our careers directly. Many people were forced into temporary, or permanent layoffs as casualties of the pandemic. Others were forced to begin working from home, which was a relatively new concept for the large majority. However, the sudden down-time may have been beneficial to you in some way. Whether you used that forced downtime to look for new jobs or freshen up on your interview skills, you were working towards the ultimate goal of making yourself more marketable as a professional. But how do you market yourself in a post-pandemic world? And how can you showcase that that forced downtime was actually beneficial to developing yourself even further as a marketing professional?
Attending Networking Events
Due to the pandemic, many networking events have turned virtual. However, as guidelines and restrictions begin to be lifted, in-person networking events may start sooner than you think. Networking events are one of the best ways to market yourself and your skillset. You are able to meet other marketing professionals and discuss their current roles, as well as yours. They also help you to meet other industry professionals you may have never met otherwise.
These networking events lead to lifelong connections and relationships and could even help you to find a new job if you’re currently seeking one. They could also help you to keep up with what’s new and relevant within the industry so that you can keep up with the everchanging world of marketing.
Trainings/Certifications Received During Pandemic
During the forced downtime the pandemic brought on, many professionals took that time to better develop their skillset. This could have involved learning new skills such as Photoshop, or HTML coding. However, it also could have involved receiving new trainings or certifications. Many people quickly began pursuing marketing certifications, such as those offered by the AMA itself, HubSpot, or even Google. But what did these courses/certifications teach you? Did you develop a new skillset, or maybe even a new and fresh perspective on marketing tactics? If so, this could ultimately help you to market yourself even further, especially when it comes to resume development.
Skills Developed While Working from Home
Maybe throughout the pandemic you continued to work. However, many people were quickly transitioned into a working from home environment, something they had never previously done. What once seemed impossible for many industry professionals is now considered the new norm. Many people prefer working from home as opposed to the traditional office setting we were accustomed to pre-pandemic.
However, working from home taught us, as marketing professionals, many new and valuable skills. Working from home required us to adapt quickly to having little to no oversight on most days. Although many teams remained in contact via social platforms such as Microsoft Teams, this was still a huge adjustment to make. Many marketing professionals are used to working in a team setting or being able to turn to other team members for advice, opinions, or questions. However, they quickly were forced into working from home with little insight or guidance. This ultimately made us even stronger as marketing professionals because we learned how to work with little to no oversight.
Working from home also taught us resiliency, as we were forced to quickly adapt to the new norm of working from home. Although it seemed like a rather harsh adjustment at first, many of us quickly adapted. We realized that we did not need to be in the office to successfully carry out the tasks involved with our current roles.
Working from home was not the best scenario that we as marketing professionals could have hoped for, but it ultimately helped us to develop new skills that we otherwise would have lacked. It also helped us to become more well-rounded and marketable, especially post-pandemic, as working from home may continue to be the norm in the years to come.
Social media channels are oftentimes downplayed when it comes to their contribution to marketing within an organization. Social media is vital for many reasons which will be discussed in this blog. Communication is a key component of any good marketing strategy and by utilizing social media, you can increase your communication drastically, both internally and externally. Find out how social media can benefit your marketing efforts below!
The Benefits of Social Media:
1. Brand Awareness:
If social media is used correctly, it will drastically increase your overall brand awareness and brand image. Without social media, word of mouth, as well as media advertising are the two main ways that customers and potential customers will be able to discover your brand. However, social media opens an entirely new way to reach your demographic.
You can establish your brand through the content you post, your profile image, header image, About Us section, and so much more. It provides you the opportunity for people to see your company through your own light, branded the way you want them to perceive you and your organization. It may even draw in new customers who were never previously aware of your company or what you had to offer.
2. Customer Engagement:
Being able to interact and engage with your customers is vital to a successful marketing strategy. Social media provides companies the opportunity to engage with their audience like never before. Customers can comment and provide feedback on your company’s posts, and you’re able to respond directly from the company’s account. They can provide insightful feedback into what they feel works or does not work, and your company can react accordingly. This provides organizations an open forum to talk freely with their customers, which can’t be done as freely in other communication platforms such as via email or blog articles.
3. Builds Industry Expertise:
Establishing your company as a thought leader is a difficult task to do, but social media makes it entirely possible. Rather than promoting your company solely through external media outlets, blog articles, or emails, you can promote your company through your social channels. The more relevant information you post with regards to your industry, the more people may look to your organization as an industry expert. They will be able to see all the new trends and information your company keeps up to date with and shares, and they will begin to have a subconscious correlation that your company is a thought leader within the industry. This could even potentially lead to a conversion, or sale if the right person comes across your profile.
4. Site Conversions:
The larger your following on your social channels, the more widespread and well-known your company will become. As discussed previously, if you post relevant information on a frequent basis, people will begin to view you as an industry expert. Your social channel could be the difference between you or your potential competitor getting a sale. If people view you as a thought leader, they may decide to view your company’s website for more information on what you have to offer. This could potentially lead to a form submission where they inquire about your business or they may even place an order for your product or services.
5. Content Distribution:
Finding beneficial ways the distribute your organization’s content is a difficult task for many marketing professionals today. Of course, external media outlets such as newspapers or guest posts are extremely beneficial ways to distribute your content. However, social media allows you the ability to distribute your content directly from your organization to the following that you have worked to build. If people are interested in your industry and what you have to offer, they will follow your account to receive updates on new trends within the industry and your thoughts on the matter. You can distribute your blog content or company updates on your social channel, and it provides customers and followers the chance to interact with your company on a more personal level.
6. Site Traffic Increase:
Lastly, social media may even drive up your company’s website traffic. Site traffic is extremely difficult to increase and the right tactics have must be used in order to draw in the right site traffic. However, if people are interested in what you post on your social media channels, they will likely visit your website for more information on your products or services. Although social media efforts alone won’t cause your site traffic to skyrocket, it will still be a contributing factor to increasing your site’s traffic overall.
Social media is so powerful in today’s day and age. It’s a great tactic to use as marketing professionals, not only to increase your overall traffic and conversion rate but to establish your organization as industry experts. It can help to increase your brand awareness and provides customers and followers the opportunity to interact with your company on a more personal level.
It is a common practice today for companies both large and small to have websites and e-commerce platforms. Many wonder why their sites aren’t doing as well as they had assumed they would and wonder how to get more traffic. Building a functional website is not enough to entice online sales. Instead, there must be a robust digital marketing strategy with a strong emphasis on SEO or search engine optimization. Many people ask exactly what is SEO and how it works?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization are the steps that you take to ensure that your web content is visible and high ranking in search engines like Google or Bing which will then increase traffic to your website. There are several steps that are taken to do SEO correctly that can range from extremely simple to quite complicated but there are a few rules of thumb that are simple and should always be kept in mind.
Initial Rules of SEO:
Writing for search engines. While your site should always be as user friendly for real users as possible, it’s always important to keep in mind that search engines will crawl your site as well and need to be able to clearly understand the content your site offers. This means writing clearly, using keywords consistently across meta titles, alt text, and other features, and using internal links to show the crawlers where you want them to go.
Keyword research. There is very little point in writing content that no one is looking for. Ensure your content and website serve users by answering a question or speaking to a pain point that they may have that is causing them to go to a search engine and try to find an answer. Give users a reason to come to your site. The more users come, the more search engines will agree that your information is important, and the higher you rank. As you rank more highly, you will get more traffic. The perfect combination for SEO.
Consistently good content. The more engaging and well-written content that you create, the more relevant search engines will assume you are. When optimizing for SEO, it’s important to remember that it is not a “set it and forget it” scenario but instead a constant need to review, add, and optimize to get the most out of your efforts.
If you can start with a mastery of these simple items, your site will begin to see an increase in traffic, users, and leads. You will see that your rankings will grow and with it, the relevancy of your website to customers. I love SEO because it truly gives smaller players in the market the ability to compete if they can create relevant content and accomplish optimization better than their competitors. It evens the playing field and makes it easier to increase web traffic. Search engine optimization done properly is an art form and once mastered, it can provide big returns.
As marketing professionals, we’re always looking for the next best thing we can do to improve our skillset. Marketing is an everchanging field, with new and relevant technologies arising daily. Finding ways to improve on your skillset and setting new goals for the coming year may seem like a difficult task. However, there are so many ways to practice continuous learning and set realistic and achievable goals for the coming year. Whether you’d like to expand your skillset into Photoshop, attend more networking events, join an organization, or so on, these are all extremely obtainable goals. Find out how below!
Attending Networking Events
Although COVID-19 is still an extremely relevant and pressing issue, networking events have adapted to the circumstances. What once used to be an in-person mingle has now quickly taken to virtual events. But we, as marketing professionals, have also adapted to the circumstances. Taking part in virtual networking events may not seem beneficial, but it’s actually the complete opposite. Virtual events have helped to make networking more convenient, as these events can all be done from the comfort of your own home. They can help you to meet other industry professionals, mingle on new and relevant topics within the marketing realm, and talk about the struggles and triumphs you’re currently experiencing.
Getting Marketing Certifications
Continued education is so important, especially when you’re a marketing professional. Trends and technology are everchanging, and marketing certifications can help you to keep up with the times. Whether it’s an aspect of marketing that you feel you’re already familiar with, or something completely new and different that you’ve yet to pursue, you’re bound to learn something new and exciting by pursuing a certification.
There are so many different certifications you can receive, such as those through HubSpot, Google, Hootsuite, Coursera, or even through the American Marketing Association itself. For more information on certifications and which are most worthwhile, check out one of our previous blogs here, https://www.amapittsburgh.org/2020/04/17/marketing-certifications/.
Upgrade Your Role within your Organization
Advancement is so important and should be one of the biggest professional goals that you have on your radar. Looking for ways to upgrade your role doesn’t necessarily need to mean getting a new job title or applying for new positions. It can also be taking on new tasks or job duties in your current role. As marketing professionals, it’s important to keep yourself involved, and many employers today would jump at the opportunity for you to take on more tasks. By doing so, you’re not only setting yourself apart from your co-workers, but you’d be showing yourself as a go getter. Who knows, when an opportunity for advancement does present itself, you may be putting yourself into the perfect position to be the one considered for the job!
Learning a New Skillset
What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn in your career, but haven’t taken the time to do? Maybe it’s working in Photoshop, HTML coding, or video creation. Regardless of what it is, there’s no time like the present! Start working towards these goals and branching out to learn new skillsets. You could take an online training course, or maybe even sign up for a class at your local community college. Knowledge is power, and the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out!
Although setting goals may seem like a difficult and tedious task, there’s no time like the present! Start to think of your future dreams and ambitions and set goals that will help you to reach them. Get involved, take on new job tasks, get a marketing certification, start learning new skillsets. Everything you do today will help to set you apart tomorrow!
If you’re interested in taking on something new, consider joining the AMA – Pittsburgh Chapter! You can visit our Volunteer page here for more information.
Networking is the single most important thing that you can do to differentiate yourself from others or to quickly grow your company’s exposure. People overlook just how important networking can be to your image. This can be in terms of your personal brand, or your company’s brand.
Networking helps to build relationships, both short-term and long-term and can be a shortcut to success for many. It’s one of those areas that many companies, and individuals, know they should focus on, but oftentimes fall short in actually doing. But how can you be successful in networking? And can networking have a direct benefit to you? Stay tuned to find out!
How Can You Be Successful in Networking?
There’s no secret route to being successful in networking. It’s just a daily routine that you need to get yourself into the habit of working at. The more effort that you put into networking, the better results you’ll see in the long run. Here’s some tips and tricks to get yourself into the habit of networking!
1. Utilize LinkedIn
Many industry professionals today overlook just how important LinkedIn is to their professional brand. They assume that by simply having a LinkedIn account and checking it periodically that they are setting themselves up for success. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
LinkedIn was created for the sole purpose of networking. Sure, it’s important for job seeking, but it’s also important for several other reasons. When developing your LinkedIn network, don’t just send people random connection invites to try to build up your following. Find good, quality connections that are similar to what you do career-wise and take the time to get to know them.
Speaking from personal experience, I have had several industry professionals with similar roles to me reach out and set aside 5-10 minutes to speak with me. The key here is that they weren’t just looking for a connection. They were looking to build a relationship, and ultimately expand their personal network. And in return, they helped me to expand my personal network, as well.
2. Attend Networking Events
Although it can oftentimes seem bothersome to attend networking events, they’re the easiest way to connect with new people within your local area. Not to mention, they’re the most fun option. Networking events typically consist of “mingles” where you’re given the opportunity to go to a restaurant or bar, grab a few drinks, and talk with other industry professionals in similar roles to you.
However, with the newfound state of the world, many networking events have transitioned into being virtual. If you find yourself struggling to get into the habit of attending networking events, start small. Many of these virtual events are taking place during your lunch hour at work, so it isn’t necessary to take extra time out of your day to attend them.
3. Make Networking a Priority
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, to be successful in networking you have to make networking a priority. Just like how you have a running list of tasks to complete throughout your personal and professional day, you need to make sure you toss networking onto the list, as well. You don’t have to dedicate an hour a day to networking. By simply taking 5-10 minutes per day to network, whether it be through a networking event or through LinkedIn, you’ll start to see a direct impact on your personal network. Think of it this way, if you take 5 minutes per day to network, and there are 7 days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year, you will have spent a total of 1,820 minutes networking by the end of the year. That’s over 30 hours. You can build a lot of new and valuable relationships in that amount of time, ones that you most likely would have never developed had you not set the time aside to do so.
How Can Networking Benefit You?
Now that you know a little about how to be successful in networking, I’m sure you’re starting to think, “Well how will networking directly benefit me?”. It’s a fair question, but one that can be easily answered. There are so many people you have yet to meet, and all of those people have something they can offer you. Whether it be something as small as developing a contact within a company, or something as large as a potential job opportunity.
Through networking, you’re given the opportunity to not only connect with people in similar roles to you but to learn something new from these individuals. When you find yourself stuck with an industry question, you can turn to your personal network that you’ve taken the time to develop and ask for their insights on the matter. You may not always know the answer, but there’s always someone out there who does. You can learn so many new and valuable things through networking if you do it correctly.
2. Developing Contacts
This is especially important for sales or marketing professionals. Developing contacts is the most common outcome of networking. You may not receive anything of direct value from the people that you meet, but you’re taking the time to learn about them, their current role, and the companies they work for. You never know if further down the road you may need to reach out to one of them, or their companies. Knowing someone on the inside always helps.
3. Job Opportunities
Although this is far and few, don’t count out the fact that you can find potential job opportunities through networking.
Speaking from my own personal experience, I attended my first networking event nearly 2 years ago. At that time, I was to be graduating college within the nearing month and I was looking for a Marketing job opportunity in the local area. Believe it or not, one of the first woman I met at the event was looking for an entry-level marketing professional. Our 10-minute conversation quickly turned into scheduling an interview to discuss the position.
Although it may seem far fetched to assume that you can find a job simply through networking, that is no longer the case. Many people today hire individuals because of just that. Or in another scenario, you may be applying for a job within a local company. What if you had already developed a contact within that company through a networking event? You could potentially use that contact as a way in. Just by simply knowing that contact within the company, you may be setting yourself apart from other potential candidates.
Networking is so powerful and can have so many direct benefits to you. By simply dedicating 5-10 minutes a day to expand your personal network, you’ll be setting yourself up for success down the road. Take the time to meet new people and learn from them. You never know what they may have to offer you, or what you may have to offer them.