Tag Archives: Social Media

“Reinvent yourself!” is an advice expat spouses are often told when they cannot find a job in Switzerland. You are a typical Gen X professional in New York, London, Frankfurt or Mumbai and in your 30ies or 40ies. You have a career image stamped on yourself.

At parties you say “I’m a Senior Consultant / Director / Lawyer / Doctor / Scientist” and with that you talk about the pleasure of long-distance travel in times of terrorism or you mention that your partner is away too often and that the kids know the nanny better than their parents.

Your professional reputation has fueled your ego and you did everything to improve it. You attended courses, webinars, conferences, networking events and you read everything you could about the topic on your commute to work. Not to mention that you had a routine of ensuring that your social media profiles reflected your success only and  you ensured your name was published at least once a year.

Then out of the blue (or even because of following a long-term idea), your spouse gets a job offer in Basel, Switzerland or your job is outsourced to Pune, India. After the initial excitement or shock, you start to consider what a career change means for you right now. You might even consult blogs and books on the matter. From one day to the next, you worry about your branding as a professional. And you might even notice that you don’t really know what you want.

It is not so easy to find out what you want so I recommend you work with a career coach to develop a vision of your next role and probably a long-term career vision too. What I personally found even harder though is to let go of my old career image. I had acquired a status in HR and in my new roles I felt like a beginner again. In our cultural context here in Switzerland we say “Schuster bleib bei Deinen Leisten!” (Cobblerstick to your last!). We are discouraged from changing our chosen career path.

Break in Your new Career Image

We know well that a shoe we have worn for a while is comfortable. A new shoe often feels too tight or too big for us to fill. If you imagine now you have to get out of your patent leather shoe and into a hiking boot that is comparable to the change you are going through.

You need to break your career boot in. You might know already consciously that the hiking boot is more practical, fits better to your personality and has more value on icy mountain grounds but you still feel the burden of a heavier shoe.




Let go of your old career image in seven steps

You need to throw your old patent leather shoe into the mental “Altkleidercontainer” (the recycling bank for old clothes and shoes). Here are seven ideas how you can do that.

  1. Write down all the advantages of the hiking boot. Think of every aspect of your new career and how it will look and feel. Run a meticulous research. Interview industry experts and speak to friends who work in this area.
  2. Work in your hiking boot, at least, one of two days a week by volunteering or finding a cause in this profession worth supporting. Get a consulting project before you commit full-time.
  3. Pretend you are already experienced in walking with the hiking boot, attend seminars and networking events wearing a batch with your new role on it and have business cards printed.
  4. Update all your biographies, social media profiles, and websites and show that you are wearing the boot already. Mention your new role and functional title. Be the career you want to be.
  5. Leave post-its in your office, in the bathroom and at home with a visual anchor. For example, if you want to become a scientist working in the pharma industry you could jot down a logo of a company that you find attractive or a picture of you with security glasses.
  6. Develop a space that signifies “productive work” in your new career for you. It could be an office or an area on your kitchen table. Make sure that this area is reserved for work in your new career only.
  7. Write down the story of your ideal client, someone who will depend on the results or fruits of your new labor. Who is that person, what is important to that person and how does this person live?

These are seven ideas how can let go of your old career image. Do let us know in the comments how you are handling it.

GPTSocialMediaGuest Post by Nabeha Latif

People often don’t understand what I do when I say I am social media engagement specialist. They think that it is only about posting on Facebook and Twitter but why will anyone need to hire someone to do that? What type of job is it?

Let’s explore what is social media to business and why is it important for success in this age. Guess what business owners are using right now to connect with clients? Yup. Social media!

When we googled the question “Will social media help me?” we were greeted with 1.6 billion suggestions. Had we added the word ‘business’ to it, they would still be few millions. Many of those will be repeating the same thing. Still it’s clear that getting started on social media is a question that business owners are looking for an answer to. Facebook campaigns, blog posts, news articles, corporate videos and more – again, everyone is looking to find the right way to do the social media.

What is the secret ingredient?

If you ask me, the secret is simple: You might want to start right away just like everything else that you do in your business. It is helpful to have a plan with measurable milestones and results. I was always amused by the idea of connecting with so many people virtually. I got more and more interested, every time I explored a new aspect of social media. I have a hobby to try new networks which I come across, just to study new ways of spreading virtual messages. Not kidding! Now being a social media engagement specialist, I know it’s not a myth or exaggeration that your social presence online is a representative of your company.

It was a challenge for me to make others understand that posting JUST anything on social media isn’t social media marketing.   You need to be specific to attract right kind of people. You can’t afford to say ‘what’s in your mind’ without thinking. It should be what others want to read because people will judge you accordingly!

Step 1: Why should your business want to be on Social Media? > Define your Social Media purpose

From having discussions with clients to monitoring conversations online, the overarching theme that prevents businesses from using social media is lack of understanding about why they NEED to be here! The typical responses we get include, “Our competitors are here,” “Because everyone’s talking about it”, “We want to be on everywhere.” The problem is that they fail to dig deep into bigger questions they need to answer:

  • What are your competitors doing on social media?
  • How can you differentiate yourself from the competitors with social media?
  • Will you be able to identify impact it will be have on your business?
  • Will you measure increased awareness, number of new leads through social media, heightened participation of potential clients and will you find out if it changes your bottom line?
  • Are you reaching your target audience?
  • Have you identified who that is?
  • Will you enjoy working with social media or is it just an extra chore for you?

Being able to answer these will allow you to move to next step.

Step 2: Where do you need to be? > Determine your Social Media channels

There are literally hundreds of social networks online along with power hitters Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Not to forget the forums, niche networks, community blog networks and more. No wonder so many businesses have trouble spotting the right path.

  • Define your market segment – Where is your target market in social networks? Are the business professionals on LinkedIn or every day users on Facebook?
  • Who do you want to be connected with? – Unless you are selling coke or pampers, you don’t need mass audience! Be specific. The closer you stick with your offerings, the fewer followers you will attract. But they will be delighted to connect with you.
  • Stick with maximum 3 to 4 networks – Work only with a number of networks than you can consistently maintain. Only if you can add meaningful content publish your business page on that network.

Step 3: How do you measure success= > Map out goals and success metrics

Try to define your goals and measure the success of your social media use. What do you want to achieve out of it? Quantitatively measure your efforts in terms of Likes/Follower growth or increase in frequency of engagement or brand mentions or amount of content to be shared etc.

  • Set up a calendar – Set up a social media calendar and break it down into results pattern like monthly, quarterly, biannually, annually .
  • Analyse results periodically – Study the difference in website traffic. Does traffic increase and which channels bring more traffic. Google Analytics will do the job!
  • Determine acceptable growth vs. ideal growth – Compare if you are at least reaching the former i.e. minimum growth you expected to achieve through social media. And how far behind are you lagging from ideal growth? An indicator could be your turnover that is generated through Social Media or leads you receive through referrals on Social Media (email does not count!).
  • Analyse the cost of implementation – Compare cost of implementation to the expected return (increased customer loyalty, word of mouth marketing, brand perception)

Remember content is the key! Stand out from the crowd through your content.

What is your greatest challenge when it comes to Social Media Marketing for your business?




Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailInspiring clients and communities

Recently, I co-hosted an event with around 80 women in Zurich and surrounding areas. One of the speakers almost made me cry because she has made such a leap since we met first in this community about 1.5 years ago.

Why is this group so inspiring?

It has to do with all of us. How we are when we are together. How we connect.  It’s not really important “what you do”, if you are a mom or not, if you are married, single or divorced. We just like each other and give each other credit. That’s why I love to work for this cause. It’s pure love.

Social Media helped us build the community spirit

Contrary to common opinion we started a group on Facebook (after we already had a LinkedIn group) believing we need a shared space that is only open for members. I know that some members still prefer LinkedIn but let’s be honest: When did you last post a discussion in a LinkedIn Group without being worried that you make an idiot of yourself?

Have you never worried that your peers would look down on you? I am constantly worried about what I can say on LinkedIn and what I can’t. On Facebook it’s less critical, more honest and a different circle.

Social Media is the real world.

We need cheerleaders. We need tweeps who love what we tweet, we need friends who share and overall we are not successful unless we put in a lot of time and / or money.

For my business I have outsourced Social Media because I know I can get lost in it. I want to focus on my clients and the least thing my clients need is to follow me on Twitter. They have enough stress to adjust to Switzerland, learn German / French and search a job. They get one or two posts per week (to their email account).

Don’t worry too much about Social Media. If you focus on serving your community and your clients you will work it out along the way.

One of my principles is to give more than what I expect from others. This works particularly well on Twitter but also in other interactions. Sometimes I am surprised how fast people give me contacts and support but I am also trying to give this back by meeting with people who need support and helping with connections.

Sometimes I just help someone. No matter what! I have developed a principle: Every interaction a potential client. So I treat every single person I met as if they could afford my services ;-).

There are days though when I do not have an idea of where I am going or where I need input from others. It is perfect when this input comes unasked for. However, sometimes I just ask for helps. This works astonishingly well on Facebook and Twitter too.

Help me get more likes on this post please. RT, share and mention it. Thank you!!


1) Position yourself

Think about how you want to position yourself in the market. What are you selling exactly and how do you want to position yourself? To position you professionally it is helpful to have an account on LinkedIn. In the German-speaking world XING is also used excessively. One principle: Be honest!

2) Find a good Avatar

Find a good name for your Avatar (online identity) connected to your name and profession. For Twitter make sure you use as little characters as possible but easy to remember. Abbreviations are hard to remember.

3) Practice Blogging

To practice blogging you can open a free blogspot or wordpress.com account. Once you feel you have the ropes of blogging you want to get more professional.

4) Buy Domain and install WordPress

Buy your domain. Try to find a name that is easy to spell and easy to remember. You can use http://www.namecheap.com/. Once you have your domain you need a script for your blog. I work with WordPress which has stylish and professional templates. You can download your script and start blogging away. Join the community and read other blogs: http://wordpress.com/

5) Install Social Media Plug-Ins

Install Social Media “Plug-Ins” so that your readers can share content on other Social Media. This is really not difficult if you are willing to follow the step by step explanations. Usually I donate about 10 USD if I use a plug in regularly. Also you should only use tested plug-ins and the ones that have been rated highly. My favourite and most important is AKISMET because it identifies spammers and sorts them out right away.

6) Invite your current fans, followers and friends

It might be a good time to invite current fans, followers, friends to become readers on your blog. You should blog at least once a week. My personal preference is not to have advertising on my blog. I have a page where I explain what our service offering is but I do not use advertising on my blog. For readers of my generation and older (say born before 1980) I believe that less is more.

7) Create Facebook page and join Twitter

If you have some encouraging readers you might want to create your Facebook page and open a Twitter account. Please keep in mind that you will need to feed and interact on your blog, FB and Twitter at the same time.

8) Engage with other Bloggers

You can ask other bloggers if they would feature your blog link on their blog roll and vice versa. Whatever you do: It is important in Social Media to reciprocate. I recommend you read articles on how to blog. I have learnt that it is recommended that you feed posts 2 to 3 times a week. The articles should be short, fresh and contain pictures and sub-headings.

9) Get active on Twitter

Open your account with the same handle as your Avatar (under #2). If you have a follower on Twitter you should follow back. If your tweets are retweeted you might want to RT this person’s tweets too. If you are recommended by tweeple you should also recommend others (See www.followfriday.com).

10) Limit your online time

You can easily get caught up in Social Media and spend a lot of time there. I have fixed online times where I work on Social Media (about one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening). I spend an hour on Fridays for FF. Blog articles you can write on Sundays. Around once in a month I clean up my Twitter account with http://tweepi.com/ and run Mackeeper. So reserve about two hours a month for housekeeping.

Hope this helps!


PS: Around 3 years ago I joined Twitter as @angela3004. It was on birthday and I had a glass of champagne so I was not really aware what I was doing. About a year later I started to use Twitter to support the flood victims in Pakistan. Then I changed my handle to @angieweinberger. I have about 2800 followers now. I used to describe myself as a technology “dummy”, a simple user who likes to try out new tools. Now, I have improved my face and name recognition. My memory is a lot better. I also found my love for writing again that I used to have as a teenager and I even write poetry on one of my other blogs. So this Social Media journey for me has also been a journey to myself. I made a lot of new friends online and some of them are my greatest supporters today.

“Baby steps honey!” (from a movie about a shrink “My name is Bob”)

“You’ll be fine” (from “A serious man”)