Archive for the ‘Adam Karwoski’ Category

Wow, What a Story!

By Adam Karwoski, Founder of Social Brand U

Isn’t social media cool? Since I graduated college in 1992, I’ve been involved with two of the biggest fundamental shifts in communications in our history: mobile phones and social media. I started selling cellular phones in 1994 for BellSouth Mobility and just left that industry last summer. I started dabbling in social media since that time, and I’ve uncovered a new-found passion. Long story short, six months later, I’ve started my own social media consulting company. (I think that’s kind of cool, too. Owning your own business is part of the American dream, right?)

I began to put pen to paper to find out what really jazzed me about social media. What’s the catch? In my last blog post, I talked about a friend of mine who in 2009 asked me if I was on Facebook, and I said, “No, I’m not 16 years old.” Little does he know that I remember that comment to this day.

Here are the reasons why I think social media is cool and why people love it, companies love it, and our culture loves it:

  • I love technology, and I think we all do. Social media is a new kind of technology. In a lot of ways, it’s a lot like cellular technology back in the day. You couldn’t see the voice transmissions of a cell call, but making a call on a Motorola flip phone was just “cool.” Social media is real-time communication on a speakerphone with the world, where everyone or just a few loved ones can see talk, write, send videos, share photos, write articles, find jobs, get advice, or listen to what their favorite movie star or football player has to say. Technology is awesome, and social media has taken it to a new level.
  • Our entire existence is based on relationships. No matter where we are or what we’re doing, chances are we’re communicating constantly and building relationships. A hundred years ago, it was around a campfire in the wilderness. Fifty years ago, it was in a mother’s home over tea and Tupperware. Today, it’s online and on our smartphones almost every hour of every day. There are plenty of downsides to social media, but that’s for someone else to write about. I love people, I love building relationships with people, and I love to learn from other people. Social media allows me to do all three all the timeā€”and that’s cool.
  • The best parts of social media are the stories; e.g., your story. Everyone has a story to tell. And I would argue that almost everyone has a compelling story to tell. If the volume of books, articles, and blogs are any indication of how many of us have a story to tell, then it makes complete sense to me why social media has exploded in recent years and will continue to evolve, expand, and become even more popular. Small business owners are learning that social media allows them to listen to their customers’ “stories” while allowing them to share their own. That conversation is taking place every day on social media.
  • Stories draw people in. There’s power in telling stories. Look no further than Hollywood (Mark Zuckerberg has a cool story to tell). And social media success stories are everywhere, especially in business. Many small businesses understand social media and use it quite effectively because they haven’t forgotten how to tell their stories, which helps build relationships with their customers. But it requires you to be transparent and genuine. That builds trust. Trust with your customers builds your business. And whether it’s an idea, a product, or a vision, people buy from who they know, like, and trust.

Technology, relationships, and stories. Those are the reasons why social media has exploded. What’s your story? Whatever it is, share it and start a conversation. You will build relationships with others that will inspire, teach, encourage, and “wow” you.

Who’s Branding “You, Inc.?”

By Adam Karwoski, Founder of Social Brand U

Two years ago, a friend of mine asked me if I was on Facebook. I replied in a somewhat haughty tone, “No, I’m not 16.” Today? I tweet! I’ve not only embraced social media but evangelize to others about it. I have a brand.

Shortly after I was laid off last summer, my mother, of all people, told me she saw a CNBC segment about how companies use Twitter to find talent, find customers, and build loyalty. I had to laugh. My mom is 74 years old and not exactly on the information superhighway. She does, however, surprise me from time to time with knowledge of topics of the day. The second thing I did was laugh again, because my impression of Twitter was that it was designed for Taylor Swift or Chad “Ocho Cinco” to communicate with their “fans.” Twitter, it seems, is the most misunderstood social medium out there.

I did a little research and found out she was right. The enterprise presence on Twitter was amazing. So I created an account and learned how to use it. My intent was to find out which companies on my “target list” had a presence on Twitter and how I could leverage that presence to get in front of the right people. What I discovered was a community of recruiters, career coaches, resume experts, industry leaders, job boards, and subject matter experts of all kinds expressing compelling information that was not only relevant, but extremely insightful, timely, and practical.

My interest skyrocketed, and as I added followers, I began to understand that Twitter is really about a conversation with a community of like minds. There were individuals willing to help, share, learn, advise, teach, inform, and ultimately, build relationships. I’ve spent my adult life in the wireless technology business and have a passion for communication. How did I not see this one?

I started to share with others in my circle of influence what I was learning about Twitter, and it was met with the same amazement and intrigue that I had experienced. I’m not sure if I’m more surprised by the number of people and companies using Twitter or the number who don’t. In addition, I never suspected that Twitter could be such an effective tool for branding either one. Zappos.com’s CEO is a great example of how effective it can be.

I spoke to some college students recently who I thought would be heavy users of Twitter, but I was wrong. They had the same misconceptions about Twitter that I did and had almost the exact same comment: “I just don’t get Twitter.” In today’s employment market, with so many experienced professionals needing jobs, college grads need any advantage they can get. Someone should be teaching these Generation Yers how to: 1) identify opportunities with the companies and industries represented on Twitter, and more importantly, 2) how to use social media, including Twitter, to brand themselves in the marketplace.

Those of us who are forty something can be using it, too. Once we get beyond the notion that Twitter can be used for something more than letting friends know where happy hour is going to be, watch out! Imagine the advantage we can have knowing how to use social media to communicate with peers, customers, and employers around the globe, in real time, accessing a wealth of education and experience from the tips of our fingers on any wireless device in the world. Our microblogging activities (i.e., tweets) actually help build our brand at the same time.

So I have one question for you. What’s your brand? The answer: whatever you want it to be. There are many ways to brand YOU. Twitter is unique because it requires you to be concise, compelling, and relevant. You speak to the topics you’re passionate about, and in turn, build relationships with others around the world or around the block. One tip: have the courage to be you.

What’s my advice? Think about what your brand will be three months or three years from now and start branding “You, Inc.” today. Oh, and always listen to your mother.