Personal Branding: Sharing Who You Are With the World from @SabrinaLBaker


personal brandingHow Do You Share Who You Are With the World?

On April 30th at 2pm CT, I will be conducting a webinar focused on personal branding. One of the things I talk about with recruiters or job seekers new to the social media space is how their personal brand affects what they are trying to do.

Some of them don’t know what their personal brand is so we have to figure that out.

Others have no idea how to share who they are – appropriately.

What is the balance between personal and professional?

How do I share my talents without being arrogant?

How do I share things like the fact that I’m really creative?

All of these questions and more will be answered on the webinar. So who should attend?

Anyone who needs to build a network for professional or personal growth that will need to establish themselves as credible in their field.

This could be the

  • Recruiter who needs to leverage their personal brand to source candidates.
  • Sole practitioner who needs to build their network to get the support they need in their role.
  • Job seeker who is trying to establish their personal brand as a viable candidate to companies.
  • Brand new social media user who is not sure what to say about themselves or how.
  • The individual who keeps hearing about personal brand but has no idea what one is.

The webinar will be an hour long and we always try to leave room for questions. But if you want to send your questions around this topic in ahead of time I will try to incorporate them into the webinar. Just leave them in the comments below.

To register for the webinar click here. Oh and it’s totally free!

About the Author:

sabrinaSabrina is the CEO and founder of Acacia HR Solutions. After spending 11 years in HR Generalist/Recruiting roles in corporate America, Sabrina experienced a layoff in 2010. During her time as a job seeker she realized that she had an advantage over many other job seekers because of her knowledge on the “other side”. She also realized that job seekers do not have it easy these days and wanted a way to help. In 2011, Sabrina started the company as a way to continue her HR and Recruiting practice, but also help job seekers which had become a passion project for her. The company was built on the premise that everyone could find meaningful work. Sabrina serves as a consultant to companies in order to help them create meaningful work environments for their employees and as a mentor and coach to job seekers in their efforts to find meaningful work for themselves.

100 Funny Southern sayings (Volume Two) to start off your Weekend!

chickenSo I thought I would pull together a few (some very funny) Southern sayings. Yes, we have our own language down in the South. Even my husband commented when moving there when we first married “I feel as if I have moved to another planet.” And somehow I find that very odd because he’s from Chicago (a whole other world – to me, of course).

I wanted to lighten up our week with a few giggles for the weekend. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from the mundane and venture out. You know, not take ourselves too seriously.

  1. I won’t say it’s far, but I had to grease the wagon twice before I hit the main road.
  2. I was busy as a funeral home fan in July.
  3. If a trip around the world cost a dollar, I couldn’t get to the state line.
  4. We were so poor I had a tumbleweed as a pet.
  5. He looks like he was inside the outhouse when lightening struck.
  6. She looks like she was born down wind from the outhouse.
  7. Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.
  8. Never smack a man who’s chewin’ tobacco.
  9. Never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut.
  10. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.
  11. Scared as a sinner in a cyclone.
  12. Scared as a cat at the dog pound.
  13. Pregnant before marriage: They ate supper before they said grace.
  14. She’s so ugly she’d make a freight train take a dirt road.
  15. He’s so ugly his cooties have to close their eyes.
  16. So ugly his mama takes him everywhere she goes so she doesn’t have to kiss him goodbye.
  17. She looks like she fell face-down in the sticker patch and cows ran over her.
  18. He looks like the dogs have been keepin’ him under the porch.
  19. He’s about as sharp as a mashed potato.
  20. So dusty the rabbits are digging holes six feet in the air.
  21. It’ll last about as long as a fart in a whirlwind.
  22. He’s rough as a corn cob.
  23. He’s got enough money to burn a wet mule.
  24. He’s about as sharp as a bag full of wet mice.
  25. It’s as dry as the dust in a mummy’s pocket.
  26. It’s about as scarce as bird crap in a cuckoo clock.
  27. He’s as tight as the pages in a book.
  28. Tight like a too-small bathing suit on a too-long ride home from the beach.
  29. This race is as tight as the rusted lug nuts on a ’55 Ford.
  30. Hotter than a Laredo parking lot in the summertime.
  31. It’s hot enough to peel house paint.
  32. Running like a squirrel in a cage.
  33. Safe as a tick on a dog with a stiff neck.
  34. Dumb as a bag full of hammers.
  35. She’s just naturally horizontal.
  36. Meaner than a skilletful of rattlesnakes.
  37. He couldn’t find his a$% with a flashlight in each hand.
  38. He couldn’t pour rain out of a boot with a hole in the toe and directions on the heel.
  39. If dumb was dirt, he’d cover about half an acre.
  40. So windy we’re using a log chain instead of a wind sock.
  41. It’s so foggy, the birds are walkin’
  42. Tighter than bark on a tree
  43. As welcome as an outhouse breeze.
  44. Her hair looks like a cats been suckin’ on it.
  45. We were so poor my brother and me had to ride double on our stick horse.
  46. As bad-off as a rubber-nosed woodpecker in a petrified forest.
  47. As confused as a cow on AstroTurf.
  48. It was so hot you could pull a baked potato right out of the ground.
  49. It’s so dry the trees are whistling for the dogs.
  50. Busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor.
  51. If things get any better around here, I may have to hire someone to help me enjoy it.
  52. Well knock me down and steal muh teeth!
  53. Cute as a box full of puppies.
  54. You can’t get rid of ‘em. He’s like a booger you can’t thump off.
  55. It’s about as hard as trying to steer a herd of cats.
  56. The wheels still turning, but the hamster’s dead.
  57. I’ll beat you so bad you’ll feel like you were ate by wolves and sh$% over a cliff.
  58. He’s so confused he doesn’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his a$%.
  59. She was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
  60. So crooked you can’t tell from his tracks if he’s coming or going.
  61. I wouldn’t trust him any farther than I can throw him.
  62. He’s got more guts than you could hang on a fence.
  63. So dry the catfish are carrying canteens.
  64. So dry I’m spitting cotton.
  65. Hot as a two-dollar hooker on the 4th of July.
  66. So hot the hens are laying hard-boiled eggs.
  67. Cold as a frosted frog
  68. Cold as an ex-wife’s heart.
  69. Cold as a cast iron commode.
  70. Cold as a banker’s heart.
  71. She’s about as useful as buttons on a dishrag.
  72. He’s tougher than a two-dollar steak.
  73. Happy as a puppy with two tails.
  74. She’s got enough wrinkles to hold an eight-day rain.
  75. That’s about as useful as a trap door on a canoe!
  76. He’s busier than a one-legged man at a butt-kickin contest!
  77. He’s so dumb he couldn’t pi$% his name in the snow.
  78. That politician’s so crooked he could hide behind a cork screw!
  79. That baby was so ugly the Doctor spanked the Momma!
  80. She’s so ugly she’s got ten-foot pole marks all over her.
  81. It’s rainin’ so hard it sounds like a cow pissing on a flat rock.
  82. He’s so bad off, his eyes looked like two piss-holes in a snowbank.
  83. Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!
  84. Her hair looks like it caught on fire and somebody put it out with a brick.
  85. He couldn’t find his rear with his hands in his back pockets.
  86. It’s raining so hard the animals are starting to pair up.
  87. His pants were so tight that if he farted, he’d blow his boots off.
  88. Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a chicken.
  89. He’s so skinny, his pants had only one back pocket.
  90. She’s so fat, it takes two dogs to bark at her.
  91. He was mean enough to hunt bears with a hickory switch.
  92. He was ugly as a burnt boot.
  93. Tougher than the back end of a shootin’ gallery.
  94. West Texas is so flat you can watch your dog run away for three days.
  95. He’s so stupid he could lock himself in a bathroom and still pee his pants.
  96. It was so hot we sat around a fire to keep cool.
  97. West Texas is so flat that they send levels there to be tested for quality.
  98. He was so short you could see his feet in his drivers license photo.
  99. Your face looks like it caught on fire and was put out with a bag of nickels.

Feel free to comment on “What does that actually mean?” in the comment section. :) Oh and by the way, I didn’t write these so please refrain from calling me names for sharing!

Using Klout to Screen Job Applicants

This post originally aired in July 2012. I thought I might bring it back around. Makes sense!


Don’t get me wrong, I love Klout perks. I’ve gotten some good chit over the past few years – anything from wine openers to T-shirts to smartphones worth $700.00.

But lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about social recruiters and companies looking to Klout to determine one’s “influence.” Heck, I’ve even heard rumors that financial institutions are using Klout to determine one’s credit worthiness. That takes the cake for me.

If you have been in a dark room hiding for the past year or so and don’t know what all the Klout is about, here’s a little info.

I’m all about online influence, relationship and community building and I glance at my Klout score from time to time. But I really don’t take it seriously. In fact, I haven’t invited a single person to join Klout (that I know of). See below. I find the picture to be quite funny and don’t think I will ever invite anyone on Facebook to join Klout – ever!

I think the reason that companies should not weigh in on someone’s Klout score for a potential job (accept perhaps in Digital Footprint and Management in Social Media but only in this area and since my Klout is somewhat good :) ) is that it can be manipulated as written in this post “Klout Myth Busters: Thoughts From The Experts.” I like what one dude says in this article:

Klout is a naive measurement that takes a 3 dimensional universe of influence and reduces it to a one dimensional snapshot. Like all other algorithmic people-scoring utilities, it only works as a very general indication of a person’s importance in the social media universe. (BAM!)

It’s funny how we take this whole thing so seriously and any new technology that comes along. There are some great tools out there that can truly assist in online recruiting, sourcing or whatever, don’t get me wrong, and I’ll be writing about those in the weeks to come.

But perhaps we should go back to “oldschool” methods of honing in on those skills that help us in determining the best fit, the best candidate and skills set or pull a dang credit check to determine if you should give someone a loan instead of looking to something like Klout!

What’s your whole thought of Klout and online influence? You’re the expert, you tell me?

Photo Credit: DeonDesigns

Here’s what you get when you have a half-arse Social Media approach

bad-online-reviewSo I was minding my own business, probably baking a cake or something, when I received a knock on my door. It was a sales rep who caught me at 6:30 pm in the evening, half-dressed (okay, still in my pajamas) and right smack in the middle of doing something domesticated. I was a little agitated but thought I’d let him stand out there and give his best sales pitch.

He wound up scheduling an “expert in their industry” to come by another night to tell me in detail how great their product was and how it was made. We scheduled for a couple of nights out and that was that. I shook my head and walked away thinking “Do people still actually do door to door sales calls?”

As a consumer I decided to do a little research into the company before the “expert” arrived so I could find out what folks were saying about the company, their product and their service. WOW! I did not expect to find such negative reviews and was blown away. Folks weren’t necessarily talking bad about the product and in fact stated how great the product was but the sales strategy, set up and customer service were in fact not good.

When the “expert” came in to the house I listened for a while, watching his displays and telling me how great the company was, how great the product was, and how other people gave them such great reviews. Now, this is where I had to chime in and share how I had done my research and actually found the complete opposite to be true in regard to how they operate. Very defensively, the “expert” came back with “Well, you can’t believe those online reviews. I’m pretty sure they are our competitors trying to run us in the ground.” I’m sure you can imagine my look back at him while he’s telling me this.

I listened to him talk for about three hours total and while he talked I kept getting on my phone and checking out their website and did a little more research. I’m pretty sure this annoyed him, but anywho! We got down to price and after almost coughing up a lung I told him I understood the value of the product and it was something I desperately needed to do but simply could not do it at the moment and I would not go in debt to do so.

I asked him were they on social media and his response of course was “Yes. We’re all over Twitter and Facebook.” So I proceeded to go to those sites. They had 6 followers on Twitter and around a 100 Facebook likes and no one was saying anything good.

I asked him how they were handling the negative reviews and he said they just simply could not take the time to comment to all those negative comments and why should they since they were probably their competitors trying to run them out of business. He even spoke up and asked me was the reason I was not buying that night because of what I had found online in my research.

Clearly, these folks have no idea how to run interference and put out fires, much less social media marketing.

So, here’s what you get when you have a half-arse Social Media Marketing approach:

  • No designated person to be the ears and eyes of your organization to be able to put out fires (bad reviews, complaints, etc).
    • Having a designated listener or team of listeners keeps this in check and keeps you on top of any negative feedback allowing you to be in charge.
  • You aren’t taken seriously as a company/organization who is trying to reach their customer / (or potential employee) where they are (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and those who do understand this will have a competitive advantage.
    • Most companies that implement a social strategy to their marketing efforts understand that people are online looking for them, looking to do business with them, looking to work for them and they are searching for them. They know that it’s crucial to have a strategy in place of who your target is, where they hang out, etc. so that they’ll find you when they search. This is the new way of doing business.
  • If you’re going to have crappy service and a crappy way of doing business you should probably get off social media all together. If folks aren’t happy with you they’re going to get online, share reviews, post pictures, etc. of how you have treated them. Good or bad. It’s just a fact.
    • Perhaps you shouldn’t blame other people for sharing bad reviews or your competitors and take a look at your business strategy and how you’re running your business. Perhaps it’s time to stop doing things the way you’ve always done them hoping they’ll still work in this day and age and make a change. Fix your business, train your people, then develop a strategy or call an agency to take care of your online activity.

On that note I may as well bring up the fact that someone came to me on LinkedIn a few weeks back wanting me to come do some work for their organization. Guess what? Yep. I Googled them “What it’s like to work for >>>>” and found some terrible reviews from former employees, especially on Glassdoor. This kind of stuff is important to know before making any decision.

It’s 2014, people are going to Google or Bing you and that’s just something you need to face. What are they going to find? Are they going to find that your employees hate you, you’re a terrible person and you treat your customers like a red-headed step child?

It’s always better to be proactive than reactive. But for goodness sake, do something!

Okay, rant over!

Inbreeding – The Social Way

We Southerners always get a bad rap. Whether on TV, in the movies, or some dip shit that says out loud and to your face, “Hey, don’t all you southerners intermarry? Is your uncle really your daddy?”

So to clear the air, not all southerners marry their cousins.

I was thinking one day and pondering how I came to be connected with so many folks around Cyberville and noticed a wonderful thing. Here’s how it works:

I connect to Joe Blow. Three days later Joe Blow’s connection John Q. Public sends me a connection request because he sees that I’m a friend of his friend Joe, and he respects Joe’s opinions (for the most part) or sees some comment I made on Joe’s FB or Twitter stream that he decides he too, would love to connect with me. The next thing you know, not only have I made friends with Joe and John Q. and have been engaging with them in conversations and content sharing – I have reached out to their friends Tom, Dick and Harry and they have obliged me in connecting…and so on, and so on.

I now have this awesome community with whom I engage almost on a daily basis. Shootin’ the sh#$, sharing their blogs and links, and just plain ole getting to know them.

A waste of time, you say? I beg to differ.

You see, I have made many friends online, many acquaintances that know about my business, what I’m passionate about, what rocks my boat. They also know how much I care about them because I share their shit too! In fact, I make a habit of it.

When the time comes that they themselves or someone they know needs my services, or they want me to blog for them about my area of expertise, they are already connected with me and have organically grown this relationship – all they need to do is ask. I’m not having to cold call them (which is so a thing of the past) but they are just about one click away from me.

If you’re not building a solid online community of engage-rs (not just those selling you their wares) you’re totally missing out. And I believe I have the coolest online friends ever – whether that turns a profit or not.

Stop evaluating this according to ROI and start building relationships.

And for Pete’s sake, stop asking me if I connect to every Tom, Dick or Harry – I just told you I do.

If you want to read more on inbreeding in America – check out “When Cousins Get Married.”

Are YOU the bad apple that spoils the whole bunch?

bad appleAs the Osmond’s told us back in the 70’s One Bad Apple Doesn’t Spoil the Whole Bunch – when it comes to love but what about when it comes to organizational culture? We’re bound to have one or two bad apples in the bunch and sometimes we learn to live with them or give them the boot. But there is something to it when the rotten apple is in a management or leadership role of an organization.

One bad manager can have a huge effect on morale, productivity and ultimately a company’s bottom line especially if that person is over Human Resources, Recruitment or in some form of leadership role.

Let’s say said rotten apple is looking for potential employees to bring into their dysfunctional environment (culture) and they pretend to be a very happy-go-lucky soul with not a care in the world. Someone who believes in their organization and the fabulous culture they portray as they brainwash fantastic potential candidates in persuading them to join their “employee-friendly” culture.

High potential employee decides to jump ship from his current job in which he hates to join a team-friendly environment in which he has always longed to be a part of.  Instead of finding the bliss that was sold to him in the hiring process he instead yells a loud “HOLY S$#%! What have I gotten myself into?”

What he’s experienced is nothing new in a broken hiring process that looks for the best candidates, promises something that is contrary to the culture of the organization in hopes of finding those who will come in and make the organization a better place. But is it really up to the employee or potential employee to do so?

Our organizational culture starts at the top and trickles down from the CEO to the C-Suite. From the C-Suite to the management team and so forth and so on. If we are dysfunctional (from the top) what makes us think that this will not affect our team.

If Mom and Dad are Looney’s wouldn’t it stand to reason that the possibility of creating a little Looney Jr. is around 99% due to our behavior and family traits?

The same is true within our organizational structure. If you’re trying to get everyone to be a team player and yet you aren’t a team player yourself or you’re dysfunctional and creating fear and havoc around you, you may just need to stop and think “Is it me that stinks?”

Our dysfunction and hatred of our own jobs can most assuredly end up infesting our employees like the black plague. This can cause folks to start to resent the working environment they are currently in, make them feel afraid and that they have to walk on egg shells and even cause them to start looking to jump ship.

Perhaps it’s time for YOU as part of the leadership team to get on your meds, go to therapy, or maybe even realize that you’re not cut out for the particular role you signed up for. It could also be that you’re in burn-out mode and should consider turning in your resignation.

One of the most influential leadership books in recent years, Tribal Leadership, shows just how important culture is over nearly anything else. According to the authors, there are five stages of leadership and culture, with the 5th leading to a “no fear” environment that inspires innovation and maximum productivity:

“Tribal leaders focus their efforts on building the tribe — or more precisely, upgrading the tribal culture. If they are successful, the tribe recognizes them as the leaders, giving them top effort, cult like loyalty, and a track record of success. Divisions and companies run by Tribal Leaders set the standard of performance in their industries, from productivity and profitability to employee retention. They are talent magnets, with people so eager to work for the leader that they will take a pay cut if necessary.”

Here’s what you have in your organization when you have a healthy management team and culture:

  • Fear and stress go down as the “interpersonal friction” of working together decreases
  • People seek employment in the company and stay, taking the company a long way toward winning the war for talent
  • Organizational learning becomes effortless, with the tribe actively teaching its members the latest thinking and practices
  • People’s overall health statistics improve. Injury rates and sick days go down
  • Most exciting … is that people report feeling more alive and having more fun (they look forward to going to work)

In my opinion and from what I’ve studied, the culture of an organization is huge and is like a river that runs throughout. If you or your management team is adversely affecting morale, chances are you are also adversely affecting your company’s bottom line. You in fact, are that bad apple!

Photo Credit

When does “corporate governance” help or hurt social media strategy?

dinosaur-worldThis guest post was recently aired over at one of my favorite places Businessesgrow by my hero Mark Schaefer and used with permission cause I thought ya’ll could use a listen. Oh, and instead of having the same ole same ole at your next conference think about asking Mark to come speak!

I recently had a comment from a reader scoffing at the idea of enabling employees through a “social enterprise” strategy because it ignores the best practices of corporate governance. In other words, the legal department should keep a tight reign on corporate communications.

First let me give you my historical relationship with corporate governance:

1) I have worked with large corporations for 30 years and truly recognize the legitimate place of governance.

2) I am a fan of lawyers. Anybody who has a job to keep me out of jail is cool with me.

3) I recognize many examples where strict rules of engagement with the public are necessary, especially in a regulated environment.

Having said that, many times when executives use an excuse of “corporate governance policies” to reject a social media plan for their company, they are really saying — “I want to hide behind a policy and hope this whole thing blows over.”

Hiding behind company policies to justify inaction is a tried-and-true strategy. I’ve seen it with HR policies, quality policies, and environmental policies. Using communication policies and social media as an excuse for inaction is just the next in line for people who make a living keeping their head in the sand.

Hiding behind policies is an excuse to not change

There is a fine line between true governance and hiding behind anachronistic policies because of a fear of change, which is usually the true nature of the resistance.

I grew up in a world where there was one company “spokesperson” and you could get fired for stepping over that line. I am not dismissing the need for governance when it comes to the SEC, IRS, and when there is a reporter at the door from 60 Minutes.

However, let’s look at an example I wrote about recently, where a salesperson from a huge company attracted $47 mm in new business completely through using social networking tools. One of the reasons he won this business is because his competitors were restrained from using these same tools due to “governance.” In this case, is governance helping, or is it so far behind the times that the company is at a competitive disadvantage?

In my experience, more often than not, companies are hiding behind policies written in the 1970s without considering the current competitive environment.

“Our employees are idiots”

In one of my classes, a student from a regulated industry said he could not even have a LinkedIn profile because of his wealth management company’s communication policy.

“Do they let you attend community networking events?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Do the lawyers give you a scrip?,” I said.

“No, of course not,” he chuckled.

“Then what’s the difference? If you are not allowed to network online you are being asked to compete with a 1980s toolkit. The real issue is that they are afraid of change and they don’t trust their employees. Your company social media policy is ‘our employees are idiots’.”

He laughed and agreed with my point.

In many companies the real obstacle to success on the social web isn’t a lack of direction or budget or resources. It is a fear of change.


Illustration courtesy of Flickr CC and Diane Turner

About the Author:

markMark Schaefer is an acclaimed college educator, author, speaker and consultant who has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the CBS NEWS. You can read his blog, hire him, get him to speak at your next conference or corporate training HERE. Follow him on Twitter @markwschaefer.