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Case study: Using social media to brand yourself, find work

September 14, 2010

Meet my friend, Stacey Hood.

Stacey HoodOn Aug. 30, he found himself suddenly out of work after a company merger.

This week, he has a new job and new freelance clients, thanks to social networking.

Stacey, an Internet marketer based in Birmingham, has a wealth of knowledge and experience that is constantly evolving and changing. He successfully worked with Alabama Public Television, World Soccer Shop, Capstone Development and McWane Science Center, among others.

And when he needed help, he turned to Twitter. I asked him via e-mail to share his strategy …

Tell me about your work situation.

I will start a new position on Thursday as director of marketing with a local software company, in addition to having several freelance clients that were picked up in the 2 weeks following losing my job.

How did you share it with people in social media?

My first reaction was to put it out on Twitter (@StaceyHood). It’s fast and easy to post that sort of thing. I got immediate responses with offers of assistance, support, etc.

I then posted it on my Facebook page and on the agency’s page on Facebook. The response grew and grew.

How did you share it outside of social media?

I called a couple of friends who I knew weren’t on Twitter (for whatever reason) and, of course, a few family members.

What happened via Twitter in terms of job leads, projects and response?

Thanks to the post, I was able to get multiple leads on freelance clients and even was offered jobs with some friends’ companies in various positions.

What did you do right?

Brand myself, plain and simple. In the past 2 years — while I wasn’t as active as I should’ve been — I did think I was effective in putting myself out there in terms of showing my expertise of interactive marketing, including search engine optimization and social networks.

Notice that I didn’t say that I was an expert; I do not ever want to be known as an “expert,” a “guru” or anything else related to those terms. I want to be known for my expertise.

In my opinion, the industry’s waters have become milky due to so-called experts, gurus, ninjas, whatever. They use a cookie-cutter approach, and one size does not fit all.

How could you have done better?

Same thing as above. Looking back, I would like to have worked more on discussing my skill set and what I can do.

For example, I received a direct message on Twitter last week asking what exactly I do so that they could refer some business to me.

Where are you now in terms of work?

I just got approval from a pretty big client that was a referral from someone I know on Twitter. I’m working with another client with strategy towards a new venture. And as I mentioned before, I start my new position this week.

What would you advise others who want to find work via social media?

Put your persona out there. Mine involves being myself: some humor, some serious, some involving my interests, some involving my family. But, be prepared to know that if you do this, you’re going to be judged.

Branding myself as I did, going to various media events and giving a couple of talks at some events, all of this helped. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people thanks to social media, and it’s helped me get to where I went from losing a job to getting an offer within in a week.

Don’t come on too strong. Be smart and look for opportunities, because they are everywhere, even if you have to get a free client at first to get the experience and to get your chops.

I play drums, and if I don’t play for a while, I can tell that I’ve lost a bit of my time and skill. Same thing with marketing: Stay busy writing, exploring possibilities, looking for experience.

How are you using social media to brand yourself and your company? Leave us a comment.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 9:58 am

    When I first saw a few of Stacey’s tweets, I sort of suspected what was going on but not knowing him that well, I didn’t say anything out of respect. I’ve been there before. Twice. Not a good feeling. Sort of like being in that delicate balance right before falling off a cliff and then you fall. Can be a really frightening time.

    I’m very glad that Stacey’s friends and contacts were able to help him. In these economic times, friends are our lifelines as well as our families. Everyone we know is a potential source when a job loss occurs.

    In Stacey’s case, social media and getting his message out there paid off. For those fortunate enough to have access to a computer and savvy enough to utilize most forms of social media, this is a darn good opportunity to network with others and form friendships as well as possible sources in case what happened to Stacey happens to others.

    Stacey, congrats on the new position! Best of luck to you in your new endeavor as well as adventure.

    • September 14, 2010 7:17 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Scott.

      While Stacey used a computer, the most basic cell phone with SMS / text capability can be used for Twitter. That would be a large majority of cell phones in the United States these days.

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