Networking, in person or online, is a challenge

By Cindy Macdonald

A well-developed personal brand is necessary in business today. It is vital to keep professionalism in mind at all times when posting digital content, because anyone can Google your name, at any time. When the person you’ve just met at an industry gathering looks you up, what will they find?

I have decided to pursue work in digital media as well as print, so I have expanded my self-description to be “editor and content creator.” This phrase now appears on my resume, my bio for Twitter and my LinkedIn profile.

Labelling my skills is the first step in developing my personal network online.

Having been in and out of the publishing field for a few years now, LinkedIn is one of the obvious tools for me to keep in touch with peers. I have 204 connections on LinkedIn and belong to six groups related to industries I’ve covered for various publications, one “magazine” group, and Editors Canada. The groups are resources that I have not yet mined, as I’ve been focused on working toward my social media certificate.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

One deterrent to participating in online groups, such as LinkedIn’s magazine group, is fear. I fear that any comments or posts I make would not contribute anything useful to the conversation. My specialty of trade magazines, particularly trade magazines in Canada, is a niche, and I worry that my experiences would be different than those of editors on other types of magazines. I’m uncertain my input would be valued since it applies to a rather narrow segment. When I’m looking for a job, I emphasize my many years of experience in magazines, but to actually put my own opinion out there is a little frightening.

The solution is to begin reading the posts of this group and read the responses. I’m sure there are threads and discussions to which I could contribute. I would plan to start small and pick my subjects carefully.

Social media also presents an opportunity to boost the work of friends and colleagues by engaging in conversation, perhaps contributing interesting questions to their posts or timelines. It’s a way of supporting their businesses or ventures and building a two-way relationship. Now that I’ve moved to a rural area, I intend to network with local businesses, to offer my expertise in communications and social media. To meet these businesspeople, I’m joining local Facebook groups, and hope to attend local business association or chamber of commerce meetings. Face-to-face meetings are difficult to implement right now, due to COVID-19 restrictions, so it is doubly important that my online personal brand shows that I am a knowledgeable, experienced editor of print and digital magazines, with up-to-date social media skills.

About me: After more than 25 years as an editor of trade publications, I’m now learning social media techniques. I’ll be writing about news, communication, social media and travel as I go through this career transition. Please join me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or my blog, and we’ll chat.

The search for the ideal client

I never thought that I was good at writing blogs or content. So, when I found out that we had to write blogs for this course I was frightened and excited at the same time.
I plan to open my own Virtual Assistant business and of course, I will have to market myself and the business.
Even before I started this course, I was thinking about how I can find the right social media platform to market my business and the ideal client. It is just natural for me that this will be my first blog post. I did some research on this topic.
Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Starting the search for the ideal client

One of the first things you will read is that you will have to find your “ideal” client to find the right platform to market on. Since I’m still in the beginning stages of developing my business and right now I just know that I will offer social media managing, travel planning and probably project management. I kept my ideal client vague for now.

I found a great blog that helped me get started on my search for an ideal client and the platforms to market on, even though I have not a clear picture of my business yet.

Photo by: XPD –

If you look at the info graphic that I found on the blog, you can see, that if your audience is over 30 and if they operate business to business, which mine will probably be. Then it is probably best to market on LinkedIn and Facebook.
If your audience is under 30 then probably Twitter and Facebook are the right platforms for you, depending on what kind of engagement you want from your users.
If you target all ages, then it depends if it is image-focused. If the answer is yes, you will have to publish your content on Instagram, unless you focus only on females. Then it is best to publish your content on Pinterest.
If your business isn’t image-focused however, then LinkedIn and Facebook are the right choices here.

Getting Focused

Of course, this is all very generalized and too broad. Perfect for me right now because I’m in the very early stages of my business. This is just a starting point.
The following short You Tube video explains more in-depth how you market to your ideal client and how you get there.

At some point, I will have to focus my look at the ideal client. Because what was mentioned above is just too broad. I will have to get inside the (buyers) mind of my client.  I must find out who will need my services, I will have to take a close look at my competitors, do my research and of course network, network and network and I will have to decide where my passion is. Who I WANT to work for.
That is all part of finding the ideal client and with it the right social media platform to market on.

But the info graphic I posted above helped me a great deal. I now know I must start to market on LinkedIn and Facebook since I will have a target audience that is 25 years and older. I will keep that in mind for now until I am in the final stages with my business and then take another look at who my ideal client is. Who knows maybe we will explore this even in another blog post, but no promises.

Do you know on which social media platforms your clients are on or have you done some research yet? And do you know who your ideal client is if you have a business and how did you get to that conclusion? Was it like it is mentioned in the articles I posted?

I would love to know. Please write to me in the comment section.

Do you know your ideal client and on which platforms you have to market on? Check out my blog where I give some tips and pointers.

Do you know your ideal client and on which platforms to market on? #marketing #idealclient #smallbusiness

Sources: Facebook and Twitter logo by

Fear and Loathing in Las Blogas

For those of you, who like me, are new to the world of blogging, you might also feel like the only people you are blogging for are your mother and your best friend. I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. Far from it. In fact, many, many successful bloggers have written about how to persevere with your blog when you don’t have an audience. Below is the digest of my research and how I plan to overcome my frustration of writing for no one – YET.

Promotion, promotion, promotion!

I have learned in these last few weeks through a lot of reading and listening to experts, and also through this course the value of promoting your content. Sonia Simone from CopyBlogger writes “until you build an audience that’s interested in what you are doing, you have to promote your content.”

In other words, you shouldn’t just wait for people to find your content. You should invite them to see it.

A little further in Sonia’s article, she writes, “waiting for social sharing to ‘just happen’ is like waiting for search engines to ‘just rank you’. You may be waiting for a long, long time. Until you are well established, you’ll want to get in there and give your content a good push.”

She suggests that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are a great start for content promotion. I’d like to throw Twitter into that mix.

The flip side of not having an audience

You may think “how could I possibly benefit from not having an audience?” After all, the point is to gather some steady followers who enjoy what you have to offer and engage with them as often as you can so you can stay psyched to keep on creating and publishing, right?

Kali Roberge from Creative Advisor Marketing serves up 4 fresh perspectives on how not having a strong following can benefit you here. I am especially fond of number 4!

“Don’t be discouraged by a slow start. It offers the time and testing you need to lay the right foundation for success.” – Michael Hyatt

A few words about fear

The fear of publishing is real. I’ve been there and I have the tee-shirt in a few colours and sizes. Whether it’s not knowing exactly what it is that you want to write about, the fear of failure or just plain social anxiety, Mike Brown from The Blogging Buddha has you covered here.

He touches a bit on those aforementioned issues and suggests a few strategies to overcome them in a very down-to-earth way.

These posts that I have listed above are definitely ones that I will be revisiting in the future to boost up my confidence level. I hope you will too.

Here are a couple of other noteworthy resources to visit if you are a blogging novice and feeling shaky or you simply want to learn more:

  • Medium (they have an app too!)

Hopefully after reading this blog post, you went from feeling like this:


To feeling like this:


If you had a magic wand that with one wave could solve your biggest social media woe, what would you wave it for?

Tired of blogging for an audience of your mother? Head down here for some pointers on alleviating some of the most common blogging woes.

Got the blogging blues? You’re not alone. Pick yourself up here:

Social Media’s Role in the Evolution of HR

Social media has changed our world, it has changed the way we communicate, the way we market and sell our products and the way we learn, with no surprise it has changed also the way organizations attract talent. According to survey done by SHRM with HR professionals ,  Recruiting via social media is growing with 84% of organizations using it currently and 9% planning to use it. In 2011 only 56% used social media for recruitment. For most organizations 81% in 2015, it was one out of many recruiting tool used.


Previously recruitment was challenging for recruiters, costly and less effective in attracting talented candidate, but now social media has changed the way the recruitment process is done in organizations and gave HR managers different roles to play.

HR professional report the top reasons for using social media are to recruit passive candidate, increase the organization brand and recognition, target specific candidates with a very specific set of skills, allow potential candidates to easily contact the organization for employment.  However there are reasons for not using social media, concern about legal risks discovering information like (Age, Gender, Religious..),not enough time for HR staff to use this method in addition to other methods and questions about veracity of the information that is contained on social media.

Most Popular Social media Tools for recruiting are Linked in, Facebook, Twitter. Survey showed in 2015 the percentage of organizations used Twitter (96%), followed by Facebook (66%) and Twitter (53%).

The survey results showed that two-thirds of the organizations took steps to target smart phone users .39% career website have been optimized for mobile users, followed by job posting and job application enabled by 36% of the organizations.



please share your experience, has anyone find a job through Twitter, LinkedIn…..?



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COM0015 – Blog #3: Meeting over LinkedIn and a latte

For over a decade I despised LinkedIn. I resisted setting up an account. I ignored friends’ suggestions that it would be good for my career. I happily deleted unsolicited emails asking me to connect. And I rejoiced when I heard stories about people leaving the platform.

And then I got a new job. A job for which I’m qualified at least in part because of connections I’ve made in my previous work history.

A job in which I’m required to reach out to these contacts. And develop new ones.

StockSnap_JZTRVCLRJPI’m now a LinkedIn devotee. I scour the My Network page to see who I can connect with that will be a good contact to have – and who could possibly introduce me to someone else I should k

now. I’ve come to appreciate the value in knowing their work history, their previous experiences, their educational background. If nothing else, it makes it easier to start a conversation.

And I’m finding that conversation is best done in person. Reaching out is important, but meeting face to face is critical. Usually, there is a bit of reconnaissance that goes into preparing for the first meeting. Often it’s checking out their Twitter feed and/or Facebook pages to get a feel for their interests and their attitudes.

So LinkedIn and coffee are now my two main tools for developing relationships with key partners. It’s definitely a simple strategy, but it seems to be working.

Business agreement handshake at coffee shopI’ve been able to reconnect with people I haven’t spoken with in a while, catch up on what they’ve been up to, and let them know where I’m at. So it’s been good professionally, but also personally. It’s always nice to see old friends again.

In the coming months there are individuals I know it will be crucial for my organization to develop a relationship with. My goal is to establish these connections – and make them meaningful and productive. I don’t just want to have coffee with these people. I want something to come out of it.

If I’d known what I know now, I would have created a LinkedIn profile when I first entered the workforce. And I would have connected to everyone I met along the way. Obviously, I can’t redo it. But I can start now and build from there.

And Ottawa’s a small town. It shouldn’t be too hard to connect.


Millennial for Hire: Using LinkedIn to Find a Job

Finding a job is hard, really hard. I don’t think I’m alone in this as it seems to be a trend that millennials are not finding work, especially not high paying careers in the fields we’ve spent a fortune in tuition trying to get into. We’re a generation of highly educated, highly technological individuals working at low paying jobs. When I first heard about LinkedIn, it seemed like the answer to all of my problems: it’s essentially Facebook for your resume. But months after creating and curating my profile, it’s done nothing to help me advance my career. Am I doing something wrong? Am I just THAT unemployable? Has anyone ACTUALLY found a job on LinkedIn before?


I am relatively new to LinkedIn; I’ve only had a profile for about six months. I had heard of it while I was still in university, but I didn’t feel like I needed it then (and, truthfully, I had no idea how it worked). LinkedIn is a business and employment oriented social networking site. It was launched in 2003 and boasts more that 500,000,000 members in over 200 countries. Honestly, I don’t know if these stats leave me impressed and hopeful that with so many users world wide SOMEONE should want to hire me (me being a twenty something with a university degree, minimal work experience in my field, who has spent the last two years travelling trying to “figure it all out”, rather unsuccessfully) or if it’s left me disheartened that with that many users NO ONE wants to hire me.


As the novelty of being back in the small town I grew up in, fresh off my two year adventure (with my wanderlust not yet satisfied, working in a slightly-above-minimum wage job that’s starting to feel increasingly like my career and not the summer job it was meant to be), starts to wears off, I’m getting more and more desperate to find a new, exciting job to really kick off my “real life”. I’ve been depending on my LinkedIn profile to bring some of these opportunities, but so far it has not been very fruitful. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching how LinkedIn works and how to make my profile seem more desirable to potential employers. Here’s a little of what I’ve come up with:


In order to maximize the desirability of your profile, you need to be constantly improving it. You need to be spending time each week making changes and updating your work experience and volunteer work, posting articles relevant to your field, and participating in conversations. In other words, have a constant presence and always be updating.

In order to constantly be updating and creating posts to generate views, you may need to create a social media calendar to ensure that you are reaching your LinkedIn potential. The best time to post on LinkedIn is during typical working hours, 8-5 Monday to Friday. In order to stay visible, it’s recommended that you have 20 posts and interactions per month! This is definitely something that I need to work on. With a fairly high number of posts needed a month, remember that sharing is caring. Share articles that are relevant to your industry and consider writing your own. Writing your own posts shows potential employers a new level of your personality while also showcasing your expertise.


It’s important to be connected; joining networks and groups has a lot of benefits. Participating in networks allows you to increase your viability online. Being in networks relevant to your industry will also help you stay on top of what’s new in the field. Joining your alumni network is also a great idea because, in a Benedict Anderson “Imagined Community”-esque way, alums are always willing to help each other out.

It’s also important that your profile is eye catching. Use professional head shots, a photo of you looking professional, or a photo of you doing what you are good at. A photo of you playing soccer could be really good, for example, if you are wanting to be hired as a professional soccer player but not so good if you are wanting a job as a lawyer. Make your profile stand out by using a background. This also helps in showing off your personality. Using a personal URL is very beneficial to make yourself easier to find. Your personal summary should use key words rather than buzzwords. For example, if you are wanting a marketing job say so! And use other language relevant to the career you want rather than over used language like motivated or passionate. Of course, your profile should also showcase your skills and talk about your work experience, while focusing on the career that you are seeking.

Whether or not these changes to my LinkedIn profile will get me my dream job or not remains to be determined, but here’s hoping! In a world where so much of our lives is posted online, I believe that LinkedIn epitomizes the need for excellent personal branding. Gone are the days of simply handing over your resume, you need to actively live your resume and present this lifestyle online. I have made LinkedIn a priority social media platform in my life and recommend others in my generation to do the same, it could be our shot at getting the jobs we deserve! In the meantime, if anyone is looking to hire a hardworking, creative, customer service driven, Political Science graduate with proven leadership skills and an interest in marketing… I’ll just be over here editing my LinkedIn profile… 😉


Business Insider has written some articles that I have found really helpful. You can find them here and here.


Social Media Links:

fb logoIs it possible for Millennials to use an app to find jobs?

twitter-logo-4  Use your phone to find a career!

COM0015 – Blog #3 Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Being fairly new to the world of professional networks, I have not created a strategy for myself as of yet. I am more interested in creating a strategy for the company that I work for, Open Options Corporation.

LinkedIn Logo

Currently we have a LinkedIn account and that is about it for our social media presence. I am hoping to revamp our LinkedIn profile and add more to it to make it more interesting to prospective clients. It is lacking content, photos, videos and members.

As a small strategy consulting firm, having a Facebook and Instagram would not benefit us or our clients very much, but we have talked about creating a Twitter account. We are in a very specialized field and creating a social media strategy plan is proving to be difficult. Coming up with relevant content to post on a regular basis is a challenge.

As for commitments that we would like to make in the future, we would like to find ourselves at consulting conferences all over the world. There is the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts. There is also the Change Management conference. And more locally, in Hamilton, Ontario, there is the National Strategy Consulting Competition and Conference which is open to university students, but as a company that specializes in, we would likely be able to get involved in that conference.

COMM0015: Blog Post 3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future

In today’s connected world, professional networking is the go to action when looking for work. Back in the old days, one could send in a resume, and get a job with just their skills. Now, professional networking is almost a necessary evil to get a job.

Today with social media, it’s easy to get into the professional networking craze. The most successful is LinkedIn, which boasts around 467 million users as of late October 2016, and attracts two new members per second.


LinkedIn Photo Post.png

Image Courtesy of Adam Johnston 


Other professional networking sites currently available to boost their career and business contacts, include Viadeo, and Xing, which gives many options for those who want to get into professional networking without just using LinkedIn, the most popular professional networking site.

Currently, for professional networking, I use LinkedIn, has been minimal at best. There has been lots of debate on the usefulness of professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Many recommend professional networking to move careers forward. Others have been critical to suggest sites like LinkedIn, do not create the interaction like Facebook, or Twitter.

However, professional networking sites do have an advantage because they are just that: professional networking sites. They are not there to discuss your kid’s tooth or that ugly Christmas sweater. These sites are for building careers, and businesses. Which is good.

Over the next twelve months, I plan to diversify my professional networking strategy. I am finding LinkedIn and online is limited. I look to use other professional networking sites, including Viadeo, to expand professional contacts, along with LinkedIn, outside of Winnipeg.

I will look to develop more local contacts, by using more. allows users to set up groups related to their interests, and plan events around the groups. With many groups focused on technology and entrepreneurship in Winnipeg, there is potential to grow my network locally, rather than just using LinkedIn.

What role does professional networking on social media have for you? Is it over-rated like some critics suggest? Do the benefits exceed the costs?


COM0015, Blog 3: My Professional Networking

Having a professional networking strategy that incorporates an online presence with face-to-face opportunities is nothing new to me. When it was time to leave my last job, I let my networks know and ensured my LinkedIn profile was up to date. While I was away on a vacation, there was a lot of activity on my profile and a voicemail message from John, the printing rep for the medical journals I was producing at the time. John had spoken with his coworker, Randy, who is the rep for Canadian Nurse, the magazine I am currently producing. Not only had Randy viewed my LinkedIn profile, so too did the Canadian Nurse editor-in-chief (EIC) who was looking for a new managing editor. The EIC messaged me, we met and the rest, as they say, is history.


Virginia St-Denis

My professional network not only includes people I have worked with over the past 25 years and connections of connections on LinkedIn, but also various professional groups of which I am a member. With most of my career being writing and editing, I joined Editors Canada. The Ottawa-Gatineau branch offers monthly speaker nights and seminars (for example, see COM0015, Assignment 5: Writing and Editing for the Web). These are not only great opportunities for professional development, but also for meeting other editors in the National Capital Region. Editors Canada has an annual conference, which brings together editors from across Canada and beyond. In celebration of Canada’s 150th, the Ottawa-Gatineau branch will host the event June 9-11, 2017. I will attend to learn, share information and gain a few more contacts, I hope.

While I have covered the cost of Editors Canada activities myself, I find out-of-town professional development and networking opportunities outside of my budget. I’m thankful that my EIC has agreed to cover the cost of travel, accommodation and registration for MagNet: Canada’s Magazine Conference. Held in Toronto April 25-28, 2017, MagNet draws magazine professionals from across Canada, and not just editorial, but also design and circulation.

While my career has focused on writing and editing, my husband and I hope to turn our photography hobby into a retirement business. Whether a hobby or a business (we could charge for presenting workshops), Photography Meetup groups like the Ottawa Photography Meetup Group, Ottawa Photography Events, Ottawa Photography and Ottawa Nature and Conservation Photography Workshops are a great way to meet new people, learn and share knowledge.

One thing I know I need to do better is attending club meetings. While some groups like the Orleans Photo Club are inexpensive to join, others like the RA Photo Club are not. I also want to find out more about Facebook events as another way to meet people in the Ottawa area.

COM0015, Blog 2: Photography on Social Media: The Good and the Not-So-Good

Perhaps the strongest social media strategy I’ve been from a follower’s perspective is at the National Gallery of Canada. They share a lot of information about what exhibits they have, retweet what other people are posting and only occasionally make a sales pitch. The National Gallery has Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts, making full use of the major social media platforms. What makes their social media strategy so impressive is how they use each platform differently, with little overlap of images or other content. A Facebook post about the new Canadian Photography Institute provides interesting information and images. They retweet quite a bit from their followers and following, and not just my share of their tweet on the Josef Sudek exhibit. Of course, it is the season for gift giving and the National Gallery does do some sales promotion, but it keeps the sales to a minimum.

Not quite as good is ViewBug because it shares articles freely and highlights many different photographers, not just the winners of its contests. It has Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn (although just launched three months ago with three posts and nothing more) accounts. But what surprises me from a photo-sharing website, is that ViewBug has an Instagram account. I mostly monitor ViewBug’s Twitter account, which is often repeated on Google+ (an area that needs improvement), not only shares serious articles like Photography: From Hobby To Full Time Job and Top Tips to Become a Great Fashion Photographer, but has fun sharing photographers’ images.

One would never know by visiting the Vistek website that they even have social media accounts because there are no logos or links to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and whatever other platforms they may use. As well as having too many advertising posts that directly sell to followers, Vistek spends more time with drones than cameras. Even its Facebook posts to its own blog is direct sales marketing. Its YouTube channel provides some how-to videos, which can be handy, but they end with a statement to “Pick up a [insert product here] from today!” Rarely does Vistek retweet messages. Having a constant stream of ads only leads to people unfollowing them. Vistek needs to spend more time interacting with the photography community and joining or starting conversations. They need to start listening to the various conversations. Once they have a feel for that, they should start commenting and sharing their expertise on those conversations. All of this will help inform them about what photographers want and need to be able to provide that. Asking for feedback would also help them engage their audience.