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Reading time: 1 min

Plugins are simply add-ons that extends the functionality of a blog. As powerful as WordPress, Blogger and other blogging platforms are, they are still limited in terms of certain functions that are crucialto blogging.

Take for instance, WordPress doesn’t have a Twitter Tool by default. This and many more can be achieved by installing a third-party plugin. Hardly can a blog survive without plugins. Newbies are usually confused about the type of plugins to install on their blog. Below is a compilation of the five most important plugins to install on your blog. Check out world-class blogs and you will find all of these plugins playing a crucial role. Let’s go:

  1. SEO Plugin: I am sure you want your blog to be properly crawled by Search Engines as this will enhance the visibility of our blog during searches. So, in order to make your blog search engine friendly, you will need to install a SEO plugin. This plugin may be overlooked if your theme comes with a SEO function by default. I recommend the popular and functional “SEO All in one Pack” plugin for this function for WordPress blogs.
  2. Spam Filter: After about two months of installing wordpress for a client, he had gotten over 200 spams in form of comments, contact form submissions and the likes. Sure, you understand how disturbing that can be. So, for every blog you run, ensure you install a spam blocker on it to prevent you from getting those unwanted comments and form submissions. I recommend the nativeAkismet for WordPress.

Social Plugins: In this Social Media driven world, you won’t want to run a blog without installing any social plugin. Social plugins allow your visitors discover you on the Social Media platforms you belong to and also extend the conversation there.

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Two lies a social media strategist told me about Twitter

Recently, I attended a program for media entrepreneurs. Expectedly, it was a blast except for the utterances of one social media guy who spoke. He made few statements that almost pushed me to snatch the microphone from him and push him off the stage. Ah! If I had done that, I won’t be writing this post now. The angel in me held me.

First, I want you to get it straight. The fact that someone has “xxxxxx” number of followers on twitter does not make him a social media mogul or whatever title he or she gives himself. It goes way beyond that. If not, all those porn handles will also be social media strategists.

Now, to lies:

  1. People don’t click links: How big of a lie can this be? I manage several blogs including mine and those of my clients and the highest traffic source on all is Twitter. So, the question is, how did that happen if people don’t click links on Twitter? In a recent survey (can’t remember which exactly), respondents stated that they now use Twitter as a replacement for RSS feeds. So, if you own a blogger or website, you gotta be tweeting those links and turn a deaf ear to statements like this.
  2. Evening tweets are pure waste of time: Pure lie sir! Wrong! Generally (especially when you already have followers), there is no such thing as the “right time” to tweet. It all depends on your followers. Analyze your followers and target audience. When do they tweet or ReTweet the most? Thankfully, there are now several applications you can use for this. You can use SocialBro. And then, after knowing the time most of your followers tweet, you don’t want to avoid tweeting at other times. Your followers have the right to launch their twitter apps at any time of the day and you want to ensure they don’t miss your tweets. In response to this lie, I’ll say a handful of the twitter accounts I know (or manage) receive tons of tweets in the evening as well.

No matter what anyone tells you about social media, do what gets you the most results per time.

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Social media is a great tool for your job search and career – after all, relationships are often the key to a new job opportunity. But with all of the advice about making these connections, you might be wondering, ‘How exactly do I approach potential employers on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn?’

Here’s what  several experts have to say about forging professional relationships online:

1. Pick The Right Target On Social Media: For any organization, there may be several active voices on social media. Focus your energy on building a single relationship with a single person. Look for a voice who is active and engaged with their audience. These are blog authors or tweeters who reply to comments. With this person, share regular feedback and relevant resources (without stalking them). Be patient. Real relationships take time. – Alan Carniol, Interview Success Formula

2. First, Be a Good Follower: Before approaching a potential employer on social media, follow them for a while to understand their approach and what they like to write about. Retweet their posts or mention them over a sustained period of time, weeks or months. Then, when you want to reach out, they’ll be more receptive to hearing from someone who has already expended capital promoting them.  – Dorie Clark, Author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future

3. Find Commonalities So You Can Say, ‘Oh You Went There Too?’: It’s all about the connections, finding the one thing you have in common with someone. Using LinkedIn as an example, find someone that works at the company you’re interested in that you have a connection with, could be someone you worked with, fellow alumni, or member of professional association. Use this connection to reach out and ask for help reaching the right person to talk with about opportunities.  – Paul Kostek, Air Direct Solutions

4. Strike Up a Conversation First: Don’t approach employers online by first saying, “Hey, can you get me a job at XYZ place?” Establish a rapport first, whether that means tweeting back and forth a conversation together or Instagramming a photo of one of their products and a clever way that you used it. – Heather Taylor, social media manager, MyCorporation.com5. Job Seekers Should Use Social Media to Show Their Value: Social media is a great tool for job seekers to use when connecting with employers. The best way for job seekers to approach employers is to use social channels to show off their knowledge and value. Share an interesting article, start a thought-provoking discussion, or take part in an industry chat. Once initial contact has been made, job seekers can share their video resume or work portfolio to show employers what they can do. – Josh Tolan, Spark Hire

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Picture this:

I’ve enjoyed our time together but there is so much more I could tell you about my abilities. I hope you’ll take a look at my blog (the Web address is on my résumé) so you can see for yourself the way I think about things.

You have just extended your interview by another 15 to 30 minutes and that may make all the difference.

Quite a number of people have ended their interview this way.

Your ability to create cutting-edge content may just be your cutting-edge over other job seekers. An average employer will prefer to employ an applicant he/she perceives has a deep knowledge about the happenings in the industry to employing someone he/she perceives otherwise. Trust me, your blog can aid the perception of your boss to-be about you. The importance of a functional blog to a job seeker cannot be over emphasized, especially in 2013 and beyond.

So, what will you be blogging about?

  • Your Industry: I believe every job seeker should have a pre-determined industry they want to dive into based on the knowledge they’ve acquired over time. Set up your blog and begin to blog on stuffs about the industry. Take for instance, I belong to the Technology sector, so hardly will you find anything short of that on my blog. Therefore, if you’re entering into the oil sector, start blogging about it right away.
  • Latest Trends in your industry: Writing blog posts on the current trends in the industry tells your prospective employer that you are current and you know what’s happening in that industry. You’ll create your Aha! moment most especially if your potential boss ends up learning something new about the latest trends in the industry on your blog. Trust me, it’s possible.
  • Your opinions: Don’t just report the happenings in your industry. Take it further by telling your visitors what you feel about it. It’s important we know where you stand. Your blog should not just be a collection of latest news. NO! You can even move to the point of giving your own suggestion on how things should be done. Do so, as long as you’re sure of what you’re saying. Your potential employer will either agree with you or respect you for your opinions. The former is likely to happen. He may even open an “educative” argument with you the next time he sees you. What a great way to connect with your new boss!
  • How-to/Tips: To show that you’re well informed about the industry, you might also want to consider blogging about certain tips that can be beneficial to your readers (Yes, your potential boss inclusive).

Don’t be afraid that you know only little about your industry, especially if you’re a fresh graduate. All you have to do is to be a regular visitor of the top sites in your industry consuming as much information as you can. You can’t blog about what you’re ignorant of. So, visit your industry related blogs, see what others are blogging on. Take a clue from their posts, form your own opinion and get right to your PC and pour it down (Hey, I mean improve on what others blog on).

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Recruiters have pretty much figured out this Facebook recruiting thing, right? Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a lot of incorrect notions out there, Let’s correct some of the most popular misconceptions –

Myth #1. My business doesn’t need a Facebook fan page: Facebook is quickly becoming your other home page. 40% of the Fortune 100 companies receive more traffic to fan page than website, depicting Facebook as an extremely engaging and scalable way to reach out to your audience. Source – webengage

Myth #2. Facebook Or LinkedIn: use both, Facebook has 5x more registered users than LinkedIn, and these users spent 3x more time on Facebook than all other social networks combined. LinkedIn is a great tool for recruiting senior professionals, but can you really ignore the largest social network of all time for your recruiting needs? Source – comScore

Myth #3. Only Gen Y Candidates are present on Facebook: 65% of Facebook users are 35 or older and the average Facebook user is 40.5 years old.  Facebook is most definitely not just for the young hip crowd, more experienced candidates are hanging out there too. Source – pingdom

…Are you taking advantage of Facebook recruiting? Share your views in the comment section below :-)

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5 steps to establishing your e-Rep

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These days an online presence is not just enough. It is not enough to have a Facebook account, or to tweet or to have a Google + account. In a world where Facebook has hit the 1 billion mark, Googe plus is currently at 400 million users, Linked In at 175 million users and Twitter stands at 140 million users. You need to answer the question what is your E Rep?

Here are 5 steps to get you started

  • You must know yourself: What makes you stand out from other users. That is the most crucial information you need as you begin the step of building up your E-Rep. What is your difference? your unique selling point? That is the key to standing out. It is not enough to go with what the current trend or flow in social media conversation. For instance, you might decide to go into political commentary because that is where the conversation is going. If you are unable to sustain this, or even to connect, it will all be a waste of time. Do a search of individuals, brands or organizations similar to yours, study what they do and take time to define and carve out a niche or USP for yourself.
  • You must know your audience: Now you know exactly who you are and what stands you out, the next step is to find your audience. On social media sites, this can be very tricky, a lot of times, it will be a trial and error exercise but if you are consistent in following the activities of brands similar to you and monitoring participation and responses to your activities, you are on the right track.
  • You must be able to communicate yourself/brand clearly: So you know yourself and your audience, how do you keep them coming at you? How do you connect with them on a personal basis? Social networking is mostly about short and straight-to the point conversations that give room for more comments and reactions. Once you learn how to state your point clearly and get replies from your audience, you have started communicating
  • You must network: It is called a social network for the very purpose. Did you join Twitter to be watched, well except you are Kanye West, it is pointless. It is a give and take process. You must give of yourself and that includes commenting, liking posts asking questions and creating relationships generally. You must set yourself out there, people need to know you are ready to have an online conversation and to keep it going over time. You must also listen and talk.
  • You must be consistent: This is perhaps the most difficult part of building an E Rep. Consistency is difficult to maintain but it is often times the most crucial part of an online relationship. You need to be actively known for something and that can only come when other users begin to associate you with something. So pick a stand and stick with it.

According to Marena Elena Duron of #Brand Chat, “It is not volume of people – it’s the deeper relationships you form online that will bring forth the volumes of people who see you as credible and worth connecting with.”

What do you think?

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No, you’re not stupid, but the following makes you look so. Your friends won’t tell you the truth. Here’s where you can get the truth from. We have a deal to put you on the right path in your social media journey, right? So, here you go:

  • My Day on Twitter: How useless can this be to your followers? Who cares how many RTs you got today, or how many people followed you? Why should you fill our timeline with such irrelevant tweet? It’s like clapping for yourself after having sex. Of what benefit is that to your followers? I thought this went away with 2012, but it is sad to still see folks subscribe to this trash. Here’s a way out. If you really want to know how well you’re doing on Twitter (RTs, followers et al), there are services that send those stats to your email or as DM. Subscribe to any of those services and save our timeline.
  • Now following, Please follow back: Emm, where should we follow you to? Why must I follow you simply because you’re now following me. Where does begging for follow backs take you to. There are  more intellingentt way to make people follow you on Twitter than begging. Why should anyone even be a slave to follow backs or the number of followers? I don’t need an answer.
  • Talking about yourself all the time: I understand this is so tempting, but please, do less of it. Talking about yourself all the time is plain annoying to some of us following you ‘cos of the value we expect you’ll tweet. Filling our timeline with stories of what your dog ate in the morning without adding a good slant to it is not cool. If your primary value on Twitter is to catch  fun, I bet there are better ways to go about it than telling us about yourself always.

Tweeting every thought: What happened to processing our thoughts before sharing them with third parties? Perhaps this is gradually eroding with the development of social media. Why should you tweet everything that comes to your mind all the time. Need samples? Check your timeline and it’s just easy to decode that. I understand that Twitter is thought amplifier, but amplifying all thoughts is one of those things that just make you look stupid to folks

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In the past 3 months, I have had numerous conversations with a couple of social media managers and just ‘normal’ folks trying to achieve one or two results with social media. It’s been funny, really. First, these calls often reveal to me that many people still haven’t gotten a hang of this social media wave and that there are too many myths and misconceptions about the social web.

First and most frequent subject of discussion is the link between result and the means to the end. It usually starts with “…we need to get xyz through Twitter, where do we start from”, or “we just want to increase talkability on social media”. Some even say “we have an event next month, and we want to create awareness about it, so people can register”, some others then say, “we just launched our blog and want to get 70,000 views per day…”. Several others.

After giving several suggestion and alternative routes to the means, I then move to the part that scare most away – money. So, let’s talk about it here.

While creating social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook etc.) may be free, generating big kick-ass results is not necessarily free. Delete necessary. It’s actually not free. So, the first myth you need to get off your head is that social media is actually free in its entirety. Next is to get the bug on your boss or client.

While managers are beginning to realize the importance of social media to their business, many are still not making enough provisions for it in their budget. Typically, they just ask a random staff who’s fairly good with internet stuffs to create their profile and start posting stuffs. Then, they follow that up by setting an unrealistic goal and baseless KPIs to measure performance. This is where I get phone calls. After two months of ‘posting everything’, target is not achieved. The accidental social media manager then becomes discouraged, overwhelmed and frustrated – “but I am doing everything”.

His boss wants to be on every blog, every Google search page, everyone’s Facebook timelines like Jumia, Konga and several other examples of ‘successful’ ad campaigns. They want to generate buzz on Twitter like Osun State did for Opon Imo (the tablet recently launched) and the likes. As great as this intentions are, bosses and clients often forget one thing. Money.

My response is simple. Get your boss to support you with a decent budget to drive the results he desires. For every ad you see on a blog, someone is paying the bill. Google is not a charity organization. Facebook is a public company with shareholders waiting for dividends and bonuses; then institutional investors expecting a heavy ROI at the end of the year. The only way they can achieve that is by charging you a premium (ad revenue) for the wider reach you desire.

In some cases, you need to pay local influencers and opinion leaders to help drive your agenda on social media. These guys have put in huge efforts (perhaps, when you were busy arguing whether Facebook and Twitter are here to stay or not) to build their following. So, you expect them to talk about your business (that earns you profit. Not them) all day without receiving something in exchange? You’ve got to be kidding. Maybe if it’s a social initiative.

I’ve not even talked about the advanced tools you may need to pay for at some point. All these and many more all prove that social media is not free.

Here’s the bottom-line, when next your boss or client (for agencies) gives you that ‘big target’, ask him to put his money where his “heart” is. Simple. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of things that can be done without money, but for those who desire to generate the impact the big brands are generating, you’ve got to be good at spending. Period!

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by Mark Amaza

Mark Amaza is the Chief Thinker/CEO of MINDcapital, a strategy, innovation and branding consulting firm by day; coordinator of NIGERIA:UNITED, a youth-based movement working to foster national unity despite our religious, regional and ethnic differences; public speaker; loves to conjure up abstract thoughts and connect random events; bibliophile; avid music lover; FC Barcelona fanatic; expectant of experiences.

In the latter half of the last decade, the world witnessed the birth of a hybrid form of the World Wide Web, known as Web 2.0. The most distinguishing feature of Web 2.0 is the democratization of the creation of content, where internet users such as you and I can create and upload content onto the web. That content could be in the form of music, videos, pictures, or plain text. Quite a number of websites and online services (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) have been built around this self-publishing feature and added with it the ability for us to connect with each other, thus birthing social networking.

One other very important feauture of Web 2.0 is the birth, rise and spread of web logging, shortened to ‘blogging’. A weblog (although no one calls them that anymore; they are just called ‘blogs’) is a site where an individual records his personal opinions, with links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis. A person who updated his blog regularly is thus referred to as a blogger. Today, there are millions of blogs out there on practically every different subject and field under the sun.

Naturally, Nigerians have not been left behind in the blogging movement, as many of us, particularly those of the Facebook and Twitter generation have a blog set up and updated with some regularity. With it has also come the talk of if everyone must be a blogger and whether or not some bloggers were just part of a ‘me-too’ craze.

However, I am of the opinion that we do not even have enough bloggers out there. As a matter of fact, I believe that everyone should be a blogger. Let me explain my views:

  1. For anyone who has tried writing an article and sending it to a newspaper or magazine and encountered rejection, the gift of self-publishing your own work will be a god-send. No longer would you have to rely on some editor to consider your piece privileged enough to be published in his/her paper. You can now write, publish and promote yourself. And it is free too, with so many blogging platforms to choose from: WordPress, Blogspot, Posterous, Tumblr, etc., and they mostly have mobile versions so you can upload content to your blogs from your phones.
  2. Blogging teaches us how to express ourselves excellently. No matter what your blog is about, the fact that you are always writing something makes you get better at writing and articulating your ideas. From there, the jump to speaking well is not so much. Blogging, therefore, can also be used as an avenue for self-development.
  3. You can use blogging to promote yourself as an expert in your field. For example, anytime I want to read something pertaining to Nigerian economics, I go to Feyi Fawehinmi’s blog or Nonso Obikili’s blog, or to Rotimi Fawole’s blog for an interpretation of the law. Now what the three of them, amongst many others have done is that they have made themselves stand out in the sea of economists and lawyers that abound in this country. This gives them influence they can easily leverage for many things such as securing clients, etc.
  4. Blogging also gives you the opportunity to pursue and talk about your passion if it is outside your regular job. Say you are an engineer with a passion for football. You can easily set up a blog and rant about football all day, thereby allowing you to pursue your passion. It is that easy, really!
  5. Blogging does not have to be a full-time job. We don’t all have to be a Linda Ikeji or anOmojuwa, hoping that we rake in money through our blogs. It could be an avenue for self-expression. In fact, when you pursue blogging from this angle mainly, you will be given opportunities to make some money through it beyond what you expect. I can testify to this.
  6. In case you do not want to set up your own blog, you can write for the litany of sites that aggregate content from writers. Though they can be called blogs, they function more like online newspapers and magazines.
  7. For every blog, there is an audience. As a person who most times rants about politics and the occasional random stuff, I very well know that not everyone will read my blog posts. And so also will it be with you, no matter how interesting what you write is. The key is finding and having your niche and fully serving it. Even this erotica blog has its audience and a devoted one at that. So now that you know I read erotica, let me try and regain my halo. Moving on…..

In the end, do not shy away from blogging unless you have nothing to say, or do not want to say it. Whatever it is: political analyses, football commentary, short stories and poems, etc. Be free to talk.

I predict that the time will come one day where job-seekers would be asked for their blog addresses. I feel that time is almost there in the developed world. This is because it speaks a lot as to the intellectual soundness of a person.

Looking forward to being regular visitors to your blogs

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