Tag Archive: Rachel Strella


Over the last few months, I’ve finally had some good fortune come my way.  The opportunity to be an Adjunct Communications Professor at Central Penn College has been an amazing experience thus far.  I hold out hope that I will continue to teach there for many terms to come.

There are some things, however, that have been challenging to me.

1) Social Media is the way young people communicate.

While I am far from a social media expert, I still think that my level of social media knowledge is much higher than the average individual.  I’ve been running successful social media campaigns for all of my clients over the past year and have an increasing presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  That being said, I can help businesses, but can I help the students learn more about social media?  Every Communications class should have some form of discussion about social media and how these Communications students can and will use social media in their future jobs.

2) Teaching Communications classes is challenging due to the constant stream of new technology.

The book that I’m using to teach my class is called Media Programming:  Strategies and Practices.  While it does a wonderful job being current and even has an online portal for constantly updated information, the field of communications technology is constantly changing and will continue to do so.  It is certainly my responsibility to stay current on things that could impact not only my class but the communications field in general.

3) My College Classes included no Social Media instruction.  I will not make that mistake as a professor.

Looking back at my time (specifically at Shippensburg University) in college, I quickly realized that not one of my professors ever mentioned social media, even in passing.  Granted, I graduated in 2009 when Social Media was just beginning to become relevant, but I still look at it as a disservice to my education.  Everything that I know about social media I learned myself, being very fortunate along the way to meet two amazing Social Media professionals, Chris Dessi and Rachel Strella.  Even though my current class has no mention of social media anywhere in the course description, relating social media to the subjects we discuss in class will help the students understand how important it is to the field of communications.

4) Colleges and Universities must be proactive when teaching social media.

Just because college-aged students have a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts doesn’t mean that a) they know to use it properly and effectively and b) understand how important social media is in finding a job or c) how leveraging social media will directly impact their future career.

Central Penn College does a fantastic job understanding the importance and value of social media and how we as professors must integrate social media discussion within our classes.  I look for many colleges and universities to expand classes to include social media related courses for students.

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This last year has been an amazing year for my career, but it has not been an easy journey.  The last three years since December 2009 when I graduated with my MS in Communications from Shippensburg has been full of rejection, false hopes and constantly working 60+ hours a week just to make ends meet.  However, the last year has meant more to me than any in the past 30 of my life.  I’d like to take time to thank each and every one of the people who have helped me attain some of my goals in 2012 (in no particular order).

1. My beautiful fiance Jackie and our wonderful family.  I don’t know where I would be without Jackie and the kids.  We have been together nearly 6 years and they have been the best years of my life.  Without her, I know that I wouldn’t have had the drive and passion to reach for new goals and to push forward every day.  I look forward to September 28, 2014 when her and I will begin the next phase in our life together.

2. My loving Parents.  My parents have always supported me through great times and difficult times.  While some would say that this is to be expected of parents, I have given my parents more than enough reasons to give up on me over the years.  I have not always been who I am today, but have worked so hard every day to redeem myself for my past.  My parents have never left my side and the support they have offered is invaluable.

3. Chris Dessi.  This is one person on this list that I promise if I had never met, I would not be where I am with my career.  The 2012 Social Media Summit was important in so many ways, with the main reason being meeting Mr. Chris Dessi.  Any loyal reader of my blog certainly understands how Chris has been influential in my career over the past six months.  For those of you that don’t know, Chris is the voice of social media in New York city and I have the amazing opportunity to have dinner with him after the SMS 2012.  He told me not to give up or be frustrated with hardships.  He taught me how to harness social media and how to help some of the businesses I work with grow.  Most importantly, Chris taught me to never give up when reaching for my dream.  I remember him saying, “No one want to hire you?  Work for yourself.  Show your excitement to others and they will begin to share your excitement.  It won’t be work anymore.”  Thanks Chris…

4. Rachel Strella.  This was the second aspect of the Social Media Summit 2012 that made it such an important day in my career, I was able to meet Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media.  Rachel has helped me understand not only how to use social media for small businesses, but gave me a business model that I can succeed with.  Rachel’s advice is the cornerstone of my work, but she is always able to answer questions I may have along the way.  Where Chris was my motivational influence, Rachel has been my ideological influence.

5. Steve Infanti.  Harrisburg University’s Associate VP has been a great influence in my career in other ways.  If I had never attended the 2011 Social Media Summit, I more than likely would not be currently representing 6 clients as well as a potential 10 more.  While Steve didn’t specifically change my career direction, his involvement in the Social Media Summit in both 2011 and 2012 and BarCamp Harrisburg 2012 and 2013 helped lay my groundwork for a career in social media.  He has also went out of his way to help me prepare my resume and even has helped in my search for a job.

6. My clients.  Without people like Brett Meyers of Johnny Joe’s Sports Bar and Grill, Jason Phelan of the Gingerbread Man, Cathy Haynes of CONTACT Helpline and Ken Ross of Bethesda Mission, I would never have had the support system needed to succeed.  Each one of these individuals has helped me in different ways, ways that I could never repay them for.  This support helped enable me to never give up at reaching my goals and to keep making new goals, not getting complacent.  To each of these individuals I am unbelievably grateful to.

7. Solutions for Advertising.  I may have never even received my Masters Degree if it wasn’t for Solutions for Advertising.  Peter Anderson is not only a boss to me, but one of my best friends.  I did two different sets of internships with Solutions for Advertising, as well as my graduation project, compiling and writing our Media Kit and Brochure.  Pete has always been there to help my succeed in my career, especially one day after the 2011 Social Media Summit.  It was then that I realized that my future was in social media and made Pete aware of my desire to start a social media department of Solutions for Advertising, which is thriving to this day.

8. Bart Kaminski of KollisionMedia.  Bart and I have been friends for many years and I have seen KollisionMedia get to the point where he is now having to hire people to keep up with all of his work.  Bart has supported me throughout my current venture, including referring me a few clients along the way.  I am sure that Bart and I will have a close working career in the future and that this successful year is just the first of many.

9. Tierney.  The first thing I must mention is that Tierney gave me inspiration to write this blog with her latest entry at http://stoutsandstilettos.wordpress.com/.  Not only that, she has been one of my closest followers, commenters, advisors and friends, even though we have only met in person twice.  Tierney, understand that my blog and my business would not be where it is without you!

10. Everyone that passed on me for a job.  With all of the positives on this list, it may seem strange that I am thanking everyone that passed on me for a job.  Some of the jobs that I have applied for would not have challenged me, some would have been the wrong fit and some would have just been plain boring.  I was willing at certain points to settle for a $12 an hour job, but I now realize that I am worth much more to a company.  I don’t want a job, I want a rewarding and fulfilling career.  So all of those people who told me I had the job, but that you just have to finish the interview process (3 different times!) I thank you for passing on me.  I now realize how much I have to offer to employers.

To sum up, this journey that I’m on is only beginning and all of these people (as well as some I didn’t mention) have helped me to reach great success and the potential for even more!

Paul M. Miller

pmiller@solutionsforadvertising.com

Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

Before I begin to review Rachel Strella’s latest webinar, I must begin by saying how influential Rachel has been to my career.  I first met her at this year’s Social Media Summit at Harrisburg University.  Since then, I have used the things that I have learned from Rachel to help my career in such ways that I can’t even explain.  Rachel is an amazing speaker and takes the time to answer the many questions that I’ve had in the time we have known each other.  Thanks so much Rachel!

Since I work with many small businesses, I feel that this webinar spoke to me in ways that will not only help me, but my clients as well.  I want the focus of my business to be helping small businesses understand the importance of social media and comprehend the power and short-falls of the medium.  This webinar allowed me to have a firm grasp on how I can help small businesses employ social media strategies for their benefit.

Rachel discussed four major shortcomings for small businesses:  time, resources, money, and social media knowledge.  I’d like to take the time to discuss each of these in regards to the businesses I work with.  Time is a major issue for small businesses, mainly because many owners of small businesses find themselves “wearing many hats” as Rachel puts it.  Small business owners often are accountants, salespeople, social media editors, marketing managers, and many other jobs that they simply cannot afford to hire people to do.  This can be a major problem for them.

Resources also are also at a minimum for small business owners.  While many view resources as money; time, knowledge and even lack of employees would certainly also fall under this category.  For this entry, we will consider resources and money as one.  Because small business owners do not have the resources or money to employ salespeople or social media editors, both of these may lack in comparison to corporate competition.  This is one of the many reasons owning a small business can be a very stressful enterprise.

Social media knowledge may be the most important of the four reasons listed above.  Many small business owners do not have the knowledge needed to conduct a proper social media campaign.  Many feel that simply having a Facebook or Linked In page is all they need to do.  Even if they do post occasionally, the content is not where is should be.  That is why I feel that hiring a consultant for social media is the one simple thing that businesses can do to help elevate their business if they do not have the knowledge already.  Hiring a consultant is not all that needs to be done, however.  You must implement a plan and stick to it!  You must set both short-term and long-term goals and stick to them!  There are ways to make social media work for you, but only with the proper knowledge and follow-through.

I like to compare social media campaigns to caring for a garden.  In the spring (the beginning of your campaign), you must prepare the soil.  You must buy quality product (social media consulting) and plant it at the right time.  From there you must care for your garden (post quality content) and water your garden (have short-term and long-term goals).  After a  few weeks, you will begin to see the “fruits” of your labor (Return on Investment).

Rachel made another interesting point in the webinar; there are a series of shortcomings that small business owners find themselves falling into.  The first shortcoming for small businesses is that they treat social media like advertising.  As I mentioned in my previous blog, social media is a two-way form of marketing.  Where traditional advertising is a one-way medium, social media allows fans and followers the opportunity to interact with the business in a whole new way.  Those businesses who view social media as a one-way medium will never see the advantages that social media has to offer.

Another shortcoming that Rachel discusses is the notion that social media will fix what is wrong with a small business.  This is one thing that I struggle to get business owners to understand.  Social media will not show ROI within a few weeks.  It may not show ROI within a few months.  But if you stick to goals that you have set for yourself, social media will become a valuable part of any business, be it small business or corporate business.  Many owners think that a one-month campaign is enough time to determine whether social media will work or not.  I encourage those of you reading this to understand that social media will never go away.  It is one long, never-ending opportunity to connect with your customers and clients in a new and different way that can add so much value to your business.

The one overwhelming theme from this webinar was this:  A small business owner with no social media training is like myself trying to fix my own car.  I have no knowledge how to fix an automobile, nor do I claim to.  Those owners need to understand, use, and leverage the power of social media.  This can only be done by hiring a consultant, taking classes or webinars or making a serious effort to learn on their own.  So please, if you are a small business owner, understand what course of action you need to take and take it!

For more information on Rachel Strella and Strella Social Media, follow Rachel on Twitter @RachelStrella

Paul M. Miller

pmiller@solutionsforadvertising.com

Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

It never ceases to amaze me how much there is to learn about social media.  While I feel that I am well-versed in SM, I will never consider myself an expert.  Obviously social media changes constantly, but by viewing the Strella Social Media Webinar about Social Media ROI for Small Business I was able to have a better understanding of how to deal with the different levels of clients that I serve.  This webinar is still available at:  http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventID=32042523 and I highly encourage you social media editors and business owners alike to view the webinar and learn about how social media can assist your marketing plan.

One portion of the webinar that stood out to me was the difference between social media strategies for large corporations and small businesses.  Rachel was quick to point out that corporations obviously have a much larger budget and are able to do much more than are small businesses.  Small businesses simply cannot afford to pay someone on staff to do only social media.  Often times there is someone on staff who has a myriad of tasks at hand other than social media.  Simply put, social media is a skill and should not simply be delegated to a secretary or an intern.

Traditional advertising has often been viewed as a one-way form of marketing.  Whether it be a television commercial, a radio spot, a bus wrap or an ad in the paper, these forms of advertising offer no way to produce feedback.  Social media is a medium that embraces feedback almost instantly in most cases.  Social media offers not only branding for your business but also a way to network with your clients in real-time, something traditional ads do not do.  Often times, however, businesses view social media as a one-way form of marketing.  They put out a message and do not follow-up properly or engage fully.  Rachel made a statement that stuck with me, “Social Media is an ongoing relationship that never ends.” If more social media marketers would understand and employ this statement into their everyday thought process, social media could be much more advantageous to them.

The most important thing within the webinar for myself specifically has to be the goal setting timeline that Rachel spoke of employing.  When starting any sort of social media campaign, it is extremely necessary to set goals.  By starting with 90-day goals, after the time period has elapsed you can evaluate these goals to determine what has worked and what hasn’t.  The next step should be a 6-month plan, in which after the 6-months you can again evaluate if your plan is working, what you can do to change it and where you would like to go in the future.

When getting started with a social media page, it is important to temper expectations.  There needs to be a strong balance between building your page and posting strong content for the readers to enjoy.  By offering something valuable to your readers, they begin to trust you and turn to you for information in the future.  When you first start a Facebook page for example, posting three times per week is a good place to start.  Any more than this, readers may get turned off if you are not offering value and strong content at the same time.  Any less than this, users will not engage at the level you are seeking.

The final point that I would like to emphasize is the importance of learning and understanding the skill that is social media.  Rachel made a great point in her webinar, “If you do not have the means to sustain your social media strategy, you should consider hiring an independent contractor.”  Often, you would end up not only having a better social media product, but saving yourself money in the process.  Keep in mind, as social media independent contractors, we want to see you succeed!

I appreciate the fact that Rachel Strella and Strella Social Media have begun producing unique content for the social media world.  I must say that I have great admiration for her and her company and look forward to her next webinar, Social Media and Small Business, Pitfalls to Avoid on October 15.  For more information please visit http://www.strellasocialmedia.com or @RachelStrella on Twitter.

Paul M. Miller

pmiller@solutionsforadvertising.com

Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

In Part 2 of the Job Search blog, I would like to take time to recognize two panelists that stood out in my mind, not only during the panel but as some of the best of the whole day.  I mentioned Amanda Haddaway (@ahaddaway) and Rachel Strella (@rachelstrella) as two panelists that exceeded my expectations.  As someone who is presently searching for a job in a very difficult job landscape, I took this panel very seriously and took away from it quite a lot of useful information.

Amanda Haddaway is a very accomplished HR professional that has a great array of expertise in the job search field.  Here is a brief bio from her website (http://amandahaddaway.com):  “Amanda Haddaway is an accomplished freelance writer and marketing practitioner. She has been quoted in numerous national publications for her HR and marketing expertise and has written two books, Destination Real World: Success After Graduation for new and soon-to-be college graduates and Interviewer Success: Become a great interviewer in less than one hour.”  The two things that she discusses in these two books are two of the most important aspects not only for recently graduated or graduating students, but any professional looking for a job.  One of the most important things I learned from Amanda was that just because you have graduated, doesn’t mean you can stop learning.  Many people who I have spoken to over the years have looked at graduation as the culmination of all of their studies.  In my opinion, this could not be further from the truth.  Because traditional colleges often don’t require students to have any social media training in relation to the job search, you must train yourself.  Using some of the pointers from Part 1 of this blog can be extremely beneficial, but following some influential people like Amanda on Twitter can certainly help your social media training.

Amanda had great insight on a subject that many job seekers do not know what is out there about themselves, be it positive or negative.  Amanda offered insight on this topic by asking all the attendees of the panel to now only Google yourself to find out what is out there, but to also set up Google Alerts so you know when people are searching about you.  She also noted that it is important to be proactive in keeping up with your Social Media privacy settings, but to not rely on them as a way to keep information private.  It is important to moderate your page, to untag photos of a late night last weekend, and to let others know that you value their friendship but not their constant tags or obscene comments.  Amanda pleaded to us about thinking about the bigger picture of our job search and to use connections as an asset.

On a side note, this is part of the reason I was so distraught after last year’s Social Media Summit.  I do not think that college gives you the proper tools to prepare yourself adequately for the job search in today’s job landscape.  Maybe I didn’t utilize career services to the utmost extent, but I was an extremely diligent student that was active at both Slippery Rock and Shippensburg.  I should not have this much trouble finding a job that I enjoy and am good at.  I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to attend the last two Summit’s as I have learned so much invaluable information that I can now relay to my connections.  I want to help in a way that I don’t think my professors did.

Another person who had a great impact on not only this panel, but the Social Media Summit as a whole was Rachel Strella, of Camp Hill’s Strella Social Media (http://strellasocialmedia.com/).  Here is a quick bio about Rachel and how Strella Social Media came about:

“It was Rachel’s mentor who suggested that she might be an entrepreneur. She understood that in order for Rachel to be happy, she had to run her own show!  As it happened, Rachel’s mentor provided her not only with inspiration but with a problem that Rachel knew how to solve. That same day, Rachel’s mentor attended a social media marketing event that left her feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about the new tools. She suggested that Rachel use her knowledge of social media to help small business owners understand it and use it properly.  Rachel took a leap of faith and decided to start the business, alongside her day job, in July 2010. The business began as Central PA Webster, a company helping small business owners understand the mechanics of social media. It soon evolved into a social media management business as Rachel found that many business owners did not have time to maintain an effective or consistent social media presence by themselves. By September 2010, Rachel was able to leave her day job and focus on the business full-time.”

As any fan of this blog will tell you, I am an advocate of small business, especially in the Harrisburg area.  I am extremely proud of Rachel and her hard work and I wish her nothing but the best.  But it’s not just well wishers that have made her successful, it was hard work and perseverance.  Rachel has come to the forefront of social media marketing in the Harrisburg area and has a lot of great advice for job seekers.  Rachel stressed to the panel how important personal branding is, using the available tools to make you stand out from the crowd in the job search.  That was the one thing that struck home to me and my situation.  I have worked hard over the last year to make my personal brand stand out and I feel I have done a great job.  She was also quick to point out that the concept of Social Media is much larger than a single social networking site, it is the collaboration of all of them that creates your personal brand.  Letting your personality shine through on social media is one quick way to stand out in the job search.

Overall, this panel was so informative that even I couldn’t imagine covering every single point that the panelists discussed.   To close the discussion of this I would like to give those still in school or those having graduated already a 5-step checklist for using social media for their job search:

1.  Linked In – Completing your Linked In profile to 100% is the easiest thing you can do to help your search.  Consider former professors, present colleagues, former bosses, managers, superiors, etc. to write recommendations of your work.  This provides a personal touch that can go a long way with potential employers.

2. Google Yourself, set Google Alerts, Familiarize yourself with Facebook privacy settings – Knowing what is out there about you and what is and is not available to the public allows you to know what potential employers can see.

3.  Volunteer with local Non-profit organizations – Volunteering your free time (in my case, what little I have) is a powerful way to not only create more connections but to add different skills to your arsenal.  There is an opportunity to network within your non-profit work, but remember that the organization comes first, not your personal agenda.

4.  Join Linked In groups – Linked In groups are a great way to keep up with the pulse of your industry.  Becoming active in the conversations are a very easy way to add connections and possibly land a job.

5.  Blogging – Start a blog about your subject matter.  Create content and start a conversation.  Interview those in the field that are knowledgeable, but stick to your opinion.  Just because they are an expert does not mean that their opinion is paramount to yours.  It is your blog after all!

I truly encourage readers to follow @ahaddaway and @rachelstrella on Twitter for further information about all social media topics, as well as job opportunities.  Thank you so much you two for an amazing panel!

Paul M. Miller

pmiller@solutionsforadvertising.com

Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

At the 2011 Social Media Summit, the Social Media and the Job Search panel was by far the most informative panel that I attended.  I learned an amazing array of techniques to increase the probability of finding a job in my job search.  Some of the things I learned last year were:

1. The Importance of Linked In – Linked In creates 6x more job opportunities than Facebook.  It is also very important to have recommendations on your page from former managers, bosses, colleagues and clients.

2. Using WordPress (or any blog site) – Blogging about your subject expertise is a free way to enhance your personal brand.  I started last September blogging about Social Media and have had a great experience, with my blog last month going over 500 unique views.

3.  Knowing what is out there about you (Google your name) – Googling your name is something you can do to know what is online about you.  I have a common name and it is important to know what Paul Miller (be it myself or another Paul Miller) is doing.

4.  Using the privacy settings in Facebook so your personal information is not public.  Knowing the privacy settings on Facebook is extremely imperative when searching for a job.  The last thing you want your perspective employer to see is pictures of you partying last weekend.

This all being said, I was extremely excited to attended the Job Search panel this year.  I wanted to see what new advice was available for the Job Search and how things may have changed over the last year.

To start the panel off, the panelists discussed how the job search is now 100% online.  I don’t know if I agree with that totally, but I would agree that the present day landscape is at least 95% online.  The panelists also noted that between 60 – 80% of jobs are found via networking with colleagues, present and former bosses, and recent clients.  Being able to leverage your connections to find a job as well as using your connections as an asset is the easiest way to find a job in today’s economy.

There were two people on the Job Search panel that I found extremely helpful with their information, Amanda Haddaway (@ahaddaway on Twitter) and Rachel Strella (@RachelStrella).  I will go into detail in part 2 of this blog about specific information for each of these two intelligent women, but I want to focus on more general information in Part 1.

The most recurring theme during this panel centered around Personal Branding.  Positioning yourself as a professional with expertise and engaging readers can create a whole community of contacts.  Using relevant information to your field can help you connect with the decision makers that you want to connect with to find work.

Other than blogging, becoming active in your community by volunteering with local non-profit organizations is a free way to enhance your personal brand.  Finding a non-profit organization that you support allows you to not only add more connections to your arsenal, but shows potential employers that you care about your community.  Personally, I am involved with two local non-profit organizations, The Bethesda Mission of Harrisburg and the Autism Society of the Greater Harrisburg area.  I became involved with the Bethesda Mission because it is important to have an outreach program for those who have become down on their luck and allow them to get back on their feet.  The Autism Society hits close to home for me because I have a son that was diagnosed with autism.  The Autism Society of the Greater Harrisburg Area is something that I will be a part of for the rest of my life.  Through these organizations I have received a great deal of connections and recommendations through my volunteer work.  It also gives me an amazing way to give back to the community as well as a way for me to feel good about myself.

I would highly suggest that you begin with Linked In.  LI is the most important thing that you can do to get on the right path to finding a job.  There is so much more to talk about from this panel that I will continue in part 2 of this blog for next Monday, June 11.

Paul M. Miller

pmiller@solutionsforadvertising.com

Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495