doing spec work kenny soto

Getting a Job After College, Spec Work is The Best Method

What is Spec Work?

I’d like to preface this article with where this idea came from—Gary Vaynerchuk. I have been following Gary for exactly over a year now, and one of the very first doubts about him came when he talked about doing spec work (free services) for people for business development and expanding reach.

Spec work is any kind of creative work, either partial or completed, submitted by designers to prospective clients before designers secure both their work and equitable fees. Under these conditions, designers will often be asked to submit work in the guise of a contest or an entry exam on existing jobs as a “test” of their skill.”

I decided that instead of just taking what he said and accepting it, that I would test it for myself (which in retrospect, is what he wanted his viewers to do when he talked about the subject). The story below is how it all happened and how it can help you if you’re still in college or just graduated, and you’re looking to grow in your industry.

Finding a need, getting the client.

Now, this article focuses on the context of my particular skills—skills in digital marketing (SEO, web development, and Social Media Marketing) that I used to get spec work. Although this may not apply to all industries, if your skills map to working on being creative and providing services for a client that don’t require a license of specific certifications, this can work for you. My first step in this process was to find a customer that needed my help. I knew from the start that I’d be doing this work for an exchange outside of financial compensation, perhaps a referral to a job after college or something else.

While I was at my college’s local bar, Grill On The Hill, I felt the need to have more of my college friends become more aware of what the bar offered. It was an excellent place that was just starting out, and whenever I went, there were a lot of locals but, not enough college students. One evening, while hanging out with my fraternity brothers, I saw one of the bar’s owners outside. I walked to him, introduced myself and what I do, and told him that I would market his bar online—for free.
Obviously, there was a catch. I was still figuring out what that would be myself—when I was pitching to the owner. Several days later I was hired as the bars digital marketing consultant with a small monthly budget to do Facebook marketing and to create their website with the help of one of the bartenders there. It was my second time creating a website and creating any paid media on Facebook.

What did I get in return from the experience?

Besides gaining valuable experience in doing Facebook ads (the bar was my second client at my time), I was able to learn more about my craft in a holistic way. I began to understand that marketing doesn’t work without tying your campaign goals to actual business goals that drive revenue—it’s not enough to promote a bar’s event to everyone then, making sure you promote it to the ideal customers (people who spend money and drive revenue). In return, besides getting experience, the bar gave me a free beer (and occasionally a free meal) once to twice a week for eight months. This showed me that even if you aren’t making an income for the work you do for someone, there can always be an exchange of equal value for said work. That’s the main message I want to drive home, especially for college students, doing work someone doesn’t necessarily need to equate to you making money.

The hidden value in working for free

We are taught that work has to produce income, and it doesn’t. Work can help you build your network. Work can help you expose yourself to new ideas and possibilities. Instead of focusing on monetary gain, focus your job for skills-based learning. It’s because of my experience working at Grill on the Hill that, it gave me the opportunity to see what marketing services I could pitch to my college and try my hand at making them my first paid client (you can find out more about that story here).

I’d love to know your thoughts on this article. Do you think work should only be done for monetary gain/income? Have you done similar work in exchange for services, experience, etc.? Let’s chat in the comments section down below!

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How Landed My First Paid Account as a Consultant at 22 Kenny Soto

My 1st Client as a Digital Marketing Consultant at 22

Believe it or not, I was able to convince my college to hire me. I’m not talking about work study, being a bookstore stockboy, or being a research assistant for a professor. I’m talking about closing a deal for thousands of dollars. In this post, I’ll provide some back story as to how I was able to have the opportunity to even come up with the pitch, the pitch itself, and the lessons learned from the work. As a small disclaimer, as a student I respect my university tremendously—as a consultant, I learned from them what it means when people say large organizations are “slow.”

It all starts with finding a need.

How did I come up with the idea of even pursuing this pitch? It all started with accessing the problem my college had—we had severe budget cuts during the fiscal year. The only reason I was privy to this information was due to my role as student body president. During the first few meetings with school administration during my last academic year in college, I learned that our college, along with other CUNYs, hadn’t met their goal that the Board of Trustees set for getting more students.

The lack of increase in tuition was one of four factors that contributed to the millions in budget cuts that we’re going to occur. After sitting down and actually contemplating on why this particular problem was occurring, it dawned on me that I should check out the college’s social media & paid search marketing efforts. Low and behold, they weren’t launching any paid ads or producing content of any value to potential students or the parents of those students. This was my in, the opportunity I was looking for.

Devising the pitch.

Coming up with something of real worth to present to school administration wasn’t easy. It took me two weeks just to have the stones even to share this idea with my Fraternity brothers for feedback. After carefully thinking about what I learned from both my internship and doing pro bono digital marketing for a bar near campus (I still got something out of it, free food and free beer which wasn’t a bad deal if I do say so myself) I came up with a 43-slide deck for my presentation.

The reason why this deck was so long, and by all means I don’t recommend doing something this long for any presentation, was because I knew I wouldn’t have been taken seriously (at the end of the day, I’m too young to be taken seriously for anything right now). If I didn’t make sure I showed both school admin and the marketing department that not only I knew what I was talking about—but, that I also put it into the context of their specific needs, none of this would have worked. Also, I had already assembled a small team of two other student government members that would help me in my efforts; this increased their confidence in my ability to not only create a sound project but, also execute on it.

Negotiating the price.

The two most important lessons I gained from the overall experience was:

  1. Always write the service contract yourself.
  2. Bid high for a high price.

If it weren’t for a close friend of mine, I would have left a considerable amount of money on the table. I believe the main reason why the college administration agreed to pay my team and me as much as they did, was because the labor was relatively cheap in terms of industry standards and we wrote the whole contract ourselves. It also helps that they didn’t go through the hassle of signing it but, that’s beside the point. If a client is willing to pay you without signing a contract for whatever reason you still want them to do so, it puts both of you in a position where each party is fully committed to each other’s success. I believe this was the first sign that there was only going to be so much we could have done for them.

The challenge I’m glad I faced early on.

The biggest challenge with working for any big client as a digital markeitng consultant is this—the internal communications process is slow as hell, meaning that you’re going to have to plan at least two weeks ahead to get anything approved for launch. I lacked experience in this one aspect of doing digital marketing consulting; I didn’t anticipate that the one deterrent to my success would be not preparing for slow communication in between tasks. Although, I wasn’t successful in fully executing on the marketing plan I was at the very least, able to show the importance of why their efforts should be focused primarily on social and search advertising and not on subway or television ads.

Other lessons I learned were:

Your client, regardless of their size, will want all reports on a consistent basis. It’s important to let them know early on that marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. Metrics don’t improve overnight. You want to at least report on new ideas you’re working on so they can add their insight into the mix.
Have a dedicated team member to set up phone calls for Q & A whenever needed. If you’re this person, you have the hardest job. Client retention is key to recurring income. My biggest regret is not giving enough attention to thinking about building a long term relationship with my college so I could have had them as a client after I graduated.* Your team’s size should reflect the size of the account.

This is something I’ve debated with my colleagues for quite some time now. I still believe that we could have done a better job if we had at least three to four more students on our team. A team of three college students wasn’t enough to solve the problems a big institution like my college had.

Moving forward.

In the end, although I wasn’t successful in the execution of my first account, I at least learned how to get one. That experience has proved invaluable as I continue getting new clients and building my team at digiquation.com, the startup I work at now. Whether it’s in digital marketing or any other consulting practice, it never hurts to start early. Regardless of your age, there is something that you know; that is intrinsic in the experiences you’ve had that can be of value to a client. You just have to figure out how to successfully communicate that—and then have the team and knowledge to execute the plan you’re being paid to do.

*The experience gained from this one part of my collegiate career was the most valuable by far, and I am forever indebted to the City College of New York for giving me a chance to help them. If you check their Facebook page now, you can see the ads they are launching to get more attention. A special thanks to Tammie and Safiyyah, without your help, none of this would have been accomplished.


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6 steps to time management Kenny Soto

Time Management: A 6-Step Guide For Millennials

The first lesson I learned after graduating college…time management is your key to success.

No one will tell you how to structure your week, which is why time management has to be a focus on your mind starting today. If you’re lucky to get a job as soon as you finish your collegiate journey—you’ve gotten past the first of many hurdles. However, I’m sure the job you get will only be a placeholder as you take the first steps into building a name for yourself and advancing in your career. So, what’s missing? What do you need to take into account as you move forward and begin the next phase of your life?

1. Manage your weeks by setting monthly goals.

Part of the challenges that many of us face is that once we finish college, we are completely in control of our schedule. Sure, we may have a job that we have to take into account, but odds are, you won’t be working more than 40 hours a week, leaving you 128 hours in a week to prioritize your time.
We can’t think about prioritizing our time through a system of personal task management, though. This is what we’ve made ourselves accustomed to for quite some time, and it’s a paradigm that we have to shift out of very quickly. Thinking about goals that you have on both the micro (daily & weekly) levels & the macro (monthly & annual) levels is the first step in creating a system for ourselves in managing our time. I’m sure we all have goals that we want to see ourselves achieve but, if we aren’t consciously creating the infrastructure to get ourselves there—we are doing a disservice to our future-selves.

2. Make “No” a part of your toolbox.

Using no as a tool for time management Kenny Soto

One of the challenges in creating your time management infrastructure is learning that within your limited amount of time, other people want you to spend time with them. Whatever the reasons may be, everyone we know who we interact with wants us to invest our time in them. Family, friends, and employers all want us to allocate time into what they and realistically speaking we do need to comply—but not all the time.
There are certain times for example when we need to forego our instinct to please those we love and sometimes those we even work for, to focus on our self-development and goals. Not only that, we need to take into account that we need to say no to ourselves as well. Delaying gratification to get the things we need to get done on a daily basis is paramount to creating successful habits for when we are older. If we are always procrastinating, we will consistently see it as a thing that is permissible in our lives, when it certainly isn’t.

3. Focus on File/App Management.

This is a lesson I would have learned if it wasn’t for a fraternity brother of mine. There’s very little your mind can do when reacting to a cluttered desktop. The effects of poor file management are insidious, to say the least; they aren’t as harmful to your productive in from a mobile environment (doesn’t mean that the following advice doesn’t apply). If you want to speed up the process in which you work on your computer—keep it organized. This means that there should be folders and necessary subfolders for all aspects of your digital life. I’ve saved at least 20 minutes of every day ever since I took my friends advice, and I schedule every Sunday morning to file/app management just to keep clarity on my screens.

4. Screw your notifications.

This goes hand-in-hand with number 2 but deserves its section. We are bombarded with notifications daily from a whole slew of platforms. One of the main things that deter us from concentrating on our everyday tasks is the need to view and respond to every notification that comes our way. This is a big mistake, and it can cost hours during each month.
When creating the self-discipline to say no to others, you also have to say no to people online. Everyone else is being bombarded with notifications as well, so if you take 5-6 hours to respond later, it won’t ruin their day—half of the time they won’t even notice. This relates to not only your emails but, also with your social media notifications and especially your texts. I use Hubspot’s Sidekick Gmail extension to schedule all of my email replies every morning, and I won’t check my inbox until two hours before I go to bed.

5. Keep simple things, simple.

Not all of our tasks have equal importance in our daily affairs. Somethings obviously more to us than others. It’s why we all have to create the habit of selective-slacking, creating a system of putting minimal effort in the things that don’t require excellence. It is easy to make things complicated; a true challenge is making certain tasks simpler. If we can put minimal effort in things we don’t want to do, and most importantly, tackling those tasks at the very beginning of our day—we’ll have more time to do the things we want to do.

6. Schedule your sleep.

Sleeping as a habit for time management Kenny Soto

This seems obsessive but, it is an essential step to creating an effective time management system. Not only are there studies out there that mention the health implications of getting a lack of sleep, but it’s also a part of our culture as young people in our early 20s-30s to forgo our sleep to be more productive and get work as much work done as possible each day. This is getting in your way. The typical college habit of breaking night to finish a paper isn’t going to fly after graduating. People are most productive when they get 6-8 hours of sleep and even then, 20-30 naps in the middle of each day are highly recommended.
As someone who used to play video games late into the night (sometimes sleeping around 3 A.M. & waking up at 6 A.M. several days in a row) I can attest to the fact that ever since I’ve followed a rigorous sleep schedule I’ve become much more efficient in everything I do. I can concentrate more, execute tasks faster, and I am beginning to notice a greater sense of alertness ever since I had started two months ago. One of the most important factors to a healthy lifestyle is getting enough sleep, and it is a vital part of building the foundation for good time management.

If you adopt at least one of these steps into your life, I guarantee there will be a massive amount of upside on both your productivity and ability to create free time. Because, at the end of the day the best perk of establishing an efficient system of time management is, you get a lot more time to do the things you want to do—for me, that’s taking even longer naps.

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selective slacking

Selective Slacking: Why Sacrificing The “A,” Get’s You More

A book highlighted it.

I just finished reading this book called Smartcuts by Shane Snow, CEO of Contently. The book’s mission is to teach its readers how to achieve their goals in less time than it takes the majority of people. In the second part of the book, Shane begins to cover a topic called selective slacking: the process of putting as little effort (and time) as possible to get the minimum requirement of a task done so that you can focus on your priorities. While reading this chapter, something struck a nerve. “All of this seems oddly familiar,” I thought to myself while reading. And that’s because I’ve been using this technique for the past two years, ever since I began taking executive roles in student government at the City College of New York.

I was always an A student. I say this to highlight the fact that as soon as I started realizing that I couldn’t do both student government and excel in my classes, I had to make a calculated choice. So I asked myself, “What was I going to sacrifice? What were my main priorities moving forward?” At first, I opted for sacrificing my sleep, which ended up making my performance suffer in both areas of my collegiate career. So I decided, that what I wanted to learn from the most was from my leadership experience and not from my courses. I’ll admit that there were times where I wanted to drop all of my coursework altogether, to focus on student government, but I wouldn’t be able to maintain or run for future positions without at least maintaining a 2.5 GPA. I already had a 3.2 and calculated that if I just had one A and one B, each semester, I could focus on what mattered to me. And that’s what I did.

Using selective slacking now.

Now that I’m a college graduate, I can see how selective slacking can be applied to almost every aspect of my life. My two top priorities right now are focusing on growing my non-profit, Futures For Students, as well as excelling in my current part-time consultancy job for a startup in New York City. There are only 168 hours in a week, and I can’t possibly manage to grow an organization, fundraise money, be excellent at my part time job, and juggle all my other responsibilities. So I’ve set up a system (I use my calendar as a Gantt chart) to let me manage my time to excel in the things I care about. And most importantly, I’ve learned to say no to almost everything that takes away from the time I need to invest in myself. Putting the bare minimum amount of effort into things that don’t matter to me (like doing household chores) but still need to get down is the focus of how I’ve used selective slacking.

It’s a technique I suggest you at least experiment with. What do you want to do more of? There is always one hobby that you can allocate more time to but, you can’t because of the other one thousand responsibilities that you have. Learn to cut those you activities that you don’t care about to save yourself time! Selective slacking is a technique that allows you design your lifestyle based on your core values and priorities. Trying this out for a month will certainly show you the benefits of prioritizing your time and energy this way.

If you want to learn more about other techniques top paying innovators use to focus on their vision and work, definitely check out Smartcuts. I finished this book in a week.

CCNY USG Career Building

4 Career Building Lessons I Learned From My Team

This article was originally posted on April 6th, 2016.


Anything worth something can not be done without a great team of people, period. The following are a list of career-building lessons I gained from my team at CCNY.

Regardless of your profession,whatever your goals and aspirations in life may be in they cannot be achieved without a great team of people by your side. After some time of self-reflection and  reminiscing on the experiences I’ve had for the past three years attending college, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of things.

Recruitment is the first thing you need to do.

You can’t do anything without a team. The objective doesn’t matter, if you can’t sell your ideas you won’t get people to join you. The biggest hurdle all leaders will face is recruiting team members. I learned this when I began conducting interviews for potential candidates for my fraternity. When a candidate is being interviewed, they are not only selling themselves to you, but you are also selling your company to them. I’ll admit, during the first couple of interviews that I was directly involved in, I found myself negligent when it came to making the candidates feel like they were a part of the team. This is why it is so important to follow up with accepted candidates immediately after their interviews and get them acclimated with the team’s mission and vision. A great resource I used to help with my hiring skills is “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt, I cannot recommend this book enough.

You won’t get anything done if you can’t motivate people.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that my team members in student government seem to have a constant sense of urgency and purpose in everything they do. Whether it relates to our weekly meetings, daily tasks regarding student outreach, office management, reporting on tasks, or just general office maintenance, everyone seems to have found where they “fit.” This certainly didn’t happen overnight. Since the beginning of my tenure as President of this wonderful organization, I made it abundantly clear that I would be open to any communication from my team as well as constructive dialogue. Transparency is the pillar that our team stands on. I have observed in the past that important information that is given to the leadership of an organization usually becomes diluted (almost to the point where it’s completely vague) when it is relayed to the entire team. Being completely open with your teammates about all issues and objectives the organization is dealing with is essential for “team-buy-in.” If your team members don’t feel like they can be trusted with company information (especially any failures the leadership has committed) then they won’t be motivated to tackle challenges when they present themselves. There are numerous techniques today that can help you get started on initiatives to increase team motivation. As a team leader, it should be something that is on your radar at all times.

When it comes to getting things done, follow the “Four D’s.” 

The best article I’ve stumbled upon on this topic is here. I won’t go over all four D’s, what I will do, is go over the importance of delegation. Delegating tasks is by far the greatest and most important skill a leader must have if they want to get anything done. Once you have a team, and they’ve become motivated, the next step should be how well can you prepare them to execute a task. How effective is your organization right now? What can you do to increase your productivity tenfold? Are there any mitigating factors that are stopping your team from getting there right now? These are questions I ask myself on a weekly basis as I plan my goals for the week. The hardest part of managing a team is understanding which team member can handle a certain set of tasks. It always helps when team members ask for specific tasks without you having to announce them; these team members have a natural instinct for detecting the needs of the organization as a whole as well as understanding what they are capable of completing. Delegation for me is quite simple, I follow two basic rules:

 

  • Delegate tasks to people who want to do them.

  • Never set the deadline yourself.

 

Always make sure the tasks you assign people are something they actually want to do. This takes a tremendous amount of time requiring you to sit  down and listen to your team members. What do they complain about? Why are they a part of the team in the first place? Everyone has a goal in mind when they are working with you, there is a reason you were able to convince them to join you in your endeavors. Make sure you keep your ears on the ground, a great leader listens to all of their teammates. In addition, when giving a task to someone, make sure they set their deadlines. It took me a while to see the upside to this. When you set the deadline you don’t give your team room to breath (in the context of my work I find that whenever I give deadlines there are 1,000 other things going in their life). When you have them set their own deadlines it relieves stress on their part and if they honor their own commitments, they hold themselves accountable.

Meetings don’t equal productivity.

This is the most important lesson I have learned. No matter what happens, I have always made it a requirement  to follow this simple rule: always have an agenda for every meeting you attend. There should be absolutely no reason why you should meet with team members just to meet. If your team cannot produce actionable tasks after a meeting is conducted, then why was the meeting conducted in the first place? Meetings shouldn’t become part of the routine - there needs to be a reason for it to happen. You risk losing valuable working hours when conducting meetings that do not contribute to the vision of the company, tackle specific challenges that the team is currently facing, or addresses any internal conflicts the team may have.

Every team is different, but I do know that sticking to principles that your team defines as its priority, help steer it to success. Hopefully, one of these lessons resonates with you. Talk and share this article with your team, see what they think.

Recommended Articles:

  1. 9 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Team
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Pr2politics Kenny Soto Raven Robinson

Pr2Politics: Interview With Raven Robinson

Public Relations, The Political Arena, Advice For College Students, and More…

“Never plan, always be prepared.” - We still haven’t found out…go figure.

Raven Robinson

Episode 2 is here! Raven Robinson is the owner of Pr2Politics, a consulting firm that offers public relations services to political candidates and emerging public figures. She currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from The City College of New York, where she served as the President of their Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. She is also the author of “Your Campaign: A business owner’s guide to understanding public relations”, a workbook that helps entrepreneurs with their public relations strategies. In 2015, Raven was featured in City & State Magazine as a “Top 40 under 40 Rising Star in Government”. Ms. Robinson is currently the Vice President of Government Affairs for The Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN).


 


Show Notes:

  • Interview starts. [0:00]
  • Raven’s background. [0:33]
  • How she began to “bridge the gap.” [6:30]
  • Her experience with “Early Twitter.” [8:00]
  • Her observations on social media usage from college students. [10:50]
  • What should someone consider if they plan to start a career in public relations?  [14:24]
  • What does entrepreneurship mean to you? [17:15]
  • What is a successful life? [22:17]
  • What is a personal brand? [23:04]
  • Raven’s question for the audience… [24:44]

Book mentioned at the end: “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” by Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes Year of The Yes Kenny Soto

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Kenny Soto Futures For Students

Kenny Soto Launches Futures For Students

I’m Creating A Non-Profit!

FFS is a 501(c)(3) organization created in direct response to the growing number of lower-income underserved students that are graduating from New York City colleges with little or no Digital Marketing education, knowledge or abilities - critical skills in the modern workplace. These are the skills that lead to employment in the Digital Economy of the 21st Century.

FFS is a Digital Marketing Academy that is focused on storytelling across multiple digital platforms. We teach our students to use insights gained from analytics to drive optimized results across Digital Media.

Our rigorous program trains students to be marketing technologists capable of marketing themselves and organizations in the digital economy. Our program imbues them with the knowledge and confidence that they can compete with anyone graduating from elite private university marketing programs.

At FFS, students learn from doing. As they progress they become more deeply involved in an experiential work environment involving teamwork in support of other not-for-profit and other local underfunded small business clients and across FFS’s Written, Podcast, Video, Social Media and Live Streaming platforms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that research analysts and marketing specialist jobs are expected to increase by 32 percent between 2012 and 2022—this is almost triple the national average of 11 percent predicted for all other occupations.

The reason we are creating this academy is to solve this one problem: college students not being able to get jobs after graduation. We want to, at least, make the job application process more manageable and allow our students to have the opportunity to showcase who they are.

Here’s where you can lend to our company and find out more information on how you can help: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/17666/i/t4rm

emoji marketing

Emoji Marketing: Why you should take it seriously

Changes in marketing & customer service are bound to happen in 2016 due to many things. The use of Emoji marketing is one of them.

If you are selling any product today there are two things you can certainly on agree:

  1. The majority of customers are reaching your organization through mobile usage of the world wide web.
  2. A majority of them contact their friends and family using Emojis.

What does this mean for current business owners and digital marketing professionals? It means that all of us are going to have adapt to the customer’s need of being able to interpret what the emojis mean in the context of a client request—this is the core of emoji marketing today. Now there aren’t many scenarios in which an Emoji is an acceptable use of communication, such as when a customer is filling out an online form for a newsletter or an online support ticket. However, Emoji’s are commonly used when clients are interacting with brands on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, as well as  Snapchat.

 

This, along with the other factors demand that brands be more personal (leveraging employee personal brands) in the marketplace, present a new challenge to anyone who is selling products and services online. Companies who do not hire employees who are familiar with and have in-depth knowledge of how to express themselves with emojis will eventually fall behind to their competitors. There are several reasons as to why there has to be an Emoji guideline integrated into your organization’s community guidelines and marketing strategy.

Who uses Emojis? 

An infographic found on AdWeek states that, “Emojis are used by 92% of the online population.” Emoji is the online equivalent to body language. We live in a culture where we are always pressed for time and if a significant set of eyes can convey my curiosity towards a Facebook post or an emoji of a train can represent I am in transit, I expect the person texting/messaging me to understand what I am saying. Now not everyone uses emojis on their own; there are cases in which emojis are used merely to augment a message (i.e., make it more comical or to convey current facial expressions). What is essentially happening right now is the evolution of online slang.

 

Emojis help to save the user time. Remember when we made a big deal of acronyms such as lol, smh, & lmao that are used tremendously in social media? What’s most important is realizing that this a language that is here to stay  and it has to be considered in every aspect of your online effort as a business owner. Your customers are communicating with them, and you need to as well (wait too long and your competitors will get the higher ground).

Why Emojis matter for customer service?

“Emoji use has grown rapidly since Apple added the emoji keyboard to iOS in 2011…Nearly half of the text on Instagram contains Emoji.” - Emoji Research Team

The overwhelming ubiquitous nature of this language is frightening. The sheer magnitude of how fast Emojis have integrated into our daily lives shows all the more reason as to why companies need to train their employees (especially customer service representatives) in the correct usage of emoji’s online and why business and marketing majors have to learn this in college. If you are in charge of your company’s social media marketing effort here’s something you should know: the growth of Emoji usage is now over 40%!

Emoji Usage Over Time on Instagram

If you are selling any online services or products online, you know that Instagram is a vital tool you can use for brand awareness, hence why it’s so important that your organization starts taking Emojis seriously, now. You aren’t providing your customers with the great services they need if you can’t respond to them in a creative way utilizing Emojis. A great example of how you can start can be found here.

How does this affect college students?

I always try to tie into all of my posts a common theme of sharing my knowledge and making it useful specifically for college students. The reason we are in such an advantageous position is because many of the business professionals, especially in marketing, are going to stick to old forms of copy and customer engagement. Many of them will not make the transition to using Emojis more, and the will be a hindrance to their organization’s success. That’s where we will stand out. Under rigorous investigation, I’ve found at least one university has at least discussed on teaching a course on Emoji, more will follow suit if they are forward-thinking and can keep up with consumer culture.
The times are changing my friends, are you keeping up? Bear in mind, GIFs are an entirely different beast. If you found this article useful comment below and let me know your thoughts. All feedback is welcome; it helps me develop more valuable content for you in the future.

Sources & Recommended Articles:

  1. Report: 92% of Online Consumers Use Emoji (Infographic)
  2. Will emoji become a new language?
  3. GARYVEE’S FIRST 5 #SNAPCHATSECRETS
  4. 2015 Emoji Report (PDF)
  5. Emoji lessons to replace language courses at University of Ulster
Kenny Soto End of 2015

2015 End of The Year Review: The Experiences and Lessons Learned

This blog post is an entry reviewing some of the many experiences I had over the past year and what knowledge I gained from them.


 

First Internship Experience: SCORE

SCORE NYC is a branch of the Small Business Administration (a government entity) that helps small business owners grow their businesses through one-on-one free consultations, workshops, and online webinars.

SCORE NYC was a very special place for me this year for all of the people I was able to meet. I was able to have the opportunity to surround myself with retired business executives who came from industries ranging from corporate law and hedge fund management to digital marketing and construction. I was also able to interact with aspiring entrepreneurs who came to SCORE with questions regarding their businesses and was able to see firsthand the challenges small business owners have to endure just to serve the market. In addition to all of the opportunities to grow and learn that I gained from the people I met, I also learned a lot about two subjects I never really put that much thought into before.

What the heck is the Internet?

The first thing that I learned from my experience at SCORE is that I knew only a small amount of information when it came to what exactly the internet is. Thanks to my mentor, Maurice Bretzfield, I was able to begin to understand the importance of not only knowing the difference between the internet, www, https, FTP, mobile, and wifi but, also identifying the importance of why I should know the differences. The first month studying under him showed me how little formal education had taught me on tools that I use every single day, and it helped me understand why learning about coding, digital design, and digital marketing is vital to how I interact through the internet.

Digital Marketing and what did it have to do with me?

My primary reason for applying for the internship was because under its description it stated that all interns would learn about digital marketing. As a music major, I have learned a lot about song composition, musical theory, and performance methodology, but I did not know how I would survive in the search for a job after receiving my Bachelor’s degree. Digital marketing showed me that it’s an essential skill to at least be aware of in today’s information economy. I learned over the eight months I was at SCORE how many people were having issues just getting their businesses to be known by potential customers. Eventually, I saw that the same concerns that these entrepreneurs were facing correlated with the issues myself and some of my friends at my college where dealing with: how do we stand out from the pack? Through my eight months of diligent work, I am now able to say with confidence that I have a good grasp of Digital Marketing overall and a niche part of it - personal branding.

Buying My Name Online

In regards to personal branding, I believe another pivotal point of this past year is when I purchased my URL and built this website. The benefits of using this website are tremendous. I am now able to google myself and what I want people to see is the only thing that is shown. Controlling my online presence was one of the first things that my mentor Maurice, advised me to do. In addition to this, blogging has helped me question my ideas and develop them even more. Without this platform, I would not have been able to gather my thoughts and had others comment and provide feedback on them. I strive to not only use my website to showcase what makes me unique and why I could be of value to teams but also to help a growing community learn with me. The World Wide Web is constantly growing with pools of both high quality and mediocre content, I want to become someone who contributes to the former. Let’s not forget to mention that blogging has also helped me with my writing and grammar. Finally, it’s helping me create connections with others that otherwise wouldn’t happen. I have had the opportunity to not only interview individuals online about their experience working companies such as Google but, also get good advice on what I should do to get a job after college (which in turn provides you, the reader, with valuable content).

Starting my school year as USG President

Many challenges were thrust upon me this semester. As my college experience rapidly comes to an end, I have the privilege to lead an exceptional team as the president of the undergraduate student government at the City College of New York, and it has certainly been a role that has helped me grow as a person. From improving my time management skills, delegating tasks, making sure the entire team is aligned, managing team stress, etc. I have been exposed to a lot of real life situations that I will have to deal with after college. I consider my experience in this role as an accelerated MBA, learning how to manage a team of people and not only serve them but, serve a whole community of people (the student body) as well. I’ll certainly use the skills I am learning as president in the future, and I will be forever grateful to undergo such an incredible growth period in my life.

Reading “Think On These Things” By Jidda Krishnamurti

Think On These Things Krishnamurti

This book changed my views on our current educational system and helped me understand why it’s important to question all information was given to me, and how to integrate that process into my daily life. It was the first time I ever experience a writer pierce through the veil of what should matter most in life, which is not necessarily the answer to questions we have but, instead finding the reasons to the questions themselves first. This book is a useful resource for anyone interested in getting a fresh perspective on what it means to be essentially a creative individual.

 

As the new year begins I will continue to provide as much valuable content to you, the reader, whenever I can. It helps me tremendously if you provide your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s have an amazing 2016 everyone.

 

Cheers,

Kenny S.

Bareburger HQ NYC

Director of Marketing at BareBurger: Interview With Nabeel Alamgir

First Ever Podcast Episode!

"Youth is no promise of innovation and age is no promise of experience." - Nabeel Alamgir

Nabeel Alamgir Kenny Soto

This post is very special as it is the very first podcast episode that I have done. Nabeel Alamgir is a good friend of mine who is an excellent example of what it means to be an innovator and leader. As Director of Marketing at BareBurger, I wanted to interview him to see what his thoughts were on college and what he believes to be good advice that all college students should listen to. Given that this is my very first podcast episode, there wasn’t necessarily any particular format I was following (I just had a list of questions I wanted to ask him).

This conversation covers surviving college, what advice he would give to his children if they were starting college, tips for student entrepreneurs, and some of his childhood history when he arrived into the United States. You can follow Nabeel on Twitter here. Also, check out his startup, Linute, and start making your campus life more lively!



Show Notes:

  • Interview Starts. [0:36]
  • Nabeel’s background. [1:10]
  • It’s actually Martin Scorsese. [2:50]
  • If Nabeel could give advice to his 18-year-old self. [7:35]
  • If Nabeel had a child. [11:44]
  • Do grades matter? [14:07]
  • What do you look for in a team member? [18:03]
  • Does a resumé accurately show a candidate’s potential? [20:20]
  • What role does a person’s social media play in the interview process? [23:19]
  • The advice he would give a student entrepreneur. [28:55]
  • Nabeel’s one book suggestion… [31:33]

*The high school program he was talking about is: https://veinternational.org/

Book mentioned at the end: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Paulo Coelho
I highly recommend reading this if you’re a fan of good storytelling and learning valuable life lessons.
Recommended Articles:
  1. Are You Ready For The 2016 Job Hunt? (12 min. read)
  2. 13 Insanely Cool Resumes That Landed Interviews at Google and Other Top Jobs
  3. 10 Must-Read Business Books for 2016
 If you have any feedback please leave a comment below so I can provide better podcast episodes in the future.
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