COMM0015: Assignment 5: Professional Development: “Creating Better Brand Content… All Year Long” Webinar

In today’s day and age, it is critical to be consistently educating yourself on the latest trends in technology and marketing.

I attended a webinar December 13th called “Create Better Brand Content… All year Long” put on by Annemaria Nicholson of Cision and Kerry O’Shea Gorgone of MarketingProfs.

The webinar was approximately about one hour, discussing how to plan content better in 2017, including being aware of possible legal pitfalls when posting social media content.

For social media success, it’s critical to have a plan in place. Kerry O’Shea Gorgone highlighted some key components of a good plan. This includes:

  1. Committing to establishing a timeline for promoting on all social channels.
  2. Catalog proposed projects.
  3. Examine Data & determine the bandwidth. For example, key performance indicators may include past overall performance, landing page views, downloads.
  4. Execute your vision. Plan sequenced content across channels while factoring in other calendar considerations (i.e. holidays, personal days, etc.).

Gargone argues it’s critical to have original rich content which should link back to the original website.

While it’s good to plan out content, one thing I was very appreciative about this webinar, was addressing possible legal issues.

 

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Photo Courtesy of Adam Johnston 

 

These issues include:

  1. Copyright, including posting pictures to a social media site. One example is photos in the Creative Commons. Although some photos maybe “ok” to use from the Creative Commons, the panelists argued that some of these photos may be stolen, and face copyright concerns. They recommend creating your images and video to prevent potential copyright concerns.
  2. Streaming Video: with the rise of live video platforms including Periscope and Facebook Live, it’s easy for many to create their live video show. However, there are some possible quagmires, as noted by both Gorgone and Nicholson, including, filming in a very public area, accidentally filming company documents scattered all over the table, or marking board. Both panelists suggest filming in an area where there is no company documents or company information which could be breached by live streaming video.

Unfortunately, the webinar did not allow an opportunity to connect with others but was just limited to question and answers. If there is one major concern I have with many webinars is the lack of interaction between other participants.

Nonetheless, I thought this was a good professional development exercise, which I will take to heart heading into 2017.

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Out of the Box Social Media Thinking with The Internet of Things (IoT)

Social media is evolving rapidly because of this; we see some very innovative things coming out. Today I will look what crazy ideas folks are doing with social media to increase a consumer’s experience, thanks t0 the Internet of Things (IoT).

One area was we see interesting social media developments is within the IoT realm. Depending on who you ask, experts predict there will be anywhere from 30.7 billion to 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. Meanwhile, We are Social is perhaps too extremely optimistic, predicting around 200 billion by 2020.

 

 

Nonetheless, the “social media for machines” movement is playing out in front of our very eyes. Marketers tremendous opportunities now with IoT.

SmartInsights.com recently discussed how marketers are taking maximizing IoT’s benefits.

One way was how companies are using products as communication devices. An example pointed out was FitBit, which is an Internet-connected device, which tracks key health information. What FitBit does is take the person’s health information, then utilizes various social media channels, showcasing the benefits of FitBit’s analysis. According to SmartInsights.com, this encourages friends to see the information and investigate purchasing a FitBit device.

Products tied to the IoT ecosystem is another way marketers are capitalizing on IOT’s potential. Take a look at Uber and Spotify. Users of Uber, who have Spotify premium accounts can use those to personalize their rides while using the ride-sharing service. As Uber CEO Travis Kalenick told Business Insider in 2014 people, listen to music in three places: Their homes, out and in their automobiles. Kalenick added they are helping make a deeply emerging customer experience within the car, by teaming up with Spotify to personalize rides more than taxis.

When done properly, as shown by FitBit, Uber, and Spotify, IoT can be a dream come true for social media marketers, who are looking at expanding their brand. As SmartInsights.com Robert Allen puts it:

The Internet of Things presents a fantastic opportunity for marketers. Products that market themselves, order themselves and integrate into an ecosystem that will increase customer retention. 10 years ago marketers could only dream of such things; now they are a reality. These trends have to be seized by marketers, as those that do will see fantastic growth, while those that don’t will rapidly fall behind.

What potential things do you think social media marketers can capitalize with IoT? Do social media managers understand the power of IoT now to really utilize its potential for some really out of the box ideas? If not, what will it take for creative thinking between the social media and IoT nexus?

 

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

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

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

 

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Image Courtesy of Adam Johnston 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

COMM-0015: Blog Post 2: Strong and Weak Organizations

In today’s age, social media is an essential mix of a companies marketing strategy.  This post will look at two different organizations. One which does it well, and another, well which could use a social media makeover.

 

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Winnipeg Transit Bus by NellieBly by Wikipedia Some Rights Reserved

One organization which does social media very well is Winnipeg Transit. The organization, which oversees public transportation in the City of Winnipeg is on Twitter and has over 7,000 followers. Although Winnipeg Transit is not on Facebook, nor does not utilize other social media outlets, They are excellent at maximizing Twitter’s full value. They are in constant contact with its constituents. They are always notifying when they are available or signing off. What I especially appreciate about Winnipeg’s Transit savvy use of Twitter is their rapid response to when someone mentions a complaint using the @Winnipegtransit Twitter handle. Those operating The Winnipeg Transit account will reply back to the follower, then request them to direct message them with more info. Winnipeg Transit is taking a page of good social media etiquette: listening to its riders needs while responding back quickly. Sprout Social suggest by listening to customers, companies and organization can get great insight from their clients. Personally, I was impressed one time, right after I posted an incident on a Winnipeg Transit bus on Periscope live, and posted it to Twitter. Winnipeg Transit responded to me by direct message very quickly. This situation proved Winnipeg Transit was serious on capitalizing on social media’s capabilities to provide improved customer service, as Social Media Examiner said this is one way to use listening.

One organization which could have been a bit more responsive was the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks. In 2015 the day after they beat the Green Bay Packers in the National Football Conference (NFC) final  to play in that year’s Super Bowl (in which they eventually lost to the New England Patriots), they posted a Martin Luther King Quote “We Shall Overcome- #MLKDay”. This was to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. However, this caused a firestorm of criticism on social media, as Martin Luther King day is a very sensitive issue down south. There were many vicious tweets afterward, including those who wanted the social media coordinator of the Seahawks fired. However, the post was eventually taken down.

The Seattle Seahawks situation was an example of an organization not being prepared. By not listening to its audience, and not understanding the sensitivity of the issue, the Seattle Seahawks deserved the criticism. By understanding the cultural importance further of Martin Luther King Day, listening more to its audience, and not posting anything on Martin Luther King Day, 2015 this would have been avoided.

What do you think of these two opposite situations? What would keep with Winnipeg Transits effective Twitter use? What would you improve? How would you have avoided the Seattle Seahawks MLK tweet debacle?

COMM0015 Blog Post 1: Tools and Sources

Understanding the latest trends is critical in the world of social media. You need to keep up the ins and outs of technology and social media.

You need the tools and sources for you to become a thought leader in social media (or at least appear it).

Fortunately, there is great tools and websites to keep your knowledge on tap within our ever changing world.

Regarding tools, my favorite social media monitoring tool is Google Trends. This offers me a lot of information on what is hot, or what impact a topic has in today’s social media world.

 

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Image Credit Via Wikipedia via Conversationprism. Some Rights Reserved.

 

Google Trends allows you to check on how a topic trends over a period. You can check to see how well a topic did back in 2011. This allows for better planning and why I like Google Trends.

The other social media monitoring tool I enjoy using is Bit.ly. What Bit.ly does is shorten website links to make it manageable for Twitter. However, Bit.ly also tracks clicks on your links. Useful for understanding who is clicking towards your work.

While tools are great, you need great places of information to compliment tracking tools. Again, in this digital social media age there are many.

My first favorite is Mashable. I love Mashable. I call this site the “CNN for millennials.” It offers excellent coverage of news, technology, and science, through the lens of millennials. Excellent coverage on social media, as well as technology trends is why I prefer this site over the real CNN.

Gizmodo also is another site which keeps me up to date on all the latest tech and social media trends. It has daily updates on what is coming in new products including tablets, cleantech, and other products. This is good for understanding here future trends will lie in social media.

A wildcard source I often go to is Author Thomas Friedman, who is perhaps one of the best writers on Globalization on technology trends. His books including The Lexus and the Olive Tree, The World is Flat and Hot, Flat and Crowded all have been New York Times Best Sellers. His way of synthesizing complex political, social and technological issues all into a simple to understand books on trends is why I often go to for the source of information on where we were, where we are now, and what the future holds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMM0014- Blog 7 : Personal Reflection

As I begin to reflect from the past two or three months from taking Digital Communication, as part of Algonquin College’s Social Media certificate online program, I have to say, I have learned a lot about many key elements in communicating within the digital realm.

In today’s age, it’s not just about pitching products, and hope that people will buy them. Rather there is many levels.

One important level, is understanding oneself as a personal brand. A personal brand is important. Whether it’s looking for a job, or being a solopreneur (starting a sole proprietorship by yourself), you are the face of everything!! How will people know you? Will they know you as the nice person? Will they know as the determined person? A smart and shy person, or outgoing and brash? Without a recognizable personal brand, it becomes literally hard to stand out from the crowd in the sea of the World Wide Web.

On the flip side, understanding demographics, trends, and respecting other cultures in the age of the global village was the other key lesson from this course. While developing your personal brand is critical, understanding diversity of demographics is critical. Understanding different cultures from different countries, respecting gender equality from both sides, and promoting environmental sustainability are critical ways of influencing yourself as a leader in the age of globalization

Thomas Friedman, author of the 2005 book The World is Flat had this to say regarding globalization:

“Culture is nested in context, not genes.”

Thus in this day in age, everything is about context. We live in a global, digitized culture, where at one end, personal branding is critical in surviving today’s sea, while at the same time, understanding different cultures, and collaborating is equally important in this ubiquitous world.

Comm0014: Blog 6- Do People Know Your Story?

In the electronic sea known as the Internet, and in a tsunami of the social media market place, the challenge remains for one to get their story out of the clutter of social media, and into the cream of the crop.

Lesson 6 talks about how to make your story matter in this sea of oblivion.

One lesson that is driven home is making your personality. What makes you unique? What makes you special from the rest? Why should people read your blog, or watch your YouTube video?

Personality can make the difference from your personal brand standing out or staying stuck in the garage.

Well known blogger, and author Michael Hyatt, who wrote the 2012 book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, suggests these five tips in getting people to notice your story:

  1. “Start with Wow.”
  2. “Prepare to Launch.”
  3. “Build Your Home Base.”
  4. “Expand Your Reach.”
  5. “Engage your Tribe.”

Hyatt explains in greater detail on how to build that personal brand in this 30 minute podcast. Definitely worth watching.  “More noise than ever before,” Hyatt definitely hits home with his personal branding message.

“A brand is something you stand for,” Hyatt also makes note here. Do you stand for something? For example, do you stand for a social justice issue? And if so, how do you differentiate yourself from other social justice advocates? Are you radical, or moderate?

Lessons from Michael Hyatt can show how to get your story out effectively in the crowded social media world.

Comm0014 Blog 5: Personal branding

Branding yourself is critical in today’s hyper competitive market. No longer is it just simply just to send a resume, hope to get an interview, answer the “tell me a time” type of questions. No, now you must be your own “corporation.”

That is the major point from lesson 5.

Your brand is your reputation. Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezos famously said “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

This is personally true for me in my values and beliefs on social media as I look towards building future opportunities. I have worked on creating a reputation politically as a politically progressive, yet pro -business person. I have been outspoken on supporting preventative climate change policy, boosting renewable energy renewable energy. I support modest economic globalization and trade. I am not pigeon holed as a radical leftist, yet I brand myself for progressive economic change. Thus, my brand appeals to those who have progressive values, but may not agree with the far left.

It’s all about having a cool niche. I hope to use this type of appeal when building future new business opportunities in writing books or policy.

Pehaps one of the best personal branders is actually not from the social media age, but from the 1980s with professional wrestling legend Ric Flair. He truly was one of the best in branding his self as a high roller. This helped him to sell his persona as one of the best professional wrestlers of all time.

 

Com 0014- Blog 4: B2C Case Study: Netflix

Back in 1997, Reed Hastings, was tired of paying late fee charges for renting movies. He was tired of paying $40.00 in overdue fees for Apollo 13. So what did he do? He and his business partner Marc Randolph decided to create a mail order service for consumers wishing to “rent” “VHS (and eventually DVD’s) by charging $0.50 per rental, with late fees.  Eventually it scrapped its mail-rental model back in the mid to late 2000’s as Web 2.0 evolved, favoring a streaming monthly subscription model. The rest was history.

Netflix has become what its CEO Reed Hastings as a “Global TV Network” through its streaming online monthly services in 190 countries (offering a mix of old TV shows, movies, along with original series and documentaries). Netflix is all over social media and offers a good example of utilizing the business to consumer (B2C) relationship.

Consider the following. Netflix has as of February 28, 2016:

Netflix’s social media channels uses many of the characteristics of a B2C relationship. One thing I noticed when analyzing all of Netflix’s social media channel was their use of continued imagery, and repetition. Their logo is splattered all over their social networking sites, especially on Facebook and Twitter.

Second, Netflix’s target market is quite large. Because they are a streaming service, they cater to a huge market, ranging from movie lovers, TV nostalgia buffs, and independent documentary lovers. For example, Netflix maximizes lots of imagery to tease fans for its streaming programing, including its critically acclaimed original series House of Cards. It uses Instagram creatively as it hypes its fans for the next season, due on March 4th.

Third, Netflix also banks of the emotions of possible users to buy its service. Viewers of the late 1980’s/early 90’s ABC sitcom Full House were excited to hear Netflix would reboot the show, under a new title, ironically called Fuller House. Netflix had heavily been promoting clips of the new show on social media outlets, including Facebook, and providing embedded video tweets with its theme song. This only wets the appetite of fans, who have been waiting for nearly 22 years since the original series went off the air to see their favorite cast members back in action.

Overall, Netflix will only continue to grow its B2C base, as it sees itself not only as a global TV network, but as a destination for unique new shows and rebooted nostalgia. Its social network channels will only expand this reach.

Com 0014 – Blog 3- Target Audiences- Major League Soccer and the Flattening of North American Major Pro Sports

In Globalization 1.0, which began around 1492, the world went from size large to size medium. In Globalization 2.0, the era that introduced us to multinational companies, it went from size medium to size small. And then around 2000 came Globalization 3.0, in which the world went from being small to tiny.” Thomas Friedman.

In the past twenty-five years, North America’s major pro sports landscape has changed on many levels. Globalization had changed this on many levels. First, gone are the days of only traditional major networks showing sporting events (CBC, CTV in Canada; NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox) but now we have many different sports specialty channels (TSN, Sportsnet in Canada, ESPN, Fox Sports in the US) who show major North American pro sports leagues.

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FC Dallas Vs Houston Dynamo via Flickr  by Ed Schlpul Some Rights Reserved Under the Creative Commons

Second, is how the “500 Channel Universe”, and the Internet made information and viewing more accessible of international sports that North Americans thought were as fringe. This is especially true with soccer. A quarter century ago, it was nearly impossible to watch Spain’s La Liga, English Premier League, or Italian Serie A. If you were a sports fan in Canada, and the names of Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich came up, You would say “Who on earth are those names”. Now with the Internet, along with specific channels catering to soccer fans like BeIn Sports, and Rogers Sportsnet World, these names are becoming household sporting names, along the likes of The Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Eskimoes, and Los Angeles Lakers.

Third, was FIFA hosting the 1994 World Cup in the United States. One of the conditions was the US had to form a top tier division. In 1996, Major League Soccer (MLS) began play, slowly seeping into the stream of major North American pro sports (NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA, and CFL, depending where you are).

Fourth, was is the change in demographics. US immigration is changing. Consider by 2045, Caucasians will not represent the majority. Rather, Latinos, Asians, and African Americans will lead the shift in demographics.

Consider also millennials, now make up a quarter of the US population, and you have a recipe for a shift in North America’s major pro sports markets. This has tremendous benefits for MLS heading forward in both demographics, and psychographics.

First, MLS has the largest support of viewers with 34% of Latino fans watching the league. This only helped the league get Unimas/Univision sign onto a eight year agreement back as its US Spanish speaking broadcaster, along with ESPN, and Fox with the  English broadcast rights, starting with the 2015 season. Compare, this to the NHL, whose majority of fans are Caucasian.

Second, MLS largest base is from lower income workers, making $40,000 and under. Compare this to the NHL who has the most fans who make the most money at over $160,000.

Third, professional soccer, is the sport of attendance choice for millennials. MLS bigwigs proudly announced this in their 20th anniversary brochure last year. Compare this to MLB, where, 50% of fans are fifty-five plus years old.

Given how social media is playing a role in changing how we look at the world, MLS is using the power of the Internet to harness its target audience. It’s on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Periscope.

MLS also has a site dedicated to its Spanish fans, and is run by its broadcasting partner Univision.

By using various social media outlets to engage and listen to their largest audience, while also partnering with Univision in showing Spanish broadcasted games, MLS is understanding the importance of taking care of its two diversified target audiences, Millennials and Latinos, as it is in good shape on flattening the dominance of the North American major pro sports market, (held by the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and CFL).

My question is how much has social media, globalization and the Internet helped to flatten the support of traditional pro sports in North America,while boosting sports like soccer?