I’m not convinced that I’ve stumbled upon any unexpected applications in the field of online marketing and social media, but I am more interested in the updates and revamps that existing apps get. These updates and modifications are suppose to enhance the app, give it more of an edge, and bring something new to the application. The most recent app that I see having the most benefits is the most recent Instagram app, allowing you to upload multiple images showcased by swiping left to view the rest of the images. I can see this update really being useful for retailers, fashion bloggers, photography enthusiasts; almost every can use this feature to their benefit. This feature, for example, allows users to showcase more than 1 image of the same subject matter, in a less invasive way compared to mass posting the same subject matter. It can allow retailers to showcase a look or article of clothing in a variety of ways, and allow for a wider range of artistic dimension to content online. I see this update being very successful to creative minds alike.
Learning the academic side to anything always gives more insight, and I’m glad this course did that. It turns an idea like social media, which seems like a fairly easy concept, into a much more complex, thought out, very involved environment to be in. I think storytelling is important when creating great digital content because it creates a very real bond between you and your audience. You can be revealing a very real and personal moment online to anyone who is reading, but it makes your content that much better. No one wants to read something with no passion in it, with no guts to the story. Storytelling is meant to share experiences and emotions, thoughts and ideas; you are baring your soul to the online world.
I think my content will reflect the kind of person I am, at least I would hope they do. I’ve always found that if I just type how I think or just let it spew out, it feels so much more me. I’m not overly trying to have things grammatically correct or anything like that, because that isn’t me in real life. I would hope my stories or content would sound like me in person. I would love to tell stories about the atmosphere of places, the way that a cafe can make me feel cool and hip, or the way a song makes me think of lyrics in a fresh way. Mostly though, it would be nice just to be able to write whatever was on my mind, in a non-ranting kind of environment. The hurdle is actually just getting started. Once you start, your voice will already be on the path of evolving and refining to the voice that works and fits for you.
I think I have a pretty good strategy for developing my professional network, online and in person. I take a lot of time to try and keep up to date with a lot of the hit and up and coming businesses online and follow any new information they have. I interact online, liking pictures, posting comments, but mostly paying attention to what is going on. I’ve found that a lot of the local businesses run in the same circle, so paying attention to who’s having a pop up event where really helps me to be informed if there is any new business or new products coming out. I’ve been keeping track of all the local markets or events being hosted where a lot of the vendors that I’m following and interacting with online, will be at. I usually end up going to these events and browse the products for sale and end up talking to the vendors. These people are super friendly and encourage questions, especially since they want to grow their brand. I plan to keep heading out to these events, and hopefully get in contact with someone that will let me do a review of some kind for these events, so it makes all my chatting worth it. Being involved online is like being involved behind the scenes, so it is important to have that element incorporated in my strategy as much as having good people skills is important to my strategy.
“Mom, I’m getting a cat.” At first my mother was confused. She didn’t understand what I was asking of her. “Mom, I want to buy a cat. I did my research and everything. I want a Ragamuffin and there’s a breeder in Brampton. I think now is the right time. Can I get one?” See, my mother is ‘allergic’ to cats and dogs. I air quote it because we had a dog, a Shih Tzu, and she never seemed allergic in the common sense of needing an epipen or anything like that. She says to me. “Okay, if you think you are ready, tell me how you’ll take care of it.”
From that moment on, it was a whirlwind of drama, emotions, cash, and arguments. I knew she could tell I was emotionally and mentally ready for this commitment; I had been wanting a cat since I was a little girl, and my feelings for them have never changed. Over the course of 3 months, I went from putting a deposit down on a kitten, to waiting for the mother to have the litter of kittens, to finding out she had a false pregnancy, to having an emotional breakdown about the lack of communication between myself and the breeders and the fact that I wouldn’t have a kitten until June (when my original time frame was April), to eventually cancelling my deposit because I was not happy or satisfied with the service I was receiving from the breeders. It was an extremely low point for me.
But, one happy day, as my boyfriend and I were leaving Broadway’s after eating breakfast, we decided to go into my favorite pet store next door. We browse, and then stumble upon a beautiful all white, blue eyed beauty. We adopted her 2 days later. Her name is Winter, she is a special needs cat because she is deaf, and she loves food. She’s been the brightest light in my life since. We were so happy to have found her and everything surrounding her adoption and bringing her home worked out. There were no bumps or struggles; it just worked. Then a happy occurrence happened. One day I was creeping the breeder site that I was originally planning on getting my cat from, out of spite obviously. I come across the mother of the litter of kittens I was suppose to have, up for adoption. I couldn’t believe it. She was everything I wanted, and for a discounted price. It was like I was meant to go through all these struggles just to end up with the perfect prize at the end. We got Magic 2 months later, and she is the sweetest, most gentle, ball of fluff that you could imagine.
My two cats have shown me such joy, love, and tenderness. They have taught me to expand my heart, to be responsible for a living thing, and to be forgiving of mistakes. They are my greatest achievements.
I am an extremely outgoing, creative, thought driven person. I’ve always had a sense or idea of what would look best, be it in my room, in my future house, or in a picture. I can get along well with others, and love to meet new people to see what I can learn from them. I moved around a lot as a child, so having to meet new people is not new to me, and I’m glad that I was forced to make new friends, or else I wouldn’t be able to do it so easily today. I am a very chatty and inquisitive person; I love to ask questions about topics I am unfamiliar with and to grow my knowledge of things that interest me. My friends get tired of all my questions but I genuinely want to know . I had a teacher when I was in grade three write in my year book, “Never stop asking questions.” It’s stuck with me this entire time. I love to learn new things and to talk to people about my interests. My social oriented lifestyle keeps me apart from others because as much as I strive at independent work, team work is where I’m happiest. The ability to converse with others and talk out ideas or problems is a really amazing quality to have, and its not something that comes easily to everyone.
I am so thankful that throughout this entire certificate, I’ve been able to focus on the organizations and companies that have some meaning to me. If any of you have read any of my other posts, then you’d know that I love to look at local businesses. For this posts, I’m looking at two organizations, Little Jo Berry’s and the Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue (OSCatR). I adore both their feeds; I volunteer with the OSCatR, and I’m hitting up Little Jo Berry’s this weekend to finally check it out. I like comparing local companies social media feeds to see how one could be more successful then the other, and how that could be transferred over.
I stumbled on Little Jo Berry’s IG account and was drawn in by their fun, interesting, and aesthetically appealing photos. The treats they make are fun, interesting and visually appealing (see image). They really know how to sell their food with their pictures. They keep the theme of their images consistent, use hash tags appropriately, upload often and have fun captions. Little Jo Berry’s has an impressive following for a small, specialty cafe, with just under 7000 followers. What I think also gives them an edge is that they broadcast other local businesses they work with. From Urban Juice Press, Vegan Magic, and Kitty Kate Confections, Little Jo Berry is centered around community and strengthening that bond.
On the opposite end, I’m focusing on the Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue. I am really familiar with this organization because its been my focus of study for the majority of this program, and I also volunteer with them.The OSCatR is a local organization which is dedicated to managing the feral cat colonies in the city, and adopting cats they take in off the streets to loving homes. One would think that an animal account would have a bunch of followers, but the OSCatR comes in under 1500 followers.They post fairly often, showing off the cats that are up for adoption or any upcoming events they are hosting. Comparing it to Little Jo Berry’s feed, there are a few major differences, which I think could be the reason why one is more successful than the other. The quality of images and content is not consistent; this is hard to maintain since all the cats available for adoption are living in foster homes, so its not like the images are being taken by one or two people consistently. That being said, I am a huge believe that quality and consistency is key to making an Instagram fairly successful. Followers are expecting content of a certain caliber, and users need to be producing that quality content to continue to gain likes, followers, and spread their brand.
It’s hard to critique an entirely volunteer run organization which is doing amazing community work, but these tips could grow the organization. The first step would be to have a set Social Media Coordinator, who is in charge of taking care of the graphic images for events, uploading pictures and captions of the cats up for adoption on a regular schedule, and trying to implement a photography tips and tricks night or PDF. I think this would really help some of the fosters understand that the images they give to showcase their cat is really important; a good photo of a cat will show how cute, or funny, or quirky a cat’s personality is, which allows potential adopters to see the cats personality in images.
I originally wanted to keep my focus to local businesses, but I changed my direction and went with a brand that is still relatively new to the beauty game. Colourpop Cosmetics is an LA based cosmetic company whose main goal is to provide top quality, ethically conscious, budget friendly makeup. I adore their products. At roughly $6.50 CAD for the majority of their lip, eye, brow, and skin products, trying new trends has never been easier. To me, their social media game focuses on showcasing their products on a variety of different users. Their Instagram feed is often featuring customer reposts of makeup looks using their products. The image below is just a sample of nine photos from their feed. 7 of them are customer reposts, and the other 2 are promo posts about getting $5 off your purchase from the Hello Kitty collection.
What I also think is a strong social media play is the amount of diversity they showcase. I absolutely love that they show you how their colours look against different skin tones. The image on the right is showing how three different lip colours would look on three different skin tones. I personally love their take on social media. Their twitter replies to unhappy customers are polite, a little generic, but points you in the right direction to getting your moneys worth. Filling their feeds with customer images and makeup tutorials is a great way to interact with the customer. They are highlighting clients, creating a bond with them, and encouraging them to keep posting images in the future that Colourpop could potentially use. It gives customers the opportunity to have their profile and images looked at by all four million people who follow Colourpop. I think this not only creates a strong business bond, but a strong creative bond between business and client. I think their social media approach is totally working, they are strengthening customer bonds by using their images, validating that their images are worth the repost; they are using new and interesting images to show off their products, which creates an image and name for themselves by being different.
I decided to look into the target audience for Plato’s Closet. I work there, and we’ve recently passed out 1 year mark on Instagram. Our content quality has certainly improved in the year, so has our creative aspects, but there still is so much to learn. Let me explain what PC is and does: its a retail store that buys and sells gently used teen to young adult clothing, that has been trendy/ purchased from the malls in the past 18 months. So we’re looking for items that are still in the mall, or items from last season, that high school teens and people in there early to mid twenties are wearing now. Our Instagram showcases all the amazing items clients have sold to us, and people can buy the items seen on our IG. Ideally, we want a lot of teenage guys and gals to be following us and liking us on IG to spread our brand awareness. So many teens are getting upward of 300+ likes on their photos, and the goal is to get as many likes as possible. We want the same thing. The content on these IG savvy teens is very fashion forward, very minimalist, very aesthetically appealing, and the majority of the time, skin is always a win. As a store, we obviously can’t be posting revealing images, but we need to get on the same level. Some effective communication strategies we could look into is seeing if any of the really popular local teens want to do a collaboration. If we get involved with the people who are relatively ‘large’ in the city/community, it allows us as a brand to grow as well. Its hard though, because teenagers are mostly ‘too cool’ to really commit to anything like that, or they don’t want to be associated with anything. It’s all about getting through into schools or with popular individuals to make it the ‘cool thing to do’ and then everyone would want to be involved.
I really wouldn’t say that I have any favorite social media listening/monitoring tools, only because I have trouble keeping my focus when I’m on my phone. I get so derailed that I often forget what I was trying to find out. If I really have to pick a favorite social media trend listening/monitoring tool, it would be Instagram and Youtube (if they count). My top best news/updates would be Facebook and Snapchat; again, if they count.
I like to watch for any trends on the search section of Instagram because it’s tuned to show me things that would interest me. I get to pick and choose which image I’m drawn to out of a selection of images. Seeing a selection of images also allow me to spot trends as I scroll. There are a few people I follow on Youtube that are generally more up to date with matters in the world I am, so when I watch their videos, I get a brief summary of events.
I would say that Reddit is a great source of news and updates. I think it’s focus is more based on news sharing, which makes it a great platform for news coverage, trend spotting, and monitoring. I prefer these tools because I am on them at least once a day. If my news can be incorporated to the apps I use, not only am I getting all the information I need, I’m getting it on a platform that I enjoy. Reading a newspaper article doesn’t appeal to me, but watching a short Snapchat video on news does. So much of our world is online now that it would be in my best professional and organizational interest to find an application online that gives me the news I want in a medium I like. I would rather have my information explained to me in a video than read about it in a newspaper.
I have learned that I am much more receptive to enjoying a blog or a YouTube creator, if they offer me clear, put together, enjoyable content. I have always been very selective with which blogs I follow or which YouTubers I watch, and after this week’s lesson, I’ve realized why. I do not have the time to waste on content that isn’t giving me what I want, in the way I want it. I like to enjoy blogs that are straight forward and to the point; informative, but still fun and have been put together with care. On YouTube, I like to watch videos that are short, fun, and edited seamlessly. There is a clear difference between an experienced creator and a novice creator on YouTube, and to me, the time and care YouTubers put into their content makes or breaks my decision to subscribe.
I am more aware of the way content is reaching me, and I have no problem cutting out sources that aren’t giving me valid posts. I’ve stumbled upon various blogs or videos that have very little creativity being expelled. When a creator is reaching out to me, I want to see their creativity in their work, and with some of the blogs or vloggers I’ve come across, I can’t understand why people follow or subscribe.
Talking to your audience is a really great way to engage, and encouraging them to comment with their thoughts on what they liked and/or disliked about your blog or video brings you and your fan-base closer together. Creators need to be open to all forms of criticism and the comment section is a great way to interact with your content creators.
Here are some creators that I think nailed content and video quality, and are consistently producing content at the same level:
Do you have expectations with the blogs you follow? Do you think that quality is more important than quantity? Let me know what you think and share which creators you think rise above the rest!