COM0014 – Blog #7: The Best Stories Are The One’s YOU Write.

I’ll tell you a secret… I’m an introvert.

Now, I don’t go around advertising this fact, but when the subject comes up, people never believe me. Introverts are not typically legendary storytellers. And I am no exception.

You see, my words don’t come out easily when I am speaking. My mind goes blank, my mouth gets dry and I stumble over my words.

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**photo source unsplash.com, edited in Canva.com

I have learned through the assigned blog writing in this course that my words flow a little easier through writing. It flows a lot easier when I have a story to tell!  I have learned that personal experiences make the best stories. Being vulnerable and sharing these experiences invites authentic connection with my audience. I will continue to practice my storytelling and apply it to all avenues of my social media marketing.

If you had asked me at the beginning of this course if I could tell a good story, I would have said no. If you had asked me if I would enjoy blog writing, I would have said no. And now I can honestly say that I can tell a decent story.

Do I now enjoy writing blogs? Enjoy might be a strong word! 🙂

 

 

COM0014 – Blog #6: My favourite customer story… in which I was the customer!

I remember very clearly the first time that I made a purchase based on excellent customer service. The summer I turned 15 years old, I started work for a catering company at our local airport. This company made the meals for the airlines. Soon into this job, I realized that standing on the cement floor of the assembly line in my $5 dollar tennis shoes… was not good for my feet. I decided it might be time for an upgrade in my footwear.

Raena, (I still remember her name!) was the sales associate at the first shoe store in the mall in which I stopped. Raena took the time to listen to what I needed. We both bonded over working on our feet all day, and she took the time to help me find the right fitting pair of shoes. I remember the “sticker shock”… as it was the most I had ever paid for a pair of shoes in all of my 15 years!  And. I. did. not. care.  I felt they were worth every penny! Raena had created value. She didn’t sell me something I didn’t need. She sold me something more than a pair of Reebok shoes, she sold me an experience.

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                                                             *photo credit feliperizo.com from unsplash.com

Even though it’s only been a few short *coughthirtypluscough* years since I bought those shoes, I still draw on that experience when it comes to the customer service that I provide. I do my best to create value in each job that I have had since that time. Excellent customer service is created not just by how you treat your customer but how you treat your co-workers, suppliers and/or fellow business associates.

The nature of the current health service industry that I work for, I am fortunate that we have repeat clients. I have more than one opportunity to show authenticity and genuine care, this, in turn, creates an experience and deeper connections with these clients. My favourite clients are the ones that have become friends!

 

 

COM0014 – Blog #5: The Power of a Personal Brand.

Personally and professionally, I am noted for my organizational skills and creativity. I can envision a project, organize and execute it. My personal brand is my love of organization, health, and dental wellness. Especially organization, I often refer to myself as an organization Ninja!

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                                                                                      *personal graphic using the Bitmoji app and Canva.com

As an Office Administrator and Social media manager, I am passionate about creating a positive customer service for clients. The constant need to keep up and improve the customer experience when it comes to the rapid changes in social media and technology has stretched and expanded my creativity further than I have ever imagined! Most recently, I am most proud of my accomplishment of setting up an online appointment booking system for our clients! This took a great deal of organization to make the transition as seamless as possible.

I believe you can never stop learning! I continually take courses to keep my skills current. I also take every opportunity to meet with fellow business professionals. I find that peers in these groups have proven strategies that they have implemented and they are often willing to share their experiences and resources. I find it very fulfilling when I have the opportunity to speak or lead a workshop on a topic of which I have some knowledge or share a skill or experience that can help others.

What is it that makes you unique and you feel the most fulfilled?

COM0014 – Blog #4: Sash Bag, The Hands-Free Wonder Bag.

“Sash is the ten-pocket, hands-free wonder bag that will revolutionize your life! It’s mega organized, comfortable, and cute!” I no longer put my purse on the back of a restaurant chair, nor do I hope that there is a hook for my purse in the public washroom so I don’t have to put it on the floor,  I don’t lose my purse in the car, or put my purse on the counter or floor the minute that I get home.

I first discovered this company when I came across a Kickstarter campaign online. I’ll admit that I researched and followed them for a while before I made my first purchase. The way that they engage with their audience convinced me to give it a try.

Screenshot_20181014-055628_ChromeThe Sash Bag Facebook page keeps customers up to date on new colours and styles of bags. It is also filled with videos showing the attributes of the bag and tips on how to use it. The Sash Bag VIP Facebook group connect women (and a few men) who are fans. It feels like a large group of friends. They post selfies, tips on how to use the bag and some fans sell or trade their Sash bags. Many of the customers refer to themselves as Sash Sisters or the Sash Squad. On both the Facebook Page and VIP Facebook Group, the feed is full of positive feedback and mentions of how customers are happily spreading the word on what they believe to be an outstanding product. I’ll admit that I also posted a picture of me wearing my Sash hiking this fall. It was fun engaging with fellow #Sashsisters!

 

Screenshot_20181014-060030_ChromeSash Bag’s Twitter feed is filled with reviews from bloggers and customers. Sash bag engages with their audience on their twitter feed linking back to their Instagram and Kickstarter pages prompting likes and sharing of information. This is definitely an effective approach to using Social media and gaining more #SashSister followers. So effective that their second Kickstarter campaign was fully funded in 36 minutes and ended up raising $1,019,486 –  which far surpassed their goal of $29,000!

Have you purchased a product from a company that has caused you to engage with them online? What was your experience?

COM0014 – Blog #3: Do you have teeth? You are my target audience!

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                                                                                                                                                  *photo credit Unsplash.com

If you have been following my blog, you know that I am the office administrator and social media manager for an independent dental hygiene clinic. After completing a few social media courses I have come to a clearer understanding of the concept “target audience”.  A social media campaign can be much more successful when a strategy is well planned out and focused on the needs and wants of a specific age group.

Demographics and psychographics are two important methods to analyze the target audience for Norfolk Dental Hygiene. Demographic analysis is fact-based data that can be categorized and classified. It tells us information that includes factors such as gender, age range, occupation, marital status, etc. The psychographic analysis is based on information that is more subjective but tells us about our audience’s personality, values, wants, and interests.

At Norfolk Dental our largest target audience is comprised of Retirees. This is based on the demographics of our geographic area. Some retirees are no longer covered by private dental insurance and live on a fixed income and are concerned about the cost of caring for their oral health. Other retirees are newly widowed or divorced and looking to improve their smile cosmetically as a confidence booster. And some retirees have had dental issues all of their life that seem to be getting worse with the changes in health that come with age.

The obstacles and struggles of our retiree target audience are opportunities to let them know how we can solve them. The psychographic analysis along with the demographic analysis helps us learn what our clients need, along with what information they are looking for and how they like to receive their information. This enables us to get the right message to the right people.

There need to be a few more considerations than just the fact that person has teeth and we can clean them! How has learning about target audiences helped your social media marketing strategy?

COM0014 – Blog #2: Hey! I’ve Got Something to Say!

Hey!                                                                                                  *photo credit unsplash.com

Are you a “Painter” or a “Pointer”?

Years ago, when my husband and were newly married we attended a relationship workshop on communication. The workshop was based on the works of Dr. David Ludwig.  The leader of the workshop divided the group into “Painters” and “Pointers”. The “Painter’ tells a story by painting a picture with their words. The “Pointer” works out the story before they verbalize it, and when they do, it’s to the point. It became very clear that my husband was the “Painter” and I the “Pointer”. This workshop was my first introduction to communication styles and the idea that I have one. My style has evolved over the years but stays very true to the “Pointer” style. It is the way I communicate both personally and professionally.

When writing my first blog for the class Introduction to Social Media it was a very intimidating experience to expand on my usual “to the point “ style. Writing about my personal experience and adding bits of my humour left me feeling vulnerable. The first comments were very positive and enjoyable to read which has made blog writing become less of a chore!

Who is your audience?

I believe my “Pointer” communication style has served me well when I communicate professionally. I try to post topics that are interesting and engaging to my target audience. I believe professional posts should be informative, clear and polished. A little humour can humanize a professional post.  Personal posts can be light and fun. Authenticity and knowing who you are writing for is the key for both professional and personal.

How will you invite interaction?

Writing an attention-grabbing opening is a great way to entice your audience to read further. Thought provoking content with an invitation for the reader to give feedback is a great way to start a conversation. This can be done by asking a question at the end of the blog.

Providing links to related content invites your audience to research further on your topic. It also provides greater interest and credibility. This article explains that “If you’re not including links in your posts, you’re missing out on big opportunities.”

Through blog writing for Introduction to Social Media, I have come to realize that I have something to say and I am learning how to say it!  What have you learned about your communication style? Share a blog or two that you regularly follow. What about their communication style keeps you coming back?

 

COM0014 – Blog #1: Bunkie Life: Glamorous Camping?!

This past year has been full of monumental life moments. Our family grew by adding a daughter-in-law through marriage, we will be adding a son-in-law this December and recently added a grandbaby to the mix! This has left us little time or money for vacations!

A Mini Summer Vacation – Glamping…

As this past summer season moved along, my husband Dan and I were regretting not taking an extended period of time off for vacation. After a couple of discussions, we decided we needed some relaxing time together and the rapidly approaching September long weekend was our last chance!

Immediately,  I started perusing some Air BNB listings. As I scrolled throw the site I discovered the Bunkie. A mini-cabin with electricity and a double bed.  The listing promised “camping without the hassle”, it looked like Glamping to me! How can 110 reviews be wrong?! After a quick consult with Dan, I booked the weekend! The anticipation of our glamorous camping weekend was sweet. We enjoyed researching the area and deciding what we were going to see and do.

As our glamping weekend was fast approaching, I figured I had better check into the Bunkie’s amenities and start to gather supplies. This is the moment that I realized, in my haste, I missed the part about no available water source… I knew there was no running water in the Bunkie, but I did not realize there was no water source on the property. Oops.

In communicating with the Bunkie owner he assured us that we would be able to shower at the local gym if we needed to. Problem solved! We decided that Saturday night we would work out, shower, go out for a nice romantic dinner and hopefully still be clean enough for church Sunday morning! Over the next few days, as I planned and gathered camping supplies, I was not enjoying the amount of work that it was taking to prepare! It was not feeling like a glamorous camping experience.

Finally, the day arrived for us to head out on our mini Bunkie vacation. After a short drive, we arrived at our destination and hiked up to our Bunkie. It was really cute and we were excited. It took a few trips up a fairly steep hill to carry in all of our supplies.

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Once we had unloaded our supplies, a quick look around and I realized that this was not the glamorous camping that I had envisioned! The last few renters had left their recycle piled against the Bunkie, along with some litter… the fire pit was a bit of a mess as well.

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The Bunkie itself looked clean, however, when I pulled that power cord out from under the bed it brought along with it an exercise roller, a deodorant stick and a pair of a previous renter’s dirty underwear! Ummm… Ewww!  At this point, I was questioning this fellow’s 100+ 5 star reviews! Where was my relaxing glamping vacation!?

The Adventure Begins…

This is where we decided this vacation had become an adventure and not glamping! After some time cleaning up the Bunkie site we unpacked, played some cards while enjoying the beautiful view and headed out on some adventures.

The gym ended up being closed for the long weekend so we set up a makeshift outdoor shower… glad it was a secluded spot! And, if you want to hear more wonders of the composting toilet… I am not a fan! Overall, our vacation was enjoyable.

Yes, Bunkie Life is easier than camping. But I have learned that the term Glamping is relative! Oh, and in case you think I am a princess!  “Glamping is where stunning nature meets modern luxury.” I believed I experienced some stunning nature with some modern conveniences… but definitely not luxury.

Have you experienced a Bunkie or Glamping? I’d love to hear about your experience! Tell me about it in the comment section below!

 

#OralHealthIsSexy: Bringing Flossing Back Through Social Media!

The question that brings fear and trepidation at every teeth cleaning appointment… “Have you been flossing?” And then there is the reminder to brush your teeth twice a day, which sometimes feels more like a scolding! Social media has offered my place of work, an independent dental hygiene clinic, the ability to make boring and not popular information a little more interesting and fun!

Oral Health Adulting_ (1)Image credit: Norfolk Dental Hygiene Instagram

Creating content…

With the use of a free graphic design tool website, called Canva, I have been able to create some creative social media posts. Some are fun and some are educational. Canva is a fantastic resource for making graphics for all social media platforms. Although Canva provides some free stock photos, they are limited. My go to site for free stock photos is stocksnap.io.   An easy to use video editing resource that I use is Wondershare Filmora. This video editing website has enabled me to make tutorial videos and fun Gif type videos for social media.

Video credit: Norfolk Dental Hygiene Facebook Page

For this video I used a combination of a Snapchat video and Wondershare Filmora.

Spreading the message…

With social media posts and tutorial videos I am able to reinforce the oral health education that clients receive at their regular appointments.

Video credit: Norfolk Dental Hygiene You-Tube Account

It also encourages and reminds them to take care of their oral health, raising awareness in an enjoyable way. Posting tips, as well as links to other resources or news articles, Norfolk Dental Hygiene not only provides our client’s with information to enhance their oral health but we are bringing the message of the importance of oral health to a wider audience!

Ones to watch…

Armed with new knowledge and resources from my course on Introduction to Social Media, I believe the next step to bringing flossing back through social media is by going viral! A dental professional success story is the Singing Dentist. His claim to fame is writing parodies of popular songs with dental lyrics. Patricia London is a dentist that releases a lip-sync video every Monday. In these videos she usually has her clients join her. This past January she posted a mash-up of these videos that ended up going viral. I think it’s time I round up our dental hygienists and make a video parody of Justin Timberlake’s song Bringing Sexy Back entitled Bringing Flossing back. 😉

Have you used social media to make a boring or unpopular message more enjoyable?

 

fb_icon_325x325#OralHealthIsSexy: Bringing Flossing Back Through Social Media! http://bit.ly/2CmXHm9

 

download#OralHealthIsSexy: Bringing Flossing Back Through Social Media! Making boring information enjoyable. #oralhealthisfun #brushflossrepeat http://bit.ly/2CmXHm9

Where’s the Beef?! Adventures in online grocery shopping!

Thursday nights my habit used to be to sit down in my pj’s after a long day at work and go through the grocery flyers. Occasionally, I still like to peruse the paper flyers that are thrown at the end of my driveway. But more and more I find that I pitch them straight into the recycle bin. My new habit is to sit down with my phone and search the grocery items I need on the Flipp APP. With this APP one can search flyer deals and coupons by item, brand, or category. This makes it extremely easy to find the best deals and plan my Saturday morning grocery shop.

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Photo credit: my personal Instagram account

Click & Collect!

When most of the grocery items I need are to be purchased from The Real Canadian Superstore, I shop online through their Click & Collect. Where the heck was this when I had 3 young children!? Grocery shopping with 3 young children is akin to shopping with 3 small goats! Impossible to herd them while navigating the shopping cart! Anyways, I log on to Click & Collect and navigate the grocery aisles online. Virtually putting the groceries in my cart, choosing a pick up time, all while enjoying a glass of wine. The next morning I stop by Timmie’s for a coffee and head to the store to wait for them to wheel my groceries right to the trunk of my car!

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Photo credit: my personal Instagram account

Local Shopping…

Another large source of my grocery items are purchased locally through Facebook. I am a whole foods/local foods advocate and one of my favourite pastimes is to drive through Norfolk County during all fours seasons to purchase the bulk of my meat and produce from roadside stands and farm stores. We have some great wineries and breweries too! A bulk of these out of the way places I have discovered through Facebook. Recently, I discovered another great online source for discovering markets and other small specialty farms in my area. I love how social media is a resource to help these small family farms thrive, and I get adventure and quality food as a result!

 

What has been your experience, if any, with online grocery shopping?

 

facebookWhere’s the Beef?! Adventures in online grocery shopping! How to save time and money. http://bit.ly/2GjSuJP

 

twttrWhere’s the Beef?! Adventures in online grocery shopping! #experience_local #savetime #savemoney #norfolkcounty  http://bit.ly/2GjSuJP

How Social Media Influenced Me to Join a Cult.

3 years ago, when my daughter returned from a year long exchange in Brazil, she brought back stories of the people, the music and the food with her. It was her love of the Brazilian food that led to the request that our family get a pressure cooker. I was less than thrilled with the idea as I have always heard horror stories such as the pressure cooker blowing up and the lid launching into the ceiling! They can be extremely destructive.

My daughter insisted that she knew how to use a manual pressure cooker and she said she NEEDED IT to make Feijoada, so thus began my research to find the perfect one… translation the safest one!

Discovery of the Instant Pot

Very early into my research on pressure cookers that are dummy proof, an electric pressure cooker called the Instant Pot kept coming up in my searches. I read food bloggers reviews of how the Instant Pot does the work of seven gadgets in one. Eager to find out what sorcery this magic electric pressure cooker does, I started to research the hashtags #instantpot on Instagram to see pictures of what magical meals people were making with theirs.

In anticipation of the arrival of my newly purchased Instant Pot from Amazon, I excitedly watched YouTube tutorials and joined Facebook groups dedicated to Instant Pot recipes and advice. It was by following of the Facebook groups that I realized I had joined a cult that loving called themselves “pot heads.”

Converting my family to join

Our immediate family is made up of 4 family units, my husband and I, my son and his wife, my daughter and her fiancé and my youngest daughter (who is off at University); between us we own 6 Instant Pots. We have taken them to the cottage, hotel rooms on vacation, dorm rooms and we’ve pooled them together to make pulled pork for 100 people in less than 4 hours for my son’s Buck and Doe! Recently I organized a family meal preparation day in which we spent 3.5 hours preparing 40 frozen meals. Each family unit took home 10 different preassembled meals frozen to fit into the Instant Pot, ready to be cooked from an ice block form to a healthy delicious meal in minutes! We have decided this would become a regular event.

_Cooking is very much a social behavior..._.Photo: This is our family preparing Instant Pot freezer meals.

The Social media Success of the Instant Pot

The Instant Pot itself is a social media success story.  CEO Robert Wang, did not use the traditional main stream methods of advertising his product. Instead he provided free Instant Pots to 200 bloggers and cookbook authors. “Cooking is very much a social behavior. If people make good food, they will be raving about it, including the tools used,” says CEO Robert Wang It was this Influence Marketing strategy that helped me to discover the Instant Pot and eventually go on to purchase many more!

What products have you purchased due to Influence Marketing?

 

How Social Media Influenced Me to Join a Cult. It was this Influence Marketing strategy that helped me to discover the Instant Pot and eventually go on to purchase many more! http://bit.ly/2BUzZJt

twttrHow Social Media Influenced Me to Join a Cult. #influencemarketing #lnstantPot #powerofsocialmedia http://bit.ly/2BUzZJt