COM0014- Blog #7: The End, The Middle, The Beginning

The End, The Middle, The Beginning

Why is storytelling important to creating great digital content? THE END.

Picture walking into a bookstore with $20 – enough to purchase one novel. On average, a bookstore has thousands of options. How will you choose which one to buy? Now, multiply that bookstore by millions and millions and you have the amount of digital content available on the internet. If your content is not compelling and well-written (achieved via the inverted pyramid and following a who/what/where/when/why/how template to determine your voice), your content will be lost amongst the virtual sea of debris.

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How will your content by guided by story? THE MIDDLE.

After taking this course, my content will always follow the approach mentioned above. I will continue to write and brand with the end first and build upon that throughout the article. The content of my writing will continue to reflect the audience it is intended for. I will continue to use blog writing both personally and professionally. 

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What kind of stories do you want to tell? THE BEGINNING.

After significant exposure to blogging in this course, I intend to continue writing. I would like to begin my own blog that dives into some of my main hobbies and interests, including:

  • sharing the stories of my travels (from Canada to the U.S. to Europe and beyond and invite others to share their stories and provide recommendations)
  • reading (suggest books I’ve enjoyed and ask others to do the same)
  • recipes (for both cooking and baking highlighting the successes and laughing about failed attempts in the kitchen) 
  • raising my puppy (sharing photos and stories) 

This will be the beginning of something new for me to try. Who knows, maybe I will even be brave enough to give vlogging a try one day!

Thank you for all of your guidance and insights throughout this course. 

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Is Instagram all about the ‘likes’?

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

In Canada in May 2019, Instagram announced it would be removing its public ‘likes’ feature. This meant that all users (or followers) would no longer be able to see the numbers of ‘likes’ a photo or video received. Moving forwards, only the owner of the account would be able to see the ‘likes’ received on a specific photo. This comes as part of a trial package in where Instagram has continued to test this algorithm in Australia, Brazil Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand before testing in the United States (Levental, 2019).  

So, why the change?

There has always been an ongoing discussion around the relationship between social media and devolving mental health. Some of the main concerns associated with social media usage include:

  • Inadequacy about your life or appearance
  • Fear of missing out
  • Isolation
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cyberbullying
  • Self-absorption (Social Media and Mental Health, 2020)

In an interview, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram stated “we will do things that mean people will generally use Instagram less if we feel they keep people safe or generally create a healthier environment” (Instagram Is Trialling Removing Likes on Some US Posts, 2019). Mosseri continued “the idea is to depressurize Instagram. We’re trying to reduce anxiety, we’re trying to reduce social comparisons” (Levental, 2019). 

Instagram received significant backlash when removing public ‘likes’, specifically from celebrities and Instagram influencers. As ‘likes’ were previously a quantifiable measure of success, certain influencers and businesses needed to adapt new ways of measuring their achievements online.  

Removing ‘likes’ was a bold move – one that represents great corporate social responsibility on behalf of Instagram. What is interesting, however, is that Facebook (owners of Instagram) has not followed suit. Perhaps that is because Instagram is still conducting trials as to its effectiveness. Nonetheless, what are your thoughts? Were you happy to see public likes abolished or do you miss them? Do you believe Facebook will be the next social platform to eliminate public measures, such as likes, comments and shares? 

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TWITTER: @Instagram says goodbye to public ‘likes’. Who will be next?  shorturl.at/dpsyC

FACEBOOK:  @Instagram abolishes public likes. Is @Facebook next? 
Read more: shorturl.at/dpsyC

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Photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels

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References:

Instagram is trialling removing likes on some US posts. (2019, November 11). BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-50382311

Leventhal, J. (2019, November 25). How removing likes from Instagram could affect our mental health. PBS. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/how-removing-likes-from-instagram-could-affect-our-mental-health

Social Media and Mental Health. (2020, September). Help Guide. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm

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#HASHTAGS #HASHTAG #HASH #TAGS #TAG… Wait, where was I?

#HASHTAGS #HASHTAG #HASH #TAGS #TAG… Wait, where was I?

#Hashtags are everywhere! Originally created in 2007 for Twitter, #hashtags quickly evolved on many social media platforms as a way for your post to become a part of a bigger community. 

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Daily #Hashtags are becoming more and more popular. Some examples of this include:

#ManCrushMonday or #MotivationMonday 
#TacoTuesday or #TransformationTuesday
#WackyWednesday or #WaybackWednesday
#ThrowbackThursday or #ThirstyThursday
#FlashbackFriday or #TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday)
#SaturdayNightFever or #Caturday 
#SundayFunday or #SelfieSunday 

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#Hashtags can be used an infinite number of times. Weaker #hashtags have been used fewer than 100 times. Have you ever wondered what #hashtag has been utilized the most? #Love has been used nearly 2 billion times! Below you will find the top ten #hashtags ever used:

Photo by Top-Hashtags

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#Hashtags have extended well beyond Twitter. In fact, Instagram posts that use at least one #hashtag gain a 12.6% increase in engagement compared to those without. Although Instagram allows you to use up to 30 #hashtags per post, studies have shown that the optimal number of #hashtags is 11 per post. Following the above advice, if I were to #hashtag this assignment, it would look something like this:

#Hashtag 
#SocialMedia 
#Twitter 
#Instagram 
#Facebook 
#Homework 
#Assignment 
#Student 
#BlogPost
#College
#Study 

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#Hashtags have proven to be great branding techniques for companies as well. One of the most successful examples of this is #BellLetsTalk. Every year, Bell Canada rolls out its #BellLetsTalk campaign. This year, the event was held on January 28th. On this day, Bell Canada donates 5 cents to mental health initiatives for every text message sent, phone call made and social post made using #BellLetsTalk. In 24 hours, there were 159,173,435 interactions creating a monetary donation of $7,958,671.75. This is one example that highlights how #hashtags can have a positive impact in 2021. 

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TWITTER: #HASHTAGS. How hashtags can help you be seen: shorturl.at/oAJPU

FACEBOOK: What is the magic formula for #hastags? Read more about the trends here: shorturl.at/oAJPU

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REFERENCES:

https://top-hashtags.com/instagram/

Smith, K. (2019, January 20). 50 Incredible Instagram Statistics. BrandWatch. https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/instagram-stats/

https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

COM0014- Blog #6: Who Am I?

WHO AM I?

I am different things to different people. To one I am a sister, to two I am a daughter, to one I am a fiancée and to countless others I am a friend, co-worker or classmate. 

Scholastically, I am a graduate of Steele Street Public School (with honours, French Award), Eastview Secondary School (with honours, Business Certificate) and Lakehead University (Dean’s List, Honours Bachelor of Commerce Degree with a major in Administrative Studies and a Minor in Philosophy). Currently, I am continuing my education through Durham College while completing a Social Media Certificate.  

Professionally, I am the Corporate Controller of Horsepower Sports & Entertainment Group Inc. and Barrie Colts Junior Hockey Ltd. having 7 years (and counting) of experience in accounting administration.

Philanthropically, I donate to Gals that Give (an organization that contributes $48,000 annually to local charities). As well, I sit on the Executive Board of Directors for the Barrie Community Foundation as the Secretary and am an active member of the Communications Committee. Lastly, I am one of the founding members of the Barrie Colts Foundation.

Personally, I am a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, a fiancée, a mom to my dog and my cat, a friend, a classmate, a co-worker, an employee, a philanthropic and a neighbour. I am loving, empathetic, trustworthy and helpful. I am a mentor and a learner.

I am me. I am proud to be me.

COM0014- Blog #5: Hi! My name is…

Hi! My name is…

Hi! I’m Amanda. Lately, I have been extremely proud of myself for continuing my education at a (semi) later stage in life.
Throughout the global pandemic, I’ve also broadened my skillset by taking on additional roles in the workplace that I have no formal education or experience in.
The never-ending process of learning is filling me with happiness and self-confidence.

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Co-workers, friends and family often describe me as: 

A – authentic and approachable (empathetic and easy to confide in)

M – mindful (of others feelings, beliefs and opinions before expressing my own)

A – accomplished and professional (educated and experienced… representing myself in a way that would make my company and family proud)

N – nimble (willing to adapt to any situation life throws my way, professionally or personally)

D – devoted (to my friends, family, partner and career) 

A – attentive (to detail, very organized and focused on perfection) 

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W – warm-hearted (kind and generous in all areas of life, including focusing time and resources philanthropically)

H – honest (trustworthy and reliable)

I – independent (willing to lead when necessary, but equally as willing to follow)

T – thankful (for all of the experiences and connections I’ve had that make me who I am today)

M – modest (humbly accepting of others compliments as opposed to boasting my own accolades)

A – articulate (verbiage and connotation are two of my highest priorities at all times)  

N – noetic (actively pursuing ways to create a healthy, happy mind (and a healthy, happy body))

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Above all else, I am proud to say that I am a very helpful human, both personally and professionally. Whether you are a friend that is moving, a relative that is lonely and wants to chat, a peer that needs help finishing an assignment or a co-worker that requires assistance, I am always here for you. 

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Thank you for taking a little bit of time to read about me!
-Sincerely,
Amanda.

COM0014 – Blog #4: BC²: Barrie Colts as a Business to Consumer

BC²: Barrie Colts as a Business to Consumer

The business to consumer company I’ve chosen is Barrie Colts Junior Hockey Ltd. (a team of the Ontario Hockey League). The Barrie Colts were established over 25 years ago when social media did not exist. In today’s day and age (especially with COVID-19 creating additional boundaries to traditional interactions), social media is the only thing keeping people connected and keeping many businesses alive.

The company currently offers the following platforms of digital information:

Multiple sales channels are an excellent way to address varying audiences that may only be active on one specific platform. All of the above accounts post actively (almost daily). The posts are typically short with a captivating graphic that uses the teams recognizable branding. Most of the posts include a link, call-to-action or a question to engage customer interaction and to promote the two-way conversation that social media revolves around. 

Generally speaking, the Barrie Colts have an excellent online presence, however, there still remains room for improvement. They have dormant accounts on Snapchat, Tiktok and Spotify that are not producing or sharing any content, which could potentially damage a business’s reliability. 

The Barrie Colts have been successful in utilizing social media accounts as a business to consumer tool. As with any good B2C campaign, they are converting customer sales of their products in a short and simple buying process through their use of branded imagery to a large target market. 

IDLE + INACTIVE ≠ INCOME

Photo by ready made from Pexels

IDLE, adjective
*with no particular purpose or effect (https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/idle_1?q=idle)

INACTIVE, adjective 
*having no effect, not working (https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/inactive?q=inactive)  

…Otherwise known as two of the worst words to describe a business’s social media presence.

As a millennial, I (hate to admit that) I live on social media. If I need a product, I search an Instagram account before a website. I shop online. I have over 3+ hours a day of active screen-time, most of which is dedicated to various social media platforms. As soon as I come across a business with idle or inactive social media accounts, I instantly question the following:

  1. Is this business still operational?
  2. Does this business not have time for social media, and in turn, won’t have time for my needs as a customer?
  3. Did the Social Media Manager leave the company, and if so, why?

The connotations of all of my questions are negative. As a customer, I’ve already discounted this business as unreliable and disreputable. 

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff from Pexels

The biggest flaw with inactive social media accounts is the lack of two-way communication, which we’ve learned is one of the main purposes of having an online presence. If you have accounts that are not being monitored, but have yet to be deleted, customers may be trying to reach your business without any acknowledgment or a reply, which in turn, worsens your brand image and decreases your customer base. 

In traditional marketing, businesses needed to establish their target audiences and figure out their needs and wants. Social media marketing is very similar. What do customers need from you? They need to hear you. They need to see you. 

Many articles have been written that present businesses that currently hold inactive social media accounts with two options:

  1. Delete the inactive accounts as to not create the negative associations and connotations discussed above
  2. Re-approach social media with a new strategy that is manageable

There are many suggestions as how to attain the second option, including focusing on one platform or hiring a firm that specializes in social media marketing, etc. One thing is certain, you are better to delete your inactive accounts than risk brand deterioration.  

To end, let me present you with a scenario…

Abby is looking for the best ice cream place in Barrie. After page 3 of a Google search, Abby comes across a link to the Instagram for ICY ICE (claiming to be the best). Abby clicks on the link only to find a total of 12 posts, with the most recent being 10 months ago. Is Abby likely to click on the profile to find the link in the Instagram bio that will redirect her to the website to learn that they are, in fact, operational? OR is Abby likely to jump back to Google and click on the next link that directs her to an Instagram page filled with drool-worthy photos of ice cream that were posted yesterday. If you were Abby, which ice cream would you buy? 

Additional Articles as References:

Does it make sense to keep inactive social media accounts open? (https://contentwriters.com/blog/does-it-make-sense-to-keep-inactive-business-social-media-accounts-open)

Inactive social media accounts damage business credibility (https://johngrimley.com/f/inactive-social-media-accounts-damage-business-credibility)

Three ways inactive social media accounts are hurting your business and how to fix it (https://www.wesfed.com/blog/3-ways-social-media-hurts-your-business/)

Is your business inactive on #Twitter? 
IDLE + INACTIVE ≠ INCOME. 
Read more: https://algonquincollegesocialmedia.wordpress.com/2021/02/02/idle–inactive–income/

Bring back the two-way street: how inactive social media accounts are killing business communication.
Read more: https://algonquincollegesocialmedia.wordpress.com/2021/02/02/idle–inactive–income/

COM0014 – Blog #3: Where to Find a Yogi(bear)

Photo by Eternal Happiness from Pexels

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out…

YOGA, noun

*a system of exercises for your body and for controlling your breathing, used by people who want to become fitter or to relax  (Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries)

*a Hindu philosophy that teaches you how to control your body and mind in the belief that you can become united with the spirit of the universe in this way (Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries)

Demographics:

(Harris, 2019)

As stated in the definition, Hindusim (and Buddhism) are strongly associated with the practice of yoga. Yoga participation in Canada peaks with 18-34 year-olds, with 35% actively practicing, compared to the national average of 21% (Harris, 2019). As Canadians age, their likelihood of practicing declines. The female to male ratio of yogis is roughly 80:20 (Niiler, 2013). How do we keep men engaged in the practice of yoga? By introducing couples yoga that can be practiced at home.

Psychographic:

Again, when we look at the definition, yoga is practiced by those looking to become fitter. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that those who enjoy yoga also enjoy a healthy, active (and often outdoors) lifestyle. How do you improve outdoor yoga? With puppies and goats – of course! These options are becoming increasingly popular as they satisfy multiple psychographic traits associated with yogis. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Where to Find a Yogi(bear)
While pondering how to effectively communicate with yogis, there are a few key takeaways:

  • use concise, complimentary language (generally English focused)
  • use muted colours and nature in graphic branding
  • advertise via female oriented platforms, such as Pinterest
  • price the product accordingly at roughly $100 per month for an unlimited subscription service
  • branch out of singularly focusing on the practice to also focus on the lifestyle (examples: merchandise, recipes, etc.)

One local example of a successful online campaign related to yoga is BLiSS Ann Green Yoga:

Photo by Ann Green Yoga
Photo by Ann Green Yoga
Photo by Ann Green Yoga

NAMASTE!

REFERENCES:
https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/yoga?q=yoga

Harris, R. (2019, June 25). Do You Practice Yoga? Leger360. https://leger360.com/surveys/do-you-practice-yoga/

Niiler, E. (2013, October 21). Why yoga is still dominated by women despite the medical benefits to both sexes. Https://Www.Washingtonpost.Com/National/Health-Science/Why-Yoga-Is-Still-Dominated-by-Women-despite-the-Medical-Benefits-to-Both-Sexes/2013/10/21/A924bed2-34f5-11e3-80c6-7e6dd8d22d8f_story.Html.

https://www.anngreenyoga.com

COM0014 – Blog #2: Facebook Fairy-Tale: A Storytellers Dream for the Digital Age

Facebook Fairy-Tale: A Storytellers Dream for the Digital Age

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Fiona & Findlay 

Princess Fiona and her prince Findlay had the most fabulous wedding and lived happily ever after on their farm with their dog, Fitz. Flirting led to Fiona and Findlay feeling joy on many dates, including: fishing, figure-skating and flower arranging. One simple friend request to the wrong Fiona led to two faithful hearts dating for four years. After years of frolicking, the two fun-loving fairy-tale characters finally found each other on one of the world’s largest social networking websites, Facebook. 

Findlay & Fiona

According to traditional storytelling methodologies that date back thousands of years, it may seem as though this story was told in reverse (you could read the paragraph from finish to start and the same story is told…go ahead, try it)! However, in the digital age, it is vital to put the most important information at the beginning of the article. As a reader that has endless possibilities for content, my attention needs to be grabbed by the title and first few lines of the opening paragraph in order for me to stay invested in the article. Flip the article backward and you may lose your reader before they reach the conclusion of the piece. 

If you are struggling with telling your story with the inverted pyramid approach that was described above, my best advice to you would be to begin your story with your PUNCHLINE and let the rest of the story ebb and flow, similar to a waterfall. With that in mind, what do you believe the highlight of Fiona and Findlay’s love story was? Was it the writer’s intent to focus on the fact that they lived happily ever after, or that they met on Facebook?

Thank you for reading! 

COM0011- Blog Post #1: Social Media ‘By the Ages…’

Social Media ‘By the Ages…’

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

“If you had
One shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip”

(Eminem. Lose Yourself. 8 Mile: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture. 2002.)

Luckily, Eminem’s words, although true in many other regards, do not apply to online social presence. As users, we have infinite possibilities as opposed to ‘one shot’. With more platforms that we can count, including: Tiktok, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. our social presence can be bigger than ever! 

As a twenty-eight-year-old, the way I use social media is drastically different than the way my parents use social media. The platforms that I choose to familiarize myself with may not be the same platforms that my peers, co-workers or family use. I even focus on different platforms for the different areas of my life.

  • Personally, I focus on Instagram and Snapchat as sharing photographs is the main purpose of my social existence
  • Philanthropically, I focus on website blogging and LinkedIn as tools to encourage professional connections and disbursement of information
  • Professionally, I use as many social media platforms as I have at my disposal with as many call-to-action links as possible to reach the widest audience   

If you are an avid social media engager, you likely portray some similar patterns of use. Many of us have been the ones to help our parents create a Facebook account (or we are the parents that required assistance). Alternatively, maybe there is an App that all of your friends use, but you have vowed never to download, yet are slowly caving day by day. Have you ever wondered how you compare to the masses? Let’s take a closer look…

Aged 25-34

Statistically, Canadians aged 25-34 are the primary users of social media, presenting an even split between males and females. Furthermore, Canadians in this segment spend the majority of their time of the following social media platforms: 

Image Source (Statistica, 2020, July)

The aforementioned demographic represents the Millennial/Generation Z population that grew up in the mass production of the Internet, smartphones and multiple social sharing platforms. The results, therefore, are fairly predictable. 

Aged 65+

What did present a surprise is the number of Canadians aged 65+ who have an active social media presence.

Image Source (Statistica, 2020, February)

For this demographic, their social media usage ranks as follows:

  1. Facebook
  2. Messaging Apps
  3. Youtube
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Pinterest
    Data Source (Statistica, 2020, July)

Although there begins a pattern that reflects the usage of the younger demographic, we eventually see a shift away from short-term communication platforms, such as Snapchat and Twitter, toward community-based knowledge sharing platforms, such as LinkedIn and Pinterest

These patterns and trends provide invaluable information for businesses to navigate the world of digital marketing. Is there one right answer for businesses? Absolutely not. In the same way that users have infinite possibilities to create their online presence, businesses promote through just as many platforms while conveying their messaging as effectively as possible to the right audiences. 

It is interesting that both a Sightseeing for Seniors business (targeted at the 65+ demographic) and the novel What to Expect When You’re Expecting (targeted at the 25-34 demographic) would both be equally effective whilst advertising their products primarily on Facebook.

Where do you fall on the spectrum of social media use? Maybe you only have one account, maybe you have them all! Perhaps the accounts that you have are the least common amongst your age group. Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading.

@Twitter ranked among top 5 social media sites for #Milennials. Wonder why? https://wp.me/p3QRy0-qIb
@Facebook, @Twitter, @Instgram… where do you fall? #SocialMediaByTheAges https://wp.me/p3QRy0-qIb
What social media network is right for you? A closer look at social media stats ‘by the ages…’ Read more: https://wp.me/p3QRy0-qIb
Want to connect with people your own age? Find out where to look on social media…https://wp.me/p3QRy0-qIb