COM 0014 – Assignment 1 Blog 7 – Personal Reflection

Digital communication relies on good storytelling. The key to creating a story that captivates readers and keeps them engaged requires research into who your audience is and listening to what they are interested in. Many aspects of who you are writing for need to be considered when choosing your words. All demographics including age, gender, education, income and personal interests among others must be considered. It is also important to write in the positive voice, keep it simple and use your own personality to give life to your story rather than trying to write in a way that you think someone else would have.

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Listening is also very important. Monitoring what conversations are taking place on social media and filtering out the noise is important in order to know what to write about and to be prepared for the responses to your story. Knowing that a topic is important to a specific community is not enough. You need to know how they are responding to it and what their point of view is otherwise, you could alienate the group that you were trying to connect with.

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Storytelling is so important when creating great digital content because it creates a bond between the audience and the brand (storyteller). It helps to create a connection and keeps us coming back for more. I hope to create stories that cause people to reflect and create conversations. What kind of stories do you want to tell?

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COM0014 Blog #6 – Do People Know Your Story?

What is your industry’s greatest flaw?

Since 2007, Airbnb’s have become a popular option for travelers who don’t want to spend all of their get away budget on accommodations and for those who may want a little more of a personal touch than a hotel can offer. The idea of offering the personal touches that only a private home can offer has become very popular and very well accepted by travelers.

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However, legislation has recently been introduced in many cities worldwide that prevents homeowners from turning their properties into full-time vacation rentals. They must register with their city and pay a fee in order to be hosts and can only rent out their property for a maximum of 90 nights a year when they are not living in it. The issue is that Airbnb hosts can still advertise their properties as available even thought their registration has not yet been approved. This creates the risk that customers who have not only paid for their rental but potential also other travel expenses, will receive notification that their rental has been cancelled only days before their vacation is to begin.

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As stated in an article by  The Guardian, a couple rented a home in San Francisco through Airbnb and paid for their travel. Days before their vacation was about to begin, they received an email from Airbnb that their booking had been cancelled due to a change in legislation. While their booking was refunded, the transportation costs were not and they had to either find other accommodations last-minute or suffer the penalties of changing their flight.

The Airbnb industry relies on its customers to repeat their business and to share their great experiences with potential customers. Airbnb’s greatest flaw is communication and it is an issue that could cost them dearly. Customers should be aware that the property they are considering still needs to qualify for licensing. Transparency is so important in customer service! It could also put a little pressure on owners to work harder to complete their application. Additionally, in the hopes of promoting return customers, Airbnb should give the full story and offer other rental listings in the area when one must suddenly be cancelled.

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Customer service should always be a primary concern for businesses; especially at a time when opinions can be shared so easily and instantaneously on social media; don’t you think?

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COM0014 – Blog 5: Personal Brand

I am an entrepreneurial mom, project manager and believer in working hard. The personal qualities that set me apart from the others include my project planning skills, my competitive nature and my team spirit.

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When a task needs to be completed, I like nothing better than to plan out all of the steps needed to have it done as properly and efficiently as possible. My current work as a project control manager in the federal government gives me a lot of opportunity to practice this skill. I believe that the easiest way to understand any new task or project is to spell it out all of the required steps with subject matter experts. Why reinvent something when it’s been done before!

I am a competitive person although I’ve never really competed in a sport. I do like to complete tasks as proficiently and accurately as possible though and I’d prefer to be known as the subject matter expert than one of the many. When I graduated from university I was so pleased that I was finally done with school and could move on to the next chapter of my life, the business world. I was sure that the only time that I would step into a school again would be for the kids that I planned to have. Well that was almost 30 years ago! I tried to deny it and pretend that I would learn on the job but soon enough I realized that that’s just not reality anymore. The competition is fierce and they are going to school! It’s not enough to get one degree anymore. In order to be the best you must constantly be updating your skills! The Social Media program that I am currently taking and the Project Management certification that I will get next are what will help me stand out for now.

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Team spirit is so important when working with others. Even if you don’t need constant help from others to reach your goals, you do need assistance at some point. Why not create the alliance from the start. I believe in building relationships and being true to my word so that when I need help, I have an alliance to draw from and if I need to go to someone I’ve never met before, my reputation stands for itself.

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I am always trying to do my best and build on my reputation. I once receive 360 degrees feedback and was surprised to hear that people found me very strong-willed. Since then, I have worked hard to put myself in other people’s shoes and foster positive relationships. I make sure to always look people in the eye, speak with a positive tone, remember that I am part of a team and strive for results!

Today, my colleague would say that my best trait is my drive to get things done. Some might say that I am stubborn but I prefer to think of it as a quality. I work really hard to make each aspect of a project work and have each task completed as efficiently and accurately as possible. I work with others to find creative solutions when necessary. I have been told and agree that there is no I in “team” and without a group of people working together to achieve success, it is often very hard to find don`t you think?

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COM0014, Assignment 1, Blog 4: B2C Case Study – Airbnb on Social Media

Airbnb has become a popular option for travelers who don’t want to spend all of their get away budget on accommodations and may want a little more of a personal touch than a hotel can offer. The concept was born in 2007 when roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia offered travelers three air mattresses and a homemade breakfast in the living room of their San Francisco apartment. According to Stastista.com, it has since then grown to a value of 38 billion U.S. dollars and has listings for over four million properties in over 65,000 cities around the world. welcome

This great success is partially due to Airbnb’s great use of social media for marketing. They use video marketing to tell their brand and product story. They have created approximately 500 videos on YouTube with over 100 million views. The videos show some of their customers enjoying different rental properties in a variety of locations. Some are even narrated by customers who explain how wonderful their stay was.

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Airbnb uses Instagram to share photos. They ask satisfied customers, especially travel influencers, to post pictures of their stay on Instagram and to include #airbnb. The company then shares these photos showing the beautiful parts of the world that others could experience with an Airbnb rental.  They also include a link to make it easy for viewers to book that exact location for their next vacation. There are over 1.8 million photos using #airbnb on Instagram. The company uses Instagram Stories to market “Experiences on Airbnb”. They use 15-second videos to show the unique and exciting experiences that are being offered by some of their hosts like hiking and canoeing or exploring catacombs. The videos were shot in a vertical format so that they are easy to view on a phone. This was a successful venture for Airbnb. They achieved a 13-point lift in ad recall and caused more people to select Airbnb as the platform for their next travel experience according to Instagram Business.

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Airbnb also uses Twitter to engage with customers who shared their Airbnb experiences. They use the network to respond to customer service inquiries quickly. Customers can reach our to the company at airbnbhelp and get assistance no matter where they are.

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Airbnb is a company that is using social media to their advantage by using video marketing on YouTube and pictures of their clients great vacations and experiences on Instagram to define themselves as a great company that offers excellent accommodations and experiences. They also use Twitter to speak with customers and complete customer service inquiries.

 

Resources:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/339845/company-value-and-equity-funding-of-airbnb/

https://business.instagram.com/success/trips-by-airbnb/

https://www.stunningstrategy.com/social-media-highlight-airbnb/

COM0014 – Blog #3, Becoming An AirBnB Owner

Airbnb’s have become a popular option for travelers who don’t want to spend all of their get away budget on accommodations and for those who may want a little more of a personal touch than a hotel can offer. I am new to the Airbnb rental world. I currently rent out residential properties but am interested in merging into this type of a venture. First though, I need to do a little research. I am going to start a blog about operating an Airbnb. It will include information about the types of units to consider, location, financial requirements and how to get started. I will also ask for tips on how to become an Airbnb Super-host.

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My blog should attract the interest of Airbnb owners and others who are interested in learning about the business. Based on my research on Twitter Search and on Facebook, most owners are 50+ years of age and according to @AirbnbCitizen, 58% of Canadian owners are female. This seems to be true as less than 20% of the target audience that I found in my research were male. Most of them appear to be white and even though this is an international business, most of those that I found are American. Some are married but the majority did not provide this information even after searching on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. In previous research, I have found that a portion of the Airbnb operator demographic includes young adults hoping to rent the couch in their living room or a room in their house but I did not find any of their posts.

girlThey are all entrepreneurs who often run more than one business and have a passion for travel. They have visited many parts of the world and want to offer the opportunity for others to see their hometown. They appear to be at least middle class with some disposable income since they travel. 

I will attract the correct demographic by providing research on the value of owning and operating an Airbnb business. I will also use Facebook and LinkedIn to promote my blog since according to Statistica.com, the 50+ age group is predominantly on these platforms and they are also the most popular networks for entrepreneurs and the self-employed in Canada

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Resources:

https://canadiansinternet.com/2018-report-canadian-social-media-use-statistics/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/468476/selected-social-media-user-age-share-canada/

Assignment 1, Blog #2 Story Telling and Communication Styles

Do you have best practices for writing stories? A few that I think are important include pre-planning, prioritizing, using an active voice, reviewing and practice.

It is important for an author to first know what their goal is. Are they informing the audience of something new or trying to convince them to complete an action? The tone chosen is very different when they are trying to convince someone to vote for them versus describing a favorite vacation spot. Once they have decided, they can clearly convey it in their composition. The author should also decide how the story will end before composing it so that they are clear and concise. People are busy. 34c95409abc9d3be7090b35e02ff-1444743Many often just skim a story looking for the important parts. If they have to stop everything else that they are doing to find the most important part, they will likely give up and move on to something else. For that reason, it is important to use the inverted triangle approach and put the most important part of a story in the first paragraph. The other paragraphs can contained the details that compliment the story.

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Using an active voice with proper spelling and grammar makes the story clearer and more interesting not to mention more accepting to most audiences. It is much harder to believe in the value of an article and for it to be considered professional or useful when it is full of spelling and grammar mistakes. Many are very common mistakes that can be avoided. There are several articles that can be referred to for a list of them. The one shared in our class reading was by ZDnet: 20 more writing mistakes that make you look stupid. Sometimes when reviewing quietly a person might read what they want to see instead of what is actually there so it is also a good idea to have someone else review the piece before publishing it.

The only way for anyone to get better at doing something is through practice.  Just like a gymnast has to spend hours at the gym repeating their routine over and over again, an author has to practice writing stories and review each one several times before deciding that it is ready to publish. What are your thoughts?pen

COM0014 – Blog #1: Another great family vacation!

My last vacation was in the spring of 2018.  My husband and I, along with our two amazing kids (an 11 girl and 9 year-old boy), went to the Verandah Resort in Antigua for two fantastic weeks. Verandah is a family friendly all-inclusive resort with guest condominiums, a beautiful private beach, swimming pools, restaurants, great staff and all kinds of activities. We’ve been there a few times and I love it because it is such a safe and fun environment for everyone!

Most mornings, I got up first and went down to the beach to put our towels on beach  chairs for later. Then we all went for breakfast at the buffet restaurant where there were so many choices. My kids discovered smoothies for the first time, and every morning, selected different fruits and yogurts to complete their concoction. Before heading to the beach, we always stopped at the kids club to see what activities were taking place that afternoon or evening. Movie night for the kids meant a quiet late dinner for mommy and daddy!

We spent most days at the beach because there was so much to do!  It’s a private beach in a nice calm bay with a lot of staff so it’s very safe for the kids to be walking around and making new friends. Obviously we swam a lot, but there was also a lot of water sports equipment available at no extra charge. The kids loved using the snorkeling gear to investigate the marine life and catch whatever they could find with the other kids that they met.

I tackled windsurfing, and I have to admit that it had been many years since the days I had spent on my board on the lake at my grandparents cottage.    img_4337

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Somehow, I recall it being much less windy and the waves much smaller there!  I can’t remember ever worrying about going too fast or going too far out on the lake! I think I did okay though.  My sail never stayed out of the water for very long but I managed to stay on the board!  My husband also got well acquainted with the paddle boards and the catamarans. He even took us out for a sail.

At lunch time we usually went to the beach bar and grill. My son loves hot dogs and this was the only restaurant on the resort that served them.

The afternoons were also spent at the beach, where cat naps were had and many sand castles were built. The kids even  dug out large enclosures for the hermit crabs that they caught.

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After dinner many of the guests sat at the tables by the outdoor bar. There was room for the kids to play with their friends in the grass and there was usually a live band or some other entertainment.

One day, instead of going to the beach we took a tour of some of the sights on the island with the Pink Panther Safari Company. It’s an all female company and the  guides drive pink Land Rovers. We had a lot of fun exploring many sights and hearing all kinds of stories from our guides. The tour ended with a swim and some very good rum punch for the adults!

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What a great vacation! It’s so nice to end a vacation feeling like everything was perfect.  If you’re thinking of a family vacation a little outside of the ordinary, I would recommend checking out the Verandah Resort in Antigua.

 

Airbnb How To

Airbnb How To

Airbnb’s have become a popular option for travelers who don’t want to spend all of their get away budget on accommodations and for those who may want a little more of a personal touch than a hotel can offer. The concept was born in 2007 when roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia offered three air mattresses and homemade breakfast to travellers in the living room of their San Francisco apartment. The following year, Nathan Blecharczyk joined the team and they launched the website  Airbedandbreakfast.com.  The idea of enjoying the personal touches that only a private home can offer was so popular that by 2011, the company opened it’s first european office in Hamburg, Germany. According to Statista.com, by May 2017 the revenue generated by the company Airbnb was valued at 31 billion U.S. dollars. It now has listings for over three million properties in over 65,000 cities around the world. If you are looking for extra income and have the available space to rent, this good work for you.

I am new to the airbnb rental world. I currently rent our residential properties but am interested in merging into this type of a venture. Over the next several weeks, I will discuss my research and thoughts on:

  • How to start a profitable airbnb business: From registering your property to submitting photos to determining the rental price.
  • The commitments involved in being a host: From time management to meeting potential guests to maintaining the property to being available for those that you have rented to at any time of day.
  • The financial requirements and potential gains: From creating a business plan to being prepared for additional costs like insurance and repairs
  • How to reach my eventual goal of building an Airbnb Empire: From keeping the occupancy rate up to finding profitable new properties.

Hope that you can join me and share your thoughts and experiences.

By: Ann-Marie Robertson

Resources:

  • The Balanced Small Business: How to Start a Profitable Airbnb Business, Susan Ward
  • AirbnbSecrets.com
  • Airbnb.ca
  • Statista.com
  • How I Built My Six Figure Airbnb Empire, Brian Page

 

Will Social Media Make or Break You

Social media has become such a powerful medium to share information quickly and vastly that it can greatly impact your professional and personal reputation in an instant.

Your actions on social media are a reflection of your personal brand. It’s important to consider the implications of what you are posting because as soon as you hit enter you can’t take it back.  Sharing pictures of memorable events is very common but they are each worth a thousand words as they say. Consider how they impact the image that you are portraying to friends and family and maybe more importantly to potential employers and associates. Pictures should not include alcoholic beverages and should depict events that you would be proud to show anyone (even your mother).

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The same is true of everything that you write on social media. The rule of thumb should always be to read it twice and edit before hitting post.  Think of what others who may not be aware of the circumstances surrounding your post may think and remember that they can not see the expression on your face or hear the intonation of your voice as they are reading your words. According to a Career Builder 2017 survey, 70% of employers are screening candidates through social media before deciding to hire them. Number of Employers Using Social Media to Screen Candidates at All-Time High, Finds Latest CareerBuilder Study. They are looking for information that supports the claims made on the applicants resume, their professionalism, what others are saying about them as well as any red flags. If their social media accounts create an image of a person who does not demonstrate the company’s values, they won’t move forward with that person.

Whether its pictures of a crazy weekend with drunken friends, personal opinions about others or political rants no matter how regretful you are about having made the post, they can’t be deleted. These types of posts can ruin your reputation and potentially your career. There have been many instances where people have lost their jobs because of a picture or a statement that they posted. Most recently, Roseanne Barr not only lost her job but also the jobs of all the cast and crew on the Roseanne sitcom because of the racist tweet that she made about someone. Within hours of her post, ABC had cancelled her show and her reputation for being impetuous and provocative among other things was sealed.

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Resources:

How Social Media Affects Your Personal Brand, Gisel Malek

Social media: It Will Make or Break You, Aaron Fields

Number of Employers Using Social Media to Screen Candidates at All-Time High, Finds Latest CareerBuilder Study, Cision PR Newswire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Social Media Making Us Less Social?

With all of the tools that we have to connect with friends and family today, is our society becoming less social?

When I took the bus to go to school many years ago, I often struck up a conversation with the person next to me and shared thoughts and experiences. I talked to the people around me when I got to school and at the end of the day, I made plans with my friends or spent hours talking on the phone with some of them. Today, when I get up in the morning to get ready for work, I shower, get dressed and then check Facebook to see what any of my friends have posted while my coffee is brewing. While I wait for my bus and during my ride, like everyone else, I stare at my phone. I learn about what is going on in the lives of my connections and give my opinion on some of it. But is that being social?

 

When I go to the coffee shop during my break, many people are sitting together but they are scrolling through posts or thumb typing to someone else. Is this the new art of conversation? Could we be missing out on something if it is? Person takes a picture of their brunch on their smartphone“87 percent of millennials admitted to missing out on a conversation because they were distracted by their phone. Meanwhile, 54 percent said they experience a fear of missing out if not checking social networks.” Social Media Making Mellenials Less Social: Study, Uptin Saiidi, CNBC.

 

 

The definition of being social according to the Cambridge dictionary is “relating to activities in which you meet and spend time with other people.” Social media doesn’t help with that at all unless it is being used to plan for those activities or invite others. In doing research for this blog post, I found several articles that stated that while the use of social media is increasing, most extroverts do not go out with others (socialize) less because of it. However, it also doesn’t help those less comfortable in groups to improve those skills. Anxiety is one of the most reported psychological disabilities in young adults today and the numbers are increasing. “Social media may allow those with social anxiety to facilitate avoidant coping strategies and increase social isolation.”  http://sites.psu.edu/aspsy/2018/02/07/are-we-really-socializing/comment-page-1/ It’s so important to be pushed out of your comfort zone and realize that you can still make your point and be listened to.

I think that social media is a great tool  for keeping up to date with friends and whatever else is most important to us but it can never replace the value of face-to-face interactions. Learning to be able to think on your feet, look at people directly and calmly make a point is not easy. It’s a skill learned through practicing and while social media may be a great tool for so many things, it may also cost us in the art of socializing. Hopefully a happy medium can be found!

Facebook:

Twitter:

  • #Sociable
  • #Conversation

 

Resources:

  • Is social media ruining your social life? – Medical News Today by Ana Sandoiu
  • Social Media: Are we really socializing? Psych424, Penn State
  • Is social media making you unsociable? by Sam Adams
  • Social media making mellennials less social: Study, by Uptin Saiidi, CNBC