COM0015- Blog #1 Tools and Updates

social mediaListening and monitoring are two important components of social media. For companies to establish their brand identity, build trust and awareness it is crucial that they monitor the conversations. Though, I have not had much experience in maintaining social media accounts for businesses but over the years, two tools that I have used and found them useful are: 

Hootsuite  : 

I have used this platform as a dashboard for maintaining all social media networks. It gives a bird’s eye view of what’s happening in those social accounts. The users can schedule posts, respond to messages, comments and mentions through same dashboard. It is convenient for companies to manage their accounts and tack performances. Companies can spend some time and schedule posts and adhere to their social media calendar to ensure that postings and conversations are responded in timely fashion.  

Keyhole 

This tool provides real-time dashboard that is useful for tracking and monitoring hashtags, along with number of retweets, likes and impressions that campaign is generating. It also lets you track outside your network when customers are mentioning about hashtags which enables the organizations to find influences and promote their company. This tool also helps you to find about your competition and what are customers talking about it, which might enable you to come with new products and services to combat the competition.  

News & Updates: 

The tool that I have used to track news is Google Alerts. I have found this very beneficial Canva - Photography of a Woman Sitting on The Chair Listening to Musicas you are able to set an alert and you can receive an email of any new results for alert that shows in in Google search. This way, I am unable to miss on any new information as it lands in my inbox. For capturing news, I follow different news channels on social media accounts; Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as this way everything is on one platform. I follow different companies on different platforms, for example on Twitter I follow industry related topics on media, education and on LinkedIn I follow industry related companies, competition to get all updates. On all platforms I follow major media channels like CBC, CTV, weather network.  

 

COM0014 Blog #7: Personal reflection

There were lot of new things that I learned from this course. When engaging with the audience, it is fine to show your personal side. Once you start sharing your personal story, the audience appreciates and connects with you more 

Canva - The Chronicles of Narnia BookIn digital communication, storytelling is an art and key piece for successful engagement. It is a strong foundation to engage and build trust with your audience. Audience would be interested in your content if it is delivered as a story. Identifying your audience and presenting them with information that interests them is an important factor for building trust and network. No one can appeal to everyone, hence segmenting market based on age, demographics, gender, lifestyle and income level is key for successful digital campaigns. Once you have identified your audience, using appropriate communication style to that market is crucial for a successful campaign.  

Consistency in posting is also an important key factor. Though when I saw this course Canva - Green Leafed Plant Beside Books and Mugoutline at the beginning, I was bit overwhelmed with many assignments and blogs, but I have thoroughly enjoyed doing regular blog posting. Thus, by having a schedule of blog posting and sticking to it, is an important factor as your audience gets constantly reminded about you and your company. It is crucial to remember the goals of social media and working towards building trust and awareness, finding interactive ways of engaging with audience and always reminding them to take an action.  

Moving forward, my storytelling pieces will include bit of personal content to connect with my audience. I will connect my own personal experiences with storytelling.  I will use of simple language and active voice as that comes across as being authentic and wouldn’t feel bragging about myself!

Overall, I truly enjoyed this course and I would like to thank Sonia Gibbs for being an amazing facilitator for this course!  

Canva - Pen Writing Thank You on White Background

COM0014- Blog 6: What excites me to get out of bed every morning? 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For me waking up every morning is a blessing. First thing I look forward to is my cup of cappuccino and an opportunity to add value to something throughout my day. I enjoy my work and I like to be able to make a difference, measure the outcome and analyze the result of my decision both personally and professionally. For those who know me, will always comment that I am a person who likes to be on the go! I cannot sit idle for an extended period. My colleagues would also comment stating that I get impatient during long meetings and will find every possible excuse to get out of all-day meeting.  I am a lifelong learner and always keen on learning new and improving my skills. I look for new opportunities in my day and making a difference in someone’s life in a tangible manner.  

In some previous jobs I’ve had, I have worked under a manager whose leadership style coffee-3025022__480was a micro manager. I don’t enjoy when a manager micromanages me as I feel that I am unable to perform to my full potential. I try every day to avoid that and when I believe in mentoring someone, allowing them shine and grow to their fullest potential. My experience has been in field of hospitality where I have had the ability to touch other people’s lives and enhancing their experience and where rarely two days are alike, each day has its own challenge. Making a difference in someone’s life motivates me to wake up every morning.  

COM0014- Blog#5; Personal Brand

According to Leadquizzes.com, “Personal Brand is an image you’ve created around your own professional self. It should represent a combination of skills and experiences that are unique to you (and not your company or product)” We often get confused as to how you can brand ourselves and not sure about you, but I find it very hard to reflect upon myself and write about it. If you don’t believe me, close your eyes and write down few lines on some unique skills you have or what your coworkers will say about your top skills? Hard isn’t it?  

I am an influential leader, a great planner and listener.  I like to plan in a way where I Canva - Close Up Photography of Yellow Green Red and Brown Plastic Cones on White Lined Surfacethink as to how my decisions today will affect me in future. I enjoy working and have strong work ethic. I perform well under pressure and always get my projects done on time and within budget. I don’t enjoy sitting in long unproductive meetings or in traffic as I feel my time could be used in something more productive. I am type of a person who is always on the go!  

I am always keen and interested in improving my skills and knowledge. After I finished my MBA from University of Guelph in 2014, I have been thinking as to what to do next. Currently, I am taking part time online course on social media as I believe social media is new form of marketing in today’s world. I do know how to use social media for personal use but perhaps not from a business perspective. I am always interested in taking a lead on new projects at work, where I will gain more knowledge in areas where I have limited experience. I am always keen on learning new skills both practical and academic. I consider myself as a life-long learner.  

Origami shipsI highly believe in teamwork and team spirit and enjoy building strong relationships, where I enjoy going out of way to help others. I believe my colleagues would say that I am reliable with strong work ethic and a great sense of humor. I get along with everyone and when working under tight deadline and pressure, I am an asset to have on the team. I also believe in empowering my team and letting them make decisions that will affect their work.  

What are your skills? Can you talk about yourself in public about amazing skills you have or in other words, can you brag about yourself?  

COM0014- Blog #4; B2C social media platforms

Canva - null-2According to Investopedia.com, “The term business-to-consumer (B2C) refers to the process of selling products and services directly between consumers who are the end-users of its products or services. Most companies that sell directly to consumers can be referred to as B2C companies. 

B2C became immensely popular during the dotcom boom of the late 1990s when it was mainly used to refer to online retailers who sold products and services to consumers through the Internet”  

Canva - Person Shopping Online Using a CellphoneIn this ERA of Digital world, many consumers prefer to shop online vs. going through traditional mall shopping. Do you buy products online? If so, why? Is it because it is cheaper, convenient or any other reason? How do you know about special promotions?  

Companies that rely honline shopping 2eavily on B2C model need to maintain a healthy relationship with their customers. With invention of social media platforms, it has become much easier for companies to connect with their customers and gently remind them about promotions and new products. How many times have you seen pop up ads on these social media platforms? I bet you will answer, “many times! 

Canva - nullOne company that stands out to me is Air Canada. I highly believe that they are connecting and targeting their audience well. They are regularly monitoring their social media platforms and building trust by responding in a timely fashion. They are beautifully showcasing their destinations, airplanes, food and experiences of other travelers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They also use these platforms for telling their audience about special promotions to various destinations. At times, on these platforms they also showcase their employees- flight attendants and pilots and ground staff. 

From a personal point of view, I have had great interactions on Social media platforms with Air Canada. I remember once I was checking into a flight and I was flying business class from Ottawa Airport. The check-in agent was not friendly nor was aware of perks of flying business class as she was replacing someone who went on break. I tweeted Air Canada while agent was checking me with my frustration and disappointment and while I made to security in less than 5 minutes, I had a reply from Air Canada. On other occasion, I have also got hold of someone faster on social media than being on hold for over 30 minutes. I think Air Canada has been maintaining their social media platforms well and many other organizations should learn them now. Have you ever had an experience with Air Canada through Social Media? If so, were you satisfied? 

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(Source of photos: http://www.canva.com

COM0014- Blog 3; Product or Target Audience? What comes first?

When it comes to marketing and advertising, in order to ensure that your business is getting the right exposure through your efforts, it’s important that you know who your “target audience” is and how and where to reach them. Before developing any new products or services, it is vital to understand who your client is.

Canva - Focus Photo of Yellow Paper Near Trash CanNow close your eyes and think about designing a new product or service without getting any specific information about target market, you will find it hard, Wouldn’t you? You might come with a product that appeals to your age group but perhaps might not appeal to clientele of the business because your age, preferences and taste differ. Hence, if you do not want to waste your dollars for advertising, it is vital that you breakdown your target market.  Canva - Target and Arrows

I have worked in Retirement homes and I always wondered who is their target audience to get them through the doors? Yes, I would agree with your thought process that it would be senior itself as they will be living in such a facility. But how about children of parents that will need to find an appropriate place when their parent(s) are unable to live at home by themselves. In my experience, a very small percentage of seniors would make this decision on own to change their living arrangements as it is hard and extremely emotional to sell the home that they have lived and is full of memories.

Canva - Pen Drawing on a MapWhen was the last time you opened a magazine or whitepages directory? When I started working in the industry, there was lot of focus on print ads and fast forward few years we stopped advertising in print and had everything digital. We had a lot of success in targeting our market through Google AdWords as majority of us like to go to Google to search for everything!

Our target audience for home was children of seniors in their 50s-60s both male and female with higher education and higher income level. The senior itself was anyone after age of 65 both male and female of any ethnic race, single, married or divorced; with high income level (private savings or higher pension) to be able to afford private care and enjoy the social environment.  Canva - Old Couple Walking in Nature

In conclusion, I would ask you, what comes first product or target audience? Can you design products before knowing your target audience or you design a product and then go find target audience matching your product?

COM0014- Blog 2: Is your story getting lost?

Have you ever wondered why yoshare your story pixabayur story isn’t getting much attention? Why it is not gaining popularity, then perhaps you are doing something not right!

In this competitive world of digital age, it is easy for your story to get lost in clutter. Storytelling is an art and if done corrective, it can be very effective in gaining interest and popularity.

Canva - Apple Magic Mouse on Brown TableThis week’s lesson was a bit of an eye opener. The main point from this week’s reading was philosophy of inverted triangle i.e. putting important information first so that you can grab reader’s attention as quickly as possible vs. potentially losing them.  It is best to layout your story before writing in the most clear and concise way by ensuring that the story has clear beginning, middle and end. It is always a great idea to consider what kind of experience you want your audience to have.

While writing your content, the part that we all are aware and seldom forget or overlookCanva - Red Pen on English Grammar Text is grammar, spelling and punctuation. When we get into mode of writing, we forget these elements which from a reader’s perspective looks unprofessional. It is always a good idea to get your story proofread by someone else as I believe fresh pair of eyes are always better to catch errors.

Use of active vs. passive voice is also an integral part of telling your story. Using a passive voice is one of the most common mistakes in writing. The story only gets lots of attention and interest when you can ask questions to your readers and when they can relate to the story.

To summarize, take away from this week’s reading is to begin writing with the end in the mind with deciding what kind of experience you want your audience to have and how to engage with them.

(Source of photos: http://www.canva.com)

COM0014- Blog 1: Vacation in a city where you have problem communicating

I am not much into travelling as I am more of a stay at home person, who enjoys comforts of home and tunes away from entire world during my vacation. However, two years ago I went to Shenyang in China for three weeks for a teaching assignment. It was an interesting experience to be in city where barely someone could speak English. Have you ever had that experience? How did you cope with that?

img_0327.jpgShenyang, is located in the central part of Liaoning Province, is a beautiful city with clear air and natural scenery. This city bordered by the Liaodong Peninsula on south side and Changbai Mountains on north side belongs to Bohai economic circle. It is a relatively small city in comparison with China with population of 8.29 million (https://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/liaoning/shenyang/)

I wouldn’t lie, for the first week, it was bit nerve wrecking to go out on own without fear of getting lost and unable to ask for directions as no one would understand. I was hesitant in going out as even hotel staff could barely speak English. The Shenyang city does not see many foreigners and every time I would approach someone with a smile gesture or hello, they would run away!  IMG_0318

Finally, I came with an idea of using a translator app and I had a screen shot of translating so I could show the taxi driver and locals of which hotel I was staying. Another interesting experience I had was that no social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram) or Google worked in china. Can you imagine your life without Google considering how much we depend on Google for information? 

 

IMG_0378Beside teaching, I had evenings and weekends to stroll around the city. While strolling, I was surprised to see how active the senior population of this city was. Every day and at every few blocks, they would do square dancing, and anyone could join. I joined two groups on two separate occasions, and it was a lot of fun. What a creative idea to get socially and physically stimulated.

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Have you ever crossed a road that is full of busses, cars and no one is letting you cross? How would you cross? Well, that is how roads are crossed in China. Group of people get together on one side of road and then they all start crossing the roads at same time forcing cars to stop. It was scary!

img_0391.jpgImagine ordering food from a menu that is all in their native language and you are unsure what to order. When I would walk to a restaurant to eat, I would look a menu and see if they had pictures as I am a picky eater and cannot try everything! Eating out is very popular in China as food was cheap and fresh at same time. My favorite place was a small noodle restaurant that was operated by a husband and wife and they would even make fresh noodles. At one restaurant, another patron even bought some beer for us as we were foreigners visiting his city and he decided to welcome us. Isn’t that sweet?

When I reflect my experience of being in a new country, it was bit scary but an interesting one and I would do this all over again.

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Technology can’t replace the human touch

Everywhere you go, you see technology making so much advancement and replacing some human jobs with Artifical Intelligence (AI). According to Wikipedia, “Artificial intelligence (AI, also machine intelligenceMI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals. Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”

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Source: https://www.peoplematters.in/article/employee-engagement/technologhy-with-a-human-touch-1923?utm_source=peoplematters&utm_medium=interstitial&utm_campaign=learnings-of-the-day

My majority of experience has been working in hospitality. Though, I would say that these kiosks are certainly a great invention for our industry, but it totally depends on customer to customer. For many guests who do not wish to stand in line or do not want the human contact would definitely make the most use of it. Like at airports, I see many travelers using and agents are pushing travelers to use and check-in using the kiosk. Whereas, certainly in my case I like and enjoy the human touch and most of times I choose to go see an agent. I would also argue that these kiosks are also removing the human touch from providing personalized service to guests. Like at many hotels, introduction of Ipads in the room where the guest just needs to touch and service would be delivered. They do not need to call reception desk and talk to a live person. I think with the introduction of new technology like self-service kiosks we are getting away from the human touch from providing exceptional great customer service! But not everyone is going to want this kind of experience. Some people like to be welcomed by a person, who not only takes the order, but answers questions about the hotel and brings you your extra towels, coffee etc.

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Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/hotels-turning-mobile-apps-into-concierges/

While a machine can perform a given task, often more efficiently than we can, what it lacks is the artistry in the activity, that uniquely human ability to cater to the needs of the individual. The protocol may suggest one approach, but a person who is good at their job understands when to adjust and the subtleties that are required.

I would also argue that how can you create customer loyalty without human touch specially for a service-based industry? If you are a guest staying at hotel, you check in yourself using an app, check-out using an app and never see an agent. From a hotel’s perspective how would they know whether you enjoyed your stay at the hotel or not? If something was not satisfactory, how would hotel staff know to resolve the issue?

I recently travelled to overseas from Ottawa International Airport and was amazed to see self-check in kiosks at Airport and how Air Canada’s agents are pushing travelers to use those machines. Have you been to Ottawa Airport recently and tried using those machines?

 

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Source: https://yow.ca/en/media-center/press-releases/ottawa-international-airport-earns-gold-and-silver-2017-airport-service-quality-awards-program

My experience was bit frustrating as I tried checking myself in using that kiosk, but it failed to print me baggage tags, for which I had to go see an Agent. The lineup for seeing an agent was long as there were only two agents working. After being in line for over 40 minutes, I went to see an agent and when asked, agent replied, “These AI machines are not that smart” as they needed to verify my visa for country I was travelling. I told her then why push international travelers to use that kiosk when it is bound to fail and frustrate guest.

Do you prefer using technology or do you prefer the human touch?

Facebook: Technology can’t replace the human touch. Read here: https://bit.ly/2lxGyf7

Twitter: Do you think #Technology can replace #human #touch. Read here: https://bit.ly/2lxGyf7

Source:

https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/15/technology-cant-replace-the-human-touch/

https://www.csoonline.com/article/3230448/security/technology-should-augment-not-replace-the-human-touch.html

Do you suffer from Social Media Addiction?

According to phychologytoday, addiction, “Addiction is a condition in which a person engages in use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences”

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Istockphoto from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/internet-addiction-changes-brain-similar-to-cocaine-study/

In this era, Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. have taken over our lives and well-being. We often visit social media several times a day to get updates, which translates to spending too much time that it interferes with other aspects of daily life.

Researchers at Chicago University concluded that social media addiction can be stronger than addiction to cigarettes and booze following an experiment in which they recorded the cravings of several hundred people for several weeks. Media cravings ranked ahead of cravings for cigarettes and alcohol.

And at Harvard University, researchers actually hooked people up to functional MRI machines to scan their brains and see what happens when they talk about themselves, which is a key part of what people do in social media. They found that self-disclosure communication stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers much like sex and food do.

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Source: https://blog.4tests.com/social-media-addiction-8-tips-beating/

Are you spending too much time checking social media several times during the day? Do you log on to social media sites when you are waiting for a bus, walking back from school or work, at doctor’s office waiting etc.?

An addiction to social media might not be something you’re ready to admit, but it’s estimated that 54% of social media users feel some level of addiction to their social network of choice. Research shows that 46% of users visit their favorite social network several times a day or even constantly. You might argue that your constant social media log-in’s are out of boredom or curiosity. Whether that’s the truth, or you’re checking to see how many likes and comments you got on your latest post, constantly checking your social media may mean that you have an addiction.

According to CBS news, “Several recent brain imaging studies, severely effected Internet addicts show structural and functional brain abnormalities similar to those found in people with substance abuse problems. Other research has shown that Internet addiction frequently coexists with anxiety, depression, or an addiction to other things like alcohol or drugs”

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Source: https://diymarketers.com/how-to-use-our-social-media-addiction-to-sell-more-stuff/

Are you still thinking that you are not addicted to social media, right? Put a checkmark on these signs to see if they apply to you:

  1. You check your Phone first thing in the morning.
  2. You take your phone to the bathroom.
  3. You get upset when you don’t get the response you were hoping for.
  4. You lose track of time browsing through social media.
  5. You schedule your posts
  6. You question your posts when they don’t attract attention
  7. You re-read and double check social media

Do you believe now that you have all or some of these signs that you are actually addicted to social media? Are you feeling bit guilty that you do lose track of time when you are on social media web sites? It’s time for you to set some rules and break this addiction.

  1. Calculate how much time are you spending on social media
  2. Be Vigilant- set a per day time limit to use social media and stick to it.
  3. Get back to spring cleaning i.e. Delete friends perhaps you have never spoken with since they became part of your friend list on social media.
  4. Get back to basics- Decide who you really want to be friends with. The larger the friend list, the larger the news feed.

If you are still having hard time discipling yourself with this addiction it is best to go cold turkey and deactivate your account or delete the app from your smartphone. Personally, I found by deleting the app from my smartphone helped me to be in present and enjoy the people and moments vs checking the news feed.

Facebook: Are you suffering from social media addiction? Do you have these signs? Read here: https://bit.ly/2JRoLtT

Twitter: #socialmedia #addiction? Do you have these #addiction #signs? Read here https://bit.ly/2JRoLtT

Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/feb/03/twitter-resist-cigarettes-alcohol-study

https://www.lifewire.com/social-media-stimulates-brain-pleasure-centers-2655245

https://www.lifewire.com/social-media-stimulates-brain-pleasure-centers-2655245

https://www.webroot.com/us/en/about/press-room/releases/social-networking-habits-webroot-research