COM0014 – Blog #7 – Personal Reflection

COM0014 – Blog #7 – Personal Reflection

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I think that of all the courses taken in the social media program at Algonquin College, this course for digital communication has been, and will continue to be, the most useful going forward. The other courses helped provide the foundational elements needed to start marketing yourself on social media, but this course provides the communication basics that help to navigate what needs to be posted in our content.

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The use of storytelling is important when creating digital content for a couple of reasons;

  1. You are able to truly connect with your target audience. Whether this be emphasizing with this audience or finding a need that your product can fix – and showing them how.
  2. Provides an opportunity to motivate and inspire, as well as entertain, your audience.

If your content is guided by a story, it should showcase your work as uniform and engaged with your audience. I personally think by adapting my personal life story into my content creation, I can share my business further. I would like to share my goals for my business, as well as myself, in my content to be transparent and trustworthy with my audience. I find these types of content allow me to connect and understand my audience better, and give them a personal/human side to the business.

What story do you hope to tell through your content?

COM0015 – Blog #4 – Out of The Box

COM0015 – Blog #4 – Out of The Box

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Throughout this set of courses, and my journey through online marketing, I have come across a few applications that have surprised me. They manage to change the way we can start marketing our business through social media platforms – completely different to what we have learned in these courses.

#1 Tik Tok

TikTok is the newest video sharing platform that allows users to share short video content. (usually less than 60 seconds) It first started gaining popularity with the younger generation in 2019, but when Covid-19 sent countries into Lockdown this March, TikTok received a surge of new users, of all ages. With these new users, business both big and small discovered that this new network would reach more people and offer a greater audience of potential customers.

I personally found that the algorithm that TikTok has configured, is perfect for connecting businesses to customers. I’ve watched many small businesses gain fame and success from one single successful video that has gone viral on TikTok and they are able to maintain that success through continued strategic content. I found that most businesses that have gained success are those that share a personal side (or behind the scenes look) into their business.

#2 Tailwind / Later

While learning about the strategic uses of social media that is needed to be successful in marketing, I found that it could be overwhelming to remember when to post, what to post, what needs to be said, etc. Luckily I discovered two applications that help tremendously. Tailwind and Later are both apps that help you easily line up content to be automatically posted to social media. They allow you to preview your content (to keep the flow and look similar) as well as set up times, customize hashtag use, and do everything all at once. I think it keeps everything simple and makes social media marketing much easier!

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I think it is most important to be able to adapt to the changing uses of social media as well as staying on top of applications that can truly benefit your business.

What online marketing tools have you discovered?

COM0015 – Assignment #5 – Event Participation

For this assignment we were asked to participate in a networking event that would allow us to develop professionally. Luckily for me, I have been participating in events and markets with my business since July. Each month, and in November and December – each weekend, I have been participating in locally handmade markets and shows. These shows are run by an organization called The Mom Market Collective. These markets bring local female entrepreneurs together to share our businesses, connect with one another and the community. I originally joined the event as a way to network my business to potential customers, but found the connections I made with other vendors and entrepreneurs was more valuable than the revenue I made (revenue didn’t hurt though!).

@themommarket_ on Instagram (me – second from right)

Through these events I have met many, many incredibly talented and hardworking women like me. The founders of this market, Jasmine and Amy, have taught me so much about marketing and have included me in their circle of connections. For example, I was given the opportunity to be apart of their clothing brand launch along with a few other small businesses. I have learned what it takes to successfully collaborate with influencers in the community, and other businesses. Along with the founders, there were a few other vendors that I made connections with and we were able to collaborate our businesses together as well as form friendships! These connections were not one sided either, everything I gained I would also be sharing my knowledge and insights with them. As of September and starting these courses, I have learned so much that has helped my presence on social media and I have been able to share these insights with fellow businesses owners.

I found that after each market, I was coming home with more and more ideas for my business. I would come home with new contact information for someone who would like to carry a line of my products in their salon – so I would immediately develop a specific display, layout, and of course accessories for them. Not only this, but I would receive feedback on what customers are looking for and what trends they wanted to see incorporated into my business.

My Table Display At The Mom Market December 18 – 20

I’m not sure if this would be classified as a ‘quotable’ quote per se, but I had one of the other local businesses come up to me at my last market of the year and say this;

“I wanted to share how impressed I am with you and the business you have created. I see you at almost every market possible, always being positive, creating connections with your customers and other vendors without hesitation. I tell my daughters, and anyone else who asks me about starting a business, that you are someone to look up to.”

@sana_farooqui_official on Instagram

This may not be something that will be remembered by others, but to me I will always remember these kind words and the jolt of motivation and encouragement I received in those words. I had been feeling the stress of the holidays and having this said to me, brought me right out of those holiday blues. This is something I hope to always remember and look back onto one day.

I will absolutely be continuing to attend this markets, and other similar ones, to not only gain exposure to my business, but to continue making connections with other businesses. The markets have been such a great experience and have been so amazing at getting me out of my comfort zone and truly interacting with similar minded businesses.

COM0014 – Blog #6 – Do People Know My Story?

Me (Top Knotted Accessories) at my Christmas Market

Why Did I Start My Business?

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a rough year. Luckily I did have something good come out of it – my business. At the end of February, when we were all feeling the impending doom of a pandemic lockdown, I decided to take on a new hobby – something to occupy all this time I was about to have! So like most people at the beginning of March, I went to amazon, ordered some supplies and got to work.

My plan for my this new hobby of mine, was to create a line of hair accessories that I had hoped to sell in the salon I was supposed to open this year. So I spent a couple of weeks deep in fabric, elastic and thread, hoping to find the perfect combination of material and styles that I thought would be perfect to sell and compliment my guest’s hair. Unfortunately as lockdown continued week after week, my dream of my salon suddenly vanished. But as this dream slowly faded from view, Top Knotted started growing larger and larger.

I had created an instagram account and starting sharing some of my work, looks and styles with friends and family and ended up having people message me looking to purchase my products. From there, an Etsy store was created, and eventually a shopify site, when my ideas got bigger than Etsy would allow.

So, from a year full of crazy and disappointment, came my business that I can focus both of my passions on- hairstyling and fashion!

What did 2020 bring for you?

COM0015 – Blog #3 – Professional Networking

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Growing a network for any business takes lots of time, both in planning and execution. It is important to have a strategy for the present time, as well as the near future, to achieve your goals. Networking looks a lot different than it might have looked 30 years ago. With the use of social media, and the online world, networking can be mostly done online. I have adapted this use of networking from the start of my business.

The Strategy

My goal for my business is to expand my reach and connections. I would hope to one day have a in-person retail store where my products can be bought. In order to reach this goal my strategy is to create connections with other businesses, both growing and established. To create these connections and professional relationships, I will be interacting through my social media as well as participating in in-person events (when safe to do so) that are relevant to my field.

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Commitments
  • I commit to being active on social media daily – by liking, commenting, sharing, and interacting with similar businesses, customers and individuals with a substantial following.
  • I aim to participate in online events that could introduce my business to customers and potential professional partnerships
  • I also hope to participate in more in-person events where I can create relationships and share my business.
  • Lastly, I aim to start a blog that both educates my customers as well as introduces my business to potential partnerships.

Here’s to a successful new year for my business!

What do you hope to accomplish for your business this year?

COM0014 – Blog #5 – My Personal Brand

When considering my personal brand, I like to take into account my values, beliefs and qualities and incorporate them into my business – Top Knotted. To set myself apart from my competitors I like to show case my qualities in all my work and through social media. What are some of my personal characteristics that might set me apart from my competitors?

  • Honesty – I have always been a honest person and have made sure to incorporate this into all my work. From the way I interact with my customers to how I market my products – honesty is number one.
  • Care – You know the saying ‘handmade with love’ well I take that saying seriously. Every one of my products is made with the utmost care to ensure each customer loves what I produce.
  • Friendly – I treat every one of my customers, prospective customers and fellow competitors as if they are a long time friend.

Standing out from the competition, or to even get noticed in such a large online world, is a very difficult and daunting task. When I first started my business, I was extremely worried and scared about posting anything personal or even posting a picture of myself. Lately though, I have started to post pictures of myself with my products, or sharing personal details. I have found that I now have more active followers, and get more engagement and sales!

@topknottedshop on Instagram

One thing I am told by other small business owners and my friends, is that I am kind. I think I incorporate this trait to everything I do – from my social posts to my selling techniques. Receiving these complements as well as the great feedback on my work and business, is something I am so proud of. They may not be huge distinguishing traits, but I think having them combined sets me apart from the rest, as a brand that can be trusted.

What makes YOU stand out from the rest? Let me know!

— Becca

COM0015 – Blog 2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

COM0015 – Blog 2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

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In today’s world, social media can make or break a company. It is imperative that organizations create and implement a social strategy that can take their business to the next level of success. There are a few characteristics that can help distinguish a business with a successful social media strategy and another without. I will share a few examples below;

The Strong – La Vie En Rose

@lavieenrose on Instagram

I’ve always gone to La Vie En Rose for the comfiest pyjamas and loungewear, and absolutely love checking out their social media pages for gift inspiration or to see the newest styles! I am always drawn to their instagram page as it looks uniform, is updated frequently and shares snapshots from their customers as well as their own content!

I think La Vie En Rose is very successful on social media for a few reasons:

  • They create different content for each social platform. It has been tailored to the specific platform to make it very user friendly.
  • They are quick to reply to comments, concerns and questions across social media. Even better, they have a human touch, so you know there is a person behind the screen – not just a list of automated responses!

The Strong – Mastermind Toys

@mastermindtoys on Instagram

Mastermind Toys is another great example of a strong social media strategy. They know who their audience is – both kids and their parents. I was drawn to their social media as my sister works for the company and is has mentioned that their store always have customers who have found products or a service through the companies social media. I wanted to check it out and see how they have managed to draw so many customers.

I think Mastermind Toys is so successful on social media for a few key reasons;

  • They share customer feedback that highlights their employees – acknowledging staff on all levels shows their human side, but also their appreciation for customer reviews!
  • They are constantly teaming up with creators to bring entertainment to kids online while still promoting their products. This can be seen with their collaboration with Amie from the TV show Lego Masters!

The Weak – PhysioMed Health

@physiomedhealth on Instagram

PhysioMed is a chain of Canadian multi-practice health care clinics, offering everything from physiotherapy to massage therapy. As you can see from this recent screen shot of their instagram page above, they only have 700 followers. For a Canadian-wide company, with multiple well functioning clinics, their social media presence needs some improvment.

Unfortunately the organization posts content very infrequently and does not have an apparent strategy in place. Along with this, they have individual handles for each location and these pages lack any brand consistency or social media knowledge.

I think the potential new client reach should be reason enough to start using social media for marketing. I think the organization should have an overall strategy that can be shared among their individual locations. This would create uniformity across all networks.

Some sample objectives they could set would be;

  1. Increase brand awareness – this could be done by creating content that is tailored specifically for their target audience. Using call to actions – such as asking followers to share with their followers, would also increase awareness.
  2. Increase in audience – This could be achieved by posting their content at optimal times of the day, as well as consistently.
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Do you agree with my choices? What company or organization do you feel needs help in the social media department?

COM0014 – Blog #4 – B2C Case Study – Starbucks

COM0014 – Blog #4 – B2C Case Study – Starbucks

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Starbucks is one of the worlds largest coffee chains and it’s not just because of their specialized drinks and snacks. They’ve created a perfect social media presence that continues to interact and draw in consumers daily.

Where are they on social media?

Starbucks can be found on all major social media platforms. Their biggest networks being Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Although they are not active all times of the day, they are consistent in their postings. They share quality content that catches a consumers eye, using colours that represent the band, and flashy sales techniques.

They have acknowledged that their market is quite large and have created multiple pages for different counties, and even for specific store locations. This allows them to create relevant content for each individual market.

@starbuckscanada on Instagram
The Social Media Approach

As mentioned above, content is not posted as frequently as one would expect from such a successful business, but it seems to be working. They are providing strong content that relates to what the consumer wants. This would be switching to holiday cups and holiday drinks, and marketing this far and wide, just when people start to switch into the holiday mood.

They also have a very personal approach to their social media marketing, providing a human touch to it. When it comes to commenting and responding to customer comments on Twitter, they are always on it! They are also always sharing pictures and comments taken from consumers – creating a value that consumers can relate to and appreciate.

@starbuckscanada on Twitter
Why is it so successful?

Consumers like the personal touch, they like to know that there is a human on the other side of the screen, as well as the counter. I think that this approach to social media marketing is very successful in today’s market. Whether there is a problem with your order, or you just want to share your favourite drink, Starbucks is quick to respond in a friendly, but human, manor online. They have created a sense that the consumer is number one, and people have caught on with that. This can be seen by the 400 thousand + followers on the Canadian Starbucks Instagram page alone.

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What business do you think has a successful social media marketing approach?

— Becca

COM0014 – Blog #3 – Target Audiences

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Any business that is successful has determined who their target audience is, and have learned how to appropriately communicate with them. Knowing who they are and how to reach them is an essential part for any business. When creating my business, Top Knotted, I determined my audience right away, and found it so much easier to establish my marketing approach. We will use it as an example through this blog.

What is a Target Audience?

By definition a target audience is “a group of people defined by certain demographics and behaviour.” (Sprout Social, 2020) These demographics and psychographics could be;

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education Level
  • Ethnic or religious backgrounds
  • Lifestyle
  • Lower/Middle/Upper class
  • Hobbies, etc

Determining your target audience will help you establish a targeted marketing strategy that will effectively allow you to communicate with your audience. If you need more help finding your audience, check out Sprout Social’s page on Target Audiences.

Top Knotted’s target audience is women ages 16 to 30. From this age group they are split up into those with families, i.e moms, and then on the other hand, students. My audience typically is middle class – they have the extra spare income to spend on hair accessories for themselves or their children.

How To Communicate Effectively

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Once you know your audience, determine where they are on the internet. My Audience is typically on large social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat. But an older audience, for example, might be found on Facebook or Twitter.

Knowing where they are on socials is important, but your content needs to be specific to what your audience will want to respond to. I find that my audience likes to see pages that look uniform, their content has the same style and look to them. So I have adapted this into my instagram content. See how my content looks uniform? This is easy to incorporate and maintain, by quickly editing each picture to look the same.

@topknottedshop on Instagram

Interacting with your audience is important on social media. Do you want to be a part of the conversation? You might need to start it! Choose issues, trends and relevant topics and start engaging your audience. On Instagram I create polls on my stories and get product insight. I also ask questions in my posts and get a conversation going that way too!

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Ready to stand apart? Spend some time researching your audience – really get to know them! You could even go right to the source, start a poll on your socials/website and get the answers right from them. From there, create a plan to market your services and products specifically for them!

What do you do to communicate with specific audiences?

–Becca

References

Sprout Social. (2020). Target Audience. Sprout Social. https://sproutsocial.com/glossary/target-audience/

COM0014 – Blog #2 – Digital Storytelling

COM0014 – Blog #2 – Digital Storytelling

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In order to be a successful writer online there are a few things you must keep in mind when you sit down to write.

#1 Draw Your Audience In

It is said that most internet readers will scan over an article, blog, or any other written piece, looking for “interesting chucks rather than digest the whole.” (Clark, 2020) This should be taken into account when you start writing. Be sure to keep your work interesting, if not entertaining, to draw your reader in, so they will want to fully read your work.

#2 Important Information First

As mentioned above, a typical reader will be scanning for the important information, or point of the content. To catch their attention, make sure to include your most valuable points at the start of your work. This will allow ‘scanners’ and readers to get the most of your work.

#3 Clarity in Your Writing

As with anything being posted online, your work should be free of grammatical, spelling or wording errors. The worst thing for a reader to see is a written piece that has messy mistakes. It will discourage the reader from reading. It is always a good idea to proofread, or have someone else read it over for you, before hitting submit. Check out this post on common writing mistakes to avoid!

#4 Engage Your Audience

Give your readers a reason to comment or share your work! Ask detailed questions that they could answer. This can be easily incorporated at the end of your work. Start the conversation and keep it going!

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If you follow these simple tips, your writing will be read with greater understanding by readers and will drum up engagement on your post.

What do you add to your writing that draws in your reader and encourages engagement?

References

Clark, B. (2020, September 21). How to Read. Retrieved from https://copyblogger.com/how-to-read/