Everything we do has a story in it. I look at my organization’s activities a little differently now. Even the simple things like giving someone a hot meal, or just making sure they have warm clothing, or harm reduction supplies. Kindness, a smiling face, an empathetic ear. We do all those things and each one has a story.
We can’t directly photograph or share direct stories about the people we serve at the shelter as they are under our protective care. So, we must be very careful in how we share images and stories on social media. The course has given me a lot to think about with regards to finding the story in the little things.
My organization is a public health facility, and we assist people with detox and addiction support. We have case workers that help people find transitional housing and access the other supports they need. Staff can share some stories about their work within those same guidelines of confidentiality for the people we serve. When we communicate about our professional work, we need to have a professional style.
How to we communicate what we do in a compelling way? The course has taught me that it’s not only the stories but how to bring those stories to the right audience in the right way. Sharing different sides of the organization on each platform or to each audience.
I was doing a cold sales call in an oil and gas industrial area in Nisku, Alberta. I was a young woman armed with knowledge and a list of prospect companies to visit. The chain of 10 hotels I worked for were in smaller communities with O&G exploration going on around them, so these companies travelled to our locations frequently.
I walked into this one shop and the place, full of burly men, suddenly became quiet. All eyes were on me! It was like they hadn’t seen a woman before or something. It didn’t help that they had some posters on the walls that wouldn’t be acceptable by today’s standards. I won’t get too graphic here!
After a pause I broke the silence by clearing my throat and saying “Hello, does “your company” have crews that travel?” Finally the manager came over and spoke to me, and everyone else went back to work. They didn’t travel and I didn’t get the business but after that experience the other calls that I made that day and every day after were a piece of cake.
In the end as horrible as it was at the time, nothing truly terrible actually happened. Cold calls are very different in today’s world. They are easier in many respects despite increased competition. You can cast a bigger net and still catch a lot of fish. Thank goodness without the torture of stopping a shop full of men!
It was an important part of my learning in sales and marketing. I was a shy person by nature and had to overcome that hurdle to progress in my career. I’m in fundraising now and I’m better at what I do because of those experiences. Lose the fear and just make the ask!
Let’s face it, we aren’t all over achievers, astronauts, or billionaires. So how does the average person define their personal brand? I think I’m an intelligent, hard-working person that isn’t afraid to roll up my sleaves and get my hands dirty when needs be. My close friends say I am patient and kind, like my grandmother. I’ve been told I’m very calm, and good in a crisis by a former employer. Not to say I never get rattled. We all have our tipping point.
Many people can say those things about themselves. Nothing remarkable here really. Does that make me interesting to others? I suppose there is a bit of curiosity in all of us. We do like peeking into the lives of others. “Reality” TV shows became popular for that reason. Social media became the ultimate reality TV, totally unscripted and in your own voice.
I think I am most proud of being a mother and a lifelong learner. Taking on new educational challenges in the face of middle age when others are thinking about retiring. As I change throughout my life my brand will evolve along with it. I may not want to become a social media star, but I can still have a personal brand with integrity and share some of my stories. Something I would not have considered 5 years ago.
Starbucks is doing amazing things on social media and that is why I chose them for my B2C case study. On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter they have a link directly to their menu where you can order the beverage you’ve just seen for pick up at the nearest Starbucks of your choice. Brilliant! Satisfaction in less than 10 clicks. Since the pandemic we haven’t been drawn in by the smell of their coffee while out and about as in the past.
They also produce esthetically pleasing content, and Starbucks followers like to comment and interact with them on social media. They reply to positive comments with gratitude and engage with followers that have complaints in the comments feed and request private messages with the customers to address their concerns. I haven’t seen another company be so responsive to their comments, although I’m sure they are out there.
I can only imagine what a mammoth undertaking this is on a local, national, and international scale, but they seem to do it well. Starbucks profits in 2021 boast a 28% increase from 2020 which showed a decline of 12% when compared with 2019. Based on that I’d have to say they have pivoted well and adapted to the pandemic by harnessing social media and were able to still serve their coffee to their fans in a safe way. I’m sure this is something that will continue long after the pandemic is over.
How do you navigate the complexities of the audience on each platform and stay meaningful and on message? I am in fund development for a non-profit that helps shelter and support individuals experiencing homelessness. Our target audience are people that are caring, both educated and not, some are trauma informed, some have lived experience. This group of people are interested in addiction, recovery, mental health, and healing as well as homelessness and affordable housing.
The most popular stories shared on Facebook are ones of recovery, and a successful transition into safe stable affordable housing. Stories of those who have lived experience and come back to the community to help others find this path to safety and stability. Some of the content out there is somewhat exploitive of the individual experiencing homelessness such as, handing out sandwiches from the trunk of your car and taking selfies with the recipient to share. It further marginalizes the person experiencing homelessness, even if they didn’t mean it to.
Instagram posts on our topics shared thoughtful words of encouragement, some compelling photos and some not so compelling to catch your interest. I think the photos need to be top drawer on this platform don’t you? Looking at a picture of a box of used cloths just doesn’t do it. For me anyway.
LinkedIn and Twitter had posts from all levels of government and community and faith-based organizations, and medical programs. All the posts are carefully curated with photos and content. The stories here are about the impact of homelessness and the positive impact of programs that are operating in communities everywhere. Strategies of trauma informed care, harm reduction, and housing first. For my organization this is where we can create content about our accomplishments and the professionals that help make it possible to achieve our mission, like Case Workers.
We can be relevant on all these platforms and in all these conversations while still being true to ourselves. They say it takes a village after all.
I work for an organization that assists individuals experiencing homeless in my city using low barrier housing-first and harm reduction principles. We are also conscious of the fact that the people who need our services are diverse 61% are Indigenous, and 10.7% are LGBTTQ+. It is important that we are trauma informed and using language that is inclusive of all the people we serve and work beside in our communications and storytelling.
The organization has adopted a lengthy conscious language guide that we are using in all the work we do. We use person first language, so we are not identifying a person by their condition. Instead of saying a homeless person we say a person experiencing homelessness for example. As extensive as this guide is it is always being re-evaluated and adjusted as new awareness comes to light.
Was the organization always culturally sensitive to those needs? This language guide has evolved over the 50 years the organization has operated. Times have changed since 1972 and we have become more aware of the language we use and how it has an affect on marginalized people.
Our five-year plan includes making culturally appropriate modifications to our services to support Truth and Reconciliation, decolonization, and anti-oppression. While we are not an Indigenous organization and have no plans to become one, we are working with an indigenous leadership circle that was formed to guide our work to culturally appropriate practices. It is important that we keep listening, hearing and work together to address these issues and continue to improve how we share these stories and relate to our community.
This year, unable to travel far, my vacation was spent quietly at the lake camping. All in all it was a beautiful vacation spent relaxing in a hammock, going to the beach, hiking through the forest, and reconnecting with nature. We are lucky and have a family property in lake country that my husband’s large family gather in every August. It was a great way to reconnect with each other safely in the current climate. Each of us having our own camp and joining together in the bbq and fire pit when we aren’t on an adventure.
We took in the natural world, taking snap shots of strange plants or animals we observed. Googling about them to learn more when we returned to camp. We observed a large moth that is new to our region and appeared here first only a few years ago, and some medicinal plants that only appear periodically in our forest.
We floated our cares away on an afternoon river tubing adventure one hot sunny afternoon. Our nights were spent around the campfire feasting, telling stories and watching the stars. We even tracked the ISS and watched it fly by when we could.
I’m happy that I am connected to this place. It is my home, and I have much to be grateful for. On top of reconnecting with each other this summer we reconnected with the land we live on. Gained a better understanding of how it is changing and how it makes us who we are.
It wasn’t a dream vacation by some standards, but it provided all the things a vacation should. It gave us a chance to reset and recharge. To reconnect with nature and the people we love for better or worse.
Is this how I will spend all my future vacations? Has the pandemic changed how we vacation forever? Maybe in small ways but I still have other places on this planet I want to see and explore, and while I enjoy the family summer camp I long to get out there once again. Where will you go when the pandemic is over?
We hear a lot about the negative impacts of social media these days. In-spite of all of that a lot of social good is happening on social media. There is no doubt about the potential of social media to raise funds for worthy causes.
Facebook for example has helped raise over $2 Billion dollars since 2015.
In 2018 Walmart reached its goal to raise $1 Billion for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals with its point-of-sale campaigns. To give it some perspective, as large as Walmart’s network is, they started this campaign in 1987.
Social justice movements are a lighting up social media these days with #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter to name a few. The causes they support are important issues that need to be addressed. Some will say that social media is polarizing our society, but I feel that the cause of these movements is the imbalance that already existed, social media is just the way things have come to the surface and brought people together.
There is no doubt social media is a powerful tool to rally support to any worthy cause.
Social media has also changed how we manage emergency response and relief according to Dina Fine Maron in her 2013 article How Social Media Is Changing Disaster Response – Scientific American. It has helped by getting emergency communications out but also to quickly organize relief and coordinate efforts, as well as reconnect loved ones in the aftermath of natural disasters.
It has brought fast attention to humanitarian crisis worldwide and helped communities come together and rebuild their lives. Social media can help on a local level as well with communities starting go fund me campaigns to support local people in need.
The impact social media has on social good is measurable. It brings us together, helps us coordinate our efforts, raise funds for a good cause, and lobby for social change. It has opened so many doors for people to help each other and get involved. Whichever way you choose to contribute to a better world social media can help. How do you social good?
Apps we use everyday like Facebook, Snapchat, G-MaiI and others are addictive by design. It is in any apps best interest that you keep coming back for more and are staying engaged longer, driving up their user statistics. Studies have shown that positive attention on social media triggers a dopamine response in our brains. It makes us feel good and the apps play on our psychology and give us what we want.
While I do not consider myself a social media addict by any stretch, a few weeks ago I damaged my phone and really missed that instant contact with friends and family. It was only for a short period of time, but it made me take stock of my own habits. I could use my laptop to check in if I wanted, but I still felt cut off somehow.
Social media addiction is something that has come to light only recently and is still being studied. It is rare for someone to actually be addicted to social media, but I think it is important to be aware of our behavior and to keep things in perspective. Addiction to social media seems to be concentrated around our younger population and is something parents should be conscious of. Social media use is only a problem if it starts having a negative impact on your real life instead of enhancing it.
Dr. Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. lists 6 questions we should be asking ourselves in his article in Psychology Today “Addicted to Social Media?” . He also notes some other problematic behaviors caused by social media use that we should be mindful of.
Chocolate cake can be addicting and perhaps not good for you, in spite of being delicious. We don’t stop eating chocolate cake, we just moderate the amount of cake we eat. I use social media daily, and certainly miss it when I am cut off completely, but I don’t see it as a problem in my life.
Do you reach for your phone first thing in the morning too?
In the middle of a pandemic I find myself in the same position as so many others. Looking for work, and to add to the challenge, relocating back to the city I left years ago.
I have a LinkedIn profile but hadn’t really bothered to set it up and really didn’t use it. Like most I felt that it was for people looking for work and at the time I wasn’t interested in what the app had to offer. Or so I thought.
Recently, motivated by my situation, I logged in to my account and spent some time setting it up. There were a lot of people I knew here that I could connect with but only a handful of my former colleagues are on LinkedIn. It was disappointing that I am not able to connect with them again professionally. While I have maintained Facebook connections with many of my former colleagues it seems they will not be able to help grow my LinkedIn network, at least at this point in time.
Next, I looked for companies I was interested in working for. There were a few companies actively using the platform and I have opted to follow them. I think LinkedIn is a long game though and don’t expect immediate outcomes. But the right posting may come through.
LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories (Anfernee Chansamooth, 2017)
The majority of the advice centers around uplifting your personal brand and increasing your profile in the market place. Resume 2.0 with built in connections.
Of the friends I’ve asked no one knows anyone who has found a job through LinkedIn directly. There is some great advice out there. but will it really help me find the employment I seek? Only time will tell.