Ottawa Bloggers Network

A few weeks ago, I faced my fears of networking IRL, and attended the Ottawa Bloggers networking event and lunch. Organized by Josee, Instagrammer and founder of the Ottawa Bloggers Instagram account (that features content creators in the region), this meetup was simultaneously an opportunity to create content, to meet fellow creators in the area, and to discuss future networking opportunities. I decided to choose this event because I am a hobbyist Instagrammer and blogger in the Ottawa area, and wanted to meet other people who participate in the same hobby. I figured it would also be a good way to put my face and name to my account as an active user of the Ottawa Bloggers feature hashtag, and to put a name and face to others who use it (some attendees I realized were already mutual followers of me, though we had never interacted!).

At the event, I met Josee, host of the event and the woman behind the @lifeofamomboss Instagram account. Having amassed over 13 thousand followers, she is an expert in the industry of social media marketing and Instagram influencing. It was really interesting to hear her advice on growing a brand from the ground up, as well as getting into being a social media manager to brands (she manages 2 social media accounts for businesses as well as her own!). The advice from her and other creators was my main takeaway from the event. My main contribution ended up being several conversation starting questions related to these subjects, as well as my skills behind a camera. I was the only one to have brought a DSLR camera, so I ended up being the photographer for the ladies who were there for content creation in addition to networking. Thank goodness!

I walked away from this event with a lot of inspiration for my Instagram and blog, and the drive to actively pursue the goals I had arrived on during the networking event. It can be hard to find likeminded people who are also content creators, so to spend the afternoon with them was such a push to continue creating my own content. I also walked away with some content for my Instagram!

I was a little bit caught up in the event I was attending to grab a particular quote, but the sentiment that stuck out to me was the necessity for Ottawa to develop a networking event for female content creators, business owners, and brand representatives to meet and collaborate in regards specifically for social media. Nothing like this exists in the city, and it was decided upon that it was very much necessary!

I really want to attend more events like this in the future. The casual nature of the event made it so easy to talk to people who would otherwise be intimidating (like a 13k influencer). And, as I said, I walked away from this event so inspired for both my own platform and the growing network of local influencers I had met! I also strongly recommend events such as this to all small-platform creators who want inspiration!

Bonus below: a few “content creation” shots from the event!

Out of the Box

I think the main thing that I have discovered for “different” or unexpected uses of social media marketing is the entire area of museum social media. It’s a field of both marketing and professional discussion that represents how many industries can and likely do use social media for industry sharing, discussing, and networking, that the general public will not ever really see or be a part of. I think it’s great that social media has created global platforms for these institutions to network in a way that would not have been possible without the advent of these platforms.

The example I’m speaking of in particular is the #musesocial campaign. The idea behind this hashtag is for museums, their curators and their social media representatives to engage in discussion about how best to utilize the new social platforms that have been introduced to museums (a concept that is about 336 years old!). Their concerns are about how to bring “museum interpretation” – the way that information is conveyed to guests of a museum or educational/historical site – to the digital platform in the most engaging and effective ways. What a great way to use industry networks!

To summarize: Museums are great and amazing and people are making great use of these new platforms to create valuable networks of industry professionals!

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Developing a Network Online from Nothing

Do you have a network for your personal online brand? Do you need one, as an individual? As my use of social media marketing are my hobby accounts, I have a minimal network of people outside my immediate and non-professional social circles. As I wish to develop my social media presence when I start to travel and expand my content (at the end of August!), one of my main goals is to find a group of content creators. After attending the Ottawa Bloggers Networking event, I understand how valuable and inspiring these meetups can be for both inspiration and concrete plans for the future. These groups are typically found through social media networks such as Facebook or Instagram, so this is where I will start my search for a network of creators.

I will also be seeking employment during my time overseas, and part of my job search will be within the realm of digital media marketing. However, developing a network of professionals within the professional field would come from the job search and potential acquisition, and not vice versa.

Therefore, my current plan for the next 6-12 months is to follow up on my Ottawa content creator network both digitally and at any further events while I am still in the country, and then to seek out similar groups while I am living overseas. Getting my brand and desire to create digital content “out there” among similarly inspired people is my goal. I just want a solid network of creators to work with, no matter where I am!

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Professional Networking Now and in Future – or – 4 Reasons why IRL Networking is Vital for Your Brand

In order to grow and develop a social media strategy for my personal account, as well as to hone my skills for the professional world, I have been making some efforts to put myself out there in terms of IRL social networks. Recently, I went to my first local meetup for Ottawa bloggers and content creators and I had no idea what to expect. After attending such an event, here’s what I learned and will continue to apply to my social media networking pursuits:

  1. Putting yourself out there is valuable to your brand
    This applies for both the digital and the real life, but especially in the real life. The same way that social media use and activity is recommended to create authentic interaction online, so does your presence in real-world meetups! Putting a name and face to your brand will draw human connection to your social media presence.
  2. It’s a great way to get inspired
    Networking with content creators can provide you with resources, inspiration, and the capacity to talk to people with the same struggles, successes, and goals as you. Being able to discuss your strategies, ideas, and plans with people who understand is very validating, and can provide you with the mental fortitude to continue to improve your social media content and strategy.
  3. Networking events lead to more networking events
    Oftentimes, the organizers of networking events for creators are full of more ideas than can be capitulated in the one event you are attending. There is always the potential for more growth, more ideas, and more networks to be created.
  4. Follow up in the digital world
    Make a post, tweet, or story tagging the people you met and briefly expressing your thoughts on the event. Letting people who follow you online know that you’re involved in IRL networking lends credibility to your brand, and this followup also helps to cement the bonds that you made with your fellow content creators.

I’m planning on attending more of these IRL events over the course of the summer, as well as in my new city when I move at the end of August. I think it’ll be a great way to get to know people in a new place, as well as to forge network connections both at home and abroad. Get out there and network!

4 Ways to Tailor What You’re Seeing Online

4 Ways to Tailor What You’re Seeing Online

Even though the Wild West of Web 1.0 has been wrangled with the advent of social media, there is still more content published online than any one person could hope to discover! So what’s the best way to go about finding what we want to see, as personal Internet users, and as a digital brand?

Brand Feedback

There are so many options for social media listening tools that it can be hard to narrow down which ones to use! Though tons of paid options for social listening are out there if you’re willing to spring for them, simple tools like Google Alerts can help you stay up to date on what audiences are saying about your brand. I consider it one of the best unpaid listening tools out there as it creates an RSS feed of keyword notifications that you can choose, including hashtags. You can always trust our Internet overlords Google to provide us with a good system to monitor our brands’ digital presence! Google has also created a program to monitor website and social media analytics (Google Analytics)! These two free programs provide you with a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to know what’s going on with your brand and it’s digital presence, and are super easy to set up and navigate.

pretend edward cullen GIF

My Personal Feed

When it comes to getting news and web content curated to my interests, Google doesn’t have quite the same iron grip on my Internet use. Here, Reddit (reddit.com) holds the key to my heart, as it provides a front page similar to an RSS feed based on “subreddits” (collections of community-curated web content based around any and every subject you could imagine) that you subscribe to. This allows me to go to one website for anything from Black Mirror discussion groups to local Ottawa news to Lord of the Rings Memes and everything in between. As much as I love Reddit for personal use and don’t personally use it in any professional respect, I can see the potential that a site like Reddit holds. Reddit is often one of the most up-to-date sources of news, memes, and other Internet content, and appeals to an audience that is not always as present on traditional social media. The specificity of the communities that exist on this website are the perfect source for community observation and discussion. Stay away from a sales-push on Reddit though! Users are quick to sniff out a sales tactic and generally don’t tolerate the use of the platform as a marketing opportunity – another reason why I love to use it!

episode 2 my safe space is reddit GIF by Portlandia

I’ve also been a huge fan of the new Instagram feature of following hashtags the same way you can follow users, with a collection of tagged photos showing up on your feed! While, again, I have made liberal use of this on my personal accounts (hello #guineapigs!), it is also great if you are planning a campaign based around hashtag use, as now the content generated from this campaign will show up directly in your feed. If your brand is present on Instagram, hashtag campaigns are great because they generate both free publicity by encouraging people to post related to your brand, and the potential for free content (and community kudos) by regramming the best shots!

beautiful late night GIF by PBS

These are just a couple of my favourite online sources for curated content and digital feedback. What are you using right now to stay up to date on your favourite web content? Let me know in the comments below so I can check them out!

COM0014 – Where do we go from here?

After spending the last few months in a course dedicated to digital storytelling, here are the 4 key notes I plan on implementing in my future social media management:

  1. We are all telling stories, no matter what platform we are using. Since humans as a species have been engaging each other with stories since what’s essentially the dawn of time, our online content should be rooted in story. Incorporating elements such as characters and narrative structure can help make your writing more compelling to audiences.
  2. Traditional journalist techniques are still valid. Even though we constantly hear that journalism is a dying medium thanks to the Internet, the basics of article writing are as important as ever when it comes to writing for digital platforms; maybe even more so with the shorter attention spans audiences have while browsing the web. Keeping the vital information at the top of the article and fluffing it out towards the bottom will never not be the best way to structure an article.
  3. Knowing your audience is key. Understanding who your audience is through studying demographics and psychographics will help you tailor your digital storytelling in ways that will best engage those communities. Social media makes it easier than ever to get to know your audience, and taking advantage of this opportunity will further improve your content and reach.
  4. Be somebody. Having a well-defined personal brand is like telling a story to your audience through a combination of aesthetics, digital content, and social interaction. Effective brand messaging will let audiences feel like they “know” you in more personal ways than traditional branding and advertising ever allowed. By maintaining brand authenticity, you maintain a relationship with your audience.

As I work on developing my own personal brand online, I plan on using these techniques

COM0014 – Do People Know Your Story?

At Mamie Clafoutis French Bakery, I’m the employee who does all of the visual elements around the shop. I think a lot of people tend not to think about how much the design and look of everything influences the customer’s perception and memories of an experience at the cafe. It’s neat, because I’m starting to be recognized by our regular customers as “the artsy girl who does the designs”, mostly for our advertising boards and displays. I’ve been approached by customers who have asked if I’m an artist, or if I studied art at school, which I never did. I mean, I grew up doing arts and crafts, and my mother is a professional artist with a degree in Fine Arts, but I’ve never been anything more than a hobbyist.

It’s probably one of the most rewarding parts of my job when customers point out the quality of my work. I’ve had people come up to me with their phones, showing me pictures and videos of things they think I would like to see related to calligraphy and sign-making. It’s a neat way to bond with our clients in a way that is different from the rest of my coworkers. It makes me a memorable employee to our regulars, and it lets me get to know the people who make up the community of Mamie Clafoutis.

COM0014 – My Personal Brand

No matter where I am in my life, my brand has always been highly aesthetically driven. From editor-in-chief of a yearbook to a theatre director to visual marketing for my current place of employment, I’ve always been doing something that requires a discerning eye and an inclination for the cohesive and beautiful things in life. This also seeps deeply into my hobbies, bullet journaling and costume design and construction. A recent accomplishment in the workplace related to my “personal brand” (say, as an employee) is taking on the role of visual marketer for the cafe at which I work, meaning I have a large amount of creative liberty in the display of products, the arrangement of decor, and full creative control over the design of all our chalkboard signs.

This brand of aesthetics is the driving force behind my latest project, a social media brand based in part on aesthetics and in part on history – my primary academic passion. This brand is going to be an image-driven aspirational lifestyle brand with a focus on travel and historical discovery (one of my biggest academic passions) focusing on WordPress blog and accompanying Instagram Feed. This brand will be a reflection of my personal brand – aesthetically driven, passionate about history, culture and travel, and allowing me to pursue some of my lesser-explored creative pursuits such as photography and writing. My goal for this is to cohesively merge my personal brand with one that can be presented into the public and digital spheres.

COM0014: It Works’ failure at B2C

It Doesn’t Work.

It Works is a Multi-Level Marketing company, which means that it generates sales by having people pay to become distributors of a product. People who find success in these companies are not the best at sales, but rather the most successful at recruiting new members to buy in as new distributors. But when new sales representatives try their social media pitches, are they successful? Do they choose a solid strategy to engage their potential clients? Do they provide quality interactions?

No.

The online distributors of It Works can be used as a case study of what not to do in social media marketing. They overwhelm their followers with sales-heavy pitches marketing their weight-loss and “health” products. This impersonal, heavy handed practice has been shown to be the least effective form of online marketing, but is encouraged by the higher-ups at the company. The bigger problem with their marketing technique is the encouragement to reach out to friends, acquaintances, and strangers on social media with a friendly “catching up” social comment, followed by the suggestion that the sales target has put on weight and could utilize the seller’s products to shed those unsightly pounds. These cold-approaches are often copy-pasted scripts (such as this accidentally posted script reveal for another MLM company), showing that the seller does not tailor their sales pitch to the individual, another failure to utilize the benefits of online marketing.

New recruits are also encouraged to post as often as 7-10 times per day, in an attempt to have their content beat social media algorithms and show up on more feeds, to generate more interest and potential clients or recruits. This, again, goes against recommended social media marketing techniques as audiences do not like to be overwhelmed with content, particularly when it comes from a personal account instead of a business.

It Works is only one example of an MLM company, a social media plague that is growing more prevalent and oversaturating the online marketplace with “get rich working from your phone” schemes. For more information, check out John Oliver’s exposé on Multi-Level Marketing schemes here.

COM0014 – Target Audiences for Online Cosplay Content

For the task of studying target demographics, I chose to look at audiences for cosplay content, particularly for the types of cosplay that are posted by my brand, DXAFX Cosplay. This will be useful for the study of our audience since Instagram provides  demographic insights on existing followers. So who exactly are our followers?

Gender

Cosplay is a hobby that appeals to audiences of both genders, because cosplay can be based on characters from any pop-culture phenomenon. Because of the type of content that we post (video games and Star Wars being some of our most prominent) as well as a focus on armour and construction, our dominant gender demographic ends up being men (62%)

Age Range

Because of the close relation between cosplay and pop-culture, the largest consumers of the content would be between 15-35, approximately. Our largest age groups are 18-24 (43%) and 25-34 (31%).

More Demographics

  • Because our audience has interest in geek-niche and pop-culture phenomena, we can assume that they are fairly well educated (presumably college or university level education, based on age demographics), as well as within the middle to upper economic brackets.
  • Our audience is likely to be single or married, but unlikely to have children (again, based on age range).
  • The ethnic and religious backgrounds of our audience is diverse, as geek and pop culture appeal to people of various backgrounds.

Psychographics

  • Our audience is invested in geek culture – Playing video games, watching tv shows and films (particularly in genres such as horror, sci-fi, and fantasy).
  • They are active in online communities and are likely to share content that they find.
  • Often, they are more likely to be followers than leaders, discovering new pop-culture content based on recommendations from peers and the community.
  • Our audience is likely to be progressive, as there are various movements in the online cosplay community to promote diversity and acceptance among both creators and content consumers.