Blog #4 – Out Of The Box – The Unexpected Success of Instagram Influencers

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Social media has evolved over the years, and I think that influencer marketing has continued to surprise me. The first ever “sponsored” post that I saw was from a blogger that I watched religiously on YouTube, on her Instagram page. Originally, I thought that ads and sponsored posts would never take off, as these people are paid to discuss a product via their social media accounts and influence people to purchase them. I definitely underestimated the power of the influencer.

Now in 2020, Instagram is flooded with influencer accounts, whether that be for makeup brands, fitness brands, cookware, and so on;. I guarantee that you can find an Instagram influencer somewhere on your feed, without even trying. I find that a lot of people that were contestants on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and/or The Bachelor In Paradise have had great success in being on the show briefly and managing to become an Instagram influencer. For instance, the contestant Becca Tilley, who is one of my favourite past contestants, has over 1 million Instagram followers, her own podcast, and also paid brand deals. She has discount codes that she shares with her followers, and she also does #ad and #sponsored posts on her Instagram page.

What I also underestimated was the amount of work that goes into being an influencer. Although it is probably a lot more fun than a traditional job, these influencers have to find brands to do deals with, maintain their content and following, and when they become more popular, most likely have to find an agency to help represent them and assist them in making brand deals. I also find that influencers are more trustworthy as they are, in a sense, just “normal” people.

All in all, I feel bad for underestimating the Instagram influencer!

Blog #3 – Professional Development Now and In the Future

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I remember while I was in university, one of my professors mentioned the importance of networking. At that time, I was so confused because I had no clue what networking meant. I had a vague idea from television shows where the characters went to swanky parties and handed their business cards out to people who walked by. However, that wasn’t the kind of networking my professor was speaking about. They were speaking more about making connections through friends, employers, and even strangers in online communities, such as LinkedIn.

Now, I feel like I have a good grasp on networking and my personal strategies. Currently, I have a few strategies. My parent strategy is making connections through LinkedIn and constantly updating my profile and my skills. When I apply to a job, I usually look up who works at the company through LinkedIn and find who is the hiring manager or the manager of the department. I also reach out to friends or old classmates and see if they have people they know that they can connect me with. 

Photo by inlytics on Unsplash

I have been using Instagram for my book blog and I also think this has been a helpful strategy for me. I have generated a following in the span of only a few weeks and I ultimately would love to work for a publishing company. By using my Instagram book blog on my resume and LinkedIn page as evidence of knowing a lot about books and being able to speak about them enthusiastically, a publishing company might hire me to work in their Marketing department. 

There is a Facebook group that I am a part of for a podcast I listen to. It has nothing to do with professional development, but a lot of people in the group post about asking others to review their resume and ask for tips about networking and making connections. I recently posted asking if someone could view my resume, and multiple people replied and I got excellent feedback and tips from helpful acquaintances. 

During the next 6-12 months, I am going to continue to maintain my online presence through my Instagram and WordPress book blog. I have been making great connections in the community and will continue to do so. In addition, I will continue to work on my LinkedIn profile by making new connections and posting updated information. I am also always taking online courses to advance my skills and knowledge, and this is always useful to put on a LinkedIn profile and resume. 

Blog #2 – COM0015 – Strong and Weak Organizations

There are numerous social media accounts that are owned by companies and businesses. Some are run successfully and are active and engaged. Others, not so much. 

The first successfully run social media account I can think of is Netflix. Netflix has an account for every country that it is available in and is active on most popular social media platforms. I’m always drawn to this account because I find the tweets have an underlying humor and sarcasm that I enjoy and they are interactive with its followers. On Twitter, Netflix posts multiple times a day and responds to inquiries and other replies on their tweets. They also keep on top of trends and use trending topics and hashtags to their advantage to promote what is currently streaming. For instance, when Taylor Swift’s new album dropped, Netflix Canada used a screencap from New Girl to stay on top of the trending topic and also tweet about a show that is currently streaming and is popular on the platform (see image below). 

Netflix Canada uses the release of the new Taylor Swift album, which was a trending Twitter hashtag, to promote New Girl, which is a popular show that is currently streaming on their platform.

The other strong social media account is Fabletics. Fabletics is a subscription-based fitness clothing brand that started out as an e-commerce platform but has also recently branched out with a few stores in the United States. Since this company started out online, I find that Fabletics knows how to use the internet and social media successfully to maintain an audience, their brand, and to gain new customers and followers. Fabletics is active on most social media platforms and they post every 1 to 2 days. I really like this company and what they stand for. Fabletics believes that every woman and body type is and should be cherished, and no matter how you move your body, whether that is through yoga, lifting weights for hours or simply doing a 15 minute workout, you should be proud of the accomplishment of moving your body and keeping a healthy mind and body. I personally like their products as they are fun, girly and affordable, and also showcase all different women and body types on their social media. Not only do they post about their products and new launches, but they also post workout videos on YouTube, healthy recipes on Twitter and Facebook, as well as mindfulness tips and tricks on Instagram and Facebook (see image below). Fabletics also does a good job with responding to customer inquiries that are posted in the comments section.

Fabletics’ Facebook post where they provide breathing techniques and relaxation strategies while promoting their clothing.

I found it difficult at first to find a “weak” organization or one without a social media presence, especially in this day and age. After doing some digging and looking at accounts that I follow, one organization that could use a more solid social media strategy is Marvel Studios. Although we are in a pandemic and most movie and TV show productions are put on hold, I think it is still important to keep posting consistently and developing some kind of social media calendar. On Instagram, Marvel Studios has 25.7 million followers and only posts a few times a month. They do speak on political and social issues (i.e.they have posts standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement), but other than that their posts are scarce. All of their movies are available on Disney+ and Netflix, so they could possibly take this opportunity to promote that, as well as the upcoming original series that they have in production for Disney+. 

Blog Post #1 – COMM0015 – Simple and Effective Tools and Sources

Blog Post #1 – COMM0015 – Simple and Effective Tools and Sources

There are plenty of sources to receive information and to track trends. I think that it is a matter of choosing what works best for you and your website or business, and most importantly how easy you find these tools and sources are to navigate.

After testing out different tools and sources, I found that my favourite social media trend listening and monitoring tools are Google Trends and Twitter trends. While working on my own personal book blog that I started recently, I found these two tools to be extremely useful. Even when I was doing research for Social Media Monitoring and Measurement, I found Google Trends to have a lot of valuable information when searching for brand competitors and what other people online were searching for. This helped me figure out what I should be talking about and how to differentiate myself from the competition and to stand out.

Image from TechCrunch.com

The first source that I easily get my news and updates from is Twitter (I always fact check before I dive in to the topics, though). Once I can confirm that the topics are legitimate, I find it so easy to swipe through and see what people are saying about the topics. This is where I find most of my up-to-date information, especially during COVID-19, about the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, police brutality, and other important movements and information that news channels on television or online might not be telling us. Although Twitter can be useful at times, it has its downfalls. Recently, a young woman came forward about Hollywood star Ansel Elgort and how he sexually assaulted her. Not too long after that, someone made fake Twitter accounts and falsely accused the cast of Riverdale for sexual assault. Their names were trending on Twitter, but it was then confirmed that this person created a fake Twitter account just to get attention. This is when fact checking Twitter trends comes into play for me.

Image from CP24.com

The second news source that I get my news and updates from is very simple: CP24. As anticlimactic as that sounds, I find that CP24 has constant and accurate updates on numerous topics and I followed it closely during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not just cover local news but it also reports on global events, celebrity and entertainment content, and other current events.

I find that simple and easily accessible sites and sources work best for me, and so far, have proven themselves effective. What sources do you like to use?

COM0014 – Blog #7: Personal Reflection

This course has taught me a lot and will help me with managing the social media account at my place of work. I have learned that interacting with customers and creating a Business to Consumer relationship online is ideal, and also maintaining a positive image of the company through social media will work in our benefit.

blackboard business chalkboard concept

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I think that storytelling is important to creating digital content because it gives people the comfort that they are not just interacting with a company or a social media account, but there are real people that care and want to help them or provide them with the best information possible. Being active online and creating an online presence is a great way to set up a strong online following of people, and therefore, a strong base of potential or current customers for a business.

I want to tell honest stories that will help people and guide them to make the right decisions, for example, to guide them to come into the dealership I work at rather than another dealership. Making content personalized and honest and true will speak wonders to people who were on the fence about purchasing a vehicle from our dealership.

This course was incredibly helpful, and I really enjoyed the discussion posts. Having discussions where there are conflicting ideas, yet all sides are heard and appreciated, is a great environment to be a part of. I have learned a lot and will carry these skills with me into the future.

 

 

COM0014 – Blog #6: My Story

“What is your greatest achievement?”

June 9th, 2017:

I looked at my peers around me, dressed head to toe in all black. The girls had their hair done and the guys had their faces shaved and groomed. We stood in a line, two by two, and we waited outside the heavy metal doors. We were fidgety and anxious, and understandably so. We all worked hard for four years and the payoff had finally arrived. No one wanted to think about the fears of the future or where we would all be after that day. That day was a good day; a day no one would ever forget.

Someone made a signal and another person opened the doors. Music was playing loudly, the familiar tune we had all heard before in high school. You didn’t hear that song often, but when you did, it always sent a grin soaring across everyone’s face.

We sat down in alphabetical order and waited patiently for the names to be called. I felt my heart racing. I had seen videos of people tripping and falling across the stage and in the back of my head, I had to keep myself composed. I buried the thought in the depths of my imaginative mind.

My row got up and we moved to the darker side of the stage where our instructors smiled with glee. Some of them even dressed us in our hoods and guided us up the steps. Then, my name was called. “Emily McCall. Graduating with a Specialization in Digital Media. Graduating with distinction.”

My cheeks were hurting as I shook the President of UOIT’s hand. I proudly took my degree and waved to my parents and my sister who were sitting on the other side of the stage.

And just like that, it was over. I had graduated from four long, hardworking years of university. I was now a Bachelor of Arts graduate and I had never felt more proud of myself in my entire life. DSC_0469

 

COM0014 – Blog #5: Personal Branding

close up of hand over white background

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I will admit, I stared at my laptop for a while before starting this blog post. I am 23 years old and I think it is quite acceptable to not know what my personal brand is yet. I’m still discovering myself and what I like and don’t like. Somedays I really like my job and other days I second guess my entire academic career and wonder what my life would be like if I did something else. So, here’s my shot at figuring out what my personal brand is.

 

What are some personal qualities or characteristics that set you apart from the competition?

I like to think that I am a big dreamer. I always set goals and have dreams for myself and one day, I hope to accomplish all of these things. I have vision and I work hard, but I’m also not afraid to have fun. I like to be creative, I like music and play instruments, and I love to write. Writing and reading are a big part of my life. One of my dreams and goals to publish a fiction novel. I don’t know where I would be without writing and reading, and also music! I’m not sure if these qualities set me apart from the competition, but I think the creativity of it all helps me look at things in a different perspective than other people.

book book pages browse education

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

What have you done lately to make yourself stand out? 

I’m going to be honest… I couldn’t tell you. I’m a plain person and sometimes (most times) I like to keep to myself. The one thing I can think of is I came up with a fun contest idea to give away free tickets to an OHL game at work. The contest went well and we had a lot of people enter!

 

What would your colleagues say is your best trait? 

I think they would say that I’m always full of ideas, and I’m not timid when it comes to sharing them. When I think of something, especially if it is something that will help better the company or attract more people online, I speak up and say it. My boss has told me that he really appreciates when I share my ideas as it is a big asset to the company and I bring a different perspective to the table. Another trait is that I am good at getting things done in an appropriate timeline and am good at getting organized when I have a lot of tasks on my plate.

 

I hope this has given you all some insight of who I am. I still do not know what my personal brand is, but I am looking forward to growing mentally and physically. I’ll let you know when I figure it all out.

COMM0014 – Blog #4: Netflix to Consumer Interactions on Twitter

When you think of Netflix, the first thing that probably comes to mind is your favourite show to binge. For me, it’s selecting my favourite episodes of The Mindy Project or The Office and forgetting all of my stresses. Another exciting moment that occurs to me when I think about Netflix is all of the great original series that they produce, and the best way they promote these shows is through their Twitter account.

 

Netflix to Consumer Twitter Interactions

Netflix utilizes it’s Twitter account for successful business to consumer interactions. Considering that there are many people globally that own a Netflix account and watch daily, there are multiple Twitter accounts per geographic location. For instance, there is a Netflix Canada account, Netflix US, Netflix UK and Ireland, and so on. This is a smart social media tactic to cover all regions with Netflix without getting any questions from consumers mixed up or lost in a sea of notifications. Also, there are different shows and movies in different regions.

When Netflix adds a new movie or TV show, they promote it on their Twitter account in a casual and humorous way that allows for audience and consumer interaction. For example, Netflix recently released an original series called Maniac, starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. They used a screenshot from the movie Superbad, that the pair did in the past, and made a joke out of it to promote that the new movie will be arriving soon. Adding elements of humour within their Twitter page allows for more followers and hopefully more potential customers to purchase a Netflix account.

Netflix Screenshot

Screenshot from Netflix Canada Twitter page

 

Another great example is how Netflix interacts with their audiences online. In the two screenshots below, you will see how Netflix engages in consumer interactions. The Tweets already have a lot of Retweets, Likes, and Comments, which can persuade people who do not have Netflix already to purchase an account as Netflix Tweets about their great selection. In a way, this is subtle advertising from Netflix through Twitter.

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Netflix using one of the popular shows that streams on their service to interact with followers/consumers; Screenshot from Netflix US Twitter page

 

Screenshot from Netflix US Twitter page

 

Not only does Netflix use their Twitter platform for humour or promoting new shows, but they also use it as a way to communicate with their current customers and answer questions through their Netflix Customer Service account.

Screenshot from Netflix Canada Twitter page

I  the above image, a current customer asked Netflix Canada if they will be getting the final season of New Girl, and Netflix Customer Service jumped in to quickly answer their question. Netflix usually responds on Twitter immediately, which is great for keeping current customers happy and also keeping their business.

Consensus: Netflix is a Smart Twitter User

Netflix is smart with the way they use Twitter. First off, since they have numerous accounts for the different regions, and also customer support, they are able to combat any questions quickly and efficiently. Netflix uses Twitter as a helpful promotional tool to get the word out about new shows and movies that will be arriving; they utilize it as a way to promote the popular items that are already available to stream; and lastly, Netflix uses Twitter as a way to communicate with current customers, and also potential customers, through humour, relatable posts, and Twitter threads and conversations.

 

 

COM0014 – Blog #3: Targeting the Audience with Cadillac

Let’s jump right into business. Targeting people to purchase a vehicle can be tough at times, but it’s successful when you pick and choose the right ones. I’m going to give you a brief inside scoop of how we target certain people for particular campaigns.

At my job where I work as a Marketing Coordinator for a car dealership, we outsource our ad creations and targeting to another company. At the end of each month, we receive a report on how well the ads did, who we targeted the ads to, and if any leads were created from those ads. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to make up an example of how we would target a Cadillac customer. 

cadillac classic car

Here’s what Cadillacs used to look like… but this style is no more! (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

Demographics

Cadillac isn’t your Grandpa’s boat-sized sedan anymore. Cadillacs have now been rebranded, and are considered luxury vehicles where Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, sunroofs, and all-wheel drive, plus more, come in a lot of the base vehicles. When advertising to people, we use language that will turn heads and capture attention.

When looking for Cadillac customers that we want to steer into our dealership, we use our outsourced ad agency to target them through Facebook or Instagram. The demographics could be as follows: middle-aged men or women; unmarried people as some of the vehicles are coupes that would not comfortably accommodate a family of four or more; people with a post-secondary education.

XT5 Crossover Sunroof

Interior of a Cadillac XT5 (Image from Cadillac.com)

Psychographics

In addition to income and age, we want to know what the customers are looking for. We usually target people based on what they have expressed an interest in, or if they have clicked one of our Cadillac ads before and possibly submitted a lead.

The psychographics we could look for are people in white collar jobs with a disposable income, and also people in middle to upper class as most new base Cadillac sedans or coupes start at the $50,000 range. We would also want to know what car they are currently driving as this can give us an indication of what they might be interested in. For instance, if they are driving a new Honda Civic but expressed an interest in Cadillac, then maybe a Cadillac ATS or CTS would suit their style. As a company, we might also present our lease offers to show that shopping for a luxury vehicle can also be an affordable and realistic purchase.

CTS-V Sedan Taking a Turn

2018 Cadillac CTS-V (Image from Cadillac.com)

Cadillacs Are Cool Now

Cadillacs are now cool luxury vehicles with tech savvy equipment and stylish interiors and exteriors. Cadillac has retargeted their audience to suit their new brand. Here’s an interesting article on how Cadillac has now upped its game in the luxury vehicle world in comparison to recent years: https://bloom.bg/2xMHz95

COM0014 – Blog #2: Digital Storytelling and Short Attention Spans

We’ve become impatient as a society, and the best way to adapt to short attention spans is to make articles and stories more concise. Short and sweet – I’ve learned that those are the types of online articles that everyone prefers to read nowadays. The most important information is right at the top of the page or even in the headline, and the rest of the information becomes irrelevant. What time did the event take place? Where did it happen? Will it affect my commute to work or my plans later in the evening? Those are the questions that everyone wants answers to when reading a news article for instance, otherwise the main message will get lost in a sea of paragraphs and words.

four people holding mobile phones

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With the rise of digital technology and communication, everyone has a device in their hands, making it easier to access information they need instantaneously. With that said, everyone now has a short attention span. Can’t get the information pulled up within 0.6 seconds? Not worth it. Can’t connect to LTE service but can only connect to 3G? Definitely not worth it. If no one can access the information, the chances of them reading it or even sharing it to others is extremely low.

A news source that does a good job with this is BuzzFeed News. Their headlines almost tell the entire story to its readers. For example, this news article has the important information in the headline. The readers know exactly what they’re about to read, and probably don’t even have to read on any longer. BuzzFeed News also encourages audience engagement by leaving a comments section down below and buttons to share on social media.

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BuzzFeed News Article; Photo from BuzzFeed News

 

Do you think that digital storytelling has adapted to society’s short attention spans? Let’s discuss!