B2C Case Study: How Torrid Interacts with their Shoppers

In the past few months, Torrid has become one of my favourite places to shop. Torrid is a clothing store for women size 10-30 which has opened 400 stores across the United States since 2001 and 15 locations in Canada since 2015. This brand is amazing when it comes to body positivity and even hosts a model search each year to choose an everyday girl to be the new face of the brand – it’s pretty awesome.

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In addition to their website, Torrid has accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They also use email marketing with an opt-in option when you sign up for their points programme in store.

Recently, Torrid has used a more traditional form of marketing in the form of a rather

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Betty Boop advertising Torrid on Project Runway

gimmicky, but cute, segment on Project Runway where an animated Betty Boop appeared alongside the real contestants to advertise Torrid’s new Betty Boop collection. In the show, Betty would be modelling the winning contestants design. I thought that this was actually quite a cute and unique way to advertise the brand. It certainly reaches out to the right demographic and potentially to new customers. It may also draw in new shoppers who are fans of the show but haven’t shopped there before. I give it a high score for cuteness, at the very least.

In terms of social media, Torrid has made a wise choice of which platforms to use. However, I’m not sure that they are using their social media to its full potential. When looking at the brand’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages I immediately notice one thing: all three platforms have exactly the same posts all the time. Although users may not connect with Torrid on all three social media platforms, this strategy doesn’t encourage shoppers to use all three as they won’t be getting any additional information or offers through the various platforms. Their email marketing is different though and does provide recipients with great deals and information. In terms of engagement, I’m not convinced that Torrid is there yet. There are definitely fans of the brand commenting and interacting on their posts, but it really isn’t up to the leve

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ls it could be. Torrid has 64.3K followers on Twitter, yet their twitter posts garner only a few likes and replies and very few retweets. Instagram is much the same. While the brand boats 528K followers on their page, each posts receives just over 3000 likes. I was, in fact, really confused and disappointed by the brand’s Instagram page. I scrolled down through many posts and only once saw the brand asking a question for its audience to answer in the comments. In my opinion, this is the easiest way to foster interaction! There didn’t seem to be any specific hashtags to use to reach out to the brand. Their Instagram bio does mention #TheseCurves, but when I did a quick search through hashtags there didn’t seem to be many posts and no recent ones. I couldn’t find any evidence of any influencers either. I did a quick google and found that in May 2017, Torrid through an influencer pool party to promote their latest swimwear line – this is where the #TheseCurves came from! It was a little disappointing to see that there has been little outreach to influencers since then and no new hashtags nor any promotion of their existing ones. Torrid’s facebook page leaves much to be desired: I read through lots of comment threads and was disappointed. There were lots of comments, but no evidence of any brand interaction. People were asking questions about the products and other followers were responding to their questions with conflicting information. This is not good. It’s not enough for the brand to simply post on their social media and hope for the best. You cannot rely on simply passively listening to what your customers are saying, there needs to be a response. Responding to your audience on social media allows them to see the brand in a more personal, humanised light and builds further trust – an excellent thing for the brand, of course!

 

I believe that Torrid could easily revamp their social media strategy and achieve much greater success. Continue posting on the same content on Facebook, but have a small team who is ready to reply to comments. Switch things up a bit on twitter. Ask more questions to their audience, retweet tweets mentioning the brand or showing off their Torrid outfits, and post some content from other sources. Instagram needs a bit of an overhaul: reach out to some influencers and, perhaps more importantly, reach out to the audience to crowdsource some content. This makes new posts easy for the brand and encourages engagement and it’s easy! Online retailer ASOS encourages their users to hashtag their Instagram photos #AsSeenOnMe for a chance to have their photo featured on their website or Instagram page. I think Torrid needs to do something like this.

It can be hard to develop a social media strategy, but when you do it’s important to commit. One of the greatest mistakes that brands make is failing to invest sufficient time and energy into their social media or creating the platforms, posting a couple of things, and expecting the platform to do the work for you. Spoiler alert: This is never going to work no matter what your brand is trying to advertise. It’s quite disappointing that a brand as fabulous as Torrid can have such a lackluster social media presence. With a few quick and easy fixes, I know Torrid can be a social media superstar!

 

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Finding My Target Audience

Finding your target audience is the first step in designing your communications strategy – if you don’t know who your audience is, how can you expect to provide them with content they’ll enjoy? For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to imagine that I’m finally following through with creating a travel blog; a real travel blog that I’m serious about. Travel is something that I’m very passionate about, so I figured that this would be a good place to turn for this post.

Demographics

I’d start by determining the demographics of my blog; I think it would be wise for me to write to an audience I know and can relate to. Thus, I’d aim my blog towards females aged 20-40 who are, primarily, single – definitely those who do not have children as I have no idea how to travel with kids in tow. These women would likely have graduated from university or would be currently pursing their degree. My blog would be targeted at women of all ethnicity, something I think would be very interesting, and is very important, with a travel blog! This last point is important because women of all ethnicity and backgrounds don’t always have the same freedom to travel or encounter various visa restrictions, it’s important to have everyone feel included on my platforms.

I am currently a member of several different travel groups for women on Facebook. These groups are really eyeopening to the possibilities surrounding demographics of my travel blog. The women in these groups are aged 17-70+, I’ve even seen regular posts from an 85 year old frequent flyer. These women come from all over the world and although there are sub-groups and specialised groups, we all come together because of one shared interest: a profound desire to see the world. I have chosen, however, to focus my posts on readers aged 20-40 because that is the age range I am most comfortable with as they would likely share a similar lifestyle to me.

Psychographic

For my blog, I feel like it’s very easy to narrow down the psychographics of my audience. These women would all be interested in travelling, of course, but I would likely post a lot about what food I ate, activities I did, and what I wore while I was on holiday meaning that these women would have to also share at least a moderate interest in these things as well. In terms of what class I would be targeting, I would aim to be the most inclusionary as possible, if only by default. I am by no stretch a luxury traveller but I’m not one that likes to rough it in the cheapest of accommodations. I like to think of myself as a flashpacker, a diva on a dime, a champagne-lifestyle-on-a-beer-budget type of girl. I think everyone can take a little something away from this as I think most people are keen to save a few dollars when they can!

Getting to Know my Target Audience

As I am already an active member of these travel groups, I feel like I have a great idea about what the women in my target audience are looking for. Listening is so important to succeeding and I feel that this has given me a great jumping off point! It would be awesome if I could make a partnership with these Facebook groups, but at the very least I can use these groups as a platform to advertise my content.

Now that my demographics are sorted, I can finally start up this travel blog! The only question that truly remains now is if this blog will ever become a reality?

Digital Storytelling and Communication Styles

Being able to clearly and concisely convey content to your audience is imperative to engaging your audience and, ultimately, your success as a digital communicator. This post will give you a few ideas of how you can use your social media platforms to their full potential.

1. Be Yourself

In order to have a unique, personal presence online, it’s important to use your own voice. Inject your personality into your content to engage your audience and humanise yourself to them. Just be sure to establish your style from the get go and develop a style guide in order to maintain the same voice across all your platforms.

2. Clarity and Conciseness

The average person has a very short attention span and will likely just skim your content as a result. Thus, in order to have people actually read your content, it’s important to keep things as short and clear as possible. Cut to the chase without providing too many unnecessary details.

3. Grammar

If your content is written in a convoluted manner with lots of grammar mistakes, it’s going to downplay your credibility as an expert in your field. Make sure to proof read and even read your articles out loud before pressing post.

4. Consider the Experience 

Before you begin writing, know what you’d like your audience to take away from your content. Will they learn something new, be inspired, or is this content purely for entertainment? Your audience should feel inclined to take some sort of action after consuming your content, that is: they should want to engage.

Following these key steps should set you up to have great audience engagement through comments, likes, and shares. Furthermore, it should allow you to gain, and maintain, a position as a regarded expert in your field. Finding success isn’t too difficult, just make sure you find your tone, stick with it, and make sure you write as to the point as possible. Be constantly checking your grammar, communicating with your audience, and remember, as with anything, practise makes perfect!

 

 

Bali: The Ultimate Eat, Pray, Love Destination

Bali: The Ultimate Eat, Pray, Love Destination

I’d heard all the hype and had finally decided to see if the real deal could live up: Was Bali really the dream holiday destination? If you’re looking for beaches, temples, and delicious food then the answer is probably a yes.

The holiday began in Seminyak which isn’t the most amazing place in terms of landscape and authenticity, but is a great touristy beach town…  lots of shopping, cafes (my favourite was Sisterfields), and beach front bars. As Indonesia is one of the only places relatively close to the land down under, Bali is a very popular holiday spot and being there felt a lot like being in Australia.  After months of being in Asia though, I honestly can’t say that I didn’t welcome some Western comforts… mainly cheese.

The first few days were spent lazily – just how a holiday should be. We enjoyed some long beach days (and subsequent sunburns), eating more nasi goreng and gado gado than I’d care to admit, and indulging in cheap massages. After a few days, I was ready to get back to exploring and experiencing the rest of Bali. The villa we stayed in arranged a driver to take us from Seminyak to Ubud which, according to both google maps and the concierge, takes 45 minutes. Unfortunately our driver got lost, a few times, and it wound up taking us around three hours to get there.

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Staying in the shade on our second beach day… Check out those sunburns!

As soon as we arrived, we decided to head to Ubud’s Monkey Forest. The Monkey Forest is considered a sacred area and is both a nature reserve and a Hindu temple. The complex itself is really beautiful: ancient temples covered in stone carvings of monkeys, tree lined paths, and even waterfalls. The 700 Balinese long tailed monkeys who live there are what make it really special.

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Ubub’s scared Monkey Forest

After the Monkey Forrest, we did some shopping and decided to take in a stunning traditional Balinese dance show at Saraswati Temple. The show was amazing, I loved the costumes most of all. Afterwards, we took a taxi to find somewhere to have dinner. When we found a taxi, we noticed it had lots of jokes written on the outside. Our driver was a funny little man with the most contagious laugh. His name was Mr. Free Hug and he offered to take us on “the best tour of Ubud” the next day.

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Dancers at Saraswati Temple

Our day with Mr. Free Hug was amazing. It truly made our trip. He was so funny and knowledgeable about the places he took us to. We started our day wandering through the beautiful rice terraces. We visited Goa Gajah, the elephant cave, a stunning ancient temple. Next we visited Tirta Empul, a really beautiful temple that serves as the setting for a legend about good against evil, according to the locals. The main highlight of Tirta Empul is the many freshwater pools which people wade through to achieve spiritual purification. It was absolutely stunning and very interesting to learn about and participate in this Hindu practice.

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Washing my head, the most important part, in the pools of Tirta Empul.

We stopped at Satria Coffee Plantation to try one of their cat-poo-chinos – yes, you read that correctly. Loumaks, a small cat-like creature, eats coffee beans and when they come out, they are harvested and turned in to the world’s most expensive coffee. I am not a coffee drinker at all and I must say, the cat-poo-chino was truly delicious. The final stop on our tour with Mr. Free Hug was Tegenungan Waterfall. It was quite beautiful, but also one of the more touristy places we visited that day. That being said, it was a very beautiful waterfall and after a hot and sweaty day wandering around Ubud, it felt really nice to cool off there.

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Mr. Free Hug dropped us off at our new Airbnb. We had decided to treat ourselves to one more night of luxury. The place looked lovely and it was brand new. We were the first guests to stay there and it was a little obvious that the hosts hadn’t quite ironed out all of the kinks. The owner picked us up at the gates… well, one of us. He came on a scooter and sped off with my friend Katie. That left my friend Hannah and I to find our way to the Airbnb ourselves, luggage in tow. The walk to the Airbnb was stunning. It lead us through a little village in the rice terraces… for about 2km. It was a little concerning that we were seemingly in the middle of nowhere while one of our friends was off on a scooter with a local stranger, but we made it. Things just kept getting funnier there… like when our host gave us a giant iron padlock and key (think Game of Thrones style) to lock the doors with. All of the stress was worth it, though, to swim in the rooftop pool the next morning.

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The following day was the much anticipated snorkeling day. I love to snorkel and had really talked up the idea to my friends. We found a company to take us out for the day on a glass bottomed boat. We should have been skeptical due to how inexpensive it was, but sadly we weren’t. The company took us to a beach about an hour away from our hotel. The glass bottomed boat turned out to be a boat with a teeny tiny Plexiglas square in the front. Normally, snorkel and dive trips take you 2 or more hours away from shore, so I was really shocked when the boat stopped after about 5 minutes and the driver suggested that we hop in and start snorkeling. The water here was about 4 feet deep with nothing at the bottom but some dead coral and rocks. There were about 10 other snorkeling boats around us and many other boats weaving very fast between the snorkelers. It was very lackluster and, frankly, dangerous. When I complained, the boat took us back to shore and told us that they weren’t going to give us our money back nor would they give us a ride back to our hotel. It was a little scary and I really felt like crying, but rather I negotiated with the man and he did in fact return our money and drive us home. The day was not a complete waste though, we found a lovely Indonesian cooking class to go to instead!

The rest of our holiday went by without incident. In fact, it was wonderful and sunny with lots of mojitos. If you’re looking for a holiday with both relaxation and adventure elements, I would definitely recommend visiting Bali… just learn from my mistakes!

 

 

 

What I love about Hong Kong

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Because it’s a serious of islands, Hong Kong boasts some pretty amazing beaches! Only minutes from the city, one of my favourite ways to spend a weekend is at (my personal fave) Shek O or exploring a new place to catch some rays.

2. Beautiful Landscape

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Whether you’re taking in the amazing city skyline or the rolling green mountains, it’s safe to say that Hong Kong’s landscape does not disappoint. Hiking is a great way to take in the greenery while staying close to the city. There are some pretty amazing views of the city from these hikes as well: Try climbing to the top of The Peak, especially at night to take in a spectacular view. If you’re not in to hiking, have no fear. You can enjoy the spectacular view of the city by taking the Star Ferry from Central to Kowloon. While you’re on Kowloon Side, head to Ozone – a bar located at the top of the ICC- for a drink with a view. Stick around and catch the light show in Tsim Sha Tsui as well!

3. Hundreds of Islands to Explore

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If you’ve really taken a liking to hiking and exploring beaches, you’ll love the fact that there are hundreds of islands to explore. Simply catch a ferry from Central Pier and see where you can end up! The largest island, Lamma, is only a 30 minute ferry ride from downtown. Here you will find The Big Buddha, Tai O fishing village, and you may even spot some of Hong Kong’s famous pink dolphins! Head to Cheung Chau island in May for the bun festival – competitors race to grab the luckiest buns which are then shared with the island’s residents. It also makes for a lovely day to rent a bike to explore the island with!

4. Dim Sum

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The Chinese version of tapas, Hong Kong is the King of dim sum. Going for dim sum a great way to taste the traditional Cantonese flavours and a fun (and cheap!) way to share a meal with friends! My personal favourite thing to order are lai wong bao, sweet egg custard buns.

5. Public Transportation That’s Second to None

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I’m constantly amazed by the cleanliness and efficiency of Hong Kong’s public transpo. It’s also very user friendly, especially the MTR, so getting around the city is a breeze! The transportation is also very affordable, even a taxi will only set you back about $3!

6. The Best Nights Out

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For a great night out, head to Lan Kwai Fong. The whole street is lined with clubs and it’s the place to be on the weekend! The street is packed as well as it’s legal to drink on the street. Simply head to “club 711″ for some cheap Tsing Tao beer to get your night started! Mr. Wong’s in Mong Kok is also a must visit, at least once! Mr. Wong is super friendly and QUITE the character! A night at Mr. Wong’s will set you back just $60HKD for all you can eat and drink! Rest assured, even in the wee hours of the morning the streets of Hong Kong are well lit and busy and, regardless of what time of day, very safe!

7. It’s a Great Hub for Travel

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Just a quick ferry ride to Macao or a train to Shenzhen, but close enough to the rest of Asia that it’s possible to take a long weekend trip to Bangkok or Ho Chi Min. You’ll certainly make the most of your holiday time by taking trips across the continent!

8.  A Night at the Races

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Head to the Sha Tin race course or the Happy Valley race course each Wednesday. If lady luck is on your side, place a bet on your favourite horses!

9. Battle of the Theme Parks

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Despite being fairly small in area, Hong Kong is home to two great theme parks. Ocean Park boats rides AND panda bears! Or, if Mickey Mouse is more your style, head to Disneyland Hong Kong!

10. Super Convenient Convenience Stores

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You’ll never need to worry about being thirsty or needing a snack in Hong Kong as it has the world’s most convenient convenience stores. There is one 711 per 1.38sq miles – which doesn’t even account for the fact that there is another chain of shops, Circle K – you’ll often even find these shops beside each other!

11. Markets

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Hong Kong offers so many markets. Wet markets seem to be around every corner and offer fresh fruits and vegetable. Temple Street market offers many great restaurants to sample while you shop for souvenirs. Near by you’ll find the Jade Market in Austin. My personal favourite, is the Ladies Market in Mong Kok, is the place to go for bargains on souvenirs and designer knockoffs!

12. Everything is Super Hygienic

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The SARS outbreak in 2003 has forever scarred the people of Hong Kong. Windows are left open all winter long to allow air flow, masks are worn when you are sick, and hand santizer is in no short supply. Dare to sneeze on the train without wearing a mask and prepare for hundreds of death glares. Elevator buttons, railings, and escalators are sanitized every four hours!

13. Endless Brunch Options

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This is very important to me because brunch is my favourite food group. The brunch options are limitless and each one better than the last. Some favourites of mine are Panevino’s all you can eat brunch with free flow prosecco on Sundays for $300HKD. If I’m feeling extra fancy, brunch at The Peninsula Hotel is the only way to go (also a great place for high tea!).

14. Many Holidays

Hong Kong celebrates both Chinese and Christian holidays which means A LOT of time off of work. This gives lots of ample time to explore the city, travel, and take in a lot of culture. The Lion Dances during Chinese New Year are breathtaking!

15. Escape the Hustle and Bustle by Retreating to a Park

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Despite the fact that the city might seem like a true concrete jungle, there’s plenty of green space if you know where to look. Hong Kong Park, Victoria Park, Tamar Park, the botanical gardens… the list goes on. Check out my personal favourite, Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill for a feeling of real serenity and seclusion in the city. It’s really quite spectacular being in the beautiful, quiet gardens while simultaneously surrounded by sky scrapers on every side.

16. Rugby Sevens

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The Rugby Sevens is a world class Rugby tournament which takes places over a weekend in late March or Early April and it’s a BIG DEAL. People get really in to the Sevens tournament – be sure to buy your tickets early and have a costume prepared as this is a fancy dress event! If you don’t manage to score tickets or you aren’t a huge fan of rugby, don’t worry! There’s a free viewing area where you can watch the game on a big screen while sitting on comfy beanbags… and there’s no obligation to stay for hours 😉

17. Junk Boats

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My absolute FAVOURITE way to spend a sunny weekend in Hong Kong is by getting a bunch of friends together and renting a junk boat. Picture this: all your friends, drinks, pizza, and the sea. What could be better? A junk boat is a fun, party boat you can rent for a fairly low cost. A driver will take you around and stop in the middle of the sea (usually near Repulse Bay, Stanley, or whichever other beachy area you’d like to go!). They often come with toys, although it’s fun to buy rubber rings and floaties, and many restaurants will cater your trip as well (Checkmates does HUGE pizzas for a really low cost!). Trust me, it will be a great day!

18. The Best of Both Worlds

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Hong Kong is amazing. It’s a great balance between the East and the West, tradition and modernity. There’s an amazing expat community and lots of Western dining in addition to amazing locals, dim sum, noodle carts, and milk tea. You’ll find state of the art technology and architecture mixed with crazy bamboo scaffolding. It truly is the most amazing city to live in

Millennial for Hire: Using LinkedIn to Find a Job

Millennial for Hire: Using LinkedIn to Find a Job

Finding a job is hard, really hard. I don’t think I’m alone in this as it seems to be a trend that millennials are not finding work, especially not high paying careers in the fields we’ve spent a fortune in tuition trying to get into. We’re a generation of highly educated, highly technological individuals working at low paying jobs. When I first heard about LinkedIn, it seemed like the answer to all of my problems: it’s essentially Facebook for your resume. But months after creating and curating my profile, it’s done nothing to help me advance my career. Am I doing something wrong? Am I just THAT unemployable? Has anyone ACTUALLY found a job on LinkedIn before?

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I am relatively new to LinkedIn; I’ve only had a profile for about six months. I had heard of it while I was still in university, but I didn’t feel like I needed it then (and, truthfully, I had no idea how it worked). LinkedIn is a business and employment oriented social networking site. It was launched in 2003 and boasts more that 500,000,000 members in over 200 countries. Honestly, I don’t know if these stats leave me impressed and hopeful that with so many users world wide SOMEONE should want to hire me (me being a twenty something with a university degree, minimal work experience in my field, who has spent the last two years travelling trying to “figure it all out”, rather unsuccessfully) or if it’s left me disheartened that with that many users NO ONE wants to hire me.

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As the novelty of being back in the small town I grew up in, fresh off my two year adventure (with my wanderlust not yet satisfied, working in a slightly-above-minimum wage job that’s starting to feel increasingly like my career and not the summer job it was meant to be), starts to wears off, I’m getting more and more desperate to find a new, exciting job to really kick off my “real life”. I’ve been depending on my LinkedIn profile to bring some of these opportunities, but so far it has not been very fruitful. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching how LinkedIn works and how to make my profile seem more desirable to potential employers. Here’s a little of what I’ve come up with:

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In order to maximize the desirability of your profile, you need to be constantly improving it. You need to be spending time each week making changes and updating your work experience and volunteer work, posting articles relevant to your field, and participating in conversations. In other words, have a constant presence and always be updating.

In order to constantly be updating and creating posts to generate views, you may need to create a social media calendar to ensure that you are reaching your LinkedIn potential. The best time to post on LinkedIn is during typical working hours, 8-5 Monday to Friday. In order to stay visible, it’s recommended that you have 20 posts and interactions per month! This is definitely something that I need to work on. With a fairly high number of posts needed a month, remember that sharing is caring. Share articles that are relevant to your industry and consider writing your own. Writing your own posts shows potential employers a new level of your personality while also showcasing your expertise.

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It’s important to be connected; joining networks and groups has a lot of benefits. Participating in networks allows you to increase your viability online. Being in networks relevant to your industry will also help you stay on top of what’s new in the field. Joining your alumni network is also a great idea because, in a Benedict Anderson “Imagined Community”-esque way, alums are always willing to help each other out.

It’s also important that your profile is eye catching. Use professional head shots, a photo of you looking professional, or a photo of you doing what you are good at. A photo of you playing soccer could be really good, for example, if you are wanting to be hired as a professional soccer player but not so good if you are wanting a job as a lawyer. Make your profile stand out by using a background. This also helps in showing off your personality. Using a personal URL is very beneficial to make yourself easier to find. Your personal summary should use key words rather than buzzwords. For example, if you are wanting a marketing job say so! And use other language relevant to the career you want rather than over used language like motivated or passionate. Of course, your profile should also showcase your skills and talk about your work experience, while focusing on the career that you are seeking.

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Whether or not these changes to my LinkedIn profile will get me my dream job or not remains to be determined, but here’s hoping! In a world where so much of our lives is posted online, I believe that LinkedIn epitomizes the need for excellent personal branding. Gone are the days of simply handing over your resume, you need to actively live your resume and present this lifestyle online. I have made LinkedIn a priority social media platform in my life and recommend others in my generation to do the same, it could be our shot at getting the jobs we deserve! In the meantime, if anyone is looking to hire a hardworking, creative, customer service driven, Political Science graduate with proven leadership skills and an interest in marketing… I’ll just be over here editing my LinkedIn profile… 😉

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Business Insider has written some articles that I have found really helpful. You can find them here and here.

 

Social Media Links:

fb logoIs it possible for Millennials to use an app to find jobs? http://bit.ly/2x1xovk

twitter-logo-4  Use your phone to find a career! http://bit.ly/2x1xovk

Modern Romance: A Tinderella Story

Modern Romance: A Tinderella Story

 

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If you’ve been single in the last five years, chances are you’ve used Tinder. Or Bumble. Or Grindr.  Or OKCupid. Let’s face it – the list of dating apps is in no short supply and the list of potential Tinderellas or Mr. Right Swipes is never ending. Despite being up for around five years now, Tinder remains one of the fastest growing apps: According to their blog (that’s right, Tinder has a blog!), the number of users on Tinder grew by over 11% between December 2016 and January 2017! The online world has become a huge part of our daily lives on an increasingly personal level, to the point where online dating and apps have become the norm.

How does Tinder work?

Using Tinder is quite simple. You create a profile with 1-6 photos of yourself and a short biography using your Facebook profile to ensure legitimacy. You will also have the option of linking your Instagram and Spotify accounts for your potential matches to browse. Once you’ve created a profile, you’ll be able to swipe through the profiles of other users. A swipe to the right is a like, while a swipe to the left is a pass, a swipe up and you’ll “super like” someone. The “super like” feature is intended to help you get noticed by the people you really like but, in my experience, it mainly just happens by accident. When you and another user both right swipe each other, it’s a match! You will now be able to chat and interact with each other. Unlike traditional (and I use the word traditional in the loosest sense here) dating apps, Tinder strays away from the standard Question and Answer format and instead reverts to the idea that the ultimate deciding factor in finding a mate is based on looks. There is no real criteria to base where the likes and passes come from other than whether or not other users like the way you present yourself in your profile.

Is dating online a good thing?

As with anything, there are definite pros and cons to dating online on apps such as Tinder. Variety and seemingly endless options paired with a level of anonymity are definite benefits of using an app. For people who can be a little bit shy, Tinder offers an opportunity to meet the love of your life in a way that minimizes the pressure as it’s a casual, semi-anonymous chat. One of the reasons why Tinder has been such a success is because people often end up with mates equally as good looking as them, research shows. Part of the allure of an app like Tinder is the idea that perhaps it is possible to accurately predict the qualities, such as extroversion or self esteem or emotional stability, of a total stranger based off of a few photos. According to Christina Bloom, an entrepreneur who develops dating apps, “it all starts with the face. People say, ‘from the first time I met him, I knew.’ There’s a sense of recognition… it’s what we call chemistry”.

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Of course, the superficial notion that looks alone will create a happy relationship does not bode well with everyone. Is it even possible to create a relationship with someone with a complete lack of intimate knowledge, or really any knowledge about them at all aside from a carefully crafted selection of photos and a few short lines about themselves? Perhaps this is where the idea of using Tinder as a hookup app comes in: people don’t want or care to get to know the people they are swiping right on, they just want to have sex. Although it wasn’t created by Tinder, hookup culture has certainly been proliferated by the app. With the ability to have sex literally at our fingertips, has it become all too easy? Is Tinder the beginning of the end of romantic courtship? “We are in uncharted territory” when it comes to Tinder et al., says Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. “There have been two major transitions” in heterosexual mating “in the last four million years,” he says. “The first was around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, in the agricultural revolution, when we became less migratory and more settled,” leading to the establishment of marriage as a cultural contract. “And the second major transition is with the rise of the Internet.” So, it is easy to see that the impact of Tinder has been huge in terms of societal norms. In a society that has short attention spans and values speed, Tinder provides instant gratification; it’s essentially online shopping for the perfect (sexual) partner. This sheer ease of achieving results coupled with the millions of users worldwide which leave you with an endless stream of possible matches is how Tinder proliferates hookup culture, making it’s users less inclined to treat their matches as a person and more as a quick fix who is all too disposable.

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It’s within reason to say that Tinder has made meeting – and having sex with – people all too easy, but Tinder has simultaneously created this paradox where it’s now harder to connect with people. It’s created a society where we want the physical part of the relationship, but we’re now afraid of “catching feelings” and run away screaming when the emotional aspects of a relationship come creeping up as they inevitably would.

It’s possible that I’m speaking as a hopeless romantic in the age of Netflix and Chill, or perhaps Tinder has completely revolutionized dating in the last five years. Perhaps social norms have simply changed so quickly in the realm of dating that in order to stay caught up on what’s acceptable, one always needs to be adapting and paying attention to the latest changes. Social media is arguably the most incredible phenomenon of the twenty first century – it holds the power to change things. Tinder is not unlike any other social media platform in that it’s capable of harnessing this power. Maybe the app has used this power to an extent that it has completely changed social norms by eradicating the days of love letters and throwing rocks on windows and replaced them with super likes and 2 am “u up?” texts. While Tinder can be a fun way to meet people or, if you’re lucky, create a relationship that will last, it’s sucking the romance out of dating. The thing with love is, you can’t choose who you will fall in love with. In a fast paced world, we’re missing out on all the things that Rom Coms are made of in lieu of convenience – we shouldn’t be settling for dates without romance, let’s bring back good old fashioned love!

What’s your view of dating apps like Tinder? Comment down below!

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Social Media Links:

Facebook: Someday my prince will swipe right? Can you truly find the Prince Charming to your Tinderella on Tinder? Find out here!

Twitter: Someday my prince will swipe right? http://bit.ly/2jVojNI

SnapChat: The Next Frontier for Marketing?

SnapChat: The Next Frontier for Marketing?

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Our class readings have touched on the ways in which businesses and brands utilise social media platforms to grow their brands as well as suggesting a few trends for 2017. While doing the readings, I noticed the absence of a huge social media entity: SnapChat. Which got me thinking, why aren’t more companies using SnapChat as a platform for their business? Businesses and brands have massive online presences and are reaching huge audiences through their social media accounts. Yet, despite having over 150 million daily users and reaching 11% of the U.S’s entire digital population, SnapChat remains a largely untapped resource as marketers are still grappling with how to use the app to their advantage. The app was developed in 2011 and has been steadily growing ever since. Snapchat reaches a huge audience: they have more users than Twitter and grew in one year as much as Twitter did in four. Snapchat means business.

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The SnapChat logo is an adorable ghost

Why Should your Business be Using SnapChat?

It’s Different: SnapChat is different from other social media platforms because it allows users to create temporary content such as pictures and videos that “self-destruct” by disappearing in 10 seconds or less. Users can edit their content with text features, drawing tools, emojis, stickers, and animated filters.

Less Competition: Although usage is steadily on the rise, there is currently less brand competition for ads on SnapChat as many businesses are working out the kinks on how to harness the power of the platform.

Reach a Coveted Audience: SnapChat has the largest amount of young users out of any social media platform with 71% of its users under the age of 25. This means reaching the millennial demographic, who typically don’t respond well to conventional marketing, in fresh ways.

Creates a Personable Brand Image: Unlike the images posted to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; SnapChat presents content in a more causal, unedited way that is appealing to users and creates an authentic and personable online presence for brands.

How to Utilise SnapChat for Marketing

In 2015, SnapChat launched its advertising capabilities called 3V. These ads can appear in a number of ways be it sponsored geotags or lenses which allow special filters baring your logo to be added to users’ content or ads between stories and live ads which appear in the context of other snaps.

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A few examples of branded filters used on SnapChat

SnapChat also has a Discover section which allows businesses to put out new content daily. It is used primarily by huge corporations such as National Geographic, Buzzfeed, or CNN. Ads in the Discover section are among the most expensive ads available for purchase, starting around $40,000.

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The Discover page as it appears in the app

For smaller businesses or businesses who are working on a budget, there are several ways in which you can utilise SnapChat for marketing without purchasing advertisements. Snapchat provides each of its users with a QR code that can be posted to other social media posts as well as positing your Snapchat handle on other posts as a means to quickly reach out to your existing market and let them know that your brand has expanded to Snapchat.

Real Time Access to Live Events: Using SnapChat to showcase events hosted by your brand or product launches gives users the chance to experience an authentic account of the event. SnapChat can also effectively be used to build anticipation around product launches – your brand can capitalize on the hype you create leading up to the big reveal!

Tutorials: Many brands reach out to their users by creating a series of short snaps which come together to deliver a product tutorial to users

Behind the Scenes: Using SnapChat to show case the making of new products can be a fun interaction for users. Behind the scenes content which shows the company having fun or showing company culture like activities or outings can also help to develop your personable brand image.

Exclusive Promotions: SnapChat can be a fun was to deliver content which consumers won’t be getting from any of your other platforms. Anything from perks to discounts to contests to coupon codes is fair game and doable with the app. The best part of this is that all of your content is trackable. You can see who has viewed your stories, who has responded, and who has engaged via chat. Brands can use these stats to track the effectiveness of their ads. Creating urgency surrounding these promotions can also act as a natural motivator to get your following to engage with the special promotions.

Connect with Influencers: Influencers can be used on SnapChat in the same way that they are utilized on other forms of social media – spreading awareness to harder to reach demographics and creating quality content to enhance your brand’s voice.

To me, SnapChat seems like the perfect marketing tool to brands wanting to reach out to a young market in a fresh, unique way. It provides an absolutely massive platform and the opportunity to grow your business. If you have been thinking about starting a Snapchat account for your business, the time is now! What are you waiting for?

What do you think, is SnapChat the next frontier for marketers? Would you use SnapChat as a means to connect to your consumers?

Sources:
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——————————————–Social Media Links ————————————————

Twitter: Is there a new frontier for marketing? Find out here! http://bit.ly/2ePZkP0 

Facebook: SanpChat: The Next Frontier for Marketing? What it is, how to use it, and why your business should be using SnapChat to Market. http://bit.ly/2ePZkP0

 

Using Social Media to Make the Most of Your Travels

Using Social Media to Make the Most of Your Travels

You’ve been bitten by the travel bug and the need to travel has set in; you simply can’t satisfy the urge to see the world – every bit of it. Whether you’re travelling near or far; a seasoned traveller or setting off on your first trip outside the country, you can’t deny it: social media has become a huge part of everyday life, including when we travel. This is a great thing for savvy travellers who are looking to get off the beaten path and just enjoy what the world has to offer! It’s easier than ever to research and book amazing holidays all thanks to technology. In this post, I’m going to shed some light on a few of the ways in which you can use social media to take your travel to new heights (plane pun intended).

Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to document your travels by creating Facebook photo albums, instantly instagramming your favourite photos, and staying connected with friends and family, social media can act as your personal travel agent and tour guide!

Don’t be put off by the thought of being connected throughout your holiday if you are a traveller seeking an all-inclusive holiday where a break from your phone is part of the package deal, there are plenty of ways you can use social media BEFORE you travel that can be a huge advantage to planning the trip of a lifetime. Even if you are seeking a total break from technology on your holiday, sneaking a peak at social media doesn’t necessarily mean answering work emails, spoilers to your favourite TV shows you’re missing at home, or getting involved in the latest Facebook drama: it can mean hugely benefiting your travels!

Travel Inspiration

If you’re anything like me, even the smallest things can inspire you to get out there and see the world! Travel inspiration is everywhere and social media can be one of the best, fastest, and cheapest ways to find it!

Travel Blogs

One of my favourite ways to get ideas is to follow and interact with travel bloggers. Travel bloggers write tips and experiences from their own travels, accompanied by beautiful photos, to tell you the ins and outs of your dream destination.

Some of my favourite blogs to check out:

No Destinations – This blog is a luxury travel blog that can be great for garnering inspiration. The blog is run by nomadic couple, Chris and Danika, who quit their job and sold their belongings in March 2014 to pursue travelling full time. They have detailed posts with gorgeous pictures and are a totally swoon-inducing couple. This blog is great if you are looking to treat yo’ self and indulge in a luxury vacation… but for the backpacker or the diva on a dime, a few switches in accommodation can mean experiencing basically the same things for a fraction of the price. Check out their blog: http://www.nodestinations.com/

 

Nomadic Matt – At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Nomadic Matt. Matt is so passionate about saving money when travelling that he even wrote a book about it (How to Travel the World on $50 a day) so you KNOW he knows

One can easily see where this picture was taken by noting the geotag on the top left. Clicking this tag will allow you to search more photos taken here.

what he’s talking about. This is a great blog to check out if you want to see amazing travel destinations that you know you will be able to afford, even on a shoestring budget. Check out Matt’s blog: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/

 

 

Using Geotags

My favourite social media platform of all time is Instagram and it can be a really helpful tool when planning a holiday, especially if you are a visual person. Maybe you’ve seen a friend, acquaintance, or even a celebrity post a photo on Instagram featuring the whitest sand you’ve ever seen, the coolest looking hotel, or the most mouth-watering spread of food you’ve ever laid eyes on. There’s a really easy way to find out where they were when they took the photo and that is geotagging. Geotagging means that a person can label a photo with the exact location of the restaurant, beach, shop, wherever it is that they may be! You can click the little blue link above the photo to find out where in the world they were when they snapped the photo and add it to your ever growing travel bucket list.

By searching the place in the explore feature, one can see lots of posts made by other Instagram users in that location.

You can also use geotags if you already know where you’re going on holiday. Pop over to the explore menu on the Instagram app and type in the location you are planning to go to (i.e. Disneyland or San Antonio, Texas). You’ll be able to scroll through thousands of photos tagged in that location to get the low down on the must do’s before setting off! You can also use geotags while on holiday to find cool places to check out and the best places to eat.

Pinterest for Travel


Using Pinterest for travel is basically a combination of reading blogs and using geotags with the added benefit of being able to keep it all organised in one location. Simply type your destination into the search bar and get pinning! You can even create secret boards that no one else can see unless you invite them to contribute. This can be really useful for friends travelling together because everyone can pin things that they are interested in and share them with the group without you having to receive 500 messages an hour from your group chat!

Using Pinterest for travel can also be great because you can compile the amazing things you find from many sites onto one convenient board by copying and pasting a link to a really useful blog post into Pinterest and creating the pin yourself.

Networking
One of the greatest ways to use social media before and during your travels is by connecting with fellow travellers and locals alike on Facebook groups that connect you by similar interests. This tip was super helpful to me when I moved abroad. A quick search on Facebook will uncover the perfect group for you. I joined Sydney Au pairs, Australia backpackers, and Backpackers in Sydney before making the move down under to get some tips. Once I arrived, I was able to use these groups to connect with other expats living in Sydney and made heaps of friends this way!

Some of my other favourite groups for networking:

Girls LOVE Travel (GLT) – This Facebook group is a “global community of active and aspiring female travellers providing resources and empowerment to one another through safety, socialising, and support” and, with over 300,000 members, is a great place to find inspiration and ask your most burning travel related questions. It’s also a good way to connect and perhaps meet up with other people travelling in the place you are in and even with locals. The group also boasts many subgroups for finding people with more specific shared interests!

Fat Girls Traveling – FGT is similar to GLT but catered to a more specific group of travellers. This group aims to “be a voice for the curvy, plus size, FAT female traveller leaving shame and stigma behind” and is a great place for travel tips as well as encouraging words.

Dating Apps- Hear me out: with proper safety and discretion in place, apps like Tinder and Bumble can be great places to get chatting with locals to get to know the city you’re in! Bumble has the added benefit of a “BFF” tool which allows you to bypass the awkward “soo… what are you looking for on here?” questions and find other people seeking out just friends. No one knows the city or country like a local does, so this is an ideal tool for people who want to take in the real culture of a place, not just the ramped up, sugar coated, tourist version!

There you have it, a few of my favourite ways to make the most of my travel by using social media. Social media and technology has been an awesome upgrade on old fashioned travel and I encourage you to try a few of these tips out to maximize your vacation!

Do you use social media when travelling? Let me know in the poll and comment down below how you use social media to make the most of your vacation!

Planning a vacation? Check out these ways that Social Media can make this your best holiday ever!

 Is Social Media the best tool to plan your vacation? Check out this post to find out!