Oh my….my last blog of the Social Media course at Algonquin College! I began my journey on Sept 4th, 2019 and will be finished TODAY!!!!! Can you tell I’m a little bit excited?
Social media has never been a high priority for me. Other than looking on Facebook to see what my friends are up to, I really did not use social media for any real purpose. Until that one dreaded day….when the boss said,
“Nikki….as of Monday, you are going to start looking after our website and our social media account!”…….The Boss
I had absolutely no idea what was being put on my plate! But, I have never shied away from a challenge before, so I decided it would be in my, and the business’s, best interest to have me take the Social Media course.
Over the duration of the course I have learned so much! I am very sure that upon completion of the course I will have the ability to create and maintain social media content for the business. I have learned that we definitely need to invest in a social media monitoring dashboard. We have chosen Hootsuite. Who else uses Hootsuite?
Over all, I would definitely recommend the Social Media course at Algonquin College to anyone who needs assistance in learning how to market their business on social media properly and effectively.
I have always had great difficulties with personal reflection. Ask me to write and reflect about someone else and I can go on for days on end! But to reflect and write about myself has always been a struggle. I guess it comes from many many years of putting others happiness in front of mine.
BUT NOT ANYMORE!!!!!!
So here we go!
Storytelling is important to great digital content because you want your readers and followers to enjoy reading your content and information. You want them to relate to your content. You want them to react to your content. At our business we want people to trust that our word is good and that they feel confident in doing business with us.
Our content will be guided by story, because it helps the audience relate to you personally or to the business. You want your content to allow your audience to engage with you. By posting about equipment maintenance and filter changing, this shows our customers that we want their equipment to run properly for them and that we want their existing equipment to work for them for as long as possible, before having to replace it. We do not want them to think that because their equipment may break that we are the type of business that just replaces it with new equipment.
The kind of stories that our business wants to tell are those that supply important preventative maintenance information, warranty information, rebates and upcoming promotions, fundraising information, and staff profiles and accreditations. Really anything pertinent to the business that our customers or potential customers should know about.
So if you are in need of any HVAC work, please do not hesitate to call us!!
So how will I go about developing my professional network online and in person.
In person is easy peasy! I love to talk, I love to learn, I love to ask questions and basically that is what networking is. I hope to expand the amount of people that I am able to interact with by attending more monthly meetings held by our little town for fellow business owners. Not only will I be able to network with other small business owners, but I will be able to network with small business owners in the same scope of work as us.
Online may prove to be a little harder for me to network with people. I find that sitting behind a screen to be very impersonable and I have a hard time connecting to people, as it is not the same as in person.
My commitments for the next 6-12 months to continue the development of my networks are:
1- To continue to interact with more business owners in our town and to ask more relevant business questions and save the personal questions for when we are not in a business setting.
2- To continue to involve myself and our business in all community events. Having our business name seen at all these events helps with brand recognition, but also to network with as many people there as possible.
3- To continue to interact with as many people as possible on our social media platforms.
4- To continue to take classes and courses about social media and network with other students and educators there.
Meeting new people is something I enjoy doing. I will continue to try and meet new people daily in person and online.
Not a lot of people do, unless they are family or a close friend. The challenges I have had to overcome to get to this point in my life were a lot. Not as much as some, but to me a lot.
At the age of twenty-two I decided to quite college and get married and start a family. As crazy as it sounds, I didn’t think I could possibly do it all at the same time. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time.
Fast forward eight years and I have two young children and a husband who was fulfilling his dreams of continued education, belonging to multiple sporting teams, travelling with friends, and advancing his career. But here I am playing the role of strong independent mother to two great children, but also at the same time I was slowly dying inside because I felt left out and left behind.
Then the day came, out of the blue, out of no where…my husband was leaving us…cause he wasn’t happy! Wasn’t Happy? All I could think about was how he could even imagine that he wasn’t happy, when my days started with kids, the middle was working a job I wasn’t happy in, and ended with kids and kids homework. I barely had the time to shower, cause I was holding down the household and working full time…..but he wasn’t happy?
From that day forward I would not let my children see me fail or doubt myself. They had always seen me work hard, but now it was not just for them but for myself as well. I was functioning as a single parent household for almost five years, before I went on a date. My kids and my happiness had to come first and I simply was not ready to sunject us to possibly more hurt.
Fast forward a few years. I have found love again 🙂 My children are extremely happy and focused on their schooling. I have left my job that I did not enjoy, working evening and weekends to make ends meet. I now run the office at a well established business just minutes from our house. I have found the time to complete the Social Media certificate program at Algonquin College. And I am truly happy!
But none of this would have even been remotely possible without the love and support of my family and friends, and especially the love of my children and our new blended family!
Branding is me. We have been branded since birth. From the brand of diapers we wore in the beginning, to the brand of backpack we took to school, to the brand of glasses we now wear as adults. Branding is everywhere. Personal branding is the same. From our first job at the pizza place taking customers’ orders we had begun developing customer service skills. As we get older with professions and careers, we continue to build our personal branding.
There are two areas of specialization that I believe I excel in, office management and customer service/relations. Both come from many many years of work experience starting from when I was fourteen with my first job.
Office Management: Office management is almost like second nature to me. In my current job at our business I run all day to day operations and handle all office related duties. Prior to running the office at Nev’s Heating & Cooling, I was the store manager for a locally owned and run butcher shop for twelve years. Although not a typical office setting, it still had all the same responsibilities. Inventory control, profit and loss reports, invoicing, scheduling, and human resources management. In the past I have also run two departments at a grocery store at the same time. Both the deli and bakery departments required all the above skills and techniques but also had customer service deeply inserted in day to day management as well. I was often serving customers while doing scheduling or inventory in my down time.
Customer Service/Relations: This skill has been part of every single job I have ever had and to this day still is. Without customers businesses will never survive. Without exceptional customer service business will have no customers. I believe I stand out as a customer service representative because of the twenty-nine plus years of experience I have doing it. I have had some very knowledgeable managers along the way that have helped shaped and formed me into the manager I am today. They provided me very on in my working career with some very valuable tools and skills when dealing with customers or clients. Patience is the most valuable quality to have when working customer service. It is imperative that you always stay calm and maintain composure when dealing with frustrated customers. Doing this does not cause a negative impact on the company or business.
The following are what I am most proud of accomplishing over the past year:
Algonquin College – Social Media Certificate: Being 43 years old and a mother of 2 and step mother to 1 has limited my time to further my education but over the last 4 months I have put myself first and decided to do this for myself and get a college certificate. It has only been 24 years since I have last been a student at Algonquin College. lol
Arnprior Regional Health Foundation: Presently I am the Vice-Chair of the foundation board. Currently we are trying to fundraise 5 million dollars to expand The Grove Nursing home and hospital equipment. We are currently at 3.2 million dollars of our 5 million dollar goal. Through other board members and fundraising events, it has allowed me to meet a tremendous amount business connections within our community and surrounding area. It has allowed me to promote our business by making donations and holding fundraising events as the business as the primary sponsor.
What are you doing make your self stand out amount your competition?
Social media can either be a blessing or a curse for a business or company. If used properly social media allows businesses and companies to gain attention of potential customers and to keep the attention of their regular customers.
Two organizations that have an impressive social media strategy are Netflix and Wayfair. Both are doing a phenomenal job!
Netflix has Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. They are constantly posting updates to upcoming Netflix exclusive shows or new to Netflix movies. They are continually trying to engage their audience. Netflix is very well know for their witty comments or questions.
Their social media presence is very strong with over 61 million followers on Facebook, over 19 million followers on Instagram, and over 6 million followers on Twitter. I think Netflix is doing a great job on social media, as they are always building their followers count, and interacting with those followers. They are not shy to comment and interact with those followers and they are always publishing and posting new interesting content.
Wayfair has Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube accounts. They as well are always posting about different products they sell, and put the item in a very eye appealing picture making you imagine how great it would look in your home. Wayfair’s social media presence is also very strong. By posting pictures and content multiple times a day, which keeps them at the top of your feed and relevant. On Facebook they have over 7 million followers, Twitter over 73 thousand followers, Instagram over 1 million followers, and over 800 thousand followers on Pinterest. I think Wayfair is doing a great job on social media, as they are always posting pictures and content to keep you thinking about their products and how great they would look in your home. Who doesn’t know…..”Wayfair you’ve got what I need!”
Weak is a very strong word to use when describing Apple. Who in the world has not heard of Apple products? But yet they have zero social media accounts. Imagine if Apple used social media for advertising? They are almost unstoppable now in their industry, just imagine if they used social media? I think if Apple used Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter or a combination of them all there would be no chance that any of their competitors would be able to stop them from dominating their industry. I think Apple should start with Facebook as it is super easy to use and you can reach a very large audience, from pre-teens to retirees.
It actually surprises me that businesses and companies would not use social media for advertising and marketing their brand. Where else are you able to post advertising for free?
Do you have a business? Do you use social media for advertising?
Netflix is a B2C business who is always engaging their audiences online. They have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Netflix is known for its witty posts and comments. They have proven to be just as strong on social social media as they are as a video streaming provider, from posting updates to upcoming Netflix exclusive shows or new to Netflix movies to engaging their audience with witty comebacks and comments.
On Facebook, Netflix has over 61 million followers. The majority of their posts are video postings and very few posts involved plain images. When they do plain texts posts they tend to ask questions about different movies and TV shows resulting in their audience interacting thus increasing engagement.
On Instagram, Netflix has over 19 million followers. They post primarily images instead of videos. Netflix’s hashtag game is pretty simple but their posts get a lot of interaction and engagements.
On Twitter, Netflix has over 6 million followers. Here is where Netflix is the King or Queen of witty comebacks or comments. They have become somewhat famous for their replies. Netflix also has the help of many celebrity influencers on Twitter.
Overall, Netflix is doing an amazing job on their social media accounts. On all platforms they continue to increase their followers and continue to interact and increase their engagement numbers. By posting almost daily they remain active and have built and audience that thrives on their posts.
I continue to follow Netflix just to see their witty comments! Do you follow them? What platform is your favourite? I personally like Twitter 🙂
Determining your target audience for your business is very important. Once you have a good understanding of who your audience is, you are able to write content which is more specific to them. If you work and fully understand your business, you should have an idea of who your audience or customers are, what they are looking for, and where they are looking for it. Sounds simple enough…..right? Surprise!! Its not really as easy as you may think it is!
At our business, we have determined that the largest majority of our target audience are on Facebook and use our website. It has been determined on Facebook that the largest portion of our audience are both men and women between the ages of 35 and 54 and that 55% are women and 44% are men.
We are continually trying to stay engaged with our audience by the content we post, where we post it (Facebook and website), the day and time of day we post it, and the actions we request on these posts. Twice to three times a month we like make posts that require our audience to answer a question, or tag a friend, or like our page and share our post. This engages our audience, requiring them to read the entire post and follow the instruction properly in order to be entered in a draw for a prize. Our next draw is for two tickets to see a local band. We have found that the prize has to be something significant in order for your audience to take the time to participate.
There is an art to creating and strategically posting your content. An art that I believe every business or corporation would like to perfect!
Have you had any luck perfecting your posts to target your audience?
Storytelling is very important when writing content for your blog, website, or other social media sites. You have to be clear and concise. Free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. You must write in the active voice. But most importantly you must never bury the lead!
Clear and concise:
There are many different things your audience could be doing, so the need to draw their attention in quickly is super important. To do this, you need to be clear and concise in your writing and draw them in within the first few lines of your writing. Either by the headline, or sub headings. Allowing them to quickly look at and skim the article.
Grammar, spelling and punctuation:
This is a must! Poor grammar, spelling errors, and punctuation errors can cause your audience to question your credibility or lack of. If you expect your audience to read your content , it must be free of all errors as it shows them you have actually put effort into writing your content.
You should always be writing in the present tense or active voice, not in thee past tense or passive voice. The active voice tends to be a more interesting read for your audience.
Do not bury the lead:
Make sure you have the most important facts at the beginning of your article. Followed by the less important information, to the least important information. It allows your audience to engage in your content right from he get go.
Lastly, I have learned that it is extremely important to have someone help proof read all your articles or content for you before posting it. It can help you with the flow of your writing.
But most importantly your audience has to be able to interact with your writing. If they can not do that….. why are you writing?
There are many social media listening and monitoring tools available these days. But my favourites are Hootsuite and Facebook.
We use Hootsuite at work. We like how you are able to manage and monitor all your different sites in on spot. I enjoy being able to schedule posts on multiple platforms at once, as it makes it much easier and more efficient for us. The fact that we are able to monitor and respond to comments and mentions on all our sites by using just one platform was one of the biggest selling features for us. The social media manager, the marketing manager and the owner also like all the different reports that can be generated, allowing them to monitor the success of the content that is being posted. The platform itself is very user friendly which is also very nice feature.
Facebook is my most favourite to use to monitor and listen to content because it is where we do the majority of our postings. The insights feature is extremely easy to use and to understand. It allows us to schedule posts, comment on all comments and mentions, well really all interactions with our business page. We are able to monitor all follows, likes and shares of all content we post, thus allowing to monitor our reach. It also allows us to know when new viewers are looking at our business page.
Of all the different sources of news and update sources , the ones that interest me the most are CNN and CTV news on Facebook. I find that both pages on Facebook post news very frequently, thus allowing me to stay up to date on all that is going on around my community and even the world. I like that CNN posts my worldly updates and they post approximately every 10 minutes and that CTV news posts my local news updates every hour. These sites allow me to stay involved with the outside world by being stuck behind a desk for 8 hours a day.