COM0014 – Blog #1: A Different Type of Vacation

Elle Mills. Does that name ring a bell? When I say that name, most people my age think of the successful Canadian YouTube sensation but when I hear it, I think of my childhood best friend. Back in middle school, I met Elle and we instantly hit it off. We hung out all the time, sleeping over at each other’s homes and I helped her make little videos for her YouTube channel. Now nearly a decade later, we’re still really good friends – only now she has over a million people watching her channel. This past July, Elle turned 21 and for her 21st birthday Elle wanted to celebrate big so she invited all of her hometown friends to Los Angeles for it. Imagine going on a trip with all your old high school classmates. It oddly felt like going on a huge school field trip, but only this time we could drink. I stayed in a nice little home in the Beverly Woods area with my closest pals. The neighbourhood was really calm, unlike most places in LA, and was really nice to wake up to in the morning. For most of the week, we did the same routine everyday. We’d have a nice breakfast together, do some shopping, then some sightseeing and go out in the evening to experience LA nightlife. If I had to narrow down my favourite moments from the trip, it’s definitely a tie between the bottomless mimosas at Sonoma Wine Garden or scootering along Santa Monica pier. Of course though, I can’t forget about Elle’s big 21st bash. My friend Elle likes to go big so she rented out this massive arcade in downtown LA and it was truly the craziest party I’ve ever been to. There was virtual reality, a buffet, open bar, unlimited amount of arcade games and midway games, and even escape rooms. To help you visualize how crazy extra the decorations were, Elle had her face put on the staircases. Yes, that’s right. Her face on the staircases. I wish I could go into detail about the night, but like I said, it was open bar. What I do know is that it was so nice to be with everyone I love, and people I went to high school with, and YouTubers I watch at home all the time in one room to celebrate a person who means a lot to me. To think that Elle and I went from celebrating her 13th birthday at McDonald’s in Ottawa to celebrating her 21st in a huge arcade in Los Angeles is something I still can’t wrap my head around. It’s a trip that reminded me of how grateful I am for the friends in my life, and helping me grow stronger connections with old friends I have not seen since high school.

Growing a Business for Free

Can you grow your brand through only Instagram?

It is crazy how much a click of a button can accomplish, allowing you to interact with your audience without being present. Companies are able to make a single post, and increase their growth, and make profits in just minutes.

Ashley Carman, a journalist for The Verge, writes her article Instagram now has 1 billion users worldwide. She discusses the rapid growth Instagram has accumulated in 2018 after their in-office announcement of hitting 1billon active users.

This allows large or smaller companies to take full advantage of these growths for their own improvement and development. Companies can increase attraction to their pages and bring awareness with simple interactive media posts.

There are many different ways Instagram allows you to interact and connect with your followers:

Tags

There are many ways you can use tags, from tagging other people, trending hashtags, or getting people to tag their friends in different contests. Instagram gives you man options for using tags, depending how you use it to your advantage. Hashtag’s have always been a key component for bringing awareness to a central topic, but recently brands have come up with new tactics that have proven to bring in more traffic.

Contests have been trending through people’s timelines, getting people to tag friends, like their photo, follow their page, like their page, or even repost them for a chance to win a prize. Normally people are not willing to take their time unless it is for a cause, so this helps push people to promote your brand for you while you sit back and all you had to do is make a single post.

Swipe Up!

This tactic is great if you are wanting to share something with your followers that you are not able to on Instagram; whether it be selling merchandise, a link to your newest video, or a link to your blog, you are able to link anything you would like that would interest you followers. It allows you to post a summary or idea on your story and your followers can decide whether they are willing to take the time to swipe up or skip by.

Recently I noticed personal bloggers re-posting their pictures to their story and have a swipe up link to the photo posted on their Instagram, using this strategy to gain more traction and likes to build their brand!

Make a Poll

Making polls is not so much for increasing traction but it does help you understand your followers and consumers. This option allows brands to take the time to see what their followers and consumers are looking for, for example: A company cannot decide if they want to launch their new product in blue or green… well with only a few clicks, the company is able to create a poll to allow their consumers to decide for them. Based off the results they can successfully create items they know their customers would enjoy.

Ask for Feedback

Feedback is a huge factor for all companies, involving Instagram of not, your feedback from your clients is the most important thing of any company because that shapes your reputation as a brand. Instagram now allows people to post a question or a statement and people are able to reply and voice their opinion to the person, brand or company and it can be completely anonymous.

Collab with Influencers

Now this is the BIGGEST tactic most larger brands use, this would not be considered free either. Companies pay influences hundreds to thousands of dollars to promote their brands through your favourite influencers. It is the most effective way to get influencers that people look up to and have them sell your brand to all their following. If your favourite model, actress, or singer tells you to buy it, chances are high… you will probably end up buying it. Especially when many of these influencers are given discount codes and you THINK you are saving money.

Source: BUSINESS OF APPS

Social media gives us such a diverse and proactive platform that can be taken full advantage of. Brand’s now do not have to pay thousands to advertise or start up their brand’s on TV or on the radio because Instagram offers so many features to allow you to spark your growth and become a reputable brand with multiple free features, and low prices to sponsor or promote your posts if you decide to do so.

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Want to know how to grow a business for free? Take a look at my blog! https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

Twitter:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? #insta #socialmedia #instgram #branding #company https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

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Is Google Listening?

Over the recent years, more and more people are brought to attention about their privacy regarding their cellular devices. People are realizing that there could be a possibility that companies may be listening to us more than we are aware of.

Have you ever noticed while you’re having a conversation with someone, and for example, you both are discussing your interests over shoes? You mention you want a pair of white Converse, and then suddenly… 5 minutes later, those EXACT white pair of Converse you were mentioning appears on your timeline.

Source: Apple

In an article from February last year by CBS News, Sam Nguyen claims she gets the idea her phone is listening to her, and she is certain she gets ads from Facebook and Google for things she only mentions aloud.

“I didn’t write that in my email. I didn’t check it out online yet. It’s just popping up. That’s kinda weird,” Nguyen said.

(CBS News, 2018)

Well some say it might be considered a coincidence, whereas others believe it’s no coincidence at all.

It’s becoming more common for people to have ads pop up on their social media timelines such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for items they have not once searched for.  Some experts agree with the possibility, but others say that companies already know too much about you… so are they really listening?

I am not sure what is creepier, the idea that someone is always listening, or the idea that that Google and Facebook probably know me better than I know myself, and I do not know which one I would prefer. Companies are able to track data relating you based off your GPS, your searches, the pictures you upload, the items you deleted, the videos you have watched, and more.

Did you know?

Google takes your information that you provide such as: your location, sex, age, interests, occupation, relationship status, if seeking weight loss, and income and they generate an advertisement profile that personalizes all the ads you see online and on social media.

Click on these links to view your data!

Google knows where you’ve been

Google knows everything you’ve ever searched – and deleted

Google has an advertisement profile of you

Google knows all the apps you use

Google has all of your YouTube history

If you’d like more information on all the information Google has on you, this article by Dylan Curran from last year is super useful:

So, are companies really listening? Or do they just know you better than yourself. The internet can be a pretty scary and crazy place and in today’s day in age it is extremely difficult to not be tracked or have any privacy anymore. That is why it is so important to maintain your privacy and be extra careful, what you click, and what you give permission to online, the items you share and the things you say.

To conclude here is a video experiment produced by one of the Buzzfeed producers, Chris:

“Ever wonder if someone is listening through the microphone in your phone? Chris conducted an experiment to see if his iPhone would listen to him, and target an advertisement at him.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xltl6_0hyU

Source: Buzzfeed

In reality, there would not be enough time or money in order to have people listen and go through every conversation being made while a phone is present.

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Is Google Listening? Take a look at my blog! https://bit.ly/2YAmBqs

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Is Google Listening? #google #socialmedia #phones #IsGoogleListening https://bit.ly/2TQQofV

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