COMM0011 – Blog 6 – Where to go from here…

Well here we are, the close of the COMM0011 chapter is upon us.

As I sit here and reflect upon the reflect upon the last few months, and my experience with this course, I am content.

I started from a place of ignorance and quickly moved into sheer awe! I then moved through various stages of learning to the place where I find myself today.

So, how confident do I feel about my new-found knowledge?

Hmmmm….I’d say mildly confident :). I would definitely have a better sense of navigating introductory concepts. I also feel very clear about where I would like to go next.

Up until now I have learned about the various tools available and how businesses and government are using them. I have also enjoyed learning about concepts of engagement, ‘listening’ and online ‘conversations. More recently, I have been challenged to work on my brand development, searched for target audiences and learned the fundamentals of some of the more common tools.

I can’t speak for everyone – but I feel like I have come a LONG way!

The next steps for me are to continue to develop my online business strategy. I have some important decisions to make, and some plans to put into action!

I am planning on joining COMM0012. The course description reads as exactly what I need to take the next steps and move forward.

Thank you to all of my reader’s, and your supportive comments.  I want to wish all of my COMM0011 colleagues the very best in future projects and endeavors. Hopefully we will cross paths again.

Until next time;

Jennifer

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COMM0011 – Blog Post 5 – Defining My Brand

Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing the various discoveries I have been making through taking this class on my blog. In the more recent posts I have focused largely on the task of finding the audience for my business.

I have also been working on how to properly define and develop my brand. Aside from the obvious tasks involved in this process i.e. defining the services I offer and the distinguishing characteristics that these services provide, I have also come across other helpful steps.

Development of brand strength should also include:

1. Identifying ‘Core Values’ of the services I offer and of the company as a whole: (respect, compassion, integrity and personalized service) 

2. Identifying the mission of the company: To help my clients connect to and experience their own optimal physical function.

3. Create a Tagline for the company, I have two ideas for this one: ‘@musclematters’ or ‘@muscleworks’not sure which one fits best just yet…

4. Create a ‘personality’ or ‘character’ for the brand which audiences will associate with the services my business offers.  Here is a sample of what I envision for my personality / character / logo:

TSSignature3

 

I am definitely making progress through these steps, although I will continue to work my way through a few more such as:

Building a relationship between the brand character and the audience, developing personality ‘traits’ of my brand / business (I’m thinking empowered, energetic,  inspiring, happy, healthy etc)…

As I move forward working through this process, I would love to hear feedback or advice from your own experience with brand development.

Until next time;

Jennifer

REFERENCES;

http://marketing.about.com/cs/advertising/ht/definebrand.htm

 

COMM0011 – Blog # 4 – Finding my Target Audience

Where can I find my target audience? Which Social Medial Tools will be best suited to help me start conversations and build my brand?

These are very big questions.

Now that I feel fairly comfortable with defining ‘WHO‘ my client is, I have been spending most of my time in the past few weeks searching online portals to see if I can figure out WHERE to find them.

Just to give you some background, I don’t have a website or even a blog just yet. No matter how many different kinds of excuses I come up with, the answers typically revolve around two questions ‘What will I say?’ and ‘How should the site look?’. I have reached the point where I realize that even the simplest website / blog is better than none at all and the longer I stay stuck on these questions – the more potential clients I might lose.

So here I am. 🙂

I began my search for possible audience portals with Blogs. As it turns out, there are quite a few blogs written by Massage Therapists dedicated to client audiences in the U.S. The website ‘Massage Therapy Programs’ has even compiled a list of it’s Top 50 favorites you can find here: http://www.massagetherapyprograms.net/featured/top-50-massage-blogs/

Canadian Massage Therapists who use blogs are far fewer, and the majority tend to write blogs for their colleagues in the profession rather than an audience of clients. This leads me to believe that there may be great a blogging opportunity – if properly shaped – I could help pave the way by using blogs to chat with clients.

Then there was Facebook.

When I searched tag lines ‘Health and Wellness’ and ‘Health and Fitness’ I was truly BLOWN AWAY. There were quite a few very solid contributors / pages that came up for me to peruse. I was amazed to see that some even had up to 1.5 million followers. I immediately started to sign up for some of them with the hopes that I could begin to ‘listen’ and perhaps contribute to a conversation or two.

I also felt very inspired to continue to update my profile and streamline my posting material to better reflect my intentions with business.

I still have more a lot more work to do, and far more sites to visit…..but I am definitely starting to get the hang of this stuff!  There are very exciting times ahead!

Until next time 🙂

 

 

 

COMM0011 – Blog 3 – Defining My Audience

As I continue along this COMM0011 journey, I have discovered that my general business planning is evolving and getting better – more ‘enriched’ if you will.

The question on my mind these past few weeks has been: Who is my audience? Ironically, this is very similar to a common sense business planning question: Who is my customer?

Before going any further, it’s important to share that I am a self-employed in a service based business within the Health and Wellness world. Specifically, I am a Registered Massage Therapist and Personal Fitness Trainer. I specialize in neuromuscular performance and biomechanics, and it is my mission to help my clients fully connect to their optimal physical function.

Over the past 10 years, I have come to recognize the following characteristics of my clients:

– They are proactive with their health

– They VALUE their connection to their physical function and believe it has a direct impact on their quality of life

– They want to explore holistic, alternative strategies to improve their physical experience

These characteristics are typically indicative of potential clients that are more likely to invest and commit to the services that I offer.

I might recognize similar qualities in my audience, which is essentially a larger extension of the pool of current clients I work wit

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMM0011 – Blog # 2 – Social Media and Connection

Naturally, as I have worked my way through the COMM0011 lessons and my own independent research within the past few weeks, several subsets of questions have come up. One of which being ‘What does Social Media mean in terms of connecting with others?’.

This is a big question. It would be my guess that there are many people out there using the various social media tools with every intention of creating quality connections without truly understanding the relationship between the two areas. So what does it really mean to have 800 friends on Facebook or Twitter? Does that mean someone is truly ‘more’ connected?

These questions led me to explore the concept of human connection according to the world of humanities research. A leading research scientist within this field is Dr. Barb Fredrickson, a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

According to Dr. Fredrickson, our physiology require real human connection almost as much we need food and water to survive.  Through her research, Dr. Fredrickson indicates that in order to experience full ‘temporal and sensory connections’ physical presence is key. Eye contact, touch and voice conversation all play a role in creating moments of a truly connected experience.

Using these references has helped me to understand how it might be very difficult to create quality connections using only tools such as Facebook or Twitter, but I don’t want to rule social media out entirely just yet. Tools like YouTube, Skype and FaceTime may very well serve perfectly to maintain valuable connections over long distances or during busier times when the need to connect with loved ones prevails while on the run.

In the end, limiting our efforts and time to connecting predominantly through social media tools could possibly lead to increased feelings of isolation and disconnection. While using these tools may support our relationships from time to time, nothing replaces the quality of sensational contact through physical presence. It’s helpful to remember this in today’s busy world – don’t forget to take the time to properly and fully connect to people in your life!

Until next time;

J Brennan

References;

‘Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do and Become.’ Dr. Barbara Frederickson Ph.D., Hudson Street Press – Penguin Group, New York, January 2013.

COMM011 – Getting Started with Social Media…..

I am overwhelmed. That is the best way I can describe the feelings I have toward this course so far :).

Don’t get me wrong, I am also very excited for all that I can potentially learn – but let’s just say that the world of social media has been akin to a rather large white elephant in the room standing quietly right behind me. Patiently waiting for me to turn around and finally give it the acknowledgement it deserves!

My sense of being overwhelmed might be due to the fact that up until very recently, my understanding of social media was limited to the context of some of the more common tools (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.). I did not think of it as within a context of social behaviors – or as a shift in communication styles…..

Looking at it through this lens bestows a sense of urgency upon me. I suddenly feel like I have been missing out on something far more important than I could have ever anticipated. I want to learn more about this ‘world’ and jump in with both feet!

In addition to reading the course lessons and references, I decided to take to the Google search to see what else I could find to support this new quest for knowledge. Searching the term ‘ social media’ led me to the website http://www.socialmediatoday.com. This site presents itself as the home to an online community for professionals in the PR, Marketing, Advertising and any other business where social media is ‘mission critical’. While this site might be a bit ‘advanced’ for me at this stage – I have decided I am going to visit regularly and pay attention to some of the more experienced blog authors. I have learned that making small investments of time in activities like this always pay off in the end. Much like learning a language by spending time in the country of its origin.

To wrap things up, I am specifically interested in learning how to tap into the social behaviors of potential customers. I am a self-employed person that needs to learn the ropes of social media, if I don’t –  it could cost me my business over the long-term. I look forward to this journey and to learning from everyone!