COM0014 Blog #3 – Target Audiences

In the organization I am part of, students are our main audience. More specifically, undergraduate students who are about 18-23 years old. Our students are a diverse population with a ratio of about 60% female identifying to 40% male identifying. While communication is two-ways, we mainly give information to our students though we try to balance that out with efforts to get them to engage with us. We also regularly ask for feedback and ways we can improve to ensure that we’re meeting their needs.

Some ways that are effective in communicating to this audience is through quick, digestible content. This means Instagram stories, Instagram Reels, TikTok and anything else they can get the information from quickly and effectively. While our students do read their emails, those tend to be longer and they don’t always pick out what information is the most important. In our social media, we’re able to summarize those emails into quick information. This is all part of a larger strategy. You communicate with them in multiple ways, ensuring they have opportunities to get the information they need.

Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

To us, it’s important that our target audience is also part of our team and building the strategy. This means that we have a team of students on our social media team that help us execute all our plans. They attend our meetings regularly, they help us build content and they help ensure that our goals are being met when it comes to communicating to our students. This is a key feature that I believe goes a long way and has allowed us to grow from 800 to 9,000 followers on Instagram in just a few short years.

COM0014 Blog #2 – Storytelling and Communication Styles

Storytelling is a crucial element of digital communication, you must capture the audiences’ attention in this current fast-paced world. So how do you do that? You write something compelling, you hook them in and then you continue to give more details as the post goes on. You ensure you’re clear, concise, you use an active voice and you always double check for punctuation, spelling and grammar. You give the who, what, where, when and why/how, if these elements are not at the forefront, it will result in lower engagement and communication with your audience.

Storytelling has always been part of communication, newspapers, posters, etc. have just moved to a digital world. Newspapers were always telling compelling stories, resulting in both delivering essential news, opinions, birth and wedding announcements and more. Now, digital communication has allowed everyone to tell stories – from businesses, to news, to sharing personal news, we all have a platform now.

Though the world has evolved and digital media is bigger than ever, the fundamentals are still very relevant to much of the work we do. It’s important to remember the fundamentals and courses like this one help us to do so. So, next time you go to write a caption on social media or a blog, remember the fundamentals and remember the inverted triangle!

COM0014 – Blog #1 – Reunited

The theme of my last vacation was reunited! Recently, my partner, dog and I travelled to my hometown to be reunited after many months of not seeing my family. While it’s just a few hours down the 401, the restrictions that have been in place haven’t allowed us to fully visit in a long, long time. With some of my family being healthcare workers, health was a big priority for us but now that many of us are double vaccinated, it was time! We packed up our car and headed home for 3 days of relaxing, fun in the sun and catching up with my mom, sister, brother and four nephews and nieces.

On day one, we visited outdoors, our dog swam in the kiddie pool and we caught up on all the things happening in each of our lives. Later in the afternoon, we headed down the road to my sisters pool to beat the heat. The kids showed off all the various jumps they can do into the pool and the adult got soaked! It was a hot day so the pool was perfect.

On day two, we sipped our coffee on the back deck, relaxed both indoors and outdoors and even had a nap for the first time in what felt like forever. It was a slower day but a day I think all of us needed.

On day three, we took my nieces for the day. We went swimming again, visited another friend outdoors and had a family dinner together. It was pretty chaotic but making these kinds of memories is what is so important to us. After dinner, we packed up and headed back home. Our dog was exhausted and slept 12 hours that night!  

Here’s our dog sound asleep the next morning. 😴

When was the last time you saw your family? What do you enjoy doing as a family the most?

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

How are you? No, really, how are you? 

If someone asks you this in-person vs. online, do you have the same answer? How many people a day do you see on social media that look happy? How many do you see that look sad? Those two numbers are likely very different. Often on social media we see everyone happy and thriving, but it is rare that we see the more real side of people, the struggles, the internal monologue they’re having with themselves, the mess their house is and so much more. So, what effect does this have on us when all we’re seeing is a bunch of perfect people in perfect squares? The answer is it makes us self-doubt, compare, wish our life was different and so much more. Who you follow on social media has a great effect on your overall mental health, whether you realize it or not.  

Practice #SafeSocial

I was first introduced to this topic a few years ago at a conference by a woman named Bailey Parnell and have been intrigued ever since. Her TedTalk “Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health?”, which can be viewed below, is extremely eye-opening and changed the way that I’ve interacted on social media over the last few years. What really struck me is the internal monologues that we have with ourselves while scrolling, I never realized I did this until it was pointed out and I still catch myself every now and again thinking “wow that persons life looks perfect” when in fact, I know very little about it or them. Through the years, I have continued to follow Bailey and along with her Skills Camp business, she also has created a sister company called Safe Social Media Co. where she sets people up with the proper skills to practice #SafeSocial. 

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

For me, I have found myself using that unfollow button more often when I am no longer inspired by someone on social media. I don’t want to use social media if it is making me compare myself to others or envious in any way. I want to see my friends and family, see them enjoy activities or adventures, see their little ones growing up and stay in touch. While this doesn’t mean I unfollow all influencers or celebrities, I find it has certainly made me more aware of who I am following, why and being aware when it is no longer serving me in a healthy way. It is also important to monitor how long I am using social media, I find the longer I am on apps the worse I feel which relates to #doomscrolling, you can read more about that in my blog post here

Though there are risks to social media, there is also so much good that can come from it, but it is all in the way you use it and it is important to check in with ourselves. How do you protect your mental health when it comes to social media consumption?  

Learn how social media can affect your mental health and what healthier habits you can incorporate into your life! https://bit.ly/3siYkTF

How do you protect your mental health when it comes to social media consumption? https://bit.ly/3siYkTF

Influencer Marketing

Have you ever been influenced by something you bought? Saw something on social media and wondered if you should buy it? The chances that you saw it from someone rather than a business are pretty high these days. Influencer Marketing has become a major business and part of marketing in the last few years. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, “influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views.” Not only is this a huge marketing tactic for businesses, but it has also become a business in itself. Influencing as a job was non-existent 20 years ago but now millions of people are paying their bills and living their life simply through influencer marketing. 

Influencer Levels 

There are different types of influencers, celebrities, macro, micro, and nano influencers. Each depends on the follower count or reach you have on social media. A celebrity likely has millions of followers, therefore reaching way more people than say a micro-influencer who typically has over 10k but less than 100k. Each set of influencers would work with different brands, likely the bigger you are, the bigger the brand deal. Celebrities will often promote a wide variety of products or brands, micro and nano influencers are likely working with a more niche market whether that be something like DIY or house design. Others are local influencers, simply promoting and working with brands within a certain city. Big or small, what you say, sell or promote has an impact on people.  

So How Much Influence Do They Have? 

The amount of influence you may have on someone depends on a number of different factors in my mind. For example, Kim Kardashian has 205 Million followers on Instagram, she has a massive reach and can sell out a product in seconds and has many times. Someone that is more of a local influencer may have less of a reach since it’s isolated to one area, but people may look to that person as trustworthy. For me personally, I look at and trust micro-influencers much more than celebrity influencers. I feel as though micro-influencers are often working with smaller brands, they’re more eco-conscious, have a smaller platform therefore trust is important to them. Whereas a Kim Kardashian to me is just using her name to sell products, whether they’re good or not.  There are many factors beyond their follower count to how much influence or reach an influencer has. Often how they are selling a product, how often, what it also has to do with how well it will perform. For me, it is easy to spot a “fake” sales pitch. If someone is too scripted, it loses authenticity for me therefore I lose my trust in what that person might be saying or selling. For others, they worship these influencers and think anything they do or say they need to have which is part of why influencers have blown up and are extremely popular these days on social media. The level of trust or influence someone may have on you depends on what you may be interested in therefore varies from person to person but chances are at some point in many of our lives we’ve been influenced to buy something from an influencer on social media. Some of these purchases have probably been awesome and brands have landed a long-term customer, other times you may have got duped and learned your lesson for the next time.  

I’m interested to know, who has influenced you? What types of products have you bought? Have they turned out good or bad? Share your influencer stories below!  

What makes you buy something from an influencer? https://bit.ly/3u1pv78

Influencer? What is that? https://bit.ly/3u1pv78

Should Cancel Culture be Cancelled?

Cancel Culture or Cancelled is a fairly new term in today’s society but was very prominent in 2020. According to dictionary.com, “Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.” The term cancel culture exists because social media exists. Before social media, someone may have done or said something problematic and they may have been fired or lost out on opportunities but now with social media, it’s so easy for people to be filmed, put on the internet and be cancelled within seconds. It is especially complex when an influencer or celebrity is working with an organization and does something because not only does it damage the individual, it can also damage the organization.

Cancel Culture can be Dangerous

“Cancel culture promotes a mob mentality that is often toxic because it gives people online a power they have never experienced before. The power they possess is informal since social media users can unfollow and choose to ignore the person whom they are cancelling.” Tania Ortiz wrote for the The Cougar Chronicle. Having no context and giving people no opportunity to better themselves can be detrimental. Many of us in our lifetimes have made mistakes, often behind closed doors where we were able to reflect on our actions and move forward. Cancel culture doesn’t allow people to learn. Simply cancelling them without allowing the opportunity to learn and grow doesn’t actually better our society. If people are willing to do the work, dig into the discomfort and be willing to better themselves, shouldn’t they be given that chance? I don’t believe people deserve to be cancelled forever, but they do need to learn there are consequences to their actions and that you then have to gain people’s trust again. Unfortunately, it can take multiple positive experiences to make up for one negative experience.

Holding People Accountable

Though cancel culture can be extremely dangerous, I think it’s also important to talk about how people should be held accountable for their actions. People should not just be able to say or do whatever they want with absolutely no repercussions. There is a certain level of expectation that we each carry ourselves in an inclusive and respectful way. Holding people accountable for their actions helps us progress as individuals and as a society. When we think of things like the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movement, speaking up has moved our society in a forward direction. For example, this past summer, people spoke up about how the Aunt Jemima breakfast brand was problematic. The result was a positive one, in my opinion, because now the Quaker Oat brand has moved in a direction that is more in line with 2021, acknowledging the racism behind this design and label and is working on a rebrand. While this is a positive outcome and there are many, it is also important to acknowledge that at some point, if people keep screwing up, it can lead to being cancelled.

There are certainly arguments to be made both for and against cancel culture, what do you think, should cancel culture be cancelled?

Is cancel culture holding people accountable, or have we gone too far? https://bit.ly/3aHHeaW

Should cancel culture be cancelled? Take the poll! https://bit.ly/3aHHeaW