COM0015 Blog Post #4: Out of the Box

There are so many different applications out there for social media and online marketing, it really does feel like it all exists! I think many people can find applications that can work for them and their business. Different applications exist for different purposes, and it is likely that most businesses will need to use a few to get a full picture of their online world.

Google Alerts is a tool that I more recently started to use but find really valuable.  I also talked about this in another assignment, but I personally love Falcon.io. We use it at my current place of work, and I find that it has a lot of built-in features and tools that are helpful as a social media manager. You can collaborate with others, share assets easily, track keywords and phrases, pull reports from Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter monthly, and so much more. In terms of social media, it captures it all. Other tools like Google Analytics are still needed for website tracking however to me, the fewer applications the better so two isn’t terrible!

I also want to mention TikTok. While we have focused primarily on best practices and my advice is always that you don’t need a presence on every platform, you need to do what makes sense for your business and audience, TikTok can be extremely valuable if done right. It is a growing platform, and its quick video content allows it to be easily digestible to consumers. It won’t work for everyone but if it does work for you and your business can really help with marketing efforts!

What applications or tools are your favourites?

COM0015 Blog Post #3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future 

Networking, both online and in-person, is a valuable addition to your life both personally and professionally. You never know who you might meet, opportunities that may be presented to you or what jobs you will come across by networking. For me, this was something important to me pre-COVID-19. Annually, I would attend a few different conferences that I felt like I gained insight into when it came to my 9-5 job but also helped me create aspirations for myself long-term.

My parent strategy for developing my professional network online is to continue to engage in conversations on Twitter and LinkedIn. Following #MarketingTwitter has allowed me to engage with people all over the world and to learn from them through their insights and experiences. I check these platforms daily, engage with content that resonates with me and follow people that I find inspiring. There are a few people that I have connected with that have given me valuable advice for my goals. When it comes to in-person, I hope that as things begin to open up, I can attend the annual conferences again. I feel that post COVID, there is so much that we can learn from one another in communications. We can learn what has worked for us over the last few years, what hasn’t worked, what we will take with us moving forward and what we will leave behind.

I think that the first conference I attend again in person will be a bit nerve-wracking, but I think afterwards I will feel excited and inspired. A commitment that I am making is that I will continue to network both in-person and online, as well as at my own workplace. I think we often get caught up in our day-to-day lives at work but networking with other people, in my case on a university campus, can be extremely valuable.

Do you prefer networking online, in-person or a mix of both?

Blog Post #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

There are many examples of both impressive and embarrassing social media strategies in this digital world. There are so many factors that go into both good and bad social media strategies, resources, staff, budget, time, etc.

I have always been drawn to Lululemon’s social media. As the online world has evolved, so has their brand. On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, they’re often engaging with their customers whether it be for inquiries about products, feedback, and customer service for unhappy customers. They pride themselves in having conversations with their customers, not just throwing content at them. I believe this approach is key to a social media strategy. Beyond their customer service approach, they also have beautiful photography and videography of people and scenery. Their content is bright, aesthetically pleasing and often are capturing different angles. All of this doesn’t matter if you don’t have a strategy, but they’ve got it all down. Their roll out of new ambassadors, official partner of team Canada, SeaWheeze, etc. are all well thought out, lined up and executed (to the customers eye) very seamlessly contributing to their 3.7million followers on Instagram.

Another brand that I follow that I think does a fantastic does is Second Chance Rescue (SCARR) – London, Ontario. They have 93k likes on Facebook and to me, for a rescue organization, this is impressive! The way they write the profiles for each dog in first person is engaging and thoughtful and truly allows people to see beyond their status of being rescued. They also use phrases like “things I could improve on” which overall gives a positive tone. All of this has resulted in thousands of comments per dog, leading more dogs to safe homes. Part of what I like about their strategy is that they focus on one platform. Sometimes, you don’t need a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. When resources are limited or you’re developing a great plan on one platform, you can still build a great community!

A brand that needs to adopt a social media strategy I found hard to find. You never really know why a brand may be lacking a social media presence and working in the industry, I try to be mindful of how I may criticize others. A broad but useful example of could improve is many higher education institutions within Ontario. Many schools have multiple accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, etc. often leading to confusion for future students due to a siloed approach. Often, there is a main account, colleges within accounts, departments, student clubs and organizations and student services. This can lead to difficulty navigating a structure within an organization that quite honestly students don’t need to know in detail. Personally, at the institution I am currently working at, we are looking at a governance strategy to have more people work together and less accounts. You don’t need 250+ accounts when you’re a school of 25k, your audiences matter and your strategies should be built around them not having them adapt to your internal structures.

I’m interested to know what you think about Lululemon, have you ever heard of SCARR? Are there other organizations you find confusing with their social media strategy? Tell me in the comments!

COM0015 Blog #1: Tools and Sources

Listening and monitoring is a key part of social media management. While many people think you can just put content out and you’re done, few understand that there is so much more to it these days. Of course, if you’re using it for personal use, this doesn’t apply but if you’re using it as a business tool listening and monitoring must be part of your daily or weekly routine. Listening and monitoring will help your business make more informed decisions around your audience or customers.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Falcon.io is a listening and monitoring tool that we currently use within my organization, it is similar to platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer. It allows us to track what folks are saying about our organization and allows us to track competitors. We can set up different listening campaigns using keywords, people’s names, etc. and then pull reports directly from this campaign. I really like that you can set up the reporting in a filtered way. For example, right now with school starting back up, there are keywords like “homecoming” or “foco” (as the kids call it!) to keep an eye on what our students are up to online. We can also track campaigns like our online graduations to see how many students engaged with us. I also track our website usage monthly through Google Analytics and find this really informative to people’s behaviour. It helps to track what pages are the most popular, where people are dropping off and other pages that could maybe use additional information to attract people to them. One tool that I recently discovered is Nexalogy. I think this will be a useful tool to track some trends that I want to research outside of my organization and for me personally to learn and grow. I could also see myself using it for something like tracking competitors within my industry.

As far as news, I’m finding that over the last year I really have leaned into Twitter as a news source but still using it in a more traditional way. I follow several news outlets and find that when they tweet out an article, I’m often reading it within the Twitter app rather than looking up the news on Google or the new source’s direct website. I find this way; I get a variety of information from local news to the New York Times. Since working from home over the last year, each morning I watch the news while I enjoy my coffee. This is something that I had never really done pre-covid but it is something that I have been enjoying. With so much focus online these days, despite this being another screen, I find it is a nice change away from my computer or phone. The morning news gives me a variety of topics including breaking news, changes to restrictions, pop culture, new technology and more, ultimately giving me a variety of news in a short period of time but allowing me to feel on top of things!

COM0014 Blog #7 – Personal Reflection

I’ve learned a lot throughout not only this course, but the whole Social Media Certificate. Storytelling is important to creating digital content because it allows you to communicate with your audience in an engaging way. Storytelling brings out emotion in people and it allows the story to have emotion. I specifically work within higher education, and I think that storytelling is so important here, it allows students to normalize things that may be scary or overwhelming about post-secondary education. It also allows students to see themselves like others, to build community and friendships.

My content will continue to be guided by story in many ways. I will tell stories for all my different audiences, students, faculty, alumni, and our greater community. I will tell stories that have a wide variety of emotion from happiness to excitement to nervousness. I will tailor these stories and emotions based on the audience that I am talking to and based on the time of year for students. For example, around midterm season I will tell stories of how they’re challenging but how they can overcome these challenges, I will tell stories of how to study affectively or what works for other students when it comes to studying. After midterms, we will talk about stories of success and stories of failure and how they can bounce back from them.   

I want to tell stories that are relatable. Specifically, as mentioned above, I want students to feel normal about some of their feelings around post-secondary education. I want them to learn from their peers, I want them to see themselves on our campus through the stories that we tell. I want students to feel like they’re at home by the other students, I want students to feel excited about their next chapter, but I also want to normalize that it is overwhelming and scary. I want to tell stories about life after graduation, what job hunting looks like, what experiences they can gain while in their undergrad and more! I hope that I can take my experience and what I’ve learned in this course and continue to share the amazing stories that are out there!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

COM0014 Blog #6 – Do People Know Your Story?

Do you want to learn more about social media management? Are you working with limited resources? I’m here to help YOU! Through my learning, work experience and own research, I can help you accomplish your goals. I hope that my business helps others learn, grows their business, and learn how to use the resources around them.

So, what does that really look like? It looks like sitting down with you, defining your goals, hopes and dreams when it comes to social media and your business. It looks like creating a plan, together. It looks like me building templates for you to use. It looks like me building a content calendar for you to use. And finally, it looks like us going through 30 days of content together so that you feel supported and educated.

Ultimately, I hope that my business can help others. I want small businesses to feel supported and educated. Small business owners wear so many hats daily, they’re the CEO, CFO, the content creator, the sales rep, the cleaner and so much more. It’s overwhelming in this world to now know how to create engaging content – that’s where I come in! I will ensure that other business owners feel supported and feel educated around how to use social media and how to use it affectively.

COM0014 Blog #5 – Personal Branding

I’m a marketing and communications coordinator by day with a keen interest in all thing’s social media and digital marketing. I specialize in social media strategy, content creation, web design, and a little graphic design. There are a lot of folks within social media management, but I think what sets me apart from competitor’s is my ability to strategize and roll out a communications plan. While many people can do this, it’s about how you do this, the details, the execution and finally the measurement of the strategy.

Lately, I’ve taken an internal account from about 3,500 followers to just over 9,000 followers in just a few short years. This is really challenging within higher education, in my opinion, because of how saturated the market is. While the main institutions account typically does really well, the internal accounts, because there is so many, tend to struggle. Bringing an internal account up to almost 10,000 followers is a big achievement in my opinion and will be only the second account on our campus to reach over 10k.

My colleagues would say my best trait is to see the big picture. When we first start talking about a campaign, I can see the big picture, I can see it all come to life and I ensure all the details are included within it. I can execute a campaign over a long period of time or a short period of time, but I can very quickly and easily see all the pieces that need to be included within it. All of these skills and traits have ultimately lead me to be recruited for a new position within the last few months, allowing me to take my skills to the next level.

COM0014 Blog #4 – B2C Case Study

Lululemon has been a well-known, Canadian brand since 1998 that has always prided itself in top-notch customer service. As the online world has evolved, so has their customer service efforts. On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, they’re often engaging with their customers whether it be for inquiries about products, feedback, and customer service for unhappy customers. On top of their social media engagement, they also have great customer service on their website. They pride themselves in having conversations with their customers, not just throwing content at them.

Beyond their constant engaging with their customers, I think it’s important to note their tone. They’re tone is often lighthearted, positive, and helpful which I think contributes to their overall success. They also engage consistently throughout the day which means their responses are timely, again, making customers feel heard and satisfied.

I personally have used Lululemon as an example for various things throughout my marketing career, I’ve always thought they’ve done things well. Whether it be their photography, their video content, their helpful employees both in store and online, they’ve got the right approach. I think that other brands can learn from them. I have also heard that their training is quite unique (in a good way) and I believe that heavily contributes to their overall culture.   

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!