MI-NOV22 – Blog #3

Photo by Evangeline Shaw on Unsplash

In my career, I am given the opportunity to meet and work with a variety of established professionals whose work I admire. This includes individuals from companies such as The National Post, Pattison, and a variety of radio stations that I frequently listen to. Getting to work with these individuals is exciting, and is also a great first step in developing my professional network.

My strategy for developing my professional network further is to connect with these individuals on LinkedIn after we have worked in collaboration. I also like to send a message along with my invitation to connect. In this note, I will typically include what project we worked on together and some pleasantries about how I enjoyed working with them. This gives them a nice second impression of me and allows us to keep up with each other’s professional lives.

In the next 6-12 months, I plan to attend a few webinars and conferences in my industry. One conference that I am already booked in for is the 2023 OBIAA conference, which is where staff from many BIAs (Business Improvement Areas/Associations) gather for an educational and informative few days. For this, and other in-person conferences, I will continue to develop my network by introducing myself to new people and beginning a chat about our respective careers. I find it interesting to learn about different careers, as well as learning about what the day-to-day work looks like for people in similar roles to me.

COM0015 – Blog #1 – Tools and Sources

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

I really like Brand24 as a listening and monitoring tool. This platform compiles all mentions of a brand/company, whether on social media or a blog. I prefer to use Brand24 over other tools as I find it easiest to use, and I especially like that it also assigns a “tone” to all mentions. This makes it easy to determine if most mentions are positive, negative, or neutral. As well, Brand24 can detect trending hashtags that relate to your company/brand which you can use to leverage your social media efforts.

I also use sites like Hootsuite and SproutSocial to keep up with the latest social media trends. I like these platforms because they were two of the first ones I was ever introduced to when I started transitioning into this industry. I find that they make it easy to understand trends and how to utilize them for your business. They also both set up their blog posts in an efficient way that keeps the reader engaged.

I get a lot of my news updates from Twitter and Tiktok. These are platforms I use on a daily basis and they deliver short-form content that is easy to digest. While these platforms may not seem like the most reliable news sources, they are usually my first touchpoint with the information. If I am particularly interested I will seek additional reliable sources to read more. I prefer using Twitter and Tiktok because I am on them frequently, I find them easy to use, and the short-form content on these platforms is best for keeping my attention. On Twitter, there is usually a link to a credible article to read more and on Tiktok the content is delivered in video format, no reading required! 

COM0014 – Blog 4 – B2C Case Study

Image sourced from Indy100.

When I think of a B2C business that is doing an exceptional job of engaging with its audience online, I always think of Duolingo. While they engage with their audience on all platforms, they really shine on Tiktok. The Duolingo social media team is doing an amazing job of listening and monitoring to keep up with the latest trends and is always releasing hilarious and relatable content. They are often posting content related to popular events/scandals happening at the time, such as the Adam Levine affair drama, which they know will get good engagement from their audience that they can build on by interacting back. I often see them responding to their comments and commenting on other viral/popular Tiktoks.

I find that they’re interacting with their audience as if they are friends. It’s particularly interesting to see this from a brand you wouldn’t expect. For those that don’t know, Duolingo is a language learning app. From a branding perspective, you would think they take a more formal, educative approach. But clearly, what they’re doing is working for them. They’re doing so well, in fact, that many other brands have taken note and are using the same social media strategy.

COM0014 – Blog 5 – Personal Brand

Photo by Craig Adderley.

It can be hard to stand out as an artist, especially when there are so many talented individuals out there. It is especially hard for me to stand out as my style takes heavy inspiration from traditional tattoo flash. However, I think that integrating this typically dark style with the bright, pastel rainbow colours that I use in my artwork helps to set me apart from my competitors. Lately, I have been putting more of a focus on creating video content to make myself stand out more.

What I do that I am most proud of is creating custom illustrations for people, it is so cool knowing that someone likes my work enough to commission a one-of-a-kind piece to display in their home. I often get commissions to create artwork as a gift for other people, which I think is especially awesome. Another thing that I do that I am proud of is helping beginner artists. I think that being a part of a strong artistic community is so important for personal growth. I am very proud that I am a part of an artistic community and those beginner artists like my work and trust me enough to help guide them and be their mentor.

COM0014 – Blog #7 – Personal Reflection

Photo by Leah Kelley.

The content in this course gave me greater insight into how to properly communicate with different audiences and showed me the importance of storytelling. Storytelling is important to creating great digital content because people love stories. This is something we learned early on in the course, and it was interesting to discover that humans have been telling stories since the beginning of humankind. We started with etchings on cave walls and evolved to words, pictures, videos, and more on our phone screens. Integrating storytelling into content adds an extra layer and causes people to experience the information rather than simply consuming it. People prefer stories, it is part of who we are and is hardwired into our brain, and it helps us to feel engaged in the content we consume and it helps the content be more powerful. 

From now on, I’m going to be more mindful of the content I’m creating to ensure that I am utilizing proper storytelling techniques such as the inverted pyramid writing style and using an active voice. One thing we learned, that many of us probably already knew from personal experience, is that people have short attention spans to the point where oftentimes they don’t even read an entire article headline or social media caption. I know that I am definitely guilty of this, if I’m not immediately interested I will move on. This means it is extra important to capture the attention of your audience right away with impactful language that is clear and concise. As I am still new to these concepts, I want to try my hand at telling all different kinds of stories to different audiences find where I excel and to even find weak points so that I can improve my content.

COM0014 – Blog # 6 – Do People Know Your Story?

Photo by Andrey Novik on Unsplash

What resources do I have that will help my audience solve their problem? (Think of the resources that have helped you, and then create a list that explains how they improved your life.)

Drawing and illustration can be a fun but at times frustrating hobby, especially when you’re first starting out. You can picture what you want to draw in your head, but cannot get your hands to translate that image to paper. Proportions are tricky, you can never seem to pick the right colours, or maybe you’re struggling to find inspiration and ideas about what to draw. Even as a seasoned illustrator, I still deal with these issues at times. Luckily though, over almost a decade of taking drawing more seriously, I’ve been able to develop a portfolio of resources to help artists of all skill levels.

If you are a beginner, it’s best to start by learning the absolute basics like shapes, shading, and perspective. There are plenty of tutorials out there to follow, the best platforms to look for these are YouTube and TikTok as I find that video is the best way to deliver and understand drawing instructions. If you’re just starting out, I recommend searching the terms “one-point perspective”, “two-point perspective”, and “shading basic forms/shapes”. Learning these basic skills improved my illustrations because I was able to more easily draw lifelike and realistic images that have a more professional look.

For more advanced illustrators, who may know how to draw but struggle with deciding what to draw, I have a few suggestions! I like to keep collections of images that inspire me, and I use a few different platforms for this. Instagram and TikTok both make this easy with their save/collections features, and Pinterest is of course another super useful platform for artists. When I get the urge to draw but don’t know what to make, I scroll through my collections until inspiration sparks. 

Once you’re ready to start your drawing, reference images can be important. I have a variety of reference albums saved on Instagram and Pinterest such as hands, flowers, and animals. I even have a collection of colour palettes that look nice together, so that I can use those in future drawings. I also use Google, and photography sites such as Pexels and Unsplash to source resource images. Can’t find a good image? You can even take your own! I often set up my own scenes to use as reference images. Using these photos while drawing will help you with proportions and style in your final piece. These collections improved my life by making the drawing process that much easier so that I can continue to enjoy this hobby instead of becoming frustrated with it.

COM0014 – Blog # 3 – Target Audiences

Image sourced from Bloomadora on Pinterest.

A hobby I have, one that like many others I developed during quarantine, is video games, more specifically casual and cozy games. Through this hobby, I’ve found a community of like-minded people on a variety of platforms such as Reddit, Discord, and TikTok. Thanks to a combination of research and time spent in this community, I’ve been able to discern some typical characteristics of the audience for this interest. 

This demographic is females aged 18-25. Individuals who are interested in casual and cozy gaming also tend to have a like for all things “cozy core”. This includes things like fuzzy socks, hot drinks, plushies, cute animals, and pastel colours. Many of these people also enjoy cute aesthetics and can be found playing games in the categories of decorating, management, and life sims.

Some effective ways of communicating with this audience are to take a more personal approach and speak to them as if they’re a friend. It is important to not be overly formal with this group and to have a fun and relaxed communication style, it also doesn’t hurt to be funny!

Another key thing to keep in mind when communicating with this audience is to keep it short and to the point. Often, these users are looking for quick information whether that be because they need game tips or because they’re bored and want to find something new to play. With the rise of short-form video content in recent years, content consumers have become used to and typically prefer receiving instant information and will exit or move on if they can’t immediately find what they need.

Many Tiktokers have been successful in using these communication styles when sharing gaming content such as @video.kames, @kinsley and @gamergirlgale on TikTok.

COM0014 – Blog #2 – Reflecting on Storytelling and Communication Styles

Photo from AscentXmedia on iStock

It is interesting to realize that storytelling is essentially as old as the human race. In this week’s lesson we learned that from the beginning of time, humans have been telling stories whether that be through verbal language, charades/signing or etchings on a cave wall. With the emergence of technology and the internet, we have moved a lot of our storytelling efforts online. In fact, all content is a story, even something that seems as mundane as a social media bio. Every piece of content we publish is an opportunity to tell a story, and marketers and business owners should use this to their advantage. 

Writing and storytelling are what I feel that I struggle with the most, I often find myself revising paragraphs in the same paper because I used multiple communication styles and it changes the tone of the paper. In module one it was suggested to create a style guide for your communication style. As someone who is passionate about branding and has created numerous design style guides, I cannot believe I’ve never thought to create a communication style guide. After reviewing all the different communication styles, I’ll be taking some time over the next week or so to outline a style guide for my writing. What do you find yourself struggling the most with when it comes to writing and storytelling?

COM0014 – Blog #1: It was in Bobcaygeon…

Photo of the Cottage backyard, by Author

This July, after a long stretch of being vacation-deprived I pulled up to my friend’s house with my suitcase in tow, ready to head off to a cottage we had rented in Bobcaygeon. As a huge Tragically Hip fan, I was particularly excited about this destination. My excitement was briefly overshadowed when my friends began bullying me for the size of my suitcase, do they not know how many steps are in my skincare routine?! I’m still racking my brain about how they survived out of a backpack for the week, but I digress.

Of course, we had to stop for coffee and breakfast at Tim Horton’s to fulfill the Canadian road trip tradition, and off we went! We had learned on the drive that the wifi at the cottage was out, and wouldn’t be fixed during our stay, bummer. At first, this worried me a little (how gen z of me) but I was keen to reconnect with nature and my friends and just take it slow for a week. 

We arrived at a quaint little cottage at the end of a gravel road situated right on the lake three hours later. The walls inside were covered in wood panels and there was plenty of rattan furniture, which really drove home the cozy cottage vibe. 

Everyone quickly got settled and the days went by in a blur of morning coffees on the dock, afternoon boat rides, and nightly campfires. On the days that it rained, luckily only two, we stayed inside playing board games and watching movies from the endless stock of DVDs supplied at the cottage. 

Our Chipmunk Friend, by Author

We enjoyed beautiful sunsets, suffered hundreds of bug bites, ate plenty of s’mores and even made a new chipmunk friend who went through TWO two-kilogram bags of peanuts. Now two months out from my trip, I am still craving the crisp lake air and cannot wait to be back at a cottage next summer. While I loved my time in Bobcaygeon, I’d like to explore other Ontarian cities. What’s your favourite city to rent a cottage in? Let me know in the comments, I might just be there next summer!

Subscribe to the Future of Social Media

Have you ever stopped to count how many ads you see in a day? A discussion post written by one of my peers, Bethany Polland, reminded me about the number of ads that are plastered all over our social feeds. Experts actually estimate that we see 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day! In this discussion post, Bethany had predicted that the amount of ads we will see in the future will only get worse, which got me thinking of another prediction regarding the future of social media – subscriptions!

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels Edited by Author

If you have ever used Spotify, you probably know how annoying their ads can get, especially in the middle of a good playlist! If you’re like me, those ads may have annoyed you so much that you gave in and started paying for Spotify Premium, which lets you listen to music without any interruptions. Youtube has also started a premium subscription service where you pay a monthly fee to watch videos ad-free. However, I haven’t been convinced to pay for this service just yet.

I’m predicting that eventually, other social media platforms will follow suit and start offering paid subscriptions to scroll ad-free. I don’t think they’re ready for this yet though, as I’m not sure that would be a very successful endeavour considering how easy it is to scroll past an advertisement. I think that not only will the number of ads increase as Bethany predicted, but I also think that the way these ads are displayed may change so that users can’t simply scroll by. Something they may implement is a “screen freeze” when an advertisement is displayed so that you have to wait at least 5 seconds before you can scroll again. Time will tell!

Would you pay to scroll through social media ad-free? If so, what platforms would you be willing to pay for?

Facebook: Ads, and ads, and ads…oh my! Will too many ads lead to more subscription-based social media platforms? Read my thoughts here: https://bit.ly/3LJTdGY #thefutureofsocialmedia

Twitter: The Future of Social Media is…Subscriptions? Read my take here: https://bit.ly/3LJTdGY #socialmedia #futuretrends