Out of the Box

Out of the Box

I am so happy to have learned so much from these courses. Previously I did consider myself relatively well rounded when it came to social media but these courses have helped me realize how much is out there to learn and that social media and online resources are ever evolving. It seems as though there will always be more to educate myself on.

The first thing that I am glad to have learned about is WordPress Blogs. I learned how to create a blog site and use all of the customizable features that come with it. Through the courses, I learned how to write proper and effective blog posts, what I should add to grab attention such as photos and links and what to say to keep the readers engaged and responsive. I plan to use WordPress Blogs in the future after completing my education. 

The second application that I discovered is Bit.ly Link Management. This is a website that creates shortened URL links. I have used this feature in many blog posts, assignments and personal social media accounts. Shortening links is something that I had never done before because I didn’t realize it made a difference. After using Bit.ly, I won’t go back. It makes links look so much more approachable, clean and accessible. The Bit.ly website also allows you to monitor and analyze the performance of your links by showing you how many times it has been clicked, the date and what country they are from.

Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Professional Networking Now and in the Future

After looking at what my fellow students have shared regarding networking, I feel a bit behind in this capacity. Many of them already have outstanding educational and professional backgrounds and have attended many professional networking events. I may not be as qualified regarding education or professional ability but I won’t let that stop me from continuing to learn and putting myself out there. I plan to continue reaching out, building relationships and asking for advice from people in the same field as me that have experience. I believe that stepping out of your comfort zone brings the ability to grow and learn, so that is what I plan to do by attending more events to network. 

Although I have put it on the back burner to continue my education, I do have a small business making macrame art. Previously, when I was pursuing my small business, I attended many markets and craft shows as a way of sharing my products with the public but also engaging with other small business owners. This is something that I have not done in a couple of years due to the pandemic but I would definitely like to continue doing it within the next 6-12 months considering what success I had from networking. 

Another place I have found to be beneficial to connect with like minded people has been Facebook groups based on interest, career field or hobby. There are what seems to be an endless amount of groups with different topics to join that you can discuss, learn and connect with people. I have joined many groups over the past few years to help with networking such as Social Media Managers, Small Business Owners and Social Media Students. 

Two Nail Salons with Online Presences. One Successful, One Needs Improvement

Two Nail Salons with Online Presences. One Successful, One Needs Improvement

I am going to be sharing two businesses and their social media profiles. One is successful and they other needs to adopt a social media strategy to improve things. I have chosen to write about two local to Ottawa Nail Salons, one being my personal favourite salon called Refresh Nail Spa and the other being one that has been recommended to me called La Crystal Nails and Spa. Although Refresh Nail Spa is my go to place, it is not the one that is successful when it comes to social media. I’d like to compare the two presences and show you what they are doing differently that causes such a dramatic result and what Refresh Nail Spa could do to improve. 

Fun TikTok video from La Crystal Nails and Spa
La Crystal Nails and SpaRefresh Nail Spa
Facebook page with 9.7K followers Facebook page with 497 followers
Instagram page 3.5K followersInstagram page with 155 followers 
TikTok page with 1.7K followersNo TikTok page

The salon that I chose to analyze and give advice to is one that my family and I have been going to for years. We are loyal and happy customers but the one thing about their business that is not working is their social media presence. I believe if this was upgraded, it could bring in a whole new customer base for them. 

Some key problems with their accounts are:

  • Not posting consistently (only once every few months),
  • Posting repetitive content (same hand poses in the same location)
  • Not sharing a variety of content (such as before and after nails or nail salon tour)
  • Not on enough social media platforms (could also be on Pinterest or TikTok)
  • Not posting captions or engaging with followers
  • Not reposting followers appreciative posts on stories

The first step for Refresh Nail Spa to improve their social media presence is to hire someone with a background and education on the subject to assist them and make a strategic plan to move forward with. 

Salon Tour by La Crystal Nails and Spa

Here are some things that La Crystal Nails and Spa have been successfully implementing into their social media plan that Refresh Nail Spa could benefit from adding to theirs to help gain followers and engagement:

  • Consistent posting multiple times a week
  • Create profiles on more social media platforms (TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter)
  • Multiple forms of content (photos, videos in feed posts and stories)
  • Be more personable (show the staff, spa tour, videos of the staff/customers having fun)
  • Interact with customers in the comments and answer questions
  • Repost videos and pictures from happy customers in stories

I’d like to commend La Crystal Nails and Spa on their wonder approach to social media and their success. I hope that if Refresh Nail Spa were open to improving their online presence they may take my advice to heart. I wish both companies the upmost success and happiness.

Judging by only their online presence, which Nail Salon would you be more inclined to go to?

Tools and Sources

Tools and Sources

In this blog post, I will discuss two of my favourite social media trend listening/monitoring tools and two sources of news and updates that interest me. I will share why I find these tools to be useful and the significance of the sources to my professional development. 

The two listening and monitoring tools that I enjoy using most are Awario and Social Blade. These tools provide unique information for free that assists me with monitoring statistics regarding my own and other creators’ information. Awario shares data on your own profile regarding mentions, what their sources are and the stats behind them such as age and gender. Social Blade shares information about followers, average likes and comments on many platforms and not just your own. 

Sources of news and updates that are of significance to my professional development are Book Browse and NPR Books. As a Bookstagrammer, I benefit from knowledge using these sources because they provide immense information and recent updates in the book community. These websites share information about authors from interviews, reviews on popular books, lists of recently published novels, links to blog posts and podcast episodes discussing books, discussion groups to talk about reading and lists of award winning books. It is important as a content creator to stay current and be as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to new things such as recently published books, new interviews with authors and lists of top books. This way you can remain up to date and relatable with your audience and bring new information to your viewers.

Personal Reflection

In this blog post, I would like to share concepts that I have learned over the past 8 weeks of this course. Some of the essential topics that I learned about are:

  • Digital storytelling
  • Audience diversity
  • Communication style
  • Storytelling tools
  • Personal and corporate brand messaging
  • Stories in organizations
  • Creating meaningful and relevant content

Storytelling is important when creating great digital content. Although images and videos may catch an audience’s eye or pique their interest; the captions and story will be the reason they stay. They will spend more time on my post by reading, connecting and engaging with my story.

The way a story is told is essential to making an impression on your audience. Someone who isn’t educated in storytelling methods could take a great topic and bore people with it by not delivering the message properly. However, someone who knows how to approach the conversation, have a beginning, middle and end and keep the audience on the edge of their seats is an effective storyteller. 

The kind of stories I want to tell are ones with depth, honest opinions and creative background. I want to share my thoughts on books, methods of writing, and bring up questions to get people thinking and start dicussions. I want my stories and content to be unique, thoughtful and fun. 

Do you prefer reading a long caption with a thoughtful story or an image with a short caption and no story?

Do People Know My Story?

Do People Know My Story?

My puppy, Aspen looking for attention while I read

I believe that my followers on Bookstagram know some of my story but not all of it, as I am just getting started. One of my first posts was a “get to know the creator” post. I shared a picture of me and a summary of who I am, what I wanted to share on my account and what I hope to gain from being part of the reading community online. I often enjoy sharing posts about my daily life, things that I love and share details about who I am and my hobbies. In order to educate my audience on who I am, I like to keep things unique by sharing Instagram stories and posts that are creative, entertaining and share information. 

Every day I gain followers and connect with people that have similar accounts to mine. They share details about themselves, creative book photos, and book hauls. To discover information about my audience I often post Instagram stories with voting or poll options so I can get their opinion on things. I also enjoy connecting with people by direct messaging and getting to know them. 

A book I recently read and reviewed

After figuring out what my story is and what my audience’s stories are, it is important to share relevant and interesting information that will peek their interest but still connect to me and my content. Something I like to do is share book reviews and book recommendations.

Do you enjoy viewing Instagram stories or Instagram posts more?

Personal Brand on Bookstagram

Personal Brand on Bookstagram

This blog post will be sharing information about my personal brand. The brand that I am focusing on is my “Bookstagram” which is a page on Instagram where I share book reviews, photos of new books and interact with fellow readers. I created my book account on Instagram a couple of months ago and have been lucky enough to build a following of over 500 people so far. I enjoy posting pictures of myself, my books and my puppy. I am most active by sharing stories on my account, as I can share many different posts each day. For example stories can include pictures or videos of daily life, polls and questions to ask your audience, or tags to share content with fellow creators. 

To describe what sets me apart from others, the words that come to mind are kind, honest, inclusive, genuine and funny. In order to stand out from the crowd of other Bookstagram accounts, I put forth the effort to be my unique self. I share parts of me and my life that I love and I am proud of. I try not be just another cookie cutter account that posts templates and only kind reviews. I share my opinions even if they are unpopular, as I like to share a different perspective. My Bookstagram friends would describe me as sweet, funny and caring. 

What I am most proud of is that I have not changed the content that I share to pretend to be like other, more popular accounts. Sure, they may be more aesthetically pleasing and have lots of followers but I am very proud of the content that I share as it is unique to me. I have made many strong friendships with likeminded followers. I enjoy having a space on the internet where I can include everyone, speak freely and start discussions.

Are you a reader? What genre do you enjoy reading the most?

B2C Case Study on Ponyback Style

B2C Case Study on Ponyback Style

I’ve decided to do a Business to Consumer Case Study on the business Ponyback Style. It is a Canadian business that started with a mom looking for a ponytail hat but not being able to find a functional one. She decided to take apart a baseball cap and recreate it into the first prototype of what is now the successful Ponyback Hat. They have a magnetic back closure which allows you to wear your hair in any style with it on. This business has been very successful, even appearing on the Dragon’s Den TV show. They have done an incredible job with their social media campaigns and interactions on Tiktok and Instagram

I’m going to share some research I did on their social media pages so you can understand which ones are successful. 

Post FrequencyAlmost dailyMultiple times a weekCouple times a weekBarely any/not updated
EngagementVery highVery highBarely any/noneNone
Type of ContentPersonal, fun, educational videosProfessional photos, fun videos, interactive storiesProfessional photos, formal captionsFormal, scripted tweets
InteractionReplies to all comments and answers questions (some with videos)Replies to comments or likes them, answers all questionsN/AN/A

In addition to their social media pages they also have a blog on their website that shares fun and informative posts such as motivational quotes, “Reasons You Should be a Hat Person” and “Hairstyles You Can Wear the Ponyback Hat With.” 

I believe that their approach to social media is working, on their Tiktok and Instagram pages. Their social media campaigns and interactions are helping bring them success in the sales of their products. If they’d like to increase the number of viewers that see their content, I think it would be beneficial for them to put more effort into their Facebook and Twitter pages as well. 

Have you ever been held back from wearing a hat because of your hairstyle? Maybe you could try out a Ponyback Hat!

Target Audience on Bookstagram

Target Audience on Bookstagram

When learning from my course content this week, I learned how to discover my target audience and its characteristics. Knowing details about who I want to direct my content towards, can make it much easier to create posts to get their attention. Important information to learn about my target audience might include their gender, education level, marital status, family type (children or not), ethnic and/ or religious backgrounds. I have found the demographic of my target audience for my Bookstagram account (Instagram for book content) is a vast majority of Canadian and American female followers, between the ages of 20 to 35 years old. Obtaining this information about my followers can help me choose content more relevant and interesting to them.

Completed Poll I shared on my story

Some of the ways that could be effective for me to communicate with this target audience on Bookstagram, to get more engagement and attraction, may include:

  • Sharing voting polls
  • Posting pictures with books in a creative way
  • Creating an organized and aesthetic layout on my feed
  • Being active and tagging people in posts and stories often
  • Making and posting videos/reels
  • Using popular songs or participating in relevant trends
  • Hosting a giveaway
Colleen Hoover’s Book Giveaway

One strategy for having a successful online campaign for Bookstagram would be hosting a giveaway. It is common once a page reaches a predetermined number of followers, or likes, to host a giveaway. Prizes may be gift cards, books, or items off their Amazon Wishlist. For people to be eligible to enter the giveaway, they have to follow the host’s rules. By doing such things as following the host, commenting on the post, and liking and sharing the post with their friends, followers can earn the chance to win. An example of this type of giveaway in the Bookstagram world was when a well known author, named Colleen Hoover, recently shared a giveaway for  signed copies of her book if followers left a comment on her post. She chose a winning comment and ten lucky people received an autographed copy of her book. Hosting a giveaway is a great way for me to get more engagement and broaden my following. It is a strategy I plan to utilize in the near future.

Have you ever participated in a giveaway on social media?

Story Telling & Communication Styles

This week my peers and I are learning about storytelling, communication styles and encouraging interaction with your audience. I’d love to share some tips that I have learned about creating a successful blog post or video blog. 

I would like to introduce you to the “Inverted Pyramid” method. When writing, you put the most important information at the top of the article, then gradually less important (yet more detailed) information later on. People could stop reading or watching your content at any time, so it’s key to get the headlines and bulk of your information across at the beginning. Stating your purpose upfront will help to hook the reader into wanting to continue reading.

A few important factors when writing blogs or scripts for vlogs are spelling, grammar and punctuation. When speaking, it is key to talk clearly and in a grammatically correct manner. You could have great content planned but if no one can understand what you are saying, your message will not be conveyed. On the same note, practise makes perfect, or at least, it helps you improve. Always proofread your writing or rehearse before filming a video so you can present yourself in the best way possible.

There are five main types of communication; Submissive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, Assertive and Manipulative. Each one serves a purpose in writing depending on the type of message you want to put out. When writing a blog or preparing a vlog, it can be beneficial to speak in an active voice rather than a passive voice. This is a style choice that is more clear and interesting for a reader or listener. For example, a passive voice would say, “Romance novels are loved by Jocelyn’s Book Club”, but an active voice would say, “Jocelyn’s Book Club loves romance novels.” 

Think about the action you want people to take, then compose your content in a way that inspires that action. If you’d like for someone to comment on your post, rather than stating that fact, try asking them a question to grab their attention and get them involved.

To conclude, if you use the “Inverted Pyramid” method, have proper spelling and grammar, proofread, use an active voice and keep your audience involved, then you will be on the right track to having a successful blog or vlog. 

Have you ever made a vlog? Do you think a blog post or a vlog would be more intriguing to your audience?