COM0014 Blog#7- Personal Reflection

Some people are great storytellers and great digital content relies on creative people. These like-minded individuals are what I strive to become. You know who they are. They tell their story in such in-depth ways that the reader can’t help but listen.  At the same time they use these same stories as marketing and social media techniques. They know how to utilize their skill to create, captivate, nurture and promote their stories. If online content doesn’t tell a story than most people will move on and find something that they can relate to. I want my readers to think that they know me or have a friendship with me.storyteller

To captivate your audience, it is important to focus on what people want to hear and share with others. I want my content to feel real and to bring emotion to that specific reader. It will be guided by my own personal experiences so that it is a realistic and trustworthy story. I also want to tell stories that “hit home” or that most people will relate to and give useful information that is respected and shared with by many.

Telling stories helps with grabbing the imagination of others and takes them to a place that allows the reader to live vicariously and visually through another’s experience. I am hoping that sharing my stories will connect me to my audience and that they capture and sustain the attention of others as this is a key leadership skill that I want to showcase throughout my writing.

COM0014- Blog #5 Personal Branding

When thinking about my personal brand, I asked my husband what the one thing that stood out about me was. His answer, “You are Stubborn”. He may be partly right, but I feel like people misunderstand stubbornness for confidence. I am proud to be a successful independent woman and I am definitely not a pushover. I am happy to challengstubborne others and don’t always take no for an answer, but I also know when I am wrong and can humbly accept it, apologize and move forward.
My honest and outgoing personality is a trait that I nurture and love about myself. It allows me to easily connect with others and I feel comfortable in almost any situation. My colleagues would say that I am helpful and approachable and always treat others with respect and appreciation. They would also say that I have a great sense of humor, but know when its’ appropriate to use it.

Within the last 7 months, I have worked very hard to take the time to introduce myself, visit and build professional and trustworthy relationships with each and every one of my current accounts. I take the time to express my confidence in my abilities and show my loyalty and dedication by making sure that I resolve any issues immediately and listen to any concerns that they may have. It is my responsibility to make confidencesure that our clients are happy with the products and services that we offer.

I am proud of every decision I’ve made and wouldn’t change a thing. I am building my business and personal brand, which is a reflection of my confidence, hard work and dedication from my past and going forward into the future.

 

Post 4 – Costco Wholesale Canada-B2C Case Study (Digital Communication)

Costco Wholesale Canada is a great example of a B2C business that uses a variety of social media to engage with its audience and does a really good job at it. I follow Costco Canada on Facebook where they have 445,922 likes, Twitter 34,600 followers and LinkedIn 13,500 followers.

costcoThis company is just always on top of whatever they do. Consumers make numerous comments and post daily on a variety of their social media outlets and Costco responds to each and every one within hours of posting. Their responses address the user by first name and always end with the name of the person from Costco who has responded to the comment and a resolution or action to take place. Th
is personal approach shows Costco’s customers that they are valued and taken seriously.

Their social media team take the time to address all issues rather than posting generic responses. Costco’s style of responding is approachable and consumers feel that they can ask questions or post concerns and they will be answered in a timely manner with accurate and professional information. Costco is excellent at getting their messages across to the their audience in a positive and respectful manner. They use Social Media to their advantage to release and gather interesting and useful product feedback and to send out company information across all their social media platforms to their large group of followers. There are many large companies out there that could learn a thing or two about Costco’s social media approach.

Have you ever dealt with Costco online or any other large retailer? If so, what was your experience like? PS. I love Costco… I just can’t help it! 🙂

COM0014 Blog #3 Sarah Lamoureux – Target Audiences

My sister, Brandy Yanchyk is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and journalist based in Edmonton, Alberta. Her productions are across a wide range of social and factual genres and they have aired on channels including BBC World TV, CBC’s Documentary Channel, Rogers OMNI TV, PBS, TELUS Optik Local and film festivals around the world.

Brandy really is the creative one in our family and rarely seeks guidance from me when it comes to her career. Recently, she approached me looking for social media advice for her newest documentary release. “Coastal Revival is a 5 part series that tells the story of how passionate environmentalists and First Nations peoples are using the power of ecotourism to preserve the majestic animals of British Columbia’s coast.”Coastal_Rev-Thumbs-_0002_ep3-600x300

She was very interested in learning how to use social media to promote her documentary series and target a specific audience using a variety of tools and strategies. We both knew that although she had a Twitter account, she wasn’t engaging the right audience and we had to fix that. We went ahead and set up social media accounts with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Instagram. She began searching on all of the different social media outlets for people and organizations to follow that had similar interests or organizations. We looked for animal and nature posts as well as outdoor groups and nature activities or events. Before she knew it, people were connecting with her and watching the series as well as sharing and commenting on every link.

Setting up these accounts and using the tool Hootesuite allowed for one message to be distributed to many people throughout an array of different social media outlets. This tool enabled her to easily release each of her 5 episodes while promoting them through posts and trailers on social media networks, over a 5-week period. This online campaign reeled in the targeted audience and had them wanting more.

Check out Coastal Revival at http://coastalrevival.com and see more of

Brandy Yanchyk’s documentaries at http://www.brandyyproductions.com

COM0014 Blog #2 – Finding Me

IS IT MY TURN YET?  Time for me? I’ve been exhausted for 9 years and counting. My life has been non stop go, go, go with my 2 little boys, Luka 8 and Maxime 6. From the moment I wake up until my head hits the pillow, I lose myself in them. I thought being a mom would be easy. I would love my children and that would be that. Boy was I wrong. I have cried, hovered, laughed, yelled, worried and been the best mom I could be.

Quotation-Tina-Fey-mom-happy-Meetville-Quotes-271152-300x205These tiny people come into our lives, make us fall absolutely crazy in love with them and then take over. From building Lego everyday to going to cartoon movies which I try hard not to fall asleep watching, I  become putty in those small little hands.
When will I get some me time? Why is it that so many of us parents have a difficult time holding on to our life passions once we have kids? I use to love to run and now I make every excuse not to go. I am just too tired. When the kids go to bed, I want me time. Nobody calling for me, no running around, just quiet, relaxing me time.

sleeping-mom1-300x300Am I the only one that sometimes feels overwhelmed being a mom? My physician recently has recommended Yoga for me, but I am a little scared. I’ve never gone to a class before and feel out of shape and so out of the loop. Is there any of classes or type of relaxation techniques you’ve done that have helped you with the stresses of everyday life and being a mom? Would love to hear how you got your grove back after kids.

 

 

COM0014 Blog Post #1 What I Did On My Vacation (Sarah Lamoureux)

Family Vacations have always been memories that I treasure. They include my brother, sister and I piling into our family’s 1980’s wood panelled station wagon and taking a road trip to Florida or Prince Edward Island or even driving down the coast of California all the while listening to Duran Duran, George Micheal or Madonna on my Sony Walkman.

OldFamily

1980’s Family Road Trip

These memories stick with me. My parents both so in love with each other and sharing their love for travel together with all of us. It truly was so fortunate to have these special times. Now it comes full cycle as its my turn to make the same sort of memories as a new family with my husband and two young sons.

This year we flew to Orlando, Florida in February, rented a vehicle and planned nothing and I mean nothing. I rented a beautiful house with a pool in a gated community and  wanted to play it by ear. This was by far one of the best and most relaxing vacations ever! It was spontaneous and so much fun. We decided together each evening based on the weather, what we may or may not do the next day. Our days were spent teaching the kids how to play chess, feeding the birds, looking for turtles at the neighbourhood pond and taking small road trips as well as hitting the beach and boardwalk in Clearwater. We all loved it. We watched for Alligators at Gatorland and headed straight for the crowds at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and it was all fantastic. I’ve never seen my son’s so happy. Free from electronics and no commitments to be somewhere on a certain day or having expectations of what we were supposed to do. No stress building up to the date and last-minute family excitement as we planned our daily outings. This is really what building family memories is all about. What do you like to do for family vacations? Is everything always planned? Would love to hear all about yours!

max and luka

Luka & Maxime building Sand Castles at Clearwater Beach

 

 

 

 

COM0011 – Blog Post #6- What is a Live Tweet?

I am not a huge tv fan but If there is one show that I love to watch it’s Scandal. It keeps me on the edge of my seat and leaves me wanting more at the end of every episode. scandal promoThis past week I was watching Scandal and following live-tweets from their cast. What a great way to engage the audience and a huge checkmark for their marketing and promotion departments. I found myself tweeting answers to questions and live-tweeting to the cast about the show. I felt like I was watching it with a group of friends, but I was actually at home alone. So much fun!

A live-tweet, written “LT”, is the action of sending tweets (those short messages spread via Twitter) in order to comment on a live event. #Hashtag’s are almost always part of a live-tweet  (a keyword stweet-livetarting with the # symbol, as in #livetweet). Normally it’s started by the users or audience to follow the tweets. Searching a specific hashtag in Twitter allows you to find every tweet using that particular #hashtag. Twitter has a Trending Topic page listing most used hashtags at a particular time.

I am not a huge Football fan but I am always interested in the SuperBowl half time performance. Of course I jumped on Twitter last night to see what people were #live-tweeting about. There was definitely some funny tweets about Katy Perry.

Even Twitter has a page dedicated to Live Tweeting. https://media.twitter.com/best-practice/tweet-in-the-moment.

Here’s what they they are saying about it. “There’s a real advantage to live-tweeting. For example, our research into live-tweeting by @MLB teams found it resulted in follower growth 1.6x the average and 1.9x as many Retweets. As an added benefit, your followers will come to appreciate your voice on Twitter and the outlook you have on world events — whether grave or whimsical.”

Live-tweeting has become a become a priority for the television industry. In the big picture of social television, Twitter activity has become a way to measure the real-time impact of television shows. Shows even post official hashtags on screen at the beginning of each show to encourage live-tweeting. What a fun and exciting way to use social media to promote television shows as well as engage the audience.

Do you have a Twitter account? If so, have you ever heard of live-tweeting or ever live-tweeted? If not, do it! Its so much fun!

Buy Nothing Barrhaven-Communities Showing Generosity through Facebook- COM0011 BLOG POST #5

I have to admit it, I am a Facebook junkie.facebook-junkie1 I login daily to stay in the Social Media loop. There are so many options for using Facebook these days. How can I not be addicted? For me, its to stay up to date on the everyday lives of my family and friends, arrange playgroups, mommy dinners, birthday parties, events, enter contests, ask for advice, follow organizations, join community groups and so much more as the options are endless.

Did you know that you can actually join up to 6000 Facebook groups at once? If you’re already at the 6000 group limit you will have to leave a group before joining another. I really hope that someone would hold an intervention if I’m ever at that many groups.

Most recently a friend of mine invited me to a Facebook Online Community Group that is definitely worth mentioning, called “Buy Nothing Barrhaven.” She had been over visiting and I was admiring her purse when she mentioned that she got it for free on this Facebook group. Of course I was very intrigued and signed up to see what it was all about.

Buy Nothing Barrhaven is a Facebook group with currently 1,912 local Barrhaven residents as members. It’s actually part of something bigger called the Buy Nothing Project. Give Freely. Share Creatively.  When trying to explain what the group is all about I visited their website at http://buynothingproject.org  and found the following quote, “When people ask me what a Buy Nothing group really looks like, I tell them it’s a Facebook group that’ll give you a hands-on chance to take part in a social movement spreading across the country, enabling people and communities to commit episodic acts of daily good together.” By Liesl Clark

buy nothing

The original Buy Nothing Project group was established on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Basically, people in your local community give stuff to each other for free. Random Acts of Kindness all day long. It’s actually overwhelming to watch how much is posted and how often. I seriously could monitor the group as a full time job. People in your community post items that they no longer need, want or just feel like donating and all you have to do is comment that you are interested along with the others and they choose a person to give it to and you pick it up locally. I am shocked at the items that are being given away. An $800 authentic Tiffany necklace, food, waffle makers and tupperware. The acts of kindness are really amazing. Please watch and be inspired by this really great YouTube video about the group.

If I thought I was addicted to Facebook before, I’m in big trouble now. I have been going through my stuff and will be posting a bunch to donate soon. Oh, and I recently picked up my first “win”….a brand new purse 🙂

Have you ever heard of the Buy Nothing Project or something like it? Check out their website to see if there is currently a group running out of your community. Would love to hear about any other interesting groups or feedback that you might have.

Social Media Shines Bright on Jamaica COM0011 BLOG POST #4

2682822051_3bcd2bf908_z

My family and I are traveling to Jamaica for the first time next month. We can’t wait. Time to relax and enjoy the sun, food, people but most of all family time. My boys are 7 and 5 and can’t wait to go swimming in the ocean and play in the sand.  When booking my vacation through Beaches All Inclusive Resorts, I came across some reviews on Trip Advisor and they directed me to the Sandal Foundation website where I found information on a non-profit organization called Pack for a Purpose.

Pack for a Purpose’ mission statement is to positively impact communities around the world by jamaicaassisting travelers who want to bring meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit. It was game over when I visited the Pack for a Purpose Instagram Page. As soon as I saw the pictures of the children and read about the organization I knew I wanted to help somehow. I discovered that there were 7 elementary schools in the area close to our resort with children the same age as my boys, that have a real need for schools supplies etc. There is also an option as visitors to volunteer as a family and give 2 hours of our time at one of the adopted schools and interact with children and help them with their literacy skills. This is going to be the best part of our trip! So much fun!

How crazy is it, that I found out so much information about all of this through social media? From the school, what their needs were, to the pictures of the children. Social media had done its job to solicit the rest of the world to help.

I went over the program with both my boys and husband and showed them pictures of the school and children. The boys are very excited to help and can’t wait to see the school and meet the children. The next step was to purchase the supplies. Funny how social media works in mysterious ways. Last night when visiting a Mommy Group on Facebook someone posted the following picture and quote…10903940_10154969194585167_4502854570203281853_o

“If anyone is looking for loot bag ideas… I found these on clearance at Michaels (South Keys) reg 11.99 for 2.99. towards the back of the store lots left.”

I couldn’t believe it! What a deal and exactly what the kids need on the list, 100 piece art supply kits. Needless to say I rushed over this morning and purchased 16. Each of us will sneak 4 into our suitcase. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to volunteer as a family and give back to our community and now Jamaica!

It just goes to show that non-profits who use the right amount of social media are boosting their online presence. It allows them to connect to far away supporters and like-minded organizations and bring in the people and resources that they need most. I wasn’t looking for this program and hadn’t even thought about doing this. I just stumbled across this organization because of Social Media and now we all win!

Have you ever come across a non- profit organization or cause on Facebook and made a donation for the first time? Would love to hear your thoughts and Feedback!

Social Media and Small Business-The Fear of the Unknown COM0011 Blog Post #3

FearOver the past few months I have come across a number of people who are skeptical of social media and the positive impact it can have on small business.  I understand that it can be overwhelming to learn new social media tools and for many, managing their business is difficult enough. I for one have always been an advocate for social media as I have seen its success first hand. The businesses that do engage in social media are reaping the benefits. However, in many cases the “Fear of the Unknown” shy people away from using it.

For example, my sister Brandy Yanchyk is a Documentary Film Maker and uses her Twitter page as a marketing tool to showcase, promote and pitch ideas and new documentaries to her followers and potential buyers. She also uses it to seek out new contacts, stories and ideas from her social media audience. Before social media, artists would hand out flyers on street corners and hang posters around cities hoping to draw attention to a new play or film. Social media has changed this style of marketing. It’s as easy as posting information on your Facebook or Twitter page and letting your audience do the marketing for you.

I recently approached my local Community Association to discuss my interest in the use of social media in an effort to assist with their marketing, volunteer recruitment and community presence. I was shocked at the pushback I received when I suggested that they use Facebook and Twitter to help recruit new members and engage their audience in community events. At the moment the Community Association was solely using their website to market their events, membership etc. Even though I offered to manage their social media as a volunteer they could not grasp the benefits of using social media for marketing promotion. In this case, I think members didn’t want more work and it was difficult to consider change and see any new potential.

Really it’s quite simple to say that social media can be your best marketing tool for small business.  For those skeptics who are afraid and avoiding social media, you are leaving behind an amazing opportunity to showcase your own talents and expertise and giving your competitors the edge. Here is a great list of the “20 Reasons Your Small Business should Use Social Media”, by Shana Albert.

20 Reasons Your Small Business should Use Social Media by Shana Albert

  1. Branding – Create a recognizable identity for your product or service. This is extremely important for a small business.
  2. Create a buzz – Get the word out about your products and services in a way that promotes online conversation.
  3. Online reputation management – Keep an eye on what other people and sites are saying about your name, company, or brand online – and fix any problems, if need be.
  4. Establish yourself as an expert – Use forums and message boards to answer questions professionally, honestly, and correctly, which will earn you respect as an expert in your niche. People will look to you for answers.
  5. Word of mouth – Customers need to trust before purchasing – people trust their friends and loved ones more than anyone else. So, if they hear from someone trustworthy about your product, chances are higher that they’ll buy. Market your products using word of mouth virtually.
  6. Build relationships and become more personal – Use a variety of social media, and you’ll build relationships with customers and potential customers. Trust comes through honesty and sincerity.
  7. Open up the line of communication between business owner and millions of potential customers – Millions of people who could possibly become customers? You could not have this easily in the offline world.
  8. Small businesses can compete with the large companies – In the past, this was very difficult with the advertising and marketing budgets of large companies. With the right type of viral social media, you could get an immense amount of traffic with quickly-growing natural links, and keep traffic coming for a long time.
  9. Social networking with potential clients and customers from all over the globe – With social networking sites such as Facebook, StumbleUpon, MySpace and Twitter, among many, many others,  you can hold personal conversations with each of your customers. Tell them about new products, sales and coupons, suggestions and tips – the topics are endless.
  10. Get great traffic – Not only great traffic…. but freakishly crazy amounts of traffic. For example, if one of your items becomes viral and makes it to the front page of Yahoo Buzz (a social news site), it could get you 100,000 to 1,000,000 viewers; from Digg around 2,000 to 60,000; and from Reddit around 2,500 to 30,000. Check out some more awesome stats on this great post by The SEO Company.
  11. Increase your link-ability – One way to move up in the search engines is to have links from other sites pointed to your site. Natural links – or links that come naturally to your great post, awesome video, or amazing picture, are the best kind for your business. They’ll not only bring in traffic, but should also help move you up further in the search engines.
  12. Helps with search engines – Like I mentioned above, social media helps you move up in the search engines because of links. Many social news sites and social networking sites have “do follow” links in their profile pages.  Every time you create a profile with your blog, they will be sending link juice to you – in other words, it’s telling Google your blog is worthy of a mention. Link juice from a quality site = higher ranking in the search engines.
  13. Much cheaper than traditional marketing and advertising – Social media marketing shouldn’t cost a small business nearly as much as traditional advertising. And, if you do it yourself, it might not cost a dime. However, it will cost you time.  Depending how much your time is worth, it might be worthwhile to hire someone to help with the social media marketing. But, all in all, social media marketing is just a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing and advertising.
  14. Your company is more accessible – An accessible company means a more trustworthy company.
  15. Direct conversation to a specific niche – There are so many social networking, social bookmarking, and social news sites that are dedicated to specific niches.  You have the ability to speak directly to these people and not have all the other noise of unrelated topics getting in the way. If you are speaking their language, you have a better chance of them actually hearing what you are saying – and you’re getting the RIGHT KIND of following.
  16. Provides another way for potential customers to find you – If you’re not high enough in the search engines for potential customers to find you, they can still find you through social media.  So, even if you’re not on the front page of Google, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive traffic. Social Media has the potential to send you TONS of traffic – when done properly (I’ll write more on that soon!).
  17. It’s a way to explain yourself – One of the reasons some businesses are skiddish about social media is because they’re afraid of negative comments.  It’s possible to receive negative comments. But, social media provides the platform to explain, to make things right. The fact of the matter is – if someone has something negative to say they can say it.  Ignoring them doesn’t stop the damage.  But, when you reply, you are seen as a business owner who cares, who wants to make the customer happy, and that you’re human. Social media is a two-way conversation, so go ahead and defend yourself – just do it proactively.
  18. Show Your Stuff – Universal Search is pretty new. Google used to only list links on their main page. They had videos, but you would have to click on the video search link. They had images, but you had to click on the images search link. Now, with Google Search, everything appears on the same page. Let’s say you were searching  “ballerina” – video and picture results appear on the same page as the  page result. So, your product images could rank, just like your actual site. This is awesome, and something business owners should take advantage of.Universal Search Visual Example

Why do you think that some small businesses have a difficult time embracing social media? Have you ever seen the potential for growth through social media but been in the same situation as me where there is little or no interest? Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

fear-of-the-unknown