COM0015- Blog Post #4 Out of the Box

Social Media has been a great way to stay connected to family, friends and colleagues. Everyday people are discovering different ways that Social Media can used that may be considered  “Out of the Box”.

Over the last few years I have seen quite an increase in Social Media being used to promote and bring awareness to Health and Wellness.  Individuals and Organizations use it to post a variety of requests such as Organ & Blood Donations as well as Flu Shot Clinic information.

Go Fund Me Pages have become beneficial and quite popular for families or individuals that may need financial assistance during or after a health crisis.

Social Media has also been used as a broadcast tool when dealing with Natural Disasters. For example, Facebook added an Emergency Check-In Feature for people in Natural Disaster areas. Anyone in the area of the disaster is immediately asked to check on Facebook that they are okay and give their status. People also have used Facebook when telephone land lines and televisions are down and they need to find information on assistance or shelter locations. After tornadoes in the south earlier this year people were using it to help identify personal items such as photographs, diplomas and birth certificates by posting them to Facebook groups.

Just recently twins from Western Canada were reconnected with their birth father from a Facebook post that the fathers wife posted. The post went viral and the twins were located and talking to their birth father within 3 days of the post.

Lastly, pets have really benefited from Social Media. I personally have been using Social Media everyday to try and locate the perfect Hypoallergenic dog for my family. Its wonderful to see all the daily connections that are made on sites like Petfinder and Ottawa Dog Rescue.  These animals would not have the exposure in such a short time if it wasn’t for Social Media.

These “Out of the Box” uses for Social Media have really helped people and animals in times of need. I hope that even more great uses come out of these tools and we continue to use it to better society.  Have you ever seen Social Media used in an “Out of the Box” way?

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COM0015- Assignment 5- Top Networkers Do This…

For my final blog post in my Applied Social Media in Business Class at Algonquin College, I was asked to participate in a professional development event either online or in person.  I chose to participate in a 1.25 hour Webinar hosted by Kate Gaffin http://kategaffin.com on the “7 Things Top Networkers Do That Wins Them Endless Business…And How You Can Easily Do The Same”. The link to the webinar can be found at here.

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I chose this online Webinar as I had attended many local Networking events in the past but never felt that I was getting much traction from them. I was hoping that this Kate Gaffin’s webinar would give me some further insight on how to connect and win business from these types of networking events.

Activity 2Webinars are great when the technology running them works but during the first 5 minutes of the webinar the host was having sound issues and was corresponding with me and other participants in the Question window and was not sure we could continue.  The audio was fixed very quickly and we went on with our event. I met with the host Kate Gaffin briefly beforehand online and participated with other people who asked questions and commented throughout the webinar within question bar on the right.  I was a little disappointed that the Webinar seemed to be prerecorded as the comments from other viewers seemed to be scripted and there was very little time given to ask questions or chat back and forth with the host.

Although the Webinar didn’t seem as real time as I had hoped I actually found it very informative.  I loved that the host discussed how easy it was to stay connected and build mutually rewarding relationships with our social networks.  She explained how by sending quick texts or Facebook messages to your clients letting them know that you are thinking about them was a very personal and useful way to build rapport with your network.

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She also stressed the importance of immediate follow up after meeting with someone for the first time. She mentioned that she never gives out business cards anymore because she connects with them in real time on LinkedIn or sends them an email from her mobile device right on the spot in real time.

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My favourite quotes from this webinar was, “Social Media is The Biggest Networking Reception on the Planet”.

I would definitely attend another online Networking Webinar. I found that it was easy to follow along and it gave me some very postive real life stories on how people connect. The next time, I will spend a little more time really researching the speaker so that I can be sure that I am getting what I want out of the webinar and that it doesn’t turn into a sale pitch in the end.  Have you ever gone online and watched a Social Media or Networking Webinar? Did you get anything worthwhile out of it?

 

COM0015 -Post 3 Networking for the Future

My present Strategy for Professional networking is to use Social Media to my full advantage.  I have set up profile for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube to name a few and plan to reach out to potential networks all over Ottawa.

I currently use LinkedIn for business and update it often to reflect new connections, employment postings, company media releases as well as other important information for my networking strategy.  I invite each and everyone of my current customers to connect with me through LinkedIn and ask them to join my professional network. This has been a great way to keep my finger on the pulse of  what my customers are up to as well as what events are going on with their businesses in and around Ottawa.

I also plan on becoming more involved with the Ottawa Business Journal events as well as joining the Kanata North Business Association. I will then follow all of their social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube so that I can get to know who the players are in the area. I will attend their Breakfast Meetings to introduce myself to potential clients as well as to find out who is in the area and keep on top of my competition.

Lastly, I want to restart my Blog that I haven’t touched in a few years. I love Blogging and its time to reconnect and start writing again.  I want to go back to what I love doing most and continue to reach a broader audience and introduce myself to people that I might not normally meet online or in person that have similar interests and would benefit from my knowledge and experience and vice versa.  

Have you ever started a blog and stopped? I really miss it and hope its as easy to start back up. I love Networking and for me Blogging is just an extension of that. How about you?

COM0015 – Blog Post #2 – Strong & Weak Organizations

Costco Wholesale Canada is a great example of an organization with an impression social media strategy. Costco Canada 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 50,398 likes, Twitter 39,300 followers and LinkedIn 18,290 followers.

This 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. This 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 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! 🙂

On another note, it can be shocking to come across a large company who doesn’t utilize all aspects of social media. For example, Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world yet has a Twitter Account and has never Tweeted and no official Facebook page. They use LinkedIn but that’s about it. Maybe this is Apple’s Strategy. Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group, says: “The truth is, if they didn’t have that momentum going into this new, connected generation they would have to do it,” he says. “They already had word of mouth and that word of mouth continues. They already had that momentum.”

I completely disagree. Apple is loosing popularity and I think that social media would be a way to engage and excite their base of customers as well as build or reach a entirely new audience. Word of mouth is great but Social media lets people interact and ask questions, watch videos in real time and involves the audience so that they feel like they are a part of the excitement. Apple really is missing the mark. They could be running contests, promoting their products and engaging their audience to keep their brand fresh and accessible for their users.  They might just miss out on future generations who will continue to use social media as a main source of entertainment and information.  What do you think about Apple?  Should Apple be engaging more with their customer through social media ?

 

 

 

COM0015 – Blog Post #1 – Tools & Sources

Choosing my 2 favourite Social Media Trend Listening and Monitoring Tools was something I thought would be quite challenging for me. These tools are not something that I have used in a while, on a daily basis in my personal life or at my current employer. There are just so many tools to choose from it starts to become overwhelming.

While reading about and refamiliarizing myself with Hootsuite, it gave me a glimpse of the type of tool I would consider in the future. Hootsuite would allow me to really see what type of impact different social media are having on my business.  Lynette Ho describes Hootsuite in her digital marketing blog post as, “a social media platform that makes the social world more manageable, measurable, and productive for companies and individuals. You are able to manage your social profiles all from one dashboard, save time finding and automating content to publish and measure your social media performance with analytics.”

Hootsuite seems easy to understand and really just makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t want a tool that becomes too complex or is a full time job to manage. I love that it monitors specific keywords, hashtags, regions, and more. It also stays on top of what other people are saying about your brand or company and it listens to your customers and competitors so that you can gain a competitive advantage.  My favourite piece was that its schedules posts in advance. Now that would be a GAME CHANGER for me!

 Another Tread Listening and Monitoring Tool which I have used in the past and was so simple to use and set up was Google Alerts. Google Alerts allows you to monitor the web for mentions of your company, your competitors, or other relevant topics. Its as easy as going to the Google Alerts page, typing a keyword or phrase in the search box, and providing your email address to receive an email notification every time Google finds results that are relevant to your alert criteria.

Google Alerts was the first Tread Listening and Monitoring Tool that I ever used. Believe it or not I started using it for a Software Company I was working for when it first launched back in 2003 as per Wikipedia. This type of tool is ageless and Google is an ICONIC brand. Google  is not going anywhere and  I predict will be continuing to push Google Alerts to continue to compete as a relevant Trend Listening and Montioring tool in the future.

Facebook and Twitter are my top 2 Social Media choices. They gather together different perspectives from Media, Political and everyday people around the world.  They also give quick and vital information without the wait and often provide live footage on the go, right in my hand. For me, Social Media must keep me up to date with breaking news and updates from my network to hear about specific events happening around the world.

What are your top two Social Media choices and what attracts you to use them over other offerings?

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.

 

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.

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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!

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Luka & Maxime building Sand Castles at Clearwater Beach