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

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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

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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.

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Social Media Contests: A win-win situation? (COM0011 Post #2)

social-media-contestsContests have always been a love of mine. I guess they run through my blood. As a young girl living in the suburbs of Toronto, I can remember my father calling into the city’s radio stations to guess the “Oldies Song Of The Day”. He won many contests back then. A Trip to Cancun, tickets to the theatre, dinners and many more. It was always so much fun to watch his reaction and hear the excitement in his voice when talking about his wins. After moving away from home to Ottawa, I never really thought much about contests anymore. My father is really one of the very few people I know who has really won anything.

twitter-partySocial media has breathed new life into contests. More and more organizations are using social media and contests as a popular marketing tool. Twitter Parties, Rafflecopters, Facebook Flash Giveaways all capture desired audiences. These type of contests can allow companies to go after target audiences in a quick and cost effective way. Its amazing to see how businesses use these contests to promote their brands. I participate in many of these contests and I must say that I guess I have the same sort of luck as my father because I do win on occasion.

Just this past week I won 2 tickets to an Ottawa Senators hockey game through a Facebook post. It was a win-win for myself and the business I won the tickets from. They were able to capture the audience and bring them to both their Facebook page and website all for price of two hockey tickets. I definitely will make sure that I continue to follow that organization and continue to watch their posts on a daily basis. Who doesn’t like to win and what a great marketing tool? But do contests really benefit everyone?

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Not all contests are what they seem. Click here to read about how Molson ran a Facebook contest asking users to send pictures of themselves partying with Molson products. It became obvious pretty quickly that people reveal too much about themselves on Facebook and the campaign was pulled.

A social media contest can have many benefits when done properly, its a great way to give businesses a boost in terms of awareness and audience.

Have you ever entered any social media contests and won? Do you find yourself annoyed by contest posts in Facebook, Twitter etc? Would love to hear your feedback.

The Healing Power of Facebook – COM0011 – Blog Post #1

This blog is being created for my Introduction to Social Media Course at Algonquin College with hopes to continue using it as a learning tool. A way for me to introduce, express and explore different social media, while posting my personal thoughts and experiences. I will also use it to learn from, through you my audience, as you provide your feedback, opinions and questions.

Let me start off by telling you a story about one of my first experiences with Facebook….

In the early morning of August 2, 2007, I became a first time mom at age thirty-three to a beautiful boy and my life immediately changed. It went from having a corporate career, travelling the world and hosting impromptu dinner parties to a full-time mommy of a beautiful baby boy, changing diapers, swimming lessons, playgroups and planning family vacations with my husband and now two sons.

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As you can see the birth was quite overwhelming yet wonderful

The year 2007 really introduced and changed my views on Facebook, social media and its reach. I was a newbie and very wary of what it could be used for. That was until I needed it for me.

It was in the months leading up to the birth of my son that I joined Facebook and became more interested in social media. Facebook became my social network. A link to stay connected to my colleagues, friends, family, news, community and the outside world. It was my information resource, my advice and my friend while alone in the middle of the night.

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Thirty-two days after my son was born he became very ill with Strep B Bacterial Meningitis. He was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario where my family would face many days of uncertainty in the 3 weeks that lied ahead. It was then that I reached out through Facebook and used it for the first time as a social networking tool to help me get through this stressful time. It allowed me to update my family and friends on my son’s condition and in return it gave me daily support and encouragement. Thankfully the Doctors and Nurses at CHEO were there to safe his life and my 7-year-old son is thriving and healthy today.

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My son Luka and I at CHEO recovering from Group Strep B Bacterial Meningitis

Have you ever thought about the history of Social Media and when you started using it or how it has affected you? In this very cool info-graphic called “Social Media-A History” created by Cendrine Marrouat (Research) from Creative Ramblings and (Design) by Karim Benyagoub, you can see in detail the timeline of how social media, as we know it today, came to be. Read more at http://socialmediaslant.com/social-media-history-infographic-updated/Social-Media-History

Before Facebook, I would have felt alone. For months after returning home from the hospital with my son, I continued to update my Facebook Friends on his progress and it helped us all heal. From that moment on I realised the Power of Facebook. I was no longer alone, wary or afraid. I welcomed it with open arms and continue to. Have you ever used Facebook as a healing tool? Or do you know anyone who has? Were you initially afraid or wary of Facebook? Would love to hear your thoughts or feedback. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Facebook….what a wonderful tool for healing.

To learn more about Meningitis please visit  http://www.meningitisrelief.com/meningitis.html