COM0015 – Assignment 5 – Training With Lisa Larter

Where do I begin? I have so much to say that my head is exploding! I enrolled in The Pilot Project with Lisa Larter at the beginning of the year. It was and is a work in progress. Pilot Project dives into you and your business. When it comes to business you just cannot get away from NUMBERS! So, I won’t sugar coat it here either, she dives into the numbers from the get go.

The first module jumps right in feet first and you are on your way to working and figuring out your business. It is eight modules long with bonus information daily. There is support! Support is lifetime within the Facebook group. You are also free to take the course over again to revamp what you have learned about yourself and business or go over points you may have missed. This online course is about YOU and about YOUR business! It’s all you. Whether you own a start-up or a 6 figure company the tools and insights that are presented this course will grow your business if you apply them and do the work. You learn at your own pace. You have the key to make real changes as well! You get what you put into the course. From top to bottom Lisa will have you taking a real look at your goals and growing your business. It’s not easy. There were many eye- opening moments and I am still working through the material in the course.
During the program it was suggested pretty strongly that we find accountability partners and/or groups. I managed to connect with a lady from the United States taking the course as well. Due to the distance we met online via Skype and Google hangouts. I have often used Skype but never Google hangouts so the lady I connected with was more than open to running a meeting using Google hangouts. Setting up hangouts took longer than I thought. Downloading the proper apps while we were meeting and the lady I was connecting with was so patient with me that I was thankful! During the Google hangout, I noticed and learned that it is very different than Skype. I truthfully found it difficult to hear the other end. I found having to wear the microphone a little awkward and on top of that the video quality was not as good as what I was used to through Skype. I was told that there are different apps available to download to improve these areas. I must say I am happy to hear that due to the fact that there are more online hangouts I would like to take part in. The lady that I connected with and I traded information that can help our businesses by suggesting new trainings and links to blogs, sites and Facebook pages of seasoned professionals working in areas of interest such as video and business consulting. I have since continued the connection with this lady by connecting and friending her on Facebook.

In terms of the Pilot Project, I can go through all the modules one by one but have chosen not too because it truly is different for everyone. Lisa shares her story and nuggets throughout the program to help you get to be where YOU want to be! I feel this program is perfect for anyone looking to add additional training beyond the Algonquin College Social Media program, whom may be looking to apply the new knowledge in a way to form a viable business.

In addition to the Pilot Project, I took part in Lisa Larter’s Twitter webinar. Even though I have used Twitter and understand it, I thought it was a good idea to review the basics and learn a few more things about it. I was completely impressed with the webinar that was one hour long. I learned “lists”, something I was a little foggy about. Lisa explained clearly and in turn I was able to help someone with a “Lists” tip on a group I joined on Facebook. I was able to USE what I learned and apply it immediately!

That’s the main theme for training with Lisa Larter I have found. She presents information in such a way that you can apply it immediately. She wants you to succeed!

I am thankful I have found Lisa Larter and will be on the lookout for more training with her.

If you are interested in finding out more about Lisa Larter, and her Pilot Project, please visit www.LisaLarter.com . I would also recommend signing on to her email list to stay in touch when new trainings become available and her tips you can access through her blog.

In conclusion, I must say that I would definitely take more training from Lisa Larter. In fact I plan to do The Pilot Project over again, fine tuning and adding to my business the necessary changes to succeed. It’s a program that is actually good to do over again because there are things you miss the first time around because you really put you and your business under a microscope. The Pilot Project, with life time membership and support, now, how can you go wrong with that?

The following are screen shots which signify proof of attendance.

Lisa Larter TPP

Lisa Larter Twitter

Lisa Larter Page 1

Lisa Larter Page 2

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COM0015 – Blog Post 4 – Out Of The Box

In the field of social media it is jam packed of useful and unexpected applications. Some of the more unexpected apps I have come across are ones you can find on the phone. Posting graphic quotes is very popular and one app that I found that does a great job is “Word Swag”. This app allows you to put together a graphic quote and really make it look professional with its font and word layout. You can choose your own quotes or sayings and your own pictures, as well pre-programmed quotes and pictures. There are options for each chosen font layout which adds to the flexibility and ease in designing a graphic quote. The benefit here is that its fast and professional looking allowing you to create and post to social media sites in an instant! Below is an example of something that was created on word swag. Algonquin 1 Another app that I have found that is great to use is “Facetune”. This app allows you to polish a selfie up and post an awesome looking picture!! True, it’s altering slightly the picture taken but only slightly. The difference is remarkable and yet it is subtle all the same! In the trend of taking selfies, this would surely come in handy for those who want a polished picture without the outsourcing price of a photographer. Perfect for those day to day updates. I wouldn’t recommend using this app in place of a professional headshot by a photographer though. It looks great but there is still a certain crispness that shines through with a professional headshot. Below is an example of two photos. The first one was untouched. The second photo was touched up using Facetune. Remarkable change and great for an updated selfie posted to social media. Shelby 1 Shelby 2 Would you use filters to polish a selfie? Or go au natural? Or use a mix of both?

COM0015 – Blog 3 – Professional Networking Now and in the Future

A strategy must be planned out to execute professional networking be it online or in person.

It’s so easy to get sidetracked into the wrong direction of where you intend to get to. One of the things that I had to do was sit down and focus on where my online energies are going. I decided to clean up my social media accounts to help maintain a sense of focus.

How I did that, was to remove myself from all groups that I was not participating in on Facebook. Next I limited all public groups to two and kept most groups closed or secret. This was an attempt to “save” my friends feed from becoming cluttered and risk being unfollowed. I also stopped notifications and unfollowed groups. Then why stay in a group? Good question. This was an attempt to minimize wasted time. I still check into the group when I have the time to do it. Some groups are large and can really have a lot of posts filtered into your news feed that I found I wasted time on my feed and missed out on important news to me.

This strategy has actually helped me remain focused on my goals. In turn, I am better able to “keep up” with the connections that I have made online and develop true relationships.
Developing a relationship online is a little more difficult but can be done with success. The main thing to remember is that all things take time. Nothing is instant. Investing time online is the same as investing time in person.
Over the next year I plan to continue with developing relationships online as I have a slight mobility issue that online connecting seems to works for me.

My strategy is to take part and participate in the groups that I have already joined and have become a part of. One group offers Facebook parties and Tweet-ups and I plan to take part in the fun of participating with people I have become friends with online. This will strengthen the bond and I get to have fun getting to know people at the same time.

You will have already noticed that I referred to my new online connections as friends. Well that is what has happened! I have become friends with some people who live in the United States whom I share hopes dreams and business goals with. We have become a support for each other and the new things going on in our lives with our businesses!

My additional goals include making in person connections with people I have met all ready online who live locally. How I plan to do that is attend a local networking event and meet at least one person off my online friends list. It’s a goal that is important to me because as much as meeting people online is great I do miss the old fashioned in person connections.

Do you miss in person connection too? Share your thoughts.

COM0015 – Blog 1 – Tools and Sources

Sources!! There are many sources that are available out there and how do you choose just two for social media trends and then if that were not enough my interests are so vast that it is difficult to choose two sources of news and updates with regards to my interests. I did however, found and narrowed down to the top sources.
The first thing I did was locate my “saved” articles on Facebook. I scrolled through the list of “saved” articles and saw the sources of this information I bookmarked to read later. It was very easy to see that the following two sources came up again and again in the list: Post Planner and Social Media Examiner.

Consistently, these sources update on a daily basis new trends in social media. Whether it’s keeping up with what’s new in hashtags or when is the best time to post, they remain very current on the trends of what is happening in real time.
Now, there are definitely more resources out there but I was shocked to see the amount of saved articles of both compared to others. The amount of postings they do is vital to the success of the information being broadcasted. In the ever changing industry of social media, they stay on top of all areas. By continually posting areas of varied interests, they both hit the nail-on-the-head eight times out of ten on an area that you need-to-know or was intending to learn more about. I prefer these sources for that very reason. There are other good sources out there however they don’t post as much so the information gets lost in the shuffle.

For deciding on my two sources that provide me with current important information that interest me and my organizational needs, once again I turned to Facebook, but in addition to that I turned to my personal email. With Facebook, I searched through the pages I follow, in case I forgot about a source. The truth is I knew, without a doubt two sources that came to mind right away: Angela Sutcliffe Consulting and Lori Murray Design.

I find Angela Sutcliffe Consulting to be top of the line when staying current to trends, news, and knowledge about running a business. The experience and wisdom that is continually sent out are just plain old nuggets of gold. The main theme is to “Focus on your business for profit”. Strong tips shared on her business page on Facebook, and I also subscribe to her e-mail list and receive her newsletters. The information has helped me become focused where I need to be and it helps to keep me “on-track”.

Lori Murray Design is a graphic designer from the United States who posts quality posts on current trends on building a brand in relation to design. The information she sends out is clear and concise and filled with tips to build your brand and maintain it effectively.

Resources are important to have when you are developing a new set of skills. I encourage you, if you have not already heard about these sources, to look them up as well.

COM0014 – Blog 7 – Personal Reflection

Reflecting on this course comes with it a sense of accomplishment and a sense of “What’s next?”. I found the concepts of different styles of writing very useful. It’s definitely something I will reflect on after the course is over. Which brings me to an area of reflection, I was NOT anticipating, grammar. I found that even though I enjoy writing, there were reminders about the proper grammar usage. This is where feedback pushed me to find ways to improve. I found myself researching online grammar classes. I found quite a few. Then I looked at the Algonquin College’s online course calendar. Low and behold there is a program online for a Creative Writing Certificate. That’s where this particular course in the Social Media Certificate program differed for me. This course showed me potential to improve my writing. Writing that can be used in blogs. It was not just the concepts learned in the course that led me to make a decision on furthering my education in writing. It was the course as a whole including the teacher who upon mixed feedback prompted me to look beyond Social Media.

A large portion of this program was spent blogging and creating your style and voice. I intend on pursuing creative writing to help me churn new blogs that not only keep the audience interested but keep ME interested. So, in January I will be taking alongside my last course for this program, writing short stories.

Writing a story takes practice and applying story writing to blogging of sometimes dry topics, lends a certain sparkle to the message. Story. Who doesn’t like a good story? We grow up captivated by story before bed. We watch stories unfold in theatre and television. The human is spirited when listening to a great story. I want to tell, stories.

A great blog will catch the attention and engage people. The best ones have a bit of a story behind it. I can tell you about a business coach that uses story telling on her posts on Facebook, her blog, and video clips. Is there engagement? You bet! I can honestly say there is a lot of it.

When you tell a story you enable people to dig deep inside and relate to it by comparing their own experiences. A story can tug a chord. Stories make it real. I plan to keep it real. Taking a class to enhance my story telling skills will help me keep it real.

Creative writing is not the only course that was spawned from this digital communication course. No. There is another that I will be taking in January. That will actually come in handy to use in social media as well. The course I am talking about is photography. Creating graphics and quotes sometimes involves the use of pictures. Attached to many photos is copyrights. By creating my own pictures I am freeing myself from the possibility of a violation of copyright. I can buy photos or have permission from photographers to use certain photos, and have gone that route. However, what a great way to really connect with my own work by producing my own pictures. A photography course is where you will see me mid January, learning beginner techniques.

As this is my last blog for the course, I just want to say thank you for reading and helping me keep it real.

Stay the Course

COM0014 – Blog 6 – What is your secret wish for your business?

Psssst…

Want to hear a secret?

My secret wish for my social media business is to work on branding it with my values. I recently took part in a virtual retreat with a great company called iBloom. The retreat lasted for two days and was an excellent way to reflect and plan for the year 2015. This retreat was connected to their “Life and Business Planner” which I bought, in an effort to really focus on my goals for the upcoming year, in both my life and business. This was a retreat that brought me to better connect with my thoughts and values.

There was a portion of the retreat that went into detail about how to choose your theme for the upcoming year. Similar to a resolution but something more, the steps were about making positive, attainable, change in your life. I chose a theme that has three parts. The first part was about me. It consists of the word “Shine”. The next part is about my influence on other people in my life, “Uplift”. Lastly, I chose the next set of words to work together as the overall goal, “Impact Lives”.

Shine Uplift and Impact Lives

Those three components are what I determined, through the process of reflection, of how I want to focus my upcoming year.

On even further reflection, I decided I want my business to have the same focus. Keeping me congruent in all aspects of my life will help bring fulfillment and peace to every single situation I encounter. Part of my business plan now includes my values. I felt it was important to include what is important to me, so that I can continue to attract the clients that bring fulfillment to my life. Doing this brings about a synergy that cannot be duplicated. Adding my values and goals to my business allows me to work with those with similar visions and goals, making for a very fruitful partnership.

I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to join in on the virtual retreat. It has made it possible to continue with such a clear vision, in my life and business!

COM0014 – Blog 5 – Personal Brand

One of things that I decided on in regards to my personal brand is being as authentic as possible with all areas of my life. That was around the same time I opened up my Facebook account to accept connections beyond family and close friends.

These new connections were part of Facebook groups I had joined, networking clubs I have attended, events I have attended, connections still to meet in person, and connections associated with Social Media.

Some of my personal qualities and characteristics shine through in every post. It’s my interests, my joys in life and living that shine through. I post graphics that I create, that are positive and motivational. These graphics are designed to brighten up people’s days, like in the case below.

Be Love

I posted the above graphic on one of the groups I am part of on Facebook and to my timeline. That post alone yielded 21 likes and one comment.

Some of the graphics are created to celebrate and share my life as well, as in the case of the next graphic posted to my timeline.

hearts 5

I added the following note to the graphic post:

It’s official – I am registered for the Fall at Algonquin College!! Recently finished 2 courses with wonderful grades (pat on the back) in the Social Media Certificate Program! Now onwards to the next two courses!! #excited #AlgonquinCollege #SocialMedia

The feedback from this post shocked me and taught me the power of allowing connections be part of life events. It yielded 46 likes and 26 comments including a Social Media notable commenting as well on the post.

As I develop my brand, I have found recently the perfect graphic to depict how I want to come across to my audience. I found this graphic a couple weeks ago and resonated with it so much that it’s becoming part of how I determine what to post every day.

before-think-speak-large

The things I am most proud of are my motivational graphics and sharing enthusiasm. It has made my timeline shine in ways that actually make Social Media fun. Due to my attention to what I enjoy sharing, connecting with people has become a true joy. Thus my brand is me!

Reference:

“Think” Graphic found on www.mindbodygreen.com

COM0014 – B2C Case Study “Zulily”

For my B2C company I decided to use Zulily. An online fashionable clothing store which focuses on designer look items for a fraction of the cost.

Zulily engages with the consumer over Facebook. Using ads that present a savings they entice the consumer to click and find out more. Once inside their website you are presented with all their merchandise sectioned off in groups, such as, Men’s, Children, Women, and Home to give you an example.

Each company portrayed within the site is showcased and the savings and specials are clear. Often times you find clothing being sold at 50%-70% off the regular price. That deserves a click to see more. And then you are taken to the items on sale for that particular event.

Events have timed periods in which they occur. That produces a sense of urgency to buy before a particular campaign runs out. The other thing that produces urgency and return to website is the knowledge that every day new campaigns begin with new items. Once you have ordered they entice you again by offering free shipping for the rest of the day.
Effectively reaching their demographic in Facebook ads, they continually have success across North America and abroad. Customers can also use the Pin function and post to Pinterest sharing and growing the following and customers.

This company does it so well that I can see them being around for a long time if they keep to this way of marketing. But it does not end there. They give their customers the option to share to new followers, friends and family. Encouraging this action by offering online store credits, it just quadruples their sales.

Facebook ads don’t work? Well for this company they use them generously to hook customers in and create an effective following with 2,692,263 likes alone on their Facebook page.

COM0014 – Blog 3 – Target Audiences – Choosing Fancy Fonts

When it comes to choosing fonts people like to be both bold and be able to communicate what the message is, clearly. There are many fonts to choose from today and in the effort to be different people still like to be heard. Take for example a survey done on a blog I came across. Below you will see an example of different fonts laid out. Some are classic, some are bold, and all have something different about them.

Algonquin College - Choosing Fancy Fonts - Fonts

Now below you will find the survey that was done against the different fonts. You will notice the main favorite was font number 1. Fonts 3 and 4 seemed to be the least favorite.

Algonquin College - Choosing Fancy Fonts - Pie Chart

From this information and viewing the different fonts, you can gather that the readability of a font is still the top priority when choosing fonts. You want to choose font styles that get the message out and captures an audience. It’s not enough to be just fancy, the majority do not like it. You need to attract people to your message without turning them off or have them struggle on the esthetics of it.

When looking for fonts there are many out there to choose from, including creative commons fonts which have been designed and shared on websites such as www.dafont.com.

At Dafont.com you have a substantial list of fonts that are organized by style such as, “gothic”, “western”, “cartoon”, “decorative” and so on.

One of the things I like about this website is the fact that you can scroll down the various fonts and see quick information on the right end corner.

Algonquin College - Choosing Fancy Fonts - Dafonts 1.jpg

Here, you can see the amount of downloads of the particular font of interest, how much in just one day, and the status of the font such as, “100% Free”, “Free For Personal Use” and “Donationware”. When choosing to use and download fonts the best plan is to use the creative commons “100% Free” choices. Consider how hard it is to remember all the fonts with different rules downloaded in your computer system. Yes, very hard to remember, and go back to research and pull up the “Terms of Use” of each one.

Of the list in the above picture there seems to be one on this page anyhow that is free. We will use that one as an example.

Clicking on the “Smartphone Font” up will come the following.

Algonquin College - Choosing Fancy Fonts - Dafonts 2.jpg

Here you can see the alphabet and how it will look on all the different letters. So you have decided to choose this one and the next step you do is press “Download”. Once you have downloaded and extracted the files to a folder you can open the file in the folder where it’s saved and right click to install the font.

Now when you open progams like “Picmonkey” you can choose to use this selected font for your posters and graphics. It is saved as a .JPG graphic, when you do use it and save files in Picmonkey. This way people who do not have the font on their system can view it effortlessly.

My blog today is about Choosing Fancy Fonts, however the audience that would be attracted to this blog would be someone who also uses Picmonkey. When tagging keywords, I am choosing to add Picmonkey to attract those interested that use Picmonkey and other graphics programs for use in Social Media. Adding this tagline alone will attract the necessary target market to my blog.

Have you used different graphics in various projects? Have you gone through finding the “right” one only to find once applied to your project the message itself is distorted? I would be very interested in knowing if this mini tutorial has helped you in any way.

References:

www.dafont.com

http://rosieturnersa2mediablog.blogspot.ca/2012/04/fonts-audience-feedback.html

COM0014 – Blog 2 – Picmonkey: The User Friendly Graphics Program

Let me introduce you to Picmonkey. This is an online graphics program that will enable you to do a multitude of tasks deeming you the next graphics designer in your domain. You name it – it can do it.
It has a wonderful professional collection of fonts, photo touch-up, overlays that come with the program or you have your choice to add your own – such as a logo, special effects, colour altering, and the list goes on. I use it everyday! I’m not the only one either. Chris Brogan a very popular Social Media Specialist has begun promoting it on his Facebook page. Just to give you an idea of what Picmonkey can do, please take a moment and watch how Chris Brogan uses it for designing a logo on the spot.

As you can see it is quite simple to use and effective! One of the ways I have used it was to design a quick mock up logo to present my idea to a graphic designer for the added polish. Making alterations on photos as well would be a way of using the program. See below the picture of and Angel which I added some effects to.

angel eve

And here’s the “before” picture.

angel eve 1

As you can see both pictures work well but in my case wanted an Angel that shined to the reader, as I used it to post on my timeline a RIP for my Aunt.

Another example comes from a graphic I created from scratch. I was inspired to post something as a result of seeing so many cars texting and driving and people in a rush that day in front of my building.

Angels Can Fly

This was done by using the Cloud effect, Text, and wings Overlay. The time it took was less than 5 minutes.

In conclusion I have found this program to be extremely user friendly and professional looking. In the end I was developed my own graphic style and hone in on that style for all my work related requirements.

Do you have a graphics style? Have you tried Picmonkey? If you have tried it let me know your thoughts on using this incredibly user friendly program.

References:

Chris Brogan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hisoWFRD0GY

Angel photograph from Pixabay with additional approval to use by the photographer ANA_J