When it comes to listening and monitoring for Social Media trends my two go-tos are Twitter and Linkedin/Google+ groups.
Twitter can be a great source of not only up to the minute trends but what people in the industry think about them. I find it’s the best for first insights into the world of social media marketing. For listening and monitoring, I follow various social media leaders (local and global) and marketing companies as well I use the Twitter search for anything that may not be filtering through those sources. Hootsuite is a great dashboard for constant monitoring of conversations around specific topics and trends. I do find that there are a quite a few social media twitter accounts that either really recycles their content or they just fill your feed with useless information, it is always good to look through their recent posts prior to following.
Communities created around social media are great for watching the industry, because this is a continuously evolving field you need content that is in the moment and relevant… like something written in 2013 now can seem old and irrelevant. Two places to find such communities are on Google+ and LinkedIn, I find LinkedIn more useful than some Google+ communities as there is less ‘spam’. I find that LinkedIn content can be more professional and written for application within a business environment.
As with all things on the worldwide web, it’s best to consider the validity of information and double check sources. The two mentioned above are helpful for staying in the know but I recommend looking for industry trends everywhere for example I look further into stories on my Facebook feed, I follow blogs daily using bloglovin’, news sites, magazines, etc …there endless sources. Social media is a pretty hot topic and is used daily by the majority of the population so staying on top of the industry is not too hard to do with a few helpful tools!
While reading The Social Media MBA by Christer Holloman, I found a quote by content marketing strategist Joe Pulizzi is says “Nobody has 30 seconds for a brand but everyone has 30 minutes for a good story.” I think this reinforces the lessons of this course and it is applicable to individuals and companies. No one is going to stop to pay attention unless you are sharing something authentic and of a value to them. That value could be anything a lesson, an emotional connection, a shared experience or concern: it starts to build a relationship between the reader and storyteller. This relationship is so important. Think about it. You are more likely to purchase from or follow someone if you know their story and feel a connection with them.
Professionally I want to work with the companies I work for to help them find the stories and support them in generating content that is rooted in storytelling. I can foresee a lot of support being needed by at least one of them as they have not branched out into the world of social media and they feel they do not have a story to tell, but they do!
My personal content will be way more guided by story than it previously was. I know now that there is a story in everything. I used to think I would need to wait for great events to occur in order to have great content share; now I will find stories in the simple everyday things.
I wanted to write from the perspective of the highly impressed customer for this story. And to be honest I have been suffered writer’s block this week, but this experience kept returning to me.
It may not have been anything out of the usual for this store to provide such great customer care but due to the rarity of extraordinary service it is a story I wish to share.
There is a Yarn shop, The Loop, that I have passed everyday on my way to work for the past two years, I always looked in but have never had a reason to visit, until last Fall. My dad was in the hospital for a few weeks recovering from surgery and my mom decided she would like pass the time by taking up knitting again. I automatically thought of The Loop, especially since it is a small independent and this would be a great opportunity to shop there. We went in and I could tell my mom felt a little out of place, the sales lady caught onto this too and jumped right in. She found and printed (for free) appropriate level patterns for my mom, knowing she hadn’t knit in a while, and helped select all the right yarn. She was so knowledgeable and so keen to help my mom return to knitting. She was honestly just wonderful.
Also, I always noticed that they had this giant rolled up scarf and in my milling about found this article about the someone who knitted the world’s longest scarf(not current record)…it’s the one in the window! How cool is that?
We could have gone across the road to the chain craft store and probably saved $30 but we would have been fending for ourselves in there. This is why it is so refreshing to have people to care and love their craft so much that they want to share it with others. That is their great customer story.
Nothing is more cringe worthy to me than talking about myself and defining what my personal brand is. However, this is not a job interview or a sales pitch, so I am going to talk about what I love.
I started molding my online presence with my blog about food, events and running. It is easy to stick to these topics because I am constantly creating content through the things I do every day. If you were to follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you would be able to see from the pictures/posts of food, beer and wine, concerts, and running that that is what I am all about … and well, that I have the most adorable cat ever!
I try to be honest, authentic and humble in my interactions and in how I present my interests. I like to think that this is how I conduct myself online and offline, so that if someone from online were to meet me in person I would be who I present and vice versa. Being honest and authentic is what keeps maintaining my personal brand easy and fun to do and less like work. Now that I interests in social media are growing both professionally and personally, I am going to slowly start to develop it into my brand while still maintaining most of my current identity.
I love Beer but more specifically Craft Beer. The audience for beer is vast so I decided to focus on the local craft beer audience which is slightly less expansive but is growing. There are many demographic groups for this market but I wanted to focus two of the main target audiences.
The Locavores – This audience is all about local and it extends well past just food. They generally are interested in local issues, participate in community and are advocates of sustainable practices. A great way to communicate with this audience would be to get involved in the Buy Local discussion, join local farmers’ market communities and team up with other local business in joint Social media/marketing campaigns.
The Connoisseurs – These people know their stuff when it comes to beer. They take pride in knowing all about what they imbibe. Online communities composed of this audience would be a great place to listen and engage. A blog would be a great place to tell the story behind the brewery, brewmaster and beers, as well it would serve as a venue to encourage a conversation with this audience. Events such as cask tasting, amateur brewing competitions or online flavour input would also grab this group’s attention.
Due to my love of local independent small business, I focused my case study on one of my favorites, Biscuit General Store. It is a funky independent ‘department store’ that has awesome clothing, shoes, gifts, and homewares.
Biscuit actively engages with their customers through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest , Instagram and their blog. Daily they post/tweet fun pictures of their staff modeling the newest trends or sales in store as well as sharing the function/styling of their products. Sharing contests are one way they get customers to spread the word and share their experiences. The owner of Biscuit promotes the Buy Local movement and shares important/interesting stories and tweets which generate conversations within the community.
The blog I find, occasionally, interesting but feel they could have greater input from their staff on styling and other fashion commentary. The content shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is useful, funny and relevant to what most followers want to know about such as what is new in store, sales and contests. Their Pinterest account aligns with their brand and what they sell, I think it is currently underutilized as they could be posting more of their own images/content and hosting contests.
Overall, I think Biscuit is doing a great job with social media they stay on top of posts, listen to their audience and engage with their community. As well, I think it is important that they really maintain their brand personality and story across all of the platforms. If you are ever in Halifax, be sure to check them out!
Storytelling is a huge part of everyday life. Think about it. The music you listen to on the way to work; an exciting weekend divulged by a co-worker; a friend’s post on Facebook; the evening news; the book you read before bed. So with all this content coming at us, what is it that makes us stop and listen?
At first it is something that grabs our attention, we want to hear more. By introducing the most important point at the beginning of a story we are able to spark interest, evoke emotion or create a connection.
But what is it that keeps us reading or listening to the story? It is a number of things that if missing we would stop listening. The tone the storyteller uses, if we don’t connect with it or it is not appropriate for the story we lose interest. If a story has no flow or is out of order we cannot follow or understand. Lastly, poor spelling and grammar can overshadow any great story: so proofread, proofread and then proofread some more.
Storytelling is old as time and we are so lucky, in this day and age, that we have access to a world full of stories. However this means we have to work hard at making our stories stand out against the billions of them available to every reader.
When I heard that I could see whales, mountains, fjords, Viking habitats and …ICEBERGS I knew that Newfoundland was the destination for mine and my partner’s first vacation together.
We decided to drive the entire length of the west coast up to St. Anthony’s, we took our own car on the ferry from Sydney to Port-aux-Basque. Our destination for the first part of our adventure was Rocky Harbour, which is half way through Gros Morne National Park, driving off the boat at 7pm meant we did not get there until 11pm. At the entrance of Gros Morne our headlight illuminated a sign that warned ‘4 Moose/Car collisions to date this year’ (gah!), we were on edge with eyes peeled into the dark for what was the longest drive of my life. At one point in the horizon we saw them … those long legs trotting ahead of us, we slowed and waited for him to run down into the ditch. What a relief it was to land at our cottage!
We saw another one grazing during our hike into Western Brook Pond!
Our time in Gros Morne was amazing; it is so beautiful and diverse. The boat tour into the fjord at Western Brook Pond was stunning even though the sun went away and the rain/hail started half way through (brrrr!). The Tablelands were one of my favorite parts of Gros Morne, it is this rusted red barren desert area because of peridotite soil that was pushed up from the Mantle hundreds of millions of years ago. Inner science geek made an appearance that day!
The drive to St.Anthony boasted lots of small communities and beautiful scenery, you can Labrador across the Strait of Belle Isle and the strait was peppered with small icebergs. We swung by L’Anse aux Meadows, it was a great spot to wander around and see how Viking once lived. Upon arriving in St.Anthony, we headed out to the look off point and saw five icebergs nearby. That night we bravely tried moose spring rolls (delish).
Iceberg! Straight Ahead!
Our iceberg adventure was led by Northland Discovery Boat tours, the guides were excellent and extremely knowledgeable, check out their Facebook page… see the June 19th post (that’s me!). At the beginning of the tour we saw a couple humpback whales playing near the coast before we set off towards the bergs. Titanic music set the mood as we approached a beautiful blue iceberg, we were able to get close as it was stuck in place and we did not need to worry about it flipping. This was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, so peaceful and majestic. The iceberg harvesters were out that day loading their boats with Iceberg chunks destined for bottled water and vodka! We fished out our own piece of iceberg and enjoyed some iceberg-siciles.
The drive back to the ferry was long (10 hours) and direct without too many stops but I loved being able to take in the beauty of Gros Morne again. The nighttime ferry back was great as we got on early, settled in and woke well rested for our five hour drive home.