Networking now  (COM0015)

Networking now (COM0015)

What is networking? To me the image of business owners standing in a room, exchanging pleasantries and business cards come to mind. However in this day and age it can be so much more.

With the creation of social media it is easier to find like minded individual, or even networklike-minded I am slowly joining and networking with local business owners and exchanging services. This is allowing me to create a personal network. I have also joined multiple Facebook group; there I have virtually met some great contacts.

Some of the groups I am in are planning some local meet ups and I am planning on going and growing my network.

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I am also working on creating online relationships; chatting, following others, learning, and forging links. I am trying to grow my network and slowly trying to expand out of my professional circle and expanding in french and english. I need to work on releasing appealing content for them.

Ultimately I want to be close enough in others forethoughts that if my industry comes up in regular conversation that my name would be one that they remember and suggest.  (Just as if you ask, I have a few businesses, local and online, that I can recall and suggest because of good networking).

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COM0015: I spy with my little eye.. or monitoring current events

COM0015: I spy with my little eye.. or monitoring current events

When it comes to monitoring trends and the latest news online there are plenty of options.  Some programs gather all the information of all (most) of your social media platforms in one lovely package to glance over. Others keep all your favourites sites or blogs gathered together so you can read all the newest news in one place! All of them have their uses but they may not be the best thing for you. Let’s take a quick glance at two of my favourite, and explain the reasoning as per why I use them.

I am a consultant for a direct sales company that sells cooking products. Not only do I need to keep an eye on the trends that competing companies are offering but I also need to observe and listen to what fellow consultants are doing.  And because I am a mom of two young children I need micro-information that is quick to monitor and read up on. That means that pages of blog posts, up to date emails, and massive data packages are of no use to me. I just do not have the time.

The one place where you will most likely find me is on Facebook. I love looking at the insights. They make it quick and easy to look at (pretty graphs make me happy).

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source: https://www.facebook.com/business/a/page/page-insights

I mostly enjoy the “Pages to Watch” option. This allows me to select fellow consultants or competing company ones and allows me to see what is working for them and what is not. If I want to see what they are posting, all I have to do is click on their pages to go check them out when I have the time.

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source: facebook.com

My second favourite is the microblogging leader: Twitter. I can access my twitter on mobile wherever I am and at any time. I can also keep a more watchful eye on accounts or persons I believe I need to monitor. I love their lists feature. I can keep them private (so no one needs to know I am spying on them – I mean…no I mean spying), or group them in a public list that others can see.  Twitter also allows me to see what is trending (locally, countrywide, etc…) and also lets me do a hashtag search (also known to us old folks as the pound or number sign #). Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Quick shout out to Instagram that allows me to see trending hashtags in the foodie and cooking world!

For my current lifestyle, portability and quick looks are what I want. I have found that Facebook and Twitter are those who work the best for me. The best tools to use are the ones that you are going to use. No point spending money or assembling great RRS feed lists if you are not going to use them. Find what works for you. Just remember to be adaptable and pay attention to the tools that are available as something better may show up.

What are you using to pay attention to the latest news and updates in your field?

7 – Fact tells, stories sell

Once upon a time there was a girl. And that girl started a business.  She then discovered social media and wanted to share with the world all of her knowledge. She thought how great this is: so much information to be shared! Alas, she realised that those who she was trying to share all this great knowledge with did not want to read pages and pages of facts, statistic, and information. They preferred to watch cat videos, share pretty pictures of food, funny memes, keep up with the friends.

The light went off- people do not want to be spoken to. They want to engage in conversation, be amused, be treated as a person and not as a wallet. They want to learn – but they want to learn in simple and short ways.  So after that, she started sharing recipes, personal experiences, testimonials.

At the end of this course, I realised that sometimes what I WANT to share and what those reading want to see may not be the same.  Delivery is so important. I am aware that this is something that requires effort, practice, and *shudder* revision of past material. (Really not looking forward to looking at the quality of these blogs in the future – Here’s hoping that by then I have improved!)
So yes, I will try to convey my messages through stories, real live experiences, and events. It is more compelling and personal than facts, no matter how complex.

6 – Why I do what I do

Three years ago I met Laura. She is an active woman, who never needed to really feed herself save a quick meal here and there, often one of those prepared meals.
When she first came to a presentation, she was taken away on how the experience was not only on displaying kitchen tools, how it was a hands-on experience that allowed her to learn skills, recipes, and tips.
She ordered some of the items she fell in love with and took off on her own. Then she had two amazing daughters. She felt at first intimated by this new need to actually cook meals that were healthy for them, a struggle we all face.  I received many messages and questions from Laura,  asking for advice or experiences on meals.

The most defining moment is that when I received an email where she described how she was preparing a meal and had forgotten about it in the over. Afraid that it would be ruined she rushed to the kitchen to find that it was perfect. She was so happy that she had purchased my *magical pot*. She realised that it was true- that she COULD cook and that she needed to be afraid.
Now I love seeing her fabulous recipes and cooking that she does. She no longer needs me to push her, she has gained her independence in the kitchen. She stills asks me for tips and ideas here and there but knowing that what I have shown her, and the products that I loved became her favourite as well, just reinforced on why I love doing what I do so much.

Personal Brand: KatPChef #5

I try to be myself. I am a mom, a klutz, nowhere near being a culinary professional. I do like to laugh, like to teach, like to learn. I share how easy it can be. I like to host live videos on Facebook or Periscope. Stream live my cooking and laugh at my blunders – a common occurrence. I let myself be me. I take pictures of my kids, my pets, my family. I share the happy moments but have also shared some of the sad. I am a person. I am real. My bubbly personality shines through.

I have multiple platforms that I am on, and I am often on them. Communicating with me is fairly easy. I also involved myself in my community. I am not synonymous with my product but I am often quickly thought of when the questions about kitchen tools, recipes, skills are brought up.  I am dependent and reliable, all while being fun.

I am as honest as I can while answering any questions or concerns about my products, or when I am asked about recipes, tips, or skills. I try and ensure that what I share is true, fact checked, relevant, and
current.
When I meet others I like to focus on them. I have great empathy towards others. I normally keep them in mind, and when I find I have something that may be able to help with some of their needs I share that information with them without any expectation of sales. I am honest. I go out my way to help out my customers and also ensure that what is best for them is met, putting my direct goals in the back at times.

Tesla Vs Musk

Tesla- is an innovative and cutting edge company. Its most prominent figure is their CEO and one of the founders, Elon Musk.

Tesla as a company I found had a rather boring Social Media platform. They are inconsistent sharing new content, inconsistent replies and not always in a timely manner. It could explain why they are currently using their LinkedIn profile to advertise positions, in social media and in communications. At least this is one platform they are using.

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Looking for a job?

Elon Musk, however, appears to be very active and responsive with his customer support and listening skills on social media.

One of the most recent, notable interactions was this one where a Tesla Motors user complained about the lack of free charging station.

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“Twitter”

He took 20 minutes to reply to the tweet and within 6 days changes had been made on the Tesla website.

This was most likely already in the works but what a great way to publicize it. This was a great example of social media done right: someone had a complaint and Elon Musk replied quickly. He not only agreed that this was a problem but then affected change within his company and put it into effect and circulation within a week on their website.

He took a negative issue and turned it into a major good.

This is not only cementing brand loyalty with current customers, it is also making others take notice. I don’t know about you but I would LOVE the funds to be able to afford anything from this company. Elon Musk appears to care. This is something even the communication and marketing team from Tesla should take notes from!

Hey, I’m talking to you! Post -3

I have been working my direct sales business for the last few years. I deal with cooking products and home based cooking “shows” and demonstrations.  Now that I have children, I would like to be able to translate my in-person success to my online presence. That means working on finding my target audience.

Now technically I have products that cater to the needs of everyone who eats. A little broad if you ask. My products are for the home cook but with a high quality. I deal with the home baker, the grill master, the single or college student who does microwave cooking, the healthy diet person, the retired person looking to downsize, and my most common person is the mom who needs to make their life easier.

Looking at what I have been posting on social media and what has been giving me success are images or videos that demonstrate ways to make healthy and easy meals, in no time.

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Grilled Chili Lime Chicken fajitas salad!

This speaks to the busy mom mostly. My business is marketing strongly on the family aspect and sitting and sharing a meal around the table.  So that means that as a company they are looking for families who hosts events or cooks with their children. The purchasers are mostly female, 20+ with some form is disposable income or the mothers of these.

As it stands, it appears that using Facebook videos (live especially) that focus on recipes or products, has the most engagement or have actually translated into sales.  I have also had mild success on Instagram with imagery. I would love to increase my audience to encompass more. Practice makes progress!

COM0014 – Post 2 – People: the elders of this era?

Cave painting, dancing, song, and the written word are how information have been passed down through the ages as ways of communications. As technology progresses, we can now find multitudes of platforms, allowing us to express our message in our own way.

From live videos and edited vlogs, to podcasts and written out blogs, to pictures or gifs, the ways to communicate have now expanded to become more accessible than ever.

Gone are the days where only the elders were in charge of passing down history. Everyone and anyone can share their story.  All we need now is access to the internet and our message can be delivered, audience or not. This allows us to make connections with like-minded individuals, helps us create our own “village”, and “pass down” our own stories. (or cats. The internet seems to LOVE cats)

Think about it, creating connections with people from all over the world, communicating through the same medium, thanks to technology.  We no longer need to travel to share our words; they do the traveling for us.
If you use a program such as Instagram or Tumblr, you can even communicate and convey messages to those who do not speak the same language! (Until, of course, technology catches up and we have instant translators!)

One can only imagine the interactions and stories that will be shared as technology evolves further!

COM0014- Post 1: Dinosaur ROAR! (or What I Did On My Vacation)

COM0014- Post 1: Dinosaur ROAR! (or What I Did On My Vacation)

Ah, winter! Cold, snowy, dark, did I mention cold? Makes me remember of warmer weather and past times. I reminisce of the last time I went on vacation. It was last summer. I did not visit somewhere tropical (Canada get’s rather hot in the summer) but we took a drive down to Drumheller and Calgary, Alberta. Don’t worry; we lived in Edmonton at the time, so it was not a cross-country affair. (We did THAT trip when we moved back to the national capital region a few weeks later… but I digress…)

If you have never had a chance to visit Drumheller I strongly suggest it. I loved seeing the history behind it not only as an adult but also through the imagination and mind of my three-year-old son. My one-year-old daughter was not as impressed.

We visited the giant T-Rex and climbed up to the very top. It was pretty impressive.

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Quite the climb up!

After that, we drove over to the Royal Tyrell Museum. This contains so many dinosaurs that my son did not know where to go! They had a live demo where they had a paleontologist explain how they found, removed, and then treated the fossils. Then they have a great display of fossils through the ages; quite fascinating!

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Royal Tyrrell Museum Drumheller, Alberta

They also have quite a few hiking trails in the badlands and in through some of the quarries where you can find dinosaur remains. Seeing that our kiddos were still young and how hot it was (well about 30C and sunny!) it was not the best activity for us, however, I am very much hoping to return in the future when they children are older and can partake in some of those activities.  (I know, it feels wrong complaining about the heat in the middle of January)

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Triceratops Royal Tyrrell Museum Drumheller, Alberta

 

After our busy day, we drove over to Calgary, where the next day we visited the Calgary Zoo!

Now this activity had the kiddos of all ages happy. It was another hot day but the delights of seeing the animals distracted us from the heat.  They had many exhibits from animals big and small. From the hippos and giraffes to the butterflies and fishes, many experiences and sights were to be enjoyed, big and small. (Of course, my son preferred the dinosaur exhibit there, yes another one!)

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Hippo and Giraffes Calgary Zoo

A great family weekend getaway that I would LOVE to repeat. Had we remained in Alberta that trip would have become a yearly event. Have you ever visited Drumheller or the Calgary Zoo? Do you have weekend family getaways you enjoy? I am always looking for great experiences to have with my minis so please share!

Instagram – And how to use it for business

I have been using Instagram for a while now. Mostly to follow my friends and post a few pictures here and there, when I remember (ha!). Then I realised, that Instagram has an advantage that other platforms do not – they deal only with pictures (or short 60-second videos). This means you have a possibility to connect with followers in a way that is more emotional than just words. Seeing that I deal with food and cooking products, images are a great medium for me to explore.
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As it stands, Instagram also has the advantage of not following the “Facebook posting protocols”, where the most popular posts are put first on your wall, but are posted in chronological order. That means that unless they have paid advertisement, you will show up on the walls of your followers in the order of when your things were posted and not hidden by more popular posts.

How do you get those followers? Hashtagging is the name of the game in the Instagram world. It is suggested to put five to seven on your original post, but you can put up to 30 in all aspects of the post, so you can add the rest in the comments down below. Because hashtags are how you find followers, it is also important to know what your “ideal” customer would want to see. I normally use #yeg, #food, #cleaneating, #toddlerfood, or anything that relates to my post and my target clientele.

There is a great search option where you can see all the pictures tagged. A great way to gain followers is to actually “share the love”. Go to a new account and find pictures that you enjoy. You should like at least five of them and put a conversation starter comment under two. This is social part of social media, the one that is often forgotten. This helps build relationships, help gain followers, and make Instagram so much more interesting.

You can also regram pictures- this requires you to download an app as there is no <share> button in Instagram itself. Just remember to ask permission and credit the original account.

And make sure your biography is stellar and to the point. This is the location where you can post links to your website as you cannot have “live” links under the pictures or in the comments.

I know I missed plenty of great Instagram tips for business owners, so please help me out. What have I not mentioned? What is your favourite regramming app? What do you do with your Instagram account that is a success?