Out of the box and onto the screen

COM0015 Blog #4

One of the unexpected applications in online marketing is how quickly it has taken over conventional shopping habits. The landscape is changing where most brick and mortar buildings are closing up shop in favor of an online experience. One of the deciding factors is definitely the costs involved in keeping a location but the other deciding factor for most businesses is the ability to have your product available 24 hours a day.

credit Pexels

When you add social media into the mix you have the perfect marketing set-up. Businesses can do all their business online, advertise online and respond to customers online. They can focus their attention on making their products relevant instead of paying exorbitant rents for buildings that may or may not have the best location for their business.

Research shows that: (Credit: The Balance Small Business)  

  • 67 percent of millennials prefer to shop online
  • 56 percent of gen-xers prefer to shop online
  • 41 percent of baby boomers prefer online shopping
  • only 28 percent of seniors prefer online shopping

What do you think? Are you one of the above stats that prefers to shop online?

Keeping a business thriving has always been a challenge and sometimes just advertising by word of mouth or handing out flyers is not enough to get noticed. Social media has saved many businesses from becoming dust in the business world. But just having a social media account and an online marketing option won’t be enough if you don’t do the work. If your business is completely online, then you need to make sure you are connecting with your customers. You can’t have social media with no content or voice, so it might be an option to utilize some of the tools available from companies that can monitor and track your social media accounts. It all depends on how much time and money you can afford and if you think it is worth it.

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Did you use social media to find a business?

Helpful links:

Engagment Portal – Event Participation COM0015

The event that I participated in was Bang the Table Engagement HQ – Bluehaven training.

Bang the Table is an engagement platform that was developed as a tool for companies to reach their customers in another way utilizing social media tools. The City of Abbotsford uses the services for our Let’s Talk Abbotsford site which has been an asset that has helped the City communicate to the community about different projects, surveys, and questionnaires.

Like most programs, Bang the Table updated their interface to the new program Bluehaven which is for the backend users like myself who are administrators to their sites. This online session was an online tutorial of the new design to let the users get a peek at the design before it was rolled out to everyone the end of March.

The event was hosted by Athena and Stephanie who are reps from Bang the Table, and attended by 90 project administrators across the country. Internally, my colleagues Raveen and Tabita as well as my manager Tracy attended.

Once Athena started the training, it was clear to see that everyone in attendance was excited to see the new changes and ask questions about the next steps. There were a lot of really great questions being asked and it sounded like other administrators were as interested in learning about the upgrades. As someone who has administrator rights to our portal but has not really been involved in updating projects, the information presented was a great introduction to what the program can do. I was especially interested in knowing what options we have in designing the look and feel of our projects and if we had the capability to add custom widgets. I learned that the new changes allow project administrators a more user friendly interface for setting up their projects but it won’t disrupt the look that the customers see. We now have the ability to see the creation of projects as we build them on the project page, creating less edits in the end and saves time.

Athena was quite efficient in demonstrating the product and Stephanie was able to make sure that the questions that we all asked were answered. They were able to share that more updates will be coming out, which generated a lot of interest in what those might be and suggestions of what project admins would like to see.

As Athena says “Planning is your Magic Key” and I think the new design will definitely improve efficiency in implementing a project. As part of my job and wanting to learn as many new programs as I am able (my ultimate goal of being totally indispensable), I would be very interested in attending another event like this as I feel I have a better understanding of how our Engagement portal works and I was able to talk with the company reps who understand the interface. I find sometimes when you work in your job, the person who trains you on a new program isn’t necessarily the one who has all the answers to your questions and it’s great to have an online tool where you can connect with the people who have more knowledge.


Bang the Table
Let's Talk Abbotsford

Future Me

Blog 3 – COM0015

credit Pexels

My job has lots of opportunities for networking and some of them are facilitated by my employer and some I have to search out for myself based on what it is I want to learn. This course for example, is one that I choose to help develop my professional goals. In taking the courses I have been able to communicate with lots of other students who have similar goals as myself in advancing their social media skills.

I find online learning/collaborating a great tool to utilize because it allows me to be interact with a lot of different people in various locations. At work, my personal networking is done mostly everyday as our department has weekly meetings where we discuss the jobs that we are working on and where we can discuss concerns or ask for help.  

Since taking this course I have discovered there is so much more I can learn about social media so some long term professional networking that I would be interested in attending is the Government Social Media Conference (which was postponed recently). I think this would be a great event to attend and find out from professionals what are the best options for governments is using social media. The LERN conference is another source of networking that I would be interested in attending. This conference changes each year in the topics they discuss but they usually offer some interesting seminars that are relevant to the work that I presently do.

Short term, I have a Facebook ad conference call scheduled to help me learn more about the best way to design and get the most out of Facebook paid ads. As we move towards a more social marketing platform, I will need to make sure that I am staying abreast of the latest and greatest ways to get the most out of my social media sites.

With the future redesign of our city website, I believe there will also be opportunities to learn new skills from other co-workers and web professionals.

There are lots of opportunities out there to expand your networks, you just have to be willing to throw the net out and ask questions of co-workers or go online and do a bit of digging because there is so much knowledge out there and someone is always willing to share it.

credit Pexels

Helpful links:

The Strong will prevail and the weak will flounder!

COM 0015 – Blog #2

courtesy Vectorstock.com

We’ve all come across a company whose social presence has impacted us in some way whether it is their social values, their ability to use humour or just plain organized messaging. In thinking about why I like the following two organizations social media strategies, I would say that it is humour that is the underlying factor.

Skittles – Now I will admit that I am mildly creeped out by some of the Skittles TV commercials, but their twitter account is quite funny with the way they interact with their followers and poke jabs at their competitors. Skittles boasts over 402 thousand followers which is pretty impressive for a candy. They have regular tweets and seem to enjoy responding to tweets and having a little fun with their posts.

An interesting facet to Skittles social media strategy is that they don’t have a website per see. They have a tumblr account with images posted by them and customers and then they have their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube accounts which all get lots of views and interaction on.

courtesy of Lego Twitter feed

Another site that I like is @Lego_Group and @Lego on Facebook.  Since Lego is such a popular product, it stands to reason that they would have over 13 million followers. Their twitter posts are amusing even for adults and they don’t make a big push on consumerism. They showcase items with diagrams and videos and get their followers engaged with surveys and fun questions. They sell a colourful product and their social media is bright and fun. Who doesn’t love to play and create with Lego!

A company that I feel could benefit from a social media strategy is a local company, Chilliwack Bowling. Before social media was a big tool, this company had a website that you could access for rates, times and league information. Since the inception of Facebook, Chilliwack Bowling cancelled their website and made a Facebook page the “Go to” for information. The problem is that they never update information and they rarely respond to questions in a timely manner.

When customers want to find out about prices or specials, then they need to call the bowling alley and hope they get through to someone. The facebook info has not been updated since March of last year and even that post had a month between it and the last post. Customers can’t rely on this page to get the information they want and the business is starting to suffer because there is no interest in attracting new customers.

I believe an objective of this business should be to update their social media presence, starting with updating their contact information with rates, prices and any events. If they host special events, then they could post those to other facebook sites that would complement their activity (ex. If they have a teen disco night then promote on teen youth groups).

As recommend in Business news daily – here are 6 steps to follow:

  • Create a business page
  • Post regularly
  • Promote your page
  • Engage your followers
  • Leverage friends of fans
  • Try Facebook ads

They need to build up their followers list and starting liking other sites that can help promote them as well. They can build up their own followers by promoting to senior’s groups, school programs and recreational groups. If they can get the word out that they have programs that are suited for specific ages, then it would help. Right now their promotion ideas are nothing.

8 mistakes to avoid when promoting your small business Facebook page.

A good social media strategy can be the difference in having a good business or having one that is just getting by. Do you want to be seen or do you want to remain behind the scenes?

There are so many options for tools and sources!

COM 0015 – Blog 1

I must admit that in reading the content for this assignment, I have not used any of the listening and monitoring tools for my personal use. I used RSS feeds (Feeder) for setting up keywords to track and Mentionlytics to track mentions and social engagement for an assignment. At work we use Meltwater to post, track and monitor our social media sites and have found they have lots of data that will help us make the best of our sites and encourage engagement with our customers.

Meltwater reports screen

I also set up a Twitter account that I have kept active to follow news feeds that interest me. So I guess I would have to say that personally the tools that interest me are Twitter because of the fact that it is a constant source of information. You can follow numerous news and respond to fast moving conversations. The short teasers and links to full content is enough information to get most to click on the tweets to read more.

Professionally we have an in-house Intranet news feed that relays all the important information for our organization. We are able to see what job postings are available, who has retired, what organizational changes have taken place, training courses available and anything else that is important to our jobs. Not only are we able to access this at work but we are able to log into from home so if we are away from work we can still access information. Another part of the intranet is that we have the local news feeds interfaced onto it so we are constantly kept abreast of what is happening locally. That has definitely saved me on numerous occasions as they have notified me of traffic issues before I have left work for home.

local intranet

Now that I am starting to realize the importance of monitoring tools, I will definitely check out some of the sites mentioned and play with them to see what one’s work for me.

Personal Reflections

Blog 7 – COM 0014

As someone who never really enjoyed my educational experience when I was younger, I must say that being an adult and having the freedom to pick and choose what you want to study is definitely more enjoyable and I found the assignments of having to write blogs especially fun.

Credit Pexels

Maybe it’s because even though the topics were already chosen based on the course assignment, you were able to spin them into your own personal experiences. That is what storytelling is, creating something that weaves people in and gets them immersed. When you are writing digital content you have so many other places of competition to go up against that you need to make sure that your content is fresh and engaging so that people read it. I believe that if you can tell a great story, then like a great book you can get people talking and in talking, they are sharing.

I have never been a great writer, when tasked with writing a formal paper because having to write something based on making sure you follow the rules is stifling. But if you can lose yourself and tell an enchanting story then it doesn’t feel like work.

I have enjoyed reading other classmates writings and seeing how they have been able to tell their stories through their writing techniques and learning a bit more about them. I hope that I can continue to find the time to tell the stories that draw people in and get them thinking and asking questions.

Blog 6 – COM 0014 Who am I?

When I was seven years old, my family went skating at a lake in Alberta and because I knew how to skate as I had been taking lessons since I was three years old, I was responsible for my father. You see in my family, there is the “Can skate” and the “Can stand up and move skater” and the “Fall down hard” skater. My father fell into the last category and it was my job to help keep him upright and mobile. This was not an easy task as my father was a tall man and, I being only seven years old was not particularly tall or patient. All I really wanted to do was skate really fast around that lake and show off my skills and instead I had to hold my father’s hand and convince him he could do it. So I put on my best face and waited for my dad to get his skates underneath his 5”12 stature and stand upright with balance. When that was achieved, I held out my hand and coaxed my father that yes he really could take a step and that I would help him. Well I must have been convincing because my father did try to take a step and another and another and that is when we all came to the realization that skating was not a sport he should ever do again. That realization came crashing down, On TOP OF ME as my father wobbled precariously and landed flat on top of me.

Since that day I knew what I wanted to do! I wanted to teach figure skating and help pass the love of gliding around on these thin pieces of metal.

I accomplished that goal and took pride in the fact that I was able to show adults and children the joy of skating. Of course, had it not been for my father, I may have taken up speed skating!

Blog 5 – COM 0014 Do people know who you are?

These courses are designed to make you think and the one that I always get stuck on is describing my personal brand. To do this I have to dig deep into the part of myself that has been hammered at since kindergarten that says “don’t make a scene, don’t draw attention to yourself, just fit in”. I have an aversion to sticking out in a crowd, I’m the one that likes to sit back and observe and only make a scene if the scene is warranted. Now I’m about to lay it all out and share the best of me.

In my work group I am known as the “Organizer”, the one people come to when they can’t find the file that they are sure they put somewhere easy to remember, or the one they rely on to source out supplies and get them ordered. I don’t mind this title now because I’m usually the one that puts the files in locations that my brain understands where to find them and going onto websites to find supplies is sometimes like a puzzle when you have to find websites selling the items you are looking for. I say now because, when you try to personally analyze what is special about you or what makes you remarkable, being organized doesn’t sound that flashy. But being organized has help me do my job more efficiently and has helped others when they don’t know where to look for something.

credit – Tenor.com

We recently purchased a new photo storage filing system for our department, and I was the one to test and decide if it was going to work for our department. Now that it is in place, I will be responsible for training my co-workers how to use the system which will help them in the long run when they are trying to find specific images.

So I guess being organized has some perks, I get to feel like I have something to offer when one of my co-workers comes to me with a question “Hey do you know where such and such is, or do you know where I can find such and such to order”. And sometimes, just to mess with them I like to re-arrange the folders to ensure that I will always have a job as the “Organizer”!

Blog 4- COM 1014 Find your Hotel with Trivago!

Trivago is a B2C business many people either love or hate and a lot of the hate has to do with the Trivago guy who dances around telling you how you can get the best deal on hotels by using their site. But no matter how you feel about the commercials, people use the service and Trivago has made a business model work for them.

credit: Trivago

Trivago has the usual Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube accounts that seem to be the norm for most businesses today but they all seem to have a different types of messaging mixed with the core goal of driving people to use their services for all their vacation and hotel travel needs.

Their social media channels are all about promoting their product and the engagement they seem to get on them is not particularity positive. It doesn’t seem to matter what they post on, there is usually someone interrupting the message with how they used Trivago and had bad service or how the spokesperson they have on their commercials is a drunk and should be fired. I noticed that on the Facebook page specifically that Trivago doesn’t seem to respond to questions or comments.

The Linkedin account is about recruiting so the messaging on that site is about how great the company is to work for. They are positive and upbeat and encouraging because they want to make their place of business look good to potential employees. They have current staff on YouTube videos telling people what a great place it is to work for and inviting people to apply.

The Twitter account seems to be the most active and seems to be monitored better than their other social media accounts and their messaging is more thoughtful questions about what people can expect in the evolution of hospitality and accommodations, interspersed with great places to stay. They make an effort to respond to comments and questions but it almost seems a little prefunctory.

I personally think that Trivago could do a better job of interacting with potential customers. They seem to have a good following on their sites (ex. Facebook has 13,414,151 followers, Twitter has 115.8K followers) but the engagement is low from them and their followers. I don’t know if this is because of the nature of their business in that people only follow them because they are looking for the best deals or if the content they post isn’t relevant to their followers. They have quite a few negative comments on their pages that have nothing to do with the posts and I know sometimes it’s best not to engage people but they also don’t respond to any comments and that gives the impression they don’t care what people say about them and that their social media sites are just an item they can mark off on a list of doing a job.

I definitely think that with all the social sites that Trivago manages, they could beef up their postings and engage a bit more and maybe the Trivago guy wouldn’t be the only thing that people focus on.

Blog #3 – COM0014 Running into your Audience

I’ve recently taken up running and have decided this is the year to run a half marathon. But in order to get myself ready for it, I have been doing a lot of online research to make sure that I am training properly. The same methods of research can be applied to finding out who my target audience is for people interested in running.

Running is a very popular activity/sport that can encompass everyone from the casual runner to the full blow marathon junkie, and it doesn’t discriminate in age or sex. But in looking at running stats for half marathon races, women seem to be dominating the running world and its popularity seems to be global. The following article, The State of Running 2019 has a great explanation of the state of running as it breaks down the stats of men vs women, age, speed and geographic location. In looking at these figures it gives a great insight into how I could select my target audience and where I personally fit into these stats.

I’m one of the ones who fit in the age category of 49-55, first time entrant to a half marathon and more than likely one of the ones that will slide into the slow finish category. But that’s okay because there is a lot of training help out there to keep us encouraged. It seems like every running store will offer training tips on their websites or post blogs where you can ask an expert. There are also running forums where you can talk to other runners and post questions about anything from what types of shoes are the best to help with injuries.

Runner’s World is a magazine that has stepped outside of the published version to an online article that has different topics of interest to any runner and has even created specific Facebook groups you can join and post questions or offer helpful advice on it addition to their general Facebook page which is an amendment to their website and articles.

The Running Room also runs a successful campaign with their running clinics and online coaching programs. You register for the type of training that you want to accomplish whether it is a 5k, beginner or half-marathon. I have a co-worker who has registered twice for the half-marathon and 10km training clinics and has very positive comments about the programs and the camaraderie all the runners in the programs share.

So as I continue my training, I am thankful for the others who have come before me and are able to share their training advice and tips to help me make my way through successfully, upright and still breathing. Power to us older ladies who keep on moving!