COM0015 – Blog #4: Out of the Box

The most interesting and unexpected application that I’ve noticed business using is Snapchat.  As I began taking this course I thought it would be beneficial to learn about some of the social media platforms I was less familiar with, so I signed up for Snapchat!  It took me a while to understand where I was sending pictures and videos, and was afraid I would be posting my silly pics to everyone.  When I finally did get it, I was puzzled how businesses could successfully utilize the Snapchat stories I’d become familiar with through friends.

I think one of the biggest benefits for businesses using Snapchat is the “behind the scene” feel of it all.  My understanding is that Snapchat is meant to be a very spontaneous way to communicate.  For that reason it comes across as very authentic.  The pictures are current and the video is live, so it adds an element of “real” to a company.  It allows them to show their creative and silly side.  A lot of companies are doing it very successfully and having fun with it while gaining followers and fans.

Businesses on Snapchat are really utilizing stories to show off their product, have fun, create cool contest and engage with influencer.  The opportunity for that behind the scenes or exclusive content not shown on other social media seems to be a popular way to promote a Snapchat account.  It’s a lot of fun to watch businesses and organizations use Snapchat in different ways.

While I was learning the ins and outs of Snapchat, I couldn’t quite figure out how a company would be able to utilize the stories and posts to help accumulate business. Now that I understand Snapchat better, I completely understand why it is such a good marketing tools for organizations.

Let me know in the comments if you’re using Snapchat, and how.

For more info on how businesses are using Snapchat, click here!

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Assignment #5 – Event Participation

The professional development event that I decided to participate in was an online webinar about 2017 Spring Book Club picks.  I found the event through the Ontario Library Association (OLA) website.

https://www.thepartnership.ca/WEB/PARTNERSHIP/Education_Institute/Event_Detail.aspx?EventKey=EIW170413

It was presented by Dewey Divas and the Dudes, including speakers from publishers HarperCollins and Penguin Random House Canada.  There wasn’t quite as much interacting as I expected.  The listeners could not contribute with audio but could ask question through a group chat.  It was focused for library workers, specifically those who run or organize book clubs. There were over 50 participants from various Ontario libraries.

Although I do not run a book club at my library, the information I was provided with is great for reader advisory purposes.  With a busy family life, I find it hard to read outside of my genre.  This webinar provided a great way for me to get some wonderful book picks for those looking for their next great read.

More importantly, I left with some great information about upcoming webinars and the career development opportunities provided by the OLA.  They offer a certificate program that is obtained by participating in varied library learning activities.  I had not realized how much I can learn through the OLA, sometimes at no charge.

My quotable quotepic1 was made by the webinar host from OLA when introducing Dewey Divas and the Dudes.  The webinar hosts says “they have recommended more than 3,000 different books.  If these books were put on a shelf they would be as long as a football field.”

I will absolutely be joining more webinars hosted by the OLA in the future.  It is a great way to make me more knowledgeable in my field.  It was also enjoyable and laid-back so I could see myself fitting it into my busy family schedule.  Although this one didn’t offer a lot of opportunities for participation, I look forward to joining one that would be more hands on.  I also have started to think about participating in the certificate program the OLA offers, and these webinars would count towards the completion of that.  It was another great opportunity to put myself out there and learn about the online opportunities that are available to me.

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

I have just started focusing some of my attention on creating professional relationships.  My main focus has been getting my name out there.  I’ve been joining the Facebook groups of organizations that could help take my career to the next level.  Not only does it help keep me abreast of ongoing library trends and spark ideas for my current position but it also allows me to get them noticing my name by commenting on their posts and sharing their content.  If an opportunity become available within their library, I believe being viewed as a library advocate and lover will give me a cutting edge.

In person I make sure to take time to go to the local libraries by either browsing material or joining in one of their programs.  I take advantage of the fact that I have a young daughter that I can take with me to children’s programs.  It’s great for us to get out, especially in the winter months, and it also allows me to attach a face to my name and get to know some of the staff.

Additionally, I’ve been attending free webinars that are of interest to me.  They are easy to attend and a great addition to my current training.  They are put on by the library association, so it also gets me familiar with some of the presenters and the other individuals who are participating in the webinar.  It’s a win-win situation as I get to learn new things and I put my name out there for others to see my commitment and interest in the public library system.

COM0015 – Blog #2: Strong and Weak Organizations

The two strong organizations whose social media plan I admire is the Wasaga Beach Public Library and an adorable local ice cream shop called Grandma’s Beach Treats.  I follow both on social media and a huge reason why I find both impressive when it comes to their social media strategy is their consistency.  Both are active on Facebook and Twitter primarily.  They seem to have a thought out strategy by consistently posting relevant information.

Most of us locals are connecting through social media with Grandma’s Beach Treats because they have created a great social media campaign they call the “name game”.  Every single day they post a name of the day early in the morning.  If it’s your name then you are invited to a free ice cream, butter tart or hot drink.  Grandma’s Beach Treats has a great reputation for yummy items so there are a lot of people who do go in to receive their free treat.  In many cases they bring along their families so common name days can draw a pretty big crowd.  They make sure that they take advantage of their large following by posting relevant content such as their participation in a butter tart festival (yum!) and new items added to their menus.  They also make customers aware of their community involvement through social media.  For me, it makes me happy to be supporting a local business who is also giving back locally.

The Wasaga Beach Public Library (WBPL) is another organization whose social media strategy impresses me.  They are extremely consistent posting once or twice a day on Facebook and typically once a day on Twitter.  The posts are very well written and personable.  They feel authentic and friendly.  It can be difficult for libraries to post so often without boring people with the same old content, but the Wasaga Beach Public Library does a great job of posting the perfect amount of everything.  They have WBPL program and event info, fun facts, community events and info, author events, library and literature news and fun contests.  Who doesn’t like winning things?!?

The organization that I wish would adopt a social media strategy is the Wasaga Beach Ministerial Food Bank.  The food bank is such an important part of our community and they need volunteers and support to reach as many low income individuals as possible.  They currently do have a Facebook page but their posts are few and far between, the last one being in September 2016.  I feel if they put a good plan in place they would reach more people; both volunteers and people in need.  Food bank users could get information without having to call, which may be intimidating or embarrassing.  In the past they have posted items that they are in need of, but they could do that more consistently.  They could also encourage donations by shouting out people or groups that have made a big donation, small contests to reach giving goals, and user testimonials for a pull on the heart strings.  I think they should start with Facebook and Twitter and see how it goes.  They are volunteer run so expecting anyone to spend a large amount of time perfecting their social media presence may not be realistic, but a few hours a week using a dashboard and scheduler I think would be very helpful and make a big impact for them and the community.

 

COM0015 – Blog #1: Tools and Sources

I have to admit that I am very new to using listening tools in social media so I have a very limited list to choose from.  Currently I have been happy using Facebook Insights that come with the creation of a page.  I began using this tool primarily because I required something free, easy and quick.  It began before I started this course and although I had always been listening to our Facebook audience, I wasn’t using tools to help, even the free one.  Tracking the likes and unlikes are made obvious with this tool, as well as tracking successful posts and comments.  It helps to give us a sense of what worked really well on Facebook and what was a complete flop.  I get the most action on our Facebook page so using the tool provided by them is helpful since I am on there every day.

nosy curiosity ear young interesting Free Photo

Created by Evening_tao – Freepik.com

 

The second tool that I was introduced to by the management team at my work is Hootsuite.  It provides me with a dashboard that allows me to schedule posts among our social media platforms.  It’s a great tool since my workplace has some funny hours and busier moments.  It helps make posting to social media somewhat stress-free by allowing us to schedule posts in advance over any of our social media platforms.  It also allows the user to monitor comments, messages etc. for each social media network. This works great for me since I can get overwhelmed when there is a wealth of information staring back at me.  Sorting through it is easy and I find that I am able to keep great track of what is happening in each of my social media networks.  It also isn’t very expensive when bought as a professional (1 user).  There are different options for larger businesses which provides the base features offered in the professional package, plus much more.

Why I like both social media listening tools over others right now is that I am familiar with them.  I’m looking forward to trying out other low-cost tools but there are just so many that I find myself wondering where to start and what to research.

As for sources of news and updates, I do find myself most often on Upworthy and Huffington Post Canada.  Upworthy typically has positive stories centering around movement makers and the purest do-gooders.  With so much ugliness in the world it is nice to have beautiful stories at my fingertips.  I like Huffington Post Canada because of their grassroots beginnings and their Canadian focus.  Although I wouldn’t call myself politically savvy, Huffington Post Canada does seem to be my go-to for politics.

I look forward to building on both the listening tools I am using and my news sources.  From reading previous posts by classmates I already have a few great starting points for both 🙂

COM0014 – Blog #7: Personal Reflection

Through this course I not only learned a lot about social media communication and storytelling, but I learned a heck of a lot about myself.  I’ve always been interested in blogging and telling my story but something always held me back.  It was written in the last lesson exactly why I do hesitate:  my fear of looking foolish.  It felt like that last lesson was written just for me (thank you, Nelly!).  I realized a long time ago that I do have a story to tell but have wondered if I was good enough at telling it to be successful.  Last thing I want to do is to share these stories that are so close to my heart only for them to be laughed at or even disagreed with.  I see now that looking foolish is often part of the process, and I need to gain the confidence to tell my story authentically and be able to bounce back from any negativity.  I may not come immediately but I think it will come eventually.

I think many of my stories will be ones that people can connect to.  As mentioned before, a lot of them would be about our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) experience and life at the amazing Toronto Ronald McDonald House.  I have a responsibility to bring awareness to Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernias (CDH) as there is so little funding for a not-so-rare birth defect.  Even this school blog is hopefully getting a few of you googling CDH and helping me meet my objective.  No matter what I want to do in the future with social media, I know I can link these stories to anything I do.  Why?  Because it’s who I am!  For better or for worse, it’s who I am now 🙂

COM0014 – Blog #6: Do People Know Your Story?

One of my favoutite things about working at the public library is our connection to the people in our community.  They depend on us for help researching information and with technology based questions.  One customer service story has stood out to me over the years as one of my favourites, and I wanted to share it with you.

We had a gentleman come in who confessed that he lacked any computer skills but needed to get on a public computer to download and print a form.  I could tell he was slightly embarrassed and not too excited to be there.  I wasn’t running a one-on-on tech session at the time but figured if he left, he wouldn’t have come back again.  I showed him the basics and walked him through a few things so he could obtain the form.  Afterwards I left him be in the hopes that he would stay a bit longer and familiarize himself with the computer.  I told him I was happy to help with any questions that arose while he surfed.  He didn’t stay for long and he thanked me for my assistance as he left.   A few days later the same gentleman came in and logged in.  He saw me and again I let him know I was here to help if needed.

Fast forward to two years later and he comes in frequently to to use the computer on his own.  He continues to thank me for my initial assistance the first day he came in.  It is so rewarding seeing that the short time I set aside for has him now fairly computer savvy.  It really is worth giving that extra time for our patrons.  He’s now a life-long public library supporter and frequent library user.

COM0014 – Blog #5: Personal Brand

Some personal qualities and characteristics that set me apart from some of my competitors has a lot to do with my personal life.  In 2014 our youngest of three children was born with a life threatening birth defect call Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).  We went through the scary process of prenatal testing to determine how severe her CDH would be and she remained in the hospital for 3 months after birth, has had multiple surgeries and upon coming home was fed through a gastrostomy tube.  She struggled to survive, I struggled with some stress induced OCD tendencies and my family struggled financially and emotionally.  It was hard, no doubt, but we somehow figured out how to make it all work out and came out of it happy, healthy and stronger than before.  I feel I really have something to offer to others because of our experience that not many people can offer.  I do think it makes our family stand out.

I think my colleagues would say that my best trait is my ability to connect with others.  I do feel like I have an ability to make others feel comfortable when they are around me.  I don’t ever take myself too seriously and have a knack for sensing other people’s moods and personalities.  I’m comfortable being vulnerable in front of others and I believe that makes them more comfortable to let their guard down, making conversations easy and more natural.

I’m most proud of my ability as a mother.  I don’t know if many people could take on what I take on every day.  Truthfully, sometimes I even have a hard time!  It’s not easy, but I’m able to keep laughing when others would yell or cry.  I’m thankful for my sense of humour and my ability to recognize what’s worthy of stress.

 

COM0014 – Blog #4: B2C Case Study

I follow a lot of local businesses usually because I am interested in their product but often because I am impressed with their social media presence.  One of these local businesses is Grandma’s Beach Treats in Wasaga Beach.  It’s a small locally-owned ice cream parlour which also makes award-winning butter tarts and fudge, among other delicious treats.

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Om nom nom nom!

Since Wasaga Beach is a tourist town, there are multiple ice cream shops in and around the beach, but Grandma’s Beach Treats has always stood out to me because of their social media strategy.  They seem to understand the bonuses of being active on social media and even have a few tricks to make sure they stay on people’s minds.  The major thing that they do on social media is the “name game”.  Every day they post a name and if it’s your name you are entitled to a free ice cream, butter tart, tea or coffee.  Not only does it get people liking their Facebook and Twitter pages but the posts are often shared or retweeted multiple times by friend’s of the winning name.  They have well over 2500 page likes on Facebook while the second most popular ice cream joint in Wasaga Beach has slightly over 600 likes.

 

I can’t give their social media presence all the credit as Grandma’s Beach Treats is highly active in the community, providing coupons for children’s sporting events and donating treats frequently for community gatherings.  They also make sure to capitalize one these events as they post where they are and what they are participating in as well as having grateful community members post thanks on social media.

Their Facebook presence is impressive.  They obviously have someone dedicated to listening and posting while implementing some contests and interesting news to keep people coming back to their page and into their shop.

 

COM0014 – Blog #3: Target Audiences

Working in the public library we are constantly thinking of our target audience.  Whether we are purchasing books for our collection or budgeting for programs and events, it’s on our mind and helps to guide a  lot of the decisions that we make.  Our aim is daunting as we try to please our whole community of 18,000+.  With the limited budget that public libraries are faced with, it can be difficult to decide how to spend the funds.  We really need to research our target audience to figure out what services need to be provided.

We have the advantage of being able to look at the Census provided by Statistics Canada to see who is living in our community.  There are a lot of senior retirees, both male and female, that live in our community and frequent our library.  After receiving feedback through customer survey we created and distributed, we realized that free or inexpensive outings for seniors were lacking and have since starting providing computer workshops, day trips to museums and literary events with seniors in mind.

Although it is important to know who is already invested in the library and make sure we are providing them valuable services, it is as important to figure out who isn’t coming.  We can then try to figure out why they are not interested in the library and try to create programs or events that will engage them.  We currently have that issue with the teens in our area.  They are not using our services as much as we’ve seen in other small towns.  We’ve tried a few programs geared towards them that unfortunately flopped.  Our next move will be reaching out to them through social media or through the school system to get feedback on what they are looking for and need.