COM0015 Post #5: #Brandcast

Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to attend a mass social networking event in New York City, at Madison Square Garden. It’s focus was to promote and celebrate the content creators of Youtube, the many benefits advertising on Youtube, and the value of creating partnerships with Youtubers, as well as finding an engaging audience, and creating a strong brand. This event was known as #Brandcast, and gathered together a massive community of advertisers, marketing heads and CEOs of brands (including Toyota, Nintendo, Universal Studios, Buzzfeed, Activision, Sharpie and more), Youtube content creators, Youtube executives, Google executives, and fans. It was one of the most unique events I have ever attended, and I thought it would be one that would be amazing to share with you all, as we are all students in a program that focuses on the power of Social Media, and how it can benefit so many different companies, brands, advertisers, and people across the globe.

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My friends and I in front of the stage after the event!

While it was not possible for us to directly speak with any of the presenters or attendees, that did not take away from my experience at all, and the knowledge I ended up walking away with. At #Brandcast, I listened to presenters like the president of marketing at Universal Studios, Josh Goldstine, the chief executive officer of Youtube, Susan Wojcicki, and content creators such as Grace Helbig, John Green, and Justine Ezarik. The most fascinating presentation, in my opinion, came from Ze Frank, who is the president of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures. He discussed the early days of what we know as “viral content”, what it means, how to judge the kind of content that spreads “virally” in our society, how we can use that to enforce branding, and the results of that kind of spreadable content. He used an excellent example with an email chain that went viral between Buzzfeed creator, Jonah Peretti, and an unnamed sneaker manufacturer. That viral email chain landed Jonah and the CEO of the sneaker company on national television, debating the controversy that is sweatshop labour. He then went on to entertain the idea of why? Why do some things get shared so much with other people? What makes a certain piece of content more spreadable than others? He breaks it down to what people are saying when they share the content online. Some people share because it relates to them, and refers to them as “identity shares.” Some people share because it inspired them, and refers to these people as “emotionally gifting.” And finally, the people that share it because they believe it will inform others, and refers to it as “social information.”

All of the presenters provide some really incredible information on the topic of advertising, content creating and how they go hand in hand with each other, as well as the successes and benefits of this partnership. I highly recommend, if you have some spare time, to check out some of these presentations for yourself, as Youtube has graciously uploaded a couple of them to their Advertising channel. I’ll provide the links to the videos below. They’re about 10 minutes long each, so they won’t take out a massive chunk of your time.

Justine Ezarik’s presentation (iJustine on Youtube)

Josh Goldstine’s presentation (President of Worldwide Marketing for Universal Pictures)

Grace Helbig’s presentation (Grace Helbig on Youtube)

Ze Frank’s presentation (President of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures)

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I actually spotted myself in the crowd as I was reviewing these videos for this blog post! Naturally, had to add it in here 😉

No matter which presenter you listen to, they all the enforce the idea of a strong community behind them, that’s dedicated to their content. This is the most important factor of finding success as a brand, as a content creator, and as an advertiser. This is the strongest, and most valuable piece of information I have walked away with from this presentation, as without your audience, and a dedicated one at that, you are essentially nothing. Grace Helbig provides the greatest example of this in her opener for #Brandcast, stating her fears when she branched away from original platform to Youtube, as her own brand of content creator. She had no idea how dedicated her audience actually was to her, as Grace. But, luckily for her, her audience was passionate about the content she was putting out, and she was able to build up a name for herself once again, and achieve success on Youtube and beyond. Expanding on that idea, knowing who your audience really is is of the utmost importance, as the results may truly surprise you. We go through the importance of knowing your audience in this certificate program already, but Justine’s presentation enforces this point even more. She covered the gaming portion of #Brandcast, as Let’s Players have essentially dominated the Youtube scene these days, thanks to the popularity of creators like PewDiePie. The stigma behind video games and gamers is that they are young, adult males. However, Justine states that adult, female gamers have overpowered this stereotype, and are, in fact the largest demographic watching video game content on Youtube. Take notes, video game corporations.

I would love to attend an event like this in the future. Heck, I would go to #Brandcast again next year, if I’m in the New York City area, and they’ll let me. Not only did I walk away with some valuable information up my sleeve in regards to the power of marketing and online advertising with Youtube and the power of viral content, I also got to enjoy some incredible entertainment from the likes of Nate Ruess, Alyson Stoner, and Bruno Mars. Oh yeah.

To send this post off, I’d like to leave a quote from Justine that I thought was extremely powerful, well-spoken and a perfect summary of what it means to be in the world of online marketing today:

“I want you guys to remember the reason that this community is so strong on Youtube. It’s because you cannot find this content on TV. Gaming is fundamentally interactive, and only interactive platforms, like Youtube, can deliver the experience gamers want.”- Justine Ezarik

I feel this quote represents far beyond the gaming community. Interactivity is the basis of all online marketing nowadays, and social media platforms are the most valuable tools a brand can utilize in today’s society. The conversation people can have on a Youtube video, on a post sharing a Youtube video on a platform like Facebook or Twitter is so important to the reach an advertiser and brand can have. If you keep this interactivity and conversation in mind, I strongly believe that anyone can find success online.

Thanks for reading.

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COM0015 Post #4- Out of the Box

To be honest, before I started this certificate program, I didn’t see or understand how social media could be used from a business and branding perspective. Now, I find myself with friends and family asking me how they can get more followers on their social media platform of choice, and I have to explain to them, that it’s not that simple of an answer.

I’ve learned so much in this certificate program, that I’m hoping to utilize for my future endeavours in social media. But, I have to say the most surprisingly useful platform I’ve found in this program is LinkedIn.

Before I signed up for this certificate program, I had never made a LinkedIn account. I personally believed that LinkedIn was one of those platforms that was only for older professionals, and I hadn’t understood the importance or relevance of it. I then only made a profile on it because the first course had requested that we make one, and join the Algonquin College group. Even then, after I had made it, I just kind of forgot about it for a while.

As the program progressed, I started to realize just how useful this platform could be. There’s a lot of very interesting individuals on LinkedIn, and some very awesome connections to be made. It’s so useful as a young person especially, which was shocking to me given my prior beliefs, because there are so many postings and opportunities for future career openings, and current openings as well. Not to mention, tips and tricks from high spectrum professionals too!

I’ve made some fantastic connections with some very valuable people within different industries that have endorsed plenty of my skills I have featured on my profile, and have contacted me for a variety of different reasons.

I now make it one of my priorities to update my LinkedIn profile on a more regular basis, and look forward to continuing to use it’s tools to hopefully help further my future career goals.

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

When it comes to professional networking, I’ll admit that it probably isn’t my strong suit.

Right now, social networking is a tricky method to master in my industry. You want to network with clients, and build up a clientele of potential regular clients that will hire you for modeling gigs consistently. However, you also need establish this relationship with a client not only with yourself, but also your agency. Booking gigs on your own when you have an agency is a massive no-no, and a huge violation of your contract.

So, basically, not only do I have to build a relationship with clients, I have to hope that they’ll like the contact they have at one of my multiple agencies as well. Oh boy!

As of right now, I network with different clients by adding these connections on my different social media platforms. That way, they can see what I’m up to, where I am currently located, and can have an easy point of access with me. However, I do direct any direct work requests I encounter by forwarding them to my agency. I find that doesn’t always work out, so I need to think critically about how I can improve on getting those opportunities to come through.

For the future, I’d like to continue updating my social networks more consistently with updated content so that I can keep the interest of my current points of contacts, and hopefully attract the interest of those I haven’t been able to work with yet.

I’d also like to attend a large social networking event specifically for models from my home agency, and puts them in contact with multiple agencies and clients from across the globe. Ideally, I’d be able to network with some new people and clients, and hopefully progress my career further online and in-person.

COM0015 Blog Post #2- Strong and Weak Organizations

 

Social Media is one of those things you either get, or you don’t. Fortunately, most companies and organizations seem to have gotten a handle on how to run and organize their social media pages. Other companies, however, are still struggling to figure it all out.

Strong:

On the strong side of things, is Tim Hortons, boasting over 2, 860, 000 followers on their Facebook page, over 556,000 on their Twitter, and over 139,000 on their Instagram. A Canadian classic, it comes as no surprise to me that Tim Hortons would have so many followers on their social media accounts. However, they are actually excellent at interacting with their consumers and followers, and posting regular content.

I’ve noticed them respond to numerous content on all of their social media platforms, to both negative and positive feedback, in a productive manner. Positive comments receive good-natured, friendly and human commentary, and negative comments receive advice, and requests for further information and getting into contact with the unhappy consumer.

They also regularly feature user-submitted photos on their social media pages, which thrills consumers, and encourages more people to take pictures of Tim Hortons products and services, and post them on their own social media pages, in the hopes of getting featured. Which, naturally, creates more exposure for Tim Hortons.

Tim Hortons posts every day it seems, consistently, with at least one image post per day featuring their food, beverages, and current promotions. Getting people hungry and hopefully encourage them to head out to their nearest Tim Hortons.

Weak:

On the weak side of things, we have Empire Restaurant in Ottawa. They hold a decent amount of followers on their Twitter account, with 2,124 followers. That isn’t too bad, considering it’s a local restaurant establishment. However, they appear to have dropped off the social media scene entirely, recently. Their last post on Twitter was posted February 23rd. Their Facebook page last posted something on February 14th. Empire’s Instagram account’s last post was made on June 24th, 2015.

Aside from their apparent disappearance from social media, they did not appear to respond frequently to customer comments, concerns and reviews on any of their social media platforms, which is a big no-no in social media marketing. You need to both listen and communicate with your consumers so they know they are being heard.

I’m curious as to why or what happened to cause them to drop off the social media spectrum, and will be curious to see if they make any sort of return to their platforms.

COM0014 Blog Post #7: Personal Reflection

Storytelling is so important in creating and sharing digital content. It sets up a beginning, middle, and end to your tale, and a cohesive and engaging story will always read well with your audience. Whether they are relating to your story, understanding your story, learning something from your story, and more, someone is taking something out of your content that will stick with them, and make them remember you. It’s a great connection tool to your readers.

When it comes to creating content, I always do my best to just keep the content up to my own standards. I don’t like to try and write to an audience that I’m actively trying to please, but don’t like what I’m putting out there. I feel as though, if I’m not writing and creating for me, it’s not going to be genuine and good content. It will be forced, half-hearted content. If I write for me, however, I think I’ll attract an audience that share the same interests and ideals as myself. Not to mention, both my readers and I will enjoy what I’m posting a lot more that way.

The stories I like to tell, are those of my past experiences. In my seven year modeling career, I’ve been through and seen so much. I’d like to share that experience with new and up and coming models so that they may have an idea of what to expect, and what to avoid.

COM0015 Blog Post #1- Tools and Sources

To be perfectly honest, I really didn’t have all that much experience in using social media tools until I started taking this program. I had never really needed to track conversations happening online and feedback to my content, because all I really cared about was the number of followers I had on my Instagram. I never really thought into the specifics of actually getting those numbers through online tools. Heck, I never even knew they existed.

With that said, I’d have to say that the tool I feel most comfortable using is Hootsuite, since we’ve learned quite a bit on it through this program’s journey. Aside from that, I use Google Alerts as well to bring my attention to certain phrases and key words that I’m looking for to attract an audience with, and so forth.

As for news, I honestly don’t use any particular online tools or feeds. I tend to go straight to actual news and media outlets like CTV, The Huffington Post, CBC, BBC, etc., etc, for my news. Sometimes I’ll take a gander over at the trending topics on Facebook and Twitter to see what people are really talking about, but I take those articles with a grain of salt until I see a legitimate news source behind them. I find that with online communications nowadays, people are a lot quicker to jump to conclusions about what they see or hear online without actually taking the time to fact check it first. So, personally, I like to take the time to actually look up the news sites myself rather than to further fuel a fire of false information. Sometimes, that false information can be pretty damaging and/or inhibiting to your career and reputation, as you also become an “unreliable source of information and fact.”

I do want to explore and experiment more with using more types of listening/monitoring tools, so I’m hoping to dive into that a little bit more this year. As for news sources and updates, I’ll stick to my current strategy.

COM0014 Blog Post #6- Do People Know Your Story?

I personally like to think of myself as a relatively open person, who doesn’t shy away from speaking in my own voice, as opposed to using a voice that’s specifically targeted towards a certain audience.

However, this is a particularly hard question for me to answer, as I haven’t really done very much blogging-wise. I’ve recently just launched a personal blog for myself this weekend dedicated to fashion and styling. It’s the first time I’ve really dived into something that’s truly and uniquely me, that’s me producing my own content, on my own.

It’s extremely daunting, as I have a seven year background in modeling. It’s daunting to me in the sense that, I’ve started promoting my blog to my existing followers on Instagram and Facebook who have followed me for my work in modeling, and to keep in contact with me. So, basically I have legitimate industry professionals directly viewing and judging my content. Gulp.

So far, after just one day, the feedback I have received on my blog from both interested followers from my prior accounts and new followers entirely have been positive, which I’m thrilled about. It really makes me feel very vulnerable to put out content that’s just so personal to me, you know? So I was relieved to see approval on my content and writing skills from people who have been working in fashion for years as well.

With that said, I haven’t had a whole ton of time to really answer this question, as I’m still developing my storytelling abilities, and hoping to develop them through the feedback I receive from my blog readers, and using the tips and tricks I learned from lesson 6.

Thanks for reading!

And if you happen to be interested in fashion at all, please feel free to check out my blog: utterly-mal.com 😉

COM0014 Blog #5- Personal Brand

In the world of social media today, I firmly believe that there is no longer a difference between private and public accounts and branding. It seems that nowadays, people want to know everything and anything that makes you, well, you, no matter what type of industry you participate in. With this in mind, the element of personal branding is more important than ever.

After reflecting upon myself for a day or two, I’ve come to a conclusion on what exactly my own personal brand consists of. What exactly makes me, me. 

Firstly, most people know me for my modeling. Which, of course, is associated with my name as it’s what pretty much everyone I know knows me for. But within modeling, people know me as a veteran and teacher of the industry, I’d like to believe. Someone who is very knowledgeable in the industry, and someone to seek for guidance. I’ve had many people approach me for advice and with questions, hoping to get their starts in the business. I have also taught many up and coming models at my mother agency the tips and tricks of the trade in modeling classes, and am well known for helping out. Both parties tend to approach me on social media platforms for continued advice.

Secondly, I like to believe that I’m fairly down to earth and approachable. With what my trade is, it’s extremely easy for me to come across to people as very unapproachable because they get false impressions due to stereotyping of the modeling industry. While I post content with my professional work, I like to keep it real, so to speak, by throwing in some more posts that are more humanized. Like talking about what I’m up to, some humorous posts, things like that. I also try my very best to acknowledge and respond to comments, messages, etc., sent to me so that people know that I’m a humanized friendly individual, not an inaccessible personality.

Thirdly, I’m a good role model, and am well known as being one. I’ve been described by fellow industry professionals as responsible, mature, good-natured, and kind. I set standards for myself, and stick to them. I act professional and behave accordingly when in public or in work place scenarios. I’ve had quite a number of new models and their parents directed my way as an example to them of how a model should behave, and I pride myself on this.

Now, can I use these traits on my online personal branding? Of course! A good reputation, and good communication skills go a long way in the world of social media, so these are definitely not bad traits to have under your belt. Appearing as a real, living human being to your audience rather than someone spewing computer generated nonsense is very important as well. No one wants to follow a robot, after all.

 

COM0014 Blog Post #4: B2C Case Study

I decided to do my case study on the teen/tween clothing company, Aeropostale. This popular clothing store uses all forms of social media to reach out to their target consumers, by being an active presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as having an email subscription service.

Their social media presence is strong, with posts being made numerous times a day on all of their platforms. They seem to respond to their consumers over on Twitter more so than any other platform. As a matter of fact, that seems to be the only outlet where I have witnessed any sort of B2C direct response activity from them.

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Screen capture images courtesy of Aeropostale’s Facebook page

After browsing their Facebook account, and taking a peek at their comment section on their content, as well as the posts left on their page by their visitors, there seems to be numerous consumer complaints on everything from their service online/in stores, to shipping concerns, to quality complains, that have all gone unanswered by Aeropostale. This is worrying as people tend to “jump on the bandwagon,” so to speak, when it comes to complaints about a popular brand. Aeropostale needs to start responding customer concerns on all of their social media outlets, not just Twitter.

Image courtesy of Aeropostale's webpage

Image courtesy of Aeropostale’s webpage

What Aeropostale is doing right, and might I add a little differently than their competitors, is partnering with popular online personalities. Many clothing companies partake in using online personalities to promote their brands by sharing these personalities’ content that features their products. Aeropostale has gone a step further to use the current popularity of online “stars” by partnering with Youtube star Bethany Mota on a clothing line for their business. This partnership drives business and popularity towards both Aeropostale and Bethany Mota’s brands. I have personally yet to see another teen clothing company utilize the blowup popularity of online personalities in this way.

In conclusion, Aeropostale’s online social media communications is doing some things right, but also some things wrong as well. It would not hurt for them to consider expanding their social media department internally perhaps, so that they can cater to the voices of their consumers by improving on their online conversation monitoring, and taking the time to respond to their audience on all of their social media platforms.

COM0014 Blog #3- Target Audiences

In establishing an online presence, one of the most important factors to consider is who your target audience is going to be. Are they young? Are they old? Do they have a family? Where are they from? There’s a ton of different questions to answer when it comes to who’s listening in to your content.

To be more specific, you need to establish your audience’s demographic and psychographic. Finding out this information can be a challenge. It takes a lot of research into who your current consumers are, and who your competitors’ consumers are. This information can be gathered by using a variety of different tools, starting with implementing surveys to your audience to learn what kind of demographic is tuning in to your content. By which we mean, how old they are, where they are in life, what nationality they are, where they come from, etc. You can use this information, and place it into a demographic profile, which will be a helpful reminder for future use. After finding out your demographic, it’s time to find out your audience’s psychographic, which establishes what type of lifestyle your audience leads. Are they upper, middle, or lower class? Are they trendy? Or do they live more on the simpler side of things? Once you get a more clear picture of what they’re interested in, you’re ready to begin strategizing a communication plan.

This information you’ve gathered should now be put to use. For example, say your company is a business that markets luxury products to children. Your target audience is most likely going to be mainly made up of parental figures in families, probably in the 25-40 age range. However, you won’t be marketing to just anyone. It’s unlikely that lower class families with lower incomes will have the spare money to dish out on your products. With that in mind, it would be wise to market your social media accounts to people within the upper class, and somewhat to those in the middle class. The upper class will have the money to spend on your products, and the middle class consumers may decide to splurge on a product from you when they have some spare money to spend. You would also use your social media presence to speak to your audience in a more formal tone, perhaps, rather than talking to your audience using trendy language or “memes”, for example, like accounts targeting younger audiences would.

There’s many factors to consider when it comes to implementing a social media presence and campaign for yourself, and your company. The best thing you can do is to do your research, think and listen. Research who your people are. Think about what type of content they’d like to see or read. And listen to the feedback they give you.

Thanks for reading.