Blog #4 – Out Of The Box

After exploring so many different tools over the duration of this course, I still find Hootsuite the most useful tool that I use regularly. Being able to schedule, respond, listen, and gauge what works, all from one platform makes a lot of sense to me – especially when running social media platforms for several different companies at the same time. I also like that Hootsuite has kept up with the times, and this week, they updated their user interface, which allows a user to gain even more insight into their social media analytics.

I have also dug deeper into Google Alerts, which sends me keyword information directly to my inbox. As I have expanded the reach of my business globally, finding keyword information has helped determine my hashtag selection, and helped with my SEO on my websites.

Overall, I believe that the tools are secondary to understanding the information, and I think finding tools that allow a user to easily digest the information is the most important. Since we all have different learning styles, and process information differently, when a person finds a social media monitoring tool that works for them, they can unlock the potential reach, and effectiveness of their message.

Assignment 5: Event Participation

A Music Masterclass With Sean Chandler

Event Details – Sean Chandler is a teacher, workshop leader and facilitator (Music and the Deaf, National Deaf Children’s Society), Director of Culture, cornet player, and former member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.

Sean will lead 3 masterclasses that explore music.

These will be workshops based on how we can use simple technology to create music for ourselves.

I chose this webinar, because I am always looking for new ways to engage my students with accessible technology.

The host, Sean Chandler, opened with an ice breaker – “What is your favourite pancake topping?” I introduced myself, responded with “maple syrup”, and observed the rest of the presentation. I didn’t have much to add, as the group had been working on a project for two weeks, and I showed up on the final masterclass. They seemed to know each other, and I was simply out of the loop.

I did come away with some new ideas on how to use different apps with my students. I was aware of some of the apps, but learned of Thumbjam, and Skoog, two apps that my students could make real use of, as well as Sean dug a little deeper into Beatstar, which I have have used sparingly. I also learned of some websites, Inclusive Music, and Music Mark, which are full of tutorials to help get people creating music who have little knowledge of music production.

Sean Chandler’s quote that stuck with me from the event was, “(When performing) You need to have something to share, not something to prove.” Which aligns with my own performance philosophy.

Unless I was extremely interested a webinar’s content, I probably would not attend another session. The host, Sean Chandler, had many great ideas, but the classroom style of this webinar isn’t a format that I enjoy learning in.

Blog #3 – Professional Networking Now & In The Future

My experience, pre-COVID, in-person networking as a musician consisted of going to jam sessions, or other musicians’ gigs, buying them a drink, and handing your business card out. Hopefully, you would find some like-minded individuals that you would eventually get hired by, or collaborate with. The same goes for venues – it used to be dropping your demo off to a venue, now we send social media links. In-person networking is key, if you’re a “good hang” (positive, easy to get along with) other musicians gravitate towards you, and if you can play as well, you’re sure to make some connections. This networking is still the basis for building a strong local community of musicians around oneself.

Online networking has become a necessity since the pandemic, and I believe its importance will only grow. Liking, commenting, and sharing posts were the original form of social media networking on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As TikTok has become more relevant for all users, musicians have taken advantage of the Duet, and Stitch features on this platform. Musicians are able to connect from all over the world, and build relationships through collaboration on TikTok. I have had the opportunity to connect with many people all over the world.

The clip below is a duet with a music producer, musician, and creator from Valencia.

In the future, I will be looking forward to getting back to networking at live events (I have missed that so much), but also splitting my time collaborating with artists around the world through social media. My hope is to turn some of these collaborations into opportunities to travel, and make music all over the world.

Blog #2 – Vessi, A Campaign Full Of Sole

I love scrolling through all of my social media platforms, and on a regular basis, I see certain brands taking advantage of the platforms, building an audience, and creating advertisements that stick with me. One of those brands is Vessi. The Vancouver-based company has hopped on the social media train, and has created a social media presence that any company can envy. On the other side, Nike, has very little presence for what I believe could be a great shoe, the Serena Williams Air Force 1.

Vessi, has been all over my TikTok FYP, since I joined the platform. The initial face of the company was a Canadian creator, @KallMeKris, who users on the platform identified strongly with. Since then, the marketing of the brand has grown significantly, to other creators, which include couples, and families. With these strong creator partnerships, whom with users identify, the shoes sell to many different demographics. I think that it is also important that we see these creators featured on Vessi’s website, with discount codes available. Overall, Vessi has created a marketing campaign that relates to their target demographics, and can add more creators to maintain, and expand its social media presence.


“What I imagine it’s like to have a toddler pt couldn’t tell you ( @vessi edition ) #nomorewetsocks #ad #mom #kids #fyp

♬ original sound – Kris HC

On the other end of the spectrum, Nike, is about to release the Serena Williams Air Force 1 (February 18th, 2022), and there’s no hype about this shoe. Maybe Nike is relying on its brand recognition, but outside of their mailing list, there has not been much promotion surrounding this shoe – nothing on their website, social media platforms, just a few reviews from independent blogs. I’m sure that there will be some excitement after the shoe is released, but it’s a shame that they haven’t taken advantage of their marketing budget, and made this the show that “you need to have!” before its release. Nike could work directly with Serena Williams (she has 14.2 million followers on Instagram), and set up a sneak peek, or have her demo the shoes in an advertisement as a starting point.

Vessi has taken advantage of social media, and in particular, TikTok, to market their shoes effectively to a wide demographic. Nike, the larger, more established brand, has chosen to pass on the platforms available (at least with this shoe). Nike may have a strong marketing plan in place after the Serena Williams Air Force 1 is release, but it is sending a product into the market with very little hype, especially with the tools that are available to the company.

Blog #1 – COM0015 – Tools and Sources

Over my time using social media, I have found Hootsuite and Brand24 to be useful tools for monitoring and listening. I have used Hootsuite since it came out (for approximately ten years – I was using Tweetdeck before), and I was introduced to Brand24 in my earlier social media studies.

Being able to analyse my different platforms’ success in the same place is particularly useful. When using Hootsuite, the ability to follow hashtags, keywords, measure my posts’ success, as well as schedule to multiple platforms gives me all of the tools to make the business thrive. It’s also useful to be able to see all of the activity on the accounts at the same time, in particular when seeing which audiences are active on each platform. This allows me to tailor my posts as I reach my target demographics.

Having information that is accessible and easy to understand is Brand24’s strength. I can track my hashtags across most platforms, and the email updates are useful, because I can have daily information sent directly to me. The infographics make the information easy to understand, and let me know where I need to focus my attention.

I have found that both Hootsuite and Brand24 can be used as stand alone tools when acquiring the information that I need to run successful social media campaigns, but when they are used in tandem, I can get the best results.

Course Reflection

Throughout this course, I found that my storytelling was constantly being refined, and I have found that the refinements that I’ve made in the course work have trickled into my every day writing. The biggest self-editing technique that I have developed is how to hook an audience. It’s so important to draw your audience in with a strong, clear message. If we are strong storytellers, we should be able to build and maintain an audience.

I have also found that writing these regular blog posts throughout the course also allowed me to feel less pressure about my own work. Not in the sense that I should care less, but in the sense that sometimes the material just needs to be out in the world. I was able to make decisions about where to stop my stories, how to continue in the next piece of writing, and create variety, so my work could remain fluid and engaging.

At first, when I looked at the course content, I was a little put off by the amount of small assignments – I usually like assignments that are worth a large percentage of my grade (more bang for my buck. Haha.), but I really enjoyed developing these skills through blogging.

Finding My Niche

I have been incredibly fortunate to make my living performing, and teaching music. Even though I have been able to follow my passion, I have spent an incredible amount of time trying to figure out where I fit in the music world. I think that it’s human nature to question one’s path. Even though I was working a lot, I struggled to define my identity for years, and it wasn’t until I was called to play baritone saxophone on a show that it all became very clear about my path.

After discussing my concerns over being unfocused in my approach with several close friends (and colleagues), I made a switch to being a low woodwind specialist, and for the next few years only focused on those instruments. I had found my niche, and in turn, my business grew (and continues to grow), I finally had an identity. It’s been exciting to be able to focus on one specific concept, and not worry about the other stuff. It’s also an amazing feeling to be recognized by audiences as the “low woodwind guy” in Ottawa, and have an opportunity to work with some of the best musicians who live in or come through the region.

Answering the question “Who am I?” has allowed people to learn about my story.

My Personal Brand – Variety and Flexibility

My personal brand is defined by my flexibility as a performer and teacher. My studio is split evenly between saxophone, clarinet, and flute students, with a little oboe and bassoon sprinkled in, and my performing/recording career is split the same way. It’s not uncommon for me to be running from a cartoon recording session during the day, to a jazz trio gig in the evening, and the next day dropping a sax solo on a pop tune, and then playing a chamber orchestra job in the evening. I love the variety, and the challenge of sounding authentic in every situation that I have to step into, and that is something that my peers recognize that I do well.

Being a flexible musician is only a part of the equation. The other half is being a flexible person – if you’re not a good hang, you’re less likely to be called for work. It’s important for me to answer my emails, texts, and phone calls immediately, it lets the people who are hiring me make their plans, and ultimately, their job less stressful. Also showing up on time is a non-negotiable. Being easy to be around (which includes taking direction), and performing to the standard that is expected by the person who hires me, is how I like my brand to be known.

I do believe that my personal brand can change over time. Maybe one day I’ll narrow down the work that I want to do, or the instruments that I perform on, but I can’t see myself leaving the pursuit of authenticity, and being a positive person behind.

A Brand That’s Charmin Its Audience

For a brand that sells toilet paper, Charmin has an exceptional social media presence which is focused on brand to consumer relations. Charmin is regularly active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. They also have a Googe+, and a YouTube account, but these platforms are not used for consumer interaction as much as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. I believe that they are using each platform to their fullest and targeting their audiences well. I am going to focus on their Twitter presence. The Charmin bears are featured on their Instagram page in a variety of “family” settings and their Facebook page is set up to show all of the company’s public service efforts. As I have worked through their social media accounts, it is clear that the company’s social media approach is consumer-centric and therefore makes them a strong business to consumer company.

The company’s Twitter feed is humorous, helpful, and engages with its audience. Charmin has done a great job interacting with their customers and bringing value to their Twitter lives. As I was searching through Charmin’s Twitter feed, I found a number of instances where the company was responding in a light-hearted way to their followers.

They have also tweeted out solutions to the issues with their rolls not fitting in standard toilet paper holders, and offered a roll extended to customers for free. They are facilitating the use of their product by offering free accessories to those who need them – a strong move to gain consumer loyalty.

Publicly going the extra mile with their customers, and taking a lighthearted approach on social media allows Charmin to capitalize on strong brand to consumer relationships that keep the company popular with consumers.

Using Different Platforms to Reach All Audiences

I love all social media platforms, from Twitter to TikTok, Instagram to Pinterest, Facebook to LinkedIn. I have found over my years of developing my brand, that every platform has value when it comes to targeting different demographics.

When I want to build my studio and bring in new students, I turn to LinkedIn. I can advertise to successful business people (some who are parents), and draw their attention by posting tips and tricks for potential students. The same goes for Pinterest, where I have found that the demographic that uses that platform have children who are ready to take music lessons. Twitter is for announcing news, which could be recordings, and shows. I have also found it to be particularly useful to reach companies for new products or gain endorsements. Facebook and Instagram have become my “digital journal”, where I document my process, and connect with like minded musicians, or potential fans. I have become a big fan of TikTok. This is where I get most of my international students – I post short clips of material, and answer questions that potential students my have. It’s also great to collaborate with others.

Personally, I build my advertising around using each of these platforms to their potential by creating media specifically for them. I believe that by tailoring the information, I am able to target the demographics that can help build my business.