Individuals Branding Through Community

QUICK! What’s a quick way to quick start your online business while having instant credibility?

Lots of advertising?

Begging your friends to buy from you?

Writing lots of fake positive reviews about your site?

How about promoting your own brand within a community of individual sellers like you?

Enter Etsy.


This selling community allows individuals to create their own online stores using all of Etsy’s resources. Providing easy, step-by-step set up to sell your vintage or hand made items, Etsy gives your brand credit. With secure payment systems, easy site searches, and user reviews, Etsy makes buying from individual sellers easy and secure.

Even more, Etsy is dedicated to helping its vendors become branded professionals. Sending regular newsletters with tips, tricks, and plans for success Etsy helps lots of individuals create their own, valid brands under the Etsy banner.

etsy 2

Vendors through Etsy pay minimal fees for all this help – at 20 cents per listing, this automatic reputation comes at a reasonable cost.

Creating your brand and making it distinctive is one of the most essential parts of running a business – but for part time sellers, start ups, and those looking for existing networks, this reputation boost given by being an Etsy vendor in addition to having their own brand is worth carrying someone else’s logo in addition to your own.

So Easy a … 6 Year Old Can Do It.

The Ottawa Green Bin program has changed the way that most citizens handle their garbage, and although the program makes it easy to compost, many people had complaints.

One of the primary obstacles that the Green Bin program met was the liner problem.To prevent undesirable organic build up in outdoor bins that could attract flies and other unwanted pests, Green Bin Ottawa suggested that composters create bin liners for their indoor compost bucket, that could be sealed when transferred to the larger curb bin.

How did they combat complaints that this could be difficult, and was a little desired skill?

Presenting Bella : 

This wonderful Youtube Video showcases how a six year old girl and resident of Ottawa folds her bin liners – and sends a pretty clear unsaid message : If this little girl can do it, so can you!

The success of this video lies in its’ simple presentation : no showboating, or even telling the audience how easy this task is – simply presenting each step in order, and by host, Bella.

A wonderful video that gained good traction, with 70,000 views, it beautifully captures how sometimes the best videos are the most simple.

Have you seen a video that made use of simple techniques like this?

Local Listening & Participating

Many businesses are still trying to figure out how they want to listen and communicate with their audience with the rise of social media. How do you stay up to date with these new constantly evolving technologies and their unique sets of opportunities to hear and respond to feedback?

One local shop in Ottawa seems to have figured out how they want to participate over social media – The Comic Book Shoppe in Ottawa despite currently suffering a corrupted database on their website, has been successfully using their Facebook fan page to maintain an online connection with their shoppers.

Posting photos from their two locations and updating their community on upcoming events through both their Facebook and Twitter accounts, this is one local business that seems to have it all figured out. Their staff are obviously social media savvy as they announce product arrival with friendly professionalism through these media outlets.

Customers appear to be completely on board with only connecting through Facebook and Twitter – customers are requesting product to be held, stock information and more through these two sites – and staff are on top of all requests! One shopper posting a photo of a desired product had stock and delivery information provided to them within three hours. This information was provided after the store had closed, showing that the staff at the Comic Book Shoppe understand how social media can take place outside of the nine to five.

Have you noticed any local businesses taking advantage of social media this way? Any that have managed to be successful? Let me know!

Not Fundraising… Subscribing.

The request is simple : if you like my work, support me in creating more. Subscribe simply by pressing ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ on Facebook or Tumblr. Or, send me a monthly donation to ensure that I will be able to continue publishing content you love.

One of the many beauties of social media has been the ability of creators to fundraise online, and request help directly from their audience. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two sites that artists and creative collaborators have made much use of to present projects to their fans and request that their audience work together to raise a pre-determined amount of money for that specific project.

Recently, a new way of fundraising has started gaining a lot of popularity : subscription.

A purchase method most used with magazines and newspapers, internet based content creators now ask their audiences to subscribe through social media. Requesting subscriptions allows content creators to make a living off their work, and use funds raised for any project they believe their audience will enjoy.

Publishers such as Christopher Hastings ( Dr. Mcninja ), or Commonplace Books  (Welcome to Nightvale) are two such publishers : each content creator has asked their audience to show their love through donating.

Those who want to donate choose how much or how little they want to donate, and perks such as subscriber-only content are offered. Special individualized messages, gift packages, sneak peeks – these are all things that are offered to subscribers as incentive to show their support of their favourite comics, podcasts, videos and more.

Do you have a creative project you want to fund? Patreon and Subbable are here to help you reach out to your audience!


COM0011 – Blog 1 : Social Connections – More Than Just Media

In 2007, brothers Hank and John Green embarked on a project : spend one year communicating in a non-textual manner. All communication was to occur face-to-face, through telephone, but primarily, through back and forth video blogs posted on Youtube. After their one year experiment finished, they found that their videos had sparked the creation of a community, and they continued to regularly upload videos.

This unique blog that talked about anything and everything – day to day life, political issues and opinions – started to quickly spread and gain attention. In early 2013, their channel ‘vlogbrothers’ had over one million subscribers. Today, they have over seven million.

Social media allowed these brothers to connect with each other in a way different than they had before; their four minute videos about their jobs, their opinions, their entertainment and whatever they found fascinating that day started to create a community consisting of more than the two of them. Expanding from youtube, the Vlogbrothers used twitter, tumblr, the ning, and other applications to allow their community – dubbed ‘Nerdifghters’ – to connect with the brothers and each other.

The social media connections sparked by this video blog project have now created a much larger community that connects back to ‘the real world’. Hank Green created Vidcon, a huge conference starring Youtube personalities and groups such as Grace Helbig (a Youtuber with over a million followers), and Harry and the Potters ( a wizard rock band).

Hank and John worked together to create The Project for Awesome, a fundraising event for the Project to Decrease Worldsuck – the charity they founded. This unique project allowed anyone to create and submit a video promoting a cause or charity they believed in – videos are viewed, and voted on. Raising over $800,000 in 2013, the P4A used social media to allow their community to choose what causes and charities to fund with that money.

Social media is a community builder, and allows connections to be made worldwide. It can also allow one person using the right tools to create a movement and change the world beyond their computer screen.