Sarah Johnson- Personal Reflection

Algonquin College’s Social Media program has taught me so much. I have loved going back to school and learning something completely new and can apply it to my day to day life and it also got me a side job as a social media promoter! This course in particular has really shown me the importance of different audiences and what communication styles you use in order to get those audiences attention.

I can’t wait to finish this whole program, I will be enrolling in the last course this week. This social media program is such an asset to add to your resume. With the world as it is right now, and more people working from home, social media is so much more important. It can literally be done from your finger tips, but has such an impact on someone’s day. All because of social media you can promote, post and advertise, while someone can purchase, find a new restaurant and support a local business, or find a new job posting.

I have really developed a new love for social media and all that it has to offer. It is way more than just posting a selfie on Instagram.

Do People Know My Story?

Having a personal story is so important and you need it to draw people into your life. You need to draw people in right from the start.

I like to think of my story as captivating and entertaining, but it also shows how hard work and determination pays off. In the last year the world has been rocked and changed due to the pandemic, and it has definitely effected the 20-30 year olds who are starting out in their career (or trying to).

In the last year I have had three different jobs, not because I wanted to or got fired…because things kept closing and reopening due to the pandemic and it was so hard! I went from being an events planner and loving that career path to becoming a server because the only thing that was open in Ottawa were patios. With living in the Ottawa climate, patios were not going to be open for long, so in the fall had to change my career path again. To real estate! I don’t have a background in it, but the housing market was the only thing that was doing well in 2020. 5 months later I am still in real estate and just accepted a raise. Goes to show that hard work and determination really do pay off!

Sarah Johnson’s Personal Brand

Now a days, having your own personal brand and distinguishing yourself from others is so important, and social media has a lot to do with it. In a social media world with filters, real life botox and fillers, and copy cats, standing out is hard to do!

I definitely am a wanna be Ottawa Influencer. #guilty. But I think I am quite good with knowing how often to post and when to post. There are certain times of the day where it is the prime time to post to get the most likes and comments and get noticed. Those times are usually lunch, after work so 5-7pm and later in the evening around 9-10pm. In the mornings people are too busy with work and home life to have the time to scroll through their phones. I am also very good at promoting and selling products on Instagram. I know exactly what gets people to notice these products. For example, showing off the product on your story and doing polls, or ‘this or that’ editions. Tagging clothing brands and restaurants is also important to you and them. It gets you noticed by the company so you could be used on their page and gain more followers, and it also gets them noticed by your followers so they gain more customers.

Being good at social media is just as good as being good with people, and I happen to be great at both.

COM0014 Blog #4- Napolis Cafe

I have really admired this local Italian restaurant in Stittsville, ON during this whole pandemic. As a restaurant that has been around since the 90’s and has so much community involvement (including hosting Carrie Underwood’s birthday when she was dating Mike Fisher while he was in Ottawa) they have really struggled during this pandemic! This restaurant for the last 25+ years has thrived off of word of mouth and community involvement.

So….what have they been doing since March 2020? Promoting themselves like crazy on social media! Their primary social media source has been Instagram but they also cover Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. One of my favourite things that Napolis have been doing is a Valentines Day contest. They are giving away one of their charcuterie boards #yummm but how they are doing this is through an Instagram contest. So basically you have to like their post of the charcuterie board, tag your friends and then post it to your story. So in turn, they are getting noticed by the people you tagged (who may not have followed them before) and everyone that follows you because they have watched your personal story. Everyone wants to enter this contest because 1) it is easy to do, 2) you get amazing food.

Lots of other local businesses are making it work during the COVID-19 pandemic but I always admire what Napolis is doing because I have been going there for the last 18 years and want them to survive. But, I do think this pandemic has shown the importance of social media with small businesses and that you need to have that community connect and involvement.

COMM0014- Blog #3- Target Audiences

This blog post actually came at an interesting time for me, I am looking for some jobs in this field (social media), and got approached on Instagram to be a Brand Ambassador for an Ottawa event company. So I immediately said yes, (extra cash and some extra followers), but it made me really think about who my target audience would be. The event that I am promoting is a ‘Virtual Caesar Crawl’. (If anyone wants to buy tickets let me know! It’s Saturday Feb 27 at 8:30pm) So basically you order a kit and that kit includes all of your ingredients, recipe cards for the drinks, the zoom link to the event and samples of different local restaurants. Super great! But…who the heck is my target audience? I started reaching out to my friends and family and I had everyone from my 20 year old cousin who’s in university wanting to go, to my mom and her friends.

I know I bring up COVID a lot but it is a very hot topic right now. However, it is interesting because it has changed my perspective on target audiences. If this was an in person bar crawl the people involved would be very different. It would be university students, young adults living downtown, people in that industry, etc. but because it is VIRTUAL it expands to so many more people. Also, because of COVID and lockdowns, people are bored! People of every age are bored! So all of the suburban moms want to hop on a zoom party and have some cocktails, which in turn is great for the local businesses.

It is important to have a positive outlook in the darker times. 🙂

COM0014 Blog #2- Storytelling and Communication Styles

As an English Literature major, I personally love the concept of storytelling. You can fully engage somebody in an instant with a good story. I also love that storytelling doesn’t have to always be fictional, you can ‘storytell’ about yourself. Think of being in an interview, you are basically telling a great story about who you are and why you’re amazing. You are engaging your could-be boss. Also, storytelling does not have to be verbal or written anymore. What is your Instagram feed? That tells a story about who you are, by just looking at pictures. 2020 Storytelling is very different than 1950’s storytelling, it is continuously evolving.

Speaking about the ‘inverted triangle approach’ that we learnt about this week, I fully agree in order to get someone engaged you need to hook them with important information first. Then, once they like what you are saying, ease into next steps, extra tidbits and ‘have a good day’. I like to relate this concept to being a salesperson with your pitch. You only have limited time to get the customer to buy what you’re selling, so you need to get the most important information in within about 90 seconds. #GetThatMoney

COM0014-Blog#1- What I Did On My Christmas Vacation 2020

I’m choosing to talk about my Christmas 2020 vacation because of the times, and the fact its been 10 months since I’ve left Ottawa. #sigh. This Christmas vacation was kind of ironic for me, it was the first time in a long time I got a full two weeks (paid) off from work, but no where to go and no one to see because lock down happened…AGAIN. I had big plans of going out every night, having friends down who don’t live in the city and overall spending too much money. #badidea. I am sure I can speak for a lot of people in this country who are just tired and emotionally drained from this pandemic.

I started to think about how to turn this into a positive experience. The lock down happened after a very busy month of Christmas activities and work/school projects so I took the time to catch up on sleep, try out some new workouts, keep in contact with friends and family through social media and texting and start a new book. After recently going on a more plant based diet I also was looking up recipes to try! If anyone has any yummy vegan or vegetarian recipes they love, please comment them below! I was extremely lucky and had my new house close on time, it closed in the beginning of December. So I took the quiet vacation to also organize my new house and empty most of the boxes.

As the world we know keeps evolving it is important to try and see the light at the end of the tunnel. However hard that may be. How was everyone else’s Christmas break? I’m loving to hear some creative ideas on how to spend your lock down time!

How social media helped me stay in touch with family and friends during the pandemic

As soon as the pandemic started and the stress and fear kicked in to everyone’s daily lives, that is when people’s social lives started to fail as well.

I was lucky and my family, friends and fiance all live in Ottawa, with the exception of a few, but for others that is certainly not the case. A personal example I have of that is one of my friend’s boyfriend lives in Ohio and she hasn’t seen him since December 2019, and doesn’t know when she will.

This is where we thank God we have social media and the means to keep in contact when we can’t do it face to face.

Obviously texting and phone calling is great, but so is sending a funny meme to your Instagram group chat to create a quick laugh, or doing a Facebook room to get a lot of people together. Or Zoom and Houseparty, where you can even play virtual games with friends. It is just so great what technology has done for us.

An article in The Drum was talking about the positives and negatives with social media during the pandemic and one of the positives was the communication between people. “Around the world, those suspected of harbouring the disease are quarantined inside their homes or in medical institutions. In these conditions, social media serves as the only reliable way for the victims of this virus to communicate with the outside world.” (para 9).

Did social media help you guys keep in touch with friends and family? What sort of apps did you use during the quarantine part of the pandemic?

References:

Sokolov, M. (2020, March). The pandemic infodemic: how social media helps (and hurts) during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Drum.

https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2020/03/03/the-pandemic-infodemic-how-social-media-helps-and-hurts-during-the-coronavirus

Online Shopping in COVID-19

Ok, so as someone that likes to online shop during the best of times, doing it during the pandemic was a different experience. First of all, the shipping delays were so far fetched it was nuts. Blaming it on ‘international’ shipping when I ordered from Sephora and it took ten weeks, not anyone’s fault but there’s, in my opinion. Second of all, people are spending their money when they are broke and bored, please don’t make them wait.

I think a lot of brands and companies took advantage during the pandemic and the fact that people could’t leave their house so they were kind of forced into online shopping. Amazon definitely made a fortune. I think a way online companies took advantage of COVID-19 and of people online shopping was that they could put a premium price on shipping and handling fees. People wanted their products fast. In the middle of the pandemic, there was an article written in CBC Magazine (2020) that said “Online sales totalled 3.4 billion during the month, an increase of 120 per cent from last year’s level. In total, online selling made up almost 10 per cent of everything sold during the month, an all time high.” (para 8). This is evidence that people were bored and scared, so they found online shopping and found how easy it is to get things delivered to your finger tips no matter the circumstance.

In conclusion, I think online shopping during the pandemic was important for most of the population. It kept us sane, it made people feel like they were still in contact with the real world and it helped local businesses. However, we need social interaction. The world can’t survive on everyone in masks and showering in Purell. I do think that some major online companies (Amazon for example) thrived during the pandemic because people had to buy online, they really had no choice.

My point of my blog is that online shopping is great and necessary, and fifteen years ago a global pandemic would’ve been a very different thing. BUT, we need to remember that the huge websites want us to spend our money and they are using the fact that people staying home and not working as much are making us online shop more!

Don’t buy things you don’t need!!!! If you can’t stop thinking about an item for 3 months, sure, but don’t impulse buy. You and your bank account will appreciate the favour!

References:

Evans, P. (2020, June). Retail sales plunged, but online shopping soared as COVID-19 settled in April.

CBC

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/retail-sales-april-1.5618839

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/instagram/how-customers-can-shop-through-covid19

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WorldlineCanada/status/1240692188964466688

How Social Media Helps Me Plan a Wedding During COVID-19 (And Feel Normal)

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for four years and been living with him for over one year and he finally proposed to me this past week. I was over the moon (and the ring is quite the rock to). With all this excitement I forgot about the reality we are living in, COVID-19. With the gatherings pretty much having to be outdoor….and living in Ottawa where the weather is super unpredictable, I am understandably a little nervous. I basically have two months to plan an outdoor engagement party (who knows what the gathering limit even is anymore??) and every Saturday for 2021 is booked up. Great.

My boyfriend is also ten years older than me and is very close to his grandparents who are in their mid 90’s. So having the wedding next year and not waiting until 2022 is very important to him, which in turn puts more pressure on me.

I think a lot of families are stressed and confused about their daughter or son’s current situation and that can add some pressure as well. But looking on Facebook and Instagram and seeing other women going through a very similar situation makes me calm, this situation is out of our control and we are not alone. A great group to look for support is Ottawa Weddings on Facebook, it is a great sound board. I have learnt that everything happens for a reason and that this day is about you and your partner. Do what is best for the two of you. I have also learnt that there are a lot of positive online articles about what you can do to a) keep calm about your wedding and b) and make it the best it can be due to the pandemic. Listed below is a favourite article of mine. https://www.todaysbride.ca/articles/covid-19-and-wedding-cancellations/

Some people may call it ‘princess- like’ but I call it just wanting my dream wedding and not expecting to have it during/at the end of a pandemic. What would you guys do in this situation?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ottawaweddings

Twitter: @covid19wedding