COM 0015 – Blog #1 Tools and News Sources

Social Media is defined by its ability to be interactive and to allow conversations. Social Media listening and monitoring will be different for each organization. This will be dictated by the scope of their online presence and the complexity of their online profiles as well.

What are you hearing?

For small or local businesses, the insight and feedback tools built in to their primary social accounts might provide more value than larger outside platforms that include a monthly subscription. For our family business, Derand Motorsport, there are several local social media sites where we are able to interact directly with our clients. Most of our regular interactions come from Direct messages through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or from responses to online ads through sites like Kijiji. We have also found value by joining local groups that allow us to interact with local car enthusiasts.

This regular messaging gives us what our clients are looking for in terms of product requests. We also take special not of what customers are extremely pleased or not pleased with through our review messages on Google as well as the recommendation section for our Facebook business page.

We have recently started to run seasonal product ads on Facebook. The analytic tools and insights given through their ad platform have supplied us with new demographics on who is seeing and responding to our online ads. The purpose of our ads is to get the customers to message the store for a quote on a specific product. Within the messages, we are learning even more about our local loyal customer base.

Twitter for Instant Updates and Specific News

Twitter is our go-to resource for news and updates that interest our organization. By attending trade events, like the SEMA show in Las Vegas, we have identified which organizations to follow for relevant and current updates in our industry. Our Twitter feed allows us daily access to the most up to date trends in the automotive industry. We also really appreciate the instant timing of Twitter, with very little news cycle delay. Additionally, we are signed up for Google Alerts for our main product lines and industry, but find much more relevant content from Twitter than from the Google Alerts.

COM 0014 : Blog 7

Personal Reflection on Storytelling

At the Completion of this course on Digital Communication, my number one take away personally has been the shift in my writing and social media posts from providing information to telling more stories. We are intentionally choosing to share more about people and their stories, which is building more of community around our business and our brand.

Storytelling is the Heart of Digital Communication

COM0014 ~ Blog # 6

Who do you say that I am?

Ladies, as women, It is so normal for us to compare to others, to let our identity come from what we do, what we have been told about us, or our possibly temporary roles in life. We even let our identity sit on how we look, our physical and mental characteristics. All of these can and do change over time. They are ever evolving as our life, circumstances and roles change through out our lifetime.

Ladies our bodies will change over time, but choosing to compare our current state to our younger version will not help us at all.   Lets instead choose to be in awe of the wonderful things our bodies do for us every day. Our bodies are so much more that the clothes we wear, or our ever changing shape, more than our loose and imperfect skin , more than our big nose or feet.     Our body has brought us through much to bring us each to this point in life, and if we are given 10, 20 , 30 , 40 or more years , lets appreciate the heart that beats in our chest  over 100,000 times every day without us having to even think about it, or the skin that will cover our face today, tomorrow and decades from now as well.

I recently met a woman who shared with me how God delivered her from a very difficult situation and had replaced it with something that she literally described as “wow! “, so much more than she could dream of. We all shared how we sometimes miss the “wow! ” Sometimes the situations change dramatically, and sometimes our perspective shifts to see the “wow! ” more clearly too. Our bodies, in all their imperfect states, are evermore an absolute wow! Our personality, our mind, every bit of us is a “wow! “

The truth is we all are beautiful and we all are messy too.   Beautiful and messy are good friends, they hang out together a lot. Lets embrace the WOW of the beauty and the authenticity of the messy, as we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am a believer.

You Say I Am Yours, And I Believe.

“Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know.”

COM0014 ~ Blog#5 Personal Brand

To Build a Personal Brand or To Build a Business Brand, that is our question for today. I honestly struggle with this concept. Over many of our courses, we have had assignments on building our personal brand. I am very clear about who I am and the value that I bring to an organization, but right now, other than in an interview process, my primary role is to communicate on behalf of the business or project I am working on, not to build or define my own identity.

Corporate Branding is easier for me

I believe it is my responsibility to use my natural skills and talents for the organization, not to highlight my value there. Some of my personal specialties that I have been using to build the brand identity of Derand, our family business. are my gift for telling stories, my ability to put a human face to a product- driven business, and my ability to strengthen the community of loyal followers who love cars and car events in our city.

In our social media posts, I am consistently amazed at how much better the posts about people are than those that are more product focused. Recently I posted a short video with one of my sons riding a foldable mobility scooter, and the views were twenty times higher than a similar post speaking about our most popular a truck accessory.

From this week’s course content, I am challenged to tell better stories, of not just how to use our products, but specifically how those products are used to make life better. Showing an authentic representation of who you are, what you do and how you can help others will build a real and meaningful relationship with your customers.

Authenticity is the secret sauce in building a strong brand and a loyal following. For our family business, we have begun to make and share videos that are not staged or perfect. We intentionally give our customers a view of our imperfect staff, store and product experiences to build loyalty and trust to our brand. Be you, both personally and as a business, and don’t be afraid to show different sides and to be real with your clients. As the Oscar Wilde quote in our lesson reminded us…….”Be you, because everyone else is taken.”

COM 0014 ~ Blog #4

B2C Case Study

Our family business Derand Motorsport has made huge strides this year in utilizing Social Media to engage with our audience online. Derand is a local Ottawa retailer that specializes in electronics and accessories for cars and trucks.

Derand has a website, as well as social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Its interesting how each platform has developed organically into serving a completely different purpose. Facebook is where the majority of our current clients interact with Derand. Our Instagram following is growing rapidly, but our customers still tend to engage more on Facebook.

Much of Business to Consumer marketing will be product driven, as our course content this week confirmed. We have found with our Derand social media content that our followers engage much more with content based around people and their stories than when we share product focused content.

Meat and Grease Car Show at Derand

Being a local business, interested in converting people who live in Ottawa to customers of Derand, we have found event marketing successful, paired with promotion of events on social media. For the past few years, we have hosted local car shows, meet ups and cruise nights at our Ottawa store location. This connection has given us abundant content that local car enthusiasts are looking for. Sponsoring local car shows has sent thousands of local followers to our social media and organically grown our local following. This strategy seems to be working currently for Derand.

As with most businesses, there is room for improvement. For Derand, we hope to set up and begin an email marketing programme this year. As well, we will continue to test new forms of content, particularly looking for ways to engage with our customers online. Recently we have been testing facebook ads which are product relevant and ask for a direct response ~ message the store for a quote. This new form of marketing on social media seems to be giving us more opportunities to engage our clients and potential clients in conversation.

Comm 0014: Blog #3 Target Audience

For this assignment, I chose to research more deeply the target audience for our family business, automotive aftermarket shop, Derand Motorsport. A wealth of data and research is provided each year by the world wide industry association for our business category, SEMA, which stands for Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association.

SEMA data shows that the automotive aftermarket enthusiast category is made up of 66% men, and is growing in women enthusiasts, particularly young women ( 18 – 34 year olds ). 70% have completed some college and 24% have completed a university degree or higher. They span all income levels. This is a passionate and diverse community that shares a love of cars and customization of their vehicles.

Even though data is showing fewer young people are purchasing cars, and they are taking longer to get their full drivers license, more than one third of all aftermarkets parts buyers last year were under 30. Young people are the engine fueling the growth of the automotive aftermarket.

After confirming that the youth market is a main growth area for our business, we will continue to build our online presence on both Instagram and Facebook to maintain the community we have. As well, we will focus on a wider variety of live events for this year’s car season, including a young customizer event, possibly a glowing night car show, and more car rallies, which tend to attract the younger car enthusiasts.

Reference

Sema Market Report, Documenting the Growth of an Industry, 2019, retrieved from Sema.org.

Making Memories

Winterfest at Kings Dominion in Virginia

Each year over the Christmas vacation, my children and I go to Virginia to visit family. Even on years when we might enjoy an extended stay at home, the kids have come to value this experience as one of our holiday family traditions and truly love our end of the year trip to see family in Virginia.

We each have our favourite things to do or see while we are there. Each year, we also try to have a new or different experience as well.

There is an amusement park near my family home in Richmond Virginia, called Kings Dominion. My children have been several times in the summer to enjoy the traditional thrill rides and indulgences that are standard at an amusement park.

Last year, we discovered that they park had a new holiday opening over Christmas, called Winterfest. We missed arriving in time to go last year, but this year planned our dates to accommodate a Winterfest family outing.

The park was dressed up in literally millions of the most beautiful lights, many programmed to play along with the holiday music. There were roaming performers in intricate costumes, dripping with sparkle. Holiday treats were abundantly available. The large outdoor fountain at the entrance had been transformed into an outdoor skating rink and the replica of the Eiffel Tower become an enormous Christmas tree, visible for miles around.

View from the bottom of the Eiffel Tower

We all simply loved the rides, glowing in a variety of Christmas patterns, and the shows were fantastic. But most important for us all was taking time out to make memories together with those we love. Hope you were able to share many special times with those that warm your heart too.

Social Media and Mental Health

Does social media have a positive or negative impact on mental health?

Ironically, most people are looking for connection on social media, when in many ways it actually leads to more, not less, social isolation. Online connection has become a lazy and inadequate substitute for real, authentic, face to face relationships.

According to a poll by the The American Psychiatric Association ( APA ) . More than one in three adults (38%) see social media usage as harmful to mental health. When asked how about the effects on teens and adolescents, most people believe the negative effects are even stronger.

Excessive social media use can lead to low self esteem, loss of human connection skills, sleep loss, memory loss, shortened attention spans, increased risk of suicide and has been linked to both anxiety and depression.

How do we practice safe social media use and avoid some of the negative mental health side effects? Some effective strategies are:

  • Turn your phone off during quality time with friends and family. Set appropriate boundaries for yourself and your family like no phones while eating and all phones stay out of the bedroom.
  • View other’s posts with a critical eye, not simply accepting what is shown as truth. View them for the purpose of inspiration and connection, not comparison.
  • Be selective of what you share online, mindful of your purpose, and selective of who you are willing to share information with.
  • Connect with real people you know online, and make sure to balance online interactions with real face to face interactions as well.
  • Make your mental health a priority. Instead of always grabbing your phone for a lift, alternate with other healthy choices like taking a walk, meeting up with a friend, or choosing a healthy drink or snack.

Remember that a social media post represents a moment in time. It is only what the poster wants you to see. They will share the most flattering picture, comments and perspective, but if never fully represents or replaces reality. Comparison is the killer of joy online and in real life. Remember to “check in” with how your social media use is working for you regularly and use the above strategies to protect your mental health. Most importantly, remember to keep your real life relationships a priority over online interactions.

“Here’s the bottom line,” said Melissa G. Hunt in a statement. “Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”

http://newnormalmag.com/2017/05/the-influence-of-mental-health-on-social-media/

Do you have healthy habits around your social media usage that keep your use positive and productive? Do you have a pet peeve with how friends and family use social media? Comment below.

References:

American Psychiatric Association, retrieved from: https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/news-releases/americans-are-concerned-about-potential-negative-impacts-of-social-media-on-mental-health-and-well-being

Wolff, Carina, (2016, June 6 ) retrieved from: https://www.bustle.com/articles/164876-10-ways-to-have-a-healthy-relationship-with-social-media

Are you concerned about the effects of social media on mental health? Read more here. http://bit.ly/31RrJrI

Social media and mental health #socialmedia #mentalhealth #healthyhabits http://bit.ly/31RrJrI

Growing your Business through Social Advertising

Social Advertising is advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or leveraging social relationships and social networks to promote a product/service and reach out to its target audience.

Many articles at this time are referring to the decline in Facebook users, but this dropping trend has been incremental, and the increase in use of Instagram, their sister company, has more than made up the difference in the slight decline. Even with this decline, Facebook still is the dominant social media platform, in terms of number of users across age categories.

Why advertise on Social Media?

  • Your customers are already there. Go where you can speak directly to your current and potential customers
  • Social selling allows you to build and maintain relationships with your client base before and after they purchase from you.
  • Advertising on social media has a low entry price level with campaigns that are customizable to every budget
  • The audience targeting possibilities are endless. Choose who sees your ad by gender, location, interests, age, language spoken and more.
  • Customers prefer to be able to message businesses today and social advertising allows them to message you directly, at any time that is convenient for them.

One feature that is appealing is Facebook’s “lookalike audiences” Which allows you to market directly to people who share many features of the people who already buy from you. This is a great way to reach out to the people most likely to want to do business with you.

Facebook as well offers several ad support tools and tutorials to help you get started in social selling. If you are looking for inspiration and some short educational videos to begin with social advertising, I highly recommend Facebook blueprint. Another great starting point is the Advertising Best Practices Facebook Group.

Have you advertised your business on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media platforms? Do you appreciate it when you see sponsored posts or ads from local businesses or products you are interested in? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments.

Facebook: Read more about growing your business with Social advertising here http://bit.ly/2XjlCNA

Twitter: Growing your business through Social Advertising #socialmedia #socialadvertising #facebook #blog http://bit.ly/2XjlCNA

References:

Barysevich, Aleh (2019, June 8) 5 Data-Backed Social Media Trends Retrieved from: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/5-data-backed-social-media-trends-for-2019-infographic/556312/

Social Advertising, Retrieved from: https://www.mbaskool.com/business-concepts/marketing-and-strategy-terms/11500-social-advertising.html