COM0015: Event Participation; Momentum Coaching

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During the course of this term I participated in an on-line course called Momentum Coaching which was facilitated by Cait Lynch of Custom Fit Vitality. http://www.customfitvitality.com.

Do you ever feel like you have a case of the ‘screw-its’? Do you ever feel like everything is charging along as planned, and then wake up one morning and realize you lost the motivation and momentum to keep on track? We all do – myself included.

Then, along came an opportunity to participate in a course called Momentum Coaching, by Custom Fit Vitality. I have known Cait Lynch for several years, so I knew that anything she created and put her name behind would be worthwhile.

This course was offered on-line through weekly webinars for five weeks. I connected on-line with like-minded people. We had the opportunity to discuss and share challenges we face with self-propelled momentum, how to create it, and tips to maintain it.

A key takeaway for me from this course is the notion that everything we do, we get better at.  I have learned that this is true for both positive and negative actions, thoughts, and focus.  This course helped me focus on the things in my life that contribute to positive momentum, both personally and professionally.  These are the things I need to put my efforts into, because these are the things that will make me better.   For me,  this includes making time for inspiration, being proactive as opposed to reactive, getting in my minimum activity, drinking my water, and knowing the people I need to spend time with who are on my side.

Conversely, I am now more aware of situations, people and thoughts that I aim to unplug from.  Too much time spent with these activities and people will bring me down, and that is something I don’t want to be better at.

As a result of this course I am better equipped for positive self-talk, and I am more aware of the things in my life that create a momentum de-rail. I have learned some important things; overwhelm is a choice, you can do anything but you can’t do everything, where my slow leaks are, and what and who fills my tank. All amazing learnings, I must say!

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COM0015: Blog 4, Out of the Box

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During the last five courses of this Social Media program I have certainly learned a lot. I came into the course actually thinking I already knew a lot about social media and was interested in rounding out my knowledge. However I have learned there is a whole lot more to social media than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and people liking my posts!

The main thing I have learned from the course is about all of the helpful tools available to monitor and measure social media activity.  Previous to this I was very much a ‘post and see what happens’ type of person, and not really sure how to track how different posts were faring, and therefore where my time was best spent.

I have learned through social media metrics and monitoring that content is important. socialanalyticstools_sumallThere are some things I have been posting that most people really don’t care to hear about! And other topics that people DO want to hear about, and in fact, want more of! I have begun blogging, and it turns out readers want to hear what I have to say!

One application for social media that I have become more aware of, and am not totally impressed with is the amount of ‘personalized’ advertisements I am seeing on social media. Clearly search engines and social media platforms are in cahoots together, when I start seeing ads on social media about a product I have recently researched, or a destination I may have Googled.

All in all, my knowledge base is much broader after taking this course, and I look forward to continuing to practice what I have learned.

COM0015 Blog 3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future

As a personal chef, the majority of my networking happens through referrals from happy customers, therefore in person networking has worked best for me thus far. In person networking also takes place via local associations such as chambers of commerce, and other local business associations. 988636_10151462026005426_1459766305_nWhen other businesses in my area have a need for food services, they tend to go with someone like myself who is a fellow member of a common association. Given the nature of my business, which is in person, I have found this type of networking to be most effective.

I am also a member of the Canadian Personal Chef Association which itself gives my business added credibility. Through this association, leads and referrals are sent my way. However, I have found that in the rural area where I live, referrals via the CPCA are few and far between. Most of them are directed to chefs in bigger urban areas.

On line networking tools that I have been utilizing include Linkedin, Facebook, and my association with the Canadian Personal Chef Association. 263223_10150242043860426_5525968_nI have also been blog writing about food, nutrition and cooking with the purpose of remaining or becoming top of mind to clients and potential clients.

In the next 6-12 months I would like to broaden my on line professional networking.  I would like to become more active on Instagram with some high quality food photography, and I would also like to try some vlogging showing some cooking in action.

COM0015-Blog 2 Strong and Weak Organizations

In looking for case studies of companies with strong and weak social media strategies, I focused on the health, wellness and food industries. Instead of searching the internet far and wide, I chose to highlight organizations that I already follow and that I am already impressed with (for the strong category).

The first company whose social media strategy I am impressed with is a local (Northumberland County) health and wellness company, Custom Fit Vitality. Custom Fit initially began about 10 years ago and today offers on-site fitness classes including cross train, yoga, pilates and TRX classes in a historic century old barn. In recent years Custom Fit has transitioned to include nutritional coaching as well. This was initially done in person, in groups, then via weekly phone calls and now is based entirely on-line. This has opened up a potentially world-wide market. Naturally the goal of their social media effort is to engage as many potential clients as possible. In my opinion Custom Fit has done an excellent job with social media marketing via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogs to open up channels to increase its client base.

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An example of this impressive social media strategy was the campaign to promote Custom Fit’s on-line nutritional coaching. Coach Cait Lynch offered three free vlogs outlining some of the basics of the nutritional program. They were promoted and shared via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The vlogs were informative without giving it all away for free, and enticing enough to make participants want to dig deeper and to learn more. At the end they could register for the full course if they chose to.

The second company that I would like to highlight with an impressive social media strategy is Well.ca. Well.ca is a Canadian company delivering natural and green wellness products on-line to their customers. They offer a wide range of products which are trialed and tested by people just like their target audience. Items are available on-line, and shipped in a timely manner right to their customers’ doors. Well.ca uses social media to talk to their audience. logo-grThey use Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Linkedin, Instagram and email newsletters to promote their products, specials and promotions. They also feature a blog on their website with all sorts of interesting tidbits of information. It covers everything from reviews of great products, to recipes, to health tips, and news of trending products. These social media interactions are effectively targeted towards moms and dads who make the majority of the purchases for their household.

On the opposite side of the spectrum a company that would benefit from a social media strategy is an award winning local cheese maker, Empire Cheese. Located in Campbellford, Ontario, the Empire Cheese Factory has an amazing story to tell. They have been around for 135 years! It is owned by local dairy farmers who vote each year to elect a board of directors to run the factory. They manufacture cheese the old fashioned way, in huge open vats. There are no additives, preservatives or added flavours. In my opinion they have a unique story to tell and social media could certainly help. They currently have a limited Facebook presence, but their story should be shared via blogs, more meaningful Facebook posts, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Sources: http://www.customfitvitality.com, http://www.well.ca, http://www.empirecheese.ca

COM0015 – Blog # 1 – Tools and Sources

My two favourite social media trend measuring and monitoring tools are Social Mention and Facebook Insights. Both of these tools make monitoring much less daunting, less time consuming, and generally easier. This makes me a happy person!

Social Mention is a tool to see who is mentioning my brand, no matter where on the internet this happens. On their website I can search my brand name, my name, my competitors’ names, or any other key word of interest to me, and these mentions are directed right into my inbox. Mentions may happen in the on-line world in places that I may not even thinksocial mention to look, and Social Mention will find them and send the links to me. With one click of the link I can see the mention first-hand. Social mention is a great tool to keep tabs on my reputation, in case people are talking indirectly about me and my brand.

Facebook Insights allows me to track activity on my Facebook business page, which is where I interact the most. It can tell me everything about general activity on my business page, as well as everything about specific posts.facebook I can learn things like number of likes, shares, comments, click throughs, photo views, and overall reach of my posts. I have learned from Facebook Insights the type of posts that my readers like to see from me, and what they don’t.

My two favourite sources for news and updates that are of interest to me, are Facebook and Twitter. Both Facebook and Twitter allow me to target the information that I want to hear about, and weed out the things that don’t interest me, or serve my business. The things that interest me intersect both personally and professionally. Topics such as food, health, nutrition, cooking, and fitness infiltrate my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I have come to prefer certain feeds more than others, and over time my feeds have evolved to include news and updates from those individuals and companies who I feel are most credible, or whose values are most similar to mine.

 

 

 

Images sourced from:

http://www.facebook.com

http://www.socialmention.com

COM0014 – Personal Reflection

In the world of social media, marketers now have the ability to reach a great number of people through effective storytelling. By properly identifying and targeting a desired audience their attention can be earned. This storytelling can help to build a brand.
A brand with a compelling story has a strong persuasive tool with which to personalize their product or service. Effective storytelling will set companies and organizations apart from their competitors. It is essentially the story behind the brand, product or service that sells.
Effective brand stories must be unique, noticeable and inspiring. So inspiring that the reader is motivated to act – that could be through liking, sharing, and eventually buying the product or service represented by the brand.
The storytelling must also be appropriately targeted. By doing some analysis as to who the target audience is, a storyteller can fine-tune the message in the story to something relate-able for that audience.
Great storytelling is an admirable skill. Some people come by this naturally, while others have to work harder at it. By being clear on who your story is directed at, and clear on what the message is you want to relay, through practice, we can all become great storytellers.

COM0014 – Blog # 6 – My Story

I am a personal chef. This means that I cook for people – for a living. The funny part is, I haven’t always cooked. It’s a relatively new thing for me. In fact, when I first met my husband, I didn’t cook at all.

When I was growing up, I really didn’t need to know how to cook. Both of my parents were excellent cooks. Sure, they taught me some basic things, but I wasn’t jumping in to contribute in the kitchen.  I preferred not to.

When our two children were born I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with them when they were babies and toddlers. Apart from the new mommy jobs that occupied my time, guess how I filled my days? By playing in the kitchen.  At first it was out of necessity. I found it difficult to get my toddler son to eat veggies. So, I learned all kind of ways to hide them in his food. Then, soups became my specialty. I could load a soup with all kind of wholesome goodness for my family. I was making huge stockpots full of soups and stews and curries, and then freezing them and giving them away to friends and family. I started getting all kinds of compliments, which encouraged me to keep going and to try new things. One friend in particular encouraged me to try this as a business. So I took her advice and earned a certificate from the United States Culinary Business Institute as a personal chef.

So, I guess you never know where life will take you. I certainly never set out with intentions of becoming a personal chef. Some basic interest, practice and cheering from peers, led me down this road.

COM0014 – Blog #5 – Personal Brand

As a personal chef and the sole proprietor of Cudmore Country Cuisine, I am entrusted with a very important, personal and noble task – feeding people and their families. I strive for excellence, honesty and integrity in everything I do when working with my clients, and I know that if any of my clients were asked about my strongest traits, this is what they would say.

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I am a trusted partner to families, seniors, and individuals in meal planning, and food preparation. I know my clients’ likes and dislikes, and I know their dietary restrictions. I am comfortable in my clients’ kitchens, and they know it will be left cleaner than when I arrived. Having Cudmore Country Cuisine cook for you is just as good as having a trusted family member cook for you.

My clients know I will always use the freshest and most local products available. I always add a personal touch by leaving something special for them to have with their first meal; a loaf of freshly baked bread, a new dish I have been experimenting with, a bottle of wine, or some fresh flowers.

COM0014 – Blog #4 – B2C Case Study: Well.ca

As the mother of a busy household, I value my time and appreciate quality products for my family. I know I want my family to use products that are as natural as possible, and I don’t want to pay a fortune to get them. Well.ca is a company that is effectively listening and serving busy moms and dads like me.

Well.ca is a Canadian company delivering natural and green wellness products on-line to their customers. They offer a wide range of products which are trialed and tested by people just like their target audience. Items are available on-line, and shipped in a timely manner right to their customers’ doors. Shipping is free on orders over $29, how awesome is that?!?

Well.ca uses social media to talk to their audience. They use Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Linkedin, Instagram and email newsletters to promote their products, specials and promotions. They also feature a blog on their website with all sorts of interesting tidbits of information. It covers everything from reviews of great products, to recipes, to health tips, and news of trending products. These social media interactions are effectively targeted towards moms and dads who make the majority of the purchases for their household.

In my opinion, Well.ca is an example of a company successfully executing Business to Consumer social media marketing.

COM0014 – Blog #3 – Food, Glorious Food

Personally, I am a foodie. I love anything to do with food, cooking, and nutrition. I follow a variety of healthy nutrition and food blogs, and I love to read their ideas, and recipes, and see pictures of food. Nothing (well, almost nothing) excites me more than a colourful, balanced plate. I love to imagine what the cook has used to put their gorgeous creations together.

It makes sense then, that professionally, I am a personal chef. I love to bring my passion for food and cooking to my clients. I help them eat in a nutritious and healthy way, which saves them time so they can focus on things they like to do more than cooking.

With regards to social media, this puts me on both sides of the screen. I am both a member of the audience, and a creator. Because of this, I feel that I am pretty typical of my target audience and the type of people that I want to attract to my blog and social media presence.

My target audience is people who like to learn about food, nutrition, and cooking. They like to learn tips to make their lives easier, and to get ideas for new recipes. They are predominately female, and between the ages of 30 and 55, with a family to feed. They are middle to upper class, with an expendable income.

My target audience is already on Facebook, so this is a great spot to communicate with them. With food being visual, pictures of food, and recipes posted to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, works well with this group.

Some people who are doing it right (in my opinion) are: http://www.foodheavenmadeeasy.com, http://www.mynewroots.org, http://www.paleomg.com. I love their clean and colourful pictures, great writing and inspiration.