COMM0015 Assignment #5 – Event Participation: Day On The Hill

ImageThe event of my choice was the finishing event for Startup Canada Day On The Hillin Ottawa on November 21st.

I picked this event because I have Start-Up Canada as a regular #search for a while now and thought it would be a good opportunity to dive into the whole “networking in person” which I successfully avoided for a while. Also, I do work for a Start-Up which had a chance to pitch during Start-Up week.

I had a couple of interesting conversations. One was with a Hans, co-founder of the company Savvy Dox.  He attended some a “round table” which was invite only and shared some ideas how the city of Ottawa is planning to improve entrepreneurship in Ottawa and what the company he co-founded does. My contribution was limited to asking questions and listening because I was not sure what the company was doing.

Another person I spoke to was Susan, Founder of GivOpoly. I’ve learned about her Start-up, an online marketplace for local businesses, allowing consumers to connect with a local business in order to send gifts to people in that particular neighborhood. During the conversation I shared my view that in the beginning of online shopping, small businesses where concerned about loosing business and now it seem, they leverage the internet to actually reach out to a not local customer base, which was to my surprise an angle she had not thought of.

Karen is a Chinese student in Ottawa who is setting up a business to import jewelry from China. I’ve learned that Ottawa U has programs for entrepreneurship and my contribution was, to share the fact that Invest Ottawa offers courses from marketing to accounting whatever one needs to start their own business.

The main idea I walked away with was that there are a lot of people who have smart ideas out there.  The ability to explain what it is one is trying to accomplish in simple words is important especially if what your doing is complex. To boil down messages to bring idea across is very important because not understanding the other person makes it impossible to have a conversation.

“The most valuable class I ever took while doing my business degree was consumer behavior and the best investment was a Marketing course” is the quote I’ve collected. I’ve heard a couple of interesting things but picked this one because it came up as a key challenge in every single conversation I had.

I will attend an in person networking event yes.  I can see it being a great way to meet potential clients but at the moment I can’t possibly fit more work in and therefore I plan to investing my time in events I can network with fellow designers or learn new things I can implement in my work or improve my work flow with.

Photo: done with my phone

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COMM0015 Blog Post #4 – Out of the box

SkededelThere is not a single time where I have not had an eye-opening moment reading about an application or the unexpected use of an application in a RSS feed or newsletter. For instance, I just came across Yelp while reading up on an app called Skededel. Of course, I know Yelp has been around for a while but I’ve never looked into it. I really should have, because it would have saved me a couple of “no need to come here again” dinner experiences.

The application Skededelreally seems to be on the forefront of online and social location reviews. Users want to offer their content and engage, others turn to it for reviews and recommendations. The app Skededel brings it to the next level when you’re out and about and try to figure out where the next restaurant or coffee shop is. The app pulls pictures from Instagram, which others checked out and you might even get to preview a dish you’re thinking of ordering.

One application I’ve used but have not given that much attention to yet is LinkedIn. I think it is a great way to create a professional community with people you have worked with as well as people you might be working with in the future. More time should be spent updating my profile and also tapping into parts of the application I know of but have not used yet. I did not realize how much more one can do with LinkedIn.

In Graphic Design, which is what I do, many specialize on one or perhaps a few programs to work with due to their complexity. I’m wondering if there will be a similar development in social media. Seems to me, it is quite time consuming to truly leverage all the different tools available. What are your thoughts?

Image: Skededel

COM0015 Blog Post#3 Professional networking now and in the future

My present strategy is:

Use LinkedIn and Twitter. I’ve set up RSS feeds and a Dashboard for myself in order to monitor and access information. It allows me to gather a lot of interesting and inspiring information for my work as a Graphic Designer, as well as reading up on changes and best practices in regards to social media tools. Increasing my knowledge enables me to contribute more to my network online as well as in person.

ImageIn regards to my in-person network, October and November were my networking in-person boot camp weeks. Attending networking events in person is something I would not have done without the pressure of Assignment #5. I decided to focus on in-person events because, in the past, I very successfully avoided it.  As a result, I attended a few of those. During the first event, I felt very awkward while the last two I attended where almost enjoyable and I actually came home having had really good conversations.

As for my future commitments:

I will continue attending networking events in person but might focus more on online events and “hang outs” since it is easier for me to coordinate with my family. I also want to continue to read and write. I found that reading allowed me to be a better networker because I was able to offer advice when discussing and I also want to integrate a monthly blog into my website. I think it is a great way to dig deeper into a subject and practice my own voice.

While writing this blog, I looked at a social media strategy I wrote at the beginning of this certificate program and realized two things:

  1. It is better for me to plan less but get it all accomplished rather than keep a 4-week plan and get frustrated with myself for not keeping it up.
  2. The perfectionist in me has to ease up. The main reason why my site is not up yet and my cards are not printed is that I could not fit in the time commitment to get those things done perfectly. I will include good enough in my vocabulary in order to improve my online presence.

photo credit: shutterstock

COM0015 Blog Post #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

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In conjunction with viewing the Lung Association’s video and checking out their social media practice for a lesson in this course, I would categorize them as a weak organization.

To me, the website or “home-base” does not connect to the visitor right away. It is clear what their mission is, but as a reader I’m not drawn into their story right away. It should be visible right on their homepage how the Lung Association makes a difference and why I should be donating money. I find their blog well written and interesting but somewhat hidden. There is a little slideshow on the homepage but no other reference to their blog, so if I miss the picture on the slideshow, I will not likely find their blog.  On their blog page, I can choose blogs from different provinces. I would find it more useful to have a selection of topics to choose from.

The Lung Association is active on national and provincial levels on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. None of their social media presences have significant traffic. As an example, their national Facebook page has just over 1330 likes but more importantly, there is almost no engagement. I’ve also noticed that the link to their YouTube channel on their Facebook page is not working.

There must be a reason why the Lung Association had decided to entertain so many local social media presences but I think it requires too much time to energize and maintain them properly. It also might be more effective for the employees to work together to come up with ideas and content while providing a more collaborative environment. In the video the Lung association mentioned their limited resources which makes it even more important to work efficiently and nurture creativity.

I would call the Heart and Stroke Foundation is a strong(er) organization. Their social media activities are limited but they seem to do a better job connecting and engaging with Canadians. While I was looking into their activities, I noticed that a lot of readers posted negative comments on Facebook because of a certain YouTube video, which criticizes the Heart and Stoke Foundation for endorsing a specific product.  I thought it was impressive that someone replied on behalf of the organization on a Saturday within the hour.  Their response was somewhat official for my liking, but I think it was appropriate for the situation. I also noticed an idea for a fundraiser to get sponsors to donate $1 for each “like” received through a certain app. Their postings were more informative and less “official”.

I was surprised to see that they received over 120,000 likes and with engagement at almost 5% while the Canadian Red Cross totaled only 21,000 likes and less than 3% engagement. I found similar metrics on Twitter. I picked Heart and Stroke over Canadian Red cross because I thought they where more relevant given they are similar company sizes.

photo credit: yaymicro.com

COM0015 Blog#1 Tool & Sources

Like ButtonOne of my favourite social media trend listening/monitoring tools as well as source for news and updates is Twitter, which I would not have guesses a year ago.  Let’s just say, that before I started the certificate program, I found the 140 character messages confusing.  Now I appreciate the simplicity of its search function and the easy access of information or the latest trends.  A number of times I had information available before it made the regular news channels and which made me look good in front of the client.

The second trend listening/monitoring tool I favour is Hootsuite.  I think it’s simplicity is great. I love having everything on one screen.  To me it is a great timesaver to be able to schedule, follow up and monitor conversations and it is  affordable. Having said that, I keep using a combination of Netvibes, Google Alerts  & Yahoo Pipes as well, since taking COM0013 because I want to be comfortable using those free tools as well.

My second favourite tool for news and updates are RSS feeds and Newsletters. I find myself reading them when I have a bit of downtime and often lead me to check out others. If the question would be to name 3 favourite tools, my third choice would be   podcast’s. There are many “brainless” work moments in my day, where I can easily listen and learn. Podcasts became a great source for updates in my day to day life.

Photo credit: Shutterstock