COM0011 Blog#6 “Members-Only”. Do we really need that?

When I was expecting my twins I found out some information about Canadian Multiple Birth Families Association (CMBF) https://mbfa.wildapricot.org. I was curious to check what they had to offer. It is not very big community with around 350 families. For an affordable price of $45 per year they were offering some benefits. Members can participate in classes, events with multiple families, have access to the “Members-Only” section of the website where people can find downloadable MBFA documents and discussion forums. Members also can subscribe early to their semi-annual sale of gently used clothing, toys, and equipment, and be allowed to sell their own items there. If members volunteer their time, they can get 90% of sales.  Members also can receive support and information if needed. After reading about these benefits I felt like I was in 1980 when the information wasn’t so available as now. I do not need to be a member of any association to participate in forums, download the information, read books, find new people – everything is available in the Internet.  If I have questions about my babies I just ask our nurse or doctor. I also do not have to wait a year to buy and sell staff I just go to Kijiji and find there what I need when I need. And price is really dependent of my bargain skills. So I have decided that I will be ok for now without attending association.

A few months later my husband shared with me some information about http://themompreneur.com. This organization is offering great benefits to their members, such as connecting members to other women and businesses across Canada, providing affordable ways for female entrepreneurs to promote their businesses, advocating for female entrepreneurs and women in business both locally and nationally, creating an online presence for female entrepreneurs in one centralized location.  Despite that the organization is offering these great tools I personally think that in career or business area the gender is not main criteria to join any professional group or association. I would look to the field, knowingly, networking but not at gender. I mean the success stories are awesome, I definitely would like to learn from these professionals but not because they have the same gender as me but because they have something valuable to share. To me men or women organizations seems like a professional association with people who has for example blue eyes. They may be good experts with valuable experience but blue eyes are not important criteria.
gender

When I discussed with one of my friends about these two stories she mentioned to me that I am not from North America and do not understand this part of culture.  My friend told me that to build a career and business in Canada you can only do so if you participate in these types of events and build networking and both of these groups could help me to develop. She also recommended that I check https://www.eventbrite.ca and find out positive sides of networking.

My questions to you are; I’m I wrong to think that way about these groups?  Would you recommend that I join a group that I think may be of interest and see what it’s all about?  Do you have any groups that you are a part of yourself and would recommend to me? I’m interested more in feedback about what do these types of organizations really have to offer for the price of their memberships?

 

Advertisements

OMM0011 – Blog Post #5 Few questions for Facebook page launch

Before I launch our small business Facebook page I would like to receive some feedback.

The target audience is Hockey moms, age 30-45 years. They love hockey and actively participate in their kid’s hockey life. They’re proud to be hockey moms. They like to stand out with hockey. They’re active on social media.

The goal is to attract 1500 followers on Facebook and Instagram by April 31.

Facebook content will include motivation, entertainments, promo and informational posts. I am describing here two of these.

Motivations posts. The goal is to motivate people to like the page. The posting will be once or twice per month.

  • We are a small local business devoted to the game we love: hockey! Our goal is to support minor hockey in the Ottawa area all the while keeping Hockey mom’s focused on the game and kids they love!
  • Do you like NHL hockey? You could win 2 Senators hockey tickets in our draw. Just press like, share this post and check for the winner on December 8/2015.
  • Hockey mom is so busy! Helping to pack the bag, cooking for the family, cleaning the house, and organizing life for everybody! You deserve a little time just for yourself! Like and share this post and you could win an IPod nano. Just for yourself, check for the winner on December 29/2015.
  • We would love to see our hockey moms! Place your picture at a hockey rink on our timeline and invite your friends to like it. The picture with most likes will get two Senators Hockey Tickets!

Do you think this statement would motivate our target female audience (30-45) and that they will participate in our activities? What would you reccomend to change?

Entertainment posts. The goal is to motivate people to like and share the posts. We are going to post unique slogans and pictures related to Hockey once per two or three days. I am attaching some examples.

Our Mascot Harley can’t wait to play on outdoor rink.

Harley

Our Mascot Harley could not choose which team to cheer for and decided to be a referee. No penalties, he loves hockey players!

IMG_2834

560251_961310830563387_2971069309002297198_n

76073_10150096281271259_4969285_n

10698439_10154874199970643_2883267141202293615_n

hockey

Do you think our target female audience (30-45) will connect with these kinds of posts? Could you please advise any other additional ideas how we can reach our target audience?

Thank you!

Business launch on social media – experts opinion needed!

Canada is hockey country. Hockey is everywhere and most of Canadians love hockey. Starting a new Internet store specialized in hockey apparel for moms and hockey lovers we made a three month plan to launch our website on social media. For this blog I didn’t make it time bound but we definitely will do that on practice. Before starting I would like to share our plan with other experts and any different opinion, critic or feedback will be appreciated.

The target audience is Hockey moms, age 30-45 years. They love hockey and actively participate in their kid’s hockey life. They’re proud to be hockey moms. They like to stand out with hockey. They’re active on social media.

Social networking

The long term goal is to retrieve a conversion to the website from social networking by building communication and relationships, learning about target audience life and their needs, sharing our knowledge about hockey and the information about our brands. No direct sales. The short goal is to attract 2000 followers on Facebook and Instagram in four month.

Buzzsumo provides a great tool to check what kind of contest are most popular for the target audience. For our target audience it is obvious that Facebook is a more popular platform than Twitter or Google +. We are planning to put main focus on Facebook and Instagram. Analyzing the content we find that the most popular posts and pictures showing proud hockey moms, how difficult life is for hockey moms, but hockey mom successfully resolve any problems.  For example, an article Problems Only Hockey Parents Understand got 269 shares on Facebook vs article with practical information  Who Said Sports Tournaments Aren’t For The Hockey Moms? has only one share.

Plan for Facebook.

  • Create a daily plan with content placing.
  • Create a business and organization Facebook page.
  • Connect Facebook page with Instagram and Twitter.
  • Place posts daily. For the first month, the timing for placing posts is daily at least once per day at 3 – 4 pm. After a week of posts we have to check on Facebook reports what time is the best time for posting the information. Keep checking Buzzsumo for the content trends.
  • Create and post motivations to like the page on a weekly basis.
  • Create and put cool slogans and pictures related to Hockey.
  • Place link to the article from our blog weekly on Mondays.
  • Place relevant comments on popular groups where is the target audience such as http://canadianhockeymoms.ca. Actively participate in any conversation and answer questions.
  • Monitor the contests sharing and liking and analyze the engagement rate by using http://www.socialbakers.com.
  • Manually and using https://sharegrab.com monitor posts daily from competitors and note those that are more popular.

Plan with Instagram.

  • Connect Instagram page with Facebook and Twitter. Check popular trends daily by checking popular hash tags on http://websta.me.
  • Look daily at the pictures of target audience and like which we like. 50-100 likes per day especially on new accounts.
  • Place 10-20 comments daily on target audience top pictures.
  • Download good personal pictures from minor hockey games and pictures from events. Place posts on Monday around 5pm, other days round 3pm, as users are active during the next three hours after posting the information.
  • Name pictures and put locations before downloading.

Plan with the blog.

  • Create articles related to hockey moms, minor hockey, hockey families, hockey tournaments, hockey rules on weekly basis.
  • Create an article based on questions or problems asked on other social media platforms.
  • Follow the top 100 hockey mom bloggers. Place comments on their blogs.

Plan with Twitter.

  • Main goal for this platform is to share the information about Twitter – sharing the information about offline schedule.
  • Check top 10 hashtags on http://hashtagify.me before putting posts.

After first three month of starting we plan to add the pages on Pinterest as this platform is visited mostly by women and it can be an additional opportunity.

If you have any ideas and feedback about our plan I will be happy to see that in comments.

Thank you!

COM0011 Blog#3 How to start sell handmade items through social networking

A few days ago one of my former colleagues asked me to like her post on Facebook about her hobby. She is now knitting small toys, which she has started as a small business. She mentioned to me that if somebody asks me about her toys, that I should let them know that she can make individual orders and mail them, she can even send them overseas. Of course I will press “like”, not a big deal I really do like her little dolls – they look amazing, creative and very original but I don’t think anybody will ask me questions about her toys. The Internet is full of information and it is too complicated to ask questions if you can find something else by just clicking once or twice. So I decided to look at my friends post and there were no pictures, just a few words about her toys. You can find pictures in the photo album of her personal profile. Sounds a little problematical for modern spoiled consumers…

This story showed me that some people, who start small businesses, absolutely do not have a vision of how social media can really help them with their sales. I have decided to help my friend and created small step by step instructions to help her jump into the social media world.

  • Define your target audience, describe the product by “delicious” words, create unique trade offers and make good eye-catching pictures. Making handmade items is not a very easy process, you create them with a lot of love and personality. Be ready to tell people about that.
  • Create accounts in websites focused on handmade items such as https://www.etsy.com/, http://www.ezebee.com/, http://en.dawanda.com/, http://www.bonanza.com/, http://icraftgifts.com/. It will help you to find customers who are looking for something original, handmade and with a lot of love and care.
  • Start your blog where you can tell people about your ideas, history of arts and ways to use your items. Crafterminds offers  a detailed digest on how to start a blog, what to write, tips for writers, how to connect your blog with social networking
  • Create your business page on social networking. Social Media Examiner provides a great explanation on how to create business pages and starting a business on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, Pinterest. You can also consider starting a micro blog on Tumblr. Provide detailed information on your profile and ensure that all your accounts are connected, that will help facilitate finding you on the Internet. Use social networking to inform your potential customers about your products, special offers, and new items. Do not use it for direct sales, you can add links to your craft account or to your blog.
  • Consistently add the information about your products to social networking and have fun! Enjoy communicating with new people and finding new ways to tell about your special items.

Looks like a simple handy plan. Please leave comments if you find that some other important information can be useful for my friend’s handmade products business.

Or maybe I will start to use my plan and your advice soon!

GiraffsWhinnyrusters

COMM0011 – Blog Post #2 First Estate of Social Media

In a modern world it is hard to overestimate the impact of social media. I think the Forth Estate of Media is getting to be a First Estate of Social Media. Less and less people read newspapers. Newspapers have cut more than 33% of their workforce. It doesn’t mean that people are not interested to learn what’s happening in their countries or the world; they just use social media platforms to receive the most recent information. I didn’t think about how powerful social media really is before the tragic event that saw Cecil the 13 year old lion killed by an American dentist, Walter Palmer. It was a favorite beloved Zimbabwean lion and his terrible death entailed an enormous resonance in society. Sad story…

Let`s imagine it happened 30 years ago. People probably would watch the news of this event on TV, read about it in newspapers, and discuss with each other. The culprit who killed this beautiful animal could just move to another city a month after the occasion and probably nobody would remember his name. What happens in our time? The news spreads instantly. It was like throwing a burning match into a dry forest – the fire spreads so quickly. Ryan Broderick’s analysis what happened with Walter Palmer’s life after the lion’s death  greatly illustrates the power of social media.

Twitter, Yellow Pages, Facebook, YouTube, Google page were all full of angry comments and negative reviews. People judge the hunter without a court decision. His business Facebook page was closed as they received too many threatening comments. Through Social Media angry people found out personal information about the dentist’s personal and business addresses and he became a victim of hatred and angry people’s judgment. More than 77,000 people signed a petition to Zimbabwe requesting them to stop issuing hunting licences for rare and endangered animals. Overnight Walter Palmer lost his reputation, he had to stop working for two months, and he quickly became most hated person in the world.

Despite the fact that Walter Palmer offered his regrets and apologies, despite the fact that his hunting was legal, despite the fact that Zimbabwe will not charge him in Cecil the lion’s death as his documents were in order three months later after lion’s death he is personally still in the middle of huge controversy within the social media platforms.

Palmer3

As a common known fact that people remember negative information better than positive I guess Walter Palmer won`t restore his reputation soon.  As individuals, we are always responsible for our behaviors and putting them out there for the entire world to see could cause upheaval in our lives in a very short time-frame.

 

COMM0011 – Blog Post #1 Facebook for small local business not only an opportunity but a challenge.  

I wasn’t surprised to read in the article Social media marketing trends for small business that only 35% of self-employed find that Facebook efforts are effective .

When I looked for Facebook pages of small organizations I noticed that a lot of local businesses have a Facebook page.  Generally, they have placed a couple of posts and gave up for over a year. I even found that big local chains with strong marketing retail support such as MacEwen, Mr. Gas and Quickie do not even have a corporate Facebook page.

What kind of challenges might face small local business and is it possible to find solutions? I attached some Facebook posts which I find can illustrate some examples of good practice.

  • The goal achievement. The owner of small business should not only believe that social media can help to improve the business but also understand why this particular business needs to be presented in these channels of communication. This problem was described in one of article  Social media marketing trends for small business from the Social media examiner website. Answering simple questions can help to create an individual goal. Why do you need to be present on Facebook?  Would you like to increase your offline sales? Do you need to attract more customers to your offline store? Do you want to have some feedback of your business?  Would you like to have an additional avenue to inform people about a new service or new product? Do you want to have an easy way to share the information with your loyal customers?
  • Consequently owners of small businesses might have a contest problem. What kind of information can be interesting for their target audience? There are some every day practices about content filling for businesses.

–  Sharing information about new products or services, contests or promotions of the business and announcements and results.

Slide4

– Sharing useful information in relations to basic goals of the business. For example a hair salon can post information about hair care tips, the bakery can post an interesting recipe, grocery stores can tell about beneficial features of some products etc…

Slide6

– Sharing information about business news.

Slide5

– Reminding people about products and services that can be interesting to potential customers.

Slide3

– Calling to the action by asking audience direct questions.

Screen shot 2015-10-01 at 10.23.44 PM

– Placing entertainment information, funny pictures, jokes, interesting videos related to the business and interests of target audience.

joke

  • Creativity. Undoubtedly the owners of small business are too busy to create an interesting contest, search for pictures and information.  Checking other businesses Facebook pages or Facebook best practices might help to resolve this problem. The owners shouldn’t copy and paste an interesting contest but they can see some ideas that can help improve their Facebook page.  Another option is to work with business suppliers who always have logos or promotional material that can easily be adapted and customized to the owner’s theme or target audience. I find it is a great and creative post example from local convenience store from Gatineau.

Slide8

  • Risks of loosing the business’s reputation. Other side of quick direct communication with customers is the responsibility to follow up with negative comments from irate customers. The Social Media Examiner can help to learn more about crisis management and explains how to deal with upset customers how to deal with upset customers. And of course it is a big mistake to ignore the negativity on Social media. Here are some examples how Mac’s milk stores answer to negative feedback.

Slide7

  • Consistency. Very often we can see that a business’s Facebook page is not updated on a regular basis. Placing post frequently is probably a big challenge for busy owners. As an option this function can be delegated to one of their creative employees who likes to spend time in social media and would love to be involved in managing this aspect of the business to ensure continues improvement and engagement.

There are probably more challenges for small local businesses that are in this area. Please leave a comment if you, as a small business owner, encounter other difficulties or challenges that come along with managing a Facebook page or other social media network for your business.