COM0015 Blog #4 Out of the Box

COM0015 Blog #4 Out of the Box

Throughout this course, and this Social Media Marketing program I have come to appreciate the amazing connections created from Social Media Marketing. The ideas, networking, re-connections to friends that have moved across the world! I can watch my family members birthday celebration on YouTube, and accept an invitation to an event at City Hall next week on Facebook all within a single swipe and tap on my iPhone. As I have become familiar with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter there are a few unexpected applications and actions that I have experienced. It’s amazing that no matter what Social Media platform you are on you can be instantly pulled in another direction. While reading Money Sense posts you can be enticed to purchase blankets that turn into Mermaid Tails, Mermaid Tail Blanketalong with Ad-words Optimization Strategies, along with a car insurance quote, and now there are new dress arrivals from Zulily! All just from visiting and scrolling through a Facebook Home Feed.

What is unexpected is the attention span or lack there of. When I am working on a project, or a deadline for work, or a Social Media Post, or a Marketing article for work, the on-line world is constantly tugging and grabbing my attention to another article, advertisement, or on-line store. Recently I read an article that Goldfish have a greater attention span than us human folk. states in his article, a spring 2015 study from Microsoft, reports the average human attention span has fallen below that of goldfish. http://www.cnet.com/news/goldfish-the-actual-fish-not-the-crackers-may-have-a-better-attention-span-than-humans/

average-attention-span-of-internet-user

Courtesy of Microsoft

So what is all this telling me? As a part of a Social Media Strategy we really have to pay attention to creating, engaging, attractive, thought provoking, memorable content. This Social Media content needs to be created often, repeated often, and interacted with on a regular basis. Just as I am typing Tony Robins showed up on my iPhone, he reveals how to create a positive change in yourself or another person withing a single…hmm to click or not to click. No I will stay focused on my task at hand, Blog #4!

So all these unexpected, multiple distractions showing up within the Social Media feeds, and sidebar ads, has taught me to ensure that the content used within Social Media Marketing must be meaningful, attractive and interesting enough to keep your audience reading your post and not buying blankets that turn into Mermaid Tails.

COM0015 Blog #3 Professional Networking Now and in the Future

COM0015 Blog #3 Professional Networking Now and in the Future

I have to admit that I prefer in person networking when I meet someone for the first time. I like to get a real sense of who they are, how they represent themselves, and how they behave in the public eye. Then afterwards I will become part of their network, or ask them to become part of my network once I feel a there is a reputable connection or working relationship. Call it old fashion, but I want to make sure that when I refer one of my customers to a Real Estate Agent, or Accountant I want to make sure they care about the customers and they are professionals in their industry.

Business Networking

Photo Courtesy of >> http://www.datahand.com

On-line with in Social Media, I currently use as often as I can, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and I am part of the Mortgage Architects on-line Family.

In the next 6-12 months I do want to commit to more events found within the Facebook Professional working community. For example, there is a woman in our community that runs a “Connections” lunch for local professionals, she does most of her event planning within Facebook. I keep wanting to go, but I haven’t made the time. I want to put this on my list of events to attend. Also there is a great opportunity with our Mortgage Professionals of Canada group, they are holding a meet and greet for mortgage professionals in our local community, and also have a large following within Social Media. I would like to make sure I attend this networking opportunity, and meet some new Finance professionals in our industry. I learn something new every time I meet a new individual. Networking creates new thought processes, new ideas, new ways to handle a customer concern, and allows you to grow as a Financial Professional, making sure you don’t get “stuck” in your ways!

Social Media Sign

Photo Courtesy of >> http://www.localsphere.com

Speaking of setting “stuck” in my ways, I will to commit to growing my Professional Network on-line within Social Media!! Creating new informative posts weekly with industry content, and engaging with other financial professionals and answering customer inquiries within Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn on a regular, consistent, scheduled basis.

 

 

Social Media, if you have it, show it!

Social Media, if you have it, show it!

When I first started the research for this assignment I thought I would compare two Ontario Vacation Destinations that I love, Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, and Hockley Valley Resort in Mono.

I thought for sure Blue Mountains would have a better Social Media plan but I was wrong! The smaller resort, Hockley Valley has an amazing Social Media Strategy, that is modern, consistent, attractive, immediately accessible and customers are interacting and engaging on their pages.  To compare, Hockely Valleys Website design is very clean, portrays attractive pictures of the resort and the beautiful nature surrounding them, easy to navigate and has access to all Social Media links on the first page, on the right hand side bar. http://www.hockley.com/ All of their Social Media Sites are updated regularly, their YouTube site has several videos and updates on what is going on at the resort. Hockley Valley has immediate direct access to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and their own resort Blog. Perhaps as Blue Mountain is a larger resort, the need for a Social Media Strategy is not a larger focus. Blue Mountains does have many Google Reviews, and they do actively post videos on Google, but as research states Google+ is not a main traffic site. Blue Mountain, I found does have a YouTube site with just over 1000 subscribers, but their main website does not have any links to YouTube. YouTube

No one is watching their videos on Google, and some are watching the videos on YouTube. If they connected the Social Media sites to their webpage, more people would be engaging and watching! Blue Mountain does have a clean and modern webpage, however, the main photo of bikes parked at a Bike Rack really does not entice me to want to come to Blue Mountain.  https://www.bluemountain.ca/ On their first page of their Website there are absolutely no direct links for customers to engage with, no Social Media tabs until you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the last frame. At the very bottom of their webpage frame you find 4 little greyed out boxes that link to Social Media. Once I found the Social Media pages, I discovered they are updated on a regular basis, hence a Social Media Plan is in place, but needs improvement. Blue Mountain Resort Website features, at the bottom of their site, access to their Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ sites. Their Facebook Page has over 62,000 Likes! Their Twitter Page has over 27,000 followers, coming in last their Google+ page has 640 members. So why have their Social Media Links at the bottom of their Webpage? Perhaps as they have been attracting large crowds of Skiers and Hikers for years, the need to paste their Social Media on their Webpage is a mute issue for them. The interesting thing I found, if you contrast, Hockley Valley has fewer likes at just over 8000. However, their customer engagement with their Social Media pages is much higher than it is for Blue Mountains customer engagement.Likes

It’s easy to “like” and forget, but to gather a “like” and keep customers engaging is the key to keeping them interested. Hockley Valley, although a smaller resort, provides more accessible links to their Social Media pages which in turn keeps this smaller resort very popular. Even though Blue Mountain has its history and regular crowd of event followers, I would make several changes to their Webpage Design, and Social Media Links to allow more customer engagement with their Social Media sites. Blue Mountains Resort will still need to attract the millennials and their upcoming future families, linking and engaging their new customers through Social Media will be key!

Tools & Sources COM0015

Tools & Sources COM0015

My two favorite Social Media listening tools currently would have to be Facebook and Twitter.  The two best sources that I use most often for news and updates of interest, would be Flipboard and Google Alerts.

My Facebook community contains a large group of friends and family combined with many long term customers that interact and share positive stories. Facebook can keep me current with regards to graduations, major life moments, vacations etc. that help with common ground and conversation starters to have the next time to I see my customers or family members. Facebook helps connect us in-between our extremely busy schedules, and large gaps of time that we go through without seeing many friends, family, and customers. Facebook keeps me informed and social; even when I am at a physical distance from many of these people, I CAN connect, relate, share and learn.FacebookTwitter

Twitter is my quick scan source of industry information that I can briefly look and see if a headline grabs my attention! Does “It Pays to Know” have any new articles my customers may like? Or perhaps I can look at quick link to “Mind Your Brain” for a positive quote on “mindfulness”. Or “My Money Coach” links to an awesome article on becoming debt free and living simply. As quick as the chickadee flies by I can glide through the Tweets when I don’t have much time – hence my love of Twitter!

Google Alerts come to my Gmail Account every morning!  I do have to mention I use Feedly as well, as it’s in my Google Account too.  Feedly is pretty awesome, however, my Google Alert Articles are keyword specific which help narrow down the articles and Google Alerts doesn’t keep asking me to pay for the service as Feedly does,  hence I prefer Google Alerts. These articles, Google Alerts generates for me, help me know what is current in my industry and assist me in everyday conversation about mortgage industry news my colleagues and customers are reading & talking about.

coffee-desk-laptop-notebook-wallpaper

wallpaperfreebies.com

I will use Flipboard on a Friday Morning, when work is not as overwhelming, I absolutely love the abundant amount of News Sources and Choice Flip Board gives one access too! I use Flipboard when I want to find articles on Travel, Art, Science, Sports, Architecture or Design. I can source out very “cool” articles that are great conversation starters and create positive connections to other aspects of your life. In addition to News Articles, Flipboard will source Blogs as well. This is how I found two really awesome Blogs; “Young and Thrifty”, and “My Alternative Life”. Both awesome Blogs about managing debts, mortgages, and managing your money. Flipboard and Google Alerts are both solid sources to gather your industry news and articles of personal interest!

COM0014 Blog # 7 Reflections – Storytelling

COM0014 Blog # 7 Reflections – Storytelling

What's your StoryStorytelling allows us to have an imagination, create with our thoughts, to connect to past thoughts, or create new ideas. Storytelling, is emotional, motivating, passionate, alluring, sometimes it can be life changing! Being in the right place, to hear, read, or watch a story enfold can be your reason you chose your career, improved your health, picked up the phone and called your brother, or decided to walk instead of drive to the store. Storytelling is a very important part of keeping our daily process “human”. We need clothes, but we want to connect to the designer and the ethical ways the clothing was hopefully made. We need to eat nutritious food, and we want to connect to the farmer who raised the chickens and grew the delicious potatoes. We need our shoes, but we want to connect to the fabric of the corporate culture, do they promote ethical standards in their factory’s and treat their employees with respect? How do we learn and discover all of this? Through stories, and connecting to the people sharing these stories, and talking about these stories at the dinner table, then, tomorrow at the work meeting, then after work at the grocery store. Stories are the threads that connect our everyday fabric together that help us learn who we are. Storytelling, connects us to an opportunity, to think.

COM0014 Growing up on the 3rd Line

COM0014 Growing up on the 3rd Line

Blog 6  – COM0014

What about your childhood shaped you for this moment?

Waking up to the smell of my Mothers French Toast and Sunny Side UP Eggs, dressing in warm clothes from the laundry, and outside I would go to help my Father early in the morning. Gardening, tending to all the flower and vegetable gardens, planting weeding, cleaning out the rabbit hutches, and helping to clear the forest paths. These were my tasks on the 3rd Line, smiling and loving being outside with my Dad.

Each day in the early summer my Father would tend to the Fruit Trees, large vegetable gardens, repairing, fixing, creBunniesating, enjoying. We would have the most delicious food all summer, and in fall lots of pumpkins and squash to last until Christmas. So much happiness is generated from these memories. Simple, Connections, in our Home.

These memories helped create the foundation of my passion to teach people the appreciation and fulfilling qualities simple outdoor activities can have on our overall well being. Furthermore, these outdoor activities are usually very cost effective on our wallet. Many outdoor activities that I encourage my clients to start again for their well being are:

  1. Walking and Hiking, start with a simple neighbourhood walk, then start planning in other nature trails
  2. Gardening, can be as simple as 5 pots of herbs or flowers
  3. Biking, find new areas and trails to explore
  4. Plan a picnic at a Grandriver Conservation area or local Arboretum
  5. Plan to attend an outdoor Festival, fresh air, food, entertainment, artisans, funky jewelry, new perspectivesArt in the Yard

Simple activities can been planned at home, in your neighbourhood, in you community, with home cooked food, uplifting activities, and gatherings outside. You will build a wealth of happiness and memories that will always enrich your life no matter how dark the path can get. Simple -Connections – from my childhood created my foundation for my Credit Counselling Platform, Simple – Connections – @Home.

Time to make some plans!

 

COM0014 Always looking forward to a positive outcome

COM0014 Always looking forward to a positive outcome

Blog Number 5

Personal Brand

#simple #connections #home

  1. What are some personal qualities or characteristics that set you apart from your competitors?

In the finance/credit counselling industry many times competitors, focus on the product and sales units opposed to the importance of educating and teaching the client how to improve themselves. I see an opportunity to help educate, create new thoughts, new pathways, and new habits and help the customer be their own success. Every customer has a unique perspective on what budget techniques will work for them. Selling the same budget plan to each customer will not help everyone adequately. I create unique individual plans for each person, couple, or family (including children). It’s not a fancy savings account that helps people save and budget, it’s knowledge, practice, motivation and planning that will create simple, successful, financial habits. What sets me aside? – teaching vs selling.

Lets Talk2.  What have you done to make you stand out?

I talk a lot about customer discoveries instead of meetings or appointments. In the end, by the time the first hour is up with my client, the client has done most of the talking, and discovering. In our discovery meetings they- the customer really participates in their own plan and outline, that will become their success. Very awesome discoveries from the clients themselves – often they can’t believe what they are saying, and want to plan!

  1. What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

People often say I always have the most positive solutions to the hardest problems. If there is a piece of the puzzle     missing, let’s find it, create it, or let’s learn to work without it!

Puzzle Pieces

 

 

 

 

COM0014-#3 Yoga can help Everyone!

I love the Simple Yoga Mat and All the Benefits Yoga can produce. After looking around at different Yoga websites, businesses and practices, I can confidently say, Yoga is for everyone!

A simple Yoga Mat rolled out on the floor in any space inside on the carpet or outside on the grass, anyone can practice Yoga anywhere! Yoga MatYoga can help Woman and Men of all ages. Teenagers, children and babies can all benefit from the gentle body stretches and breathing exercises on a daily basis.

Yoga can benefit Mama and Baby! Getting out and practicing simple and safe stretching and breathing techniques that can balance body and mind. Yoga can benefit children, as the breathing techniques can help manage their feelings. Yoga can manage their temper through simple Yoga techniques that help manage their feelings through motion and breath. Children can learn these simple techniques and they can be practiced anywhere @ anytime!

Teenagers can learn to create and practice simple Yoga activities daily, that will help them navigate through their world of many complex yet wonderful changes. As Men and Woman grow through adulthood, stress and unexpected transitions will ebb and flow. Learning Yoga as Children and keeping these Practices all the way through to Adulthood will help all individuals. Learning these Simple Yoga stretching techniques and breathing exercises will benefit peoples health, career, relationships, and bring clarity and balance to their lives.

With a simple rolled out Mat, Yoga can help any gender, all ages, all groups, any culture, every career group, Yoga can help everyone!

Simple Yoga Mat

~Yoga can help everyone, everywhere!~

Blog #2 COM0014 Stone Walls & Tablets

Your story, my story can be shared worldwide within an instant! When I say that statement out loud, it almost sounds imaginary, however, for the last 19 years Social Media has been in use, and now “story telling” via Social Media is an everyday reality.

Evolution of Social Media.png

Photo Courtesy of – galleryhip.com

The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/the-complete-history-of-social-media-infographic.html

All “content” text, pictures and video can be shared globally, I can talk to my brother in New Zealand as if he is standing in a house around the corner, he can share pictures they just took 5 minutes ago and post them for us to see in Canada, our friends in Austria, and family in Minnesota! I know this has been going on for a while now, but it is still incredible. Although these stories can be shared within an instant, what makes us read them in their entirety, what grabs our attention and what makes an audience continue to read the stories and feel connected? The text, picture or video must evoke positive emotional changes in the reader, the content must be memorable, compelling, attracting, and cause repeat active involvement in the post, blog, or website. We still must have a connection or a compulsion to read these stories. If they are posted by a family member we connect to learn family knowledge, to know everyone is safe and healthy, it makes us feel grounded knowing our loved ones are protected and healthy. What about the other stories posted on-line, why do we read and analyze them? As the elements of the story on the stone cave wall had a purpose to teach people, how and where to hunt, how to make shelter, how to celebrate a harvest; these stories all had a purpose to create a community and help the village survive, help them live and learn from these compelling stories expressed on their stone walls along their journeys. Our delivery of the stories and lessons have changed but I feel to attract an audience we are still talking about stories that teach us how to live better, eat better, buy a home, work out harder, earn more money, how to raise a family, etc. etc. are these not all stories that teach us how to live and survive? These stories listed on Facebook, Twitter, Globe and Mail, Men’s Health, ESPN, Pinterest, etc. attract men and women who are interested in living a better life, and want to connect via friends, family, career, hobbies and health. Essentially elements of the stories have evolved and these stories are typed in electronic text, floating literally in frequencies to our electronic devices, inscribed on the cave walls of our iPhones and Tablets. Whether you are creating a story on-line or on paper or in stone, the story still must have a purpose that interests its audience, the story must create a purpose, excite us, evoke lasting positive emotional changes in us! What stories do you want to read, what evokes lasting positive emotional changes in you?

Blog #1-COM0014 Winter Vacation 2015

Blog #1-COM0014 Winter Vacation 2015

I love my home and unfortunately I do not get to spend much time in it! So for me, my favorite place to have vacation these days, is my home.
This past Christmas I truly enjoyed going through our old recipe books to find new/old dishes to serve during Christmas Eve and over the Christmas holidays. This year I used an old stuffing recipe for the Turkey, and some nut and chocolate chip cookie recipes that were delish! While eating appetizers and sweet desserts, we decorated our Tree from Oma and Opa’s forest, and all of us made some more sparkling decorations for the branches!

Christmas Decorations   Hand Decoration

We had long walks through the forest, and many friends and family members came over to the home, sharing stories and pictures from the year gone by. We had a dance party, sang songs, played piano, a Karaoke night that went longer than expected, and many days to sleep in past 6 A.M. – to sleep past 6 A.M. is a gift and a vacation all on its own! I/we spent a lot of time outside as well, on bikes and scooters, as the sidewalks were clear! Although we did not have snow before Christmas, on December 28th while Santa Clause was soaking in the tub, our little patch of the woods received a huge blusterous snow storm! This storm allowed us to enjoy our beautiful fireplace, and watch the show put on by Mother Nature.

Christmas Snowy ~Snowy~

The next day, my daughters created Snowy! Apparently they are claiming he is a Cousin to Olaf – from the Movie Frozen for those of you who may not be aware of the adorable Disney Snowman. We had lots of fun decorating him as well with dried out Echinacea Flowers, and items from the kitchen. Snowy was ready for the New Year’s Eve party and Fire Works!

2016 arrived, and I enjoyed every minute of my Winter Vacation – my Staycation – in my – in our Home.Home Heart