COM0015. Ears to the Ground-are you listening?

Over the course of this Social Media program, we have learned the value of listening. Listening is an important skill if you are running a business and using social media. Currently I am not running a business but I enjoy seeing what is happening and trending. I like using Google Trends and Google Alerts as they are free and easy to use. If I am researching a topic, I like setting up several Google Alerts to my inbox so I can filter out which articles and blogs I am interested in reading.

I also loved using Brand24 for a previous course as it gave really in-depth insights. The struggle with many of the listening tools is they offer trials or free versions that are watered down versions of the real deal. Although they give a taste they are not as effective. For example, they will give some metrics but block or hide others unless you shell out the moolah. Prices also range all over the place from $50 a month to $500 a month. Until I am working as a consultant or in a paid position doing social media, I’ll keep playing with the free versions.

As for news, that’s another challenge. Getting accurate and non biased news is difficult through social media. We all saw The Social Dilemma and learned about how every click curates our view of the world in social media. As silly as it sounds, I like scrolling through TikTok to see what is trending. Surprising you can find some interesting takes on what is happening in the world. One must be mindful of what you are watching but often points of interest have lead to doing further research outside of social media.

TikTok is a great source if you use Instagram as a marketing tool for your business. Generally, what trends on TikTok will start trending on Instagram Reels shortly after. Reels are extremely popular right now as a marketing tool. Instagram is heavily favoring Reels as a bid to compete against TikTok. If Reels are part of your marketing tool kit then doing research on TikTok will be essential.

What is your favorite listening tool? What do you think of TikTok as a source of news?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

My Outlook Has Changed

Social Media Monitoring Tools Are Your Bestfriend.


Whenever I am on social media now, I look at a business differently. I study their platform to see how engaging they are, the type of content they post and if it’s appropriate for their niche audience. I am able to identify if their social media strategy is strong or weak.

Social media listening and monitoring are key for a company’s success online. Doing research for assignments helped me learn the importance of monitoring different platforms in order to improve metrics that will help a brand grow. With the use of tools, you can track these metrics while also keeping an eye on your competition.

When doing my assignments, I found Social Searcher to be useful. I was able to see any mentions from the web, as well as social media platforms. I was also able to look at the sentiment of these mentions and popular keywords that have been used.

Having this information and applying it to assignments helped me understand the importance of keeping up to date on what’s being said about a brand.

Having that feedback from an audience whether it’s positive or negative, gives the brand the opportunity to engage with them. They can learn from these mentions and further grow their brand by how they respond and act on.

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu from Pexels

I believe the best thing a brand can do for its audience is to acknowledge and listen to them. Personally speaking, having a company acknowledge my interest or feedback, improved my fondness towards them.

Building a relationship with an audience is improved by engagement. This relationship with new or existing consumers helps to increase brand awareness, SEO and conversion rate.

“The opinions people express on social media give real insights into how they feel about an organization and its products. It’s usually the first clue to problems that need to be fixed. To gain those insights, it’s crucial to actually read the consumer opinions, not just aggregate them into data.”

Comcowich, W. (2020, September 09). 12 Important Ways Social Media Listening Can Benefit Your Business. Glean.

To make monitoring more effective, using a dashboard and RSS feeder to collect data will help keep the information organized. Once a company has gone over the information they have collected, they are able to leverage their marketing tactics and sales.

The social media world is constantly evolving so it’s crucial for a company to stay up to date on their audience, competition and industry trends.

COM0015 – Blog 4: Learning Something New

One unexpected thing I have found is how important case studies are especially when learning about social media practices. Case studies provide a vision, a portal into experiences, both real and hypothetical. They are an excellent learning tool that challenges the reader to immerse themselves in different scenarios and to work their way through those scenarios to reach a resolution or decision. I am intrigued enough to learn more about there use in the terms of social media.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels



Normally when I find an article or website that I like online, I will just add it to my favourites list. However, I have recently learned of a website, as a result of taking this course called Pocket (getpocket.com) that allows you to create a space of your own for all kinds of things including:

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Apps
  • Websites/pages

This is more useful than having to scroll through your long list of favourites trying to find that one thing you bookmarked a long time ago.

I did not realize how many online monitoring and measuring tools were available. I always stuck to google alerts, as it was the only one at the time that I was really familiar with. This course has taught me that there are countless options out there now and more seem to become available almost daily. This has allowed me to do my own research and discover what tools I was missing or had not tried. I have discovered what a KPI is (key performance indicator) and what it is used for. Anyone with a business, big or small, can use and benefit from it.

“A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a non-profit (or another type of organization) is achieving its key organizational objectives.”


(Ibrisevic, 2018, p. 3)

This is a good tool to remember going forward as I hope to measure the effectiveness of my online business and social media presence.

COM0015–Blog#4: Social Media “Out of the Box” Online Marketing Applications

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

An “Out of the Box” product, in terms of software, is one that works immediately and effectively without requiring anything special. There are many applications, developed in response to a specific need, that work very well in a Social Media, Online Marketing context.

HootSuite

One such application is Hootsuite, which is a Social Media Management tool that is a User Dashboard, capable of organizing many Social Media accounts such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. It tracks what is happening in multiple places at the same time and is a time saver in that it takes all of the information from the multiple platforms and puts it together into one ‘suite’. It is also very helpful as a ‘manager’ since you can schedule posts across multiple platforms. This tool can be used by Social Media Managers in Online Marketing for their clients.

Google Alerts

Another application that is an “Out of the Box” type of application is Google Alerts. You create an alert with specific tags. Google will check the web for new content with those tags and will send the information to your email. With content creation, came the issue of having too much content to look at. Google Alerts makes monitoring the internet for relevant content easier. This can be used by Social Media Content Providers and Online course creators to be aware of current trends.

Canva

An additional application used in Social Media and/or Online Marketing is Canva. This unexpectedly free design application lets you create all kinds of graphics, from Facebook cover images and Instagram Stories to tweets and images for your blog posts. Canva can also be used by Social Media Mangers who post using a Social Media Management tool like Hootsuite (mentioned above) for Online Marketing.

Photo Courtest of Pexels

All of these applications are used, “Out of the Box”, in Online Marketing and/or Social Media Management. The first two were developed in response to the need for management of the ever-expanding amount of Social Media applications and the resulting large amount of online content. In the case of Canva, it fulfills the need to create quality, original online content.

What are your favorite Social Media Online Marketing tools? How did you hear about them? Which Online Marketing use do you need tools for? Content creation, Online courses, Social Media management, etc.?

COM0015–Assignment #5: Event Participation: “7 Steps to Creating and Launching an Online Course”

The Event

“Do what you love, make an impact, grow your tribe”. This was a quote from the hour-long, free, online professional development event that I chose to attend for my participation in an event,  7 Steps to Creating and Launching Your Profitable Online Course 2021.  I picked this event, because I have an interest in creating online courses in my chosen field, Computer Programming. I want to share with others what I have learned in my more than 25-year IT career. Essentially, I do want to make an impact and grow my online community through course creation.

Revenue Models

Jeanine Blackwell, the presenter for the course, reviewed two types of models to use when selling an online course. Both allow for increased revenue by the 3rd quarter of selling a course. From the screenshots below, you can see that her first model increases sales by the third quarter of the first offering of the course by proposing more advanced courses, as well as offering the original course again each quarter. The second model, in the screenshots, shows how you can increase revenue, again by the third quarter, by offering group coaching along with a mastermind course. Jeanine indicated that there is a large amount of money going into online course sales every year. The statistic that she quoted was that there will be “325 billion online course sales per year by 2025”

Screenshot of Model 1 for Selling an Online Course
Screenshot of Model 2 for Selling an Online Course

Interaction

Unfortunately, there was no interactive, live chat in this session. As you can see from the screenshots above, the chat box specified that the responses to any questions would be sent by email. This indicated to me that the course was pre-recorded, as opposed to live. In any case, I now have a contact to follow-up with if I want to pursue the full paid course that includes 7 modules. I will however look into taking a few more of these types of free courses before committing to paying for a course.

Takeaways

7 Steps

In terms of ideas to walk away with, Jeanine listed the 7 steps to creating and launching an online course (screen shot below) but only expanded on the first one, “Narrow Your Idea to Win”. She discussed narrowing your audience and your problem to make sure your course is targeted to a specific group of people and is solving a focused problem. The other steps are apparently covered in more detail in the modules of the paid course.

Screenshot of the 7 Steps

Storyboarding

Another valuable idea that I took away from this event is Storyboarding. I am excited about this concept, because I think it is an excellent method of organizing the content to put into each module of a course. A feature that I like about this model is that ideas can be added as they come up, instead of having to put everything together at once. I will definitely use this idea in my own course creation.

Screenshot of a Storyboarding image from the course

Future Events

I will plan to attend similar free events in the future because I assume that most have different perspectives and will provide new suggestions. Even if an event offers no new ideas, there is no cost, except my time. This event, for example, was worthwhile to get an idea of the steps that may be involved in course creation, as well as using Storyboarding as a course content design method.

Overall, this course was very successful in accomplishing its purpose: it made me excited to want to bring the ideas out of my head and onto paper to create my own course. This is exactly the kind of inspiration I would like to give people taking a course that I create. I want to make a positive impact and motivate.

COMM0015 – Event: The WOW Factor

It has been a long while since I’ve been able to attend a professional development event in-person, so today I’m throwing it back to my absolute favourite event that I’ve attended! This event took place in 2019 and was called “VENUS presents: Chris Appleton – The WOW FACTOR”

Now most may not know who Chris Appleton is, BUT I promise that you know who his clients are. Chris is a celebrity hairstylist who works with Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, and many more celebrities. As a hairstylist, I was SO excited to learn from him. As soon as the event was announced, I bought a front-row ticket and a train to get there. This was also the first time I attended an event like this by myself! I had to commute from Ottawa to Toronto for it, but it was totally worth every minute. After booking an AirBnB and packing a bag, I was ready to head to an event that would forever affect my career as a hairstylist! 

The event was held at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and was set up as an evening cocktail-style event. This event was a look and learn format, so our participation mostly involved watching while Chris demonstrated his techniques. I wanted to get the absolute most out of this event so I made sure to actively take notes during his performance as well as a few videos of demonstrations! At the end of the show, we had the opportunity to meet Chris Appleton! I may look collected in this photo, but let me assure you, I was screaming inside like a fan-girl.

After the event concluded, we also had the opportunity to chat with other event goers. At this point in the evening, I stayed to chat with a few local salon owners and had the chance to network. We exchanged our social media profiles and kept in touch after the event. This part took the most work for me as I was quite nervous being there by myself. 

I chose to walk to my AirBnB after the event because I was so hopped-up on adrenaline. This event was a major inspiration for me, and that was my biggest takeaway. While the tips and techniques were very valuable, my biggest asset was the confidence it gave me. My absolute favorite quote from the evening was when Chris said “let me tell you about a time that I f**ked up Katy Perry’s hair”. This man who works with the biggest named celebrities was humble enough to admit that he makes mistakes too. He talked to us about what it took for him to make it big in the industry and it really inspired me and my work from there out. 

Would I attend an event like this again? YES. Absolutely yes. This event was a pivotal moment for me, I use the techniques I learned at this course nearly everyday in my professional career. Most importantly, this course gave me the courage to really put myself out there more when it comes to social media. For me, this course taught me that I was on the right track to achieving my dreams! 

COMM0015 – Out Of The Box

The main thing that this program has really reiterated and reinforced for me is that social media is ALWAYS changing. Anyone who commits to working in this field will have to constantly educate themselves and learn new techniques and materials. Personally, I find that idea enticing. 

Where is social media applicable?

The short answer? Everywhere. Social media is no longer optional for businesses that want to thrive in 2021. Every business, entrepreneur, and brand needs to either learn social media skills or hire someone who has them. Instagram is the new Google search, and if your brand wants to be found, you have to be there and have an updated profile. 

Applications to make it easier?

The application that has done the absolute most for me when it comes to social media is Later. It’s a scheduling tool that also provides easy-to-digest analytics and tips. The website is more user-friendly, but they have a mobile app as well! From the website, I can schedule and caption my content, as well as tag other accounts, add hashtags, and set my location for the post. From that same website, I have access to helpful visual displays like this to show my progress with 

Screenshot taken from the Later dashboard

Later helps me to stay on-track with social media. I manage four business accounts and it can be overwhelming if I don’t stay on top of my game. Using scheduling software allows me to manage all four accounts within a manageable time-frame. This application has saved my digital life many times!

Overall, this program really helped me to hone my social media skills. While I had already been working in the field, having this formal education helped me to build confidence and work on refining my skills. Social media can be overwhelming, and I would recommend this program to anyone trying to figure it out!

What’s Your Preference?

Networking : In-Person or Online?


Photo by Visual Tag Mx from Pexels

Taking this course has taught me a lot about the business side of social media. With the on going pandemic, many businesses have shifted online. On one hand, you can quickly connect with others all over the world but on the other hand, it has made in-person networking a bit difficult.

My initial reasoning for taking this program was to get into a career in this field. I am hoping this happens sooner than later. With that being said, it’s essential for me to develop a networking strategy both in-person and online.

Online Networking

In order to have a successful strategy, I can’t just dive into different platforms. I need to have goals. What exactly do I want to gain from this? Quite frankly, I’m not 100% yet. This would be the first step for me, creating goals.

From there, I will be more active on different platforms and form my personal brand. I believe having a personal branding strategy will be key to my networking strategy. I will admit that when I first meet someone or find a new company, I go to social media to look them up. Do they have a completely different persona online? I want to see how they portray themselves and how they engage with others. I know this will be something that any future employer or connection will look for.

In addition to my personal branding, I will be connecting with others. I can’t expect to complete my goals without introducing myself and forming connections.

In-Person Networking

Carrying on with the connections, this will play a major role in my in-person networking. Personally, I am more introverted so the thought of putting myself out there and attending certain events isn’t my first option. Regardless, I understand the impact of having that face-to-face connection can provide.

Networking in person will give me the opportunity to show my personality. To give life to the person behind the screen. Ultimately, this can be a true test one my end because I will be able to find out who I want to associate myself with.

Keeping these connections is just as important as starting them. Staying in touch with others and keeping that friendship alive is going to help in the long run. Whether this means meeting others via that initial connection or gaining opportunities, it will pay off to put myself out there.

For the foreseeable future, online webinars and classes will be my go-to in order to gain more skills. Depending on where my future job gets me, I will be attaining skills that will aid in my occupational development.

Before learning any of these skills, I will be updating my LinkedIn profile and putting my networking to good use.

Pre pandemic, I would attend IMATS which is a makeup trade show. Not only did I meet others, but I also gained tips and knowledge about the industry. I would love to attend an event like that again or another show to connect with others.


Which type of networking do you prefer?

P.S. my favourite pre-pandemic activity to meet others was going to concerts (minus leaving the venue).

Com0015 — Blog#3: My Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages

Professional Networking is, by definition, when you build relationships with other professionals in your career and in other unrelated fields. You can let this type of network develop naturally or you can create a strategy to establish your professional network, both online and in person.

My parent strategy to develop my professional network, in this Covid world, is to build on my online network and, at the same time, look for potential safe opportunities to continue to develop my in-person networks. When it is safer to do so, I can put more emphasis on expanding my existing off-line networks. Below are some short-term activities and commitments that I want to undertake to expand my networks.

8 Future Short-Term Activities to Develop my Networks:

1.Keep My Blog up to Date:

As well as adding relevant links and other information to my Demystifying COBOL blog, I would like to commit to adding original posts at least twice per month. Also, I would like to devote time every couple of days to reply to comments on my blog. The conversations have been mostly one way up until now, and I would like to correct that.

2. Develop my LinkedIn Group and Profile:

I currently have an “Online Learning Design and Development” LinkedIn group. I would like to work on attracting new members to that group. It will be useful for me when creating and marketing online courses. I would also like to develop my LinkedIn profile by adding a link to my blog and making sure the profile information is up to date.

3. Search on Twitter for People:

Another activity I would like to commit to is to search on Twitter, at http://www.twitter.com/search,  for people living around me, to follow them and possibly gain more followers in the process. Also, I would like to create a hashtag on Twitter to use for my posts to attract more people to my demystifying COBOL brand.

4. Current Events and a New Group on Facebook:

Another idea I want to take advantage of is to use Facebook to search for current events in my area to find ways to network and meet new people. I also want to set up a Facebook group to pair with my demystifying COBOL page and start some COBOL discussions in the group.

5. Pinterest as a Business:

While listening in on Social Media blogging groups, I have learned that Pinterest is an excellent way to attract followers to your blog and promote your brand. I want to put some time into finding out how Pinterest works and how I can use it for networking.

6. Search for Meetups:

I discovered that I could search on meetup.com to find free meetups in my area. This activity is mostly for the future when it is safe to get together with people in person again.

7. Attend Inexpensive Unconferences:

In addition to regular conferences, I want to look for opportunities to attend unconferences, which are user generated conferences that are less expensive or free. Anyone can present a session at these conferences. A type of unconference is a Podcamp which is a conference for Social Media.

8. Attend Free Online Webinars:

There are many free Online Webinars advertised everywhere in Social Media. I specifically want to sign up for those that talk about creating and marketing online courses. I enjoy listening to Webinars and feel that they could be a very positive networking opportunity.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

With all of these online networking activities to pursue during the pandemic, I will be able to easily occupy myself in the short term, by starting online conversations and acquiring Social Media followers, until I am able to attend in-person events again.

We are assuming that things will go back to the way they were before Covid. What if this way of working and meeting remotely is the new normal? Maybe the pandemic forced us prematurely into a future that we were destined for anyway.

Blog #3 – Networking

I have been working full time in a very competitive environment for almost two years and I the most important thing that I have learned is important networking is. Having a strong skill set will take you far but knowing the right people will ultimately be the most important thing when it comes to finding new opportunities and other jobs.

I have been working on building my network on LinkedIn. I find people that work in the same field as I do to connect with. This is a great tool to meet other professionals woking in your industry. In the short time that I have been on LinkedIn I have already been recruited, although I did not move forward with the interview, so I know that this has the potential to open doors for me.

I also make a point to make myself known within the company that I already work for. I like to get to know all the managers and make myself an important and know part of the company. The important thing is to make myself, my skill set and my role know.