Cuba, what a destination, beautiful sun, beaches, and the food is okay. All is good, all is great and – wait no that is Dominican Republic. Cuba has okay beaches, no sun and food is terrible.
At least for me that is how it was.
I went to Varadero, Cuba for a week in 2018. I have a lengthy video showing how it was on my youtube channel. Through that experience I have learned to not go to Cuba in January. It is how I described earlier, no sun, beaches were okay, and the food sucked, other than this barbecue guy actually he was a good chef but he only did hamburgers and hotdogs.
My parents bought that vacation for me as a gift, at the time I was an assistant for a salon where I worked every hour the salon was open. It was mentally very taxing and I remember when my parents told me that they got the vacation as a gift and only told me so I can take the time off and let my bosses know very early. So I told them, they denied it and with that, and it being very taxing on me I left the salon with my two week notice in place. My two-week notice ended the same day I left for Cuba. It just felt good to go away, Cuba is not the best with wifi so I never bothered. A week away from social media back then felt so good, I still remember it.
It may have not been the best weather while we were down in Cuba, but as my parents said ,” It’s much better than back home though.” That was very true, we missed a snowstorm in Ontario that week we were away.
The vacation itself was fun, we went into the town of Varadero and ate good food in town, went to the Beatles bar, and it was honestly great. I also bought a fun trip into Havana for a day. At the time too the song Havana by Camilla Cabello was very popular so I knew for my video I would get the instrumental to just play in the background while I was there. Havana was fun, had a blast touring the city on my own for a bit and the tour guide knew where to take photos and had great historic background to everywhere we went.
The city is great, resorts are okay, just do not go to Cuba in January and you will be fine. My parents and I learned this the hard way, learn from us! I seriously wished my parents looked up an okay time to go, because I just googled ‘when to go to Cuba’ and found many forums talking about this. I found a few of my favourites though so here is Tripadvisor, and Audleytravel.
Have fun on your next vacation, wishing you that it’s not like mine! Safe travels and wishing you good weather! Where are you headed next? Let me know down below!
Avast me hardy!, and other incessant childhood fantasies about pirates, Peter Pan and Long John Silver shan’t apply in this situation. In this moment we are discussing travel, destinations, food, entertainment, cuisine, games, brunches, socializing, midnight buffets, fun, and, did I mention food? This given holiday was, indeed, the cruises that one hears about over the years, yet may not have generated enough intrigue to look seriously at it as a vacation option. Gangplanks are optional.
One gets considerable advantages that other forms of vacationing and travel may leave wanting. In fact, if one views such means objectively, there is a variety of travel and vacation nicely packed into one given bundle when on a cruise. It seems it is a floating resort, a boat of hikers going to destinations, a thespian life jacket, a casino with a rudder, a variety of bars and lounges at sea, an amusement arena weighed anchor, and both a restaurateur and foodie haven ocean voyage. Contests, games, sport, cooking classes, theatre, comedy, magicians, on board and on shore destinations abound inclusive of good television movies, midnight movies and 24 hour room service included.
Hedonism, you say. Perhaps? But given variety and spice of life this may qualify to your taste. Answer these questions:
1. Do you look for a variety of things to do while on vacation?
2. Would you like to travel to different destinations in one vacation?
3. Do you enjoy fine food and cuisine?
4. Do ocean voyages interest you?
5. Do you like to both relax on vacation and have many activities as an option?
Should you answer “YES” to any or all of these, you may consider a cruise ship vacation or at least research, investigate or talk with friends about it.
I blog this with enthusiasm. I must say one can enjoy a number of activities and experiences as aforementioned. A given day on a cruise ship can encapsulate a plethora of events, tastes or hi jinx; or you can just relax by the pool with a taco and pizza bar nearby. The fact is, one can do just about anything. Allow me;
In the morning I would have breakfast in the dining room, or breakfast buffet on the Lido deck. The I would make my way to library to enter a quiz contest for prizes. I would then take a leisurely stroll on the wide deck inhaling the sea air. Shortly, thereafter, I would stroll to my cabin to pick up fresh fruit left by the room staff, and head to a discussion given by the chief chef on the boat.
Food, food and more food
Certainly, after leaving such a talk, there would be lecture about magic given by the entertainer the previous evening with his magic hats and wands. Harry Potter would have been up for grabs. Post magic, I would then head to the Lido deck for lunch at a variety of outlets, depending on one’s taste for food, given, a variety of cultural and taste genres ranging from Greek salads, smoked meat sandwiches, to a vegetarian repast and health driven smorgasbord.
The afternoon may pack a given round of mini golf on a swerving deck as ball wildly changes direction and speed. Later a steam bath awaits in the spa with a swimming pool to cool down and iced tea and taco stand to fill that micro gaps of hunger since lunch. The ship later docks on an island owned by the cruise line for ocean swimming, chaise lounging (sic) as it were, and burgers grilled just off the beach.
A formal dinner will be required for a sumptuous feast in the dining room where the ship’s Captain joins a certain reserved table and the serving staff later creates a parade through the large room hoisting baked Alaska as the piece de resistance for the well fed patrons.
That evening, I would attend a musical in the theatre hall, and top off the evening with a midnight movie in the show room with popcorn and an enthusiastic crowd of newer movie patrons. Post facto, I would lug my engorged body pasted with a day of activities to my clean cabin for a much needed rest to dream and await a food and games laden day at sunrise.
Fitness on Raft
At last, for the indulged guilty a cornucopia of onboard fitness centres, training classes, schedules on deck walks, health spas, and pool can begin to cut into the obtained calories and dessert smatterings foisted upon one’s self. Leave a little room for other guilty pleasures.
It may be a obvious that a vacation with Holland America may have impressed me. But, nonetheless, as a consumer of vacation and travel, a given overall critique may later render tips to observe and calculate into your decision making process in choosing a specific cruise and travel plan for yourself. I am certainly not an expert. Yet, with more cruise experience I shall later discern as to what is fitting and what may disappoint. That being said, the entire cruise concept is certainly worth the effort and experience. See what be out there for you. Bon voyage.
Everyone always talks about how fast your kids grow up. Take it from an expert. (Mother of 4 girls) Blink and they’re gone.
This past Oct, I realized my girls would soon be heading to all corners of the world…well Ontario anyway. My oldest was in her third year university at Queen’s. (Bragging rights) and the next was ready to head off to University of Ottawa. (Make way for the proud mom). My younger two were in grades 10/7 respectively and seriously, I blinked and couldn’t figure out where the time went. So, in my infinite wisdom, I planned one last family trip before my babies scattered to the wind.
Years ago, my husband and I would take the kids every year to Disney. My older two have fond memories of this time, but the younger two, not so much. So…. Road trip! Seriously,…we drove to Florida. (24 hrs in a van!) But the ride was part of the fun and makes the trip much more affordable. We also picked up a kid. My oldest’s BF had never been to Disney and when we told him we were going…well the look on his face made me invite him along. This was actually a good idea since he has a driver’s licence! Ulterior motive? Maybe. But he’s actually a good kid and we all like him a lot. He fits in well with the group. The son I never had, the big brother they never had. It all worked out.
First up….Hollywood Studios
The thing I learned. Take lots of snacks. Disney is expensive! I thought I packed enough food for the day and only planned to buy dinner. We were staying from open to close to maximize the park and the limited time we were staying in Florida. I ran out of food about noon! Luckily, Disney has lots of water fountains and we didn’t need to buy $5 water. Food total for the day was about $200 American. Yikes! Oh and make sure you do the Tower of Terror! Amazing thrill ride.
Next up…Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom has a new area dedicated to the Movie Avatar. Hint: use your Disney fast past for this and book early…I mean like 6 months early not 2 weeks early. The wait time without it was 2 hrs! Luckily, I brought lots of snacks. Oh, make sure you do the Dinosaur ride! It is probably the best ride in the whole Disney Park…I kid you not!
What I learned from this trip
Memories are precious. I wish I had of thought of this before now. However, live and learn. I am already planning my next family vacation with just the two younger ones. The other two can come of course. (And any add ons J) But just because they may not be able to come, doesn’t mean I am going to forget making memories for the other two. One more blink and they will be gone as well.
Here are a couple of links to help you plan your trip to Disney. click here, and here. Oh and don’t forget, Disney often offers discounts to Canadian residents at different times of the year. Make sure you check out their website for dates and offers. I also found this wonderful in depth blog post for the economical Canadian traveller.
So what about you? What is your favorite vacation spot? Any hints for making each trip memorable?
Coleman & Associate’s is a company that works in the medical industry and could have so much information they could be telling the world. But their Facebook page has 55 followers and they may have max 7 posts that are from years ago. If I were them I would be putting out content that people can learn helpful information, and then use their business, because they trust that they know what they are doing. It really saddens me to see companies with so much potential to grow, not taking the advantage that social media provides.
Strong Social Media Strategy
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is doing what in my mind is the right way to grow your business through social media. They have around 45,000 followers and are posting lots of content. They post videos of what the process is behind making their products, and they post events, and different sales they have. Having a good showcase of what your business is up to, and every step of your process. It gives people a sense that they know exactly where the dessert they are putting in their mouth came from. I think it is almost a perfect strategy, but they have low engagement with their posts. I think they could at least up their growth by 1.2x if they focused on getting more engagement with each post. Other than that they have a strong strategy.
I love to cheer for the underdog. Maybe that’s why I loved reading my daughter
the classic tale of the Little Engine that Could. You know the story, the little unlikely
engine who helped get the train full of toys and sweets for the kids up the
mountain. This wasn’t a big powerful
commercial train, it didn’t have lots of experience in this area, but it had
determination and spirit.
I feel that social media has the power to get the underdog up the proverbial hill. In the past, large corporations held marketing power with their large media budgets. Television advertising, billboards, full-page magazine ads – these weren’t cheap. Not to mention full branding campaigns complete with logos, taglines and jingles. I admit, back then my clean had to be as real as Ivory, it had to be 99.44 (this may sound familiar to some of you, if not check out the popular jingle on this ivory commercial). Now however, I buy a lot of my soap from an Ottawa-based social enterprise called Soap2Hope. I’m connected to this entrepreneur on Facebook and love to get her posts on new products (I’m interested in trying her latest tub tea soaks!).
Small businesses who take to social media don’t need large
budgets to reach their target audience.
They need platforms that enable them to demonstrate their niche, their
uniqueness and a way to engage with clients.
And now it’s easier than ever to get instant feedback. I recall joining a focus group almost 20
years ago, spending my whole evening in a room, eating a cold sub that was my
provided dinner, and giving feedback to an insurance company on their services
and branding. With social media, that can
be done in minutes from the comfort of home.
In fact, Architectual Digest sends me surveys every now and then
regarding various ads and products that they feature. It’s fun for me and fast and free focus
testing for them!
Speaking of media outlets, this is another area where I feel
that power has shifted to the underdog. It’s not as common for people to have
the physical newspaper delivered to their door anymore. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook provide
“breaking news” almost instantly. And we
don’t need to rely on major news outlets to give us our information – almost
anyone can report on world issues, sports, local events and more. Food and movie critics can be an average
citizen with a passion for either and with a well-written and respected blog. If you have enough followers and content
perhaps you too can be an “influencer”.
Do you have an underdog story to tell? Did social media help
you gain traction? Or, did social media introduce you to some underdogs that
you have helped up the hill? Feel free
I know kids can get addicted to their devices, and that they can suffer mood swings, depression and other symptoms, but me? How could it be possible. I mean I’m an adult after all, I should know how to handle things. Right? Wrong.
I had no
idea I was addicted to my cell phone and social media. I had a new small business and my phone was our
company’s life line. After all, we
wanted to be noticed, be wanted and be needed.
We needed to answer every phone call day, night or holiday, right? I thought so.
It didn’t start to sink in until Christmas Eve, my phone rang, and I
answered it. I had an hour conversation
about our company, what we do, why we do it and what makes us different. Once I
hung up the phone my kids looked at me and said “Mom, really, it’s almost
Christmas, can’t they wait? How rude!”. I responded with “sorry it’s mommy’s job, it’s
our business”. Well, that’s what I
Year 5 into
our business, I not only answer all the calls, but I did all the social media
(Facebook, Instagram, a bad attempt at Twitter and our website). It wasn’t until we decided to leave our small
business that it hit me, and HARD!!
I handed over the phone – – My life – –
had become my life, or so I thought. It
had become my everything. Every like
excited me. Every comment made me smile
as I instantly responded to each one.
Every email made me feel important.
Every call made me feel proud, explaining not only what we did but
trying my best to make them feel special, that they had my undivided attention. But when it was gone. I was LOST. It felt like I lost my best friend or a family
member. It sounds crazy admitting it,
but I was depressed, lonely and hurt. My
personal Facebook didn’t get nearly the attention my business page
weeks. Weeks to retrain myself. To remind me that my self worth has nothing
to do with my likes, comments or shares.
It didn’t have anything to do with how many friends I had or how good a
mom, wife or friend I was. I needed to
be stronger for me, and my family. I
needed to find out who I was again.
Crazy at 40 I needed to start over and figure out who I was without
social medias help. Which had me
thinking, if this happened to me, how many others feel this way, or was I
some research I found.
Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D states “in a recent paper Dr. Kuss and I again reviewed the latest research on the topic and showed that social media use for a minority of individuals is associated with a number of psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, loneliness, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and addiction. Because social media is most frequently accessed via smartphones, their usage is intimately intertwined and their mobile nature contributes to excessive checking habits, which often derives from what is commonly labelled as the “fear of missing out” (FOMO).” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201805/addicted-social-media
Although written in 2015 a blog post by Sakina Groth states “according to research at Harvard, social media addition is really a thing – activating the same neural pathways as food, sex and gambling additions! … For some, this becomes an obsession that is less self-expression and more about attention and chemical highs. In fact – recent studies indicate that social media addiction can cause the same kind of brain changes as those seen in cocaine addicts!” http://elseapp.co/blog/2015/socialmediaaddictionisreal
In the BBC News by Hilary Andersson July 2018 states “A former Facebook employee made a related point. “Social media is very similar to a slot machine,” said Sandy Parakilas, who tried to stop using the service after he left the company in 2012. “It literally felt like I was quitting cigarettes.” Leah Pearlman, co-inventor of Facebook’s Like button, said she had become hooked on Facebook because she had begun basing her sense of self-worth on the number of “likes” she had. Ms. Pearlman said she had tried to stop using Facebook after leaving the company. “I noticed that I would post something that I used to post and the “like” count would be way lower than it used to be. “Suddenly, I thought I’m actually also kind of addicted to the feedback”. But Ms. Pearlman said she had not intended the Like button to be addictive. She also believes that social media use has many benefits for lots of people.” https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/technology-44640959
Well, I’m relieved to know that I am not alone. It took some time, but do you know what I learned from all this. There is definitely a place for social media in our lives (staying connected with family and friends) and businesses (spreading the word about your new company or product), but there mustbe boundaries and time limits that need to be established and held to. We should all try to keep each other accountable. How do you handle it? What have you experienced?
Airbnb is an application that is hard to believe its successful story. Airbnb had a rough start since the beginning and it went through at least three separated launches. As of May 2018, Airbnb was worth $38 billion, Forbes reports.
Airbnb operates an accommodation marketplace that allows people to list their available living spaces to be leased or rented by users looking for short-term lodging. As Airbnb doesn’t own any property, its growth purely depends on the number of host and visitors as both of them are charged a percentage of the booking cost. Airbnb like many other great applications is restricted by governmental legislation.
Another social media application that is impressive and I find it useful is the Hootsuite. It helps you keep track and manage our social network channels. It enable us to monitor what people are saying about us or about our organization and brand and direct us to respond instantly. On Hootsuite I can manage my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and read news from different news channels in one place.
Hootsuite is a great tool for small business it allows to post a quick update to multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook profile and page, LinkedIn profile, company page! This feature is great if we want to post urgent messages. Also Hootsuite sends a weekly analytical report include the number of clicks to my website, number of likes and 3 of mentions. I believe social media applications will evolve faster in the near future.
This is a free app that connects to your Instagram in order to provide you basic analytics of your account. It keeps track of your followers, who you are following, users not following you back, users you yourself are not following back, new followers, and followers who have unfollowed you.
It also shows you how many posts you have, comments on your posts, amount of videos you have, average views per video, new followers amount per day, total likes, and average amount of likes per photo.
I mainly like to use this app to see who unfollows me after I have followed them, as many accounts are bots or just follow to get follows but will then leave your account shortly after.
Another new trend that I have seen in online advertising is putting your own image into the template of a phone or laptop. Essentially, this is presenting your information in a more technologically advanced way.
I have seen this from digital portfolios to hard-copy marketing pamphlets in order to make your presentation more neat and streamlined.
Overall, these applications have been useful in my own endeavours in improving my Instagram account as well as learning new ways of presenting information. Keeping up with new technology is important to stay relevant and look professional across social media platforms.
What other applications do you think are upcoming in social media and online marketing? Let me know down below!
When should your child get their first phone? There are so many differing opinions on this topic. If I had my way, my children would never get a phone. Is that really realistic?….I know the answer is no but when is the right time, the perfect time.
According to http://www.commonsensemedia.org, “The right age to give kids their first cell phone is really up to parents. Age isn’t as important a kid’s maturity level, ability to follow home (and their schools’) rules, and their sense of responsibility. But when you hand your children cell phones, you’re giving them powerful communication and media-production tools. They can create text, images, and videos that can be widely distributed and uploaded to websites instantly. Parents really need to consider whether their kids are ready to use their phones responsibly and respectfully.”
As the mother of three, I have to say this has evolved in our household. With our eldest, we said he could not get a phone until he was in grade 8. We made it till the middle of grade 7. He was the only kid without a phone. We were very restrictive about its usage and he knew we could get on his phone and see what he was doing at all times. This was all new for him but also for us. Through keeping “tabs” on his phone I learnt a lot. Just like for us it is much easier to text than it is to say something to someones face, the same goes for them, but I would say even more so. There was an incident I heard of where two girls were fighting over a boy, the boy texted something to one of the girls, she screenshot it and sent it to the other girl. It got very messy. They need to know that whatever they write, text, take pictures of can go viral. Another example of this was at a sex education talk at my children’s school. The educator spoke of a girl sending a boy a photo of her topless. He sent it onto his friends and was arrested for distribution of child pornography. The power they have with their phones are serious and need to be taken as such. Are they really ready for all of this? In the two examples above I am simply speaking about the basics of the phone. This is before speaking about instagram, snapchat, houseparty etc. If we could only get back to the simple times of the home phone.
I do not have any real answers to the question only advice from my experience. I do not believe there is one age that is “the age”. I have found that every year it changes. No one had a cellphone when my son was nine. My daughter is nine and several of her friends have phones. She does not and will not for sometime. 1. If and when you do decide to give your child a phone have their passcode and make sure they know you will be checking. I believe that as a general rule your child should not post, write or do anything publicly if they do not think you would approve. Our children are no longer afforded the same rights we had as kids to make mistakes without documentation. Now there are pictures, screenshots etc that can go viral. 2. Have open conversations regularly with your kids about social media, about what is going on with their phones. We have monitors on our children’s devices to see which apps they are using and what they are searching. 3. Try and stay up to date with all the new apps and how they are being used. 4. Have a group of parents looking out for each others kids. I regularly ask my friends what they have seen on their kids phones. Even when I think I am being on top of everything I still miss things. These are my few pieces of advice. I know they will evolve and I welcome anyones feedback. We have entered a whole new world. One that looks a lot different than the way we were brought up. I am unsure how I would fare in this world. I wish all the parents out there the best of luck.
At the start of this course, my goal was to find ways to create
and market a brand using social media. I have a love-hate relationship with
sales: I critique in silence every sales pitch whenever someone tries to sell
me something—nine times out of ten it turns out to be an uninspiring interaction—yet,
I really enjoy a good ad.
I’ve had many jobs in sales—brick-and-mortar retail, door-to-door, telemarketing—and I always dreaded interrupting people to sell them a product. Can you remember the last time you got excited about a telemarketer suggesting you should go on a cruise? Or about someone knocking on your door to see if you want a water-purifier? Probably not. Who likes being interrupted? Yet, there are corn-chip ads that will stop you on your tracks on your way to the fridge.
The thing about presenting yourself with a sales-pitch is that, by the time people realize you are selling something (whether they buy or not) all you are to them is that—a pitch. However, once in a while, you come across those that make you look twice and lean in; those that make you laugh, get you excited or make you think about a loved one—Those that engage you.
Social media presents a great opportunity to promote your business. One that goes beyond traditional marketing strategies designed to simply get in front of people with a transactional proposition—a common mistake that brands make when using social media; they worry more about their reach than their impact.
When a brand engages you with their strategy the focus in never
on the success of their company or their products’ features but rather, it is
focused on you: not that they didn’t show you their product, or that you didn’t
know it was for sale. It’s that something they did—not just the product itself—delivered
an experience that made you relate to their brand in an emotional way.
Before social media, small businesses could only influence a
small circle around them; you could be a baker and have a great marketing
strategy, but beyond the smell of freshly-baked bread lingering in your neighbourhood,
your reach outside that area was limited to pamphlets and spam. The alternative
were expensive ads reserved for big-budget agencies and those who could afford them.
Social media leveled that field.
With the internet and social media your small business circle is now only limited by your imagination. You can reach millions of people from… well, anywhere where one can get Wi-Fi! If you add to that, the fact that airbrushed ads and perfectly scripted voice-overs are losing trust from a generation that can sway the market with their opinion—meaning millennials value real over perfect—sky is the limit when it comes to execution.
A specific application in the field of online marketing and social media that I find appealing, is ephemeral content. I wrote an article a few months ago about the fear of missing out (FOMO) and since then, the trend continues to grow. About my earlier point, real over perfect does not mean sloppy. The reason this trend is growing is because people want to engage with stories. They want to see how the bread is baked, and then they want to know who the baker is. Stories let’s us have an intimate connection with a brand and this is a great application for a lot of them.
Another interesting way to use social media to sell your products is tagging them on Instagram. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Done right, you can tell a story with a photo—who doesn’t love a stunning visual? And, what if everything you see in the picture could be ordered by taping on it with your finger? That’s an innovative idea!
Social Media Marketing is a field with many unexplored corners. Platforms emerge and innovate every day, as do the marketers that promote brands on them. Tools aside, a business should fist pay attention to its community’s needs and craft an honest product to share with them. Marketers should think of a way to tell a story that makes people lean in, and inspire trust. Then we can focus on reaching millions!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. What other applications do you find innovative to promote a brand on Social? I’d love to read about it.