COM0015 Blog #1:  Tools & Sources Soooo Many Choices

COM0015 Blog #1: Tools & Sources Soooo Many Choices

If you mentioned Social Media to me prior to enrolling in this program, I would have likely not thought much about it!  Since enrolling in this social media course it has been definitely an eye opener to me.

The volume of information shared over websites and the different paths one can choose to reach their desired audience is mind boggling. Though a trial and error method I have zoned in on our targeted audience by means of developing our two main websites which is a ongoing project. In our community Facebook seems to be the main pathway used, we advertise on 14 swamp shops within our target area not including our 2 Company Facebook pages. CAN411 is also used as a site for potential clients to gather or zero in on Moving companies in our general area. It gives them a taste of what our company does along with client referrals and other links to our main sites.

One thing to remember when choosing which pathway you are going to use, is to have a strategy plan and do not flood the web so that it becomes out of control. You have to have a controlled delivery along with the proper listening tool. Disorganization can kill even the best attempts at social media by spreading yourself too thin and using too many different tools at once. It is like organizing multiple trains on one set of tracks.

When it comes to tracking / measurement it is putting the cherry on top of a sundae. It plays a vital part of your plan for a successful campaign. I started using Hootsuite as a social media Marketing & Management dashboard but now I am trying Goggle my Business, time will tell!

There are so many tools that can be used for social media if you had to pick your top 3 or 4, what would they be for a successful campaign? Almost as hard as choosing your favorite ice cream on a hot summer’s day!

 

 

Assignment #1 Blog #6.. Do People Know Your Story?

Assignment #1 Blog #6.. Do People Know Your Story?

I work in the relocation business which means we can be responsible for industrial, retail business, municipal and provincial organizations along with the everyday person looking to move from one location to another. We are a trusted company that goes that extra mile to make our clients experience worry free. Meanwhile there are some moving companies out there that are looking for that quick dollar and they have no shame on how they acquire it!

One morning late last year I received a phone call at work from Wendy wanting to ask a few more questions about her move that she just booked with our company. I replied to her that this was the first time we had spoken. She asked if my name was Olivia? I replied saying no my name is Cheryl. She then asked for Olivia which I informed her there was no one by that name working here. She then told me that our affiliate company by the name of Red Maple Moving & Storage based out of Mississauga gave her a rate to move her this morning and took her credit card number for deposit. I immediately informed her we do not have any affiliates and to call her credit card company and hopefully any funds would still be in the pending stage.

As soon as I got off the phone with Wendy, I contacted the manager of our main website provider at Site Dudes and let her in on what has happened. Some how our main contact email was hacked though their site. We immediately changed our passwords and Site Dudes set up a sting hoping to catch the culprit. Red Maple Moving & Storage was contacted and asked for their address which was found to be a UPS store located in Mississauga.

I have a friend that is a manager at Toronto Crime Stoppers and I contacted her giving the information that was collected including Wendy’s contact info. She filed a report and found out that Toronto Police are currently investigating the company Red Maple Moving.

Below is a link to Red Maple Moving out of Mississauga, Ontario.

Mississauga Moving Company that said they are affiliated with All Ways Moving Company in Smiths Falls

Fortunately Wendy did reach her credit card company in time to remove the pending charges to her credit card. We did book her move, she also came into the office to personally thank me for the quick thinking and action taken. Red Maple Movers are on the police radar and have been charged. My employer was very proud of me on how quickly a disaster was turned into a positive outcome.

What more could one ask for for a Happy Ending!

COM0014 – Target Audiences – Blog #3

Understanding how to communicate with your audience is key to any social media strategy; when your audience is made up of diverse groups, it makes for an interesting challenge. My company’s main product, Personality Dimensions is available in four different languages, and is sold widely in three international markets outside of Canada – Hong Kong, Australia, and the USA. Extensive research went in to the development of the product to make it as culturally universal as possible. Having this cultural research on hand means that the first step of understanding the target audience has already been completed.

Despite cultural and geographical differences, there are a lot of demographics in common amongst the target audience. Customers predominately work in the social service field – career development, family services, etc. Approximately 85% is female, which can be a bit of a challenge for me. There is currently a nearly even split in age demographics; half are baby-boomers, which is decreasing in size as they retire, and the other have are generation X, which is increasing in size, with more moving into leadership roles. Individuals who work in this field have at minimum a 2-year college degree in disciplines like career counselling, and social work; many also have bachelor’s degrees in a variety of liberal arts disciplines. In Canada, and the USA English the language predominately spoken, however it may not be an individual’s first language. In Hong Kong the language most spoken in this demographic is Cantonese, however English is almost as widely spoken.

The Personality Dimensions blog has been key in reaching out to this demographic. This allows me to reach out to the different communities individually by doing things like theming posts on relevant topics, inviting guest bloggers from their respective communities, and seeking feedback via survey to help better understand their needs and wants.

The next challenge is successfully reaching out to individuals who do not speak or read English. Translation of existing work is an option, but it is expensive and may not be relevant content. I plan on reaching out to leaders in the community who can write effectively in French, Spanish, and Traditional Chinese, but I would like to hear from others who have had success with this. Please comment below with your strategies and success stories.

Targeting Photographers and Models

Flash Designs Studio has five target audiences: photographers, models, stock agencies, people wanting family portraits and businesses wanting event photos. FDS has targeted the first two in marketing efforts so far, so let’s focus on them. These photographers and models are in Ottawa, ethnically diverse and artistic, visual people.

Most photographers who attend workshops and Meetups enjoy photography as a hobby, while some use it as a retirement business (local key players lead these sessions, as FDS soon will). As photography can be expensive, most in this target audience have post-secondary education, established careers and good salaries with disposable incomes. Most are open to sharing their images and insights, as seen at clubs and Meetups and on Facebook and online forums like PhotoNEWS, Photo Life, Outdoor Photography Canada and Canadian Geographic’s photo club (national key players).

While most photographers are men, models are young women who are in post-secondary school or just starting their careers and have modest incomes. An effective strategy has been doing “time-for-print” shoots; the only payment for models and FDS is to build each other’s portfolio.

According to Facebook Insights, 64% of people reached are female and 45% are ages 35 to 54. According to Google Analytics, 54% of FlashDesignsStudio.com visitors are male and 61% are ages 18 to 44. While 95% of Facebook visitors are Canadian, 43% of website visitors are Canadian and 24% are British (some of the more active Twitter photographers).

FDS does not have enough Twitter nor Instagram followers to generate statistics. These platforms and blogs are not as popular as Facebook with these target audiences. Instagram’s former square format and Twitter’s former text-only format may have deterred these groups. Advertising saturates Twitter feeds, possibly further deterring use. Because of this, FDS focuses more attention on Facebook than any other platform.

COM0014, Blog 1: Getting Lost on The Lost Highway

The expansion of Hwy 7 in the 1930s was part of Ontario’s economic stimulus after the Great Depression. As the main link between Toronto and Ottawa, it had a descent beginning with motels, restaurants and gas stations springing up for truck drivers and tourists to stop along their way. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. When the four-line divided Hwy 401 was finished in the 1960s, people took that route instead, taking the flow of trade with it. My husband and I needed to use the now nearly deserted highway this summer to get to a campground just north of Hwy 7 on Hwy 41.

rust-bucket-heap3

When I first heard about The Lost Highway as  a photography Meetup, I knew Norm and I would want to check out the rust bucket heaps, the Hubcap Hotel and the other abandoned vehicles and businesses. We couldn’t attend the Meetup, but we used the information provided to check it out on our way to the campground. I envisioned creating black and white images with a derelict truck providing a splash of colour and sepia-tone images of long-forgotten motels, diners and gas stations. The section on the Hubcap Hotel is particularly worth scrolling through.

The 2013 TVO documentary, The Lost Highway, included the owner of the Kaladar Motel talking about how the motel business dried up and how he now sells hubcaps at the Hubcap Hotel. Hubcaps for cars made decades ago now fill the rooms; nuts fill the dressers.

rust-bucket-heap2

Norm and I tried to find the Hubcap Hotel using the Google Map of Lost Highway landmarks. Appearing to be on the south side of Hwy 7, just west of Hwy 41, we drove back and forth on that stretch with a GPS telling us that we were passing it, but just not seeing it out in the field. Turning south on Hwy 41, we tried to access it from the side, along the Trans-Canada Trail. We walked about a kilometer along one trail before heading back as the GPS told us we were still too close to the highway. We walked a couple of kilometers along a second trail, which was closer, but still we saw nothing more than mosquitoes in the woods. The hotel and the rust bucket heap near it were to remain lost on The Lost Highway.

rust-bucket-heap1We did find one pair of rust bucket heaps off Hwy 7 on N Rd/Mountain Grove Rd. I always find it amazing how many pictures Norm and I can take of the same thing, from different sides, different angles, different points of view. We could each post more than a few images online with no two being alike. I’ve shared three of my photographs here.

The only other Lost Highway landmarks we found were the many wooden shacks selling blueberries, which made the outing that much sweeter. It may be cliché that life is about the journey, not the destination, but we certainly did have fun getting lost on The Lost Highway.

If you have any better luck finding The Lost Highway, please let me know. I would be happy to hear from you.

COM 0015 – Assignment 5 – Event Participation

Professional Development 2-for-1: that’s how it happened for me….

      Trying to figure out what would be the best professional development ‘EVENT’ was a tricky one.  Where do I go? What do I do?  What do I say about it?  So… I did two events in one  day… and lived to tell the tale: in blog format, no less. 🙂

      For years now, I’ve been working towards pursuing a career as a freelance superhero, writer and possibility creator.  An active part of the Ottawa Writing Circle’s Meetup group, I have attended several of their workshops, social mixers and I finally decided to venture out of my comfort zone to see what their OWC WRITE IN event had to offer.  I have always been a very solitary figure as a writer.  True, I’ve had my share of group writing and editing opportunities over the years, but this opportunity was a little bit different.

When I met up with our coordinator, Averill (@averillelisa), there were two more participants pecking away at their respective writing projects.  Prior to our meeting, I had mentioned the event on Twitter– Thank you @Averillelisa for giving me my first Twitter conversation in real-time!!  Not only did we mention each other by Twitter id: it also gave me an opportunity to learn new conversation skills with someone who actually Twitter talked back.

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The write-in group included such writing personalities as Averill Eisa Frankes (bottom left w/ me), Alexandra, Ariel, Belle Alvine, James W. Cook, Michelle Human, Nick HJ, Sanna, Tamara and me.  (all mentioned are profile names for our Meetup Ottawa Writer’s Circle Group)

      Writers periodically dropped in and introduced themselves and we did have a discreet ongoing conversation; politely asking how it was going when we caught someone blankly staring at their screen. Averill did forewarn me that there were no outlets or wifi at the world exchange plaza foodcourt, so I had made a game plan in advance. I went with my trusty fully charged MacBook Pro and I used my iPhone to call up any images that I needed to play with. Airdropping stuff from my phone to my computer has become a regular practice for me— way less grunt-work!

“Can’t edit a blank page,” is one token of writerly wisdom that Averill left me with: short, sweet and to the point.

       Same day, different location…

45 minutes after leaving the world exchange food-court?  Yeah… I managed to haul myself and my amazing computer all the way home with a quick, portable fre-fab food that I picked up at Sobey’s with roughly 5 minutes to spare.

       When I initially signed up for this online event, I thought that it might have video or some sort of interactive discussion.  They’d been reminding me via text and email and I’d even built it into my calendar as a backup.   I’ve done a whole lot of reading of a whole lot of books and listened to audiotapes with these fine fellows.  Luminaries and philosophers and authors all rolled into one: they have distinctively different appreciation for social media.

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So, I rushed home and plugged my trusty MacBook pro into my television so I could see everything hi-def… and then, it turned out that their ‘BEAUTIFUL CHAOS: How to find meaning in a messy world’ (link for encore presentation) was audio only via internet that combined the sharing power of Deepak Chopra with Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Being perspective.  Bummer.I sucked it up and listened and took notes anyway.  The simplicity of the presentation worked well: zero technical glitches or distractions throughout.

Common narratives revolved around the power of transformation on the other side of catastrophe and their usual ‘this is how you can build power from powerless’ mantra.  The one super interesting part of their presentation talked about the tole of social media in our society at large and how it can be used to make a positive impact.

Eckart made an interesting analogy to Narcissus, touching on the superficial, facade based practices of social media.  Admittedly, he doesn’t really use it much at all.  On the other side of the coin, Deepak Chopra sees the power in social media for human creativity: becoming  “a catalyst for collective awakening.”  He brought an interesting perspective to the conversation.  Talking about the power of luminaries to share their knowledge and experience with the world, Deepak sees social media as the opportunity to have more luminaries present on the world-stage.

Left exhausted and inspired by the onslaught of creative input and my own interpretation of how challenging and rewarding this social media rich, professional developmental day could be for me: my plans for a luminescent empowering career path took shape.  I’m continually proving to myself that I am willing to try the impossible.  Let’s face it, in my world ‘Impossible’ is what a scaredy cat says when confronted with something that seems too big to conquer.  Giving up the ‘im’ part of that equation is what transformation is all about–

Transform the IMPOSSIBLE into a POSSIBILITY!!

 

 

 

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

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.

 

 

COM0015 – Assignment 1 -Blog 4 – Out of the Box

Combining everything that we already knew about SOCIAL MEDIA with all the cases we’ve studied and all the best tools that are to be had: it feels like I’m only ever getting half-way to a solution.  Before starting this program, I thought I had a hunch about a few tools and programs out there in the real world of business meets social media… but.. wait a minute: ‘Things are changing… how will I ever keep up?’

LISTENING + LEARNING + STAYING IN ACTION  = keep to keeping up with trends and generating new ways of looking at the world through the lens of #SocialMediaMeetsBusiness.

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So what do I hope to accomplish with social media?  Is it working? Well, I’m constantly learning new tricks.

From what I gather, I’m using platforms that are suited to my particular field and/or project(s.)  I’m learning from others about the varied style of communication using social media = the ins and outs of sharing your message.  What works for some people is worth a try but it might not quite work for me.  I guess it’s all a question of finding a style and sticking to it..

GOING MOBILE?  Here are a few tools that might come in handy…

I’m always looking for social media inspiration: taking free webinars and online courses.  I have found a whole bunch of useful information about how mobile apps come into play

Instagram can house short videos… Hilary Rushford, of Dean Street Society, hosted a webinar called: ‘Doubling Your Instagram Following.’

Distributing a free workbook, her program talked about free tools for editing and posting images on Instagram.

VSCO CAM = where you add a photo to your library and she talked us through using the editing tools.

@HilaryRushford also talked about the PERISCOPE App = live mobile video streaming; which works really well when you’re sharing content on a road trip, from various locations.

Another useful tool that I’ve grown to love is HOOTSUITE Suggestions...

Right from my iPhone, I am able to call up HOT TOPICS that I can easily share on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

FYI>> It gives you THREE topics to search for and you can assign unlimited accounts… so make sure that you tweak the settings before posting on multiple accounts.  Be #strategic in what you post and where.  Double check your postings on each platform to catch anything that goes wrong.  If in doubt, delete and give it another try.  Skill takes practice.

Puzzled by PINNING?

PINTEREST is a social media platform that would appear to have limited application to business… but Melanie Duncan’s webinar gave me a whole bunch of information about optimizing this platform to steer traffic from PINS back to your company site.

> The type of material you PIN is part of the formula.  Inforgraphics are the most popular format (they spread like wild fire.)

Melanie also suggest the following tools:

PICMonkey =  Protecting your content with a watermark

Easily creating infographics = www.infogr.am

Getting a Pinterest tab for your Facebook Page = www.woobox.com/pinterest

Pinterest stuff = Courtesy of Melanie Duncan (www.powerofpinning.com/course

> The BLOGEME poster thingy I built (featured image)  still lives on scribd.com which I’ve embedded on my personal blog (backdoor access = click expand button on bottom corner) http://ow.ly/MFQx302Y1sy

COM0015/Post 1 – Tools & Sources

My favourite social media listening/monitoring tool is by far Facebook Insights. It is extremely user-friendly.  After setting up my first ever Facebook page to promote female baseball in my hometown, the Insights tab was immediately available to me and I was amazed at the story it could tell.

You don’t have to be an analyst or statistician to interpret the data from the graph below. On July 30 the number of likes peaked at 30. On this date we held open registration for our younger players who are also our newest players.  Parents are told the best way to keep current on our baseball program is to like our Facebook page.

FB Likes

Corner Brook Minor Baseball Association

Our baseball association also uses Twitter. As the person responsible for the Association’s communications, including social media, I like Tweet Deck.

Tweet Deck

@CbbaCB 

What I love about Tweet Deck is its horizontal layout. I often use Twitter on my smart phone but I love the layout of Tweet Deck on my desktop.  No clicking the little icons to reveal what’s happening because the horizontal layout gives me the whole picture.

I have had my own Twitter account for several years and  have also been tweeting on behalf of our baseball association for about 18 months; however, I am still learning how to analyze the data.  I am a frequent visitor to Twitter’s support, click here to see for yourself, visit  Twitter Support.

Being able to easily analyze these two tools has helped me tremendously in my promotion of the sport of baseball. By building a following for our baseball association, I have helped contribute to the growth in our game – an 80% increase in player enrollment over 2014.

This is a skill that I can use in my professional career as an instructor. If I can help grow the number of baseball players, in particular FEMALE baseball players, then I can help increase the number of students enrolled in the programs that I teach at my college.

One of the best sources of news and updates that I like is Google Alerts. I like that I can set up as many alerts as I want on several different topics. I also love that it is delivered to my inbox. I can keep track of various forms of media such as videos, web postings, Tweets, etc.

Using Google Alerts I can easily keep track of what competitors are doing, such as our local soccer association, and even keep track of where I (or our baseball association) am in the social media sphere.  I can find conversations about both me (baseball association) and my competitors.

There are so many tools available that it is overwhelming. I like to find a few that work for me and stick to them.