COM0015 – Assignment 5: Event

COM0015 – Assignment 5: Event

On Friday, February 26th I attended the Monthly Networking Event for Women Entrepreneurs, put on by WeCan Network. WeCan Network was founded in Calgary, Alberta and is a space for women entrepreneurs to network and come together to share business ideas (WeCan, n.d.). I chose this event since it was for women in business and specifically in Canada. It was a great place to meet like-minded people and begin breaking out of my shell and networking. 

Here is a picture of me and the ladies I had the opportunity to meet at this great networking event! I am in the top right corner.

This event was hosted by Zulfira Pulotova who is the WeCan Founder. I also had the opportunity to meet four other wonderful women. I met Chelse who has her own plant-based manufacturing company in Rhode Island, I thought it was neat to meet her since she was from the states and we had the opportunity to talk about the differences in business between the two countries. I also met Mila who, like me was there to do some general networking and get to know other women in business.  The third person I met was Holy who currently works for the city of Calgary, and finally Alga who works in Alberta’s education centre. Since we were such a small group, we all had several opportunities to speak and ask each other questions. It was very different than any in-person networking event I have attended, but I really enjoyed it. 

A few things I learned at this event was how to find funding for starting a new business, specifically government grants. Something that I learned more specifically is that MasterCard has a foundation for business grants. I thought this was very interesting and something I may begin to look into further. 

Something that I was able to contribute to the interaction was that I could provide some knowledge on using social media in business. Holy specifically asked me about how she could use Twitter for her business. I was able to provide her some guidance and answer a few of her marketing questions. 

Some ideas I have walked away from that event with are some tips on your business’ elevator pitch. Zulfira reminded us to practice our pitch often and memorize it well. She also mentioned that while it is hard to talk about ourselves, and often sounds like we are bragging, it is so important to do it when selling our brand and networking. I thought these pieces of advice were very helpful and something I will be focusing on for myself. 

One quote from the event that really stood out to me was:

Who do you want to show up as? Build your brand and pitch around that. 

I will definitely be attending a similar event in the future. My goal is to attend one networking event every quarter throughout the year. WeCan actually offers networking events on the last Friday of each month, so I may start attending more frequently if possible. I would like to attend more to help me overcome my shyness and network better. I specifically liked being with other women in business. I think the really great part of having such a small group together was that we all added each other on LinkedIn before we parted ways. Furthermore, there is a closed Facebook group that we have now all been invited to join to stay in touch, hear about other networking events, and learn more business tips along the way! 

Sources:

Eventbrite, (26, Feb 2021). Monthly Networking Event for Women Entrepreneurs. Retrieved from https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/monthly-networking-event-for-women-entrepreneurs-tickets-141735722361#

WeCan. (No date). Reinvent. Grow Your Business. Retrieved from https://www.wecanetwork.ca/

From Dreams to Reality

Hi, welcome to my blog! My name is Audrey-Ann and I’m a 19 years old student. I am the kind of person that always had, even when I was a child, a lot of ambition in life. When I was around 8 years old, I wanted to become a popular singer. I wanted to sing in front of thousands of people, live in Los Angeles and just in general, live my best life! My biggest dream has changed over the time but a part of me wanted to accomplish big things no matter what.

When I was in my senior year of High School, I found this Influencer named Elisabeth Rioux. She is from Québec (like me) and she owns a swimsuit company named Hoaka Swimwear. She really inspired me to start my own brand even if I was considered young to create a business. I’ve always been interested in fashion as well. When I was younger, I had a fashion book where I drew dresses and cute outfits. I looked at it the other day and I’m glad that my fashion sense has changed! 

Hoaka Swimwear official website

So, during my senior year, I decided that I wanted to create my own clothing brand. It was now my new goal. After I graduated, I decided to go study in a business program. After one year and a half in this program, I felt like I wasn’t in my element. I wanted to create an online shop but we never learned a thing about online marketing or even online businesses. So, I left the program. I thought that It would be better if I learned everything I needed through blogs and YouTube videos.

Young lady typing on keyboard by Vlada Karpovich

I was all by myself through this whole process. All I had was me and the Internet. I started looking for a factory that would produce my designs but it ended up being harder than I thought. It took me months to choose the right one for my needs. I was also on YouTube for hours watching videos about other entrepreneurs starting their own businesses. It really helped me to know what I needed to do before I buy my inventory. I also spent hours analyzing big fashion brands: their history, what made them blew up, their values as a business… I had ups and downs like everyone else but the thing is, I didn’t know how to solve some issues I had. Some of them took me months before I really knew how to solve them.

Logo of Audrey-Ann’s business, Rêve Bodysuits

What I want to do through this blog is to help young boys or girls like me to start their own businesses. There is a lot of competition in this industry and I know how hard it is to start with only an idea and nothing else. I wish I could’ve had someone when I started to guide me through this whole process. That is why I want to share my experience with you. Things that seem simple but are actually important like finding the right clothing factory for your needs, how and where to register your business, how to save money to buy your inventory… It’s easy to give up when you’re young and doing everything by yourself because you don’t necessarily know where to start. Take your time and make sure you understand a minimum what you are doing before launching your brand. See you in my next post!

Use Social Media To Your Advantage – Supplement Your Income Today!

COM0011 – Blog #2

Canadian Bills/Coins
Image by Anita Hart via Flickr.

Thanks to the current COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself in quarantine at home, and without a job to go to everyday. Time was getting long, I had no set routine, and I was wondering if there was a way for myself to make money online to add to my current earnings. Being an avid and daily social media user, I decided to conduct some research and see which online platform would allow me to use my skillsets and turn it into money from the comfort of my own nook. I was aware that completing online surveys was a very common way for people to make extra cash, but I wanted to find something that would permit me to be creative while making supplemental bucks. I’ve decided to share my top three findings with you, as I knew I was probably not the only one that was starting to get indulged with boredom and mildly stressing out for money.

Speak Your Mind, Start a Blog!

Almost every website that I’ve visited have mentioned kicking off a blog as a means to make your wallet a bit thicker. You usually don’t need any sort of relevant experience, but you must enjoy writing and doing research. Many of these sites have recommended to dig deep into your interests to further create a unique and informative online journal.

The beauty of blogging is that you can express yourself in any tone that suits you best, you can write about pretty much anything, and other readers are able to connect with you by commenting on your writings. It’s a great way to discover different perspectives, opinions, new tips, and even additional information on subjects that interest you.

Lucky for you, I was able to find a basic (and free) step-by-step guide to get started on your blog. There are also numerous Canadian (yes, Canadian!) affiliate programs to help you boost your new extra income. I’ve listed a few of them below to help you get started:

Let’s Get Creative

If writing isn’t your forte, don’t worry! If you’re more of an experimental and inventive person that enjoys creating things with your very own hands, then selling your artwork online may be your calling.

Websites like Etsy and Ebay are platforms that make it possible for regular people like us, to sell our handcrafted gems easily, and online. You can find all sorts of homespun items: jewelry, home decor, clothing, furniture, etc. The possibilities are endless.

So, what’s the catch? Most of these global marketplaces are free to join, but these platforms make money by charging the seller a percentage on the transaction fee of the item’s price and delivery rate. For example, Etsy will take 5% of your earnings, and if you use the Etsy Payments, they’ll gather an additional 3-4% and CA$0.25 toll when you’ve sold an item (Learn How To Sell/Etsy).

Knowledge Is Power

I think this may be one of my favourite ways for anyone to make money online. As Ownr says, “teaching English online is a relatively new hustle”. So, why not use your English skills, and transfer them to children that could benefit from them? There are numerous platforms that are available to anyone, and most of these websites only ask for their teachers to have the following requirements: have a stable internet connection, have a functioning camera and microphone for video chats, and be fluent with the English language (written and spoken). For some of the programs, it is essential that you have a college or university degree.

File:Professor Teaching a Student GIF Loop.gif
GIF by VideoPlasty

Most of the students online come from all over the world, and they’re simply looking to refine their anglophone vocabulary; hence why the requirements to become an online tutor are so flexible.

According to Ownr and Savvy New Canadians, these are the most successful websites for both the teachers and students:

Get Working!

Again, there are so many ways for anyone to supplement their income during this pandemic. I simply wanted to explore ways for myself, and for you, to turn your hobbies into extra cash, all through various online platforms. If you know of these operations or even different ones, I’d love for you to leave a comment, share your experience, and which platform worked best for you!

References

  1. Enoch Omololu. “17 Real Ways To Make Extra Money From Home And Online In Canada”. Savvy New Canadians. 12 April 2020. https://www.savvynewcanadians.com/how-to-make-money-home-online-canada/
  2. Enoch Omololu. “How To Start Making A Money-Making Blog In 2020: The Easy 6-Step Ultimate Guide”. Savvy New Canadians. https://www.savvynewcanadians.com/how-to-start-a-blog/
  3. (No Attributed Author). “12 Ways to Make Money Online in Canada”. Ownr. https://www.ownr.co/blog/ways-to-make-money-online-in-canada/

COM0015 – BLOG #4 – One more piece of the puzzle

As a photographer (working for federal government) I also have my side business and I understand what’s involved in the challenge of managing your own enterprise.

When I started this Social Media Course about a year and a half ago, I felt that Social Media and Photography would be a great complement to each other. I also knew that I wanted to eventually work on a plan for the Martial Art School I am attending. It is a small local business with an owner who comes from Venezuela and since I joined only a couple months following the opening, I get to witness the progress of his academy as one of the first adults in the group. I regularly have discussions with the owner about his school and processes, whether it concerns physical renovations or social medias posts and recruiting, etc.

Creating a social media plan and especially the SWOT analysis for a business that is outside my field (photography) and comparing its performance to other schools in the area was something that allowed me to analyze somehow outside my comfort zone.

I realized that I was really enjoying having an input into his growing business. Integrating Networking + Social Media + Business/marketing turned out to be very interesting. It felt as if everything was falling into place. Just the way I felt Social Media and Photography would complement each other. I think that, moving forward, I will be seeking some courses in marketing, as this is probably the missing piece of the puzzle.

Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 21.55.04 PM

Screenshot of ebomartialarts.com

Growing a Business for Free

Can you grow your brand through only Instagram?

It is crazy how much a click of a button can accomplish, allowing you to interact with your audience without being present. Companies are able to make a single post, and increase their growth, and make profits in just minutes.

Ashley Carman, a journalist for The Verge, writes her article Instagram now has 1 billion users worldwide. She discusses the rapid growth Instagram has accumulated in 2018 after their in-office announcement of hitting 1billon active users.

This allows large or smaller companies to take full advantage of these growths for their own improvement and development. Companies can increase attraction to their pages and bring awareness with simple interactive media posts.

There are many different ways Instagram allows you to interact and connect with your followers:

Tags

There are many ways you can use tags, from tagging other people, trending hashtags, or getting people to tag their friends in different contests. Instagram gives you man options for using tags, depending how you use it to your advantage. Hashtag’s have always been a key component for bringing awareness to a central topic, but recently brands have come up with new tactics that have proven to bring in more traffic.

Contests have been trending through people’s timelines, getting people to tag friends, like their photo, follow their page, like their page, or even repost them for a chance to win a prize. Normally people are not willing to take their time unless it is for a cause, so this helps push people to promote your brand for you while you sit back and all you had to do is make a single post.

Swipe Up!

This tactic is great if you are wanting to share something with your followers that you are not able to on Instagram; whether it be selling merchandise, a link to your newest video, or a link to your blog, you are able to link anything you would like that would interest you followers. It allows you to post a summary or idea on your story and your followers can decide whether they are willing to take the time to swipe up or skip by.

Recently I noticed personal bloggers re-posting their pictures to their story and have a swipe up link to the photo posted on their Instagram, using this strategy to gain more traction and likes to build their brand!

Make a Poll

Making polls is not so much for increasing traction but it does help you understand your followers and consumers. This option allows brands to take the time to see what their followers and consumers are looking for, for example: A company cannot decide if they want to launch their new product in blue or green… well with only a few clicks, the company is able to create a poll to allow their consumers to decide for them. Based off the results they can successfully create items they know their customers would enjoy.

Ask for Feedback

Feedback is a huge factor for all companies, involving Instagram of not, your feedback from your clients is the most important thing of any company because that shapes your reputation as a brand. Instagram now allows people to post a question or a statement and people are able to reply and voice their opinion to the person, brand or company and it can be completely anonymous.

Collab with Influencers

Now this is the BIGGEST tactic most larger brands use, this would not be considered free either. Companies pay influences hundreds to thousands of dollars to promote their brands through your favourite influencers. It is the most effective way to get influencers that people look up to and have them sell your brand to all their following. If your favourite model, actress, or singer tells you to buy it, chances are high… you will probably end up buying it. Especially when many of these influencers are given discount codes and you THINK you are saving money.

Source: BUSINESS OF APPS

Social media gives us such a diverse and proactive platform that can be taken full advantage of. Brand’s now do not have to pay thousands to advertise or start up their brand’s on TV or on the radio because Instagram offers so many features to allow you to spark your growth and become a reputable brand with multiple free features, and low prices to sponsor or promote your posts if you decide to do so.

Facebook:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? Take a look at my blog! https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

Twitter:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? #insta #socialmedia #instgram #branding #company https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

References:

COM0014 – Blog #2: Are Your Reading Level & How You Write – Connected?

“Think of reading this way, and you quickly realize how this allows you to deliver unique value to your readers as a publisher.” says, Brian Clark of copyblogger.com, “How to Read”.

       This week my eyes were opened to the obvious fact that being a great reader can make me a better writer. I didn’t know four levels of reading existed, I could tell I had trouble reading more analytical and syntopical blogs because these are meant for deep conversations in topics filled with data and philosophical questions. Nope. Whereas reading elementary and inspectional blogs came easier to me with more terminology I could understand with a broad knowledge of understanding. WooHoo!

      I have been working on my reading since giving this blog a read and it is improving where I publish, how I write and what ideas would be most beneficial when planning my blog. I strongly suggest you check out the link I embedded in the article, as you can learn to be a better writer in 10 minutes.

     I’ve learned about writing before and have always been in love with it, over the years my knowledge has been persuaded to focus on other paths and have lost my time with it. I feel out of the loop, I wrote blogs with meaningful information, links and perfect grammar but I still felt like something was missing. Thanks to my course, I am pretty sure I found the diamond I was looking for.

The Influencer: A Whole New Ball Game

Content is fire, social media is gasoline

https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/why-content-is-fire-and-social-media-is-gasoline/

Okay, so you’ve wound up on this article because of an intriguing title, that to be honest, much of current generation have yet to fully grasp and understand how crucial it is to build an online platform for yourself, or especially your business. We’ve all been there; I have friends running and managing their own media pages on Instagram and Facebook, as well as running and managing client’s social media pages getting paid a solid amount. Even more so, I’m currently doing the same with my photography account and my personal account, taking advantage of a network-driven platform and leveraging it to my advantage.

So the question must be asked: What exactly is an “influencer”?

An influencer is essentially someone who is able to influence consumer purchase decisions by promoting x-product(s) through their considerably large social media platform.

Now, why on earth is being an influencer a game-changing lifestyle? In the business world, being an influencer has redesigned the marketing industry as more people and companies become heavily immersed into social media, all with the goal to reach more people around the world. Not only do you get products either free or largely discounted by these brands, but it increases your network and also increases your online net value, making you a very competitive individual to partner up with. Becoming an influencer has changed the entire marketing industry, as it became the most prominent form of digital marketing in all of 2018. According to Forbes, the infamous platform, Instagram, made up for 93% of all influencer campaigns in 2018 alone, above its parent company Facebook. In addition, Instagram alone beat YouTube as one of the top platforms for many popular online celebrities, such as KingBach, or Amanda Cerny. Isn’t it cool to work directly from your phone?

Who is an influencer?

I know for many that aren’t very involved with the new wave of social media platforms and the understanding of how to capitalize on the powerful tools platforms such as Instagram and Facebook offer, the idea of scaling one’s profile might sound very intimidating. However, the rise of micro influencing simply redefined how someone with even a few hundred to a few thousand followers can become an effective representative for any brand. I, myself, am currently representing a few of my own partnered brands (@aboveandbelowofficial, @serengetee, @halifornia.apparel, @livingstonebrand), and I have learned to effectively scale and grow my account, along with making amazing new connections from around the world. Not only do I get products both free and largely discounted in bundles, I’m able to get products before they’re even released to the public.

Aside from my own experience, influencers in general are huge assets for brands to collaborate with because they are able to boost conversion rates and increase sales. The most important factor in all of this lies upon selecting the proper talent to create a relationship with, since influencers allow brands to engage and interact with millions of niches and audiences at large scales. This is entirely different from previous methods of marketing, where companies used to pay online platforms to place an ad for their brand; whereas now, it is all about creating partnerships and infusing a brand image with an individual in a more natural way. According to Adweek, “brands don’t need to worry about ‘banner blindness’ or viewability because they are literally appending themselves to content from the creators themselves.”

https://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/brands-rely-influencer-marketing-2018-beyond.html

The reason influencers generate sales effectively is that they are social celebrities with high engagement rates. Their photos and videos reach hundreds and thousands, or even millions of people. And even a small percentage increase in conversions can generate a large increase of sales

Shane Barker, Digital Marketing Consultant – https://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/brands-rely-influencer-marketing-2018-beyond.html

Is There Any Longevity to Being an Influencer?

Here’s the thing; building a brand for yourself is definitely not the easiest thing to do, and it definitely doesn’t happen over night. The toughest part for anyone in this new age of social media marketing is scaling and maintaining your following, and finding new ways to consistently increase your audience engagement. Not to make this whole new endeavour intimidating, but it is just the harsh reality of it, just like any piece of artwork; you have to be consistent and pick a niche. One thing that makes an individual a great influencer is their ability to create good content that is focused on a specific niche or target audience. What about the longevity of all this? Is there any future to this whole “influencer” thing? Actually, yes there is. In a world of business and a heavily intuitive social media platform with millions of people at your fingertips, millions of opportunities for you to grasp, it ultimately lies on your creativity with how you want to present your content.

“You’ve marketed yourself, and therefore your brand, to thousands of people already. And they like it.”

Brenna Spalding from Influencer News – https://www.theinfluencernews.com/community-source/2018/3/10/why-influencers-should-start-their-own-brands

Every post you share and upload to your profile, every story and update you send out online, ultimately shapes your personal brand image. Depending on how you structure and design your profile to look like, that now becomes an aspect of who you are as a person. This becomes your personal brand image. It doesn’t necessarily mean it has to stay that way forever, but as the great Marshall McLuhan says, “we become what we behold… we shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us”.

A New Direction

As more and more companies immerse and expand their services onto these social media platforms, the idea of door-to-door marketing and news flyers slowly ceases to exist. Instead, networking on social media platform occurs through the DMs (direct messages). Just like anything in life, there will always be more than one side to the story. In this case, yes, there are an abundance of opportunities at your disposal, but the only thing you are limited to is how creative you can be with your content. The idea of a greater connected interpersonal lifestyle is what the future could be for the entire business and marketing industry. If this is the future of social media, could it possible affect our personal lives, possibly through audience exploitation? Would our lives be ran by statistics and numbers? If the influencer game becomes over saturated, would there be any sense of uniqueness or trust between brands and people, if they are all doing the exact same thing? What could the marketing industry look like for 2019, and beyond?

References:

https://www.theinfluencernews.com/community-source/2018/3/10/why-influencers-should-start-their-own-brands

http://www.uq.edu.au/ccsc/understanding-media-the-extensions-of-man

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dbloom/2019/01/01/influencer-marketing-top-trends-2019/#1d53fa356b25

https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/the-pros-and-cons-of-picking-an-influencer-to-represent-your-brand/

https://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/brands-rely-influencer-marketing-2018-beyond.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellevate/2017/12/21/why-influencer-marketing-is-essential-for-any-business-looking-to-grow/#492259447d48

https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/why-content-is-fire-and-social-media-is-gasoline/

Assignment #1, Blog#4: B2C

There are so many good examples of B2C (Business 2 Consumer) now a days, it was hard to choose which one. Like a kid in a candy store I chose Home Depot as my business for this assignment. Home Depot Inc. or Home Depot is an American based home improvement supply retailer that sells everything from light bulbs to everything you need to construct your home from the ground up.

Home Depot uses several different paths when it comes to social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, You Tube, Twitter and Blogs. Home Depot has taken the approach towards three different types of customers. The first being DIY ( Do It Yourself ), DIFM (Do It For Me ) and Professional Customers ( Contractors ) which takes care of all their target audiences. They also use in store Demos to promote sales along with Flyers and Special Buys/Purchases. Below is a link explaining their approach to sales and how they draw their customers in by using Omnichannel ( store, online, mobile ), which they were named Retailer of the Year by Internet Retailer in June 2017.

The Ultimate Guide to selling at Home Depot

Home Depot prides its self on 8 core values:

  1. Taking care of their customers
  2. Giving back to communities
  3. Doing the right thing
  4. Excellent customer service
  5. Building Shareholder value
  6. Ambitious spirit
  7. Building strong relationships
  8. Respect for all

With these 8 core values in mind one would think they are on the right path to success, provided they are driven with a common method for all employees involved from the sales floor to the corporate levels. Below is a link explaining how different departments or even Home Depot stores can discuss and share information. This gives their employees a convenient two-way path for communication to help with common issues and information. If this system is used correctly Home Depot should be able to keep on top of issues that arise and work towards a common goal as a retail giant home improvement supply store.

Their major competition is Lowes which is also orginally from United States. Between the two which is your favourite store?

Home Depot – The Internal Social Media

COM0014 – Blog 2 – Successful Storytelling in a Nut Shell !

In order to be successful in having a targeted audience, one must entice the reader to want to read more starting with a catchy headline. The reader will be like a bee attracted to the sweet nectar of a flower, always wanting more!  Being comprehensible and having good flow of information are pieces of the puzzle that will give a clear picture to the reader.

With todays companies there are major power struggles, in order to be a leader you must raise above the competition with your target audience. Proof reading your articles for grammar and spelling errors can either make you a success or failure, it is a make or break situation. Your information must be accurate and kept continuously updated. I have attached a link at the end of this article, which is a great sample of a company not updating with the times.

You may have to trial and error while creating your storytelling in order to draw the select audience. Welcome feedback or suggestions from them, listening is part of a successful plan. Having readers share your story is a great way to spread your information provided it is user-friendly to do.

 

Below is a video link from Inside Edition that was featured in Business Insider Publication

11 year old Megan Markle 1993 takes on Global Company Procter & Gamble

 

This video is proof that there are different ways to perceive messages in advertising and sometimes the company does not prevail and must adjust to their audience. I applaud her in making a difference that changed ideas worldwide. A 1993 social study project that made a difference to this day for all.

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.