COM0014 Blog 3 Target Audiences

Communicating effectively with your audience/customers is the cornerstone of any social media strategy; and working with diverse groups adds an additional layer of challenges to it. My company’s largest product line is Personality Dimensions – a personally assessment tool.  It is available in four languages, and is sold widely in international markets outside of Canada including: Hong Kong, Australia, and the USA.  When my company began development with the product, extensive cultural research was undertaken to make it as universally appealing as possible.  Having access to this research has made it easier for me understand our target demographics.

While there are geographic and cultural differences amongst our target demographics, there are a number of similarities between them.  Clients mostly work in social and human services, i.e. career development, HR management, family services, etc.  There is a fairly even split in age demographics, a little under half are baby-boomers, also a little under half are generation X.  This group is increasing in size, and moving into higher positions as the former are retiring.  There is also a growing trend of millennials entering as front-line workers.  About 85% of these groups combined are female, which does pose some challenges for me.  The group as a whole is widely educated, having at least a two-year college degree, and many have bachelor’s degrees as well. In Canada, Australia, and the USA, English is the most widely spoken, however other languages have a significant presence. In Hong Kong, Cantonese is most widely spoken, however most of our clients also speak English.

Maintaining a blog on Personality Dimensions has been instrumental in reaching out to the younger demographics in our client group.  I am able to reach out to different communities by posting on a variety of topics, feature guest bloggers, and get feedback through surveys.

In many communities, the advice of leaders and respected influencers does more than any kind of advertising can.  My biggest challenge now is how to reach out to these individuals to get an “endorsement.” Please comment below if you have gone down this road, and share how well it worked for you.

Blog #1: A Hidden Gem in Prince Edward County!

Blog #1: A Hidden Gem in Prince Edward County!

My wife and I went on our honeymoon this past September. After a spring and summer that didn’t bring the most ideal weather, we certainly hit the jackpot on our honeymoon week with twenty-five degrees and sunshine each and every day. We started with a terrific (and busy) four day trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario which featured everything from cruising on the Hornblower Boat Tour to the Falls, losing money at the beautiful Fallsview Casino, and making ears bleed singing karaoke at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. After four fun-filled and action packed days in Niagara, we were ready to relax for the final few days of our honeymoon.

We left the Golden Horseshoe and headed back towards Ottawa, deciding to “wing it” and stop somewhere along the way. Neither of us had been to Prince Edward County or the Sandbanks area, so when we were approaching Exit 522 on the 401, a voice in my head said “What the heck” and I took the next exit toward Prince Edward County.

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My wife was very excited until she got on her phone to find available accommodations and find out that there was next to none. All that was still available was a single room with two full beds and a minibar at the main Inn at Isaiah Tubbs Resort. “Oh well” we said, and decided to make the best of it and reserve the room anyway. An hour or two later we were checking in, about to receive our room keys, and after some small talk, revealed to the concierge we were on our honeymoon. She looked at me with an “I’m about to save your life” type stare, handed me the keys and said “We’re upgrading you to Beach House number 2. Enjoy the rest of your honeymoon.”

We were blown away when we got to our beach house which was loaded with amenities including a private beach, patio, and even a hot tub. The next day we finally got some much needed R&R with some beach lounging, a Surf N’ Turf dinner at the lounge, and topped it off with a nice bonfire on the beach.

On our final day, the concierge called us up and said she had one more surprise for us…a complimentary wine tasting tour and lunch at the highly regarded Norman Hardie Winery nearby. All I can say is if you are ever in the area and wondering which of the dozens of wineries nearby to visit…this place needs to be at the top of your to-do list. You may go for their wide selection of great wines, but you stay for their mouth-watering stone fired pizza.

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The famous stone-fired Pizza at Norman Hardie Winerie in Prince Edward County.

All in all it was an incredible week. My wife and I had a great time in Niagara Falls, but what really made the trip for us was how above and beyond the staff at Isaiah Tubbs went to provide exceptional customer service and make sure that we had a special stay in Prince Edward County. If you’re ever in that neck of the woods, I would definitely recommend checking them out.

Do you know of any great places to stay or things to do in Prince Edward County? Let us know in the comments below…

 

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.

OutsideofBox.png

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

ALG-COM0014 Digital Communication, Post 5 – Personal Brand by Karen Cooper

ALG-COM0014 Digital Communication
Post 5 – Personal Brand by Karen Cooper
Instructor: Nelly Leonidis

For my fifth blog post in the online course, “Digital Communication,”  in Algonquin College’s Social Media Certificate part-time online program the assigned topic centers around describing my personal brand by answering the following questions:

What are the personal qualities and characteristics that set me apart from my design and photography competitors?

My artistic ability and talent are applied through a plethora of software skills and techniques in print, web design, and multimedia projects that evoke emotion with powerful imagery. What I do that is remarkable, measurable, distinguished, and distinctive in value, is that I pass along my knowledge to inspire students through software training to create their own projects, in addition, to designing, developing, and delivering creative projects for my clients.

What have I done lately to make myself stand out?

I’ve enrolled in social media courses at Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology to learn how to enhance my online presence through the art of social media and to understand how best to stay up to date with technology.

What would your colleagues say is my best trait?

Listening skills: I listen well so I can fully grasp what clients want to see, being open to change, hearing all criticism with an open mind, willing to change designs or photographs based on the needs or wants of a client.

Technologically apt: I’m enthusiastic and quick to learn new software programs, to incorporate them into my work. One of my favourite things to do is to learn new software techniques on Adobe TV, my favourite channels are; Photoshop, LightRoom, InDesign, Premiere, Fireworks, and Illustrator.

What do I do that I’m most proud of?

I’m most proud of my ability to relay what I see in my mind’s eye into digital imagery, thanks to my education in photography, journalism, multimedia design, and social media at Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology.

BookCover

B2C Case Study, ALG-COM0014 Digital Communication

ALG-COM0014 Digital Communication
Post 4 – B2C Case Study by Karen Cooper
Instructor: Nelly Leonidis

For my fourth blog post in the online course, “Digital Communication,” in Algonquin College’s Social Media Certificate part-time online program the assigned topic centers around observing an example of my choice of a B2C business who is engaging with its audience online, how the company is using social media – the quality of their online interactions and whether or not their approach is working.

What is B2C?

“B2C, or business-to-consumer, is the type of commerce transaction in which businesses sell products or services to consumers.”

What is a B2C transaction?

“The nature of the B2C transaction revolves around the need to provide easy access to online accounts. With online retailing, a client will create a customer account with an online store or service, then be free to browse through the product and service offerings, selecting desirable items.”

I chose Skinny Bee Tea as my choice of a B2C business.

Skinny Bee Tea is a top quality detox tea B2C Californian based company that was started in 2014 by a husband and wife team, Matt and Kristin, whose mission is to sell organic tea and to deliver results for customers by promoting educational information for healthy and happy living.

Skinny Bee Tea engages with its audience online through its shop, blog, and website where they provide information on exercise and nutrition plans.

How is Skinny Bee Tea using social media?

Skinny Bee Tea‘s online social media presence includes:

The quality of Skinny Bee Tea‘s online interactions are engaging with their audience and informative about how their detox tea helps the body’s detoxifying organs naturally.

Whether or not Skinny Bee Tea‘s approach is working?

In just under one year, Skinny Bee Tea has grown in volumes that I have no doubt will continue to thrive. Its product and company value their consumer’s health and well-being – it’s a tasty tea!

Sources:

What is B2C by Elaine J. Hom, Business News Daily Contributor

What is a B2C Transaction?

Marketing for B2B vs. B2C – Similar but Different, Posted in Social Media Marketing by Debra Murphy

Skinny Bee Tea

Target Audiences, ALG-COM0014 Digital Communication

ALG-COM0014 Digital Communication
Post 3 – Target Audiences by Karen Cooper
Instructor: Nelly Leonidis

For my third blog post in the online course, “Digital Communication,” of Algonquin College’s  Social Media Certificate part-time online program the assigned topic centers around researching the target audience for Cooper Photography & Design to reflect on the characteristics of its audience and to describe some of the ways that could be effective in communicating with this audience via tools and social media strategies.

To understand Cooper Photography & Design‘s audience from an analytical perspective, I logged into Google Analytics; to see the number of its active users through analysis to appreciate what the user retention rate was; its demographics related to the age, gender, language, and the location of its users; the behaviour of new versus returning users: viewing their frequency, recency, and engagement on the site; and also viewing what technology accessed the site from which Internet browsers were used most often to what service providers were the most popular to access the site.

A great training tool for Google Analytics is the Google Analytics Academy to improve analytics skills with free online courses from Google.

Karen Cooper

Why is the above analytical information of any importance to your business online or social media strategy?

Researching information about your target audience answers the question of who is already using your products and services and how this information gives you an idea of who the potential people are that you’d like to bring to your site.

Outside of Google Analytics, to research what people who are interested in photography and design want to see, I also use tools like:

  • Twitter to research target communities
  • Hootsuite to measure my impact with social media analytics
  • TweetDeck to track build and organize custom timelines
  • Google Trends to identify the kinds of things people in my target audience are searching for
  • Google Alerts to receive emails or notifications when specific keywords come up in new web content
  • Feedly to subscribe to RSS feeds based on keywords
  • Facebook to research groups and pages to keep track of news and trends

Wikipedia also offers up a complete list of Twitter services and applications.

And, to document the findings of my research, I use Evernote because it works on all devices.

COM0014: Assignment #1, Blog Post #1: What I did on my Vacation, Tara MacDonald

Canadian abroad…

Having spent the past few years abroad, I’ve been fortunate to visit many countries around the world.

When I let my thoughts wander, images flood my mind from the harsh and rugged peaks of Afghanistan to the swamp-like Eden of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Sometimes I’m wandering through the ancient ruins of Angkor or slowly paddling across Bangkok’s maze of waterways and canals. My life has been a wild ride and a memorable one at that.

The grass is always greener…

When my Canadian friends talk about their vacations, I hear about 5 star resorts, buffets with food as far as the eye can see, sandy beaches and the blue-green waters of the Caribbean. I’ve never been to an all-inclusive resort. Truth is, when I think about taking a vacation I close my eyes and think of home.

Home and Family

I remember the smell of freshly cut grass, the sun on my back, the grit beneath my nails from tending the gardens and the quench of a cold beer on a hot summer day. I see my dog jumping with excitement as I enter the door, the anticipation of a visit from my nephews, and the drone of the CBC as we all sit down to dinner. My father complains about the weather, my mother nags us to settle down and the smell of meat on the barbeque wafers in. My mouth waters – I can almost taste the perfectly barbequed steak…

Back in the Capital

Sometimes I’m back in Ottawa: bear hugs and beaver tails, ice sculptures and snow covered trees, skating along the canal or x-country skiing by moonlight in the Gats. During summer, the sound of bagpipes fill the air. I’m biking along the river or sitting on a patio eating hot-wings and drinking Alexander Keith’s (on tap!) I remember outdoor film festivals, fireworks, dog parks and old friends, picnics on Parliament Hill, Sunday brunches, farmers markets, coffee shops and walking into a pub where everybody knows your name.

Old friends…

Then it’s time for a visit with my oldest and dearest friends. Smiling faces, warm embraces, bags unloaded and the kettle on the boil for a fresh pot of tea as we settle in for a welcome visit. Good conversation fills the day, beer-can chicken on the barbeque and stories told around the fire before heading to bed with the cool night air on my face and the sound of rustling leaves lulling me to sleep.

A new day begins with a strong cup of coffee and a walk through the trails in the back bush where the dogs run around, chase squirrels and play. If the weather is nice, maybe we’ll head to the beach or chip away at the great Canadian Shield looking for interesting rocks, gemstones or minerals. Then again, maybe we’ll stay home. No matter, the only requirement is good company of which there is plenty.

Planning a visit to Ontario? Click here for information on:

Democracy Comes to Social Media (COM0011 – Blog Post #5)

2015 is election time in Canada. Anyone who follows the back-and-forth in Ottawa already knows that this year’s campaign is gearing up to be one of the most exciting—and one of the longest—in recent memory. What’s emerging are very clear—and very different—visions for this country.

But most Canadians don’t follow the back-and-forth. Most Canadians find our politics boring at best and irrelevant at worst. Nearly 40% of Canadians didn’t bother to vote in the 2011 election. Explanations aside (that’s another topic for another blog), this time around, political parties will be looking for new ways to engage voters. They all know that the right combination of engagement and inspiration will be key to forming the next government.

BRITAIN-G8-SUMMIT-CANADA-PRESSEREnter social media. As Brad Lavigne recently wrote, the 2015 election will be the first election in our history to fully harness the power of social media. From recruiting volunteers and mobilizing supporters, this year—like never before—democracy is coming to your smart phone or tablet.

I worked a central campaign in the 2011 election and I don’t remember social media playing nearly the role it’s expected to this time. It was there, of course, and we used it regularly. But this time, it could be a difference-maker. We’ve already read in this course how Barack Obama’s campaigns have used social media in new and brilliant ways. It’s no surprise, then, that both the New Democrats and the Liberals have hired Obama’s social media experts for their own campaigns.

Social media isn’t a fad, either. It’s going to fundamentally change how parties fight elections. There was a time when reaching out to voters was timely and costly. Maybe it meant a pricey television ad. Maybe it meant holding a press conference and hoping that journalists write what you want them to write. Maybe it meant mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to go door-to-door. Now, in addition to all that, parties can reach millions of Canadians on Facebook and Twitter—directly and without filter—with little or no cost at all. And they can do it from their Ottawa offices.

Like advertisers, political parties will be able to use social media to paint a pretty accurate picture of Canadians. Where you are, who you are and what you care about are all there for the taking. As Lavigne writes, political parties will be able to use social media to reach out and engage in a very personalized way.

Of course, none of this is meant to replace traditional campaign tools. Instead, social media will supplement and enhance a party’s strengths and weaknesses. Parties will still need good ideas and messages that resonate. And they’ll still need to avoid costly missteps. Today, even the smallest mistake can go viral and make national headlines.

Considering the dismal voter turnout we have in Canada, I’m all for anything that engages. None of the problems that exist in our politics today can be fixed if Canadians don’t care—if they don’t demand better. So the question is, will social media make you more engaged in the 2015 federal election?

Comm 0014 – Blog Post 1

Australia – The good, The bad, and The Ugly

imageMy wife and I are currently on our fourth trip to Australia. We love vacationing in this country. As I’ve explained to many people, Australia is different enough from Canada to be interesting, yet easy to “get around” due to cultural and linguistic similarities. (We can thank Mother England for our shared heritage.)

Rather than give you a blow-by-blow account of our trip, it’s more interesting to highlight a few day-to-day issues that Canucks travelling Down Under face. So with apologies to fans of the Spaghetti Western film genre, I present “Australia – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

The Good

Retail prices are … retail prices!

The Aussie GST is 10% but you’d never know it. Unlike Canada, when the price says $10, you pay $10, not $10 plus GST. Finally, shopping without the mental gymnastics of added math!

The Ibis is my new fave bird

The Ibis is my new fave bird

Amazing wildlife.

Penguins, seals, whales, jellyfish, parakeets, and my favourite, the Ibis. Sure, Australia has it share of run of the mill pigeons and seagulls, but these other creatures are way cool!

“How’s your day going?”

Grocery clerks will ask you about your day and be genuinely interested in the response. This sure beats the clichéd “have a nice day” you get back home.

The Bad

You’re charging extra for ketchup?

Ketchup, or as it’s more commonly referred “sauce”, is not free at your local fast food or fish and chips outlet. A small smattering of red gold puts you back 50 cents. Saavy Aussies carry around their own bottle of the good stuff purchased from the grocery store.

Tim Hortons to the rescue?

Compared to when we first visited in 1990, coffee culture has come along way in the land Down Under. However, these fine folk haven’t mastered that “in-between” cup of coffee that Tim Hortons is so famous for. Yes, you can get your $6 latte or your crappy instant coffee, but not a good cup of $2 joe.

Which one is the $2 coin?

Which one is the $2 coin?

The $2 coin – underwhelming to say the least!

Take a look at the accompanying photo. Which is the $2? It’s the small gold coin. Yep, the smallest coin is the most valuable. I can’t help but feeling cheated when paying for something with a fiver or ten spot and getting these puny little guys back.

The Ugly

The Banana Hammock rides again

Unfortunately, the short speedo swim suit hasn’t gone the way of the Moa in this part of the world. Worse yet, most of the guys still rocking that look are … shall we say … heavy set dudes over the age of 50. Nobody needs to see that. (Which is why a picture does not accompany this paragraph.)

So have you travelled to the Island Continent in the past? What were your experiences? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Bill Corcoran – Comm 0014

COMM0015: Blog Post 2: Strong and Weak Organizations

When discussing organizations that are strong or weak in social media I always find it interesting to compare case studies for companies in the same business.  As a result, I have chosen a company that is one of my favourite ways to travel, Porter Airlines, and one of their primary competitors, Air Canada.

Both Porter Airlines and Air Canada have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.  On the surface it would appear that their social media strategies are equal in all ways.  When their customers resort to social media with a complaint both airlines follow up by asking the customer to move the discussion to a private message.  This helps reduce the number of negative comments found on either airlines Facebook pages or Twitter sites.

So why is Porter Airlines’ social media primarily filled with positive comments, discussions and feedback while Air Canada’s has fewer positive comments, fewer discussions and more negative feedback? I believe it is because a good social media presence is not just about your social media strategy – it’s about consistent, positive customer service no matter how your customer is interacting with your company.

Porter Airlines

When Porter Airlines launched in 2006 with their slogan ‘flying refined’ they set the tone and consumers’ expectations for years to come.  A customer of Porter Airlines expects fast, pleasant customer service, amenities no longer found on other airlines and, in general, more than they had expected from a Canadian airline in a long time.  So when Porter Airlines launched their social media presence on Facebook and Twitter they had a lot to live up to.  As a Porter customer, I expected the same interaction on Facebook and Twitter as I was accustomed to receiving in person.  And I got it.

Key elements that make Porter’s social media strategy work:

Porter Airlines Twitter Feed

  • Most importantly: they work hard to ensure that their customers have a positive customer experience from beginning to end, no matter how they are interacting with the airline
  • They actively seek out customers online and begin providing a positive customer experience before they have even purchased a ticket
  • They engage their customers in conversation and build online relationships with them by posting questions, asking them what they want to see, as well as responding to questions quickly and effectively.  In addition, as they expand their service across Canada and the US, they seek feedback from their customers and engage them in their plans.  For example: Porter has built a strong online campaign to encourage their customers to discuss, sign petitions, and support their application to expand Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport.
  • Their bio section provides customers with their 1-800 customer service line if they have any complaints or challenges when interacting with the airline.
  • They offer rewards to their followers through discount codes and first access to Porter news and promotions.

Air Canada

Although Spafax was recently nominated for the Facebook Games/Contests category in the new PR News Social Media Icon Awards I would argue that a four week contest and high number of followers does not always equal a well-developed social media strategy.  In particular, I believe Air Canada needs a social media strategy that focuses on developing conversations and relationship with their customers rather than simply pushing out content.  Based on the successful model developed by Porter Airlines, Air Canada could improve in several areas:

Air Canada Twitter Feed

  • In all interactions with customers, demonstrate a commitment to a consistent positive customer experience and then use social media to share those experiences with other customers.  As a result of many customers previous negative experiences Air Canada has a long road to improve public perception.  Sharing these positive experiences may begin to improve their overall company image.
  • Rather than just pushing out content, engage current and future customers in conversations through social media.
  • Include their customer service line and contact information in the ‘about’ section of their social media sites.  This seems like a small thing but it makes the company appear open and available for customer feedback.

References

Cowan-Dewar, Jules.  Social Media Execution: Porter Airlines & Twitter, http://catalyst.ca/social-media-execution-porter-airlines-twitter/

Faber, Les. Canadian Companies Using Social Media: Porter Airlines http://www.webfuel.ca/canada-social-media-porter-airlines/

Girard, Raymond. Spafax nominated for prestigious social media award for Air Canada Facebook game that attracted over 350,000 entries in four weeks. http://www.spafax.com/spafax-nominated-for-prestigious-social-media-award-for-air-canada-facebook-game-that-attracted-over-350000-entries-in-four-weeks/

Adams, Jessy. Sprinklr Signs Agreement with Air Canada for Social@Scale ™ Platform. http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1204473/sprinklr-signs-agreement-with-air-canada-for-social-scale-tm-platform

MacArthur, Amber. Five Social Media Lessons for Air Canada. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/digital-culture/amber-mac/5-social-media-lessons-for-air-canada/article1376119/

Social Media sites:

https://www.facebook.com/porterairlines

https://twitter.com/porterairlines

https://www.facebook.com/aircanada

https://twitter.com/AirCanada