COM0015: Blog Post #2 – Strong vs Weak Organizations

Picture by Giphy

Dermalogica is a skin care company. It isn’t a beauty product. It isn’t makeup. It is all about Skin care. I picked this product, because I use it. I was having a face massage at a salon, when I told the girl my main issue, she gave me some free Dermalogica samples to try. I was hooked! The company has their marketing campaign down to a science. They love giving away samples of their product because they know the product works. I love this line on the main page of their website, “We’re not pretty, or beautiful, or pampering, or luxury. We’re far too interested in guiding you to a new level of health fitness!” I ordered one product from their website, and I picked 6 new free samples of other products to try.

Dermalogica also understands social media. If you log onto their facebook page, you can learn all about their products. You see women that work there actually using the product. You can see first hand what their cleansing routine is and what products they use. They practice what they sell. No touch ups, no filters. Just basic skin care.

They are on Twitter. Of course, who isn’t? Again, you get real testimonials from real users. Dermalogica is all about skin care, and less about covering up your face with makeup. I also love their catchy phrases. “A Dermalogica product a day keeps your fear of rollercoasters at bay. #CanadasWonderland. It also gives you excellent skin but that doesn’t rhyme!” It made me laugh.

In 2017 Dermalogica ran a global campaign #MyFaceMyStory. This campaign is all about encouraging women to understand their skin better. I love this company. Read about the campaign here. And see for yourself why I love this product and this company. They are also on Youtube, and Instagram. They have recently launched their newest campaign #skindividual, highlighting new products. They have teamed up with TV and social media personality Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo. Their aim is to reduce the stigma around acne and how to achieve the healthiest skin at any age.

Photo courtesy of Dermalogica website

On the flip side, I had a harder time coming up with a company that doesn’t manage their social media well. I mean when you think about it, I only know about companies that do their advertising and social media well. How else would I know about them? I looked at Tim Hortons, CarStar, and many more companies. Most companies in todays marketing world need to figure out social media. So who did I find? Well….

TG.co is a local (Kingston)Hair Studio. I know about this company because my daughter used to work there. They are actually a great studio with awesome hair stylists and modern ideas. Their issue is that they haven’t quite grasped the necessity of social media marketing. Which is unfortunate because they are a very talented crew. Hair salons have a lot of competition and they need marketing to gain an edge. They have no website. They do have a Facebook page, but it isn’t updated very often. They don’t have any other social media site that I can find. No Twitter, no Instagram, nothing.

This company would benefit from a social media strategy. I would design it around highlighting the local talent. Currently they are using word of mouth, (which is great) but they could do so much more. Using an app like Instagram would be an amazing tool for a local hair salon. I would start a campaign highlighting each artist and what they specialize in. They are great with popular trends like balayage. (Hair painted technique to give a blended rooted effect.) They should showcase this talent with Instagram and snapchat. This is where the younger social media users hang. Posting pictures of their clients on their social media sights is free advertising!

Their Facebook Page needs to highlight their talents as well. Using the same type of effect as with Instagram, Facebook could be their go to app for older clients who use it. Who doesn’t like to show off their new doo?

Also, Facebook offers paid advertising. It is cheaper than most other marketing. It also allows you to use targeted ads so you are getting your advertising money well spent!

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of lovethispic.com

So what about you? Any ideas to add to the list? Is Instagram and Snapchat the way into young client’s social media senses? Any other apps you would suggest?

 

COM0015 – Blog Post #3 – Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Although this program is related to social media, my professional network going forward will be primarily focused on the career change that I am currently undergoing. I recently obtained my Human Resources certificate and want to start studying to be a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) in August. 

Currently, my professional in person network is limited to the people I interact with through work or roller derby. My online network is LinkedIn which although updated, I have no problem admitting, I don’t use often as I should. I’m aware that I will need to use it more going forward in order to achieve my networking goals. The strategy I will use to develop my professional network online and in person is getting more involved in the HR community. When possible, I work closely with the Human Resources Coordinator at my work. This allows me to apply the knowledge I’ve learned before transitioning into the field. I currently work for a tourism agency which falls under the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport. My position allows me to interact with employees who work at a much higher level than myself. Getting my name out there and making a good impression is extremely important as I continue my career as an Ontario Public Servant (OPS).

 

In the next 6-12 months, I want to job shadow a CHRP within the OPS. I have spoken to my employer and she supports this initiative. I’m excited to interact with another Human Resources Professional in a different Ministry. I have been with my current employer for 7 years and I would like to learn about how HR functions are done in a different environment. Once designated, the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) holds professional development events. ​​​​​​​​HRPA’s Professional Development programs “provide members and others with high-performance learning experiences designed to help members meet the demands of an ever-changing and increasingly global work environment”.  Events touch upon topics such as hours of work and overtime, principles & practices, onboarding, employee notice period, etc. The type of events ranges from in-person seminars, certificates, and webcasts.

From a social media standpoint, I should and want to get more involved on LinkedIn. I would like to get more connections and interact with others in the field of HR. This includes commenting on related articles and the posts people are sharing.

 

COM0015 – Blog #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

With over 9M followers, Benefit Cosmetics US has a strong social media presence. Their uniform posts follow a distinct pink and peach colour palette and pattern. Posts alternate between products and regrams of makeup looks from influencers. The aesthetic of their Instagram page is undeniable and is visually appealing. You can tell that they are confident in their brand and continue to be consistent. I enjoy the slogan “Laughter is the best Cosmetic”. The light heartedness of the slogan really shows in their posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, Benefit Cosmetics held their third annual Benefit Brow Search: Arch Academy. After receiving over 15,000 entries, the top 20 were selected to go to Oheka Castle in New York to compete for the title of Best in Brows, a social media contract with Benefit Cosmetics and 50,000$. Social media beauty influencers were recruited to be team captains. These influencers have over 14.3M followers combined. Even while promoting the campaign, Benefit ontinued to use their established model.

I was drawn to Benefit Cosmetics because I use their products. They have been on my radar more these days because I follow Nakita Dragun who was heavily promoting her Arch Academy team.

Continuing with beauty and cosmetic trend, I have been seeing a lot of paid social media ads from Shopper Drug Mart. Although Shopper Drug Mart is not a worldwide brand like Benefit Cosmetic, they are still Canada’s largest drugstore chain where many turn for their beauty needs.

Here are some Canadian social media stats:

– 64% of Canadians have an account on a major social media network
– 12million Canadian Instagram users.
– 23million Canadian Facebook users
I’m sad to report that Shoppers only has 149K followers on IG and 992K on Facebook.

In 2013, Shoppers increased the square footage of their counters and increasing luxury brands. With that said, I don’t believe their social media accounts reflect the steps they have taken to differentiate themselves from stores like Sephora. Shoppers uses their Facebook to promote beauty and wellness as compared to their Instagram which focuses strictly on cosmetic items. The images they post are beautiful but there is no specific formula or design. They may have a strategy in place but I can’t see it. The first thing I believe they should do is establish a logic and plan for each post.

 

The account’s bio encourages followers to use the hashtag #ShoppersBeauty, which is surprising, because they DO NOT use hashtags in any of the body of their posts. I believe not using hashtags is a missed opportunity. I was impressed by the number of quality images that were posted under their suggested hashtag. The organization should be utilizing this free content by interacting more with the hashtag and regramming these images which are created by customers and beauty counter makeup artists.

As I write this blog, Shopper Drug Mart posted a video of their #ShoppersBeautyPros campaign which states that they search across Canada to find the brightest beauty stars and narrowed it down to 19 finalists. I would be interested in finding out where they were promoting this contest because I’ve done a deep dive and this is the first time I hear of it! There seems to be a disconnect.

 

Sources

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/shoppers-drug-mart-buffs-up-its-beauty-business/article10539686/

https://www.sherpamarketing.ca/canadian-social-media-stats-updated-2018-471

https://napoleoncat.com/stats/instagram-users-in-canada/2018/10

COM0015 – Blog #1 – Tools and Sources

Every day at 12:05pm I receive an email. I hear the ding, look at the time and instantly know that I’ve received my daily Google Alerts email. I have this set up on my work email so I can receive the latest news around words that I have flagged related to my job and employer. Words include the name of the organization, certain tourist attractions, different townships as well as the name of our CEO and Board members. This helps me keep an eye on what is being reported about our organization and to alert the Executive team of any red flag.

To keep up to date on the latest trends, I subscribe to Mashable through Snapchat. It’s the easiest way for me to get the latest tech news. If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, the Snapchat Discover feature gives organizations full access to publicly visible snaps. They are updated daily and provide live breaking updates. For this reason, Snapchat is my main source of news.

What exactly is Snapchat Discover?! G2 explains it well: “Snapchat Discover is all about keeping you up-to-date on current events, pop culture, and more. Long gone are the days of Snapchat being used just to connect you and your friends. Now you can get the lowdown on breaking news, big events, and celeb gossip all at your fingertips. On the Discover screen you can watch your friends’ Snapchat Stories, Publisher Stories, Shows, and Our Stories.”

When I first started using Snapchat in 2013, the only “stories” users could see were posted by friends or celebrities. Snapchat Discover started in an effort to reach a wider audience and encourage people to sign up. Snapchat users are typically between the ages of 18 and 24, with the next largest demographic being 13-17. Although I am not part of this demographic, it is still a very attractive and centralized place for me to get all my news.

Screenshot_2019-05-21-15-35-08.png

Users can subscribe to their favorite stories to ensure that they are seen first. I can honestly say that I rarely use Snapchat for its intended use of sending real time photos to friends, I spend most of my time on the app catching up on the latest. In one location I can get news from Vice, Now This News, CNN, The Washington Post, NBC, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail (to satisfy my gossip sweet tooth, of course). Each “story” can have anywhere from 10-20 screens. Each screen includes a headline, brief description and as the above video mentions, a full article that can be found by swiping up.

buzzfeed_news.17987faf8072e04e0ae4e68ff2f7de1d

My second source of news is Buzzfeed. I subscribe to them on multiple platforms and get a lot of my information there. Their extensive cross-platform network includes things like articles, lists, quizzes and videos (which I LOVE) but I also spend a lot time on Buzzfeed News. Although they may not always be viewed as credible, they do provide the latest in “world-class reporting and investigative journalism”. As of March 24th 2019, 60% of millennials are reached by Buzzfeed and 70% of Buzzfeeds total site traffic comes from mobile devices. Social Blade reports that so far this month, Buzzfeed News has had over 1.45M views and in April of 2017, the website had an impressive 8.58M views.

I use these tools and sources because they became integrated into social media platforms that I have been using daily for years. It was not something I was looking or asked for but appeared over time. It is definitely out of convenience because all the sites I would need to visit individually are all in one location.

References:

Reints, Renae (July 17, 2018) A New Snapchat Initiative Will Help Journalist Find and Verify Breaking News:  http://fortune.com/2018/07/17/snapchat-news-partnership/

Wahl, Jordan (October 10 2018) What is Snapchat Discover: Fresh Content at your Fingertips: https://learn.g2.com/snapchat-discover

Kunova, Marcela (July 13, 2018) How The Telegraph is reaching teenagers with news stories on Snapchat Discover : https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/how-the-telegraph-is-reaching-teenagers-with-news-stories-on-snapchat-discover/s2/a724198/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/about

Smith, Craig (May, 11, 2019) 38 Amazing Buzzfeed Statistics and Facts (2019): https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/buzzfeed-statistics/

Social Blade, Buzzfeed News: https://socialblade.com/youtube/user/buzzfeed

 

 

The Good (Netflix) and The Bad (Epic Games)

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Image By: BGR.com

There are many companies with impressive social media strategies, but the one that sticks out to me is Netflix. On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram they have 55 million, 5.75 million, and 13.2 million followers respectively. That is a massive social media audience for the top subscription based streaming service.

On many of their platforms Netflix splits their content into different regions in order to share the most relevant information with certain target audiences. For example, on Twitter when you search “Netflix”, there are different Netflix twitter pages you can follow based on your region. There is Netflix US, Netflix Canada, and Netflix UK just to name a few. This allows them to post different content based on whats offered in that region. It is the same thing with their Facebook page, but because I’m located in Canada it brings me to their @netflixcanada page.

Netflix is constantly engaging with their audience on their social media pages. They recently released a show called Umbrella Academy and have been retweeting posts from followers who use the hashtag #UmbrellaAcademy. The user tweeting doesn’t have to be famous, the Netflix social media team just has to find it amusing.

When Netflix isn’t engaging with their audience, they are watching and listening. After the Walmart yodelling boy went viral in 2018, Netflix quickly stepped up and dubbed his voice over Archie’s voice from an episode of Riverdale. They even made #yodeldale so their followers would have a hashtag to engage with. The Netflix US Twitter account alone has 754,000 views

Image By: TechRaptor

Epic Games is a game developing company/store which has 2.77 million followers on Twitter, and 550,000 followers on Facebook. I believe that they need to adopt a social media strategy to help with their product and brand awareness.

On Epic Games’ social media pages they have little to no engagement with their audience. Every so often there is a retweet of somebody’s art or a video, but other then that it’s days between posts about different games. If they started engaging more with their audience they would be able to create more of a dialogue about their company and products. Even using more hashtags would help, because it would give their audience something to engage with and have discussions.

By engaging with their audience they would see what their consumers have to say about certain games they have developed. The real-time feedback would help with issues regarding their games or servers. Epic Games should use polls to see what types of games their audience prefers, or what their favourite Epic games. This information would help with their product development and bring awareness to new games they will be releasing.

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!

 

 

COM0015 – Blog 5: Out of the Box

Wow, I can’t believe it… my last blog post and assignment for the Algonquin Social Media program!  Now I only need to be concerned about keeping up my own blogging content, and social media accounts, and of course their monitoring and measurement.  When I started to program a seemingly long time ago, there were lots of things I didn’t know about online marketing and social media… mainly to do with metrics, measurement, and blogging.  But these have all become common place for me, and are all widely used and embraced by social media experts alike.  There are however, a couple of things that have come up in the past few weeks that I didn’t really expect to have applications in for online marketing.

The first one is Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.ca/).  I’ve used it multiple times in the past to register for conferences and other events, but had no idea that you could use it to search for events in a specific area.  Any time I have used it for registration, I’ve always gone directly to the registration page via a link from the hosting organization’s website. I plan on using the search function in the future to check out local events for both personal and professional interest, as well as using it to list the paid events offered by my company.

The other unexpected application I have found is Meetup (https://www.meetup.com).  I had first heard about Meetup a number of years ago, but it never really stayed on my radar.  I was always under the impression that it was geared towards leisure activities, and really had no applications in the business world… was I ever wrong!  This is a great platform for finding other like-minded professional, or ones that are in the same field.  Looking at it recently I found a number of events for individuals who are in the social media marketing field, as well as Career Development, and small business.  I’m excited to see what events I can be part of in the future, and convincing my company to host some free events to get out name better known.

This is the beauty of the social web, there are always new technologies presenting themselves.  Maybe they aren’t always used for their original intention, but web-based technologies are dynamic by nature.  I’m looking forward to seeing what is on the horizon, and how I will be able to integrate them with my social media marketing plans.

COM0015 – Blog #3: Professional Networking Now and In the Future

Networking has always been the bane of my professional life.  As someone who is terribly shy, the prospect of getting out and talking to complete strangers makes me die a little inside.  To add to that shyness, I’m also a true Introvert so networking in person literally sucks the energy right out of me.  All that being said, I’ve been getting better at it over the years.  The best advice I have come across for overcoming my fears of networking has come from the book Splash: An Introvert’s Guide to Being Seen, Heard and Remembered.  Definitely worth a read for any of my fellow Introverts.

Being the shy Introvert that I am, networking in the online world is my comfort zone.  I don’t need to worry about how I’m dressed, if I ate too much garlic at lunch, or have to keep up with the dreaded small talk!  While it may be within my comfort zone, after reading the lessons in this course, I’ve realized that I’ve got a lot of room for improvement, and need a good tune up in certain areas.

The Algonquin Social Media program has gotten me into blogging, and I am very thankful for that.  While I don’t maintain my own blog, I do maintain one for work, and my bio with attached picture is at the end of every post I write, and I slip my name into the list of keywords. This helps get my name more recognized, and people used to seeing my face.

While I seem to be doing well on the blogging front, my LinkedIn profile needs some serious attention. I went in to have a look at my profile the other day, and realized that my profile picture was over 10 years old!  I mean, it was a good picture, but was well overdue for an update.  My “resume” was also lacking in details, and didn’t reflect a bunch of my current activities.  When I updated it, I started getting a bunch of random messages from people in my network congratulating me on my new position, despite being in it for a few years already.  I guess it pays to stay current.

My other social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, are private accounts.  I don’t really like mixing my personal life with my work life more than I need to.  That’s not to say that I don’t have friends who are also colleagues, but I tend to get *a little* vocal about my political views around elections, and I don’t want to be putting off clients, or potential clients because their views are wrong.  I maintain the company Facebook and Twitter accounts, but my name is not associated with them.  I am thinking about creating a “public” Twitter account for myself that I can use in my professional life for networking purposes. Has anyone else done this for themselves?  I’d love to hear thoughts on it.

I have a handful of commitments for the dreaded face-to-face networking in the next year or so.  I typically go to conferences on Career Development about 3-4 times a year, mostly in Ontario.  There are also a number of other smaller professional development events that I go to about 5-6 times a year, again all in the Career Development field.  For these events I make sure that I’ve had a haircut recently, and have a stack of business cards on me before I head out the door.

My overall strategy is to make sure all of my social networks are up to date, with current bios and pictures so people can identify me when I am out at the in person events.  There is a definite uptake in the number of LinkedIn network requests, and Twitter follows that happen right after an event, so I will make sure to a few things to the content of these channels before I head out with my new haircut and stack of business cards.

COM0015 – Assignment #5 – Professional development in the Government of Canada

A promising opportunity

Back in January, I participated in a webinar called “Audience Personas: A Day in the Life of your ‘Digital’ Audience”. I learned about it through a mailing list that I am on at work. It was a free, internal-to-government professional development opportunity organized by the Department of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), and hosted by a gentleman from Environics Analytics. I had watched a few of PSPC’s previous webinars on different issues related to marketing policies and practices for government, and, based on the title of this session, I thought it would be a good complement to my COM0015 readings, and good fodder for this assignment.

Proof that I was there

Here are a few screenshots from the webinar:

Echo…echo…echo…

Unfortunately, the experience proved to be very disappointing. The room was not equipped with microphones so that people asking questions in the room could be heard by the people participating online. Coupled with this, the presenter was clearly not used to presenting to an audience that is simultaneously in the room and online, so he did not think to repeat back the questions he was hearing for the benefit of the people online, nor did he or anyone else appear to be manning to online chat, where I and others were asking for help hearing the proceedings. The result: I interacted with no one. So much for the digital audience!

It was also disappointing from a content perspective, as the presentation talked about digital audience demographics only at a high level. Instead the presenter talked at length about the benefits of a new Environics Analytics tool that, if purchased, would provide departments with greater audience insights. Since my department has a contract with a different analytics platform, this presentation was not of much use to me.

What did I learn?

What I DID get out of this experience, was a reminder that online professional development experiences can be useful, but only if the people or organization behind it are fully committed to their online audience.

Take two

I had a much more positive professional development experience a few weeks later, in the form of a reunion of sorts with a small group of my current and former colleagues. My former director, a woman named Julie, inspired a great deal of loyalty among the people that she hired. About six years ago she moved on to a different department in government, and we, her team, have mostly gone our separate ways. But once or twice a year, someone in the group will propose an “Équipe à Julie” (Julie’s team) get-together over drinks.

Beerocracy

Part of Julie’s team at a pub in February, 2018 – Nicole, me, Edith, Claudine, Ian, Tina. Julie was kept late at the office, so we started without her.

I’m not normally one for small talk with colleagues, but gatherings of Julie’s team are usually pretty lively, and a great way to get the inside scoop on what is happening in other departments, so I decided to go.

What did I learn from the interaction?

What I learned was that, while the federal government is huge, Ottawa is still a small town – everyone knows everyone. I was also reminded that it’s wise to keep in touch with people you have enjoyed working with, because someone is always recruiting or looking to be recruited. Edith has now followed Julie to three different departments, and Julie had just recruited Nicole to join her communications shop; Nicole, in turn, promised to share her insights into that department with me once she gets settled. My contribution to the evening was to encourage others to tell their stories, share some of the things I have learned about social media and branding through my Algonquin studies, and provide ready laughter as the drinks increased and the stories around the table got sillier.

Notable quotable

There wasn’t particular quote from the evening that I remember, but there was one piece of information that was shared at the table that was noteworthy. Edith informed us that another person that we had all worked with when we were a team had very recently learned that he has Stage IV cancer; that he was about to undergo experimental treatment, but that his cancer was very likely terminal. It was very sobering, and, while it in no way compares to whatever he and his partner must be going through, it was a good reminder that, as satisfying as work itself can be, it’s the relationships we build that matter most. Everyone agreed that another get-together with a more expansive invitation list needed to be arranged soon.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely I would meet with this group again. This is a team that seems to genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and from what I have seen, is always ready to offer support, be it through personal challenges, professional dilemmas, or talent evolution. I would be lucky to continue to be remembered as a part of Julie’s team.