Strong & Weak Social Media Strategies

A company or organization’s marketing is only as good as it’s social media presence. In 2020, this is something that I firmly believe. Traditional marketing is not where the people are anymore, TV, radio, print, everything has been replaced by something far more freeing on social media. TV is now youtube, radio is now Spotify, Print is now every Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, banner or promoted post disguised as an organically human post.

Two companies I feel have really grasped and ran with social media, perfecting their strategy and succeeding in their business because of it, are Wayfair and Wendy’s. These two brands stick out to me specifically because, in Wayfair’s case, I am the perfect demographic. I am a female adult who wants my house to look pretty. Wayfair has my number. They have catchy advertisements (Never underestimate the all mighty power of a jingle), they know what aesthetic is going to catch your attention, and they know what you’re looking for. Facebook has made that part extremely easy. One day you’re cruising Marketplace for kids bookshelf, the next Wayfair ads keep magically popping up in your feed showing you the exact bookshelf you want and the price isn’t too dear. Wayfair also has its own app, which literally puts the furniture virtually into your home via your camera so you can really visualize it in your space. Other clever things about Wayfair are the usage of known celebrities, like Kelly Clarkson, and they domination SEO and paid advertising on Google. Not only are they one of the first results in the paid adverts, but the organic searches and the shopping side bar search. 

A sucker for farmhouse home decor

Wendy’s stood out to me as well because they have really made a name for themselves on social media, and again, I’m part of their fast-food loving, young person target audience. They essentially invented major brands having personalities. Wendy’s Twitter took the world by storm with how sassy and personable it was, making people want to follow it because ‘Wendy’s is like a salty chick who says it like it is’. They continue to dominate the scene because of this, even when so many brands have tried to replicate it. The audience Wendy’s seeks is younger, think college/University age, so they love Twitter beef, and actual beef most likely. The brand is also very responsive, consistently responding to tweets on a regular basis not only showing their engagement and personality but giving them a lot of presence. The other thing about Wendy’s is that they have a great product. Fresh, never frozen beef and you can taste the difference (speaking as a beef farmer). When your product is good, it’s a lot easier to just be a winning personality online. 

Also a sucker for fast food

An organization that would really benefit from a social media strategy would be Viagara. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have to research brands without any social media presence to get to that answer. This really surprised me because you do often see a lot of spam from Viagara, which is so 1995. This brand, although targeted towards an older audience, could truly benefit from having a social media strategy. They aren’t even in the top five search results when you Google their name! They’re 8 down into the free search, not even mentioned in the advertised searches. As the population ages, the generation of Viagara’s target audience changes too. Many boomers are using social media and turning away from traditional media. Viagara has already started a campaign to show people there is nothing to be embarrassed about when buying it, they should really take that and run with it on social media. Having an online personality will take the dirty word connotation away from the brand and make it more mainstream. Their first step should be something easy, like Twitter, and try to adopt the Wendy’s method of brand personality. Light jokes and quick responses would help them gain the traction they need to become a brand people want to follow which would then take away any stigma. From there, they can grow into bigger campaigns and targeted advertisements.

Organizations and companies that don’t utilize social media marketing are just playing themselves. It is the easiest and most effective way to reach an audience, especially this year with everyone stuck at home on their phones or computers. Some, like Wayfair and Wendy’s are killing it, and then there are some who really aren’t and need to re-evaluate their strategies, but the ones who haven’t taken that first step at all, like Viagara, really need to do so. It’s either that or settle for obscurity. Time is running out for brands that rely on a word of mouth name recognition alone.

Resources

Calabretta, D. (2020, March 17). Viagra gives another reason not to be embarrassed. 
https://www.realagriculture.com/2020/07/regarding-farts-burger-king-apologizes-to-beef-producers/

Bikker, Y. (2019, October 30). A Tribute to Wendy’s Awesome Social Media Strategy. 
https://medium.com/swlh/a-tribute-to-wendys-awesome-social-media-strategy-7f55a66bcf94

Sims-O’Grady, C. (2019, February 26). Social Media as a Business Model: Wayfair and Instagram. https://medium.com/@colin.simsogrady/social-media-as-a-business-model-wayfair-and-instagram-fc94558797bf

COM0015 – Blog 4: Out of the Social Media Marketing Box

Over the last six weeks, I have been learning about using social media in business. The learning does not stop here. Social media is a rapidly evolving space; in order to stay abreast with developments in this space, it is important to make learning a key part of work itself.

Learning is a constant feature of using social media. Source: @cbc on Giphy.

Google Alerts for personal branding

One really unexpected thing that I discovered in this course was that Google Alerts was not only a useful social listening tool but also a powerful personal branding aid. I set up an alert for my full name, and now every time it is mentioned somewhere online, I learn about it immediately.

Social media in internal communications

I have also began reading a lot about using social media for internal communications in a big company or organization. In contrast to outdated and cumbersome intranet sites, social media offer a quick and easy tool for conveying information to large groups of people and collecting instantaneous feedback.

Social media allow for instantaneous communication with large groups of employees. Source: @memecandy on Giphy.

What helps here also is that, by its very nature, social media is viewed as a low-stakes and not-too-serious communication channel. So, adopting social media for internal communications helps remove a lot of psychological and hierarchical communication barriers.

Have you discovered any interesting uses for social media that you did not think about before taking this course? Let me know in the comments below!

COM0015 – Blog 3: Networking for Success

Networking is key to professional success. In addition to getting to know people who may offer you a job or refer you to someone who is offering one, networking also makes you stand out, opens the door for new opportunities, boosts your intellect and creativity, adds to your self-confidence, and gives you access to information that can help you succeed (Cole, 2019).

Networking is key to professional success. Source: @CBC on Giphy.

Doing nothing not an option

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have effectively put the job of expanding my professional network on hold. I am still active on LinkedIn and Twitter, the two social media channels that I use mainly for networking purposes. However, I do not make professional connections or promote myself on these platforms as actively as used to.

Not networking is not an option if you aim for professional success. Source: @southpark on Giphy.

I understand that by doing nothing, I am losing a lot of opportunities. As one author puts it, “if you’re not networking, you’re not working” (Fasih, 2014).

Planning ahead

Here is what I am planning to do in the next 12 months to build up my professional networks.

Having a plan is a good start to networking. Source: @drpaulbearer on Giphy.
September – December 2020

During the next four months, I will work on ensuring that people see me online the way I want to come across. Social media provide the most effective platform for building and communicating one’s personal brand (Algonquin College, n.d.).

So, I will start by making sure that all the social media accounts I have tell my story the way I want it to be told. I will post content and engage people in a way that will show that I am aware of and interested in what is happening in my industry. I will also comment on content shared by more prominent people in the industry and offer insights to demonstrate that I know what I am talking about and can add value to any project.

January – April 2021

The next phase will focus on building connections with people who can offer me professional advise, provide insights about organizations I am targeting in my job search, and introduce me to people in these organizations.

It is important to know who you are targeting in your networking. Source: unknown author on Giphy.

I will start by putting together a list of people I want to connect to and a list of organizations I am interested in working for. I will, then, connect with people from the first list – either through other people who are already in my professional network or by sending them LinkedIn messages and invitations to connect. I will also start making connections with people working in organizations from my second list.

May – August 2021

The final four months of my networking plan will focus on meeting key people from my expanded network in-person. I will be aiming at meeting people who can help me make the next major step in my career – either by referring me to managers who have positions to fill in the organizations I am targeting or by giving me insights about these organizations.

I will also start giving back to the community by connecting with professionals who are just entering the industry to offer them professional tips, mentorship opportunities, and access to my network.

What do you think of my networking plan? Do you have any recommendations on what I can improve in this plan? Let me know in the comments below.

Sources

In writing this blog, I have used and cited the following sources:

Managing People During the Pandemic

I have recently attended a webinar discussing the impact of COVID-19 on what it means to be an effective manager. Titled Managing Employees in Uncertain Times, the webinar was centred on a presentation by Rensia Melles. Melles is a certified Psychological Health and Safety advisor and founder of Integral Workplace Health. Her slides can be accessed here.

As a new manager with a growing team of people reporting to me, I chose to attend the event in order to learn to recognize the signs of and cope with stress, anxiety and other mental health issues linked to or made worse by the pandemic. The webinar was hosted by CharityVillage, a great career resource and knowledge hub for non-profits.

Presentation summary

Here is a brief summary Melles’s presentation. COVID-19 has had a major impact on all aspects of our lives by disrupting them, making our normal coping mechanisms unavailable, and leaving us uncertain about how the new normal is going to look like.

Stress and anxiety are a normal mental health reaction to these disruptions. In the times of the pandemic, we should know how to recognize stress symptoms in ourselves and the people reporting to us.

Screenshot from the presentation Managing Employees in Uncertain Times by Rensia Melles, August 13, 2020.

The pandemic has redefined what it means to be an effective leader. Today, effective leadership requires self-awareness, self-regulation and self-care.

My takeaways

My main takeaway from the event is that effective leadership during the pandemic and in its aftermath requires three things. First, good leaders should trust their employees or people reporting to them to do their work, even when “normal” processes or procedures are disrupted. Second, effective leaders focus on deliverables rather than counting the hours that employees spend on tasks. Finally, good leaders serve as role models for people reporting to them when it comes to self-care.

Here is a quote from the event which I thought I should remember:

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

As the event consisted of a presentation, followed by a short questions and answers session, I did not have much opportunity to interact with the presenter or other participants. I asked Melles after the presentation whether she had any tips for managers on building trust and relationships with remote teams. She outlined two guiding principles for managers in charge of remote teams in the aftermath of the pandemic: showing people that you genuinely trust them and giving them the autonomy to do their work the way they see fit.

I will definitely attend similar events in the future, particularly the professional development webinars that CharityVillage organizes for non-profits. These events are a convenient way to learn new skills and force yourself to rethink the way you do things. Besides, these events provide a great opportunity for professional networking.

How Do You Sell Pothole Repair on Social Media?

Some organizations do an impressive job of using social media to support what they are trying to achieve. Other organizations do such a poor job on social media that people are often left wondering why they have these accounts in the first place.

In this blog, I will look at two small Ottawa-based companies that differ dramatically in how they use social media – MAVEN PM and Ottawa Asphalt Kings. Both companies are in the business of asphalt sealing and pothole repair. The industry might seem too technical or even too boring to provide social media case studies. Yet an analysis of the two companies’ different social media strategies provides valuable insights.

What can be more boring on social media than asphalt and potholes? Image source: MaxPixel (Creative Commons CC0 1.0)

My driveway

About a month ago I realized that unless I fixed all the potholes and cracks on my driveway, the approaching winter will destroy it. I googled local companies that could do the work for me.

During the next several days, my social media feeds displayed several targeted ads from asphalt companies. Ads by two local companies got my attention, and I began exploring their social media presence.

MAVEN PM

This company’s social media accounts were so good that I found myself scrolling down to see even their old posts and reading comments. In addition to a clean and straightforward website, MAVEN PM has vibrant accounts on Facebook and Instagram.

The company is using the channels to demonstrate how exactly it fixes both common and more unique asphalt driveway problems. It uses video and image content to tell the stories of individual driveways that the company has fixed. Most of the stories follow a standard “before and after” structure.

A “before and after” post from MAVEN PM’s Instagram account.

What I found particularly impressive was how good the company was at responding to comments and resolving customer complaints on social media. Lots of people used comments under posts to ask questions, both general and related to specific driveways. These questions were all answered, including the recent ones. The company also responded to complaints, albeit not numerous, ensuring customers that it will act promptly to resolve situations that had made them unhappy.

I sent a message to the company through Facebook and they responded within a couple of hours, providing basic details and offering a free estimate.

So, this company uses visual content effectively to promote its services on social media. It also uses its social media accounts really well to engage with customers and address customer inquiries and complaints.

There is not much you can do to make pothole fixing interesting on social media. Yet, MAVEN PM’s social media left me with an impression that the company was really passionate about their work and offered great customer service.

Ottawa Asphalt Kings

This company left me wondering about why it had decided to be on social media. Overall, I think it is a good company that does its job really well. It has a lot of great reviews on Google.

Yet, there is too little information about Ottawa Asphalt Kings online. The company does not have even a basic website, and its Facebook page is virtually useless. Yes, you read it right – the Facebook page that the company’s ads lead to is useless.

This not particularly creative or imaginative post from May 2020 is the most recent piece of content on Ottawa Asphalt Kings’ Facebook page.

A lot of information on the page is outdated, and the latest post is from May 2020. What is worse, many comments, questions and customer complaints remain ignored.

I sent a message to the company through their Facebook page, and it took them six days to respond to the message. Even then, the response was of little value to me as they simply asked me to call their landline.

So, although the company seems to have many customers, its social media presence is effectively useless. Ottawa Asphalt Kings would definitely benefit from a social media strategy. It should use Facebook, Instagram and possibly even TikTok to share visual content promoting its services. It should also use social media to engage with customers, listen to them, and address their complaints. This will help the company to not merely survive but to grow its business.

Their first step should be to decide who will be responsible for managing their social media, how often they will post new content and respond to comments or questions, and how they will create content. To do so, Ottawa Asphalt Kings needs to dedicate resources to social media. While this change may put a strain on the company’s resources in the short term, it will doubtless pay off in the long term.

Social Media Tools and Resources for the Field of Film

Image from giphy.com

As a recent graduate trying to get into the field of film, I am keeping up to date and following as many film sites as possible. However, I am still unfamiliar with social media monitoring (or listening) tools. As such, I would like to share with you today film resources which I have enjoyed for a long time, as they have helped me keep up to date with what is happening in the world of film, as well as some social media monitoring tools which I am familiarizing myself with, in the hopes that you might also find these sites useful. 

Film Resources

There is so much to keep up with in film! Everything from new camera and lighting technologies, upcoming films, new talent, and new film theories. As a result, there are many blogs and sites which I make sure to regularly visit so I can get the latest film news. Here are two of my favourites: 

Rotten Tomatoes. This site is widely known and used by over 7 million readers each month. It is known to be a dependable resource for the reporting of movies, which includes over 250,000 titles and 850,000 links to reviews. Rotten Tomatoes summarizes the critical reaction of films for its readers. This is a useful tool for me, especially when writing an article about a film. Knowing how it was received by both critics and fans is helpful to know, and useful to add context surrounding the film’s reception.  

Film School Rejects. I love Film School Rejects. It is a blog devoted to film reviews, interviews, film industry news, and feature commentary. I personally love the articles which are more academic in nature, where they show a different way of seeing a certain character or film scene. These have definitely helped me in my film studies. Moreover, their film industry news is a practical way to stay up to date. Film School Rejects has gained a good reputation, and has been named as one of the 50 best blogs for filmmakers by MovieMaker magazine, and best news blog by Total Film

Monitoring Tools.

As mentioned above, when it comes to social media listening tools, I am more apprehensive. These sites are something which I’ve only started using in the last few weeks as part of a social media course. As a result, this is something I’ve only recently learned how to do, so I am still in the process of learning how to navigate these tools. Here are the tools that I’ve started using, which I am finding beneficial to keep track of topics and trends in film:

Google Alerts. I quite like Google Alerts because I find it easy to use and navigate. Receiving an e-mail every time Google finds results which are relevant to my search criteria is great. I also like that I can customize my criteria to specific regions and languages. For example, if I want to know what is happening with British Film and how it is received in other countries I can do so. 

Hootsuite RSS Syndicator. I’ve just recently been starting to use Hootsuite RSS syndicator. Being able to monitor blogs and websites in one space which are relevant to my field is definitely advantageous. It also saves some time because all the information I want from different sources is in one place, and I don’t have to check various websites individually. I’m still not 100% comfortable with it, I keep feeling as though there is something I am missing. However I think with practice I’ll become more familiar with this platform and be able to use it with more ease and be able to take advantage of all of its features. 

I find these sources and tools helpful to keep up to date in the film industry because I find that they are reliable, and offer good information which complement the news I get from other sources. Furthermore, the sources that I use are also used by industry professionals, film enthusiasts and casual film fans alike. Getting the feel of how different film audiences react to certain films, getting insight on what they enjoy watching is valuable information, especially when writing about film whether it be a review or an analysis. 

COM0015 – Blog 1: Social Media Trends and News Sources

Social media trends

There are two ways in which I keep track of social media trends. First, I am subscribed to daily newsletters from Social Media Today, SocialBakers Blog, Hootsuite Blog, and Influencer Marketing Hub. Newsletters from these platforms go directly to a dedicated folder in my email inbox. I look at these newsletters daily to get a sense of major developments around social platform updates, social media marketing, digital marketing, etc.

On a typical work day, when I am glued to a computer screen, receiving a newsletter via email is the best way to make sure I pay attention to it. Source: Giphy

Second, I use LinkedIn and Twitter search functionality to find content that contains keywords and hashtags of interest to me. This allows me to track what various thought leaders and influencers think about where the world of social media is moving.

I use these particular listening and monitoring tools because they provide a good coverage of the topics that I am interested in. I use insights I get through these tools to develop and tweak social media plans and content. I also use these insights to learn about what is happening in the social media world beyond my area of expertise.

News and updates sources

I use Google Alerts to stay abreast of news and updates of interest. I currently receive daily alerts for 18 keywords, and I change these keywords quite often.

I also use Flipboard, a free news aggregator, that fetches news from all the websites I follow and organizes them into “magazines” for my convenience.

Google Alerts and Flipboard help me stay up-to-date with news and updates of personal and professional interest. GIF source: @rjblomberg on Giphy.

I prefer Google Alerts and Flipboard to other tools because they are easy to use, reliable and free. They help me stay up-to-date with major developments that are important for the organization I work for and for my personal professional development.

And what tools do you use to track social media trends or news of interest? Let me know in the comments section below.

Future Me

Blog 3 – COM0015

credit Pexels

My job has lots of opportunities for networking and some of them are facilitated by my employer and some I have to search out for myself based on what it is I want to learn. This course for example, is one that I choose to help develop my professional goals. In taking the courses I have been able to communicate with lots of other students who have similar goals as myself in advancing their social media skills.

I find online learning/collaborating a great tool to utilize because it allows me to be interact with a lot of different people in various locations. At work, my personal networking is done mostly everyday as our department has weekly meetings where we discuss the jobs that we are working on and where we can discuss concerns or ask for help.  

Since taking this course I have discovered there is so much more I can learn about social media so some long term professional networking that I would be interested in attending is the Government Social Media Conference (which was postponed recently). I think this would be a great event to attend and find out from professionals what are the best options for governments is using social media. The LERN conference is another source of networking that I would be interested in attending. This conference changes each year in the topics they discuss but they usually offer some interesting seminars that are relevant to the work that I presently do.

Short term, I have a Facebook ad conference call scheduled to help me learn more about the best way to design and get the most out of Facebook paid ads. As we move towards a more social marketing platform, I will need to make sure that I am staying abreast of the latest and greatest ways to get the most out of my social media sites.

With the future redesign of our city website, I believe there will also be opportunities to learn new skills from other co-workers and web professionals.

There are lots of opportunities out there to expand your networks, you just have to be willing to throw the net out and ask questions of co-workers or go online and do a bit of digging because there is so much knowledge out there and someone is always willing to share it.

credit Pexels

Helpful links:

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.