Social Media is a minefield of unexpecting applications and new trends, so keeping up with them is not the easiest. However, you have to be exceptionally quick at adapting to them before they fizzle out.
But one trend that gained traction during the early parts of the pandemic and has been sticking around is online live events and video content. Speaking for myself, it’s been delightful to follow along with it during this certificate program as brands are running with these trends and re-constructing them to fit their voice online, showcasing either their most creative or most interesting sides.
For the alcohol industry, we see many of them taking on creating video content around cocktail recipes, offering master classes with industry professionals and behind the production scenes. The video content has been beneficial in expanding brand knowledge and engaging audiences quickly on what the company is up to while they too are at home.
Hosting live events online has been a fun introduction to brand marketing in the alcohol industry. It has helped bridge the gap and offer experiences that would have been limited to geographical reasons, or frankly, not everyone has the means to take a private tour through the vineyard of Champagne, France.
It has allowed for a sort of joyous escapism during a difficult time for many that social media is often demonized for and showed the positive side. It will be exciting to see how they utilize this trend and adapt their voice and style created during the pandemic to the real world.
Have you attended any live events recently or noticed your favourite brands stepping up to the trend? Leave your comments below and share your experience!
It can be a daunting task to take on your professional image online, but it can feel impossible when you are entirely re-branding your professional image.
In late August, I’ll be embarking on a new professional journey in a new city to take a swing at following a long-awaited dream of writing and working in graphic arts. Two fields that I have no professional experience in but all the excitement and interest to explore and excel in. So here are the goals I’ll be setting for myself during the next 12 months to creating a professional online presence with a working portfolio and networking opportunities.
Rough Draft Months 1-2
1. Establishing a Brand Identity Across Platforms
The importance of brand identity and how to showcase your story and voice online correctly has been a significant point of focus throughout this course.
Taking this time to establish the brand I would like to project and what kind of tone I would like to set as a new professional in this industry will help with marketing myself in a new city and help tell a better story of my work.
Instagram – Creating a visual library that accurately shows my personality and professional brand identity through colour and photography, taking inspiration from Jägermeister’s exceptional branding on Instagram and reconstructing their efforts to fit my own brand.
Twitter – Joining communities and discussions to develop an appropriate voice that reflects my humour and identity.
Blog – researching different portfolio blogs for professionals in graphic design and writing and establishing key ideas that I would like to incorporate in my website.
2. Building a Digital Portfolio
Trying out different styles, platforms, and programs to help with my brand identity decision and trying out different writing styles and techniques to add to a future portfolio. Continuity and confidence in your brand are critical in the beginning and helps to create an excellent platform to further improve and play around with your voice.
This step is a playground to try, fail, and evolve ideas and styles before committing to the next phase.
Curating Content & Building Blocks Months 2-4
3. Joining the Community Online
After establishing a voice on Twitter, Instagram, and other socials is the perfect time to discover where the community is online. Local connections are a high priority. The best step to make an initial impact professionally is being a part of them and engaging in the conversations happening in real-time.
Any good social media marketing manager knows to have an eye on industry professionals, businesses and enthusiasts to stay competitive. Engaging with them online can help with your efforts and an excellent way to discover trends to later reconstruct for your benefit.
Action Plan Months 5-6
4. Making Connections
Since I will be attending school for graphic arts and creative writing, I’ll be taking that opportunity to connect with industry professionals through professors, connecting with other students and alumni.
But keeping an eye out for networking events on social media to attend and create meaningful connections with whom I can then go further online. Secondly, freelance opportunities to practice my writing skills and shop them around to get peer-reviewed critique and improve for better opportunities later.
With all the above goals in play, I get to have the most fun with my online presence. Utilizing ideas and concepts that I’ve introduced in projects throughout this course, I intend on creating an exciting and unique experience with my profiles on social media.
As someone part of Generation Z, I believe professionalism and creativity go hand in hand. I see the ability to stand out online through storytelling in a multi-platform integration. It’s just about finding a seamless way of telling the story across your platforms, bringing audience and potential employers into your digital world that showcases your work and lets them experience your creativity.
How would you guys take on the task of re-branding yourself online? Leave your comments below!
A comparative case study that showcases two leading brands in the alcohol industry and the positive/negatives of their Instagram efforts over the last eight weeks: Jägermeister vs Fireball.
Alcohol brands are notorious for depicting extravagant and lush parties in their advertisements, essentially selling the mantra that you cannot party right if you do not have their product.
Some brands have done this so successfully that the party scene is an extension of their identity. Jägermeister and Fireball, to name two of the big players who dominate the party scene and whose brand identities are so closely tied to the nightlife industry that their social media marketing is obviously an orchestrated representation of the best party you’ll ever attend. Or it should be, right?
Looking at Fireball and Jägermeister’s Instagram page over two months, we will give a quick overview of Fireball’s shortcomings and how Jägermeister is dominating the platform with its exceptional social media efforts.
In 2014 Fireball made an effort to market themselves in US college towns through drinking contests and promotional events – rooting itself in the college experience and successfully at that. The only problem is, is when you decide to take on a target market such as college students, you better be prepared to continue that party online since they, on average, spend 8-10 hours on their smartphones DAILY – and 85% of them favoured social media apps like Instagram.
Fireball on Instagram is the perfect example of a big corporation joining social media because it has to. Now don’t get me wrong, they check the boxes on some good social media practices leading me to believe that there is some basic level of strategy at play. With repetition of hashtags (#Ignitethenight and #FireballFriday) and posting light-hearted humorous content in line with their target audience on topical events (Solar Eclipse, Mother’s Day, Cinco De Mio) being good choices, but is it enough to keep 110k followers interested? The answer is no.
Some of the big takeaways that I saw from Fireballs social media and their shortcomings are
Lack of links and integration between platforms.
No push for meaningful engagement on the platform from their followers.
Not participating in Industry trends such as online events, influencers, DIY at-home product suggestions, or cocktail recipes.
Cringeposts. They do not utilize the story feature to share memes and light-hearted off-the-cuff humour but instead post it as an official post online. Not a move that entirely speaks to their target market.
Jägermeister’s Instagram page is quite an impressive account to keep an eye on regarding good social media practices and how to follow trends properly to align with your brand identity.
Jägermeister is a German herbal liqueur who draws from the grunge party scene in Germany to set the tone for their Instagram presence. There, the nightlife industry is not just underground raves and over-consumption. It’s a living industry with artists, mixologists, fashion designers, musicians, event organizers and entrepreneurs that help curate an unbelievable experience – and that is the image Jägermeister continues to paint online.
One of the brand’s most significant feats in incorporating industry trends during the pandemic was their utilization of online events and, in an effort to pay it forward to the nightlife industry, used their platform to highlight some of the industry’s best in a campaign called #SaveTheNight and offering them the recourses to extend their talents globally through zoom. Reconstructing this trend to fit their branding and using their Instagram page to successfully encourage them to go to their website to book an artist for their zoom hangouts with friends.
Some of their other highlights include:
Their promotional posts are all shot in this professional club photography style making the photos look live and natural while still serving their purpose and following the brand’s identity and tone.
During the progression of this course, we have had the opportunity to explore a plethora of different tools to assist us in our social media journeys. While they all serve a particular and helpful purpose, the ones that have become the most beneficial during my journey have been Brand24 and Feedly. As well as the two platforms I look to the most are Instagram and Youtube.
Instagram and Youtube are two of the most prominent visual media platforms online, and for that reason, I gather most of my news updates and information from them. Unlike other social media, these two rely on their storytelling capabilities and fall second to the clever writing of a caption or click-bait titles. Enchanting and engaging users like myself who prefer visuals over lengthy and informative text. Furthermore, with many influential companies already having well-established themselves on these platforms to appease a younger audience, it is easy to keep an eye on new trends and information as tags and trends are easy to find through similar titles or hashtags.
The user-friendly interface that Brand24 has makes it enjoyable and straightforward to read through the massive collection of listening statistics that it gathers. In addition, its customizable features easily help the user listen to precisely the information you are searching for. I found that because of the large amount of data that Brand24 gathers and its user-friendly dashboard, it often helped answer questions I hadn’t yet asked or spark ideas for future content.
Feedly was a pleasant surprise and a feature I had not known about until this course. Any RSS feed, I’m sure, works wonders, but Feedly has worked flawlessly for me and was crucial to help filter through information while collecting it for our other courses. In addition, its features were so convenient that I now use it as a one-stop-shop for all my news networks that I check daily.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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).
Here is what I am planning to do in the next 12 months to build up my professional networks.
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.
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.
In writing this blog, I have used and cited the following sources:
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.
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.
The pandemic has redefined what it means to be an effective leader. Today, effective leadership requires self-awareness, self-regulation and self-care.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.