Social Media and Thrifting

Social Media and Thrifting

            Yes I am a true Thrift Shopper. Long before “thrifting” was in fashion, I was a struggling student needing to pay tuition, eat and buy trendy but warm clothing with pennies. Thrift stores were small, cluttered and smelly. However, in recent years selling vintage clothing and accessories grew from a few sellers on Kijii to a full-blown retail business on Instagram. Suddenly, customers went from never admitting when asked “where did you get that great sweater?” that it was from a thrift store, to boasting about the find they found and how little they paid.

            Thrift stores are now on Facebook, Instagram and blogs. Marketing how buying gently used items saves money and is environmentally conscious. Consistent digital marketing is the expectation and the only way to keep customers engaged. Offering online coupons, discounts and VIP advertising for upcoming sales is becoming the best way to drive customers to the brick and mortar locations. Unlike other retail stores that can close their actual store locations and still sell on line, thrift stores must have a building in order to receive and sell the donations.

            The customer expectation is changing as well. Small, cluttered and smelly stores are being replaced with bright, well organized, visually appealing displays with elevator music and no smell. In the thrift industry, “pickers” are becoming regular customers. They come daily, early as soon as the store opens to find the best items. They will do online searches to make sure the price is low enough and some will even call clients to make a sale before they buy the item.

 

The influence of social media in the retail world is becoming more and more prevalent with each passing year, and customers are now demanding a more interactive shopping experience. Gone are the days of the shabby secondhand store, thrifters now want a polished and modern layout. Without really realizing it, thrift stores find themselves at the cutting edge of a new trend that says “thrifting is in.”  Suddenly “branding” matters and thrift stores have a responsibility to create a marketable image that translates both online and in real life. This is a big ask for an industry that has existed almost as long as retail itself and one that hasn’t changed much in that time. 

Slowly but surely the thrift experience is adjusting to match the rest of the retail market and stories like the link below are a good signal of things to come.

Even celebrities are buying second hand

COMM0014 – Blog #4 – Problem solved.

Earlier this year, Amanda Lindhout was invited as a guest speaker at work. After going through her her biography in the event invitation, I felt the urge to read her book before she would come. Since I read at an extra slow speed, I decided to look for the audio book version on Audible . In only 2 days I managed to “read” the book, just in time before her visit. My reading speed was not an issue anymore; problem solved.

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 20.41.45 PM

My picture of Amanda Lindhout used in a Social Media post from work on Facebook.

I was hooked. Suddenly my commute was more enjoyable, and I could go through a book in less than 6 months! While I was not very keen on another monthly subscription, Audible’s initial offer was very generous; 3 audiobooks for free over 3 months.

They followed up with an email strategy that worked where other had failed; they were sending me personalized suggestions of book to read with the possibility of sampling them. With over 5 millions followers on the Audible’s Canadian Facebook page, they are truly engaging with their audience effectively. In this article from Mediakix , they explain how Audible is using Influencer in marketing campaigns on Instagram and Youtube to encourage new clients to try Audible and feed the discussion. Audiobooks are like movies in a sense that they are easy to share and comment on and the company can easily afford to have influencers do that for them.

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Personalized suggestion from Audible received via email

When my offer came to an end, I decided quit to save money. Once again, they had an offer that was hard to resist and to this day I am still with them and have gone through many books since. I believe their marketing is very effective and not aggressive but yet generous. At least it works for me…

Here are a few of the books I have been listening to. Which one was your favorite?

Can’t hurt me – David Goggins 

A house in the sky – Amanda Lindhout

Here I am – Alan Huffman

The Operator – Robert O’Neil

 

COM0014- Blog 3; Product or Target Audience? What comes first?

When it comes to marketing and advertising, in order to ensure that your business is getting the right exposure through your efforts, it’s important that you know who your “target audience” is and how and where to reach them. Before developing any new products or services, it is vital to understand who your client is.

Canva - Focus Photo of Yellow Paper Near Trash CanNow close your eyes and think about designing a new product or service without getting any specific information about target market, you will find it hard, Wouldn’t you? You might come with a product that appeals to your age group but perhaps might not appeal to clientele of the business because your age, preferences and taste differ. Hence, if you do not want to waste your dollars for advertising, it is vital that you breakdown your target market.  Canva - Target and Arrows

I have worked in Retirement homes and I always wondered who is their target audience to get them through the doors? Yes, I would agree with your thought process that it would be senior itself as they will be living in such a facility. But how about children of parents that will need to find an appropriate place when their parent(s) are unable to live at home by themselves. In my experience, a very small percentage of seniors would make this decision on own to change their living arrangements as it is hard and extremely emotional to sell the home that they have lived and is full of memories.

Canva - Pen Drawing on a MapWhen was the last time you opened a magazine or whitepages directory? When I started working in the industry, there was lot of focus on print ads and fast forward few years we stopped advertising in print and had everything digital. We had a lot of success in targeting our market through Google AdWords as majority of us like to go to Google to search for everything!

Our target audience for home was children of seniors in their 50s-60s both male and female with higher education and higher income level. The senior itself was anyone after age of 65 both male and female of any ethnic race, single, married or divorced; with high income level (private savings or higher pension) to be able to afford private care and enjoy the social environment.  Canva - Old Couple Walking in Nature

In conclusion, I would ask you, what comes first product or target audience? Can you design products before knowing your target audience or you design a product and then go find target audience matching your product?

The Intrigue of the Instagram Influencer – COM0011

It is certainly one of the most intriguing social media concepts to me both personally and professionally. An Instagram influencer. What in the world is that? Do people actually make a living off of promoting products you likely don’t need and boasting lavish lifestyles you likely can’t afford? Well, yes. Yes, they do. This week I’m diving into why brands are increasingly using Instagram influencers to market their products and what it takes to become a successful influencer (besides a brief stint on the Bachelor or Bachelorette franchise).

First off on your influencer journey, you have to have followers. Not only do you have to have followers, but you have to have engaged followers. Unlike celebrities, who brands often turn to, to promote a product, these influencers seem far more relatable and reachable. They must be real-life consumers who are trusted by their followers and who has an opinion the follower trusts. This trust can be leveraged by the brand they are advocating for. Developing this kind of loyal following takes time, patience, and engagement.

Next step – create intriguing and visually appealing content. No one will be influenced to buy a bottle of Rose or Sugar Bear hair vitamins by an unkept looking person in a dark picture in a messy apartment. Bright, visually appealing promotion posts are essential to becoming an influencer that brands want to promote their products.

Are brands really focusing their time and investing their marketing dollars into influencers? Absolutely. In fact, 80% of marketers agree that influencer marketing is effective and 71% of them agree that the traffic garnered from these influencers is of superior quality. While working with an Instagram influencer is something that I have not professionally pursued in my current role, there is no denying that it is a fast growing trend that gets results. https://shanebarker.com/blog/rise-of-influencer-marketing/

Would you ever use an Instagram influencer to promote your brand? Why or why not? Are there any influencers that you are personally a fan of? Below is a list of the top influencers currently on social media. Any of your favourites make the list? https://influencermarketinghub.com/top-25-instagram-influencers/

Facebook Post: Thinking of becoming an Instagram influencer? Better read this post about what it takes and why brands are increasingly using influencers to promote their products. https://bit.ly/2ZB4Jf

Twitter Post: Are Instagram influencers the future of brand promotion? Learn more here: https://bit.ly/2ZB4Jf #Instagram #influencers #socialmedia

COM0011- Social Media Campaigns That Struck Gold

COM0011- Social Media Campaigns That Struck Gold

Hey everyone!

My name is Desiree and I’m a Marketing Coordinator for a large property management company in Ottawa, Ontario. I’m also now apparently a blogger (but bear with me- I’m new to this).

I wanted to shed some light on a couple of genius social media campaigns that have caught my eye over the past few years and why I think they are important.

The Curious Case of IHOB. I’ll admit it. This campaign both irritated me and commanded some serious admiration. In case you missed it, the classic American breakfast franchise, IHOP, claimed to be rebranding and changing their name to IHOB. They asked the public to take a crack at guessing what the new and mysterious “B” stood for. From burgers to breakfast, the social media universe was alive. More than 30,000 users responded with their guesses and their burger sales quadrupled from the year previously.

https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/burger-sales-quadrupled-after-ihop-became-ihob/

One great prank – what does the “B” stand for?

Of course, in the end, it was all just a giant prank, but that certainly didn’t make the level of brand exposure they received any less real. Way to go, IHOP (or IHOB…whatever your name is). You got me. Well played.

Next up – your favourite childhood dunking cookie, Oreo. This is a prime example of staying on top of your toes and maximizing your social media exposure. Brands often use major events, such as the sporting events or holidays, and develop social media campaigns around them.

During Super Bowl XXLVII, there was a blackout that lasted close to 35 minutes. Within ten minutes of that blackout, Oreo’s social media team released a simplistic ad with the catchy and all-too-fitting for the moment tagline , “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark”. Simple, effective, modern, and time-sensitive. Proof that responding to social media trends in a quick manner is essential. Had they waited even another 20 minutes, the impressiveness of the ad would have been non-existent. Simply genius. Now where can I get my hands on some Oreos to dunk?

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/07/10/marketing-moment-101-oreo-wins-super-bowl-dunk-dark-tweet

You can still dunk in the dark.

With all of the advancements in marketing and digital communication, it has never been more important to stay up-to-date on current communication trends. What social media campaigns/advertisements (good or bad) that have caught your eye? Leave your responses in the comments below!

The power of influencer marketing: your low cost marketing alternative

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole on social media. It identifies the individuals who have influence over potential customers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers. “ – Wikipedia

What’s in it for both parties?

Influencers crave the limelight and love to be able to give their loyal following discount codes while trying new activities, but brands definitely benefit equally.
Can you imagine having an entire influencer’s reach with just the cost of sending your product, not to mention having that user generated content and positive, authentic word of mouth buzz? I follow a few influencers in my area because I find them fascinating but I can see the followers join to take part in cross promotional giveaways and stay to follow along with their adventures.

92% of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends & family above all advertising” – Nielsen


Microinfluencers

From Barette Wissman’s 2018 article “Micro Influencers: The Marketing Force of The Future”, a micro influencer is “Someone who has anywhere between 10,000 and 500,000 followers on social media channels. It’s not necessarily the number of followers as much as how engaged that audience is. Micro-influencers have specific niche audiences and are deeply connected to them.” which makes their influence so powerful.

Even I have witnessed the influencer effect with my 600 fans through the use of Instagram stories. For my 15th work anniversary I did 15 fun outings; one of which was trying acrobatic yoga at Ottawa Circus School. In response to my recap of the experience in a short video and a couple images, I had several friends and random followers message me asking for details and saying they wanted to go too. Imagine I was sponsored by the school and also had a discount code – how many of my followers would have jumped on it. (pun intended!)


Where to find influencers?

Are you a brand looking for someone to shout from the roof tops about your brand? A great place to start is with hashtags. Follow relevant hashtags, see what kind of audience a potential influencer has and if their following is your target demographic.
It’s easy to vet if they’d be a good fit by sending one product and measuring the success of those mentions. It’s also a great way for both parties to benefit from the cross promotion and reach of each other’s audience.

The value of digital marketing has blown traditional advertising out of the water, and at such an affordable cost, making it easier for smaller businesses to take advantage as well.

If you weren’t familiar with influencer marketing before, how do you think influencers help build brands, and as a company would this be an approach to marketing you would try?

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Facebook: The Power of Influencer marketing, your low cost marketing alternative that you probably haven’t tried yet: https://algonquincollegesocialmedia.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/influencer-marketing/

Twitter: influencer marketing; your affordable untapped opportunity to reach your target market https://bit.ly/2V9TCHQ #influencer #socialmediamarketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

COM0015 – Blog 4: Out of the Box

The world of social media and digital marketing is vast and ever-changing. What was used several years ago can easily become outdated and replaced by alternative software. 

Some of the new applications that I have discovered in my social media journey and that I use regularly include: 

Follow Track

This is a free app that connects to your Instagram in order to provide you basic analytics of your account. It keeps track of your followers, who you are following, users not following you back, users you yourself are not following back, new followers, and followers who have unfollowed you. 

It also shows you how many posts you have, comments on your posts, amount of videos you have, average views per video, new followers amount per day, total likes, and average amount of likes per photo.

I mainly like to use this app to see who unfollows me after I have followed them, as many accounts are bots or just follow to get follows but will then leave your account shortly after.

track crazy

Analytics details

Preview

Another app I have discovered is Preview. This app is for Instagram and acts as a template for your images that you want to post.

Having a template is a good idea so that you can make sure your posts are cohesive and tell a particular story in presentation. 

For instance, here is a sneak peak at some posts I have been planning from my travels that have been edited to have a similar colour scheme and aesthetic.

blue crazy

My setup not yet published

PS Express

Following the Instagram theme, I have also been using PS Express to edit my photos from my phone. It’s a free app that acts as a limited photoshop.

With it, I have been able to change the colour of my photos to a more purple hue, as well as erase people and blemishes out of the background.

This is also where it’s important and healthy to remember that most of Instagram is curated—I see it as more of an art form than true to reality. 

MockuPhone

Another new trend that I have seen in online advertising is putting your own image into the template of a phone or laptop. Essentially, this is presenting your information in a more technologically advanced way.

I have seen this from digital portfolios to hard-copy marketing pamphlets in order to make your presentation more neat and streamlined. 

insta iphone8

My Instagram through MockuPhone

Overall, these applications have been useful in my own endeavours in improving my Instagram account as well as learning new ways of presenting information. Keeping up with new technology is important to stay relevant and look professional across social media platforms.

What other applications do you think are upcoming in social media and online marketing? Let me know down below!

 

COMM0014 Digital Communication – B2C Study Silk + Snow

Silk and Snow logo

After squandering through various online stores and in-person mattress retailers, I finally came across Silk + Snow, a Canadian brand who sells mattresses for a fair price. With the “Bed In a Box” trend becoming increasingly popular, there has been a surge in competition for those who compete to have the best quality and prices in the industry. Silk + Snow is a B2C company that engages on social media and relies heavily on online advertising to promote and sell their products. Using a wonderful website and a variety of social media platforms, which include Facebook and Instagram, they are effectively able to capture interested buyers and promote products to a vast market online.

Above is a screenshot from Silk + Snow Instagram page, where they use an adorable golden retriever to show how compact the Bed In A Box style mattresses are. With the younger generation being infatuated with social media, the marketability of a compact, quality product that can be mailed to your front door has large appeal. The King-Size version of these beds retail for slightly over 1000$, which compared to the in-store options is an absolute steal! This B2C company proves that versatility, impressive site design and appeal via social media are all key elements of success. Take a look for yourself to see the incredible graphic design and interface that Silk and Snow uses.

Being transparent about your reviews is essential in this day and age. While the Facebook site for Silk + Snow doesn’t have a perfect 5 star rating, they do have many such as the one linked above. By not buying reviews or deleting poor ones, you demonstrate as a company that honesty matters, which can go a long ways with. B2C company. Buying a mattress is a big investment, with many people splurging s much as 5000$ to ensure they have a good night’s sleep. This Canadian company proves that their honesty, ethics, quality of products and reliance on social media to effectively brand and sell their products sets them apart from their competitors. After just spending 1100$ myself on a Silk + Snow, I feel confident recommending them to others and see lots of value in this rising Canadian brand!

Silk + Snow Mattress

The Influencer: A Whole New Ball Game

Content is fire, social media is gasoline

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

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

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

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

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

Who is an influencer?

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

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

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

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

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

Is There Any Longevity to Being an Influencer?

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

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

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

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

A New Direction

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

References:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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