Blog Post #2: Strong and Weak Organizations

An organization I feel is doing Social Media right is The Happy Sleep Company. If you’ve read my earlier posts in other courses, you’ll know I am a huge fan of this company. Their feed is just done so right. They have consistent colors, logos, tone, etc. She shares videos that are 100% appropriate to their target audience and they keep things real. They are selling a product, however, they also share so many tips on their various platforms that really do help out first, second and even third and fourth time parents. They just recently posted a reel about two different moms making completely different choices for their families, and the company emphasis that it is 100% okay to do things differently. They make it a key point to say “Do what works for your family.” They are very consistent with posts, and share many stories. They go love often, and have recently started a podcast.

An organization I feel could use a better Social Media Strategy is Lots of Dots. I know they are new to social media, but they definitely could use a better social media plan. They are in the industry of arts and their main object is to sell paintings. They have an Instagram account, Facebook account, and a website. They are inconsistent with postings and don’t post nearly enough on either platform.  From my understanding they are going through some changes, so hopefully we will see things like more consistency, a solid color scheme, more posts directed at a targeted audience, and more engagement out of them soon! I feel they would sell a lot more paintings and reach a much larger audience if they were to adopt a better social media strategy. Even just by being more consistent and using more platforms like Twitter, they would start to see the results they are after.

Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

Are Paid Social Media Ads Really Worth It?

Marketing has evolved a lot in the last few decades. TV and radio ads aren’t the first marketing choice for many businesses anymore. Social Media marketing has now taken all of the traditional marketing’s power. More and more people spend now hours every day on Facebook, Instagram or any other platforms more than ever. It’s normal for businesses to want to promote their products on this “not so new anymore” platform for marketing. The real question is, are paid social media ads really worth it?

In facts, paid social medias ads are worth it. According to Statista, Social media ad impressions are up to almost 20% year over year. The reason for that statistic is that people are most likely to believe in this kind of ads than radio or TV publicities. People are most likely to click on the businesses’ accounts and get more information about the brand because social media ads can target people that would be interested in them. It’s also easy to get access to the company’s account or website since every ad bring you back to one of these options. Something that traditional marketing can’t do. 

Yes, Social Media ads can be beneficial for your brand but, it can also make you lose money if you don’t do it the right way. Here’s what you need to do for it to be worth it.

Target The Right Audience

As I said in my previous blog Choose The Right Influencer To Promote Your Products In 5 Steps, it’s important to know your target audience. In other words, you need to create a persona. If this is easier for you, you can also draw your persona. Is it a male or a female? What does s\he look like? It’s also important to create a personality. What does s\he like? What are her\his interests? What is her\his profession? The small details are really important in this step, you need to bring this persona to life!

Clear Light Bulb on Black Surface from Pixabay

Social Medias publicities target people that would be interested in your post because of the options you decided to choose. You need to name your target audience’s interest, age, location and even more. The more details you have, the more chances you will get to reach the right audience. You need people that would take actions to your post, get more information about your brand and maybe even buy your products. If you choose interests that isn’t related to your business, you will reach people that will just scroll pass your publication. It’s something that you definitely don’t want. This is also valid for your location. If you choose Australia, for example, and you have a restaurant in Canada, you will reach the wrong people and your publicity will be useless. 

There is plenty of platforms to choose from when it comes to Social Media marketing. It might even be hard to choose from all of those options because most of them have a lot of similarities. That is why you need to choose the right platform. You need to make sure that your target audience is present on the platform that you want to use. There are a few questions that you can ask yourself to find the responses you need. Does my target audience watch long videos on YouTube or short ones on TikTok? Does my target audience prefer looking at pictures on Instagram or stories on Snapchat? Does my target audience like to read small publications on Twitter or longer ones on Facebook? You need to find questions that match every social media you might want to promote your business on. After that, you just need to make sure that the responses you get, corresponds to your target audience.

Be Unique

So many brands are promoting their businesses online and most of them promote the same way as their competitors. The key to have a successful ad is to be unique. Create content that hasn’t been done. Make your business stand out because we all know that the publicities, we remember are the ones that are either weird or out of the ordinary. You will most likely not remember the publication that is identical to all the ones you’ve already seen on your feed. We, as humans, like change, things that are different and things that we have never seen before.

Broken Eggshells on a Plain Background by Anna Shvets

Not only do you need to create unique content, but you also need to make sure that the quality is great. If you choose a picture, make sure that it isn’t blurry not only on a small screen but also on a big one. Remember that some people might look at it on their phones but others might look at it on their computers. If it is a video, you need to make sure that the sound is great, the information said in this video is interesting for the audience and the visual is appealing for the eye. You can’t rush the content. You need to make sure that every little detail represents perfectly your brand. If you decide to rush it, people might see your brand as unprofessional and maybe even think it is fake. I’m pretty sure you don’t want a bad reputation from the beginning.

Be Active

You need to make sure that your brand has already some publications before paying for any ads. Think about it, if you see a publicity on Instagram and you go on their profile and they don’t have any other publications, you might think that it isn’t a real brand. Your ads don’t have any credibility if your business account is totally new. Publish some brand related content and don’t forget to ask questions as well so that people have something to say in your comment sections. 

Person Holding White Android Smartphone by Cottonbro

Yes, having more followers on your account is great. You just need to make sure that your audience is interested in your post. Make sure they participate in the conversation, like and share your post. Social medias platforms don’t show your post to all of your followers anymore. To make sure that people will see your post, you need to have lots of likes and comments. The more people react to a post, the more Instagram or Facebook, for example, will show your post to their viewers. At the end of the day, followers aren’t worth it if they are not active on your account.

The Reasons Why You Should Choose Facebook

First of all, Facebook ads help you reach new people all over the platform, generate leads and can help you get more sales in a shorter amount of time. It’s great because you’re able to target the right audience with detailed options. It looks pretty similar to the Instagram ad options because both of them are owned by Facebook.

Gold Iphone 6 With Note Pads by Freestocks.org

You’re able to choose the location you want to reach, your audience interests and even more. If you choose the right target audience, with the right interests, you’ll be able to reach people that might take action. They might follow you, comment on your post and might even buy products on your website. 

The Reasons Why You Should Choose Instagram

First of all, Instagram has been growing a lot in the past few years. Users are most likely to spend around 50 minutes a day on Instagram, Facebook and messenger. It’s a good opportunity because to reach people, you want to be able to talk to them on a regular basis. As I mentioned earlier, followers aren’t worth it if they don’t engage with your business. The more your target audience see your post or your business on their feed, the more chances you have to get new followers or even purchases. 

Instagram’s ads are really interesting because they give brands the opportunity to create ads even with a very low budget. I tried to create an ad to show you the budget options. If you pay 2$ daily for 30 days, which is the cheapest options, it will cost your brand 60$ only for the month. With that price, you would get between 5.2k and 14k views on your post. If you want to pay a little more daily (10$), it will cost you 300$ a month and you would get between 26k and 68k of views. Finally, if you have the budget to pay 25$ daily for 750$ for a month, you will get between 65k and 170k views. Your brand also has the option to pay even more if you have the budget for that. One thing that is also great about Instagram ads is that you can choose how many days you want your post to be seen. You don’t need to pay for 30 days but it is strongly recommended. 

Budget & Duration on Instagram by Audrey-Ann Grenier

 

The platform also consists mostly of pictures and videos. This is a plus because viewers are most likely to remember your ads because it is visual. I searched online and 65% of the population is visual to be exact (Mind Tools, 1998). Be honest with yourself, do you remember more the written ads that you have seen in the past or the ones with pictures and\or videos? I remember last year I was watching my favorite show on my TV and this really weird ad about the brand Poppers kept playing each week. People on Facebook kept talking about this publicity and even made memes out of it. Viewers are most likely to remember weird or unique ads as well so you might take that in consideration.

Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, you also have the option to connect your Instagram ads to your Facebook ads. This option makes your life easier and you don’t need to go look on 5 different platforms for your statistics.

Social Media’s ads are in facts, worth it. You just need to make sure that you choose the right audience to target the right viewers. It’s important to also remember that even if you have thousands of viewers on your publicity, if they don’t engage with the post or your brand, it is not worth it. 

Would you choose Social Media ads over any other marketing strategies?


Twitter: You want to know if Social Medias ads are really worth it? This blog has all the answers for you.  https://bit.ly/3gfNJEl

Facebook: Marketing has changed a lot in the last decade as we all know. The thing is, is Social Medias ads really worth it? Should we choose them over any other marketing strategies? This blog has all the answers that you need. https://bit.ly/3gfNJEl


Reference:

Butters K. (2020, July 14). Is Facebook Advertising Really Worth It?. https://www.getresponse.com/blog/is-facebook-advertising-really-worth-it

Caramela S. (2020, August 26). Is Advertising on Instagram Worth It?. https://www.business.com/articles/picture-perfect-advertising-is-advertising-on-instagram-worth-it/  

Carmicheal K. (2020, February 5). Paid Social Media: Worth The Investment?. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/paid-social-media  

Cooper P. (2020, April 23). 43 Social Media Advertising Statistics that Matter to Marketers in 2020. https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-advertising-stats/

DeMers J. (2020, March 4). Is Social Media Marketing Still Worth  It?. https://www.business.com/articles/is-social-media-marketing-still-worth-it/

DMI Blog. (n.d.). The Cost of Social Media Advertising: Where’s The Value? https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/the-cost-of-social-media-advertising-wheres-the-value

Dsparks. (2018, March 27). Is Paid Social Media Marketing Worth It?. https://www.stratospherenetworks.com/blog/is-paid-social-media-marketing-worth-it/

Guttmann A. (2020, September 7). Social Media Ads CPM Worldwide Q2 2018- Q2 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/873631/social-media-advertising-cpm/

Heinig I. (2018, June 28). 7 Reasons to Consider Paid Social Media Advertising. https://themanifest.com/social-media/7-reasons-consider-paid-social-media-advertising

Leanne. (2020, November 5). Are Instagram Ads Worth it? Here’s Why They Are!.  https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/are-instagram-ads-worth-it-heres-why-they-are/

Ochoa F. (2017, June 1). Paying Social Media Advertisements, Is It Worth It?.  https://www.csdesignworks.com/blog/2017/06/paying-for-social-media-advertisements-is-it-worth-itij

 Sirohi A. (2020, December 3). Understanding Paid Social Media for your Business. https://blogs.constantcontact.com/paid-social-ad-options-for-your-business/

TeachThought Staff. (2015, January 12). Shifting To Visual Teaching. https://www.teachthought.com/learning/shifting-visual-teaching/

Strong and Weak Social Media Strategies – A Case Study

Strong and Weak Social Media Strategies – A Case Study

Dove Real Beauty Campaign
Image: Dove/picture-alliance/dpa

Dove had launched the Real Beauty Campaign in 2004 because of a global study, The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report. In this report, just 2% of women worldwide had described themselves as beautiful.
They started a worldwide conversation about the definition of beauty when they launched their campaign in 2004.

And the Real Beauty Campaign was probably one of the first digital campaigns that attracted a massive following (26 million people). Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is now going strong for over 15 years. They consistently release new and engaging content to their customers and followers and sometimes ask them to participate in it as well. Which makes the customers also the content creator.
Dove also makes great use of Facebook (almost 30 million followers), Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

But since Dove first launched their “Real Beauty Campaign” many other companies have jumped on the bandwagon to what we now call “Femvertising”.

Image source: https://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/role-models.html

Another strategy that I like, that is also part of “Femvertising” and that looks like it is paying off for the company is Mattel’s “Inspiring Women – You Can Be Anything” Campaign for Barbie that they launched after their sales started to drop 20% between 2012 and 2014.
Mattel knew they had to make some changes and with Barbie’s 60th birthday in 2019 they had some time to plan. They brought out a diverse range of dolls (skin/hair color) and of different professions, such as an astronaut, news anchor, judge, soccer player, pilot, firefighter etc. And also 20 Barbie dolls of real-life inspiring women, such as Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhardt and Sally Ride.

Just in time for Barbie’s birthday she also got her own YouTube channel, they partnered up with Virgin Atlantic Airlines to show younger girls the scope of what a career of a pilot, the cabin crew or an engineer looks like.

Barbie documented the launch of the new dolls around the world also on her Instagram account.

Thanks to those marketing efforts Barbie gained 75.000 followers across all platforms and received 4.5 times the digital engagement on social. And Mattel’s sales jumped up 12% after this campaign as well. Success all around!

Poor Strategies On Social Media – Ancestry.com

Image: Ancestry

In early 2019 Ancestry.com brought out an advertisement online that generated a lot of backlash and made them pull the ad fairly quickly.

If you watch the ad you will see that Ancestry.com is clearly romanticizing and whitewashing a slavery-era love story between a black woman and a white man.

In the video which is named “Inseparable”, the man presents a wedding ring to the woman, and then says that they can run away to “a place we can be together across the border”.

After the video was taken down Ancestry.com also issued an apology.

To prevent this, I think Ancestry.com should next time test and go over their ads with a test-audience. Mistakes like that can be avoided and if possible they should not draw on sexuality, gender, race or disability remarks when creating content.

They proved to us before that they can create great ads/strategies for example with the “My Story” Campaign.

COM0015 Blog 2 – Does Bigger Mean Better?

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Does increasing your social media posts directly relate to the success of your business? Let’s focus on two non-profit organizations which share similar beginnings but have taken slightly different paths, not only in their services but also in their social media.   Both are celebrating over 50 years of operation, both have recently hired communication/marketing positions and both began as Community Residential Facilities (CRFs or half-way houses) providing support and supervision for individuals making the transition from correctional facilities to the community.  Similar starts, similar services, but different social media strategies.

St. Leonard’s Community Services in Brantford is more open and transparent online than their counterpart in London.  Brantford expanded in the late 90s to offer a Career Resource Centre for Youth and opened Employment Centres in Caledonia and Dunnville in the past decade.  Their mission is to provide programs and services in Addictions and Mental Health, Housing, Justice, and Employment.  They are fairly active on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. A recent Facebook post promoting a Virtual Job Fair had a large number of Likes, Comments and Shares.  SLCS was quick to reply to the comments and offer additional information as needed.  The timing for this event couldn’t be better as so many people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 restrictions and/or closures. This post was shared by job seekers, community partners and over 40 regional companies.  Most of SLCS’s feeds are filled with job skill workshops, education and support groups.  Over 95% of this content is original. Video content is a great way to advertise your business and SLCS capitalizes on this by sharing YouTube videos of their virtual AGM (262 views), and workshops on Conflict Resolution (51 views) and Job Searching During a Pandemic (159 views).   Even though they provide justice programs like bail verification, supportive interventions, and transitional housing, this information is rarely promoted or mentioned in their social media feed.

On the flip side, St. Leonard’s Community Services for London focuses primarily on justice programs for adults and youth who are, or could be, in conflict with the law.  On social media, Twitter is their primary communication tool, however they post much less often than Brantford.  Original content accounts for only 50% of their posts, opting to share news articles and updates from similar organizations regularly.  St. Leonard’s London has historically kept a low profile on social media but are now looking to build up their presence to increase awareness and understanding for their programs and services. Understandably they want to respect the privacy of the individuals that they serve, but could look for opportunities to feature their staff and community supporters. To maximize their efforts, this content should be visually appealing, utilizing photos or videos and can be presented in such a way to protect privacy.  Of course, promotion is a double-edge sword and organizers need to be prepared for the NIMBY Syndrome (Not in my back yard) and the misperceptions that CRFs increase crime and lower property values.  This can be countered with open and honest conversations with neighbourhoods, community leaders, corrections experts, and individuals.  Perhaps we all need to understand how the correctional process works and the steps being taken to create communities, where everyone feels safe, valued, and supported. 

Both organizations are successful and offer valuable, much-needed services to their communities. Does more social media posts make one organization stronger than the other?  Does bigger mean better?

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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.

Growing a Business for Free

Can you grow your brand through only Instagram?

It is crazy how much a click of a button can accomplish, allowing you to interact with your audience without being present. Companies are able to make a single post, and increase their growth, and make profits in just minutes.

Ashley Carman, a journalist for The Verge, writes her article Instagram now has 1 billion users worldwide. She discusses the rapid growth Instagram has accumulated in 2018 after their in-office announcement of hitting 1billon active users.

This allows large or smaller companies to take full advantage of these growths for their own improvement and development. Companies can increase attraction to their pages and bring awareness with simple interactive media posts.

There are many different ways Instagram allows you to interact and connect with your followers:

Tags

There are many ways you can use tags, from tagging other people, trending hashtags, or getting people to tag their friends in different contests. Instagram gives you man options for using tags, depending how you use it to your advantage. Hashtag’s have always been a key component for bringing awareness to a central topic, but recently brands have come up with new tactics that have proven to bring in more traffic.

Contests have been trending through people’s timelines, getting people to tag friends, like their photo, follow their page, like their page, or even repost them for a chance to win a prize. Normally people are not willing to take their time unless it is for a cause, so this helps push people to promote your brand for you while you sit back and all you had to do is make a single post.

Swipe Up!

This tactic is great if you are wanting to share something with your followers that you are not able to on Instagram; whether it be selling merchandise, a link to your newest video, or a link to your blog, you are able to link anything you would like that would interest you followers. It allows you to post a summary or idea on your story and your followers can decide whether they are willing to take the time to swipe up or skip by.

Recently I noticed personal bloggers re-posting their pictures to their story and have a swipe up link to the photo posted on their Instagram, using this strategy to gain more traction and likes to build their brand!

Make a Poll

Making polls is not so much for increasing traction but it does help you understand your followers and consumers. This option allows brands to take the time to see what their followers and consumers are looking for, for example: A company cannot decide if they want to launch their new product in blue or green… well with only a few clicks, the company is able to create a poll to allow their consumers to decide for them. Based off the results they can successfully create items they know their customers would enjoy.

Ask for Feedback

Feedback is a huge factor for all companies, involving Instagram of not, your feedback from your clients is the most important thing of any company because that shapes your reputation as a brand. Instagram now allows people to post a question or a statement and people are able to reply and voice their opinion to the person, brand or company and it can be completely anonymous.

Collab with Influencers

Now this is the BIGGEST tactic most larger brands use, this would not be considered free either. Companies pay influences hundreds to thousands of dollars to promote their brands through your favourite influencers. It is the most effective way to get influencers that people look up to and have them sell your brand to all their following. If your favourite model, actress, or singer tells you to buy it, chances are high… you will probably end up buying it. Especially when many of these influencers are given discount codes and you THINK you are saving money.

Source: BUSINESS OF APPS

Social media gives us such a diverse and proactive platform that can be taken full advantage of. Brand’s now do not have to pay thousands to advertise or start up their brand’s on TV or on the radio because Instagram offers so many features to allow you to spark your growth and become a reputable brand with multiple free features, and low prices to sponsor or promote your posts if you decide to do so.

Facebook:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? Take a look at my blog! https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

Twitter:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? #insta #socialmedia #instgram #branding #company https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

References:

COM0015 Blog #3..Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Since enrolling in this Algonquin College online 5 part Social Media Course January 2017, I have personality run into customers face to face  that I have had conversations with online. Whether it be coordinating their relocation or selling them items from the Allways Gently Used part of the business, it has been awesome to put a face to a voice.

With some clients I have remained in touch though social media, by phone or with them just dropping in with a friend to see what has recently arrived in the Gently Used section.

This year the moving company I work for has been busier than the year prior, it seems that the social media advertising has been working for us in a positive way!  We love it when a potential client mentions to us on the initial call,  I was on your website and decided to give you a call.  My employer and I sit down as time permits to touch base and go over ideas along with discussing just how things are going overall.

At lot of it has been by the trial and error method to date. It is like getting used to a new pair of shoes it takes a bit to feel comfortable and mold them to your feet. My employer has noticed an increase in total moves along with increase in revenue (R.O.I has risen).

Nearing into the month of November in past years we would be thinking about either laying drivers off or cutting each employee back in hours. Lately we have had to turn some last minute bookings away because we have been booked solid, usually 6 to 8 weeks in advance. Being booked 6 to 8 weeks in advance is good for the company which seems to run smoother when all the pieces fit like a puzzle. It also works to our advantage because it leaves us time to work out any last minute issues that may arise from the clients relocation.

With trying to balance out time for my personal life, taking online courses and working full time it sometimes makes it hard to juggle all at once. Especially when work is busting at the seams with not enough time in a day!  You have to prioritize very carefully and have a game plan along with a “what if” secondary plan. Since we are reaching the end of the 5th and final course I will now be able to balance the workload easier. I will be able to concentrate and update our sites and start a blog giving interesting idea’s and information. I have recently touched upon posting some experimental posts on You Tube, I plan on furthering this adventure in the near future. Every so often I enter into Google Search mover smiths falls to see what pops up under sites and images. When we first ventured with social media nothing appeared, it is a whole new ball game now!

Nothing like  finally a great fit !   

It can happen to anyone.

That has the ambition to succeed in life !

 

COM0015 Blog3shoe picture1

 

 

COM0015 – Blog #2:  Social media masters and disasters

We are in a golden age of social media campaigns. There are so many organizations and personalities demonstrating a strong grasp of the principles of social media that are taking it into new and interesting territory. That said, there are still some out there that haven’t quite gotten it right.

Selecting two to highlight and one to poo-poo was a challenge, but these ones really stand out for me. All three happen to have the benefit of having a lot of money behind their communications.

The Masters

20th Century Fox for “Deadpool” – The character Deadpool is so free and foul-mouthed that the marketers are able to get really creative and silly with social media. For example, they have created a series of fake movie posters that they put up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which make a wide spectrum of pop culture references (e.g. the painter Bob Ross, movies like Flashdance and Goonies). The posts also appear fairly regularly (every few days), and make use of timely hashtags. A great example of the campaign’s understanding of the importance of timing and relevant content was during the Superbowl, which saw “Deadpool” tweeting about the state of play in the game (“I loved Tom Brady in La La Land”) using both Superbowl hashtags (#SB52) and Deadpool hashtags (#DPtheSB). This increased the reach of the Deadpool tweets (putting the movie on the radar of anyone watching the game) and also enabled people following the @deadpoolmovie acccount on Twitter to read just his commentary.

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Photo: @VancityReynolds

In addition, actor Ryan Reynolds, who plays Deadpool, regularly posts from his personal Twitter and Instagram accounts using Deadpool’s “voice”. Reynolds already had a solid social media presence and approach before getting the role (try Googling “Ryan Reynolds good at social media” and you’ll see tons of examples of his strength as digital storyteller), which makes him a great amplifier of Fox’s Deadpool promotional efforts.

Disney for Star Wars – Yep, another movie example. I’m a big Star Wars fan (I’m still crying about the end of The Last Jedi), which is why I chose to highlight their social media strategy. The Star Wars social media campaigns appear on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, where are their posts appear with regularity (for example, about three posts every day on Twitter, one or two per day on Instagram, with more frequent posts in the run up to the release of new trailers or movie openings). In addition to using these platforms to show traditional promotional shots and trailers, they also show behind-the-scenes material, interviews with the cast and crew, fan art, and Snapchat filters. In particular, I find that the behind-the-scenes offerings are a great way to make the movie and its stars feel more accessible to followers, and the fan art is a great way to engage; it’s an easy way to generate content for the feed without the company having to create something new.

The Disasters

The tough part about spotlighting the disasters is that there are so many kinds of bad ones that you are more likely to tune them out/stop following them. There are the ones that post too often (I find that some journalists are really bad for posting too often), or whose posts are irrelevant or unfocused (I would argue that the Facebook group “Ontario Proud” is a good example of this, but as Jesse Brown noted in a November episode of the podcast Canadaland, called Inside a Right-Wing Meme Machine, while their approach breaks so many rules of good social media, it is proving successful, and has more followers than some mainstream newspapers).

And then there are the ones that are bad because they make a massive mistake on social media; these are the ones that are more memorable. For me, in recent memory, I would say that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) would benefit from a refresher course in social media.

skynews-hawaii-missile-false_4204986

Photo: Sky News

As you may recall, back in January a tweet went out from the HEMA account saying that a missile strike was imminent, creating panic among Hawaiians. It turned out to be a false alarm, but it HEMA couldn’t figure out how to reassure followers that it was a false alarm for a full 17 minutes. The moral of this story is that if you don’t have staff or senior management that understand how to use the tool (or who can’t remember their passwords when it counts), no social media plan that you develop is going to succeed. This case also highlights the importance of building websites or selecting social media tools that are well designed, with the user in mind. In an interview for CBC Spark, Genco Cebecioglu, director of user experience at Junction Design noted that the HEMA incident “could have been avoided by employing good design principles… there are certain assumptions one can make when designing for usability. For example, when people look at a page, they see colours and shapes first instead of text. To improve upon the current design [of HEMA’s missile warning system], the options could be grouped more appropriately, with important and severe options color-coded or given an icon.”

What about the little guys?

As I mentioned off the top, the social media masters and disasters that stood out for me were backed by a great deal of money. But of course, the great thing about social media is that a strong strategy can be put together on a shoestring. So, who are some smaller organizations with tighter budgets that have caught your attention?

COM0015, Blog 2: Photography on Social Media: The Good and the Not-So-Good

Perhaps the strongest social media strategy I’ve been from a follower’s perspective is at the National Gallery of Canada. They share a lot of information about what exhibits they have, retweet what other people are posting and only occasionally make a sales pitch. The National Gallery has Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts, making full use of the major social media platforms. What makes their social media strategy so impressive is how they use each platform differently, with little overlap of images or other content. A Facebook post about the new Canadian Photography Institute provides interesting information and images. They retweet quite a bit from their followers and following, and not just my share of their tweet on the Josef Sudek exhibit. Of course, it is the season for gift giving and the National Gallery does do some sales promotion, but it keeps the sales to a minimum.

Not quite as good is ViewBug because it shares articles freely and highlights many different photographers, not just the winners of its contests. It has Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn (although just launched three months ago with three posts and nothing more) accounts. But what surprises me from a photo-sharing website, is that ViewBug has an Instagram account. I mostly monitor ViewBug’s Twitter account, which is often repeated on Google+ (an area that needs improvement), not only shares serious articles like Photography: From Hobby To Full Time Job and Top Tips to Become a Great Fashion Photographer, but has fun sharing photographers’ images.

One would never know by visiting the Vistek website that they even have social media accounts because there are no logos or links to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and whatever other platforms they may use. As well as having too many advertising posts that directly sell to followers, Vistek spends more time with drones than cameras. Even its Facebook posts to its own blog is direct sales marketing. Its YouTube channel provides some how-to videos, which can be handy, but they end with a statement to “Pick up a [insert product here] from http://www.vistek.ca today!” Rarely does Vistek retweet messages. Having a constant stream of ads only leads to people unfollowing them. Vistek needs to spend more time interacting with the photography community and joining or starting conversations. They need to start listening to the various conversations. Once they have a feel for that, they should start commenting and sharing their expertise on those conversations. All of this will help inform them about what photographers want and need to be able to provide that. Asking for feedback would also help them engage their audience.

Targeting Photographers and Models

Flash Designs Studio has five target audiences: photographers, models, stock agencies, people wanting family portraits and businesses wanting event photos. FDS has targeted the first two in marketing efforts so far, so let’s focus on them. These photographers and models are in Ottawa, ethnically diverse and artistic, visual people.

Most photographers who attend workshops and Meetups enjoy photography as a hobby, while some use it as a retirement business (local key players lead these sessions, as FDS soon will). As photography can be expensive, most in this target audience have post-secondary education, established careers and good salaries with disposable incomes. Most are open to sharing their images and insights, as seen at clubs and Meetups and on Facebook and online forums like PhotoNEWS, Photo Life, Outdoor Photography Canada and Canadian Geographic’s photo club (national key players).

While most photographers are men, models are young women who are in post-secondary school or just starting their careers and have modest incomes. An effective strategy has been doing “time-for-print” shoots; the only payment for models and FDS is to build each other’s portfolio.

According to Facebook Insights, 64% of people reached are female and 45% are ages 35 to 54. According to Google Analytics, 54% of FlashDesignsStudio.com visitors are male and 61% are ages 18 to 44. While 95% of Facebook visitors are Canadian, 43% of website visitors are Canadian and 24% are British (some of the more active Twitter photographers).

FDS does not have enough Twitter nor Instagram followers to generate statistics. These platforms and blogs are not as popular as Facebook with these target audiences. Instagram’s former square format and Twitter’s former text-only format may have deterred these groups. Advertising saturates Twitter feeds, possibly further deterring use. Because of this, FDS focuses more attention on Facebook than any other platform.