COM0014 – Blog #3: Target Audience & Communication: Raising Funds & Awareness Online.

Source

The Today 4 Tomorrow Appeal is a branch of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa which raises funds for our five Community Ministries of Ottawa. The Community Ministries consist of shelters, day programs, and counselling services (Today for Tomorrow, 2020). It is also one of the social media pages I currently manage. So, who exactly is our target audience and how do we communicate with them? Read on to find out more!

To get to know our target audience, we first need to understand their demographics and psychographics. Since this is an appeal to raise money, our demographic is typically men and women who have a high level of education, are often executives or business owners, generally with a higher income level. Since our appeal is within the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, most of our demographic would identify as Anglican or more widely as Christian by religion. Our target audience’s psychographics would consist of the upper class with more disposable income, people who have an interest in social issues, and likely people who are leaders in their field and will share our cause with their network. 

Now that we know Today 4 Tomorrow’s target audience, let’s talk about how to communicate to them! Since Facebook users tend to be of an older generation (Pokrop, 2019), we have found a lot of success in using it to reach out target audience. We tend to use videos and pictures to grab our audience’s attention, specifically showing people using our services and talking about how our services have changed their lives. Most recently, we hosted a lunch time virtual fundraiser called Building A Community of Hope (Today for Tomorrow, 2020). That one event raised $79,000 for our Community Ministries of Ottawa (Today 4 Tomorrow Appeal, 2020). 

Have you raised funds for a charity using social media? Tell me about your experience and target audience in the comments below! I’d love to hear your stories!

Sources:

Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. (2020). Ways To Support Us. [Website]. Retrieved from: https://www.ottawa.anglican.ca/index.php/donate?highlight=WyJ0NHQiXQ==

Pokrop. J. (2019, August 20). Instagram & Facebook user statistics in Canada – July 2019 UPDATE. Retrieved from: https://napoleoncat.com/blog/instagram-user-demographics-in-canada-march-2017/

Today 4 Tomorrow Appeal (2020, October 16). Cover Photo. [Facebook Page]. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/t4tappeal/photos/a.171199030297249/809694436447702

Today 4 Tomorrow Appeal (2020, October 15). Fund Raiser. [Facebook Page]. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/t4tappeal/videos/1526172950918966

Today 4 Tomorrow Appeal (2020). No Title. [Facebook Page]. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/t4tappeal

Today 4 Tomorrow Appeal (2020, November 10). Thank You. [Facebook Page]. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/t4tappeal/photos/a.176319239785228/831594047591074/

Today 4 Tomorrow. (2020). Welcome to Today 4 Tomorrow. [Old Website]. Retrieved from: https://www.today4tomorrow.ca

Today 4 Tomorrow (2020). Your Support Changes Lives! [New Website]. Retrieved from: https://www.todayfortomorrow.ca

COM0014 – Blog 3: The Audience I Am Trying to Reach

Digital technology is everywhere. It is permeating everything we do and shapes how we do it. In this context, it is important that everyone understands risks associated with digital technologies and has the skills to handle these risks.

Digital technology is everywhere. Source: Giphy

Digital safety project

I work for an Ottawa-based nonprofit that helps civil society organizations stay safe online. One of the particularly challenging projects that I am currently helping to get off the ground supports small civil society and independent media organizations in Kyrgyzstan, a small nation at the heart of Central Asia, by helping them understand and tackle digital risks.

The following is my attempt to define the audience for the project’s social media channels and describe some ways to reach this audience.

The younger urbanites

The project’s audience includes individuals working for or collaborating with small independent media organizations and civil society organizations in Kyrgyzstan.

These are mostly young people, between 20 and 35 years old, living in large cities. About two out of three individuals in this group are men. Most of these individuals are recent graduates from one of two Western-style universities in Kyrgyzstan, the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) and OSCE Academy in Bishkek. More than half of people in this group spent at least a year studying abroad, typically in the United States or United Kingdom.

The younger urbanites have grown up in the world
permeated by digital technology. Source: Giphy

These individuals come from middle-class families with mostly university-educated parents. At least eight out of 10 people in this group speak fluent Russian and more than half speak fluent English.

Reaching them

Most individuals within this audience have grown up in the world permeated by digital technology. They embrace digital technology and have a good understanding of risks stemming from their reliance on these technologies.

They embrace digital technology. Source: Giphy

The best social media platforms to reach this audience include Facebook and Instagram. Video and images are the two types of content best suited for this audience.

All educational content should assume a good level of familiarity with basic digital safety practices and aim at providing practical recommendations rather than abstract advice. One type of content that I expect to resonate particularly well with this audience is humorous content, specifically memes.

Do you know of any organization doing similar work around digital safety? Do you have any suggestions or tips on how to reach the audience I described? I will be happy to hear from you in the comments below.

COM0014 Blog #3: Sell the “happy cows” idea

For several years while my two boys were teenagers, we subscribed to a local farm’s CSA program. They delivered a box of in-season produce to our door every week. We also opted for local meats in our order.

This #buylocal option was definitely more expensive, but we justified the expense, as I think most people do, with the belief we were doing good for local businesses, the environment and the animals. When we were eating the local meats, I used to tell the boys it was meat from “happy” cows, or pigs, or chickens. We believed that by buying local meat, using less of the “factory farmed” products, we were making life better for the cow/pig/chicken.

It turns out, I fall right into the target demographic for #localfood businesses, such as farmer’s markets, small local food retailers, specialty food retailers and other farm-to-table businesses.

Research (here and here) shows that these enterprises should aim their marketing at married women in higher income brackets. The women using their services are likely to have a family and an interest in gardening. In terms of their attitudes and values, these consumers are often food advocates and people of strong opinions. They are generally eco-conscious, have strong diet concerns and believe in giving back to the community.

From a social media marketing perspective, local food retailers should incorporate popular hashtags that appeal to foodies and to married, female consumers. Examples would be: #buylocal, #localfood, #farmtotable, #homemade. A Google search shows that the terms “local food” and “buy local” reached their peak popularity in the last 12 months during the week of April 12-18, 2020. The target market likely uses Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest more than other social media platforms.

Retailers could also check out and join local Facebook groups as well as food-oriented groups. In the Toronto area, there are many: Ontario Food Entrepreneurs, Local Food, Muslim Foodies of Ontario, Farm to Table, and Friends and Fans of Belleville Farmers Market.

Gourmet food shops, farmer’s markets and on-farm retail outlets are designed to serve a specific niche. They serve a defined group of consumers with a specific interest in local food, which makes it fairly easy to design and direct marketing toward this target group.

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?

COM0014- Blog #3 – Who is my Audience?

belleGif courtesy of rebloggy.com

I am a Young Adult fantasy writer. What exactly does that mean? Rachel Scheller, from Readers Digest, wrote this amazing article. It outlines what it means to write for a Young Adult audience. She says, “There is something crucial that I want you to remember about YA, and that’s the all consuming nature of being a teenager. It’s that sense of possibility.”

I write fantasy stories with fantasy elements that also contain a teenage protagonist.  My stories all contain witches, ghosts, demons, and any other magical type elements. It would make sense then, that my target audience are readers between the ages of 12-18. Young people, who enjoy fantasy and paranormal fiction. Publishers Weekly identifies in this article,  that more than half of the readers of YA, are adults. The largest segment is between 30-44 years old. That is important to keep in mind when targeting my audience. I also read YA, and not because I write in that category. I love the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, to name a few of my favorites.

So how do I reach such a diverse group of readers? The most obvious place is social media. Teens and Young Adults are following SnapChat, Instagram, and YouTube. Adults use Facebook and twitter. My biggest networking group would be bloggers who read/review Young Adult Fantasy. The followers of these blogs are also reading the books that they are all discussing. This seems like a great place to start. These bloggers also reach out to their reader’s social media sights. Sounds like a win-win to me.

As sited in the lesson plan, there are other methods for reaching the target audience group. Apps like Google trends, Facebook groups and pages are available with ease. These all help identify what my readers are looking for when searching for a book. I randomly typed into google, “What do young adults want to read now?” Cyndy Etler wrote the first article that came up.  She is an English teacher who writes about what she learns from her own teenage students. They tell her what they want to read. It doesn’t get any clearer than that!

So what about you? What do you like to read? Any interest in Young Adult?

COMM0014 – Personal Reflection

After analyzing my skillset from beginning to end in this course, it became glaringly obvious that there were some gaps in my abilities to effectively convey a story to an audience. Using my newfound knowledge, I am able to quickly identify my target audience and implement an appropriate communication style that will reach them in the right way. To elaborate, using demographics and psychographics, I can make assumptions about those I am communicating to and will tweak my strategy of conveying message based on my findings.

Image result for psychographics and demographics

Why is storytelling crucial to creating great Digital content?

Whether it be in person, online and numerous other mechanisms of storytelling, you are always trying to sell people on an idea and have to implement the right strategy in order to get them interested. When approaching a story in person, there are many factors that differ compared to digital content. You can see peoples reaction, make judgement based on these findings, and therefore create your story based on what works. With digital content, you are making an assumption about those who you are telling a story to and have much less to work with. Often with digital content you must be overly cautious of the things you say in order to not offend any group you are trying to reach. For example, when creating great digital content that on the political spectrum, it is much to do prior research and analysis to determine if your target audience leans more left or right. Through this research, you can then tailor a story that will appeal to the group you are reaching and do not risk offending as many people. The creation of great content takes lots of trial and error but is certainly possible with the right amount of effort.

Image result for target audience


How will your content be guided by story?

Content is guided by story no matter what approach you take. Think about companies who are selling a product and provide a backstory or use a tag such as “Established in 1942.” These are all part of telling the story in order to intrigue consumers into buying something you are selling. Whether it is a social media outlet, a business, a Facebook group, or any sort of digital platform, you ability to succeed and stand out from others depends on your ability to tell a story effectively. Look at Twitter as an example. Everyone has the same amount of characters per tweet to convey a message and get people interested in what they are selling. However, we can see that some people are able to thrive on this platform while others have issues with the restrictive threshold of words. I always despise the posts with 10+ “tweets”, assuming that I will ever take the time to read through all of them to understand a message they’re putting forward. I believe the restrictive nature of Twitter is one of the best aspects of the platform given it forces people to tell their story in a a very brief manner. Those who thrive are always the ones who grab their target audience’s attention quickly and get to their point immediately.

Image result for twitter character count

What kind of stories do you want to tell?

After rambling on about people who do not tell stories quickly enough, I realized that I am already over the word count, so I will keep this brief. The types of stories I will tell depend entirely on the audience at hand and the message I am trying to convey. One of the most crucial parts of thriving online is adaptability and I believe that this is a skill we are always working on. Hopefully with more practice I am able to pinpoint my skillsets with online storytelling and will learn to cut down on unnecessary words. For now, I am simply trying to learn more about myself and tell my stories thus far on experiences I’ve had over my short lifetime. This course has been fantastic for self-introspection and I believe I learned a lot about who I am as a storyteller throughout it.

COM0014 – Blog #3: Targeting the Audience with Cadillac

Let’s jump right into business. Targeting people to purchase a vehicle can be tough at times, but it’s successful when you pick and choose the right ones. I’m going to give you a brief inside scoop of how we target certain people for particular campaigns.

At my job where I work as a Marketing Coordinator for a car dealership, we outsource our ad creations and targeting to another company. At the end of each month, we receive a report on how well the ads did, who we targeted the ads to, and if any leads were created from those ads. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to make up an example of how we would target a Cadillac customer. 

cadillac classic car

Here’s what Cadillacs used to look like… but this style is no more! (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

Demographics

Cadillac isn’t your Grandpa’s boat-sized sedan anymore. Cadillacs have now been rebranded, and are considered luxury vehicles where Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, sunroofs, and all-wheel drive, plus more, come in a lot of the base vehicles. When advertising to people, we use language that will turn heads and capture attention.

When looking for Cadillac customers that we want to steer into our dealership, we use our outsourced ad agency to target them through Facebook or Instagram. The demographics could be as follows: middle-aged men or women; unmarried people as some of the vehicles are coupes that would not comfortably accommodate a family of four or more; people with a post-secondary education.

XT5 Crossover Sunroof

Interior of a Cadillac XT5 (Image from Cadillac.com)

Psychographics

In addition to income and age, we want to know what the customers are looking for. We usually target people based on what they have expressed an interest in, or if they have clicked one of our Cadillac ads before and possibly submitted a lead.

The psychographics we could look for are people in white collar jobs with a disposable income, and also people in middle to upper class as most new base Cadillac sedans or coupes start at the $50,000 range. We would also want to know what car they are currently driving as this can give us an indication of what they might be interested in. For instance, if they are driving a new Honda Civic but expressed an interest in Cadillac, then maybe a Cadillac ATS or CTS would suit their style. As a company, we might also present our lease offers to show that shopping for a luxury vehicle can also be an affordable and realistic purchase.

CTS-V Sedan Taking a Turn

2018 Cadillac CTS-V (Image from Cadillac.com)

Cadillacs Are Cool Now

Cadillacs are now cool luxury vehicles with tech savvy equipment and stylish interiors and exteriors. Cadillac has retargeted their audience to suit their new brand. Here’s an interesting article on how Cadillac has now upped its game in the luxury vehicle world in comparison to recent years: https://bloom.bg/2xMHz95

COM0014 Blog 3 Target Audiences

Communicating effectively with your audience/customers is the cornerstone of any social media strategy; and working with diverse groups adds an additional layer of challenges to it. My company’s largest product line is Personality Dimensions – a personally assessment tool.  It is available in four languages, and is sold widely in international markets outside of Canada including: Hong Kong, Australia, and the USA.  When my company began development with the product, extensive cultural research was undertaken to make it as universally appealing as possible.  Having access to this research has made it easier for me understand our target demographics.

While there are geographic and cultural differences amongst our target demographics, there are a number of similarities between them.  Clients mostly work in social and human services, i.e. career development, HR management, family services, etc.  There is a fairly even split in age demographics, a little under half are baby-boomers, also a little under half are generation X.  This group is increasing in size, and moving into higher positions as the former are retiring.  There is also a growing trend of millennials entering as front-line workers.  About 85% of these groups combined are female, which does pose some challenges for me.  The group as a whole is widely educated, having at least a two-year college degree, and many have bachelor’s degrees as well. In Canada, Australia, and the USA, English is the most widely spoken, however other languages have a significant presence. In Hong Kong, Cantonese is most widely spoken, however most of our clients also speak English.

Maintaining a blog on Personality Dimensions has been instrumental in reaching out to the younger demographics in our client group.  I am able to reach out to different communities by posting on a variety of topics, feature guest bloggers, and get feedback through surveys.

In many communities, the advice of leaders and respected influencers does more than any kind of advertising can.  My biggest challenge now is how to reach out to these individuals to get an “endorsement.” Please comment below if you have gone down this road, and share how well it worked for you.

COM0014 Blog #7: Let Your Audience Guide You!

I’ve learned a lot in this course about story-telling; in fact everything from the Inverted Triangle Approach to researching target audiences has taught me something about writing online. But the most interesting lesson has been discovering that story-telling does have a place when creating good digital content; if used effectively and concisely.

To do this means not starting from the beginning and working to the end leaving the most important message for last, expecting your audience to hold their interest up to that point but taking into consideration that they will have limit attention spans so say what you want first and foremost weaving your message into a story-telling approach.

You may be asking “Why” this is important?

Well with everything you must consider your target audience. In fact taking them into consideration first can help you as the writer determine the best way to tell your story so that it is well received. After all, these are the people we write for and so in order to capture their interest it makes perfect sense to appeal to them.

IMG_1172

Twitter screenshot, where I’m working to tuning into what’s being said and find what’s most relevant!

Learning this it has helped me evaluate my own writing and zero in on my own approach to blogging. I’ve started thinking about what I really want them to know and how best to communicate that so the message reaches them clearly. Through using social media I am also listening in to help me select blog topics more carefully. Considering not just what interests me but tuning into what my audience is talking about and getting ideas from there has helped guide my writing and given me some good insight into what’s most relevant and therefore could be most helpful to them.

Which overall this course has made me a better blogger and careful listener.

 

Who Am I?

Personal Branding Within Social Media

Personal branding within social media is an essential yet confusing term.  It can be defined as “[t]he ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_branding.  It has become as ubiquitous as social media itself and some of the most famous celebrity for the sake of celebrity’s have mastered this – simply think of the Kardashians (@KimKardashian or @khloekardashian).  Others have used it so effectively it has created whole new careers for them.  A perfect example of this is Donald Trump.  Before social media hit its stride he used his name to develop a real estate brand that spoke of luxury and expense.  Trump’s personal twitter feed @realDonaldTrump is now used to further define his personal beliefs while simultaneously promoting them as the beliefs or aims of the entire United States of America as he frequently uses the same tweets from his official Twitter account @POTUS.   One could argue that without his Twitter feed he would not have gained the popularity he did in the two year run up the US election last November.

The confusion for me lies with where to separate the personal from the professional.  With so much choice for virtually everything now and with relying less and less on personal interaction it seems that personal branding has taken the place of customer service.  I am happy with that when I am shopping, but if I am trying to sell a service (recruitment) through a professional Facebook page how much personal information should I be using?  I know I’m certainly not comfortable with displaying too much of my personal appearance like the Kardashians, or the political like Donald Trump!  Surely though, there is a happy middle ground where I can show through social media that I am a real human but this is my workplace and therefore a dress code of privacy must apply.

Perhaps the answer to this middle ground of personal branding lies in the aim.  There are numerous individuals who have used personal branding to create a career that is essentially personal branding, or beauty vlogging to give it it’s official name.  The three most popular in the United States in 2015 according to Pixability were Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Carli Bybel who had followers standing at 8, 833, 779; 10, 339, 824; and 5, 303, 898 respectively (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_Youtubers). After developing huge followers that pre-social media would be unimaginable these individuals are using their own personal branding to contribute to the success of big companies while the big companies are able to adapt personal branding to their corporate branding.  This has become a completely symbiotic and hugely successful relationship.

          

I will continue to struggle with the issue of personal branding whenever I post on my work Facebook or Twitter accounts – I don’t worry about crossing any boundaries but rather being so impersonal so as to not have an impact!  Nonetheless it is clear that personal branding is essential and to be successful using social media one must adapt.

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