COM0015 – Assignment 1 -Blog 4 – Out of the Box

Combining everything that we already knew about SOCIAL MEDIA with all the cases we’ve studied and all the best tools that are to be had: it feels like I’m only ever getting half-way to a solution.  Before starting this program, I thought I had a hunch about a few tools and programs out there in the real world of business meets social media… but.. wait a minute: ‘Things are changing… how will I ever keep up?’

LISTENING + LEARNING + STAYING IN ACTION  = keep to keeping up with trends and generating new ways of looking at the world through the lens of #SocialMediaMeetsBusiness.

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So what do I hope to accomplish with social media?  Is it working? Well, I’m constantly learning new tricks.

From what I gather, I’m using platforms that are suited to my particular field and/or project(s.)  I’m learning from others about the varied style of communication using social media = the ins and outs of sharing your message.  What works for some people is worth a try but it might not quite work for me.  I guess it’s all a question of finding a style and sticking to it..

GOING MOBILE?  Here are a few tools that might come in handy…

I’m always looking for social media inspiration: taking free webinars and online courses.  I have found a whole bunch of useful information about how mobile apps come into play

Instagram can house short videos… Hilary Rushford, of Dean Street Society, hosted a webinar called: ‘Doubling Your Instagram Following.’

Distributing a free workbook, her program talked about free tools for editing and posting images on Instagram.

VSCO CAM = where you add a photo to your library and she talked us through using the editing tools.

@HilaryRushford also talked about the PERISCOPE App = live mobile video streaming; which works really well when you’re sharing content on a road trip, from various locations.

Another useful tool that I’ve grown to love is HOOTSUITE Suggestions...

Right from my iPhone, I am able to call up HOT TOPICS that I can easily share on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

FYI>> It gives you THREE topics to search for and you can assign unlimited accounts… so make sure that you tweak the settings before posting on multiple accounts.  Be #strategic in what you post and where.  Double check your postings on each platform to catch anything that goes wrong.  If in doubt, delete and give it another try.  Skill takes practice.

Puzzled by PINNING?

PINTEREST is a social media platform that would appear to have limited application to business… but Melanie Duncan’s webinar gave me a whole bunch of information about optimizing this platform to steer traffic from PINS back to your company site.

> The type of material you PIN is part of the formula.  Inforgraphics are the most popular format (they spread like wild fire.)

Melanie also suggest the following tools:

PICMonkey =  Protecting your content with a watermark

Easily creating infographics = www.infogr.am

Getting a Pinterest tab for your Facebook Page = www.woobox.com/pinterest

Pinterest stuff = Courtesy of Melanie Duncan (www.powerofpinning.com/course

> The BLOGEME poster thingy I built (featured image)  still lives on scribd.com which I’ve embedded on my personal blog (backdoor access = click expand button on bottom corner) http://ow.ly/MFQx302Y1sy

COM0014 Blog #3 – Target Audiences

I just recently completed the book ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes and given its popularity with the film about to be released, I thought it would be interesting to research and understand the target audience for the book.

I think most people correctly assume that women are the main demographic for romance novels, but men still enjoy them as well. I’m not sure if this book is a true definition of a romance novel, but it is certainly a love story.

Determining other demographics can be more difficult as anyone of any age can enjoy reading, although it is probably safe to assume that children aren’t reading these types of novels. Traditionally, those who have a higher education and who don’t have little kids that take up a lot of their time, are the ones that read the most. However, I believe in the case of a popular culture book, your target audience is much larger because everyone wants to read the book that society is talking about and before the movie comes out.

I think the one downfall for creating a communications strategy for romance novels in that the campaigns traditionally cater to the stereotypical romance novel reader, the single, 20-30 something woman. I would make sure in my campaign that I would focus on adult women, targeting blogs and social media that women would frequent.  I want to make sure that I don’t alienate my audience by being too specific or stereotypical, but still want make sure I utilize all the social media channels that my audience would interact in.

The Harry Potter series is a great example of a successful communication strategy campaign.

 

COM0014 – Blog #3 – Food, Glorious Food

Personally, I am a foodie. I love anything to do with food, cooking, and nutrition. I follow a variety of healthy nutrition and food blogs, and I love to read their ideas, and recipes, and see pictures of food. Nothing (well, almost nothing) excites me more than a colourful, balanced plate. I love to imagine what the cook has used to put their gorgeous creations together.

It makes sense then, that professionally, I am a personal chef. I love to bring my passion for food and cooking to my clients. I help them eat in a nutritious and healthy way, which saves them time so they can focus on things they like to do more than cooking.

With regards to social media, this puts me on both sides of the screen. I am both a member of the audience, and a creator. Because of this, I feel that I am pretty typical of my target audience and the type of people that I want to attract to my blog and social media presence.

My target audience is people who like to learn about food, nutrition, and cooking. They like to learn tips to make their lives easier, and to get ideas for new recipes. They are predominately female, and between the ages of 30 and 55, with a family to feed. They are middle to upper class, with an expendable income.

My target audience is already on Facebook, so this is a great spot to communicate with them. With food being visual, pictures of food, and recipes posted to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, works well with this group.

Some people who are doing it right (in my opinion) are: http://www.foodheavenmadeeasy.com, http://www.mynewroots.org, http://www.paleomg.com. I love their clean and colourful pictures, great writing and inspiration.

COM0015: Blog Post #3 – Professional Networking

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Hello…My Name is…

Prior to a couple of years ago, I’d never really considered the professional opportunities that can surround blogging and health advocacy. I don’t run a business and I had been completely oblivious to the networking opportunities that could lead to paid writing, guest posts and reciprocal sharing of resources. This has been widely regarded as a big mistake.

Sure, I had set up a personal account on LinkedIn. However, I’ve not yet made a “business” page for Lupus Interrupted. Sure, I had some cards made up that I could hand out…but it was mostly willy-nilly and, frankly, thrust upon my family and friends in the dire hope that *maybe* THEY would hand them out if they happened to meet someone who might be interested in health, advocacy, or just for kicks’n’giggles.

Then came the opportunity for me to attend the Social Capital Conference in 2013. I had had my first opportunity to professionally network not just online…but in the REAL. This is where my nemesis resides…in the social anxiety that finds me ordering pizza online, and texting or emailing friends. Go, Go SocialAnxiety Girl! *cape flailing behind* Not only did I survive my first trial by fire of meeting people I had connected with regularly online, I was able to meet handfuls more who were genuinely interested in the concept of health advocacy and blogging. I had started to understand that blogging, itself, was taken seriously, not in the ad-hoc manner in which I’d previously thought.

Having attended the conference also expanded my perspective about networking. Whereas I had previously been connecting with, obviously, people in the health industry, advocacy, or even parenting, I was negating the opportunities to network with social media specialists, digital marketing professionals and even niches like Ottawa event coordinators or local business owners.

Unfortunately, the conference is not running, and more unfortunate is that the one I would *love* to attend, BlogHer, is held out-of-city and to coordinate attending within the chaos of my reality is mind numbing. So, I’ve been looking at even smaller gatherings hosted locally and have even found workshops held at the local libraries.

My future really needs to see more of the nurturing of my online networking. I verily believe that this will increase the opportunities available for more exposure and awareness. I need to broaden my perspective to include new audiences to network with that I may have previously disregarded.

Strategy? This is a very new concept, to actually put goals into words and words into actions. I will regularly be checking sites like EventBrite for local social networking events and better plan around the chaos to ensure my ability to attend. Online, I have included a broader target audience to include more local connections, and to use the #Ottawa on my posts and in my searches/filters in order to add valuable connections across all platforms where Lupus Interrupted can be found.

What has been an unexpected obstacle that you’ve encountered in your professional networking endeavours?

COM0014 — Blog # 3: TARGET = Practice

COM0014 Blog #3- Target Audiences

In establishing an online presence, one of the most important factors to consider is who your target audience is going to be. Are they young? Are they old? Do they have a family? Where are they from? There’s a ton of different questions to answer when it comes to who’s listening in to your content.

To be more specific, you need to establish your audience’s demographic and psychographic. Finding out this information can be a challenge. It takes a lot of research into who your current consumers are, and who your competitors’ consumers are. This information can be gathered by using a variety of different tools, starting with implementing surveys to your audience to learn what kind of demographic is tuning in to your content. By which we mean, how old they are, where they are in life, what nationality they are, where they come from, etc. You can use this information, and place it into a demographic profile, which will be a helpful reminder for future use. After finding out your demographic, it’s time to find out your audience’s psychographic, which establishes what type of lifestyle your audience leads. Are they upper, middle, or lower class? Are they trendy? Or do they live more on the simpler side of things? Once you get a more clear picture of what they’re interested in, you’re ready to begin strategizing a communication plan.

This information you’ve gathered should now be put to use. For example, say your company is a business that markets luxury products to children. Your target audience is most likely going to be mainly made up of parental figures in families, probably in the 25-40 age range. However, you won’t be marketing to just anyone. It’s unlikely that lower class families with lower incomes will have the spare money to dish out on your products. With that in mind, it would be wise to market your social media accounts to people within the upper class, and somewhat to those in the middle class. The upper class will have the money to spend on your products, and the middle class consumers may decide to splurge on a product from you when they have some spare money to spend. You would also use your social media presence to speak to your audience in a more formal tone, perhaps, rather than talking to your audience using trendy language or “memes”, for example, like accounts targeting younger audiences would.

There’s many factors to consider when it comes to implementing a social media presence and campaign for yourself, and your company. The best thing you can do is to do your research, think and listen. Research who your people are. Think about what type of content they’d like to see or read. And listen to the feedback they give you.

Thanks for reading.

COM0014 Blog #3 – Target Audience

 

Are you speaking to your target audience?

Are you speaking to your target audience?

Targeting your message to your audience is an effective way to get your message to those who will respond best, but first you must identify who your audience is and what makes them tick. So let’s start the journey of finding whom we are talking to…

Step 1: Who are these people we call “Clients”?

Identifying your target audience sometimes takes a little bit of time. Who we “think” is using our product or service may not be the best audience or we discover a “hidden gem” audience we never thought of.

The business that I am currently developing I have identified that my desired target audience looks like this:

Age – 30-50
Why? This audience either identifies that that they need a social media presence, but does not know how to get one or knows that they need one and don’t have the time to do it. They may also be unable and unwilling to learn social media.

Size – Small- Medium sized business owners.
Why? Larger corporations have internal departments.These small/medium business owners control their own marketing budgets and therefore are the decision makers. It is also a personal desire of mine to have strong connections with the business I work with. There is a certain amount of personal fulfillment with helping a small business grow and develop.

 

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Step 2: Let’s take the time to listen…

Listening is the first step to any good plan. Remember the old “assume” rule!

Starting with a basic listening plan by find the target audience is a good plan. For this audience I’m going to start with Google Alerts, Twitter, Facebook (groups) and LinkedIn (groups). As we are seeking business owners, LinkedIn small business groups may hold some insight into our audience and their desired needs.

 

Plan

Step 3: Let’s find some effective tools for communicating with this audience.

Now that we know whom we are targeting, lets work out a plan to communicate with them. There are two things we need to consider, first, what is the audience interested in and what method are we going to deliver the message.

Some deliverables for promoting our business and gaining a ROI, we will start with this formula and monitor the response. As we measure the response we can adjust the plan of the delivery method, as well as the content.

Website with integrated blog – Bringing the traffic back to the website gives us some measurability.

Blog – with redistribution on LinkedIn and alert messages on twitter and Facebook.

Facebook – Posts of interest as well as general interest posts.

Twitter – Building up two-way communication with our audience. Lets be friends!

LinkedIn – Building up an audience through posting articles or even starting a business group where people can gather.

Webinars – Helping others understand what they need and allow communication can help bring business.

E-Newsletters – Weekly hits and tips. This creates a top of mind awareness for potential clients waiting in the wings and also current clients to give them remind them that you care about their success.

Lets quickly look at one example of a successful strategy that has worldwide success. As I was researching I discovered Liz Benny, a social media manager from New Zealand. This girl is larger than life and she is her brand.  Her multifaceted approach to social media has created an empire for her. I am not sure of the quality of the content of her course, but many people across the world the world are taking part in her courses. Through e-newsletters, webinars, and Facebook she has created an international business for herself in a small city in New Zealand.

Anything is possible if you know who your audience is, where they are and how to communicate with them.

 

COM0014 – Blog #7: Personal Reflection – Digital Storytelling

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Once upon a time……….if only it was that easy!   When I signed up for this course, “Digital Communication” I figured okay no problem, it will probably be branding, dos and don’ts, strategies, etc.  I was happily surprised to find out it was so much more than that!  I have learned a lot in this course both professionally and personally.

Professionally, I have learned the importance of good storytelling and the way it can transform our brand.  Through the course I have learned the importance of finding the stories in our brand and in our company.  Where-Our-Story-Begins-Home-decoration-font-b-Family-b-font-vinyl-wall-quote-living-roomWe have also discussed the importance of hooking the reader and sharing meaningful content.  I have learned the importance of being honest, and taking down the veil of professionalism/polish to give our customers a true look at who we are not only as an organization but even down to the level of who makes up this organization.  I understand how this can make our customers trust us more and relate to us better.  One of the things that I implemented immediately was a better understanding of our target audience and what they wanted.  We have started to develop more specific content to meet their needs and wants.  We want to be the company that understands them and values them as a customer base.  Our stories as a property management company have the ability to be personal because out stories start with their home. We want to tell stories that create feelings of trust, community and home.

I knew I would learn a lot in this course that could be applied to my business; I was surprised that I learned a lot that can also be applied to my personal writing.  As a child, I used to love reading and writing stories.  Through this course I have re-connected with that side.  I have found myself taking the time to read the stories of others and even to make some time to write my own.  It is exciting to re-connect to something I enjoyed so much before.  I have also learned the importance of getting personal.  Somewhere from child to adult we learn to be more guarded.  Our stories become more polished and we learn others judge our stories.  It can become scary to share ourselves the way we did so freely as children.  However, I learned in this course you can do that, you can be yourself.  If you let people in, share your story and allow them to relate it can be very positive and not as scary as I initially thought.

picThere will always be people out there who don’t like the stories we tell however, that is just another part of the story.  They have their story to tell and by sharing ours we give people the opportunity to share their story too!

Herschel Supply Co. is a Social Media Darling….& Genius

 

 

 

 

You know a brand is using social media well when it tells a story without throwing a product in your face, and yet you’re enticed to shop with that brand based on one Instagram photo.

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Millions of people around the globe use social media platforms to connect with friends, family, celebrities, artists, groups, organizations and the like. But one of the most important connections an individual can make on social media is with a coveted brand. Enter, Herschel Supply Co.

Herschel is a Canadian born-and-bred accessory brand whose roots stem all the way from, you guessed it, Herschel (Saskatchewan). The brand produces several different products all categorized by “lines,” basically what we fashion noobs would call “collections.” From backpacks and wallets, to messenger bags and laptop sleeves, Herschel Supply Co. has branded itself as a global accessory company with acute attention to detail. But they are also social media genius’ and it’s because they’re doing everything right.

Consider they way in which they market their brand through social media. Herschel doesn’t simply throw up pictures of their own product on Instagram with a few promo codes here & there and hope that someone buys a duffel bag. Instead, they have cleverly sought to reach a specific group or “niche” of people (both here in Canada and internationally); specifically, people who travel, are into adventure, the outdoors or any state of being which requires a VSCOcam filter. A quintessential “hipster” brand used by hipsters & non-hipsters alike, Herschel reaches millions of people through clever social media marketing, and it’s working. Really well. How are they doing it?

For one, Herschel actually gives the people what they want. Every product the brand designs is unique in its style, fabric, print, makeup and its advertisment. Several other brands have copied their style and essentially use Herschel as their muse. They make functional items for literally every occasion – whether you’re boarding a plane to Europe, camping in the middle of nowhere, canoeing in Alberta or shopping in Toronto, there’s a product perfect for you. They don’t have just one collection, but several, offering customers a wide range of products from which to choose, and not just one color of one product, but a vast array of options. They’ve made accessory shopping unique, personal and personalized, which is far more than many travel accessory brands can say. Herschel allows its customers to choose from so many options that you never feel limited and the product you buy can reflect your personality. Into floral? Great, Herschel has bags, totes and beyond, all in that pattern. Looking for a sleek, black duffel? Well, you’re in luck, Herschel makes those too. I happen to own several accessories from their collection of black/white/red products. Walking around the York University campus, where I attend whilst completing my Classics degree, I see so many people sporting Herschel that I might as well be in their supply factory.

Herschel has also utilized social media to their advantage by engaging with their customers in a way that isn’t all about them. Let’s take a look at their Instagram as a prime example. You won’t catch Herschel crowding its Insta feed with a bunch of photos taken from their website and blurbs about how great & functional their products are. Instead, Herschel posts pictures from its customers who have tagged their own Instagram photos with one or more of Herschel’s cleverly-crafted hashtags. Their #WellTravelled campaign encourages Instagram users to take photos of their adventures with the hashtag and post them to social media – irregardless of whether the user is a Herschel customer. Additionally, they are smart in having more than one campaign going at a time with photography contests like #CityLimitless, a campaign that continues to grow despite the contest being long over. They have a multifaceted blog which features users’ photography, Journals about various adventures, product features and more from their campaigns; their Twitter acts more like a guide to everyday life than it does a promotional method to market their brand despite their constant use of their personal hashtags peppered into each tweet. They’ve connected social media accounts by linking their Twitter & Facebook together, so all users and customers can keep up with all things Herschel. So the company, whilst being very present on social media, is actually marketing their brands through customers, as opposed to marketing their brand at customers. That’s hella clever.

You know a brand is using social media well when their social media can tell a story without throwing a product in your face, and yet you’re enticed to shop with that brand based on one Instagram photo alone. Herschel sells the idea of a lifestyle which you can have with its products, rather than selling you the product. Clever, no?

But the brand also moves, and this is perhaps the most important and impressive aspect of why Herschel is so successful at social media. All of their platforms are social media user friendly; that’s key, considering we live in a world where everyone is looking at their phones more than at one another. They move with their customers and followers depending on what each follower/customer is looking for. A person looking strictly to buy a Herschel product can easily find their website on any of the brand’s social media accounts. Aspiring photographers will be more likely to follow or be attracted to Herschel’s Instagram, whereas brand-fans will use Twitter to keep up with new product releases similar to how fans follow the releases of albums or music from their favorite artists. It’s easy to get support from the brand, considering they have a separate Twitter account specifically set up to help customers and followers with every question imaginable. As people move, the brand can move with them due to its clever and rather smart use of social media. But really, it’s the other way around: people will move with the brand because Herschel makes it easy and so effortless that you’d probably never realize you were moving with them, and not vice versa.

It doesn’t hurt, either, that the brand is constantly creating in order to stay relevant and ahead of competition like Poler Stuff, another brand creating accessories like Herschel which are functional for almost any situation. Herschel does this through collaborations which see the brand working with other brands on products, collabs which solidify Herschel’s presence in the industry as collabs don’t let you forget who made what and with whom. Many brands would have newsletters go the way of the Dodo, but Herschel still sends them out and thus encourages customers to remain connected, even if you’re already obsessed with them on Instagram or drool over their products on their website. I should probably mention that Herschel makes it easy to purchase their products via their website, because it offers the customer various payment options. You can pay with your credit card, debit card or heck, why not purchase that new duffel using your PayPal account? If you live in Canada, shipping is relatively quick from the company’s Vancouver location, which definitely helps with customer satisfaction. I can attest to the quick shipping times; I once ordered a backpack and received in three days later with the nicest packaging.

With its use of social media so evidently advanced, it’s no wonder many consider Herschel a digital media darling. The brand quite literally uses every social media tool available to it. If we consider how involved they are across social media without actually talking about themselves, yet they sell thousands of bags per year without batting an eye, we’d have to admit that this brand is pretty darn clever. Herschel didn’t set out to be a social media socialite but with the founders of the brand having represented large brands prior to starting their own, it’s obvious as to why the brand would succeed. Literally anyone can own a Herschel product, despite many assuming it’s a hipster brand; I know several people who have never even heard of Herschel and yet, someone they know (like me) owns several of the brand’s products. Whether you’re a college frat boy, a preppy drama-club member, a skateboarder or lawyer, it doesn’t really matter with Herschel because their products speak to everyone, and they’ve made backpacks cool again. Without social media, the brand really wouldn’t be as popular as it is; after all, not everyone can physically visit a store or location selling Herschel merchandise in order to make a purchase. As the writers at Twist Image say, brands need to be digitally-led first, and Herschel does just that. It digitally leads us to nicer, more expensive backpacks through it’s really smart use of social media. How can you argue that when just one gander of their Instagram feed makes a wanderlust-ridden zombie of us all?

 

But what does all of this mean for those of us looking to use social media, or even to have a career-oriented role in the world of social media? If there’s one thing we can take away from Herschel’s social media success, it’s the fact that we have to be willing to understand social media first. You want to make your own brand? You’ll need to understand social media. Have a company you want to market better digitally? Ask yourself if you know how to use social media to increase your reach, grow your following and reach your target consumers. Personally, as a freelance writer I require social media to promote my writing just a novelist in the 21st century needs it to promote their book(s). I have a desire to learn about it because it can advance my career and my sphere of influence; could it not do the same for you? Your business? Your brand? I’m curious to see how my experience with learning about social media helps me utilize it in the real world, and whether I can become as savvy & successful with social media as Herschel has.

COM0014 – Blog 3 – Get to know your audiences – who are the real influencers?

A key audience for one of my clients, a long-term health care provider, are seniors in the Ottawa area. Research has revealed that there were 100,875 seniors in Ottawa in 2006, which represents 12% of all residents; that number is expected to double by 2030.

Characteristics – Quick facts
• 58% of seniors are women
• 58% of seniors are married or in a common-law relationship, more so for men (77%) than women (43%), and 40% of women are widowed compared to 11% of men.
• English is the most common mother tongue in seniors (58%), followed by other languages (23%), and French (18%).
• Three-quarters of seniors live in urban areas (inside the National Capital Greenbelt), 18% live in suburban areas (outside the Greenbelt), and another 8% live in rural areas.

Useful psychographic information – Quick facts
• Approximately half of the 65 to74 age group uses a cell phone, email, and/or the internet for information (men more than women).
• A majority of seniors receive information by direct contact/word of mouth
• 48% of seniors provide unpaid voluntary help for a non-profit or charitable organization and 60% provide unpaid help to other family members, neighbours and friends.

Based on that information, our view was that we needed to reach out not only to the older demographic, 65 to 80 years of age, but also to the 40+ group, who often act as caregivers and help with decision-making on behalf of seniors. (To complete the picture, communications strategies were also developed for other key audiences including provincial health bodies that fund this sector, the general public, neighbouring communities, health care co-providers, educational institutions, etc. by adding specific messaging to these groups and different communication channels including direct advocacy.)

Thus, taking all of this into consideration, communication to seniors was accomplished by general media coverage in dailies, community newspapers and publications for seniors. We also devised simple, consistent printed materials which were widely distributed around the Centre and in the community. We extensively used our network of volunteers to pass the messages and information around and organized well-attended events for all audiences to further promote and convey our key messages. We build a new, user-friendly website, including mobile formatting, with conservative colour scheme and design to fit the seniors’ audience which attracted on average 3,000 users per month. We established a Facebook page and a LinkedIn account as cautious ventures into social media to build our audiences for the future and as a way of transitioning the organization to the new social media tools.

In the end, all of the new services and programs were almost sold out within a year.

Research data source:
A Portrait of Ottawa Older Adults: – City of Ottawa