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.

COM0015 – Post #1 – Tools & Sources

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My involvement in social media was not particularly extensive until I began taking the social media program. Facebook was about the extent of the platforms I used. Since taking this program, I have had exposure and explored numerous new social media platforms. I have a twitter account AND I’m following blogs.

Although I would say for personal use, the social media platform that I use the most is Facebook. I guess you could say it is the listening and monitoring tool for my life and my own personal trends.

There are so many sources of information, and I find it can be overwhelming checking each individual site, so I find Feedly very helpful because it allows me to condense all of the sites I am interested in following, from news media to business sites to recipe sites all in one place.

Twitter is also very useful for the same reason. I rarely post to Twitter, but I like being able to follow the news and activities of specific organizations and people, and having it all in one place to quickly peruse. I use Twitter primarily for work. I work in the pharmaceutical industry, so I follow accounts specific to my needs, and Twitter keeps me constantly in the loop with all the news and updates specific to my industry and what I’m looking for.

I’m also a bit of a Pinterest junky. I use it primarily for recipes, but I also use it for fashion ideas, home décor ideas and party planning ideas. I’m in the middle of planning a baby shower for a close friend, and yes, sometimes I feel like I’m poaching ideas using this site, but I love that you can have an idea in mind and Pinterest will provide you with a way to create and execute that idea. Besides, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? 

Efficiency is key for me in a social media platform because A) there is so much to sift through and B) I have a very short attention span online, so if I can get my information at-a-glance, and pick and choose what I want to read through a quick title scan, the happier I am.

Comm0015: Blog Post 1: Tools and sources

Mark Zuckerberg must have seen me coming. I don’t know exactly when his plan to become the internet was hatched, but he has definitely succeeded in my household. Facebook is the most accessed site on my computer, with Google a not-so-close second. Facebook is an excellent aggregator of information, whether it be public or personal.Certainly, I use it to lurk former classmates’ pages and boast about my son’s most recent accomplishments, but I also use my news feed to follow actual news. You know, major-world-event, earth-shattering, is-it-ISIS-or-ISIL, real actual news. I like pages from alternative and mainstream media outlets, personal blogs, local organizations and other aggregators. Rather than trek from one website to the next, I can simply scroll through my news feed for a (truly) fair and balanced look at what’s going on in the world beyond George Takei’s latest amazon review.
I use Google in a similar way. When something is happening that I have a particular interest in, such as the current Ebola outbreak or reviews of new TV shows I might want to binge watch, I set up a Google Alert to automatically push the information I want to my inbox.
In terms of listening or trend-watching, I will admit I don’t do much of that on my own time. However, because I am involved in my organization’s social media strategy, I do engage in monitoring on a professional level. I use Facebook Insights to identify different demographics in our target audience and what content most interests each of them. In addition, I follow our competitors and stakeholders on Twitter to see what conversations we should become involved in and to identify potential gaps in our offerings. Finally, I host a biweekly Web quiz on our corporate homepage and provide an analysis of the results to our third-party content providers. This helps them identify whether their messaging is being heard and, more importantly, being understood.

Social Media: How You Can Make Money Online – COM0011

The number of people who went from being unemployed and poor, to being famous, wealthy and successful on the internet is both baffling and interesting. Some of the biggest names on Youtube and all over the social media world have told their stories, and claim that you can work and make money on the internet. A few well known people are Shay Carl, Michelle Phan, Elle and Blair Fowler, Bethany Mota, Nikki Philippi and there are still many more. All these individuals started very small with a camera and a funny story, they entered an internet world which continues to grow and support them. So who can start a Youtube Channel? Who can find followers on Twitter and Facebook? Who is capable? Well, pretty much anyone can make money online, it doesn’t require a certain skill or education, the only thing that is needed is community and creativity.

In this new age, making money online doesn’t stop at Youtube, their are multiple websites which people can work for in order to gain a profit of some sort, there are two i would like to discuss today. The first is one i am currently trying out, it’s called opinion outpost a company looking for consumers to take multiple surveys so that large companies can get feedback on their products or services. The individuals who participate are called to take a profile test which either qualifies them or disqualifies them to answer certain surveys, so you are always filling out surveys that relate to you and your lifestyle. You make money, get entered in draws and wins bonu gift cards and merchandise. This is a hobby to many people and opinion outpost is doing a great job promoting themselves through big Youtube names. The other way to make money is less “job” and more “incentive”, it’s called Diet Bet. Individuals seeking to loose weight can make money as they loose weight, all you have to do is join a group, put some money in a pot and shed a certain percentage of weight  within a specified time frame in order to win and split the pot with the other winners. Diet bet is also a company mentioned in many Youtube videos. Speaking of product placement, that is one huge way that people on the internet make money, big “Youtubers” as they are known get contacted by multiple brands and companies to put their products or mention their services in videos. The product is sent out to the person to be reviewed and tested, if they enjoy their experience they give the company a mention and make a portion of the profit. Lastly, i’ll talk about monetized videos on Youtube. These are videos which contain an ad that appears either before or after the video plays, it can also appear beside the video. As people view and click on these ads, the owner of the video receives profit. The number of innovative ways for people to make money online are countless and growing.

So if you need extra cash or are out of work an “easier” way of making money is available online. Many people think that making money online is unfair, but it is no different than working in a physical work environment. The challenges and successes may be different, but the work ethic is the same. Sometimes, making money online is just a benefit to being able to express yourself and be your own boss. I have a Youtube channel that i feel very passionate about, and yes making money off of my videos would be very helpful, but that is not the sole reason that i put up videos. I love have the freedom to speak about things i love, i love connecting with other people online, and it’s a job that i would love to have. (If you’d like to check out my channel here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMacgirl31)

COM0015 Blog Post#2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

Since I am a huge food fanatic, I have decided to choose a couple of food organizations that in my opinion use great social media strategies to promote their business. I love trying different kinds of food, from all different cultures. A lot of the restaurants I try and continue to eat at started off as small businesses which is why advertising and promoting is very crucial to their success.            

The first organization I have chosen to discuss is Fat Bastards Burrito. In Toronto, this small burrito shop started off with one location and as a result of their success they have expanded and opened many new locations. I believe that not only were they successful from the food they serve and excellent customer service, but from the use of social media. It got their name out there which increased the cliental dramatically. Toronto has a number of burrito places to eat at which means a lot of competition. Burrito Boys, another great burrito place that is the number one contender for all burrito places, was already established when Fat Bastards Burrito opened. Through the use of TWITTER, FACEBOOK, and their WEB PAGE, Fat Bastards Burrito managed to become just as popular as Burrito Boys. Fat Bastards Burrito uses twitter to keep their customers up to date with their weekly features, if they will be catering at social events, new locations, new apparel and newly added menu items. At the beginning of every week, a new style of burrito is added for a limited time for customers to have something different other than the set menu. Facebook is used as their gallery for all the images to show customers every menu item, new locations, apparel, and pictures of the social events they cater to. Everything that is posted to twitter is also linked to Facebook which makes it very convenient for those who do not have twitter, so they do not miss anything.

If you love poutines than Smokes Poutinerie is a place you have to try. There aren’t many unique poutine places in Toronto to try so this being the best I have had, it is definitely a favourite. Smokes Poutinerie uses FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and FLICKR to advertise and promote their company. Facebook and twitter is linked together so that everything posted on twitter also shows on their Facebook feed. Smokes Poutinerie uses these tools to keep customers up to date on limited time offers, apparel and also contest information where they offer prizes such as concert and sport event tickets. This is a very effective use of social media because the contest would consist of people attending different locations at a certain time and take a picture inside the restaurant and post it to either of these social networks. By doing this, they bring in customers to the restaurant and while they are there, it is very likely that the customers will purchase something from them. This is a very good sales tactic to promote such events in order to get more customers through the door. Smoke’s also hosts eating contests and uses FLICKR to keep a portfolio of all the different events. This is a great strategy because by doing this they capture the fun and enjoyment at these events for people to see afterwards. When people see these pictures it leaves an impression on them where they feel the need to attend to one of these contests to experience it in the future. The more people that attend, the higher the increase in sales because they serve Smokes Poutinerie products and such events creates the feeling of being a part of something great. Everyone would like to be a part of something and feel like they belong, making this organization a number on choice.

I do not know if anyone has tried an all you can eat Korean Grill House but it is definitely an experience. This restaurant is so unique because they provide marinated meats and you cook the meats you choose on a grill in front of you. They only have a handful of locations in the GTA but it is definitely a hit. I believe that with the use of social media it will increase the cliental greater than it is now. For those who know about this restaurant love it but it seems the only way they get new cliental is through word of mouth. These restaurants also get very busy and it would be beneficial to use a social media tool to inform customers of how busy they are at prime hours and to possibly give an alternative location that isn’t so busy. There are many instances where you arrive at the restaurant and it is packed with huge party reservations so it is almost a waste of time. When trying to explain the concept of the restaurant, it may not seem appealing through words but if they used something to show some of the dishes served on a Facebook page for example, it gives people who aren’t accustom to this type of food a chance to see how amazing the food looks. This will also give people a feel for the restaurant and see what type of atmosphere they would be spending time in. It is great that they have a web page to start but it would be really beneficial to create a Facebook page because it is a simple media tool that is easy to navigate and get their feet wet in the social media world. A step this small will make a difference for an organization like this where they can also receive feedback and make changes based on customers needs.