Fear and Loathing in Las Blogas

Fear and Loathing in Las Blogas

For those of you, who like me, are new to the world of blogging, you might also feel like the only people you are blogging for are your mother and your best friend. I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. Far from it. In fact, many, many successful bloggers have written about how to persevere with your blog when you don’t have an audience. Below is the digest of my research and how I plan to overcome my frustration of writing for no one – YET.

Promotion, promotion, promotion!

I have learned in these last few weeks through a lot of reading and listening to experts, and also through this course the value of promoting your content. Sonia Simone from CopyBlogger writes “until you build an audience that’s interested in what you are doing, you have to promote your content.”

In other words, you shouldn’t just wait for people to find your content. You should invite them to see it.

A little further in Sonia’s article, she writes, “waiting for social sharing to ‘just happen’ is like waiting for search engines to ‘just rank you’. You may be waiting for a long, long time. Until you are well established, you’ll want to get in there and give your content a good push.”

She suggests that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are a great start for content promotion. I’d like to throw Twitter into that mix.

The flip side of not having an audience

You may think “how could I possibly benefit from not having an audience?” After all, the point is to gather some steady followers who enjoy what you have to offer and engage with them as often as you can so you can stay psyched to keep on creating and publishing, right?

Kali Roberge from Creative Advisor Marketing serves up 4 fresh perspectives on how not having a strong following can benefit you here. I am especially fond of number 4!

“Don’t be discouraged by a slow start. It offers the time and testing you need to lay the right foundation for success.” – Michael Hyatt

A few words about fear

The fear of publishing is real. I’ve been there and I have the tee-shirt in a few colours and sizes. Whether it’s not knowing exactly what it is that you want to write about, the fear of failure or just plain social anxiety, Mike Brown from The Blogging Buddha has you covered here.

He touches a bit on those aforementioned issues and suggests a few strategies to overcome them in a very down-to-earth way.

These posts that I have listed above are definitely ones that I will be revisiting in the future to boost up my confidence level. I hope you will too.

Here are a couple of other noteworthy resources to visit if you are a blogging novice and feeling shaky or you simply want to learn more:

  • Medium (they have an app too!)

Hopefully after reading this blog post, you went from feeling like this:

Source: giphy.com

To feeling like this:

Source: giphy.com

If you had a magic wand that with one wave could solve your biggest social media woe, what would you wave it for?

Tired of blogging for an audience of your mother? Head down here for some pointers on alleviating some of the most common blogging woes.

https://bit.ly/2EsJx3Y

Got the blogging blues? You’re not alone. Pick yourself up here: https://bit.ly/2EsJx3Y

COM0015 – Blog #3 – Professional Networking… Is It Worth It??

I can still remember, all too clearly, sitting in a lecture during the first week of my Commerce degree, being told by one of my professors that the key to professional success is networking, and lots of it. Honestly, eighteen year old Courtney had never been more petrified.

At first, my desperate attempts to dodge these coveted networking opportunities and the feelings of awkwardness and embarrassment that I predicted would ensue, worked. I spent hours convincing myself I did not need the benefits I would derive from attending these events.

However, in the end, did I end up attending networking events during the course my degree? Of course I did. Was the experience awkward? At first, yes. Was it worth it? Completely.

Current Networking

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Source: DIYMarketers

Currently, the in-person professional networking I actively engage in occurs very organically through my employment environment. Working in a marketing capacity within the health food industry presents limitless opportunities to connect and engage  with brand representatives. These frequent and repeated interactions allow for relationships to develop, and topics to be explored — organic conversations around career related successes and challenges, and exciting industry trends.

Social media platforms have an incredibly powerful potential when used for professional networking. Social media allows for individuals to showcase all of one’s strengths, interests and passions in one place. For example, for me, social media serves as a place where I am able to showcase my interest in health, while simultaneously sharing my passion for personal finance.

At the moment in a professional context, I maintain a LinkedIn profile, that is neither completely up-to-date nor active. In addition, I maintain a professional Instagram account, and an Instagram account for my podcast. Finally, I maintain a blog on my podcast’s website. These platforms are not being truly optimized for professional networking purposes.

Future Focused: Commitment to In-person and Online Professional Networking

Looking forward, with the full understanding of the importance of developing both in-person and online professional relationships and networks, I am fully committed to expanding my professional networks in two capacities — through maintaining an increased social media presence, both as an individual and as the host of my personal finance podcast, along with attending professional development seminars, conferences, and events.

Professional Networking as an Individual and Podcast Host

Online

LinkedIn

In the next six to twelve months, I have aspirations to revise my LinkedIn profile, ensuring my Experience, Accomplishments, and Skills are accurate and current. I am going to actively add connections to my network who are both influencers in their industries and interested or employed within areas that pertain to my interests. In addition, I am going to actively share content related to my professional role within marketing, along with content pertaining to my passion for personal finance. These actions will result in creating a heavier presence within my LinkedIn network, leading to greater opportunities to begin discussions with those are interested and passionate about the same topics.

Twitter

Twitter, a powerful tool and one that I underutilize, is a platform I want to grow to have an active presence on within the next six to twelve months. Twitter, for myself, serves as an untapped source of valuable local-based connections that can work to further my personal finance podcast’s objectives and my own personal finance knowledge.

Instagram

The potential for both my professional and podcast Instagram accounts have not been fully maximized. In the next six to twelve months, my goal is to increase the frequency and quality of interactions with other users, while simultaneously developing a detailed set of objectives and overarching goals for both accounts in regards to how I intend to utilize these accounts moving forward, what type of content I hope to continue sharing, and how often I intend to post.

Website and Blog

With a corresponding personal finance website and blog for my podcast, I hope to publish content to this platform on a regular and ongoing basis and frequency while continuing to interact with readers and listeners through comments and contact form submissions. Encouraging dialogue on the podcast’s website is a valuable way to expand the podcast’s existing network.

In-person

In the next six to twelve months I intend to utilize Eventbrite to source out events to attend, which present opportunities to connect with individuals within the personal finance community and marketing environment. These valuable connections have the potential to translate into lasting relationships that can extend past the networking event itself.

In Conclusion…

Through reflection and time, I have come a long way since eighteen-year-old Courtney and her fear of networking and the awkwardness associated with it, and now realize the value and benefit of professional networking. In my opinion, the key to successfully networking both online and offline? Ensuring interactions feel genuine, authentic, and natural.

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Source: Reddit

You’re never too old for social media.

At what age do you stop playing games? Those games we loved as kids, such as jump rope, hopscotch and card games, may have gone by the wayside for some. But technology has resurrected many of these as apps. Games such as Solitaire, Yahtzee and Wii games are not only played by the younger generation but now by the older population.  Many older adults have jumped on the game app bandwagon with their tablets, IPads and IPods.

Social media is no different.  What may have begun as a way to connect with family across the country has turned into daily occurrence for many seniors. As someone who is approaching this ‘generation’, I am finding more and more seniors (ages 55+) are connecting with technology. Keeping up with the grandkids and learning something new have become goals for many older adults and in all honesty, have become part of their daily activities. Many seniors’ centres are now offering a variety of computer related programs and courses, including the how to’s of social media.

Working for the Town of Aurora, I was fortunate to work in the Aurora Seniors’ Centre for a 12 month period and watched first hand, how many of its members, some of whom were in their early 80’s, were utilizing their electronic devices. The Aurora Seniors’ Centre in conjunction with the Aurora Seniors’ Association, for example, is a very active centre with a very engaged computer club; most of the instructors are over 65 years of age. The Club offers weekly courses on a variety of topics which have included social media, as well as monthly TED Talks. They even have their own Facebook page, which is very dynamic.

According to Seniors for Seniors, a company providing home care services for seniors by seniors, social media can provide older adults with entertainment, stimulation, maintaining independence and preventing the isolation that many seniors face today. Technology is important to everyone, no matter the age.

 

So the next time your grandmother, grandfather, aunt or uncle enquires about your Facebook status or checks out your Instagram pics, remember, you’re never too old for social media. Consider what you would do if your 80 year old mother or father asked for your help in getting connected on social media? They might surprise you with the wealth of knowledge they may already have.

 

  You’re never too old for Social Media. It’s more than keeping up with the grandkids.

#too old for social media?

Social Media’s Role in the Evolution of HR

Social media has changed our world, it has changed the way we communicate, the way we market and sell our products and the way we learn, with no surprise it has changed also the way organizations attract talent. According to survey done by SHRM with HR professionals ,  Recruiting via social media is growing with 84% of organizations using it currently and 9% planning to use it. In 2011 only 56% used social media for recruitment. For most organizations 81% in 2015, it was one out of many recruiting tool used.

 

Previously recruitment was challenging for recruiters, costly and less effective in attracting talented candidate, but now social media has changed the way the recruitment process is done in organizations and gave HR managers different roles to play.

HR professional report the top reasons for using social media are to recruit passive candidate, increase the organization brand and recognition, target specific candidates with a very specific set of skills, allow potential candidates to easily contact the organization for employment.  However there are reasons for not using social media, concern about legal risks discovering information like (Age, Gender, Religious..),not enough time for HR staff to use this method in addition to other methods and questions about veracity of the information that is contained on social media.

Most Popular Social media Tools for recruiting are Linked in, Facebook, Twitter. Survey showed in 2015 the percentage of organizations used Twitter (96%), followed by Facebook (66%) and Twitter (53%).

The survey results showed that two-thirds of the organizations took steps to target smart phone users .39% career website have been optimized for mobile users, followed by job posting and job application enabled by 36% of the organizations.

 

 

please share your experience, has anyone find a job through Twitter, LinkedIn…..?

 

 

Facebook Post:

https://www.facebook.com/search/str/Social+Media+Today+4+ways+to+attract/stories-keyword/stories-public?see_more_ref=eyJzaWQiOiIiLCJyZWYiOiJoZWFkZXJfc2VlX2FsbCJ9

Twitter Post:

 

 

 

References
https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Pages/Social-Media-Recruiting-Screening-2015.aspx
https://www.peatworks.org/blog/2016/may/how-social-media-changing-talent-recruiting
 

 

COMM0015-Blog 2: KFC or Apple?

Impressive Social Media:

The organization that stands apart from others in their social media strategy is Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). This company is unlike many others in the fast food industry. KFC does not push their product or specials on you but creates stories with their iconic figure to draw consumers in.

Photo from KFC Twitter. 2017

Using short videos, single pictures, contests and so much more, this organization is social media gold. KFC has the ability to take social media viewers on a journey while using their products to help tell a story. With Kernel Sanders as their primary character, everything this organization does come back to him and their product. Such a simple idea, right? Just have a mascot.

Yet, KFC’s promotion is so much more than just a mascot. It is the effective ways this organization allows social media users to engage and participate in their marketing campaigns. For example, on November 1st, 2017 KFC did a Periscope video that reached over 76 thousand viewers in its 20 minutes live. The video’s purpose? A ‘KFC Auction’ where Twitter users could ‘bet’ by commenting on prizes being given away. Engaging and promoting their product – Genius!

Check out their video here: https://twitter.com/kfc/status/925890311401828355 (KFC, 2017).

Adopting a Social Media Strategy:

I am going to critique the choices of one of the most known brands, Apple, but hear me out before you stop reading this. I would bet more than half of the people reading this post have an Apple product, I am even typing on one right now. However, the lack of social media interaction from one of the technology conglomerates baffles me.

Photo from Apple Twitter. (2017).

Bring up Apples Twitter page. NOTHING. No tweets at all. Slide over to Instagram. It is better with 62 posts to date. I understand the product sells for itself, so why waste the extra time and money on social media?

I believe Apple needs to consider interacting with consumers on social media to ensure they are brand loyal. Often, when someone has a negative experience they turn to social media to share that information. With Apple’s lack of social media engagement, I believe they are missing risky situations like this that could be solved.

Finally, Apple’s marketing is AMAZING! They always have innovated ideas for presenting new products, signage and so much more. It is a shame that they are missing out on social media platforms to further express that creativity. I believe, like KFC, they could engage consumers on a new level through creative social media campaigns if they give it a shot.

Check it out for yourself!

Apple Twitter: https://twitter.com/apple?lang=en

KFC Twitter: https://twitter.com/kfc?lang=en

COMM0015 – BLOG 1: The Social Media Realm

Tools:

Social media can be a complicated process. When someone says social media tools I am thinking of the applications that make my jobs easier. How do you know if your hard work is benefiting the business? Thankfully, the use of social media tools can provide answers to this question.

Image found from http://www.ohgizmo.com.

First, I turn to Hootsuite for accurate statistics about my social media postings. Hootsuite is an online application that provides the user with an interface to be able to schedule posts. As this feature is just scratching the surface, Hootsuite also provides users with a backhouse of statistics regarding their posts. My favourite function allows a marketing team to track clicks on any link posted through the Hootsuite application. For the retail world, this is very important so we can work towards improving our online sales.

Although Hootsuite is great for analyzing statistics in terms of social media posts, it does not take into consideration what the consumer on the other end is thinking. Luckily for our organization, we have the funds to produce a semi-annual survey. Using Survey Monkey, our marketing team searches to find out the consumers thoughts about our social media and website. This tool allows us to create custom questions that we would like to ask the participates. This customization element of Survey Monkey makes the online tool versatile for any organization. This product is great to use so that companies can ensure they are listening to their consumers.

Best sources for news:

Years ago, the 6 o’clock news used to be a must watch for all modern families, however as times are changing most individuals are straying away from this tradition. As a student with night classes and two jobs, watching the news on television is no longer an option for me. Luckily, social media platforms allow me to get this same news, at the touch of my fingertips.

Many say that Twitter is dying, however, this is still my go-to platform for news. Whether it be sports, politics or international affairs, Twitter seems to have it all when I need it. One must keep in mind that anyone can tweet in real-time, therefore all information may not be credible. However, I believe this outlet is the fastest way to get an idea of what is going on in the world.

Additionally, I believe that Facebook is great for short clip video content. In comparison to 40-minute newscasts, Facebook gives you the ability to watch a short video about the news that interests the viewer. Overall, this expands the digital ages ability to cater to unique audiences.

Overall, these social media platforms not only help with day-to-day news but can help a business reach consumers. For me, it is important to look at how versatile these social media platforms can be. As an organization, this makes it important to have unique social media content that is fun and playful. You want to capture your audience’s attention, however, do not want to come off as you are pushing a product on them.

What are some of the best social media campaigns you have ever seen?

References:

Facebook. (2017). https://www.facebook.com/.

Hootsuite Media, Inc. (2016). http://signup.hootsuite.com.

Survey Monkey. (2017). https://www.surveymonkey.com/.

Twitter. (2017). https://twitter.com/.

COM0014: Blog #4 – Come on, everyone. Let’s movie!

It seems a little out of place that a television channel dedicated to the past is so adept at using technology to engage with their audience. But Turner Classic Movies – or TCM, for people in the know – has done an incredibly effective job of using social media to create and connect a community of classic movie buffs.

#LetsMovie

On their main Twitter account, @TCM uses this hashtag as a rallying cry to its followers – who are also the viewing audience. People come together to tweet their excitement about that night’s primetime showing or an ongoing event (Audrey Hepburn Mondays in May, anyone?).

Thanks for the memories…I mean retweet

The @TCM account is also very active in liking and retweeting posts from their followers and other accounts using their hashtags. By making their audience feel valued and appreciated, TCM is ensuring that they will keep tuning in to their channel…instead of just turning on Netflix.

Grab the popcorn and let the live-tweeting begin!

Overall TCM has done a great job of engaging a younger, more youthful audience than you might except the channel to attract. Often it’s young, on-air hosts will live-tweet a movie so that it feels like you’re watching the classic with a group of your friends. As someone who’s friends don’t understand the appeal of black-and-white films, I definitely appreciate the feeling of community this provides.

I love classic movies and have loved them for more than a decade. But to be able to share that love and talk about it with a group of people has not always been easy. TCM uses its social media channels to create spaces on their various platforms where this is possible. Because the best thing after watching a great classic movie is being able to gush with someone about why it was so great.

But just a heads up: you always have to supply your own popcorn.

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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.

Continue reading

An Experiment in Punishment

An Experiment in Punishment

When a company does you wrong, do they deserve some form of punishment, or you, some form of retribution? Well, an apology at least?; we’re not expecting jail time. But a company recently ‘done me wrong.’ Now, I realize that this is probably one of the most privileged problems I have ever had to deal with, but, I essentially lost more than $500 (CAD) in one day because of an Icelandic bus company.

So, here’s the story.

I went to Iceland for a work conference last week; on the future of technology and education, the evolution of A.I., and possible dystopian outcomes. Interesting stuff! But I decided to stay an extra day after the conference because… Iceland. So the extra day was to be on my dime. When I arrived five days earlier, I got into the city, Reykjavik, by signing onto a round trip deal with a bus company at the airport, since the airport was roughly 45 minutes from the city. The bus would take you directly to your hotel, and then pick you up and take you back to the airport at the end of your trip; but, you must contact and schedule the pick-up a day in advance.

Seems fair enough. And, it was fairly expensive on its own: I spent roughly 4,000 Icelandic Krona (ISK), or, more than $50.00 CAD for the round-trip with the company, Reykjavik Excursions, and specifically their FLyBus (airport transport) network. Getting into the city was more or less fine, and Iceland was quite amazing, but, it was a fair bit colder than Toronto, and I was still in denial about Toronto weather, being June and everything. So, I wore a jacket, but didn’t even bring a toque (I likely should have, however).

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It was a beautiful country.

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And Reykjavik was a wonderful little city.

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With very clear street signs.

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And the sun, literally, never set.

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12:30 a.m.

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3:30 a.m.

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4:15 a.m.

But, as I said, it was also very expensive. This beer cost 1.100 Krona (ISK), or, converted to Canadian dollars: $14.56!

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But I still loved being there.

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I am very happy. You can tell by the muted expression of emotion through facial cues and social norms.

As I am sure you can tell, I was also utilizing social media for much of the journey. In particular, posting on Instagram and Facebook.

So I learned a lot, slept a little, made some friends, had some fun, explored a bit, and had a great experience with Iceland and its people.

But, as requested, the day before I was to leave, I ensured that the FlyBus return trip to the airport was booked. So at 9 a.m. the day before I left, I asked a hotel employee if he could book the trip for noon the following day, which he promptly did (the two employees at this ‘hotel’ – really, a little apartment complex, Rey Apartments – were great and always helpful).

Noon the next day seemed reasonable. My flight was to take off at 3:20 p.m. the following day. A noon pick up would have me at the airport roughly between 12:45 and 1 p.m., giving me over two hours to safely get to my plane.

But… it was 12:40 p.m., and the bus had yet to show, and I was a little more than tired and hungover. The hotel employee called the bus company for me, and ultimately found out that they simply ‘forgot’, or did not take note when he made the appointment the previous day. So he got me booked on the following bus, which would pick me up between 1 and 1:30 p.m. It showed up around 1:20, and I didn’t get to the airport for roughly an hour. It was packed. And by the time I got to the check-in, the employee told me that I had missed the check-in time, and that he was sorry, but all I could do was to book another flight. WoW Air, which provides cheap flights between Europe, Iceland and Canada (and vice versa), doesn’t have much in the way of compensation.

There wasn’t another flight to Toronto until the next day, at the same time. That put me back $425.00 (CAD), or 31,183.40 ISK. But because the flight was the next day, I had to find a place to sleep. So I looked up what was close to the airport. The cheapest place I could find was a hostel-like complex of 121 rooms, Base Hotel, housed in a former NATO base used by the US Navy and Air Force.

This put me back another $55 (CAN) or 4,035.50 ISK. Unfortunately, because I had to purchase another plane ticket, my credit card went over the limit and I had to struggle  to even pay for my hotel room. But I sorted the situation out, with a little help from my family 5,600 km away in Vancouver, Canada. I spent the night in anticipation of my flight the following day, and relaxed with what the hotel claims is “Iceland’s cheapest beer,” which, as far as my own experience went, was accurate.

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And so the next day, I got to the airport five hours early, before the airline even had its check-in open. I was determined to not let any time constraints get in the way of me flying back to Toronto. I was already losing a work day due to the travel, and would have to make up that time throughout the rest of the week. But I got on the plane, and all seemed well. But then I looked at the seat in front of me…

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“Fast, frequent & on schedule!”?

Interesting interpretations of time and space.

However, “no rush”, I believe.

Still, I was nervous, seeing that in front of me; it was not a good omen for the chances of the plane reaching its destination with me on it. It made me question whether or not I was actually on the right plane, was it going to the right city, was I actually going to make it, or… do I even exist?

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But… I made it, and in fact, we landed in Toronto about 40 minutes ahead of schedule. I got home, and now I was angry with how much it cost me for that one extra day, due to the actions of a bus company that failed to live up to the promises of its paid services.

The day it happened, I was too tired and frustrated and angry to deal with human beings. And I thought to myself, now that I am learning and utilizing social media so much, and notably on this trip, why not attempt to use it to make a complaint. If I went up and complained one-on-one, perhaps they would reimburse me for my roundtrip ticket with their company, but that was less than 10% of the financial cost of their mistake.

I’ve been reading about how companies with strong and relevant social media presences deal with crises and customer complaints online. The first rule is to never delete a post or complaint (unless it violates certain posting rules, is bigoted, racist, etc). But successful companies will address the complaint, and quickly. They will do so publicly, and also  privately contact the customer seeking to alleviate and address the problem however they can. The hope would be to try to turn around a customer, and transform a potential PR issue into an advertising opportunity.

So I posted a negative review on their Facebook page:

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I also Tweeted to them (and provided a bit.ly link to my Facebook post, since Twitter doesn’t allow for a lengthy explanation):

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Two days later, have I heard anything?

Not. A. Peep.

Well, except from other customers who interacted with me and posted similar stories of their own.

And to be honest, it was a far more expensive ordeal for others than it was for me!

But one thing is clear, Reykjavik Excursions has a poor management strategy for social media. So, I can either accept that they will not address my complaint via social media, let alone apologize, try to contact them directly by phone or email, or, I can try to convince you people who read this to help me make them pay attention to their social media presence, or, at least try to!

Think of it as an experiment in social media… punishment? Retribution? Justice? Choose your term, it’s an experiment in social media power, or at least, an early attempt at exercising some prowess with it. A challenge, perhaps!

Consider engaging with my Facebook post on their page, or Tweet to them here. Because of Facebook’s algorithm, posts that are more engaging, with comments, likes, shares and other reactions, will be more likely to be seen by others, and then engaged further.

So, consider helping me with this experiment, and let’s see if it yields any results!

Thank you so much in advance!

And solidarity, fellow social media students.

 

It’s Not Easy to Be Genuinely Funny

A Genuine Problem

One of the great challenges of social media is to be genuine – in your posts, in your views, in what you say and write and share, and in your overall engagement – and yet, to do so without being hated. Why is this challenging? Well, think of it: in your everyday life outside of social media, in face-to-face interactions and engagements, how often are people truly genuine with one another? Think of the retail and service-industry experiences you have had, parties you have attended, even some friends or family you interact with. Finding people who are truly genuine can be truly, genuinely challenging.

This of course begs the question: if we can’t always expect to be genuine in face-to-face engagement, why should we expect it when given the added distancing of social media?

Well, for one: I find it is helpful to stop expecting things, in general. That way, if something good happens, it comes as a pleasant surprise, a break from the usual sad, depressing consistency of failed expectations. However, having said that, it is beneficial to be genuine through social media, for the simple reason that it is more easily relatable to others. Perhaps it is because we are accustomed to a certain degree of falsity in human interactions that we have come to more easily recognize and appreciate genuine conduct when we come across it. That, and it’s also just pleasant, no?

There is no lack of articles, experts, observers, and practitioners of social media who have written and advised that whether you are using it for personal or professional purposes, being genuine and authentic through social media is important. These qualities create trust, and trust can lead to closer connections, future business, or more.

The struggle, at least from my own perspective, is in managing how to be genuine – in being honest with what you think and say – and yet, somehow, avoid being hated. There’s a reason why most of what goes on in your mind should stay there. Just imagine, if you will, going to a café or a restaurant where everyone – notably the employees – were genuine and authentic in all their interactions. Having worked in a restaurant as a bus boy, I can honestly say, this would not go well. I’ve had managers instruct me to take a five minute break because they could see that a rude customer was challenging my sense of self-control to not serve them their food face-first. I’ve had customers say obscene and racist things to me, and had to bite my lip and not respond with a verbal lashing, which feels like the most authentic response to me.

So, clearly, there are limits to authenticity. But one general rule of thumb I adhere to (especially when trying to get away with a lie), is that, being honest doesn’t mean saying everything, it just means being truthful with what you choose to say. The same could apply to most human interactions, and, notably, to social media. You don’t have to say what you genuinely think and feel all the time, but it is a good strategy to be genuine with what you choose to say and how you say it.

That Funny Feeling

I use social media for a number of things. I use it in a professional capacity, through my employer, a non-profit focused on educational advancement. I also use it for myself, both personally and in terms of advancing my own side projects as a writer. Increasingly, I find that an effective means of being genuine on social media and managing to avoid being hated is to be funny (or try to be, rather). After all, people genuinely enjoy funny things. I mean, someone who doesn’t like to laugh is clearly someone with a cold, dead heart, not someone who should be a typical target of any social media campaign, unless of course your target audience are members of the Republican Party (ooooh, just got political!).

But truly, a great way to engage others is to use humour. After all, for social media to be engaging, you have to offer something to your ‘followers’: information, accessibility, authenticity, entertainment, etc. And you don’t need to be “selling” humour in order to justify using it through social media. Of course, for comedians, being funny on social media is a must, however, many brands and businesses have chosen to use humour to engage and ultimately advertise and promote themselves through social media, regardless of how “serious” a company they may be.

Humour is multi-purpose. I personally prefer to use humour to deal with most of the challenges of life. I don’t know how I would have gotten through life without it. And as I am currently trying to cultivate the skill set to do some comedic writing, I have chosen social media as the platform for experimentation, character development, and subject matter. One of the main subjects of the experiment (and the planned writing project) is that of online dating, and notably, for gay men using apps and experiencing that specific ‘social media’ world.

Dating is hard enough, and the advent of apps and modern technology have made it simultaneously – and contradictorily – more accessible and more distant, easier to connect and harder to remain connected. I have learned to navigate through this world of contradictions with humour, and I find, as I curate and share comedic content on this subject matter through Facebook and Instagram, the levels of engagement accelerate, particularly with my own demographic.

A very effective means of using humour through social media is to share – or create – memes and gifs. I recently started creating my own. Giphy is an easy-to-use site to upload and add text to existing gifs, or to create your own from scratch. MakeAMeme is fairly self-explanatory for its purpose, and serves it well. And there are meme styles that are more popular through some platforms, such as the following style on Instagram, where you can have a good deal of text above the image instead of simply appearing over top of the image. A good site to make those memes is through Dankland.

An example of an Instagram-style meme that I created can be seen below:

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The power of humour is not simply in making people laugh, it’s in finding something that people can relate to in real life, in bringing out or commenting on something genuine – an experience, an emotion, a state of being, a thought, an action, or behaviour – and twisting it around to look at it in a different way, a way that allows yourself and others to find humour in the circumstance, and in themselves.

So, for example, here are a few gifs that I created which tended to get a little more active engagement from my followers:

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And it really wouldn’t be complete without including this:

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In Concussion

I generally despise advertisements, especially when they are directed at me. I try my best to ignore them, to not pay attention, to not click or engage at all. I assume that a lot of people are similar. No one likes to be beaten over the head repeatedly, with advertisement or, presumably, with anything, really.

But if something makes me laugh, I don’t care if it is an advertisement and is ultimately just trying to get my money. If I am made to laugh, then I am happy to engage.

It’s not a flawless strategy, and not one without risk (after all, not everyone has the same sense of humour), but, it might just be worth the risk. Surely, it’s better to try to be funny and fail than to just be boring.

fb-art   Click here if you absolutely, definitely, do NOT want to laugh and learn something at the same time! 

btn_tw   Ever tried to be honest AND still be liked? There’s a #funny trick to it!