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Week 14: One final reflection on social media

September 15th 2012, I google myself and I get a plethora of results pertaining to me. December 13th 2012, I google myself and I still receive the same amount of results. In terms of how I put myself into social media, nothing has changed in the past three to four months. What has changed, however, is my outlook. When I was a lot younger, I always signed up for social networking sites that I thought could be fun. I never really used them, but I always had fun with it for a little while. While I was signing up for these sites, I never payed attention to my “digital footprint”, it was more so just “I want people to know my name!” and so the adventure began.

Now, I’m seeing having signed up for all those sites was a poor decision. As I said in my earlier post, I tried to go back and deactivate my accounts – but to no avail. There was a lot I never considered with my social media impact; business being one of those things. People always said to watch out for what you’re posting on Twitter and Facebook, because you never know who’s reading your posts… I never really cared until now; until I took this course and realized how important your footprint is to your business life. I go through pictures of some of the people I have on my Facebook and I think “Would I hire that person?” I mean, if you’re wearing a crop-top that shows off your “YOLO” tattoo, nine times out of ten, I’m thinking “you make poor life decisions.”

So if I’m sitting in my bedroom, without the business experience and background thinking “I wouldn’t hire that person”, what’s it like to be the CEO of a huge company and looking at a half-naked girl’s profile pictures with gnarly tattoos? Does your opinion change once you’re in that position? I don’t think it does. Etiquette and social responsibility are evidently important, and I’ve stopped taking that for granted.

I’ve considered myself to be pretty savvy when it comes to social media. I can’t say I learned too much more than what I already knew. I can say, however, that this course has put it into perspective for me. It’s not so much “Ah! What a revelation! I’m cured of all my horrid Facebook posts and tweets!” It’s more so, I take into consideration what I’m saying before I say it. If you read my tweets, that might not be terribly apparent. Honestly, I used to tweet nonstop throughout the day; I’ve rolled it back a bit. I don’t swear in my tweets, and I don’t post horrible pictures of myself. I think that’s what this course has given me.

In relation to my first entry: not much has changed. I’m still the same avid blogger that started this course, and I will continue to be. But I’m much more aware of what I’m saying now, and I think that goes a long way in terms of business. I don’t want to end up tweeting something absolutely tragic, lose a job opportunity over it, and then regret that decision of thinking “man, this will get so many retweets”. That’s not what business is about; it’s about a clean, appropriate way of getting your message out there and making a profit. Social media is just one key element to making that happen.

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Week 10: Extreme Promotional Materials – Social Media Plan

Social media has given people and their businesses an advantage they would have never thought possible years ago. Making connections, relationships, and business ventures much easier through Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites of the like. In this day and age, it would almost be foolish to not have your business take part in social media. There’s more to it than that, however… One must know how to approach social networking – they must have a plan so they can understand the causes, the ramifications, and the results they will later see from their usage.

How and Why

Extreme Promotional Materials would benefit greatly from generating a social media plan because they are all about promotion. They use their business to promote schools, teams, even other businesses; therefore the use of promotion on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. is a valuable opportunity of which to take advantage. This business would require knowledge on how they wish to be seen by the social media audience: the tone they wish to portray, the information they want to release, how they would communicate feedback, comment, questions, etc. It is very important for a brand like Extreme Promotional Materials to develop a social media plan because it would not only help them promote themselves, but also who they are promoting – thus achieving loyal customers.

Missions, Visions, Goals

Extreme Promotional Materials is a brand that is all about promotion. Just like any other business, their main goal is to achieve returning customers; to create a name for themselves that shows the public how reliable and customer-friendly they are. They hope to one day be the biggest business in their respective field; just as MacDonald’s for fast food, and American Eagle for clothing. They believe social media tools will help carry them along towards accomplishing their goals by getting their name into the public and showing their demographic what they have to offer.

Key Messages

Extreme Promotional Materials wants their audience to know that they provide fast, effective service. If you need a jersey with your school’s logo by a certain date, they will do everything within their power to ensure you have the perfect product as soon as you need it. They’re dedicated to customer service and through social media, they plan to convey their devotion and understanding by answering tweets, Facebook comments, and other methods of social communication. They plan to use their Facebook page as a gallery functionality, showing their customers what they’re offering in terms of products and services.

Target Audiences

While this business typically serves schools and league teams, they are always looking to expand their outreach. They don’t cater to a specific group, however, as most of their customers seem to be teams of some sort, their social media plan must follow that demographic. If they are trying to reach to schools, Twitter would be a useful tool, as most schools are now expanding their curriculum to take Twitter into consideration. This means more students will be effectively using Twitter.

As of the past few years, different businesses have been getting into Twitter as well. This means businesses that require the promotion service that Extreme Promotional Materials has to offer will know of their products through promotion via tweeting/retweeting, Facebook ads, Youtube clips, etc. A social media plan in this instance will greatly benefit this business because it will expand their publicity quicker than basic word-of-mouth.

Social Media Tools

Twitter (demo: businesses, students)

– Basic updates on what the company is doing

– Twitpics of recent products and cool merchandise

– A method to communicate with customers and briefly answer questions.

Facebook (demo: businesses, students)

– A place to really try and sell products; showing galleries of what the company offers its customers.

– Allows users to give helpful feedback on certain products

– Contests and games to win prizes,

– A method to communicate with customers to answer their questions to a greater extent.

Youtube – As used by a single person representing  Extreme Promotional Materials (demo: students, teenagers)

– Advertise products in a more creative fashion

– Personal blog to update audience and create one-on-one conversation with customers

– Allows users to give feedback via video comments and create video replies that help customers expand on their feedback

Social Media Engagement Strategy

On Twitter, the outreach will be mostly towards students and people on league teams. Those customers require logo’d equipment and will go to Extreme Promotional Materials when they need a certain product. With this knowledge, the tone will have to be lighthearted, to keep them entertained. Posting frequency will be a few posts ever few hours, as to not bombard them with useless updates, but at the same time make sure they are aware of new products and deals when they become available. This will help accomplish their goals by keeping updated with customers and accepting helpful feedback in real-time, never missing a moment’s time.

Through Facebook, the outreach will be broad – as Facebook has now reached out to a demographic of many different age groups and people. It will be a general tool used to promote products, services, contests, and deals as they happen. Posting frequency will be once or twice a day to keep a steady rate on updates, and a new post when an exciting deal becomes available. This will achieve the company’s goal in customer satisfaction by showing their audience everything they should know about their company, without any hidden ulterior motives.

On Youtube, there will be one or two people creating a personal vlog that will keep a steady update rate in order to draw attention to advertising. The vlog will keep a positive, upbeat tone to attract more customers, and keep original customers coming back to update themselves on what is happening in Extreme Promotional Materials. This will achieve their goal in customer satisfaction by keeping up with one-on-one communication, giving the customer a rewarding and genuine feeling that the representatives of the company truly care about their customers.

All in all, a social media plan is crucial in any business’ all-over plan of success. With social media being a current phenomenon, it would only make sense for every business to take part. By creating a social media plan, a business is able to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. They can be one step ahead of the game at all times, without missing a beat. Using networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube (among the most popular and with the largest demographics), every step a business takes counts greatly in the larger picture, therefore knowing what move you’re going to make next is absolutely critical.

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Week 7: Business + Social Media = Fun.

I find the most effective way to really create something interesting for the consumer is to think like the consumer. I believe the lines “from a business perspective” and “from a customer perspective” should go hand-in-hand. Almost like a “by the people, for the people”. So if I were to create a tactic to promote my business using social media, I would want to put myself in the customer’s shoes.

First off, I would stay away from Facebook in the long run. That’s not to say I wouldn’t create a page for my business, but I wouldn’t want to use it as thoroughly as I would other social media sites – simply because I find Facebook too busy. From my own perspective, I look at my newsfeed on Facebook and I see all these ads for other businesses and products and I just do not care. Those ads don’t affect me, or at least they don’t affect me consciously. I just feel like spending time and money on Facebook would be somewhat of a waste.

I would definitely use Twitter. Maybe that’s slightly bias because of my incredible love for Twitter – but it’s my business, my rules. I feel as though Twitter is much more direct, it’s just a couple of sentences to update you quickly and to the point. Sweet and simple. I feel like it’s much easier to interact with your followers when using Twitter, and that really makes a difference when gathering customers. In all reality, I would only want to use Twitter to interact and talk to our customers because it is the most effective, and easiest way to do so. Occasional updates and simple conversation seems to be what Twitter is best for.

A good example of this is D&Q (yes, I’m bringing it up again) and how they said “Tom will tell 19 egg jokes if 19 more people follow us today”, and proceeded with “As oeuf I didn’t have plenty to do already.” and “Omelet you in on a little secret, I only have two egg jokes.” which I found hilarious… After a while, I saw this:

I was laughing every tweet I saw… and it worked! They got their followers.

Other than using Twitter to interact easily with followers, a really good method of promoting your business would definitely be Youtube. There’s no way around it – it’s popular, it’s interactive, it’s easy to use. It’s so much fun when you know what you’re doing, there’s no denying the potency of Youtube. When I say interactive, I’m referring to the cool mazes that some Youtube users set up for their fans. For example, WheezyWaiter (one of my favorite Youtubers) created this interactive game through his videos, as a lot of popular Youtubers do.

He creates a story and let’s the viewer choose what happens in the story through a series of links posted on the video itself. Each link is connected to a different video that he has recorded which has a different outcome each time. I find it’s ideas like these that really get the viewer involved and help generate more fans.

I feel as though ideas like this would be very useful for a business, to show its customers how they are interested in entertaining them, and not just taking their money. This could be a really interesting approach to attracting people to your products. If it were me creating the video, I would create a storyline that depicts the customer trying to pick out one of our products, and give links to a handful of different ones – each link would bring them to a video generated by us showing how happy they would be if they purchased said product. How cool… someone should actually do that.

All in all, I definitely believe that Twitter and Youtube would be my top picks if I were the means behind promoting a business. They interact with their fans/customers/followers, they make it fun and amusing so you’re not just getting “BUY THIS THING” shoved in your face all the time, and they’re user friendly – making life much simpler for everyone. It just seems like a no-brainer to me… As a consumer, I want to see that the business I am giving my money to is able to have fun with their work. What’s more fun than games and jokes? Nothing. That’s what.

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Week 6: Pawsitive advertisement

When I think of pet stores, I think of walking into a building and seeing bags upon bags of animal food, chew toys, ropes, fish tanks, everything that a pet-owner needs to care properly for their little friend. I also imagine a back room with windows so customers could look in and see the small cats and dogs jumping around, excited to see a new person. When I think of this fictional store, Pet Pawsitive, I believe it to be nothing different than my original thoughts.

The back room is filled with cages with cats and dogs, taking their well-deserved afternoon naps. None of these animals are for sale, but simply being cared for and trained by professionals. The shelves are filled with organic animal foods, shampoos, and treats to ensure the owners that their pets are being properly fed. No one has to worry about leaving their pet there because of such high appraisals from higher-end pet stores. This is truly the ideal place to bring your animals.

To visually promote this business, you must consider all the factors that are involved with getting the attention of the common customer. You must attack all senses – smell, touch, sight, sound. Given the fact that this is an online video promotion, we’ll have to work with what we’re given… meaning no smelling, or touching… I don’t think we’re that technologically advanced. It only makes sense to keep your audience in mind – who are you trying to sell to? What do they want to see? Well, as a consumer myself, I like to see happy animals. I want to see professionals doing their job right, and having a good time doing it. If I see a video where my dog is jumping around and having the time of his life, I will definitely take that business into consideration. Let’s just take a glance at this video:

When I saw this video, I could not stop laughing. It made me really appreciate how much thought and effort went into making it. It was especially the lady that said “You know I can’t run in heels, Chevaun, come back!” Too funny. I would probably make a video exactly like this one. Something the consumer can relate to, laugh at, and enjoy watching. Make it super playful, with bright colors and happy music… Giving them the information they need – hours of operation, activities, programs offered, all while keeping it light-hearted and fun. I also think it’d be a pretty neat idea to show behind-the-scenes clips of trying to make the commercial – just to show how difficult it is to work with animals sometimes. I believe that would really help the audience connect with the business because every pet owner knows how tedious and repetitive you need to be when training your pet.

When promoting your business, you always need to keep the consumer in mind. Chances are, if you’re a pet-owner, you like to have fun, because that’s what pets are – they’re fun. So it only makes sense to create something that gives them the equally pleasant feeling of happiness that they feel when they’re playing with their pet. You want to connect with them on an emotional level and show them that you’re not alone in caring for your pet. For business like Pet Pawsitive, I believe it is crucial to connect with your audience and show them how you know exactly what it’s like to deal with animals, and how well you work with them.

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Week 5: Facebook? Cats? Purina.

I don’t typically follow brands or companies or businesses on Facebook. I don’t really care to. I use Facebook to see what my friends, family, and coworkers are doing – not what some high-end business is selling. I just don’t see the appeal. That’s not to say I wouldn’t follow the page of a brand/company that I really liked, I just haven’t found one interesting enough.

So the other day I was talking to my friend about my cat. Let’s get one thing straight here: I love my cat. She is my best friend and I couldn’t live without her. I seriously can’t stress that enough. I’ve always wanted the best for my cat, I never buy no-name brand food or dollarstore toys; only the best for my little sweetheart. One thing I’ve always been super keen on is feeding my cat Purina Cat Chow. She loves it, and I love her so it just works out. So that begged the question, why not write about Purina Cat Chow?

I visited their Facebook page and saw how AWESOME it was. Cats everywhere (if you can’t already tell, I am 100% cat person. Love love love cats. Dogs are cool, too). Seriously, pictures of cats just plastered all over their page – I was in heaven. Upon further research as to why random people and their cats were posted all over the timeline, I realized that Purina was having this really cool contest where you share a picture of your cat and a story that really describes the relationship between you two. Winner receives $5000 and a year’s supply of cat chow! I wish I had known about this sooner!

For cat lovers, this page is perfect. You can read awesome cat stories, see the cutest cat pictures and bond with all the other cat lovers of the world. It feels like a community. Even in their description:

There may not be cat parks yet, but there’s finally a place to come together and connect with cat owners like you to celebrate your love for your cats.

You can tell, they know their Facebook page is a virtual cat-loving society. They even have people from their company commenting back and interacting with the costumers. So heartwarming.

I think Purina is really smart for how they’re using their page. Who doesn’t like a chance to flaunt their cute little feline? I know I love posting pictures of my cat on Facebook, there must be more like me! Really smart tactic, if you ask me. Not to mention winning money and free cat food? I mean, come on, Purina – make a better deal! I, myself, am head over heals for this contest. I love it; I bet they love it too – all the publicity for their company and showing how passionate they are for what they do. Truly respectable.

A Facebook page filled with cat pictures and cute stories is exactly how I’d spend my night. I never knew this existed until recently and I am so happy I found it. Seriously, genuinely, legitimately happy that this exists. Thank you, Purina Cat Chow, for the delicious food and epic Facebook page.

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Week 2: A perspective on social media

I’ve always believed social media has been a crucial aspect of the business world; of the world in general, really. How easily one person can communicate with another and develop personal or professional relationships. Since realizing the computer in my room actually had an internet connection, I almost never left my room. That sounds kind of anti-social, but the reality of the matter is I was immediately sucked into the social media world. I joined Facebook in 2007 and Twitter in 2009. I was on MySpace (but who uses MySpace anymore?), MyYearbook, LinkedIn, Flickr, StumbleUpon, Youtube, Tumblr, you name it – I was signed up. I could not get enough of the internet.

I’ll be honest here; I signed up for a lot of these social networking sites but very seldom did I actually use them. When I first signed up for Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Flickr, I saw no use for them. I just wanted my name to come up when someone googled “Lindsay Forrester”. Major success! I tried many different times to create a blog but I never felt like it was much use, because who really cares what I have to say? I wasn’t much into reaching into the depths of my soul and mind to pull out something majorly profound and moving; that wasn’t me. The same reason applies to why I didn’t start a vlog, although watching Shane Dawson and Mitchell Davis do it made it seem like such fun. It did help me realize, however, that the internet is a powerful tool. It can be used for such a variety of purposes, some abused (if I could refer to the “Rebecca Black” incident…), and some that remain unused. In a business perspective, I find social networking absolutely essential. They always say “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”, and that seems to be very prevalent in the business world. It seems the people that make connections are the ones that make it further in their respective career path. For example, one day I was reading through all my Drawn and Quarterly comics and I felt a tweet about how much I love D&Q was in order. I tweeted “I would die to work for Drawn and Quarterly”, and later that day, they tweeted back “That’s the kind of loyalty we’re looking for! Hired!” I find it’s the simple things like this that make a huge difference in the long run. I’ve never loved D&Q more.

Social media is always changing. I plan to change with it. You know those people that complain about the new Facebook layout, or the new Tumblr dashboard?… it’s those people that irritate me the most. In all honesty, I used to complain a lot about the new Facebook layout from years ago. I’d join the groups titled “Bring back the old layout!” and discuss my clearly shared hatred on the page’s wall. It wasn’t until I realized that my hate messages and complaints were most definitely not going to bring back the old layout that I decided to not only accept, but also enjoy the changes. Since joining Facebook and Twitter and their continuously changing themes and interfaces, it has taught me to change – even in my personal life. I find that’s essential in your personal and professional world. Business and social media are always changing, and what better training is there than the internet?

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