Final Reflections of Past Posts… New Direction?

Hello everyone I’m back again, I would like to apologize for the long wait between my last post and today’s post I will be back to my regular posting schedule starting this week.  In this final assignment I reflected upon all of my thoughts this semester and what I have personally learned about social media and its power to influence both business and social life alike. Personally I would like to think my perception of social media has changed.  I now use Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google ++, Skype and of course WordPress.  Each tool I have listed contributes to increasing my digital footprint.  As usual you can find the criteria for this assignment at the SMET loyalist website here is a link http://smetloyalist.wordpress.com/.

Social media has become a great part of how society communicates today.  Using the proper combination of tools could make or break you both as a  business, and as an individual if  some degree of discretion isn’t followed when posting content.  During this semester in the  SMET course our class has been given examples of how social media has been used poorly, and how social media has been used correctly.  Examples of poor usage manly consisted of how Twitter and Facebook can quickly backfire if you are not careful about what is posted, and or know about all the rules/ guidelines of your workplace regarding social media.  With Twitter I have discovered just how fast things can go south during Obama’s campaign in 2008 a member of Kitchen aid’s Twitter team posted “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics,” @KitchenAidUSA posted to 24,000 followers before quickly deleting the tweet you can find out more about this here http://mashable.com/2012/10/03/kitchen-aid-obama-dead-grandma/.  Some of you may think how could Facebook go south especially if you lock it down right? well although you can lock Facebook you are not entirely safe recently we have learned about a teacher from Barrow County Georgia who has lost her job over some pictures she posted on her Facebook taken while she was on her vacation in Europe with beer in her hand another co-worker found these pictures and took them to the principle needless to say she lost her job over the simple issue of what was done during her spare time.  This teacher argued she had no idea what the guidelines were and feels cheated and is currently attempting to get her job back,  check this story out here http://www.alan.com/2011/02/08/high-school-teacher-loses-job-because-of-facebook-picture-holding-beer-and-wine/.

Social media is not all doom and gloom.  If used properly social media could become free Public relations, add space, and customer interactions.  Over the course of our time in SMET our professor has been in the process of teaching us the do’s and do not’s, and the steps necessary to become more professional with our social media outreach.  The first step taken was starting this blog.  At first writing this blog was difficult but as we progressed throughout the semester it became easier to speak my mind via the internet without worry.  Each classmate has a blog of their own and each classmate went into this course with a different level of knowledge.  I would like to think after this semester we have gained a fresh perspective of social media and will take things more serious, I hope the others will continue to blog it has been enjoyable ready their posts.  Step two in our professors plan was for each of us to make a twitter account if we did not already have an existing account.  I think this was a great plan because Twitter has become a quick and easy way to organize group meetings and check up on friends when time is pressed.  Twitter game in three steps for us over the course of the semester the first was just to create a twitter account and participate in weekly SMET chats giving feedback on what we have learned and sometimes how it was applied depending on the questions she would ask.  Step two for Twitter was very simple but still just as important we were asked to add a professional bio for our followers.  Finally the third step was simple link Twitter to our WordPress blogs this three part step process allows for the potential of more interaction over time.  Twitter has been a great tool for connecting with fellow classmates, as well as the professor, when ever we had quick questions to ask she would get back to us within a couple hours of the initial tweet which was great.  I have enjoyed writing this blog and will continue to do so into the future.

A tool I have not posted about to date and is equally as important is Skype.  Skype is a free internet based calling service that allows you to get in touch with anyone you may be interested in talking with all over the world, provided they also use Skype.  Skype is no longer a free service if the person you call is using a cell number.  With Skype there are endless possibilities for business potential using the internet, especially for the small fish in the sea.  Your probably wondering how Skype applies to anything I have been saying thus far, well here’s how Skype allows the user to take pictures of the contact they are conversing with  and even goes as far as shared screens should both users mutually agree and accept the invite. So even something like Skype you still have to remain cautious because there is still the potential for others to do you harm not to mention everything you do on the internet stays on the internet for someone else to view elsewhere.

Since starting this course my prospective of social media has changed for the better.  When posting my content I have become more professional and have locked down my Facebook page to show other users only what I want them to see not embarrassing party pictures.  Before learning about the controversial topic of social media to the degree we have in class my view of it all was  limited and all of my profiles on the various platforms I used were completely open to the public for the most part.

With all of that said I would like to thank every0ne for following my class blog.  In the future I will continue to post on my blog page and I look forward to seeing what social media has to offer me with this new found respect and prospective I have gained.  I will be posting next week with a newer style/ format I encourage everyone to check it out and let me know what your thoughts are.  It was a pleasure to be a part of this class and I have no doubts in my mind that the information gained here will be used in a positive way to impact the future.

I look forward to keeping you all posted hope you have a great weekend!

Week 10 Social Media Plan

Hello fellow readers,  I’m back again and as usual we were given an assignment for this weeks class.  The task has a similar feel to the Petpawsitive assignment.  Our professor assigned a fictitious business called  Extreme Promotional Materials which in the scenario given is a service based business providing specialization in personalized logos and knickknacks, team jerseys, pens, and lettering’s.  EPM has been in business for 15 years and employs 20 people serving the small to medium sized businesses across south eastern Ontario. Keep in mind they are always looking to expand into bigger and better markets.

Introduction to EPM social media plan:

A social media plan could be beneficial for Extreme Promotional Materials to expand our network. Essentially a social media plan could help provide the necessary details to effectively determine the proper means or right tools for use. A social media plan could also be used as a road map or a guide for anyone to read and accomplish what it is you wish to get done. Below are more specific details of our social media plan.  This social media plan will take our company to the next level and it will certainly increase supply and demand, customer base, and sales.  Listed below are more specific details on how we wish to accomplish this.

Mission, Vision, and Goals for the Future:

Extreme Promotional Materials  will accept nothing less than to provide excellence for our customers. We will continue to strive to provide the best possible products across a social network of potential customers. Social media will connect us to many more customers resulting in an increase of sales and a larger client base thus leading to future growth.

–          Social media will serve as a connector to Global markets and assist in our future expansions.

–          More sports teams and businesses will know of us and what we do.

–          Social media will help the company to reach a new level of customer satisfaction and competition with our competitors.

Key Messages Sent Across:

We are a company that provides quality promotional uniforms and knickknacks for sports teams and small to medium sized businesses.  We specialize in team uniforms, lettering’s and logos.

–          At Extreme Promotional Materials the customer’s needs always come first.

–          Our uniform designs are unique and specific to the customers needs who ordered them.

–          Every product produced is one hundred percent custom made and tailored to the customers needs.

Target Audiences:

With social media the target we wish to acquire is much larger.  We hope to stretch our reach to larger businesses world wide and quite possibly to the major sports teams and networks.  Social media will help achieve this relatively quickly while still maintaining our current customer base.  Social media could very well assist in providing more convenient services to our existing customers.
Social Media Tools Used:

There are three tools I can see our business using clearly and effectively to accomplish our goal of expansion and they are as follows: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Below is a list of how each will benefit our company both in the long run and short term.  For each tool provided we would need to have a minimum team of two or three to oversee its day to day operations while staying on top of what the customers needs.

Facebook could be used as a communication portal between our customers directly to our company.  Facebook is known for commenting and posting new content but also has a feature known as timeline that could be handy for our future customers looking to do a little research into the products and services we provide, they would be able to look right back to the first day we owned the page.

Twitter would be our tool to get quick updates to any followers and potential customers keeping in mind customers like interactions not just broadcasting updates.  Our twitter page could link into the proposed Facebook page thus increasing the traffic back and forth between customers getting in the loop and customers already there that wish to provide us with feedback.

Instagram- Instagram could become very useful to draw new customers in while still having the ability to link to both Facebook and Twitter feeds as an ideal tool to complete the package. Instagram would be used solely as a showcase too and with the customers permission we could use our favorite or best quality products as an example by taking pictures of what we are doing with them and posting them there.  Customers would then be able to see an extensive view of what we are and what we stand for by example.

Social Media Engagement Strategy:

As stated above the three tools chosen for our business are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and each tool serves a unique purpose towards realizing our company’s long term goals.  Combined each of the three tools chosen would represent a powerhouse team for EPM.

Facebook is the ground zero that would bind our social media presence.  Its role is simple  as Facebook will be the communication hub between our company and its customers allowing them to post comments about what they think and any suggestions they may have for improvements.  Facebook and its timeline feature would prove especially useful when future customers want  more information about us and how others have thought about the quality of work we provide.  With timeline they can go back right to the very start and view our first post right up to the most recent one.  Facebook posts would be a daily monitoring of  any comments our customers may have.  Our target audience would be the older generation, and business owners.

Twitter is stage two for our social media plan. With Twitter our company will be able to broadcast company updates instantly and stay on top of what customers have to say good and bad in real time.  Keeping in mind customers love communication and although Facebook is our communication hub we will have to leave that line of communication open as well.  The way we accommodate this is simple we add our Facebook page as the website in our twitter account bio.  Twitter is a little different then Facebook to accommodate we will need to post almost hourly in order to keep up with users tweeting on twitter.  Twitter will become our own mini broadcast essentially sending out the necessary posts or tweets to generate interest, posting things such as events within the community, new product lines, company news in general, and re tweets of information supporting our company or what customers have said about it.  Target audience for Twitter is the younger generation and sports teams.

Thirdly Instagram completes the super team.  Instagram would become the primary showcase part of our products. Customers using this tool would gain access to all pictures we have taken to support our product.  Focusing only on visual our customers would gain insight to our day to day operations.  Instagram’s target audience is a bit of everyone and we will be looking into younger and older generations, the small, medium and large businesses, local, provincial and national sports teams and schools.  Instagram requires time and effort and  it cannot be just a once a week deal post for this tool to work.  We will have to post daily with newer and more exciting content.

In order for these tools to work for us they demand time and effort.  Once committed we will be setting a precedence and an expectation from our customers that we cannot ignore.  Consistency through these platforms is essential for the benefits to be enormous.

Digital Footprints Start Small But Grow Larger Over Time

Digital foot prints are a great asset for anyone  to have they start out small and through hard work and commitment  they grow into something great, something powerful, and something very influential, and  above all it is  something  that is 100% yours.  Anything you say or do online is there forever and can impact your future if you like it to or not make sure anything you do online you can own later. This week’s task for our weekly blog assignment in SMET class was to identify three strategies we would use when improving our digital footprint and how we would go about cleaning them up for the better.  You can find our assignment criteria at this link http://smetloyalist.wordpress.com/.

Before attending class this week I will be the first to admit there wasn’t a lot of thought going into my online presence to this extent.  In the past my idea of a digital footprint was basically non-existent.  I knew what was done on the internet stayed on the internet forever in some way or another, but beyond that nothing.  Of course now I know just how important having a good digital footprint really is and I will be more conscious of content being posted as a result of this week’s classes and what we have learned.  A common misconception some people have is the internet is all doom and gloom, these same people frown on the idea of a digital footprint.  However that is not ideal times are changing, the internet is becoming more a part of our lives on a daily basis then some would like.  A digital footprint can work to your advantage if presented and maintained properly.

Moving along there are a number of things that could be done in order to maintain or rebuild a digital footprint.  When looking at mine I would hope it is all good however little things like playing slotomania or poker on your Facebook account can even effect how a potential employer may perceive you and I play a lot of poker on Facebook.  I guess the first stage in my plan to clean up was to clear all instances of poker and slotomania from my main Facebook profile then create an alternate profile without a picture for myself and my poker buddies specifically, this will still allow me to get my poker fix on Facebook without having it come through on my main Facebook page.  Going through my time line and taking out miscellaneous pictures I’ve been tagged in or drunken party pictures are a must.  In doing this I would be taking back control of the content being viewed on my profile and making it more professional.  Maintaining this would prove to be a challenge initially because my friends like to tag me in random pictures which may not be relevant and can affect my professional image.  Locking down my Facebook profile and staying on top of it is definitely a key to success.

Google searching myself could become just as valuable or vice versa depending on how you look at it. Preferably I want myself to come up in the top two or three pages in a Google search  because  they are the most viewed when employers screen this way.  I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for someone else who could have a worse reputation then I do, or worse have the employer think I’m hiding something because of a mishap eg. The employer assuming I was someone else and showing up to an interview based on online screening only.  To make sure my name comes up on the top of the list or close to the top on a Google searches I will tag myself in everything I do online from this point on.  Also every post I have online will link my online digital footprints together to make one large fully operational footprint that I can be proud of.

Lastly Twitter is an amazing tool  I have started using it this semester in college.  Twitter has just as much potential as any other social media tool used for a digital foot print.  However, it is also probably the most dangerous of all if not used properly.  On most social media platforms you have the ability to lock your profile down but with twitter everything is completely open and can be seen by anyone whom is following an individual or a brand, thus you are forced to become more aware of what is being posted.  This is a scary thought if you think about it.  Twitter can be used to put yourself out there I have mine linked to almost everything I do online.  To avoid bad reputation  I will continue to keep an eye on what I’m posting and what my followers are posting it’s all relevant.   I believe using a combination of blogging and tweeting my name will be at the top of the Google search which ultimately is my main goal.

Putting these strategies into effect will essentially clean up my digital footprint and make it bigger and better than ever.  This week’s classes were a huge eye opener.  The way I think about the internet and the concept of digital footprint will never be the same.  If nothing else I have learned just how easy it is for others to access the information on myself via the internet and just how important it is to stay on top of your name out there, to make sure potential employers and anyone else searching you for that matter can only see what you want them to see.

I look forward to keeping you posted until next time bye for now, hope you had a good weekend!

A little More On Social Media Within Business

This  week our professor has given us the task of doing a little research within websites designed on the concept of  keeping its viewers in the loop for whats new with social media. She supplied us with three social media links Mashable, Social Media Explorer, and TechCrunch.  First on the list was Mashable where I came across a very interesting story on Facebook Addiction and how it is affecting our minds.  You will hear my take on how this affects the business world and social media a bit later on. Secondly follows a story found on Social Media Explorer that isn’t nearly as exciting as the first however it also applies to Facebook, Twitter, and yes even Instagram.  The last media link is TechCrunch and it was slightly more difficult to find an interesting story that supported my message. However, after looking into the website I was able to find something of interest – a story on the concept of Social Businesses.

Before beginning this assignment I  would like to say in the past my idea of social media was different.  Within the last couple years even most recently entering this SMET course social media has taken a turn for the better.  The possibilities and opportunities social media offers to businesses are endless. There are so many different aspects of social media in which  businesses can use social media for  growth and expansions.  For instance a couple of the tools I prefer to use are Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram  for branding, content sharing and customer engagement within a social business network.

I know you are curious about the Facebook story, so as promised here it is.  Many people feel that Facebook is addictive but just what makes it so addictive? The answer is simple… most people that have Facebook check constantly for updates and notifications.  According to the article found most people are addicted to Facebook for the feeling of connection with other people and their opinions shared  via commenting on content shared.  When on Facebook users are constantly commenting on status updates and sharing links , videos, and photos. Each comment recharges this addiction and stimulates conversation with others.  However, this is not necessarily a good thing as the article goes on to mention since 2o00 our attention spans have decreased by at least 40%.  This article indicates that  Facebook also directly influences social behavior and has  stated internet addicts have 10- 2o% smaller brain area responsible for speech, motor control, and memory, etc.

Businesses may benefit from this in the sense of advertisements being viewed  as well as face time out in the world via cyberspace.  This addiction to Facebook and other social media tools can serve as a portal for businesses to communicate with potential customers without directly involving them via poll questions, videos, and pictures shared.  Word of mouth is very powerful and is seen on a daily basis throughout cyberspace.  The article is an interesting read and here is the  authors name and a link  so that you can take a look for yourself.   Best Masters in Psychology  were responsible for the info graphic used here is a direct link  http://mashable.com/2012/11/03/facebook-addiction/.

Moving onward the second story involves three major tools Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  This article was titled Adding Photo Filters Doesn’t Mean That Twitter Will Cancel Out Instagram.  It suggests Twitter is making a move to try and steal some of Instagram’s thunder by adding a photo filter much like Facebook and Instagram already have been using.  Twitter is good for what it already does as suggested in some of the comments made by the readers.  Photos will likely become lost in the constant content feed within Twitter unless Twitter develops an app that works well with Photos.  What Twitter does will not impact Instagram directly.  Instagram’s domain is with graphics and photos and the well established community within cyber space will likely not budge.

In business Twitter can be used as a means of putting information out there quickly and gathering feed back from both potential and returning clients.  Instagram has a similar affect in business however it takes on a different approach.  Instagram is image based so companies are able to send out various images of their products and services just as quickly and usually effectively as well.  I’m not sure if I read this article the way it was meant to be read however it is my understanding that Twitter is making a move to become even bigger and more like Instagram.  This impacts social media vastly if these two platforms were to come together and develop something newer and more exciting that would be huge.   Just as I have provided before here is the author and a link to this article so you may check it out yourself and see if you agree or disagree.  Drew Olanoff was the author and here is a direct link as promised http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/02/adding-photo-filters-doesnt-mean-that-twitter-will-cancel-out-instagram/

The concept of social business has been around for a long time.  My definition of social business and my parent’s definition may vary because of a generation gap.  There are still people out there struggling to keep up who have not been raised in a computer world.    My idea of social businesses is to completely and fully utilize any and all social media tools to  reach out to customers and influence the way they will do business.  Where  my parents definition of social business may be something along the lines of becoming involved in the community and giving back to their  fellow man.   They  believe in social media and what it can do but are still comfortable in doing face to face business the old fashioned way.  There are many challenges faced when using a social business model and employees may be using it inappropriately.  Know your role! Communication may become jumbled and company procedures may be non existent or very limited, etc.  Staying  up on the latest changes in technology is vital.  Being aware of policies and procedures and implementing them properly is critical.  Paying attention to global changes and being able to effect change if necessary is so important.  Andrea Cook was the author of the article and here is a direct link to the article itself http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/todays-social-business-infographic/ hope you enjoy reading this as much as i did.

Businesses would benefit in training sessions for their employees that would ensure proper usage of the tools within these media platforms.  I can see a tremendous growth potential within any organization.  Policies and procedures are very important when implementing tools like these moving forward.  Posts would have to be current and inviting and offerings would have to be precise in marketing.  The last thing anyone wants is the customer confused and going somewhere else.

In conclusion I personally am more open minded about using all of the platforms available.  I can see that if Twitter and Instagram were to come together I would feel more confident in reaching out to my client base.  If I were in business today  I  would need to get everything out as soon as possible to stay ahead of my competition.  Facebook can already provide any business most of the tools they would need for exposure.  The only problem I see is that I might get lost within a category searched  there because so many people use it.  I want to use everything available to me within all of the platforms because  I want to stand out where I can to succeed.

As usual I look forward to keeping you posted and can’t wait to get started on the next new and exciting topic

Chapters Indigo Books and Facebook

Hello again, this class just keeps becoming more and more exciting with every passing day. This week in our  classes we talked about Facebook and how much it has grown in the past few years it has recently  reached  a billion registered  users.I don’t know about you but that is one crazy number! , back in 2007  joining Facebook I never would have guessed the number of users registered would even come close to 1 billion. Facebook has transformed tremendously over the past few years. I’m excited to see what they will come up with next!. This week I have given a great deal of thought on how Facebook could be effectively used within a business environment and have come across the Chapters Indigo Books Facebook page; Chapters  happens to be one of my favorite places to shop. naturally i was happy to see they were utilizing Facebook.

Chapters has an amazing layout for their Facebook page featuring the Chapters Indigo logo as one of the first things you see. within the page there are many different things to pay attention to so let me start by introducing the first feature that caught my eye. They have a neatly laid out photo section, where they have a collaboration of different events such as the arrival of The Casual Vacancy, advertising for free children’s gift wrapping  within stores, they have photos of different promotional items being displayed celebrating 300,000 likes on Facebook,  also promoting  the e-reader evolved. I think this is great from a customer stand point even for myself the photos keep me coming back and constantly checking for new information or promotional events, and those are just the main ones of interest for myself I would encourage anyone using Facebook to check this out.

Moving on the next feature I would like to turn your attention to would have to be the Indigo Fall section of their Facebook page here they have a very visual presentation of different ideas. At the top right hand corner they have Books, Home, Gift ideas, and Toys; this part of the site is very basic however is still a necessary component to making the Facebook page  user friendly. Looking down the page we have Pinterest where they have posted various images of food, and books offered as well as recipes for anyone following them to look at or pin to their own Pinterest account thus giving more exposure to the Indigo brand. Clicking on any of the images provided within their Facebook page will take the customer to either their Pinterest page or directly to the companies main website where you can buy books. Going further down the page you will find on the left side they have a YouTube feed with a video of Indigo’s chef Kari making a tomato soup recipe. However if you look to the right of the page you will find a twitter shout box and below it a blog roll these are probably the most important components to the page they allow the customers to connect directly with the company  and give them feedback on how they are doing and what they can change within their online Facebook page;  Finally at the bottom of the page you will find a subscribe button which allows the customer to take the tweet box and blog roll to the next level by being emailed further details on exciting new and important information.

The next section i would like to turn your attention to is very brief however just as important as the prior section. They call it adopt a school this has the same format at the top Home, Books, Toys, and Gift Ideas. Therefore I would like to bypass that and bring to your attention the importance of this section; they have made this a place on their page where a customer can buy an electronic gift card via the Internet and donate books to the school of choice. This may bring many more customers to their webpage just based on that fact alone there are many people myself included who love to give of themselves to improve others lives. To improve upon the feel of this webpage they have also included a YouTube video.

Finally they have the Indigo Ideas portion which is incredible. Indigo Ideas allows a customer to post an idea on how the company can improve the way they do business or the products they offer. This function keeps track of the thumbs up vs the thumbs down on an idea posted. This allows Indigo Books to look over Ideas and make a decision on them. Things they likely take into consideration are how realistic the idea is, and how many approvals vs disapproval’s the idea has received. I think this is both good for Indigo Books and its customers; the customers are able to voice their opinions directly, and Indigo books benefits from public perception.

I myself have been a long time customer at Chapters Indigo Books and can honestly say I have been pleased with them. I like the way they continue to set the bar high and exceed even their own expectations; If nothing else I would like to think this blog has helped others share my outlook on Indigo Books.  In conclusion I would like to say this Facebook page has been done vary well and is very beneficial to customers who look at it.

I look forward to keeping you posted everyone…hope your having a great long weekend!