Final Thoughts

So, my Social Media and Emerging Technologies course has already come to an end. I cannot believe how fast this semester has gone, how many new people I’ve met, and how much I’ve learned. Going into this course, I knew social media was the norm today, and how it could benefit a business. Now that I’ve taken SMET, I realize that there’s so much more to social media.

Honestly, going into SMET, I questioned why I even had to take this course. I never believed I was tech savvy, or social media savvy. Within the second week of class, I realized that my social media skills were exemplary. I didn’t think I was going to learn much in this class simply because I use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and so many other online communities on the daily. I was truly wrong on that one;; I learned a lot more then what I anticipated for.  I learned how businesses are using social media today, how to appropriately use social media, and some new programs too. The one thing I will always remember from this course is the digital footprint. This has stuck in my mind since we’ve learned about it. I never gave much thought to what I posted online; I never cared if it was “appropriate” or not. Now, it’s something I constantly think about. Fights and arguments are constantly started over social media, and it’s super easy to get drawn into them. I won’t even lie, I’ve had some “e-drama” and arguments over Facebook, and now I absolutely avoid them. I want to keep my digital footprint as clean and classy as possible, so I am super cautious of what I post now.

Being a business student, owning my own business will always be an option for me. After taking this course, I realize now how important social media is to the business world. Also, many social media networks are free to join! If you use your social media appropriately and effectively, this basically means free marketing! You can easily build your own brand today on tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; and conveniently, they’re all free.

After taking this course, my opinion on social media has been much more positive. I always figured online communities were pretty negative, and I now know how to avoid that. I personally enjoyed this course and learned quite a bit. I have taken many things from SMET, such as the digital footprint and how to effectively and appropriately build my own brand. I’ve already used some of the new tools and advice that I’ve learned in this class and I will continue to use them in the future.

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Measuring Success

Social media communities are today’s newest way of promoting, advertising and building your own personal brand. Many people don’t know there are many ways to analyze and manage your social media tools. These social media measuring tools allow you to keep all your social media profiles together and provide analytic reports on how your website is being viewed and used by the consumer. Using social media measuring tools is an excellent way to use your social media profiles to the best of your ability and will result in greater success of your business. Below I am going to talk about three social media measuring tools; Hootsuite, Google Analytics and Socialite. I will give a brief description of the tools and provide some pros and cons of each.

The first social media measurement tool I’m going to be looking at is Hootsuite

1. So, what is Hootsuite?

“HootSuite is an essential tool for managing social networks by allowing teams to efficiently track conversations and measure campaign results.”
– Pete Cashmore, CEO, Mashable

Taken right from the Hootsuite page, there it is simply put. Hootsuite allows you to connect to different social media networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook from one website, creating an online management dashboard. Hootsuite provides industry trends and tracks campaign results to provide to their “Hoo’s”. When you are a member on Hootsuite, you can schedule regular updates to your social media networks as well!

Pro’s of Hootsuite

  • Mobile access
  • Free!
  • Easy to navigate
  • No downloading required
  • Businesses can create personalized reports
  • Online customer support is available
  • Analytic reports available

Cons of Hootsuite

  • Pro option is $9.99
  • Free option is very limited
  • Enterprise option requires a request for a demo
  • 50$ for an analytic report, or 50 points
  • $50/month for a customized URL
  • You need to consistently use the program, or a break in your monitoring system will occur

Next tool I am going to talk about is Google Analytics,

2. What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics not only lets you measure sales and conversions, but also gives you fresh insights into how visitors use your site, how they arrived on your site, and how you can keep them coming back

– Google Analytics

Once again, taken right from the Google Analytics website! I personally find this program very useful for business purposes. Simply put, Google Analytics is a web based program that records activity on your website. Using JavaScript, this program gives you insight on why your visitors are coming back and what interests them! I thought that was pretty neat and could seriously benefit businesses for that reason alone.

Pros of Using Google Analytics:

  • Tracks how long visitors stay on your webpage
  • Your visitors interests
  • Your most popular pages on your website
  • Locates geographic of your users
  • Collects number of daily users
  • Analyzes your visitors as a whole
  • Offers six services to make a business better

Cons of Using Google Analytics 

  • There are always flaws in online data collecting, so numbers may not be accurate
  • The geographic of your users could also be inaccurate

As listed in the pro section, there are 6 tools that Google Analytics offers to ensure a better business:

  • Analysis Tool
  • Content Analysis
  • Social Analysis
  • Mobile Analytics
  • Conversion Analytics
  • Advertising Analytics

To read further into these, go to: http://www.google.ca/analytics/features/index.html or check out this video!

3. Finally, What is Socialite?

Socialite is a beautiful Mac OS X application, designed to make it easy to stay in touch with the social networks and services that matter to you.

From statuses and photos on Facebook and Twitter updates, to Google Reader RSS syncing and photos on Flickr, Socialite keeps all your social networks in one place.

– Socialite

Socialite is a MAC OS software that allows businesses to manage multiple social meia accounts such as Flickr, Facebook, Twitter etc.

Pros of Socialite

  • Manage multiple accounts
  • Easy to navigate
  • Free version to download

Cons of Socialite

  • Cost is $10
  • Download required
  • Only available for Apple products
  • No analytics available, more of a convenience stop for all social media platforms

Socialite has a limited target market as they are only available to Apple users. Being an avid Apple user, I personally would not choose to use this social media measuring tool as my first option.

In conclusion, there are so many different social media measuring tools available online today. To build your own personal brand, it would be wise to search through more tools to find one that works for your business, and many of them have different offerings. Personally, I would not use Socialite. Although many others may enjoy this software, I believe it is not affective as something such as Google Analytics.

Developing a Social Media Plan

Today, social media is a fundamental glue for success in business. Businesses world wide are using social media to promote their goods/services and stay connected with their customers and other businesses.  The key to an effective campaign is creative ideas facilitated by preparation, time and execution. Similar to any marketing or public relations effort, a social media plan should include all the essential components of an equipped strategic foundation. This plan will keep a business organized, state the goals of the business, and the proper use of social media. Below I will provide the business profile of a fictional business, and then I will develop the plan of action I personally would find useful in terms of social media.

Business Profile:

Extreme Promotional Materials is a company that supplies personalized uniforms and promotional materials for sports teams and businesses. From team jerseys to pens, Extreme Promotional Materials works with quality manufacturers to provide a variety of goods that can be personalized with lettering and logos. The company predominantly serves school and league teams as well as small to medium sized businesses across south eastern Ontario, but is always looking to expand into both greater geographical and niche markets. Extreme Promotional Materials employs approximately 20 people, mostly in printing, sales and marketing positions. The company is inventive and friendly and has spent the last 15 years coming up with new and creative ways to serve its customers’ needs while establishing positive relationships along the way.

 

The Social Media Plan

Introduction:

Our company supplies customized and promotional materials, ranging from jerseys to pens. For the last fifteen years we’ve come up with new and creative ways to meet our customers needs and are always looking to expand into both greater geographical and niche markets. We believe the most effective way to expand our business and build new relationships would be using social media. Creating a social media plan will help us stay focused on our social media marketing goals and optimize social media to its full potential. Facebook is the most popular form of social media today and offers many tools that other online communities do not. Facebook is more detailed then Twitter, so we believe creating a Facebook page Promotional Materials will be able to display photos, keep our consumer updated through statuses, receive feedback on our wall and pictures and can reveal new products and services to the public quickly. If we use Facebook to our full potential, we believe that we can create a wider cliental base and give our customers full satisfaction.

Mission, Vision and Goals: 

Mission

At Extreme Promotional Materials, we strive to give our customers full satisfaction in our high quality products at an excellent price. We provide exemplary customer service and our customers are our first priority. We address each customer individually so we can meet the needs of everyone. We personalize items in the most creative, unique way, making our products distinctive and one of a kind. Using social media, we want to expand our cliental and show them our outstanding products and customer service. Extreme Promotional Materials believes that social media would give us the opportunity to display our amazing products and also gives us a chance to interact and build a relationship with new customers world wide.

Vision

Our vision at Extreme Promotional Materials is to network with as many returning and new customers. We believe this is possible by optimizing our social media tools to the fullest. We strive for excellent products and happy customers, leaving space on our social media platforms for positive reviews.

Goals

Using social media we hope to achieve many things:

  • Interact with new customers
  • Build new relationships
  • Learn new ways to optimize our services
  • Receive feedback, making our products stronger then ever

Mission Statement

At Extreme Promotional Materials, our goal is to provide the best products with the greatest service possible. We believe personality should shine through all aspect of our business, and our products offer personality. Extreme Promotional Materials strive to achieve the satisfaction of all customers, and thats exactly what we do.

Key Messages

  • We serve others as we would like to be treated
  • Satisfaction is 100% guaranteed as we work with the individual to ensure all needs are met
  • We offer the most unique and high quality products are excellent pricing

Target Audience

Our target audience is very large. All genders, ages from 15-60. Promotional products are used everywhere for many purposes. We believe that our audience is so large as there are many young people looking to start a business and many older people who are as well, or who already have established their business. Also, our products could be used for personal needs such as gifts. We believe by opening up our audience, we will also attract coaches for sports teams. By using social media, we will attract all ages as well, as many elder and young people are using Facebook today! Aside from businesses using Facebook pages, many clubs do as well. If there is a team/club on Facebook and they come across our page, they will be the ones to initiate the process of ordering things such as jackets, track suits or even bags. Personalized items are always for business purposes, students or parents may like to personalize things. Whether it’s a shirt, sweater, blanket, it will make an excellent gift.

Social Media Tools

We at Extreme Promotional Materials plan to use Facebook and our own personal website. We believe these two tools will lead us to our goal and help us reach our large demographic. Facebook has a wide variety of people on Facebook, from all ages, genders and races. We plan to use our Facebook to update our customers through statuses, show them our unique and finished products, and use our wall for reviews from former customers. We believe this will allow us to interact with customers who have placed orders one on one, as they can message us privately and we can post pictures of their products so that they receive the exact product they want. A traditional website for our business will cater to our less tech savvy group of individuals. This website will be easy to navigate, provide products that we sell, colours etc. Our website will not be as detailed as Facebook, but we planned to provide a link on our website so that our customers can see our updates, reviews and older projects. The team at Extreme Promotional Materials chose these two tools as Facebook is extremely popular and “new age”, while a website is a little more traditional. This allows us to optimize our social media and reach all of our demographic.

Social Media Engagement Strategy

To get our current/potential customers to view and like our Facebook page and see our website, we will advertise by word of mouth and in store flyers. Also, any promotional flyers and business cards from here on out, will state our Facebook link and website URL. We also plan to use our friends and family to advertise our Facebook page to get us likes. We plan to frequently check our Facebook page three times daily so we can ensure quick responses to our customers. When our business expands, more frequent updating would be needed. We believe we would only need to update our website weekly, as we only plan to showcase our products on our website. We will post our mission statement, about us, contact info and Facebook page on our website. We think this would be beneficial as more people are inclined to check our Facebook page, as it is more detailed and you can contact us much easier. Adding new pictures, status updates and other things will be done daily to our Facebook. We want our customers to keep coming back for more! Our tone will be enthusiastic, friendly and happy. We want people to know that our main priority is the customer and their needs.

Summary of Thoughts

In conclusion, we plan to maximize our use of a Facebook page and a standard website to interact with new and returning customers so we can build a bigger, broader and stronger network of relationships. Our age demographic consists of individuals ranging from 15-60, so we believe these two tools will reach that entire age group. We still will use old marketing strategies such as email, word of mouth, brochures and flyers. By using social media, our goal is to create a larger network of people, build a bigger cliental and bring in more business. We want our company to grow and provide excellent service world wide.

Brand YOU – Improving Your Digital Footprint

The Internet today is vastly used worldwide and for many different purposes. Since there are so many people online today, you can learn a lot about a person by their digital footprint. A digital footprint is the “footprint” that people leave online. This is information transmitted online such as pictures, forums, social media posts and so many other things – all which leaves small traces of personal information about yourself available for anyone online to see. Kind of scary I thought! I found a YouTube video that talks a little more about digital footprints:

There you have it! Shows how easy it is to find information on an individual! It’s actually kind of frightening how easy it is to look up someone and find all sorts of information on them. Below, I have three different steps that I recommend on taking in order to enhance my own digital footprint, and yours too!

1. Google Your Name

I think that Googling your name could seriously benefit your digital footprint. When you google your name, all sorts of information comes up such as, websites you’ve signed up for, pictures, social media accounts, etc. I recently googled my name, and so many things came up! I had found old pictures, websites that are tracking my tweets, my old myspace account and many other things. I’m going to make a habit of googling my name every month or so. I think this is important because if you find something you don’t like, you need to delete it immediately! If an employer Googles your name and finds something they don’t like, a potential job opportunity could be thrown out the window! Keeping track of what you’re doing online is an excellent way to enhance your digital footprint.

2. Lock Your Accounts Up

Something I’ve recently done is lock my FaceBook up. FaceBook is constantly updating their privacy settings, so you need to keep updated on that. I believe we’re all entitled to have our privacy with our personal social media accounts, so locking them up should be a must. I think everyone should have their FaceBook’s locked up anyways. I believe this is important because everyone has access to the Internet some how, so you don’t know who is actually looking up your personal information and what they’re doing with it. This could enhance your footprint because if your employer cannot see your posts, there is no damage. Although this could be negative as some employers today may think you’re irrelevant if you don’t have much online!

3. Practice Safe Posting

I really think this should go without saying, but many people today, older, younger, post so many inappropriate things on social media devices. This goes from pictures, statuses, tweets etc. One thing I constantly see on Twitter and Facebook and arguments and fights. It’s embarrassing, immature and probably the easiest way to damage your digital footprint. I avoid negative/controversial posts and tweets to the best of my ability, because I don’t want to ruin my own footprint. I think that being cautious of what you post and deleting offensive/inappropriate posts is extremely important for a number of reasons:

  • Even if your account is private, there are always loopholes to see information. FaceBook for example, almost everyone can see your cover photo, profile picture, name, birthdate etc.
  • If you’re fighting publicly online, not only is it embarrassing but you can seriously damage your reputation. Future employers do not want to see you arguing online!

In conclusion, there are many ways to improve your digital footprint and to keep your posts clean! I personally believe that Googling your name is a good first step to cleaning your brand up. It gives you a great indication of what you need to change/modify. One thing I did not include in my steps, but I plan on doing is using my LinkedIn account. I believe this is one of the most positive forms of social media out there. I think this is a great way to obtain job opportunities, but if the rest of your “foot” isn’t clean, your bound to end up in a messy situation.

Staying on Top of Trends

There are so many websites today to keep us informed on the newest products available, and what’s going on in the world today. Three websites and their articles I’m going to be analyzing are Mashable, Social Media Explorer, and Tech Crunch.

The first article I found was from Tech Crunch titled, Apple’s iPad Mini Launch Draws Smaller Crowds than Previous Product Debuts written by Darrell Etherington on November 2nd, 2012. Crowds were noted to not be very large, consisting of 100 people are so, but the pre orders of the iPad mini were sold out. When apple launches a product, it is usually packed and you are unable to buy the product until a couple of weeks later. But, in some places you could walk into an Apple store and purchase the mini, right then and there. For example, the Apple Store in Sydney had 50 people in line when it opened compared to a line covering several blocks for the iPhone 5.

In the article, it was noted that estimated sales of the iPad Mini were to be half of the original iPad! This is very rare for an Apple product as I stated before. So many people may wonder why there is such low sales? Personally, I believe there are many reasons for this. Firstly, hurricane Sandy just affected so many areas, that many individuals simply cannot afford it. People are going obviously prioritizing their spending, so new technology probably isn’t an option. So would have Apple’s sales increased if the hurricane did not hit? Perhaps, but personally I believe that the sales wouldn’t have had a drastic increase. I think that Apple’s products are beginning to affect the business world in a negative way. They are simply remaking their products in a bigger/smaller/thinner size, slightly remodelling them, and releasing them as something extremely brand new. In reality, all of their products are repeating themselves. How different can an iPod Touch be from an iPad Mini?

Customers who have continuously bought Apple products over the years may also be getting tired of Apples repetitiveness. As an Apple user, I certainly would like to see something brand new! Apple has been on an incline for some time now. Revenues and sales have increased greatly, but now it seems they are starting to plateau in their market. I believe this will affect the business world as a whole. Apple’s stocks have a great chance of decreasing and the company could start to lose money. This could increase revenue for competitors such as Samsung and other Android operating phones. In return, this could create opportunity for Apple to step their game up to release a great product.

The second article I found was from Mashable. It is about Google Introducing Physical Google Wallet Card wrote by Todd Wasserman on November 2nd, 2012. I found this article to be very interesting as this card will operate like other credit cards, but is designed to sync with your other credit cards you have on Google Wallet. Obviously this card would only be useful to Android users, but I believe this could affect the business world, as this is something that hasn’t been done before! When you are unable to use your mobile device for payment, you can use the card instead.

This could affect the business world in many ways. Individuals who are not interested in technology or the advancement of it, may find it useless and asinine. Those who are tech savvy may love the idea, as you can connect any of your cards to one card, leaving you with only one card to carry. There is many risks affiliated with this of course. What if all places do not accept this card? Card malfunction? Software malfunction? etc etc. Also, I think many individuals will have a hard time understand how this card works. People who are avid Android users will probably love this idea. Others, like my Grandmother who is an Android user would have absolutely no use for this.

The Economics of Bad Outreach written by Mark Smicklas, on November 1st, 2012 clarifies what good and bad practices are in reaching out to customers. The author begins to explain the many negative ways to alert and grab the attention to customers. He says that harassing customers with emails (otherwise known as spam emails) is one of the worst strategies in business and can easily lose sales. On the positive side of it, he gives some excellent tips to reach out to the consumer market. One that I found interesting and relevant was the Twitter Stream tip. He suggests following prospects if they are on twitter.

“I have a special column set up in HootSuite that filters content from people that I may be interested in connecting with down the road. There are a lot of smart people sharing great content on Twitter so I find pretty easy to find relevant, helpful posts to retweet or @mention. I also find you can gain some added insight though the links that prospects are sharing.”

“Lazy and outreach practices have the potential to erode business value” is a direct quote taken from the article and sums up exactly what the article is all about. This could impact all businesses greatly! If businesses followed some of the tip provided on this article, it would be a great way to reach out to feedback and start to give the consumer exactly what they want, and in return increase sales. Businesses who are successful probably have used some of these tips and probably continue to do so.

In summary, it is clear each business has different ways of using social media and how new products can dramatically affect the entire company and the business world as a whole. While reading the first to articles that I have analyzed, it is evident that the release of new products can change the business world. Apple’s potential fall out and Google’s new card could be a great opportunity for Android, which is clear while reading both articles.

Making a Scene With Online Video – Fictional Business

Today, many companies are beginning to use videos to promote their business and products. Some companies even use video blogs, usually called vlogs, which are becoming more and more popular. Next to Facebook, YouTube is the second most viewed website. Companies today really need to strive to make themselves memorable. There are hundreds of pet companies, dog trainers, and brands for pets today in the area, so showing consumers why they are better than others is essential. Being well branded will easily categorize companies into memorable, and bland. An excellent example of a company that has established their branding is Starbucks Coffee. Healthy, aromatic, coffee is Starbucks obsession, and almost everyone knows this. Below, I will post a profile of a fictional business and will use my own personal views and ideas on how I would promote this company using videos. Here it goes!

Business Profile:

Pet Pawsitive is a mid-sized business with two locations in Belleville and Kingston. Unlike your traditional pet supply store, Pet Pawsitive is focused on providing behavioral and psychological training for pets and their owners, including basic animal education, obedience, rehabilitation and service classes. Each location also contains a retail outlet that sells all-natural and holistic pet foods and a variety of training supplies. Pet Pawsitive doesn’t sell animals but does work closely with local and national shelters and humane societies to connect would-be owners with their next animal companion. The company is known for being very active in each of their communities, participating in and holding events and fundraisers. The average staff size of a Pet Pawsitive location is 6 to 10 employees which includes management, retail clerks and certified trainers.

Personally, I would promote my business by creating videos of showing how we are different. I would incorporate the “cute animal” section that everybody loves to create an even more memorable video. I would take the video at the human societies we closely work with and explain that we do not sell animals, but there are thousands of animals available for adoption. Although this video seems simple, it doesn’t stop there. I would need to do research to provide statistics and information on adopting animals, and the products we sell as well. So in short, this video will consist of the goods we sell, and other businesses we are affiliated with.

Another video I would do, would actually be a series of videos. This would consist of the services we provide. One video would be the behavioral and psychological training for pets and their owners. I would use these videos to actually sell our services, so these videos would still have the “cute and cuddly” aspect, but also a little more serious. I would have an employee go through our regular routine of teaching behaviour to animals and their owners. I would have an overview explaining the process as well. I would have many videos similar to this, but have different services that we provide, for example: basic animal education, obedience, rehabilitation and service classes. I would make these videos fun, energetic and happy. No customer wants to send their pet to someone who is miserable and abusive!

Finally, I’d create a video showing our community involvement, encouraging individuals to come out and participate too! I would show the fundraisers we participate in and how happy our employees are giving back to the community.

Being a customer myself and having an empathetic nature, these are some of the things I’d want to see in a pet company. I’d want to see the goods and services, how they interact with my animals, and just seeing fun, energetic spirits who love their job. I think incorporating the “cute and cuddly” aspect of animals will make it memorable, because really, who doesn’t love cute animals! I think these series of videos will create a memorable branding for Pet Pawsitive and will be the starting of the marketing strategy.

Facebook: King of Social Media – Louis Vuitton: A World of Elegance

Facebook: Is it really the King of Social Media? Some debate yes, some would say no. Regardless of one’s opinion, Facebook is known worldwide and is one of the fastest growing forms of social media, with over 1 billion registered users. No wonder some would consider it “the King”! Many think Facebook is just for personal use: to share their photos, update their life with distant relatives and friends, etc. What many don’t realize, is that businesses are beginning to have Facebook profiles themselves. By creating a “like” page on Facebook, a business can do wonders by promoting their product.

One designer that is using Facebook is Louis Vuitton. This French fashion house was founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. Many individuals today see the LV monogram that appears on many Louis products. Luxury trunks, leather goods, shoes, watches jewelry, accessories, sunglasses, books and many other products are available through this designer. Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses; you will only find real products through Louis Vuitton boutiques, high-end department stores (ie. Holt Renfrew) and recently, through sections of the Louis Vuitton website. From 2006-2012, Louis Vuitton has been named the world’s most valuable luxury brand.

Louis Vuitton uses their Facebook quite effectively. Their Facebook like page resembles their company in a way; classy, elegant and fabulous. The thing I personally enjoy most about the Louis Vuitton Facebook page, is the photos. They are constantly updating their albums from fashion shows, new products from handbags, shoes, luggage and other glamorous products! One downfall of huge designers and fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, there will always be companies who try to mimic their creations, and pass them off as real. I believe by Louis Vuitton uploading so many pictures, you’ll be able to find the resources to find the exact bag you want at a boutique near you or a department store, ensuring the quality is real and not a replica. Louis Vuitton also posts news articles onto their wall regarding almost everything; from fashion shows, launch of a new product, and anything being posted in the media. I believe this is a great way for fans to keep updated on news about their favourite designer and products. A recent post that Louis Vuitton did was a picture thanking their fans …

I believe this is something great to see on Facebook. This reminds customers that the company cares and acknowledges peoples existence. This is something I respect the Louis Vuitton company for doing, because many people think that big brands, especially luxury brands would notice, yet acknowledge something like this. Since Louis Vuitton cannot communicate with 10 million fans, individually, I think this is an effective way to communicate on their Facebook page. Since the company uploads so many pictures, many fans comment on the pictures for reviews, opinions and just admiration.

In summary, I believe Louis Vuitton uses their Facebook effectively in many ways. I personally did not think such an old, large, fashion house such as Louis Vuitton would be using Facebook. This shows even older designers are now using social media tools to create their own techniques for selling and promoting their products.