Branding at its Best

brandingI am happy to say that I am back to blogging again! I decided to take a break after graduating from The University of Tennessee this December and now I am ready to get back to it.

Branding is a new interest of mine. It is different from advertising a product or service, but is rather creating content that reflects a business’s personality. Try to think of it this way, the friends you have like you because of your personality, they make you laugh, and they care about you. Branding is creating this same type of relationship as a friendship, but between a business and its consumers. Consumers are looking for more than just the product or service they are purchasing, they want more. Branding is an opportunity to connect on a more personal level and break through the noise of advertising.trading faces

Ulta Beauty does an excellent job with its new online campaign “Trading Faces.” Ulta Beauty is a specialty retailer that provides affordable indulgences by carrying a variety of products Smashbox to their very own Ulta Beauty makeup line.The campaign is a series of videos that feature everyday women instead of Hollywood stars. Women share beauty tips, their style and are given the chance to “Trade Faces.” The first video features Chelsea Vonn Mach, 26 from Los Angeles and Ashley Shelton, 27 from Knoxville, Tenn., near Dollywood.

Chelsea and Ashley have very different styles. Chelsea describes her style as Pippi Longstocking meets Miss Havisham, while Ashley friends describe her style as “Grandma chic.” By using two women with different styles, it allows for a wider reach of audience. This campaign appeals to its target audience of the everyday customer by featuring the everyday customer.

It encourages viewers to try different makeup and fashion styles without directly selling any of Ulta’s products. The branding used “Beauty at Play” takes the seriousness out of fashion and promotes playfulness. Makeup products are only shown for a few seconds in the short video. This part of branding was done well with the main focus on the two women’s stories and not the makeup products. By telling a little bit of each of their lives, it allows for the viewer to relate and connect with either Chelsea or Ashley on a more personal level. In the end the main goal is for the viewer to connect with Ulta on the same personal level. Do you know of a business with great branding efforts?

“Trading Faces” image found from Google.

Simple Steps for a Successful LinkedIn Profile

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LinkedIn is the largest professional social network. It is used to find jobs through networking and making connections with other people in your career field. On your profile you list your experience, skills, resume, and a short-bio about yourself for people to learn about you and what you have to offer. You also upload a professional picture to your profile so others can put a name with a face.

I created a LinkedIn profile about two years ago. I first made because it was an assignment we had to do for class. We just had to make a profile, upload a picture, and write a short-bio about ourselves and that was the end of it. Now as I am about to graduate from college, I wanted to learn how to use LinkedIn more effectively. Here are some helpful tips that I found.

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When creating a LinkedIn profile it needs to reflect your professional experiences. You can list social media platforms on LinkedIn for people to view except for Facebook. By listing your other social media platforms it allows for people to get a better idea of who you are. If you are job searching I suggest looking over your social media platforms to make sure the content is appropriate for future employers to see. Even though Instagram and Twitter are not your professional platforms, employers are still looking there. List other contact information for people to reach you at.

Upload a professional picture to your profile. This picture should represent who you are as a professional. Using a headshot is the most common on LinkedIn. If you do not post a picture of yourself it makes your profile look less credible. It also gives the impression that you do not care enough about your profile to take time to post a picture. Keep in mind that this picture is a your first impression to future employers. While job searching it is a good idea to have the same picture on all social media platforms to create some consistency for your image and reputation.

Your LinkedIn profile is where you get to brag about your professional experiences and accomplishments. Write a short-bio about yourself. Have the bio written in third person. Here you want to write your purpose for being on LinkedIn by highlighting your biggest accomplishments, what you are currently doing, and what you are looking for if you are searching for a job.

List your work experience with a few bullet points describing your responsibilities and accomplishments at each job. You can also attach samples of what you did at each job. You are able to attach documents, images, audio files, and websites. There is also a section to list your skills. You are able to list up to 50 skills. However, if you list fewer skills it shows that these are the ones you are really good at. People who you have connected with are able to endorse your skills that you have listed.

Start connecting with people to build your network. First you can connect with people you already know by importing contacts from your phone and email. Search for businesses that you would be interested in working for and connect with them. After you connect with someone their updates and post will be in your news feed. Any post on LinkedIn should be of interest to business since it is a professional platform. When creating a post you are able to upload photos, documents, and videos.

Use LinkedIn to search for a job through using the search tools. The search options let you search for location, keywords, industry, experience, and where you are willing to travel. It has become increasingly common for businesses to find employees on LinkedIn. If you are lucky your job searching may be cut short by businesses seeking you.

What’s a Hashtag?

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“What’s a hashtag?” my mom asked, as we were sitting in the kitchen talking this week.  I began to laugh at the thought of someone not knowing what a hashtag is, because for my generation it has become social media common sense.

I explained that it is simply the use of the pound sign before the use of a single word or phrase to categorize the topic of the content. The hashtag first took over on twitter in 2007 and is now used on many other social media platforms including Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr and recently Facebook. When creating a hashtag the site will also give some suggested popular hashtags that have already been used to better categorize the topic. Then, the hashtag turns into a link that you are able to click on and then will show what other people are talking about with the use of that same hashtag.what is

Today for example it’s Halloween, if you were to search #HappyHalloween on Twitter your search would be provided content that people are posting about Halloween who are using the #HappyHalloween hashtag. This kind of hashtag is more for personal use.

On the business and marketing side, hashtag’s are a huge help in tracking conversations about a brand. Through the use of the hashtag, you are able to analyze  the use of different hashtags that are related to the brand and the topics they are talking about.

Use a specific hashtag to promote an event or campaign. Make sure that the hashtag has not been used before. Each time something is posted about the event use the hashtag and encourage followers to engage by responding and using the hashtag in their post too.  This is great for generating buzz about your event.

Pictures found on Google.

Social Influence and Klout

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The Conversation Renaissance is an incredible thing. By using social media to comment about what a brand or organization are doing has set their level of responsibility to a whole new standard. This can be good and bad for organizations. If an organization is doing great things people will most likely notice and comment about it through social media. If an organization is doing bad things or has poor customer service people will absolutely be more than willing to talk about it through social media. Social media is a channel for people to express their thoughts and ideas through engaging with others.

When someone it tweeting about an experience they have had, they become an influencer for the topic or brand. It encourages organizations to do the thing because people will take notice if not. Social media holds organizations liable for their actions whether they choose to participate in the conversation or not. As one of Mark Schaefer’s friends said, “The deer now have guns” referring to how the role of advertising and brand reputation has changed with social media.

My Klout score is a 32, which is considered showing expertise. I engage with others and use social media frequently, but I cannot get the score to go up. I know there a perks to having a high score and being an influential social media user and I have gotten a few of them so far. I think the idea behind Klout is great for organizations because it is free advertising for them. It is rewarding for those who have high Klout scores, but I don’t care to use social media that much to make it happen for me. All in time as I continue to engage and build my tribe my Klout score will go up. Mark makes a good point that what is important is engaging, meeting and helping people through social media.

There is also no perfect secret answer in how you can raise your Klout score either, this makes it even more challenging. Klout puts in more than 100 factors from all social media platforms to measure your social influence. The algorithm Klout uses is constantly changing. It is 10 peoples job to tweek and adjust how you are being scored. Businesses have the hardest time with social media because they want to see their return in their investment. Net Promoter Scores use measurements of customer satisfaction surveys to see the linkage between loyalty programs.

If Klout starts to use this kind of measurement in its algorithm it will become more beneficial to businesses to see their return. Klout is a fairly new company so it will be interesting to see what other factors they incorporate into the measurement system.

Twitter “Event Parrot”

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Event Parrot is a exploratory twitter handle that sends a direct message of breaking news  in 140 characters to you if you choose follow. I thought it was a great idea, so I started following Event Parrot and just began receiving messages this week.

I first learned about the end of the government shutdown and the statement Obama was going to deliver through Event Parrot. Then I received a direct message of the shooting at a Nevada middle school through it as well. From my first impressions this far, it has been really helpful in keeping up with major events that have happened. It is especially helpful when I get real busy and don’t have a chance to think about watching the news.dm

The next message I received was a little shocking; it was a direct message telling about Apple announcing its new iPad Air. The new iPad sounds great and all, but I thought the use of Event Parrot was for breaking news around the world of real events, not product promotion.

This got me thinking, that maybe this is a leeway into direct message advertising. People try to avoid advertisements at all cost, only wanting to see things they chose to see. The majority of people like learning and keeping up with recent news, so Event Parrot is a great way to ease people into direct message advertising.

Like I said earlier, Event Parrot is just an experiment. Twitter is moving in the direction to go public in the near future, so it will be interesting to see what other tools and ideas they introduce.

What do you think about Event Parrot?

Blogging, the Procrastination Cure

blogI have always heard to prevent yourself from procrastinating, do what you don’t want to do first to get it out the way and then reward yourself with something you like to do after. As a college student I have mastered the art of procrastinating at times. I would say I just need to go to the library to get things done, I can’t get anything done at home. However, if I was in procrastination mode it wouldn’t matter where I was, I would just end up on Facebook or Instagram instead of doing an assignment.

I usually reverse the reward system and do what I want first and then do the other later. My procrastinating has improved as i have moved farther along in college.  What I have found to help the most this semester is blogging. I never expected blogging to help, but it did.pro

Blogging puts yourself in a productive state of mind. It allows for you to sit down and to think and write strategically under no pressure. That’s the best part of blogging, there is no pressure.  Blogging makes you feel like you have done something productive by making a new post. One encouraging part of blogging is when you post something: WordPress says “Congratulations you have now posted 13 post!” It’s a little goofy and maybe a little sad that it’s a bit of encouragement through the day.

From then on I want to keep on doing productive things with my day so I am more likely to start an assignment I don’t want to do so I can get it out of the way and have more accomplishments. instead of looking at Facebook or Instagram, I now blog to get in the right state of mind.

 

 

Ecard found on Pinterest.

Blogger’s Block

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I was warned this day would come, but did not think it was going to happen to me. My first 11 it was easy to generate ideas for, I felt like I was on a roll. Then I sat down yesterday and came up with nada, nothing, squat to blog about. That is when it happened, I caught blogger’s block.

One of the keys to blogging and increasing viewership is posting consistently. I decided I needed to make a plan for when it happens again. Here is a helpful list of what to do when you catch blogger’s block too.

list1. Make a list: By making a list you can talk about multiple things that support your one topic. This also makes as easy read for people who do not have much time to read through a lengthy blog post.  (It is an easier post to come up with, if you have not noticed, that is what I am doing now)

2. What’s hot? Search around and see what everyone else is talking about. Join in on the conversation and add your on view of the topic. That is the whole point of blogging and social media to begin with right?

3. Journal: Blogging ideas come to me at random times and I find a piece of paper and jot them down. The paper usually gets lost in abyss of other papers and I never see it again. Create a blogging journal where you can keep all your ideas in journalone place. Then the next time you get bloggers block you will have a place to turn to.

Pictures found on Pinterest.