Sunday, May 15, 2011

Social Media is the Secret to Success

        Entering the Performing Arts Center on the first day of social media class, I never would have guessed the adventure I was about to face. Prior to this course, if you asked me about social media, I would have said it is a trend that will make way for another trend. I would have said Facebook is a tool for staying in touch with friends, Twitter is a confusing mess of status updates and bloggers do not know enough to consult them on their opinions or ideas.
          I have found that on all accounts I was wrong. Social media is not going anywhere; in fact, it will continue to make a difference in ways we cannot even imagine
. I would argue social media is the best thing that has ever happened to marketing and public relations. Social media helps those with creative ideas be successful; it is truly enabling the American dream. Unlike any other industry or medium, those with minimal cash can compete with those that have unlimited cash. At the end of the day, it is the most creative videos that go viral; it is the most interesting articles that are “dug”. 
        In this course, I did not only observe social networks. I was pushed past my comfort levels by being forced to express my thoughts and opinions to everyone that can search my name on the internet. Looking back, the experience was rewarding and I have a newfound respect for well-known blogs like Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion, Brian Solis’ Defining the convergence of media and influence, Business2Community and Mashable. These blogs are not afraid to express themselves and have attracted an enormous following in the process. By checking their RSS feed I can ensure that I am always up-to-date with the latest and greatest in my field. If something is groundbreaking it will be mentioned, innovative it will be explained. Social media is an easy way to stay on top of trends and maintain my college education.
        At school, we are taught that continuing our professional development outside college is imperative to our success. I am able to continue my education by following companies that are visionaries of their time and professionals that have accomplished what I hope to one day accomplish. Once you are pro-social media it is difficult to go back to a world where you have to seek out information or miss trends entirely. Social media is the secret to success. I am so happy to have immersed myself to the point where I am comfortable. I cannot wait to share this wonderful resource with my future employer. It is a skill that sets  me apart in many ways from other applicants

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Digg Beyonce

       While browsing the top selections on this morning I found one article that was especially interesting. Singer Beyonce is partnering with the First Lady to proactively to help put a stop to childhood obesity. I did not know the First Lady put together an initiative called Lets Move!
        I like that they both are personally investing time and energy to a worthy cause. I was fortunate to grow up in a household that never eats fast food, has taught me healthier options and is very concerned with fitness. My dad is a little over 50 and still runs before work and plays tennis weekly. My mom attends fitness classes a few times a week and frequently walks with friends. My brother, sister, and my health have always been a top priority to my parents. Some kids are not as lucky and grow up with unhealthy habits that are incredibly difficult to outgrow. Not only does eating healthy make you feel better, it helps your mind stay sharp, and lessens your chance of conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and many more.
       Because I am interested in how Beyonce and the First Lady plan on helping kids understand healthy eating habits and stay in shape, I decided to research further into the Lets Move initiative. I clicked on a link labeled “Let’s Move Campaign” in the digg article. This site outlines five pillars of focus:

1. Creating a healthy start for children

2. Empowering parents and caregivers

3. Providing healthy food in schools

4. Improving access to healthy, affordable foods

5. Increasing physical activity

Beyonce is most closely related to pillar five. She recently released a music video that is a compilation of several energetic songs. In the video she is dancing at a school with a room full of students of all shapes and sizes. Sitting at my computer it made me want to get up and dance! I look forward to seeing the next steps in the Beyonce-First Lady partnership. For now, you can watch this lively video here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Do Not Want to Be an “Interrupter.” Do You?

        I am very invested in both marketing and public relations; this is my chosen path of professionalism. David Meerman Scott, author of, “The New Rules of Marketing & PR,” discusses the difference between interrupting consumers and producing useful content for consumers when marketing to them. 
      The main problem is not knowing how to deliver useful content. Advertising is all about “pop” and “sparkle.’ This is understandable because companies have 30 seconds to convince you that #1 they are a credible company and #2 they have a product you cannot live without. The move from television to the internet is good news for companies that do not want to be an “interruption” to their publics any longer; instead of having to seek out consumers, they will come looking for you! The bad news is companies are having a difficult time making the transition from old (interruption) marketing to new (Content-Driven) marketing. I too struggle with what makes “great content.”
        Scott provides a great example of a Web site providing appropriate content to viewers. The site is awesome because it is clean, well-organized, and has information clearly labeled. The site is very personalized; the background is a slideshow picturing organization members. This is when “content” marketing clicked for me. It is not about looking the most professional, or boasting the most awards—it is about sharing your brand’s unique story. Little touches like photos and blogs add character and charm that can compete with even the largest of chains. Online everything is equal, everyone has equal space to explain what makes them better than the competition.
        Just as important as content is accessibility. If information is not easily accessible, site visitors will jump to the next link on their Google search. On information is clearly organized and you do not have to dig. The opening page is not jumbled and confusing; it directs traffic to exactly what viewers need. People expect the internet to be an instantaneous source of answers, if they have to work too hard to find answers; they look elsewhere.
        As Aggie (our Professor) says, you have to “give to get” in this world. Give relevant information and get a customer for life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Senior Send-off

     Wednesday night I joined my senior classmates at Senior Send-off. This annual event is held by Ohio Northern University to celebrate with spring graduates. At 5:00 p.m. my friends and I piled onto university buses and were transported to the Lima Civic Center. It amazed me upon arrival how many seniors I have not met in my four year stint at ONU. At such a small school it sometimes feels like you know absolutely everyone, and that is not the case. After signing in, food was served. My expectations of the meal were not high, so I did not mind pizza, wings and veggies.
        Next on the agenda was playing casino games. It was fun to socialize with everyone, but we wanted the raffles to begin. After a long 3-hour wait, names started to be called. I am sad to report there were not any winners at my table of ten. Except for the last drawing, prizes were not very impressive. Our school gave away a free trip for two to go to Las Vegas! The girl that won was thrilled, it was her lucky day.
       In close, I am very much looking forward to graduation, and it is finally feeling real. Events such as Senior Send-off, (and everything my sorority has done to say goodbye to seniors) have really made graduation seem believable. My four years at ONU went by fast; I am excited to see what the next few years have in store for me. As soon as I have a job lined up I will be able to breathe easy. I have been feeling the pressure lately; it is incredibly intimidating not knowing where I will be in the next few months. Hopefully I will not have to wait much longer! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Can Using Social Media Win an Election?

          While I agree that social media would be a great asset to presidential elections, it is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of uses for social media. David Meerman Scott wrote about how President Obama utilized social media throughout his campaign in the book, “The New Rules of Marketing & PR.” During Obama’s election I had no idea he had such a strong presence online. Now I feel I have to state a similar disclaimer to the one Scott wrote in his book: whether or not you voted for or supported Obama, I am relaying this information today as purely good PR, politics aside. Scott lists statistics revolving around the social media Obama’s team developed,

“According to The Nation, 13 million people signed up for the Obama campaign email list, more than 5 million “friended” Obama on Facebook, 2 million joined MyBO (and online organizing site where people could sign up to support the campaign as a volunteer), and more than 1 million people subscribed to campaign text messages on mobile phones.”

         These numbers are an impressive display. Social media has really grown to be highly influential in both business and networking. It is a great way to define who you are, lists your interests, and display groups in which you belong. Social media also stands out as a great promoter because it is free in comparison to traditional marketing tactics politicians use.

          As a relevant side note, I need to add that I HATE traditional means of elections; including voice recorded messages and commercials bashing opponents. They interrupt my day and I find myself resenting the candidate behind the message, whether or not I agree with what they are saying. A constant flooding of campaign messaging can be irritating. Social media provides a wonderful feature; by allowing individuals to “opt in,” you are ensuring the receiver wants to be actively involved in your campaign information. It is a way of making people feel like they have access to “insider-knowledge.”

           Overall, the precedent has been set in my mind, politicians cannot forget about their online publics. This is what I have gathered from reading chapter 10 in The New Rules of Marketing and PR, what do you think? Does a politician’s presence online matter? What about a lack of presence?