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This week’s assignment will be about the measurement tools that are being used to measure Social Media Success. There are an array of powerful and free tools that can be used to help you understand the successes and failures of your social media promotion or campaign. There are many free tools available such as, Google Analytics, Star Counter, Chart Beat and Quant Cast that can assist you in measuring areas of Social Media in regards to how many views, likes, dislikes, comments and website traffic. There are also many tools that will cost to get information about the sites you want monitored, some of these sites are Sprout Social, and Radian6.

What is Google Analytics?  It is free for all businesses who want to track their social media progress. This measuring tool can assist you in finding out how many visitors have visited your website, it can also send off alerts that will notify you when traffic is coming through your website.  Google Analytics can inform the client how many people that have visited that may be interested in any of the promotions displayed and whether there is ample enough traffic flow and how many visits they would receive on a daily basis.  This Social Media measuring tool is used to assist you in areas that may need some extra understanding to be able to do better in the Social Media world.  Is the traffic flow where I want it? What do I need to do different to get more traffic? This is certainly something I would like to try.

StatCounter’s mission is to help their members easily understand their visitors, so they can make good decisions to become more successful online.  StatCounter(http://statcounter.com/about/?PHPSESSID=53lbp7a9h6q6din9n0g34humm3) has been around since 1999 and has over a billion hits tracked, so this tell me they must know what they are doing. This is a free account and you can then log into your account anytime night or day to monitor and view your visitors and stats in real-time!

Quantcast Measure(https://www.quantcast.com/) provides free, directly measured traffic and arranges the audience and then makes reports, ensuring that your traffic data is both accurate and reliable.  There is an audience measurement for all website owners including traffic, demographics, business, lifestyle and many other interests. If you are a marketer you can discover how your audience is unique by understanding what makes your audience distinctive across your product lines.  You will be able to learn the difference between visitors and converters as well as demographics, interests and web media consumption habits. Without such tools as QuantCast it would be very difficult to track this information.

Overall I feel it is important to connect with at least one measurement to assist you in tracking and helping you understand what areas you may need to improve on. Find interests and build a relationship that will help you and your business grow and be successful.

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Introduction

This weeks assignment is to come up with a Social Media Plan for a fictional company Extreme Promotional Materials .  Extreme Promotional Materials has been in business for 15 years and has and has approximately 20 employees.  Extreme Promotional Materials works with quality manufacturers to provide a variety of goods that can be personalized with lettering and logos. The company 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. We are required to include the company’s mission, goals and vision within the Social Media Plan. Other considerations while creating this plan should include are the target audience(s), how social media will be used to help promote the company and what tools would assist in developing the company’s digital footprint.

Mission

Extreme Promotional Materials are committed to selling high quality products while providing excellent customer service with our friendly, supportive, and knowledgeable staff in a relaxing but stimulating environment. We also strive to encourage and inspire creativity and imagination to our sport lovers whether they are at home or in our store.

Vision

To become the sports equipment supplier of choice, based on product expertise, price, quality, and level of service, by developing a long term relationship with our customers. Become the “family expert” for sporting goods equipment by treating customers like friends and family and by maintaining an experienced, knowledgeable, and caring staff that can help the customer make the right purchase for them, whether they are individuals outfitting their family, or coaches, athletic directors and league representatives supplying their teams.

Goals

Our goals for Extreme Promotional Materials is  to become the sports equipment supplier of choice, based on product expertise, price, quality, and level of service, by developing a long term relationship with our customers.

Key Messages

  • We have upgraded the website so that it is more professional and user friendly, offers incentives, features, and promotions to draw customers back to the site repeatedly, and is optimized for maximum search results.
  • Expand the product line by offering equipment for additional sports that are typically in demand during current sports slow seasons.
  • Extreme Promotional Materials hascreated an outside sales team that calls on schools, leagues, and associations and is known for product expertise and top service.
  • We are an active member of the community by participating in non-profit activities and by sponsoring local sports teams, leagues, and tournaments.
    • We offer competitive pricing, and are committed to our customers.

Social Media Tools

There are so many tools in social media to choose from. Some better than others! I would start with creating a Facebook account with a fan page. With Facebook having over 2 Billion users this would definitely be the first place to start. Here you will be able to connect with other users, promote your product, build an audience, brand your product and gain insight from other users.

My second choice would be to get involved with Twitter. With Twitter you can gain followers and tweet often to get your message out. By keeping both of these Social Media tools professional, you will be able benefit by gaining new customers and build relationships with other businesses. With this said, it could lead to great connections, customers or business partners.

It would not be a good idea to start too many Social Media sites as it may be time consuming until you get familiar with both Facebook and Twitter. Take time to learn all aspects of both social media tools, which in turn will help you promote, gain respect, more followers, new customers, and friends along the way.

Target Audience

What is out target audience? Who will buy our products? These are questions you should be thinking about when promoting products.  Extreme Promotional Materials targets active lifestyle participants. The demographics of this initial segment are typically aged 16 – 30 males and females that have a desire for sports. These customers are active in or they closely relate to those that do participate in this lifestyle. This is a trend-setting group, and they influence other audiences all across Ontario. As awareness in this initial market grows, secondary markets will open up across Canada and maybe even internationally.

Social Media Engagement Strategy

Social media changes the way consumers think and react to products, services and everyday life. It is essential that businesses have a strong social media engagement strategy to ensure they are connecting with customers to help drive their businesses and products forward. Social media needs to be part of a marketing strategy in order for companies to stay engaged with their consumers.

Marketing campaigns tend to encompass several different strategies, such as advertising, public relations and social media. By building an effective integrated campaign, companies can ensure that they are connecting with their key audiences.

Social media visitors look for good and useful information. Twitter, for instance, is known for driving the most content and helping consumers stay up-to-date on key information related to their interests. This is important for businesses as they pursue social media engagement strategies.

The most important in social media engagement, connections are essential to build your brand through social media networks. Influencers are the most important as they will drive growth on your social media networks and continue to build engagement among the followers.

Conclusion

For businesses, it’s important to connect with customers through social media to propel brand engagement. Measuring the number of followers, comments, shares and likes are some of the key metrics to gauge how well you engage with consumers. By creating a plan businesses can clear the clutter and find a path forward in building their reputations through social channels. Creating a plan for your success will help your business grow!

This week in Social media class we discussed branding you and your personal digital footprint.  Your personal footprint can make or break you in the business world. I will be talking about 3 steps to improve your branding and why it is important. There are so many employers checking out facebook and twitter accounts, your new job may depend on what you have been posting in these social media acoounts.

The first step I would take would be to Google yourself. If you are a current user in Facebook and post many silly things chances are they will be shown on the first page when you have googled your name. Although many employers request resumes when hiring for a position, that is often not enough, therefore they will google the potential applicant and see what they are up to on a social standing. Finding a potential employee or a business partener often ends up with many name searches on Google. It is important to keep your slate clean and stay away from abusive posts and vulgar language, this can harm your career or business that you are trying to start. I would recommending you Google your name as often as a couple times a week, search deep think of yourself being the employer, would you hire me!!

The second step would be to take a look at Facebook, which I am always on top of. For example, I have a few friends that are drama queens and post pretty much anything, but when they started to use vulgar language I had to hide them from my timeline, and in some cases I had to unfriend them. I use my Facebook page as a part of my business and I was not happy to see crap all over my pages. It’s easy to keep your Timeline on Facebook clean but in some cases, it can be discouraging to see what people actually post that is rude and offensive.  I have many business parteners on Facebook from all over the world, I don’t want them think I condone bad behavoir, so in most case deleting a friendship must happen.

The third would be LinkedIn, as I have been a member in LinkedIn for almost 2 years I have very many business connections. It is important to keep your topics in LinkedIn professional as well. I have had issues where I have ben invited to connect and have had to remove them as well. I didnt not like the fact that some connection on want to be connected so they can talk bad about someone’s business, LinkedIn is a professional site and if connections become unprofessional somewhat like Facebook I do not hesitate to have them removed from my connections. I like LinkedIn because it is a great tool to advertise and promote my products, so it is very important to keep it clean and professional.

In Summary I am confident that I have kept my Facebook, Fan Page, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts very professional.  I have Googled myself many times and I am all over the first page and I do believe on the second page. I have been posting and advertising and promoting for a couple years  and to me it is important that everyone that is looking for work, looking for business partners or just there to promote their own business you must at all times keep it professional. We live in a world where engagement with your consumer is critical.  The one-to-many paradigm is gone.  Are you prepared?

There are so many trends in Social Media that I didn’t realise existed.  I will be talking about other trends in Social Media for this weeks assignment. We have been asked  choose one story from each site, Mashable, Social Media Explorer and TechCrunch,  that I would find interesting and write a blog post that discusses those stories.

The first story is with Mashable, “Glow-the-in-the-Dark Highways Coming to the Netherlands” Author Neha Prakash http://mashable.com/2012/11/03/netherlands-glow-highways/  Can you imagine a futuristic solution for safer driving conditions and greener technology?  The Netherlands are wanting to spice up their highways and improving winter driving conditions.  The Netherlands will use photo-luminizing powder to replace road markings and ultimately produce glow-in-the-dark tarmacs. They will be using powder that will be charged by sunlight, and it will be able to soak up enough energy to last 10 hours worth of highway light during nighttime. Snowflakes will be drawn on all roads with special paint. The snowflakes will only become visible when the temperature drops to a certain point, alerting the drivers that the surface may be slippery.  Daan Roosegaarde hopes to also bring glow-in-the-dark roadways to the U.S., mainly the west coast, because of innovators like Google who have already advanced the field of transportation. Talk about smart roads and how the roads can speak to the driver in regards to icy conditions all because of painted snowflakes., Wow!  This could be great for businesses in the Transportation field, think of all the jobs that will be created.

The second story is Social Media Explorer, “Becoming a Social Business Isn’t Just For Social Media”  Author Ilana Rabinowitz http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/6-social-media-principles-that-can-change-your-corporate-culture/

In this article Ilana talks about how evolved social media has become and how quickly it has engaged many people. Facebook with a billion of us and how it has changed our  expectations about how quickly we recieve responses from other people. Just think how it has changed the way we share knowledge with both personal and professional contacts. What about corporate culture and how it reflects the principles and ideas of social media? The business behaves like a community, management does not broadcast, communications are flexible, information is open and the company does not rely on control and procedures but on collaboration. This brings some light to the table as to whether corporate culture needs to engage more in social media to be successful. Here is a video on entrepenuers and social media, by John Jantsch, on a company that that went from almost extinct to becoming a leader in its industry by changing the corporate culture to focus on the needs of the employees and clients ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXmDaykZobc

The third article from TechCrunch ” Major Wireless Carriers Hunker Down For Hurricane Sandy” Author Jordan Crook. http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/29/verizon-sprint-t-mobile-hunker-down-for-hurricane-sandy-att-is-like-whatevs/  In this article the nation’s major wireless carriers want you to know they’re ready to roll. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile have all released information on what they’re doing to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. With the forecast for hurricane Sandy it was expected that over 10 million people would be without power. All wireless had pages set up for customers with general safety tips. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile had a plan in place  to mitigate any affects of the hurricane.  They passed on info to remindpeople  to plug in all of your electronics to a surge protector, and leave them charging until power goes out. There was also an app you could use the Red Cross Hurricane app or SMS service. Media Kit: AT&T Vital Connections were available. While flooding and storm surges may be the most life-threatening aspect of the storm, The damage from the winds would  most certainly interfer with all wireless communication and likely cause power outages across the area. What a great way to get the information out to families and businesses but having this in place. Many Businesses and groups or organizations, got their wirelesses all charged before Hurricane Sandy arrived, thus enabling people to keep contact right until power went out and towers went down.  I am impressed businesses like phone comapnies, especially wireless was still able to keep the lines open and have apps for people to get information to help them keep safe.