All About ME!!

Hi y’all!!! My name is Sarah and today I am going to tell you a little about myself.

I just turned 37 last month – I know I’m getting up there eh! I am constantly reminded of that fact as I watch my 3 beautiful daughters turn into 3 amazing young women.  They are my reason to succeed.  I want to set the very best example possible for them.

I have many passions – singing, dancing, photography, reading, soccer… I especially love being creative and creating event fliers for local events.  I have been slowly teaching myself these skills and have created some really great fliers for local events!

I just recently returned to Loyalist to pursue a different aspect of my desired career, so I am taking Media, Arts and Design.  I say returned because I am a Loyalist graduate with diplomas in both Business (general) as well as Business Sales and Marketing.  My goal is to one day work for myself.

I am a very opinionated and passionate person who sticks up for my beliefs and my family. I enjoy life..most days LOL!! Stay tuned for more awesome blogs from ME!!

jan22bday

This is the invitation I made for my birthday this year 🙂

 

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What Social Media Means To Me Now

Wow! I can’t believe how quickly this semester has went by.  That being said I have learned so many things about social media, especially if I look back on my very first blog post for this class.  I’ve learned what a digital footprint is, as well as how to measure and improve my own digital footprint.  I learned the importance of cleaning up my existing pages, Googling myself regularly, and that I need to be very careful what I post and where I post it.  I also found the Twitter chats to be really interesting.  When it comes to the business aspect of social media I learned that the opportunities that social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and many others offer to any business are endless.  I also learned that many businesses use social media platforms to promote themselves, but some use them better than others.  But my real eye opener happened while working on the Giant Tiger social media report.  The potential these platforms offer to a business like Giant Tiger to bring in foreign spenders is so exceptional.  Overall I would say that the my view on social media now compared to my first post is very different.

Learning about my digital footprint is going to help a lot with my future in the business world.  I wasn’t even aware that I had a digital footprint so imagine my surprise after that class.  When I Googled myself I found that I came up in the first or second links as well as images of myself.  I did not find anything that was negative or misinformative.  This was a bonus because I was so ignorant to social media as a whole.  I also cleaned up my Facebook account and unlocked the privacy so that anyone can search for and find me.  I have created accounts on TumblrPinterest, Twitter, LinkIn, StumbleUponWordPress and Google+ since the beginning of the semester.  These sites are actually addictive and frequently engaging myself while viewing them will help to improve my digital imprint.

The tweet chats we had every Thursday contibuted to my learning in ways that i never anticipated.  At first I literally groaned thinking about it but after a couple chats my opinion changed drastically.  The chats actually turned out to be fun, but more importantly I got to compare my opinion of a topic with many others as well as see other people views and gain additional insight from my peers that the lessons didn’t offer.  I think these chats are a beneficial and fun way to learn and I really enjoyed this part of the class.

When this SMET class started back in September I didn’t understand the potential that platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook offer to businesses.  I have since learned that the opportunities for businesses are literally endless. The biggest one being free advertising.  If a business uses their social media tools properly and effectively they can create world wide communities.  Businesses get the chance to engage with customers they may not otherwise have the chance to do.  Also, businesses can target many different audiences using a platform like YouTube where they create and post video content.  They can organize their page that draws positive attention and promotes engagement.  This will cause more people to view their pages, and give their communities a chance to expand.

Almost every business is involved in social media in some way.  Some businesses use only one or two social media tools while others take advantage of every available tool.  Businesses should use measuring tools for each of their pages and overall for their company.  Determining their audience, who is promoting their products or services as well as how often their pages are viewed is among the mountain of information these measuring tools offer.  I found that in general, the bigger the business the better they used their social media.  Smaller businesses do use social media as well and some do it just as well as the biggest company out there but the most noticed companies tend to be the larger ones.  This could also be because they are the most looked for and viewed more frequently.

Working on the Giant Tiger report was when I truly realized the advantages and opportunities that using social media has to offer.  Giant Tiger is an all Canadian company.  All of their stores are located in Canada.  This company could use social media in so many ways that would draw more and more customers into their stores, but then I started thinking about how many Canadians go to America or other countries to get good deals when shopping, especially to stores and for products not offered in Canada.  Then I thought, why wouldn’t a company like Giant Tiger take advantage of their social media tools and use them to create communities outside of Canada.  The potential for drawing foreign shoppers to their stores is so great and to top it all off, most of these tools are free.

In conclusion, I have learned so many interesting and useful things from this social media class.  Most importanly I have learned what social media actually is and the growing impact it is having on the business world.  There are many things that I will apply to and use to brand myself better and develop my own social networks.  Social media not only benefits business by offering free advertising and ways to engage with people all around the world.  It benefits me because it helps to develop a network for myself both on and offline, creating more opportunity for myself and my career.

facebooklogo_squareF pinterest-logo-250x250 StumbleUpon_logo twitteryoutube-logo

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Social Media Measurement Tools

This weeks blog will be centered around social media measurement tools.  The three tools I chose to research and discuss were, WebsiteGrader, BackType, and Twitter Grader.  After researching a few of the available tools, these are three that I thought would be beneficial to any business seeking their social media report, or who want to find out where their social media needs improvment.

WebsiteGrader is a tool that basically tracks your blogs. Including blog analysis, blog grade, and recent blog articles.  It also provides information about Google index pages and readability level and an added benefit it also helps you optimize your content.  This tool would be great for a business that deals with a very active blogs.  This tool would help a business maximize the effect their blog has, as well as gain valuable information concerning analysis and grade.  Every business should know where they sit on Google so the index pages and readability level would definetly assist any business.  I feel this tool would be excellent for any company who wants to develop, improve, or just be nosy about their blog.

BackType is an awesome tool.  This tool tracks so many things, making it essential for any business to use. This tool is free.  It basically measures ones social media impact.  Once the url is entered, it gives the user information on their latest pages, top inlfuencers and where their major action is online.  These tools are great for anyone to use to see just how far their digital footprint walks, and also by showing the top influencers, allows anyone to gain knowledge of their target audience and allows them to reach out to them more as well as provides knowledge that they need to use different ideas to draw in different audiences.  Seeing where their major action is online will show how well one social media tool like Twitter fairs against Facebook.  Excellent information for anyone to have.

And finally, Twitter Grader.  It basically does what it says.  This tool allows you to track, measure, and increase your power in the Twitter world.  I felt this tool is very self explanitory all around.  I think this tool is valuable for any business who uses Twitter regularly because it would help them improve where needed as well as allowing them to measure their Twitter account, making them able to see who is following them and who is retweeting their tweets.  This tool helps any business gain valuable Twitter insight.

There are many different social media measurement tools, I could have researched for hours acually but I chose these three tools because I felt they are beneficial to any business but I also felt they each had their own benefits so that being said, I felt these three tools combined could give a business a very general overall view on where their social media reaches and who it influences most.

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Social Media Plan

Introduction

Welcome to Extreme Promotional Materials!  We are a company that supplies personalized uniforms and promotional materials for sports teams and businesses. From team jerseys to pens, EPM works with quality manufacturers to provide a variety of goods that can be personalized with lettering and logos. Our company provides service for, but is not limited to,  school and league teams as well as small to medium sized businesses across south eastern Ontario.  At EPM, creativity is the key.

Mission Statement

At Extreme Promotional Materials we are committed to providing the public with a unique, innovative and creative service.  Through careful research and our teams ingenious creative skills, EPM’ s goal is to make an impact on the community, as well as try to use our Community Impact Award as a way to get the community more involved in our ever declining environmental concerns.  Our company is inventive and friendly, with new and creative ways to serve our customers’ needs while establishing positive relationships along the way.

Key Messages

Our goal is to provide a service like non other.  Our staff is committed to providing a creative design that is both fun and clearly shows the business, team, or school to which the brands or logos is realated.  A brand or a logo is just one way for businesses, schools and sports teams to advertise.  Here at EPM, we believe that creativity is key. We want your team or business to stand out and we believe our products are the key to Your success.  Our company is inventive and determined.  We have spent the last 15 years coming up with creative ways to serve our customers’ needs while establishing positive relationships along the way.

Target Audience

Our target audience is schools, of all ages.  As well as small to medium local businesses,  but we are always looking to expand into both greater geographical and niche markets.  Focus is directed at our specific community but we are not unwilling to take on most tasks big or small, within reason.

Social Media Tools

Our company would benefit from a number of social media tools.  YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter were the ones that we felt would be most useful. We will explain our reasons in our Social Media plan that follows.  Our company would benefit from this Social Media plan because there are a lot of businesses online as well as offline.  There are a lot more businesses starting online so we should be involved in supplying those companies as well.  In fact they could be a huge market for our company as many of these online companies need some sort of logo and products to furthur promote themselves.

Social Media Plan

There are many ways that social media can be used to benefit this company.  I think Twitter is a good way to stay on top and to keep customers informed.  We can also offer promotions and Twitter would be a good site to do this because there are so many different businesses and industries.  It opens a whole new world of oppourtunity for this company.  YouTube would be a great place to show off promotional commercials, as well as showing current customers recieving their products or videos of sports teams playing whose products were made by this company.  There are many businesses who use YouTube as their own form of free advertisement so being involved with this site is also key for widening the companys horizons.  Everybody uses Facebook these days, but one thing I have noticed more and more about Facebook is how many businesses are starting on this actual site.  Having a page with ads and promotions, as well as having a contest of some kind to draw engagement would be very beneficial to this company expanding across the internet.  Each one of these sites would also have imformation on what I deemed as the Community Impact Award.  This is an award that the company would give to the business, school or team who could prove they have had a big environmental impact in their community, and they would recieve free pens, notepads, and water bottles with thier team logo, as well as a small trophy and $150 coupon off an order placed by the winner.  I also thought Pinterest would be useful in a way that could show off our products, customers, and post any ads sales and promos.  We would also have a board of winners from our CIA award.  I believe Pinterest would be beneficial because it brings everything into reality in a way and is a way to show off our own community involvement.

Summary

In conclusion, it is my opinion that this company would benefit from a strong social media plan.  This would be a great way to promote the company world wide as well as show off our products.  Social media is the key in todays business world and for any company to not be invovled is in my opinion, deteramental.

 

****the business named in this blog is purely fictional and used for class purpose only

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Brand… Me!!

This weeks topic is personal branding!! Brand… Me!!  This Social Media class at Loyalist has taught me so much.  Before I began I didn’t even know what social media was, so imagine my surprise to find out I have a digital footprint.  A long time ago someone asked me if I had ever Googled myself.  Umm no.  That gave me the urge to see what Google had to say about Sarah Hilts.  I came up on the front page, pictures of me and other Sarah Hilts’.  As well there were links to my Facebook account, my You Tube account, and I found it funny that the first item that showed up was my Bebo account.  I had forgotten I even had that account, nor do I remember the password.  Funny.  At the time I didn’t realize how significant it is that my image immediately shows up, after our last class I realize not only is it important, it’s actually awesome!!  I think there are many ways to improve my digital footprint, and I have already done so in a number of ways since starting my Social Media Class.

My first step to improving my digital imprint is halfway finished.  I started to delete old, “unattractive” photos from my Facebook page.  When I went into my albums to begin completing this task I found out that I have like 108 albums or some crazy amount like that.  Although my Facebook is on ultimate lock down, I was still on a mission to clean it up.  Once this step is complete I will of course check all of my old posts as well to see what else can be cleaned up.  Once my Facebook account is clear and ready for the business world I will remove all blocks so people may help themselves to Me!

My next plan for improving my digital foot print is to create a Myspace account.  This will improve my digital foot print because I plan to access the account quite frequently.  My account will mainly be created so I can post videos of myself singing but I will also use it as a form of blog to keep any followers I may have informed and up to date.  The account will add one more way that will show up on when I am Googled.  This will be a benefit as the account will include only positive and appropriate content.

The third way I can think to improve my digital foot print is to frequent my current accounts more but be very selective about which accounts I chose to frequent the most, as those are the ones that should pop up the highest on the list (except that mystery Bebo account).  I will chose sites like LinkedIn or Tumblr, or StumbleUpon.  I also think it’s essential to go into all of my old accounts and change my current user name(s) so that they include my first and last names specifically.  I think this will help because those accounts don’t seem to show up, for example my WordPress account.  Frequenting positive sites and changing my name is the final step I can think to take so that I can leave a deeper imprint in the digital world.

As I said before, I hadn’t realized how big of an imprint I have already made on the digital world.  Googling myself shows me that I have done a good job so far because I am at the top of the list.  Impressive if you ask me.  By cleaning up my Facebook, joining and frequenting more sites, like myspace and making some basic name changes on sites where I already have accounts, I believe I can make the imprint I have already left that much bigger and better!

 

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Staying on Top of Emerging Trends

This week our topic is emerging trends.  In this weeks post we will discuss websites that are the best current resources for finding the latest emerging trends as well I will then analyze how each topic can, will or is impacting the business world and how the topic could be related back to using social media and technology in the business world.

Mashable is the first site I explored.  I found the site very interesting as well as informative.  The article I chose was titled “Oprah Endorses Microsoft’s Surface Tablet: ‘It’s Like a Mercedes!” by Chris Taylor. This topic discusses the release of the new Surface Tablet offered by Microsoft.  Oprah released her list of “Favorite Things” just this past Thursday and the Surface Tablet was on her list.  Oprah talked about her personal experience with the tablet but the article also discussed the current status, or lack there of  concerning Mocrosoft’s newest release.  I think this relates to using social media and technology in business because the praise from Oprah is clearly going to benefit in some way.  Mashable is site that is current on the latest technology so having the Surface Tablet mentioned on thier site is also free advertising that can be viewed literally world wide.  This topic impacts the business world because it is Microsoft’ s newest big release and as mentioned in the article it is not making as big of a splash as anticipated.  This could help Microsofts sales increase, because Oprah is very influential.

The next place I explored was TechCrunch.  I had never even touched on this site before and I was impressed.  The topics all caught my attention but I did find that once I went into the actual articles I had to sift through a lot of advertisements before I got to the actual article.  The article I chose was “Facebook’s Next Money Maker? Its Version Of AdWords In Its New App Center Search.” By Josh Constine. This article talks about a new possible business advantage that Facebook could have for any company.  Facebook recently added a search box to their Apps Center.  The next possibility the article discusses Facebook facing is to let developers pay to buy search keyword ads in the App Center search typeahead, similar to the specific name ads in its site-wide search typeahead.  And if App Center goes beyond the typeahead and launches a search results page, it could host full-blown AdWords-style search ads.  This would be an amazing opportunity for businesses as it gives them even more options for advertising.  It directly relates to social media in the business world because it is just one more example of how businesses can use social media to their advantage.

The last site I checked out was Social Media Explorer.  The article I liked was one titled “Becoming A Social Business Isn’t Just For Social Media.”  By Ilana Rabinowitz. This article discusses how quickly social media is evolving and some business investors view a company before they would invest in the company.  This relates directly to businesses using social media.  It shows how important social media has become as well.

Overall, these three sites are very useful for viewers and very effective for business emerging in any industry.  Every where we turn social media is becoming big and all the people who have avoided getting to know the internet and social media are going to be left with no choice.  Sites like the ones discussed would be very useful to those users as well.

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Pinterest and StumbleUpon

When it comes to social media platforms, there are so many to choose from.  My two favorite things about these social media platforms are that they are free and they can send a message world wide.  I was introduced to Pinterest about two weeks ago and became quickly addicted, as the site is known to do.  I also decided to check out a few others that were mentioned in class.  I am just going to say I started Stumbling, and hours turned to minutes.  So needless to say these are the two social media platforms I have chosen to discuss.

I will begin with Pinterest.  I really like the concept that the creators of Pinterest have.  Its fun for users and an awesome way for businesses to get their names, products and services out there.  People love to be able to see pictures. That’s what this site is, board after board, picture after picture.  A company could use Pinterest in ways such as About.com. I use this example because I happened to find their website one day when I was browsing Pinterest for shoe pictures.  I repinned the picture, when this happens if someone else views my board and likes the picture they can like it, repin it etc, but they can also enlarge the picture.  When this happens there is a direct link at the side that links you to their boards on Pinterest, and also a link to their direct website.  This is a great way to draw repeat customers and repeat visitors to their web page.  How would I use Pinterest for my business?   Since the business I want to open is either a Caribbean restaurant in Canada or a clothing store in Jamaica, I would find Pinterest very useful.  I would take pictures of my products,  which are topics I would call popular.  This means I would have a good chance of people seeing my photos and linking to my website.  The more they see, the more they like is the idea.  Next thing I know someone is sitting in my restaurant who and says “I want to try the breadfruit,ackee and salt fish  I saw on your board on Pinterest!” As a business owner, that would be fantastic.  StumbleUpon was something I had never even heard of until class the other day.  I was honestly just sitting there jotting down all the names being mentioned and the number of students interested or signed up on the sites.  When I checked out StumbleUpon I had an idea of what it was just because of how it was described in class.  Once I started Stumbling I couldn’t stop.  I chose a lot of interests, literally everything I am even slightly interested in so my Stumbles are very random but I actually learned things in the breif minutes I spent on some of the sites, while others still were wasted seconds of my life that can never be returned.

I think StumbleUpon would be a good social media tool but not as effective as Pinterest.  I like the concept but I am undecided at the same time.  As a user, I loved the randomness of each Stumble but as a business I think it would be harder to guarantee those repeat visits, or the homepage links that would give people a better chance to see what the company is about. It is effective in a way that gets a company out on the web and there is a chance it will be viewed by users who wouldn’t even have thought to look for it.  An example would be a hair and beauty site I Stumbled to.  The site is called boxnutt.  I personally would never realate that to hair and beauty so I would never have looked here otherwise for this kind of information or products.  Also Punchfork, another site I Stumbled to.  This site was full of recipes and food tips.  I probably wouldn’t have looked there for a recipe.  I think StumbleUpon is a good platform but I think it better serves a web based company.  I feel this better benefit such businesses because from personal experience I haven’t seen anything that draws me to a specific product or store.  I saw more web based beauty tips, recipe ideas, and of course animal pictures than I did stories or information on technology, cell phones or anything that gave me the desire to go to a store and purchase a product.

As a would be business owner I can say I would definetly use Pinterest as a social media tool for my business because I think it would better suit my business.  I would still sign my business up for sites like StumbleUpon, I mean why not? It’s free.  I would cross my fingers and hope for the best.  I just think my chances of connecting  and reconnecting with old or new customers would be a lot better with platforms more like Pinterest.  As a business owner I would follow everyone I could on as many of the available social media platforms as possible.  This would be a way to draw people to my website and my products.  I would also posts as many pictures of my establishment and my customers as possible so they felt a sense of importance.  That customer would repin their picture which would draw their followers to my boards, leading to my website, and hopefully leading right to me!

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