Social media is propelling forward as long as technology keeps evolving, and with it, writing professionals and public relation practitioners. We are swept up in the need for instant updating, answering and the unification of customer and company. However, we also have to keep in mind the amount of information that customers can take in at one time. “Social network fatigue” is one way to describe this. When customers are constantly being overloaded with information from companies, it can cause them to turn away and easily give up on the company as well as what they are putting out to the public. This can be especially true of the information that is being put out there is not timely or relavent to what consumers are looking for, making the decision to turn away all that much easier.

Social Media not only promotes the good, but everything that is out there.

Chapter 15 talks about how we are perceived on the internet based on what we put out on the internet, regardless of whether or not it is in a personal or professional way. When people search for your company name or someone specifically within it, the internet is not going to pull up only the good things, but everything that you put out there. Being mindful of what photos, videos, or posts you make to any form of social media can make the difference between getting the job you want and not getting it. One example of just how important it is to understand that you represent the company you work for is the incident including the Taco Bell franchise. When an employee tweeted photos of himself urinating on a “about to be thrown out anyway” platter of nachos. This cost him his job, which he did not seem to care much about, but ultimately also set back the local Taco Bell’s reputation. These types of posts can be damaging to companies that revolve around cleanliness, honesty, and integrity. http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/08/03/taco-bell-employee-fired-for-allegedly-urinating-onto-nacho-platter/

 Writing major means you are a Jack of All Trades, Right?

Chapter 16 goes over a lot of what I am dealing with now in my current job (as well as what we happen to be discussing in PR writing!). I was hired in as a sales person at a cycling shop, but once they found out I was a written communication major they asked me to deal with the social medias (their Facebook and website mainly). Walking into it, I had NO experience what-so-ever for web design, or even the platform they were using (which, happens to be WordPress). I was very frustrated at having to not only figure out how to update the website to the best of my abilities, but had to figure out how to work the platform to post them in, as well as how to use tools such as Adobe products like Photoshop. This was the most frustrating part for me. Not knowing how to interact with these tools and use them to my advantage made my task of doing updates very difficult and time consuming. I watched many videos, scoured the web for help, and asked the last person who was in charge of the website for helpful tips. I began to play around with these tools and started making some basic posts to get the feeling for how these tools worked. Even if my work is just at a basic level as of now, we all have to start somewhere and I am so thankful that this company is allowing me to run with whatever ideas I have for their social media.

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The topics discussed in chapters 12-13 are an essential part of social media and how we (as a company) interact with the public. In order to do so, we must evaluate our company and define what image we want to interpret to our customers.

The Brand Reflection Cycle Solis suggests how to do just this: evaluate our company and reassess how we want to connect with our audience. A lot of older companies (or new companies) need to assess their want to get involved in social media and just how they are going to do so. In order to do so they need to come up with a cohesive idea for their company, such as a brand promise, or a mission to give people a reason to connect with them. As Solis states in previous chapters, gaining social media popularity is based off of what we can do for the public, how we can solve an issue, or how we relate/are influential to the audience. Once we have answered these questions, the information we put out will become relevant to searches people make on social media networks, or even the Internet.

One blog post I found interesting was posted by blog.kissmetrics.com about how companies today use social media to connect with their audience and what social media means to them. Most of them came up with very similar answers: to interact with customers, gain feedback and created dialog. Read the article, and what popular companies are saying about social media and how they are using it to their advantage here: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-to-rock-social-media/

In today’s world, social media is more influential than “regular” or standard media. News travels faster to us via social media than it does through television, radio or newspaper. This is because instead of us looking for news, news comes to us. It is more specific to what we want to know more about and others that are interested in the same topics. At the bike shop I work at, it is obvious that through regular media, because we are an established company, media that comes through is specialized to the shop. Fitness magazines, cycling events and flyers, new pamphlets on Ann Arbor street laws and other forms or traditional media are relevant to the shop and the customers coming through. However, media that we do not wish to share with our customers also comes through. Religious booklets or events that are not fitness related are not necessarily what we want our company to be associated with, or topics that we wish to promote, so we often have to weed out such items. Social media is very similar, except we are able to pick and choose what media we are receiving without having to weed anything out. We choose what we want to read or don’t want to read, and this significantly narrows down our searching time, and allowing us to take in exactly what we think we want to know more about.

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This weeks reading and video were great reference points for companies who are starting to get involved in social media and how to gain social interaction. I felt this weeks reading did a great job following up on last weeks reading by following up on SEO-search engine optimization, and stepping into SMO-Social Media Optimization. The combination of these two strategies, as well as paying attention to things such as social objects (content that can induce responses), and how different networks and social medias work, can make a big difference in your companies social media success.

Brian Solis elaborates on the forms of searching that are most commonly used now: traditional, real time, social network, and social search, and how to be found within these styles of search engines. In order to do this, we must utilize ‘metadata’ by inputting the proper words into our titles, descriptions and tags so that people will be more likely to find our pieces among relative pieces.

I completely agree with this, and the fact that we, as social media users, have become our own librarians and are able to categorize our work into sections and areas of interest for readers gives us the freedom to choose what we write about and where we want readers to find it. I find this to be very helpful on both sides of the scene- when searching the Internet and when posting something on the Internet. Being able to identify where pieces can be found makes my search easier, and being able to place my own writing into a specific category will allow more traffic through my work. This becomes increasingly important for growing companies and getting their news and product information out to consumers.

The inbound marketing video we watched discussed the ideas of how we put information out to readers and consumers. In order to get people to pay attention to what we have to say, we have to make sure we are presenting our information in the proper ways. A few tips he gave were to:

-Find and target your influencers
-Avoid link fatigue
-Help your audience look cool
-Stick with safe and new information
-Combine relevant information for your audience-blending old and new

If you are able to use these ideas while posting on social medias, it will help increase the likelihood of traffic on your companies page and keep readers coming back.

One great representation of this is a website that I follow frequently: http://www.yogajournal.com/
This website regularly posts great videos, blogs and newsletters to allow readers to follow their information, and shows how many tweets or Facebook likes they receive on their articles, enticing readers to read, which was a large topic during the video. They keep their information relevant, as well as their ads and post on new topics instead of regurgitating old topics from other sites.

All in all, I think this weeks information is noting that it is important to keep the subject anchored, know how to deliver it to the audience, and make it interesting for them! If you are able to do this, then your writing will be that much better.

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When reading through the first four chapters of the book, the things that seemed the most important to me were being human, connecting with the readers, and forging lasting relationships.
In chapter two it explains how to do this by understanding the who, what, when, where, how, why and to what extent. By following these, you are able to connect with the readers by giving the proper information, allowing you to connect with the readers on all levels. It was interesting to read the examples that were given about blogs, podcasts, and wikis and how the public reacts to these style of social media.
The other point I found interesting was how companies use social media to their advantage, but not always in the most honest ways. The book describes how some companies align with other companies to receive more posts and traffic this way, which is a great way to gain more attention to the company, but this is not seen by readers.

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Duty Calls!

Personal Turns Professional
Recently I stepped away from this blog (even with it being so new- sorry!) so I could focus on my work place website and other social medias that I work with for my job- which also happens to be focused on social engagement, as well as fitness! Instead of leaving you guys hanging, I would love to have you guys check out my posts and updates via my more “professional” web pages!

Check it out!: www.greatlakescycling.com

What it’s all about

For the website, I try to post mostly about events and new things at the shop, and I have already received great feedback through comments as well as reposting from other users and readers and it would be great to see people in the area getting involved in these events!

I am also going to start posting the events that I post on the website here as well ASAP after those are posted (I have some catching up to d0…) along with other ways that I have become more socially and physically involved in the community, and ways to help you guys get involved as well!

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Bike Safety Checklist

May is Bike Awareness Month!

Get involved and bike to school or work- it is not only a great way to get in shape, but a great way to save money and enjoy the environment around you.

List of Official Biking Dates

  • May 9: Bike to School Day
  • May 14-18: Bike to Work Week

In preparation, I am putting together a safety check list for all of those who are looking for more information on how to get their bikes ready, as well as a list of accessories to be sure to check.

Bike Safety Checklist

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Social Benefits of Exercise

Exercise Offers More Than Physical Benefits

The benefits of exercise do not stop at a physical level. It also spreads into other aspects of our lives- on emotional, mental and social levels as well. The aspect of exercise that I want people to consider is the social. When getting involved in a workout routine sticking with it can sometimes seem difficult, or even impossible. By creating a social event out of your workout routine, you will be more likely to stay motivated, stick with your plans, and eventually reach your goals.

Create Commitments

When starting out with a new routine, it is easy to disregard exercise as a social opportunity. Going to the gym, working out alone, then heading home is not always the most motivating way to get in shape. Here are some great ways to create a social event out of your workout routine:

  • Get Involved with Others at the Gym
  • Set a Date to Workout with Friends
  • Join a Team or Class

By creating a social event out of your routine, you will feel committed to those around you and will begin to feel responsible to show up for these events. By doing so, you will not only benefit yourself, but those you are involved with. Many of these relationships can reach beyond your workout routine, entering your regular social life by creating bonds and allowing for friendships to be built from common interests- especially physical exercise!

Social Belonging- Going Beyond Exercise

Many recent college graduates enter a society where they may not feel as accepted, or feel a sense of social belonging. Joining a community group, or local exercise class, will allow for students to meet others with common interests and feel that they are becoming a part of the surrounding community. Often times once you are involved within a community you are likely to begin taking interest in other activities as a group, and advocating for things you may all feel passionate about. Having this support behind you, and being heard as a group rather than an individual, gives you an opportunity to take advantage of your social standing and make a change in the world!

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