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Showing posts from 2018

FINAL THOUGHTS

Who would have thought that Myspace, one of the first widely-used social media sites, would crumble to the likes of facebook, or that snapchat would grow so much in popularity that it could compete with instagram, becoming a major player in the social media sphere.  What are the lessons here?  Clean, simple, and functional.  In all of these cases, the platform that rose above the rest was clean, simple, and functional.  Many years ago, when using Myspace, I remember seeing some profiles that were so extravagant that it would take them minutes to load.  Tons of graphics, music, wallpapers- it was utter chaos.  Along comes facebook with its simple, straightforward design, and viola! a new start was born.  These principles can be incorporated in the creation of social media content as well: content should be focused and functional, and adapt to the platform in which it is being published.  

Throughout the semester, I have vacillated between embracing the major platforms and questioning th…

Week 16: Group comments

This week I reviewed content for and commented on the following group members:

Lemar Anderson

Mark Buxton

Paul Wendee

Week 16: Future Strategy Part 2: Tools

Being well-organized is helpful in any endeavor.  Considering the volume of platforms, log-in credentials, and sheer content, it is important to use some of the digital tools at our disposal, so that the task of creating engaging, consistent content becomes less daunting.  

Of the available tools and methodologies, I already employ a separate email for most of my social media.  Since I am a one-man team, it is sometimes frustrating having to alternate log-ins, especially since my YouTube, Drive, and Gmail are all linked to one credential.  Nonetheless, when I gain a significant following, it will be helpful to have this separation.  Over the next six months, I think it'd be useful to begin uploading more content to my drive, so that I have constant access across all devices.

Considering that my business is essentially myself and self-promotion thru social media, I should spend more time in contributing versus consuming.  With Instagram, I would like to achieve a once weekly posting …

Week 16: Future Strategy

Of the available social media platforms, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook integrate best into the construct of a travel blog/ vlog.  As far as enjoyment, I find Instagram to be the most enjoyable and engaging, if not borderline addicting.  I enjoy Instagram due to it's simpler layout that helps showcase visual media, namely photo and video.  I also find Instagram to be the easiest to post daily content to, particularly to the daily "stories" section.  Via my research and own use of Instagram, it seems like most successful influencers create consistent story sections, supplemented by several posts a week.  In both mediums, stories and traditional posts, successful influencers point users to their other pages, namely YouTube, so as to maximize engagement and monetization.  On a nearly daily basis these influencers are encouraging users to "swipe up" to redirect them to YouTube based content, an online store, or an email list.  
Facebook is a behemoth that function…

Week 15: Facebook Analytics

I am reviewing my facebook travel page, "Imdustinthewind" facebook insights for the week of May 11-17.  The truth is, I don't spend much time on facebook, as I am a much more avid user of Instagram.  This being said, all platforms provide analytics or insights and knowing how to read and interpret them is important in crafting content.  

This week I had 6 total page views, which is actually about a 40% drop.  Some of my classmates have been gracious enough to like my page, and believe it or not, 3 page likes is about a 100% increase.  My reach has expanded beyond both of those numbers, up 71% to 12 people.  Unfortunately, aside from these increases, my engagement has dropped by 15% , having engaged only 11 people.  

Along with these insights, I'm able to review a snapshot of my 5 most recent posts which provides information regarding the post's reach and engagement.  This section is helpful in clearly identifying which posts are obtaining a greater reach and higher…

Week 15: Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides a wealth of information regarding a site's traffic and the people who are accessing the site.  For a business that is interested in cultivating a social media following, this type of information can be very useful. 

Similar to looking at the number of likes that an Instagram post receives, the first thing that catches my attention on google analytics is the pageviews section.  Everybody wants to see how many views his content is receiving; how many people are coming to your page?  Other helpful features include the average time a user spends on your site, and which parts of the site he viewed and for how long; by knowing these things I can strengthen parts of my content that may not be receiving much attention, or consider reasons these sections might not be receiving attention.  For example, a certain part of my website might not be receiving much attention because it may have poor visibility to the user, or even something wrong like a malfunctioning link…

Week 14: Developing Online Advertising

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This week I created two different ads for facebook.  The goals of my ads are as follows:

1.) Reach: I'm trying to gain awareness of my YouTube channel and gain subscribers

2.) Conversions: I'm trying to get clicks that lead to my YouTube channel (hopefully leading to more subscribers).

Considering my goal is to attract viewers and grow my YouTube channel, I will be using a video-based ad to attract viewers.  The content of the video is of utmost importance, as the ad has a brief window to attract the maximum number of viewers.  Impact is key, so a high-quality video with text would attract the most viewers.

My ad object can thus be best described as Traffic: I want to increase traffic to my YouTube channel.  This can be measured using the analytics of my ad, to see how many people watched the ad and clicked on it.







Week 12: Project Research Activity

Most travel bloggers/ vloggers tend to publish edited content.  It is certainly easier to narrate a story when one can go back and revise its contents.  Live streaming provides a bit more of an authentic glimpse into somebody's real-time behaviors.  Although a person can choose when to participate in a live-stream, he cannot curate the content of the live-stream as if he would an edited video.  I imagine that it is probably important to build an audience before attempting to have an effective livestream, however, websites like Twitch, provide an opportunity for anybody, particularly video game enthusiasts to stream both their gameplay and themselves while playing a particular game.  A viewer who is interested in improving his gameplay, learning new things about the game, or simply wanting to be entertained by watching somebody else's approach to the game would appreciate the twitch platform.
Live Stream
In a similar fashion, live-streaming is an interesting way for a travel blog…

Week 12: Other Social Media Tools

Depending on one's service or product, there are a sundry of online marketing tools available.  Tools like yelp or google maps are very helpful to a service or product.  I have noticed one of the newest tools available is the instagram story ad.  

1.) Instagram stories have grown to be an integral part of the site.  Basically a user can create small clips or pictures and include them as part of a story that runs for a 24 hour cycle.  These stories are widely popular due to there brevity, video-rich content, and accessibility at the top of instagram's app landing page.  The instagram video ad is effective because it is woven in between stories you are watching, appearing as if it is just a story itself. 

2.) Snapchat Story Ad.  Like the Instagram story, the Snapchat ad story is run between stories that users are already engaged in.  The brevity is impressive and like the Instagram story, there is almost always a concluding call to action to "swipe up" and follow-up with…

Week 11: Email Marketing; Blog Comments

Blogs I commented on:

Lamar Anderson
Maxim Cardonna
Sujatha Nanduri
Chad Mullen

Week 11: Newsletters

An effective travel newsletter should contain specific information, ideally with a solid clickbait title.  In the travel industry this often takes the form of, "5 THINGS YOU MUST PACK FOR YOUR TRIP!!!," or "6 REASONS YOU MUST TRAVEL COSTA RICA!"  Indeed, useful items are important, and coupled with an attractive appearance is a real winner.

Appearance of the newsletter in the email is important.  Software that helps administer a newsletter can be helpful in delivering newsletters that are well-branded with consistent graphics and logos.  

Concerning my own newsletter, here is a list of topics that may interest a traveler:

1.) Health Insurance While Traveling

2.) Renting a Car while Traveling 

3.) How to Travel with a large group without killing each other

4.) Gay Travel in Latin America

5.) The Difference between a Tourist and a Traveler

Week 10: Categories

Categories are an important aspect of any online presence.  By tagging within certain categories, somebody is essentially optimizing his search engine presence and making it easier to be found within sub-sections of whatever genre he is operating in.  In the case of DustintheWind Productions, focusing on travel and lifestyle is too broad.  Many travel bloggers and vloggers tend to focus on a specific category such as southeast Asia, budget travel, van travel, surfing, etc.  The market is indeed competitive and having a unique angle is important.  A few categories in which I think I can have an impact include:

1.) Latin America: a lot of my travels have taken me throughout south and central America.  Not only are people interested in traveling these regions, but the people who live in some of these countries are actively consuming and engaging with various social media platforms.  By categorizing my content within the Latin American/ Spanish-speaking/ particular country, I can better or…

Week 10: Blogging- Adding some Personal Interest

Pretty much every industry on the planet works to serve humans in one way or another.  Even if your job is welding steel for transmission towers, you are in effect, servicing humanity at large.  Adding human interest to a blog post is an excellent way to personalize an industry that sometimes seems to have a disconnect from the actual human consumer in which it serves.  Returning to the example of the welder, a welding company might want to include a story about one of it's workers on it's website; this allows the company to stand out to a buyer who might be researching it's products.  While a buyer is certainly searching for high quality materials, just the slightest human touch that stands out will go a long way.  

In regards to my choice industry of travel blogging, it always makes sense to show a destination through very human eyes.  While featuring landmarks is interesting, it is exponentially more interesting to include some people in the photo or media featuring the …

Week 9: Twitter Reflections

In order to locate new connections on twitter I used the search words "travel" "travel blog" "travel blogger" and "travel media."  I became curious as to how many twitter users were using the angle "gay travel," so I included this in my search terms.  I also decided to search my search terms as tags, using the advanced search option.
Lists I created two lists: 
1.)  People- many users are interested in what other people are doing, so I thought it'd be nice to have a list of some people who have a successful twitter engagement.  I added some of my favorite twitter finds including @codyko and @nomadicboys.
2.) Organizations- this is the other side of twitter, and important to travel media.  Organizations such as @couchsurfing @lonelyplanet and @nytimestravel do a good job at offering variety in the realm of travel. 
By creating these lists I can focus on what individuals are doing versus organizations, which inherently offer more variety.

Twitter Accounts

I chose to follow up on the twitter accounts of the people whose visual media I analyzed:

1.) Lost LeBlanc- twitter

Christian LeBlanc hasn't quite translated his YouTube and Instagram following to Twitter, though he still has a decent 12.5K followers.  Mr. LeBlanc has done a good job at keeping his page consistent with his other social media: he has a consistent headline photo that contains his logo and his profile photo is the same as his instagram.   As for his posting: LeBlanc has done a decent job at mixing original twitter content with reposts from his YouTube.  Interestingly, I noticed a collaborative campaign with Skype to promote the SkypeBot.

2.) Monica Church- twitter

Like "Lost LeBlanc," Monica Church hasn't amassed the twitter following that she has on YouTube and Instagram, but still has a respectable 86.2K followers on Twitter.  Ms. Church has a few YouTube channels, one on travel, another on gymnastics, another on fashion, but only one Twitter page where s…

Week 8: Does Visual Media Work ?

Does Visual Media Work for a Travel Vlogging/ Blogging/ Production Business?
Of course!  In fact, visual media is one of the most important parts of this business.  Having crisp, high resolution footage on YouTube, stunning, awe-inspiring photos on Instagram, and consistent, engaging stories on Snapchat and Instagram are all important parts of a successful social media following.  In order to enhance my own presence, I've done some research on a few successful social media channels below:
1.) Lost LeBlanc - Christian Leblanc.  
YouTube This is a travel channel and travel video tips channel that has cultivated a successful following on all of the major visual social media channels.  LeBlanc's YouTube channel is thriving with 536K subs.  The videos range from travel montages, to practical how-to videos about packing or traveling in a certain region, and LeBlanc's own brand of travel/ lifestyle vlogging.  Although LeBlanc doesn't seem to engage too many people (about 1% or le…

Week 8: Visual Content

My brand, IMDUSTINTHEWIND, thrives on the use of videos and photos.  Since my brand focuses on traveling and adventure through the lens of a gay person, I am tasked with presenting my travels and my life, visually.Via the use of various “visual” social media pages, I have learned first-hand how much greater a response a visual post receives versus a simple text post.

Instagramwww.instagram.com/imdustinthewind
Followers: 1227
Instagram is highly addictive due to the rapid-fire, highly visual nature of the content.I receive the majority of my likes and views via Instagram, so I make sure to post a teaser video on instagram for any full-length video I am uploading to YouTube.One of the easiest and most-widely viewed features on Instagram is the “story” section.I am an almost daily user of the story; approximately 10-20% of my followers view my story on a daily basis, and a great deal of advertising occurs between stories I watch.As far as tagging goes, I make sure to maximize the tags I us…

Week 8: Creating and Posting Content

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This week I scheduled three posts, two reposts, and one photo.
1.) Steven Hawking. My first post regards the passing of Steven Hawking.  As a truly brilliant and inspirational man, his words always find a place in our cultural dialogue, however, due to his passing, I feel that this share has even more value.
2.) Couchsurfing.  Since my page speaks heavily to travel, I figured I would share a piece that shows how traveling truly can be accessible.  The "5 Things" nature of the post is proven to engage people who want a concise, easy-to-read post.
3.) Snow.  Due to the late winter that southern California is experiencing, I figured an inspirational photo of my friends and I atop a snow-laden mountain would show people to take advantage of the cooler and more precipitous weather.

Week 7: Facebook Strategy

This week I liked 7 facebook pages that create content related to travel, adventure, or that are simply creative and innovative in introducing new ideas

1.) NAS Daily.  I liked NAS Daily because I'm impressed with the consistency that Nas, the pages creator, has in creating a daily 1 minute video.  Nas started his page while traveling, but now creates contents that cover a range of topics.  I hope to recruit from the same demographic of interested viewers.  I can learn from this page, and hopefully, create content that the page admins find interesting, such that I may one day be featured here too.

2.) Wandering Earl.  This is a page I found via a google search of popular travel pages.  Earl's posting schedule is probably a bit more realistic for me, and it'd be nice to create content that he finds interesting and might reference on his page.

3.) Donde la Vida Me Lleva is a page founded by a friend I met traveling a few years ago.  This was one of the first persons who helped …

Week 6: Facebook Insights, Reach, and Engagement

A facebook post may have high reach, but low engagement, or vice versa.  The difference between the two is this: say you post a video to a facebook page.  The video's reach, simply put, is how many people who saw the video.   This differs from engagement, in that to qualify for engagement, a viewer must like, share, comment, or click on the video.  In order to effectively use facebook, or any online medium, it's important to know the difference.  Just seeing something doesn't mean a potential customer or viewer is going to remember or relate the product, service or content with his friends.  Having a growing reach is a good thing, but I think that truly effective content will have an effective, corresponding relationship with engagement.  Ideally, we want people to see our content and then to engage with it, to serve as an evangelist or sorts, and to help spread our ideas and products.  
In a perfect world, any posted content would be voraciously consumed by a hungry public…

Week 5: My Target Market

I am starting a production or content-creation company that will create graphics, video, and print regarding travel, outdoor living, or what many people refer to as "lifestyle."  I have no illusions that I am up against a mass of competitive content, however, I also know that no success comes without trying.  My target market will be teenagers to seniors, anybody who is interested in travel adventures or the outdoor lifestyle.  I believe that each social media medium engages a certain demographic; facebook, for example, is generally an older demographic, whereas instagram and snapchat are younger mediums.  I look foward to using analytics to discover more about what type of people I'm reaching, and thus, refining my approach to cater to my audience.

Week 5: Analyzing a Website's Reach: Demographics and Psychographics

This week's blog post reviews the websites of two casual dining spots: Teri Cafe (tericafe.com) and Chilis (www.chilis.com).

Teri Cafe is a locally owned noodle restaurant.  The website is well-done and interestingly, it focuses on the people aspect of the business.   The site's landing page presents a time-lapse video of the restaurant during a busy dining period.  The site continues to describe the story behind the restaurant, mentioning how it has been family owned and operated for over 30 years.  

In turning our attention to the Chili's site, the most striking difference is the content: Chili's immediately inundates the visitor with high-quality images of mouth watering foods.  Teri Cafe does a great job at humanizing it's enterprise, but Chili's directly plays to the audience's instinct of hunger.  

Teri Cafe and Chilis both cater to customers looking for a restaurant, however, the two eateries are operating on different scales.  Teri Cafe is attempting t…

Week 4 Part 2: What makes a website effective? What makes good design?

This week I'm reviewing two of the most well-known and widely used learning management systems, Canvas and Blackboard.  
Canvas and Blackboard are effective because they both do a reasonable job at organizing a lot of information, while providing interactive forums for discussion, project review, and live chats.  The sites have very similar designs: clean layouts with prominent, upper left-hand navigation menus.  Canvas uses a more inviting and fresher color scheme, which is superior to blackboard's more drab color schemes.  Design-wise, Canvas is slightly more minimalist at the onset, allowing the user t navigate to further details.  
While I imagine both Canvas and Blackboard are both trying to create well-designed and user-friendly sites, students keep coming back to the sites because they have to.  Personally, I have some classes that use Canvas and some that use Blackboard.  While I come back to both sites out of necessity, I actually appreciate using Blackboard slightly mo…

Week 4: Aesthetics, Design, and Branding _ Website Analysis

Does a good website create a good brand or is it the other way around?
Having recently designed a website for a startup, I enjoyed the opportunity to analyze the do's and don'ts of other sites.  I looked at 4 websites total, 2 sites to critique for problems and 2 to critique for successes.  It seemed that both pairs of sites either failed or succeeded based on how they organized and presented the relevant information.
To start, let's look at 2 sites that could use some improvement.  I reviewed the two sites:
www.roverp6cars.com
www.gatesnfences.com
Both of these sites create an information overload for viewers.  For each of the sites, the home pages are structured as if they were a page in a catalog, versus as an effective table of contents or launch point for information.  Both of these sites could benefit from having a more cleanly laid-out, better organized homepage, thus better helping visitors in their searches.  Another issue these sites suffer from is clickable buttons, …

Business Websites and Social Media Accounts: Exploring the Power Delivery Market

I have spent the past months involved in a power delivery startup.  These companies assist in the engineering and construction of transmission and delivery (T & D) infrastructure, including electrical transmission towers, power substations, and wooden power delivery poles.  Herein, I research 5 related companies, 3 larger firms and 2 smaller firms, and how they have cultivated an online presence, both on their landing pages and social media accounts.  In an attempt to integrate some visual media in my posts, I've embedded an excel spreadsheet, which my readers can open and view in excel, or simply reference within the post.






After reviewing the web presences of 5 of these companies, it became obvious that the larger firms have solid, elegant, user-friendly websites, with fairly active social media presences.  For example, the first three companies use their social media for a variety of publicity.  Ampirical, for example, includes everything from click-bait-esque "motivatio…

Week 3 Comments

Week 3: Communicating via Socials with Brands

A customer's communication with a business can end up creating an evangelist for the company, or an enemy of the brand.  I recently booked a trip to Cabo San Lucas on Alaska Air.  I was hoping to bring my surfboard and I had read a blog post that Alaska was now only charging a regular baggage fee of $25 for a checked surfboard.  I wanted to confirm that the baggage fee was indeed this low so I called.  After a short wait of a few minutes, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to speak to a representative who clearly and pleasantly answered my question.  Conversely,  a few weeks ago, I called Intuit with a question I had regarding my subscription to Quickbooks Online.  I had called Intuit before with a technical question and had been pleasantly surprised with the high level of customer service and technical knowledge.  Unfortunately, on this call, I was connected with somebody who was difficult to understand, possibly due to a language barrier.  The most disappointing part of this …

Week 2 Comments

WEEK 2: Personal Vs. Business Social Media

Most of the major platforms: facebook, instagram, snapchat, and linkedin, can be used for both personal and business promotion and communication.  When deciding on which platforms to pursue, it's important to consider the brand (lifestyle, professional, entertainment, etc) and the audience (business/ consumer, young/ old, professional/ lifestyle).  Considering these things, I believe that snapchat specifically, has greater viability for personal use or personal brand creation than the other major platforms.  
Snapchat is built on the premise of "snaps," pics or videos, that can be sent to somebody for one view, then disappear.  You can also build a story that can be published for 24 hours, viewed by your selected viewers, or group/ place/ organization, then will disappear.  This aligns more with the day-to-day flow of one's personal life or personal brand and is less inclined towards building a concrete platform that a user can review or glean information or historica…