Educate your Children!

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We know educating young children about certain things is especially important. Often times we teach them how to react to threats, what planets there are, and who the presidents were. But do we educate young children where their food comes from? Do they know what their jeans are made out of? What about the milk they drink? Too often I hear people talking about other parents and the way they educate their children. Not too long ago I heard a young kid say that their eggs come out of a carton at the store. That child didn’t know that eggs actually come from a chicken.

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Why not educate young children about agriculture? Not a lot of kids get the opportunity to grow up on a farm or ranch, where a lot of times families raise their own chickens for meat and eggs, and cows for meat and milk. It is essential for children to know where their food comes from.

Children from all over this country, whether they live in suburban or rural areas, aren’t always well educated about agriculture. In the U.S., FFA is a program only available to high school kids. FFA provides teenagers with lots of valuable lessons through agricultural activities, including raising their own beef cow and showing it, planting and raising their own garden, or things like sewing and scrapbooking. 4-H is available to young children but isn’t offered in schools. I believe that all K-8 schools should have some type of agriculture education class.

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Providing children with information about basic agricultural practices can prepare them for a more valuable future. Children should know where their lunch meat, milk and eggs come from. Also, children should be educated about how their clothing is made and where the materials come from. Adults often are undereducated as well. Thanks to food marketing we aren’t always quite sure what’s right or wrong, unless you dedicate a good amount of time of research. Some may not even be aware of the materials used to produce their clothing. If parents aren’t informed or educated, children have a lower chance of knowing too.

The only way children will ever be more aware of this matter is by teaching them. We as adults can step up to the plate and educate ourselves so when children ask or don’t know we can answer. Research and be aware where your food comes from. How does it get there? Do you know where your local grocery mart gets their products? Are you eating organic? Do your research. Buy books and read them with your children. There are many farms in your area that will give tours and have educational tours for children. Maybe you can even go as far as suggesting farm tours to K-8 teachers. Be the informed parent, grandmother, aunt, even friend. Talk to your children about where food comes from – from beginning to end. Take pride in the extensive agriculture system the U.S. has to offer. Not every country is this blessed.

Happy educating,

Jennifer

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In Case of an Emergency

In today’s technologically advanced era, it is inevitable to end up in a social media crisis, especially with the many different social media platforms people use to vent/rant about companies and organizations.

The problem with this is:

IF YOU DON’T HAVE A PLAN, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO?

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Here’s a short list that can help you prepare for a social media crisis:

  1. Detect

    Make sure you always have an eye and ear on what people have to say about your organization. If you see something that misrepresents your company, or could potentially damage your organization’s image, act accordingly immediately.

    By “act accordingly immediately” I mean either a) address the comments made with a reply, or b) with a generalized announcement on your social media. If it is only one or two negative comments I would opt for option a.

  2. Identify

    Always make sure you look for who said it. That’s easier said than done. It’s not always easy to find one person who started something, but make sure you try to look for the source. Also, make sure to find out what happened and why it happened. It may be easier to address it that way.
  3. Consider

    Use a language your organization uses in all of their messages. You don’t want to sound rude or disrespectful. Always keep a professional demeanor. Address the problem quickly, but don’t rush into posting messages without critically “inspecting” your message before it’s being sent.
  4. Control

    If you’re not the CEO, Owner, etc. make sure to get approval from the person that is in charge. It’s critical that your messages convey what your organization stands for.
  5. Respond

    Respond on appropriate social media platforms, as well as traditional media if necessary.

As you can see, there are a lot of small things that need to be considered when it comes to responding/reacting to a social media crisis.
The easiest way, which is not always so easy, is to be proactive instead of reactive. By proactive I mean, don’t give your consumers/followers anything to complain about. Make sure that small problems are addressed immediately so they don’t turn in to bigger things. DON’T IGNORE WHAT PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY. In the end, they are the ones paying your bills.

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So, if you ask my personal opinion on what to do:

1. Monitor your social media
2. Be proactive instead of reactive
3. Be timely
4. Be respectful
5. Stay professional

Crises happen. We are PR professionals. This is what we signed up for the day we graduated college with our degree in public relations.

Happy social media monitoring,

Jennifer

Why and How to Monitor Social Media

WHY?

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In today’s world, we spend many hours on social media. People use social media personally and professionally. It is important to monitor social media in both circumstances, but it especially critical in a professional setting/business.

Monitoring social media can help you understand your customers, competitors and your own social media strategy – if you have one – which you should as a business.

Below is a short list of reasons why you, as a business, should monitor your social media platforms. You can find the entire article here.

  1. Is Your Social Media Plan Working For You? (not listed in above article)

    First things first. If you have created a social media campaign or social media plan, you want to evaluate regularly to ensure your plan is being carried out the way you hoped.
    If you’re not gaining the followers you planned on, or if you’re not posting as much as you wanted to, or if you don’t see any unique visitors, then it might be a good idea to rethink your plan/strategies.
  2. Respond to Complaints and Praises

    With Web2.0 it is incredibly important that you always monitor what your customers have to say to and about you. Just a couple of negative comments can set a snowball effect of negative comments, as well as a decrease in sales, followers, etc.
    Make sure that you comment on the complaint and praise. Consumers like to see a brand being active and proactive.
  3. What’s What

    Be aware of which social media platform works best for your brand/company. If you notice Facebook is more active than your Twitter, then either

    a) Rethink your social media plan/strategies
    b) Use Facebook to drive more people to your Twitter as well

  4. Monitor Competition

    How many like brands are on social media? Do you follow them? Do you read their posts/blogs/tweets?
    All this is very important for you as a brand/business. Now I’m not encouraging you to copy them, but compare them to yourself or vice versa. Fix what needs to be fixed accordingly – that doesn’t mean you have to fix anything.

HOW?

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There are many ways of monitoring your social media. There are tools that make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to gathering all the info you need to successfully monitor your social media. Online you can find and article about the Top 10 Social Media Monitoring Tools.

My favorite tools are:

  1. Google Analytics

    Google Analytics will monitor the traffic on your social media. It shows you how many people clicked on a certain post, where the people were from and even how long they were on that specific post/page. There are a lot more benefits if you use Google Analytics. It’s fairly simple to set up, although I recommend it more for brands/businesses who have many different, active social media accounts.

  2. Hootsuite

    Hootsuite is an amazing tool. It lets you schedule social media posts, as well as track and monitor social media. There are different versions of it. The free version is plenty for a small to midsize business.

Now that you know why you should monitor social media, and how you can social media, I hope you have loads of fun exploring.

Happy Monitoring,

Jennifer

Entertaining and Educating

Discussion boards can be a helpful tool when I have a question and want to get someone else’s opinion. Especially as a college student, I really enjoy when we had to post in Blackboard’s discussion board, because it will give you the opinion of your class mates. I’m always interested in what other people think about a specific topic.

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Of course there are plenty of other discussion boards, for example: Yahoo Answers.
I don’t know about you, but Yahoo answers can be very entertaining at times. I usually take discussion boards seriously, but there are times where I go to Yahoo Answers to be entertained.
Honestly though, we probably all have had the experience of reading the most ridiculous question or answer on a discussion board – specifically the Yahoo discussion board.

Typically people take it seriously, which is great because you can read and learn about great vacation places, or best dining experiences, computer related things and so much more. There are so many chances to learn about new things, random things and interesting things.

There are a lot more discussion board websites than we probably are aware of. All it takes is a little research, some time to read and you’ll probably get hooked on reading questions and responses.

Happy discussing,

Jennifer

The Art of Microblogging

http://www.blogete.com/marketing-advantages-micro-blogging-business-business-community/

When I first read the term “microblogging” I thought I had no idea what it meant. As I read further into it, I realized that I microblog frequently. Twitter is considered microblogging. Basically all it is, is blogging but a lot shorter – usually limited to a certain amount of characters.

After some research about microblogging I found multiple different microblogging sites.
Readwrite.com presented us the top 10 key players in microblogging, in 2007.

  1. Twitter
  2. Pounce
  3. Tumblr
  4. Jaiku
  5. MySay
  6. Hictu
  7. Moodmill
  8. Frazr
  9. IRateMyDay
  10. Emotionr

Honestly, the only one I’ve ever heard of is Twitter. According to the article, Jaiku was Twitter’s biggest competitor, but by January 2012 it was shut down after Google tried to make it more popular and it didn’t succeed.

Let’s compare microblogging with regular blogging. A regular blog, like this one, can have 1,000 words or more. Microblogging lets you condense this huge article into one or two short sentences and just link to the bigger blog.

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That will create less clutter for you as a user. It can also help you keep your email more spam-free. Instead of subscribing to all kinds of blogs and other newsletters, I can go on Twitter, search for interesting things, or just look over my “news feed,” and click on what looks or sounds interesting.

“Micro-blogging isn’t a short-term trend – it is here to stay. The evolution of blogging has spawned this new mini version of blogging and many are latching on. The simplicity and ability to post frequently are what attract most to the concept. We expect much faster adoption and mainstream penetration than blogging in general,” says Aidan Henry at readwrite.com.

In 2014 the list of microblogging sites were slightly different than in 2007. So Henry’s quote has some truth to it. Microblogging will stay alive, although the platforms may change.

At the end of the day microblogging makes things a lot easier for all of us. It’s short and sweet. We get real-time updates, and we can search for more things that interest us.

Happy microblogging,

Jennifer

Photo Sharing As Marketing TooI

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I’m sitting at Panera Bread, eating late lunch, wondering what to write about. I know the chapter is about photo sharing, but nothing comes to my mind. I stare off into space, take my phone out and decide to take a picture of the delicious cinnamon roll that’s right in front of me. Sadly it’s my fiancé’s cinnamon roll, not mine. I “spice” up the picture on Instagram and post it.

DING. DING. DING. I can write about how restaurants use photo sharing sites as a marketing tool. Whether it’s the restaurant sharing the images, or customers – IT’S CALLED MARKETING.

How many times, in one day, do you see people taking pictures of their food and #foodporn it? I’m sure if they are at a restaurant they’ll also #PaneraBread it. That’s what I did. When you look up the hashtag PaneraBread, you wouldn’t believe your eyes. It’s like people live at that place. They take pictures of EVERYTHING.

See the second picture from the left…that’s mine 🙂

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Aaron Allen talks about how restaurants use photo sharing in different ways, including contests and behind the scene looks. But restaurants also can simply encourage you to tweet, or share your meal on Instagram, by reminding you with a little tri-fold on the table. By encouraging their customers to post and share images of their food, they basically get free marketing. In fact, they make money off of us marketing their food.

Panera Bread posts pictures of their menu items, as well as memes that include food in the image.

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Applebee’s rolled out a new menu, the Pub Diet, and they encourage customers to post their pics of their new Pub Diet.

Screenshot_2015-02-18-17-02-48(1)I find it incredibly interesting how many of us take pictures of our food and post it. If the image looks good, you’re more like to go to that restaurant, or buy the food that was hastagged.

I’m going to end this post with a screenshot of my Instagram. I post about food, including supplements – which to me are food.

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Happy Instagramming,

Jennifer

Goal Setting – It’s a Social Media Thing

In today’s business, social media is almost inevitable. Thanks to Web 2.0, interacting with consumers is a lot easier today than it was 30 years ago. Social media is being used in almost all companies and organizations. The questions that often arise are “how do I use social media effectively,” and “how do I set goals?”

First, and foremost, it is important for you to know what you are using social media for.

According to Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach (Barker, Barker, Bormann, Neher), some of the main goals include:

  • Building a Brand
  • Increasing Brand Awareness
  • Improving Brand Perception
  • Positioning a Brand
  • Expanding Brand Loyalty
  • Increasing Customer Satisfaction
  • Driving Word-of-Mouth Recommendations
  • Producing New Product Ideas

While I was interning at Midwest Dairy Association, I have learned to set achievable goals and to be flexible with your goals. Being flexible is very important because goals can change. You have to understand what your audience wants and needs. It’ll take a while to research and understand that, but once you have a clear understanding you can tweak your goals.

Some goals for increasing brand awareness could be:

  • Increase Facebook followers by 10% within 2 months.
  • Tweet at least 4 times per week.
  • Receive 20 repins (Pinterest) per week.

Once you track that activity, make sure to use Google Analytics to understand what people are looking at, and looking for, on your social media platforms. Once you understand the analytics, and are clear about what is being looked at, change your goals accordingly. Don’t be afraid to raise your goal. To be effective you continuously have to use social media and be consistent with posting, tweeting, pinning, etc.

Using social media can increasingly help your brand awareness, if you continuously put forth the effort.

Happy tweeting, pinning and posting.

Jennifer