Friday, May 25, 2018

Week 17

This course was honestly just what I needed to push me to use social media more. I was rarely logging in before this semester, and when I did log in to Instagram or Facebook it was just to post and that's it. Now I log in a few times a week and I stay long enough to interact with people. I still don't really use twitter. I haven't gotten used to it yet. Even though it is user friendly, there are so many spam accounts it's hard to tell who's real.

I have not had a major impact on my business in terms of sales, but I do have a much larger following on my accounts. I know that it's a numbers game; the more people that see my stuff, the more likely I am to gain a customer. In terms of interaction, there has been a major change. I get messages and comments almost daily, even though I don't post that often. I'm brainstorming for some new content at the moment and I'm hoping to post 3-4 times per week to heighten my engagement.

My viewpoint of social media has changed a lot. I never knew how much work goes into being a blogger, or running a business that only sells online. There's a lot to consider like the proper tags to gain attention, the right time to post and the right content to post. I have seen very successful accounts with very little sales on Etsy (the shops show how many sales) and I think it's not because they aren't selling good stuff, they just aren't reaching their customers. I am in that boat. I am still working in my stock but by the time my season comes, I will have plenty to sell.

My understanding for how social media can be used to develop a business is that you have to put the work in. I noticed that a lot of people who have large amounts of followers and low amount of engagement are often that way because they bought followers. purchased followers are not worth it from what I see, because it's just fluff. They aren't engaged. A person with 100k followers should be getting more than 1k likes on their pictures or views on their videos. I know that low engagement can be the result of other things as well though. For my business, in order to fully develop it i have to post more about my process. From material selection, to work in progress posts and more. letting people see things being made will bring me more engagement.

I managed to find a local specialty yarn shop and they have some really unique selections. I also followed a lot of the big brand companies that I purchase supplies and tools from. When I make a post, I can tag them and possibly get featured. I'm looking forward to putting in the effort to make my business grow. By fall 2018 I should have a nice and established business.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Week 14

These are the promotions that I decided to create for my website. I included the "Shop Now" call to action buttons. My intent would be to drive traffic to my website and hopefully get some sales. These promotions are for Instagram and Facebook. I picked an up-close and bright image, to draw attention from people as they scroll along.

I manually selected my audience for the post boost. I chose United States, United Kingdom, and Canada for locations because they are where I get the most views in my Etsy shop. I picked ages 18 to 65+ because I often get a wide range of people visiting my page. My target audience is much more narrow, but I feel as though ads should cover a larger range of people in the case of reaching someone who may not have been previously considered to be a potential customer, and a chance to possibly expand the target audience.

I chose the interests shown in the screenshot below because people who are interested in those things are often the ones visiting my page. I see that my items have caught the attention of many "hipsters" and "millennials."
I plan to run some of these ads, but I want to make sure that I have plenty of stock when I start advertisement. I look forward to boosting my posts and hopefully getting some customers!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Week 11: Part 1

Because of online blogging, I initially felt like a newsletter for my business would be a little redundant, however, I do see some benefits. The knitting community doesn't necessarily strike me as "newsworthy" enough to have frequent news updates. For my personal business, most updates would be handled through blogging. If I were to send out newsletters it would be twice a year for Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter fashion trend updates. My newsletter would contain the most prominent news about the the upcoming fashion seasons, as well as trend alerts, and trend forecasts. The newsletter would have a section that encourages readers to visit my blog for more frequent updates.
I feel that my customers would enjoy seeing this newsletter because it can inspire changes in their wardrobe and educate them on the materials I use. Honestly, after writing this blog post I am inspired to collaborate with my wife's business and create a combination newsletter for both of our target audiences. The news letter could also have a section titled "Did You Know?" and we can include a fun or interesting fact about knitting, textiles, or just a general fact that we think our target audience would appreciate. 
I looked over some competitors' newsletters and they consisted of mostly updates of the products they sell, upcoming giveaways and current sales on existing items. I wasn't interested in signing up for the ones I looked over, but I am open to signing up for a newsletter, especially if it can give me inspiration for my own newsletter and blog.

Week 10: Part 2

I believe my blog would do best with just three categories. Life, Work and Giving Back. These categories would give my target audience a well rounded glimpse of my life. They would get to see what I do daily to maintain success with my business and balance with my home and family life in the Life category. The Work category would have pictures and links to purchase products. This would give me an opportunity to give a backstory for each product's design process. Lastly, but not least, the Giving Back category would show details of how my family and I give back to the local community and my home country. This section would also contain images and backstories so that people can see what I am passionate about.

All of these categories would help my business grow and stand out because with so many other sources of knitwear, you get a unique experience with my company through my blog. My target audience could reach much more people because it's not just knitwear I'm selling, it's a lifestyle. I'm selling ethically-made, high-end, one-of-a-kind knits. My blog will allow people to feel connected to my process, therefore confirming the value of my products.

Blogs I commented on: Mark B., Maxim C., and Alexa K.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Week 10: Part 1

The lecture and textbook assignment really shed light on a subject that I have spent some time thinking about. Ever since beginning this blog for class, I wondered, "Should I start a personal/business blog?" After all, I am an unlikely person to be in the field that I just stepped foot in. I assume there aren't a lot of black male knitters, that hail from Jamaica. Where I'm from, there isn't a need for the skill of knitting (it's way too warm for wool). Also, it's most popular among women. I'm a married father of 3, and my life can get quite hectic. I'm also enlisted in the military! There is a lot about me that sets me apart. I feel that a business blog with an emphasis on my life as a business owner would be pretty appealing.

So, about business blogging. I feel that a business blog with human interest adds a personal touch that speaks more directly to the audience. When there is no human interest, a blog can feel like a pushy advertisement. Psychology has proven that people do not want to feel like they are being sold something. They want to feel like they have come to the decision to purchase something on their own. I agree with this. I really tune out direct sales, but I definitely have seen someone using something, and thought to myself "I could benefit from getting that too." I know that not every blog is selling something, but for the ones that are, the human interest and personal touch certainly can boost their reach.

Using myself and my business as an example, there are times when a personal touch is beneficial. Examples of this would be if I share a review from a customer, or share a picture of me wearing my own beanie. This could show someone an image they can relate to. I honestly cannot think of a time when my blog shouldn't have a personal touch. Because my business is small and it doesn't involve anyone other than my family, it is very personal. My blog would be a perfect mixture of personal and business posts.

After this blog assignment I am certain that I would like to start a blog for my business. I plan to use Tumblr as my platform and I will be using the tips from the lecture to keep up with blogging. I do have a lot on my plate already, but one more thing won't kill me!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Week 9

I began with searching for other knitters and yarn companies. The key search terms that produced some good accounts to follow were simply "knit" and "yarn." After that, I figured I would look for some people who are local regardless of if they knit or not. I did a search based on my location and followed a couple of people. I have to admit that coming from rarely using my Facebook page, and not being on any other platform, I am a little overwhelmed by all the networking! The lists feature on twitter is nice, I like to keep organized and now I feel like Instagram should have the same feature. It would be nice. I created a few lists; knitters and crocheters, fashion and trends, locals, and yarn companies. 

Managing so many social media accounts is certainly a balancing act. I feel as though twitter (as well as Instagram) will require quite of bit of work to gain exposure. I plan to spend a little time each day, liking and commenting on tweets in order to engage with people and get my name out there. I think that my customers most likely will see my tweets in the evenings, and on the weekend. I plan to make some more posts throughout the week and track which ones are most successful. I do have to keep in mind that hashtags, pictures, videos and the amount of text all play a factor in catching people's eyes as they scroll. I am on the fence about deciding to make my twitter slightly personal, like a glimpse of my life as a business owner or strictly business and sales posts. I'm hoping I can "crack the code" to successfully networking.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Week 8: Part 2

Visual social media will be the main way I engage with my target audience and generate sales. For my type of business, I rely on online sales. I have an Etsy shop, and in order to drive traffic there, I post images on social media. I do not have in-person sales often. I got my first sale recently and according to the stats provided by Etsy, my customer discovered me through Instagram. For this assignment, I found four businesses via Instagram.

The first business is Susan Knit. She sells beanies and scarves, in addition to patterns for those who know how to knit. She is on Instagram and she has 6,136 followers. Most of her posts have between 200 and 600 likes. However, she does have a couple of posts that received over 3,000 likes. Each post gets about 25-35 comments. Most of the comments are from people admiring the work she’s done. Susan posted one day ago and it appears to be that she posts every two days. Her Instagram links to her Etsy page. Etsy shows that she has made 81 sales, and the majority are pattern sales rather than physical products. Susan is interactive with her followers, even though she is only following 94 people. I think that her consistency is keeping her followers engaged. I believe that posting more often will improve my Instagram page.

The second business is Knitbrooks. Run by Kelly, Knitbrooks is a Canadian knitting and crochet design brand. Kelly is also a team member of “Our Maker Life,” a hub for knitting, crochet, and DIY inspiration. There are 47.1 thousand followers on her Instagram. Her last post was March 5th and the one before that was March 2nd. Each post gets about 1,200-1,700 likes and 40-80 comments. The comments are compliments and questions from people who are interested in either buying the item or the pattern. The link on her Instagram leads to a page that has links to her Etsy, Ravelry, events schedule and contact information. I visited her Etsy shop and she has made 829 sales. Most of her sales are also patterns. Honestly, this assignment has me wondering, should I jump on the pattern selling bandwagon? Not sure yet if I want my target audience to include other people that knit. But it seems as though it is inevitable. I noticed that when you post knitwear, you will attract other knitters comingled with potential customers. I am learning throughout this process of being a knitwear designer. Making and selling patterns may improve my reach and sales. It is something to consider.

The third business is Lunar Knits by Lori. I know that I have mentioned this business in a previous post. Her business is a mixture of knit and crochet. She makes all sorts of items. On Instagram she has 9,149 followers. Her posts get roughly 300 likes and less than 20 comments each. She last posted one day ago and it looks like she posts daily on Instagram. I visited her Etsy shop which was linked to her Instagram, and she has made 1,284 sales. Her sales are private, so I can’t see what she sold, but she has a pretty even balance of patterns and physical items for sale. She also sells accessories like stitch markers for people that knit and crochet. Lori also uses YouTube and she blogs. It seems as though Instagram is the main hub for her business’s social media. She shares bright and detailed pictures and writes quite a bit in the captions. That is something that I could improve upon in order to engage more people. Just like one of the articles mentioned, posts with more text can set you apart from others and they statistically get shared more often.

The fourth and final business is Knitting Ain’t Easy on Instagram. This page has a much smaller following than the others, only 587. Her posts get roughly 60 likes each and less than 20 comments on each post. Her last post was 7 hours ago and the one before that was yesterday. She has an Etsy and she has made 48 sales. I chose this account because she is one of the few that is not selling patterns. She is only selling physical items like myself. This is another account that posts often and has high engagement with followers. This is something that I plan to implement, hopefully I can make some great connections and also make some sales.

Week 8: Part 1

Out of the top 8 visual social media platforms, I like Instagram then best for my line of business. I am selling hand knit beanies and eventually I will incorporate other items. Instagram’s setup acts as a showcase gallery for my products. It also allows for one link, so I placed my website there for people to shop. I utilize the hashtags and I am still learning about my target audience. Once I figure out the best time and days of the week to post, I will set a schedule for myself.
Facebook comes in handy because of the large number of users. It is also necessary to have Facebook business page if you would like to convert to an Instagram for Business account. Facebook has the same capability to showcase my products, but it is also easy to share other forms of content like text, links, and videos. I am new to the Facebook “Pages” feature but so far, it is very user friendly and simple.
I do not have a Pinterest business account but I have been on the website. I believe it is best to use that website for inspiration. From what I hear, that is the main reason people use it. It is pretty saturated with people that like DIY and make things themselves. It would be good for someone who sells knitting patterns and supplies. Twitter is a great platform for networking. I do not have an account but I know that the users are very engaged there and using hashtags will allow you to be discovered in the same way you can on Instagram.
I don’t use Tumblr, Google+, or YouTube. I could probably benefit from the use of YouTube as a central place to keep any videos I may create for my business. The videos would also be posted on each platform that I use.
Ultimately, visual networking is a major necessity for my brand. People want to see products “in the wild” being worn and used. I am able to share photos and encourage my target market to click the shopping link. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Week 7: Part 2

I managed to schedule 3 posts on my Facebook page. I was unable to locate the activity log as described in the assignment. It may be because I am logged in on my wife's account and she has another page. On the bright side, I was able to get a print screen of my upcoming posts. Each one is scheduled to post in the evening. I believe that most of my customers and potential customers will be online in the evening and they will possibly be browsing the net. Each post also has a photo attached, but they are all very different.

The first post, scheduled for tomorrow evening is a picture of myself, in my "Super Scarf" announcing the arrival of spring. I realize that many people are still experiencing harsh cold weather, so I ask what people are doing to keep warm. I think this will engage my potential customers as we can chat about their common practices for staying warm when it's cold outside.

The second post, scheduled for Thursday evening is a picture I took of the beanies I have lined up for a photo shoot. My photographer will be coming Thursday to pick them up and I should have photos to post within a few days. I let people know that they will soon be able to see the beanies being worn. I know that this helps some people when deciding to buy something. I hope to build anticipation for the arrival of my professional photos.

The third and final scheduled post will publish on Friday evening. This post is a professional model wearing my Chunky Knit Beanie in a color that I no longer have at the moment. I mention that I am considering restocking the grey, and ask what everyone thinks about that. I want to gauge the reactions and see if people would like to get a grey beanie just like the model is wearing.

I am still new at this business but I have hopes that these posts will encourage people to interact with me so I can see what kind of audience I am reaching.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Week 7: Part 1

Seven of the pages I 'Liked' as my business page are: Wool and the Gang, Purl Soho, Parenting, Ravelry, Fashion Week, Craftsy, and Etsy Success.

I chose Wool and the Gang because I purchase their yarn from time to time. They sell really good quality yarn and supplies so I can benefit from keeping up with their updates and sales. Purl Soho serves as inspiration for new and popular items as they are a knitting, crocheting and sewing brand. The tutorials on their website have helped me learn to knit and they keep up with the trends that my potential customers may like. Parenting page will have a lot of my potential customers, assuming that most of my customers are moms based on the age group. This page can help me stay connected with my target audience's current events and other topics that may interest them. 

Ravelry has a lot of free and low cost patterns, I plan to set up an account so that I can start using them. Liking the page will allow me to get updates about new patterns and designs. Fashion week will keep me up to date on global fashion trends. Craftsy is another company that I like to purchase yarn and supplies from. Last, but not least, Etsy Success. This page posts tips and tutorials for Etsy sellers. Since Etsy is my selling platform, this page can help my maximize my Etsy use. Success tips are good to have.

Liking businesses and other pages from my Facebook page will give me an opportunity to interact with people and potential customers, without having to use a personal profile. It will also help people get to know a little about me when they view the list of pages I've liked.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Week 6

Post reach is simply defined as the amount of people who had the post enter their screen. Post reach can be organic (unpaid) or paid through advertisement. Post engagement, on the other hand, is the amount of people who have engaged with your posts in ways such as likes, comments, or shares after being reached. Engagement is also broken down into categories so that you can see who is engaging in your posts after being reached and when they are online.
It is important to know the difference because post reach and engagement can indicate whether or not you need to switch things up. Insights are helpful for businesses using Facebook because it breaks down the details of your reach, engagement and more. If your engagement is low, but your reach is high, there is something that isn’t catching the crowds’ attention. Either you need to switch up your style; or try to reach a new crowd through targeting. If your reach is high, and your engagement is high, I think you’re doing something right. However, if your reach is low and your engagement is high, this is only halfway positive. You have great engagement, now it’s time to reach more people and get them engaged as well!
Insights also show you what time people are viewing your posts and what type of posts (photos, text, videos) are doing best. There are 9 categories in the posts engagements section that will break down page views, likes, reach, engagement, previews, recommendations, actions on the page, videos, and followers. Each section contains data that shows the relationship between business and their potential customers. In order to ensure that your actions on Facebook as a business are effective, monitoring the insights and taking heed to the recommendations is necessary.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Week 5: Part 2

In order to outline my target market, first I thought about who I would like to target. I am in a fairly saturated market, but I know that my uniqueness and attention to detail will boost my potential to flourish. I recently learned to knit, and with the help of my wife, an expert knitter, I am officially in the knitting business world. My target market at the moment is people who live in colder regions or places that can get cold.

Age range and gender for my target customers varies depending on the actual item. For example, a beanie with a huge fur pom pom would be great to target at women age 24-30. Beanies with satin lining would be perfect to market specifically to black women and women of African descent according to my research. My perfect customer would be women of any race/ethnicity between the ages of 26 and 34. The reason being because the price of my beanies begin at $52, because the material quality is much higher than most. Ages 26 to 34-year-olds are typically financially stable and responsible, so there is less concern to buy cheap things for fear of losing them like with younger people.

Demographically, my target market reaches worldwide. Anywhere that the internet and mail can reach. I have watched my wife ship similar things to countries in Asia, France, Europe and more. My online store has the capability to translate language and currencies. Income level will matter because I am not selling bargain or cheap items. The customer would have to be someone with enough disposable income to make a purchase for an item that is more of a want than a need.

Behavioristically, my target customer would be someone who usually looks for quality over quantity. Someone that chooses to support small businesses and up-and-coming designers rather than just large corporations. They would be looking for a more personal customer-to-company interaction. My target customer is someone that values good customer service.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Week 5: Part 1

I chose to look over the Econobum and the Just Cheap Diapers websites.

Econobum sells eco-friendly diapers and Just Cheap Diapers name is pretty self explanatory. The two companies could very well have crossover customers because I know that some parents that choose to cloth diaper, also like to have access to disposable ones. In the same way, some parents who mostly use disposable diapers like to have cloth diapers as an option. Econobum's target market would ultimately be soon to be parents and parents of young children that are interested in lessening their carbon footprint. Their target market may also have children with sensitive skin that can't use the mainstream diapers.

Econobum makes sure to explain their process and what makes their diapers superior quality. Their website is very professional, modern, and sleek. They only have a few items for viewing. In fact, unless you are planning to buy wholesale, this website is just informational for what they have and what stores carry the products. Because it is not an online shopping platform, there are no prices listed. I would assume that the prices can vary from store to store. The website reveals that their target market is initially retailers. Based on what I see, the overall tone is encouraging people with retail locations to offer their products on the shelves, or for people seeking diapers for their children to seek out an already established diaper retailer.

Just Cheap Diapers is a lot different than Econobum. This company appears to be aimed directly at parents that are looking for a good deal on diapers. The low prices are the main focus and although they claim to have high quality diapers, there is no explanation of what makes them high quality. The website is brightly colored but the images aren't the greatest. There is a section on the website for resellers. In order to purchase, you would either have to go in physically or contact them via one of the methods provided. The overall tone for this website is telling people they've got great prices for high quality diapers. Their main focus is skipping the middle man (retail stores) and providing a direct discount for consumers.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Week 4: Part 2

I visit the MyPay website pretty frequently. It’s a military website, so it’s understandably lacking in design qualities. It is effective because it provides military members with access to their financial information. The good design principal in this website is the fact that the main reason people come to this site is to log in with a Common Access Card (CAC) and check on their personal financial things. I come back because I always end up needing to print a check stub, or get tax forms or check on my upcoming check stubs. The home page could be improved by putting less information overall. Rather than just one long page, it would be better if there were tabs at the top to bring you to the different sections.

I’m on amazon’s website daily. I’m always coming back to either make purchases, compare prices, or window shopping. This website is effective because when a customer is logged in, items that are similar to what they’ve searched for will pop up. Also, there is a “Pick Up Where You Left Off” section which is very convenient. Amazon’s home page is customized so that each customer is seeing what they might want to see. If you are not logged in, the home page shows amazons deals and popular items, which is also convenient. Overall, the home page can be considered to be cluttered due to all of the items, but it actually works in this instance. I guess because I frequent the site so often, I can’t imagine it any other way.

I commented on the blogs of Michelle W, Jordan T, Iana J.

Week 4: Part 1

Two websites that could use some improvements are the Jami Lin and Gates n’ Fences websites. Starting with Jami Lin’s website, my first impression of the website was clutter. I didn’t really know where to look first. One potential problem for visitors would be the small text size, combined with the large amount of information packed in the front page. Another problem could be the fact that a video in the center of the home page begins playing automatically. If I was browsing in a quiet place and my volume was up, that would make for an awkward situation. Lastly, unless you were given specific directions on where to click, it would not be easy to locate specific information. There are a lot of links and drop-down menus on the top of the page. It is really overwhelming.

In order to improve this website, information would need to be narrowed down and organized in a more layered way. The row of third party links should be more uniform in appearance. The page’s banner image is really distracting and it isn’t I’m honestly not even sure exactly what is being promoted on the site. There is no unifying theme for the page. There were so many colors used, many of which should not be used for text, in my opinion they are hard to read. I understand a love of color, but it could be expressed in a colorful page border or frame border, rather than throughout the text. Also, the page could probably be broken up into several different websites with their own main subject and sub-pages for easier navigation.

As for the Gates n’ Fences website, I had a similar first reaction to the opening page. the only difference is, because of the name, I know what they’re selling. Starting at the top of the page, there is some really fine print with pretty important information in it. I believe that upon opening this web page, the information from the fine print, along with the company name should be front and center; and much larger so that it’s easy to read. There are a few pictures on the front page, but they are small and hard to see detail. It would be much better to have an automatic slideshow gallery with professional quality images in a uniform size. There is a lot of text on the front page, more than there should be. Our text mentions that having a website and an online presence can give a business credibility. However, with this website’s setup, lack of theme, and unprofessional feel, they are taking away from their credibility as a legitimate business. The colors chosen along with the font sizes and layout makes this website hard to navigate.

I chose Head Hunter Styling’s website to highlight a website that’s done right. The first impression I got was that this is a very clean cut and modern website. The gallery had professional quality images and it showed not only what services they provide, but also an example of what it can look like when done. The web page is easy to navigate. Beginning with the gallery for this type of service is very smart. If you click the pictures, you get a caption in case you are unsure of what you are looking at. The simplicity is inviting.

Apple’s website is another one that’s done right. The layout is simple, and once again it is modern and sleek. I’m not saying that only modern and minimalist websites are good, but too much clutter rally takes away from the products or services being promoted. Apple’s easy-to-navigate website showcases what they are selling without overwhelming visitors with every single item they have to offer. There are layers to the website, and they are organized very well. I figured that Apple would have a good website because they are known to be a modern and high-end company. Usually nice web pages make people think the company is doing well.

Overall, design, aesthetics, and branding heavily impact the way I view a website and its company. A cluttered page can give off the impression that they didn’t put much effort into it. Personally, I think that it is unprofessional and it can drive people away. Because online presence is your proof of existence, it is important to make a good first impression for your visitors.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Week 3: Part 2

       I am creating a knit and crochet design label of my own currently, and it is self-titled. My wife already has an established business in the same area so I decided to focus on knit and crochet designers. I come across a lot of knitting and crocheting businesses when I am on social media sites, and they are all so different. They all really only have one thing in common, yarn. Some design an array of items, others stick to just a few select things. Each business is as unique as its owner. It is my goal to create a brand that reflects my individuality, and create a booming social media presence.
       Of the five businesses I’ve selected, four are knit and/or crochet designers, and one (Our Maker Life) is a hub for various knitting and crocheting activities, events, blogs, vlogs, and designers. Our Maker Life is active on just about every form of social media platform. In my opinion, they are using social media the way it’s meant to be used. They are very interactive with their fan base and they are consistent with their posts. Practically every single day they post pictures and status updates on various platforms. Based on what I see, they use Instagram the most. Our maker life reposts pictures that were posted by the designers and artists they partner with. The pictures, although they come from many different people, flow nicely to create a very inspiring gallery.
       The next business I would like to highlight is Repeat Crafter Me. Repeat Crafter Me (RCM) is owned by a crochet and knit pattern designer. This business is also very active on various social media platforms. I wasn’t able to access a few of the crafting social media sites without an account, but RCM has their hand in just about every inch of the online social world. RCM uses Instagram a lot, but also posts often on YouTube. RCM is responsive and easy to get in touch with. I would say that RCM is using social media very well. The pictures posted are of professional quality and RCM has a refreshing vibrant color scheme on Instagram.
       Lunar Knits by Lori is another great knitting and crochet business that I come across often when I am online. On the main website, there is a simple layout with links to Instagram, YouTube, the WordPress blog, and the Etsy shop associated with the business. I really like the simple and easy to navigate website. Although the other businesses were on various platforms, Lunar Knits by Lori was the only one with a website that displays all of the important links. This made it easy for me to explore the feeds and view the videos. Instagram is once again the main platform used by this business, and it is being used well. The Instagram feed is bright and simple, just like the rest of her social media presence.
       Noorvana is a cutting-edge crochet design business. The social media presence of Noorvana is subtle, but it suits the type of business. Because there is one designer, and she creates full pieces of clothing from scratch, I’m assuming she doesn’t have much time to spend online. Noorvana still manages to post pictures on Instagram and engage minimally with potential customers. The pictures she posts are usually either models or herself wearing the items. They all look like they’ve been clipped from a magazine. Noorvana does social media very differently, but it works for the type of business.
       Lastly, I found a business called DeBrosse NYC. They use Instagram more than any other site. Their items are sold on Etsy and there is a blog linked to the page but it isn’t directly related to the business. It is more of a lifestyle blog. The pictures on all the platforms related to DeBrosse are sleek and minimalistic. This company also has a subtle social media presence but because they post such great quality images they have a huge following and I can tell from the Etsy that sales are rolling in often. Etsy has a feature that shows how many sales a shop has made.
       From spending years on social media, I’ve come to learn that each site is very different. They each attract a different crowd, and they are all used differently. The last couple of years, I have been helping my wife with her business. She has inspired me to begin designing as well. My wife’s website is currently in restock mode, otherwise I would have used hers. Collectively, I discovered that social media is a great tool to get noticed, generate sales, and interact with customers. Some of these businesses will be my competition in the near future, but I believe that since every target customer group is different, I will fare well.

I’ve listed the information about each business below.

1. The business name: DeBrosse NYC
2. Their website url: ecommerce Etsy website, last updated Jan 2, 2018
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 9, 2018
       b. Not dated but has posts related to the new year

1. The business name: Our Maker Life
2. Their website url:
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 12, 2018
       b. Last post Feb 12, 2018
       c. Last post Feb 12, 2018

1. The business name: Repeat Crafter Me
2. Their website url:
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 12, 2018
       b. Last post Feb 10, 2018
       c. Last post Feb 12, 2018
       d. Last post Feb 9, 2018
       e. Last post Feb 11, 2018
       f. Last post Feb 12, 2018

1. The business name: Noorvana
2. Their website url:
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 11, 2018
       b. Last post Feb 12, 2018

1. The business name: Lunar Knits by Lori
2. Their website url:
3. The social media they are visibly using [links on their website]:
       a. Last post Feb 9, 2018
       b. Last post Feb 8, 2018
       c. No dates other than the policies last updated on 10/24/2016
       d. Last post Feb 11, 2018

Week 3: Responses

I replied to Chad M, Blair P, and Michele W.

Week 3: Part 1

I have certainly experienced difficulty when communicating with a business. Automated phone systems, or auto-generated email responses are the first two that come to my mind. I prefer not to call companies, especially when I know I will have to jump through hoops to get a real person on the phone. I tend to resort to email communication or trying to resolve issues through online accounts when available. The only downsides I've experienced with email communication are the delays in response, and impersonal generic responses. Social media has helped improve the customer to business communication over the years. I have actually gone to sites like Facebook and Instagram and found the comments sections very helpful. At times, other customers have voiced their complaints or issues, and that provided me with resolve for my issue or prevented me from having to deal with the same thing. 

I have had a lot of positive experiences online when communicating with businesses. For example, I once ordered a shelving unit for my guest bathroom but when I put it together as per the instructions, it was not stable. I messaged the company thru their Facebook page and they replied within hours! They had me send a picture of my shelf and they noticed I was missing some parts. They sent out the missing parts and I received them a few days later. I'm not sure what happened, maybe I accidentally threw away some pieces, or maybe they were never in my box. Regardless, they were quick to resolve the issue and very nice about it. I can imagine that many other people have had similar experiences with companies through social media because you get to send photos and show rather than just trying to explain. 

Another positive experience I had with an online company was after making a purchase, I was contacted via email to make sure that the battery worked properly with my laptop. After I replied and left a good review, they were so thrilled that I left a review that they requested to send me a free mobile power bank. Not all companies will give out free stuff, and most can't, but I really appreciate a freebie that is something I can really benefit from. The thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and them ensuring customer satisfaction made my experience positive. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Week 2: Responses

I commented on the blogs of Michele W, Blair P, and Chad M.

Week 2: Overview of Social Media

I believe that we live in a time that personal use and business use is intertwined in all of the social media platforms. I feel like Facebook began with being geared toward personal use. Now, with ads, the marketplace, and algorithms, I see how businesses can really benefit from the use of it. I would have to say that I think twitter is the most personal-use platform out there. Since the messages are short and the timelines are mostly people tweeting each other, it has a much more personal-use feel. Tumblr is another platform that I feel is geared toward personal use. I don't have much experience on the site, but I do know that there aren't any dates on the posts, and I haven't seen many ads on that site.

Depending on the type of business, one platform may be better for you than others. The target market is also a huge thing to consider. For example, if I run a bakery and I create photo-worthy sweets, I would benefit from using Instagram. Especially if my customer base is full of people that love to take pics of their food and post about it. My Instagram could be full of professional pictures of my pastries; and I could share customers' photos as well, with their permission. With the use of hashtags and location I could drive more customers to my business after they see what I have to offer. On the other hand, if I owned a law firm and I wanted to use social media, I don’t think Instagram would be much help for attracting potential clientele. I believe Facebook would be the best option because with paid ads, and being able to choose the demographics, I could get my ads directly in front of the right crowd.

Ultimately, the type of business and its target market will decide which platform is best. As far as personal use goes, the way you like to share will help decide which platform is best for you. If you like to share photos, Instagram is great. From what I see, people don’t pay attention to the captions there. It’s all about the pictures. If you like to post longer videos and vlogs, YouTube is the place to be. It is a good idea to be available on many different platforms if you have a business. Since they all work differently and attract different types of people, you will have a wider reach if you utilize multiple platforms.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Week 1: Responses

I responded to the blogs of Wendee, Rodriguez, and Particelli.

Week 1

I chose my theme fairly quickly because it caught my eye instantly. My favorite color is brown and I like the look of the old watermarked map in the background. The color scheme of light lettering on a dark background is easy to read in pretty much any light setting. I did make some adjustments to the layout of this theme. I centered my blog title and made the overall width of the blog slightly more narrow than it was.  The font that I chose is aesthetically pleasing and it complements the background because it has a vintage style.

I normally don't visit personal blogs, but this assignment prompted me to pay close attention to the detail of other's blogs. In my opinion, less is more. It is easy to navigate through a blog that doesn't have a cluttered layout. I like simplicity and I wanted that to show in my blog.

My posts will be easy to access for viewers because they are centered. I'm assuming we will not have photos to post so I picked a blog theme that goes well with text.