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Informational Interview

Erika

Two weeks ago in my Applied Mass Communications Public Relations class I met a young woman named Erika Adams.  Adams came into our class to speak to us about her job and how to be successful in the digital world.  She is currently working for the Lindenwood Public Relations Office as an assistant managing the social media networks and helping to properly advertise for Lindenwood University.  Once I met Erika I knew that I wanted to find out more detail about her job and the digital media world.  Adams graduated from Mizzou with a bachelor’s degree in Convergence Media, which is part of the Journalism program. Adams loves working for Lindenwood because it makes her feel important, and loves connecting with the students.  If people have questions or problems, Adams is right there trying to lend a helping hand to those in need. The main importance of working with the social media sites of Lindenwood University is creating a great community online. She believes that it is key to get the students, staff, parents, and incoming students involved with Lindenwood, answer questions, and offer solutions to problems. Adams also said that she tries to create a fun and caring environment for everyone.

When many of us think about social media we usually just think about posts and blogging. Adams’ job is much more than that. On a daily basis, she helps manage all social media accounts that are linked to Lindenwood. To keep a close eye on all of the social media, Erika uses a Hootsuite account to watch over the Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn of Lindenwood University. While reading posts from students and family members, Adams also keeps busy with creating and updating LU’s posts/blogs, creating infographics, keeping students updated with new and helpful information, and managing accounts for the school. She is in charge of getting students and faculty members set up with their accounts and helping them learn how to use them as well.

Erika Adams has been working for Lindenwood since July of 2013 while she goes to graduate school. The thing that she likes most about working for the Public Relations Department at Lindenwood is how rewarding the job is. She loves to be able to help others and be able to spread the great reputation of Lindenwood University. Adams likes having the ability to chat with future students and send personalize messages to make them feel welcome. When asking Adams for some helpful tips for students entering into the various communications fields, she said to make sure you have and established LinkedIn account. Making connections is key, and make as many connections as you can right now. Look for companies you are targeting and start connecting. On a more personal note, make sure that all of your social media accounts are professional. It is very common for professionals to look at your social media sites to get a feel for who you are.

In class your teachers can preach to you about how important blogging and social media sites are for your own personal brand, but when talking to Adams it helped me realize how true that statement really is. Adams is currently working with the PR department and her entire job revolves around social media and how to connect with the community. The communications field is moving towards media and social networking more and more each day. If you want to get your name out there then you need to continue to blog, continue to update your site’s information, and give feedback to those who are looking for answers/solutions to problems. Social media is the answer for those companies that want to succeed in the future. It’s all about your marketing and advertising techniques using social media.

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Wal-Mart: Content and Social Media Strategies

WALMART LOGO

Wal-Mart has always wanted to have the reputation of being family friendly and supplying all of your household needs.  When visiting the official Wal-Mart website it is easy to navigate and find what you are looking for.  The great thing about the website is that it is very clean and organized.  Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.  Wal-Mart has created a great On-Page SEO  and Off-Page SEO marketing strategy by creating this website that is user friendly, helpful for everyone, and creates a trust with their customers.  The structure of the page makes it user friendly for web crawlers.

Although Wal-Mart isn’t very involved in using all of the online content they do use lots of photographs throughout their website.  If you are looking for a specific item in a Wal-Mart store, you can look up the different options and the picture will come up to show you the details.  Using photographs was a smart decision because it helps to prove their point of being user friendly as well as allowing people to find exactly what they are looking for.  The website has a lot of hyperlinks that takes you from place to place throughout the website, linking you to helpful places.  The best thing about this is that the links on the page don’t drift you off to random websites and places, but actually directs you throughout the Wal-Mart stores.

After visiting the actual website, I visited Wal-Mart’s Facebook page as well.  On this social media site, Wal-Mart allows its customers to interact as well.  There are lots of infographics used throughout the profile as well as weekly ads posted.  There is also a Feedback link that directs you to a separate page where you can actually leave feedback with a particular store location and say what you liked/disliked with your visit.  On the same page it has a Recall list of different products that have been recalled and the full description of the products.  This whole idea of allowing people to leave feedback and blog about their experience is a great way to get customers involved and puts off this idea that Wal-Mart really does want to hear what you have to say and that you are important to the company.

Although there are a lot of great strategies used throughout the website, Wal-Mart has changed its look multiple times.  It’s not like Coca-Cola where they have had the same look and logo since the beginning.  It is good to have a fresh start and to update to modern times, but Wal-Mart has been looking for the “right” look for years.  Today, Walmart has focused its main attention to families and how they can benefit by saving money and suiting all of your needs at one location.

The good thing with both of Wal-Mart’s social media marketing strategy is that it is very personable.  When designing the website they made sure to create an easy flowing website that anyone could operate.  This is a great strategy because it results in lots of traffic coming into your website.  If people are able to use your site with no problems, they are more likely to come back and make more purchases and use it to their advantage.  Wal-Mart makes the customers feel like they are lending a helping hand both in the store and online.

Keep The Story Going

Wal-Mart helps people around the world save money and live better.  This has and will always be the story of Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart’s motto “save money and live better,” is the reputation that Walmart has tried to pursue for years.  Although they have had difficulties with union workers and how they treat their workers, people still continue to shop with Wal-Mart and are loyal customers.  Wal-Mart is known for its low prices, whether it was them using the little smiley face rolling back prices or because they match other stores prices, they do their best to impress the customer.  Wal-Mart does a great job following the story and keeping it alive.  Because they match prices and roll back their prices to make sure they are the cheapest in town, helps them stay true to their long living story.

Guest Speaker Derek Mabie

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Evolve Digital Labs was created 4.5 years ago by Derek Mabie.  Evolve is a Search Engine Market Agency empowering customers through data and search.  Evolve’s vision statement, “Through exceptional people and process, Evolve Digital Labs will advance industries by simplifying the purchase and improving the product.  Leveraging technology and data, Evolve Digital Labs will lower the cost per acquisition and help the job get done better.” Their main goal is to help customers build better businesses/websites.

Evolve Digital has a process that includes the 3 elements: Audit, Strategy, and Growth.  The audit section of his business is used because it is important to know what you’re doing.  This process gives information how to be strategic, creating objectives/goals, and understanding the market.  The second section is the strategy process. It is important to create an effective strategy to be able to have an effective company.  If you put less into the audit and strategy process, the less your business will grow.  The final process is known as growth.  If you don’t have a strategy then you can’t grow your company.

The audit objectives are to identify primary customers, market size, competition, on-site analysis, and cost of online market share.  The audit will tell the company who their primary customers are and who will actually use it.  The strategy objectives consist of market selection, online customer path, acquisition models, ideation, and metrics and dashboard.  It is very important to know your role.

Mabie let us in on some helpful information when considering your role in a business.  There are two separate roles, the creator and the analyst.  The creator is the person who creates the relationships.  Art/skill are very valuable in this department.  The other role is the analyst.  The analyst gets the most amount of money and they are the best value of the company.  The analyst gets paid very well because a lot of companies need more people who understand the business and can make sense out of all of it.

What I enjoyed most about Derek Mabie coming and speaking to our class is how personable he was with our class.  He was very informative about Evolve Digital but also let us know what him and other companies are looking for.  If you have what it takes to be a data scientist, you are going to be very valuable to a company.  If you can analyse data and know excel, you will make millions of dollars.

In class we always talk about what is important to a company and how to have an effective website and get your company out there.  Mabie really went into depth about what is important and what is overlooked.  There are plenty of jobs out there, especially in the analyst role because there are a select few who can actually make sense out of all of the data.  If you are skilled in both areas then you will be a great asset to the company.  I really liked how Derek Mabie talked with us, made us understand, and even gave us helpful hints on how to be successful.  I really enjoyed him as a guest speaker.

Guest Speaker TJ Kirgin

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The guest speaker that came into our Geek class on Thursday was Mr. TJ Kirgin.  Kirgin works for Anchor STL, an inbound marketing company.  This company is its own advertising agency that is constantly evolving with the new trends and technology.  Kirgin is a part of a team that uses technology such as television, internet, and radio to help advertise.  Because everything is moving and progressing so quickly, the hard-working people are Anchor STL are always making sure they keep up to date on their information.

Kirgin is in charge of training new workers to make sure they understand the system and how everything is ran and operated.  He covered many different topics while speaking with our class and made it very clear how important social media is when creating a business.  A great piece of information that was shared was the inbound marketing methodology.  This is the process that explains how a person can simply be a stranger, then a visitor, a lead, customer, and then even a promoter.  It is all about following the steps: Attract, convert, nurture, and delight.  These are all key elements that play a large role when creating a site and making it stand out among all the rest.  You need to blog in order to attract your customers, then you need to convert  by using landing pages, contacts, forms, and etc., You then nurture them by using work flow as well as email, and finally you delight them by using social media.

Kirgin made it a point to tell us that content is crucial.  What you put on your site/page is absolutely key.  It needs to be unique, valuable, and engaging.  If you aren’t capable of grabbing the viewer’s attention, you aren’t getting the job done.  In today’s media it is extremely important to blog and make sure you’re voice is heard.  Kirgin stressed this, “Blog before you have a product. Blog before you have a website. Blog before you have anything.” This goes to show how crucial it is to get involved and allow others to see what you are all about.  Be helpful and informative towards those who are visiting your site.

A press release was one thing that definitely stuck in my mind the most about his presentation.  Every company needs to have a story line.  It doesn’t matter if it is fact or fiction, but it needs to be interesting and engaging.  Make sure there are leads, which will boost your credibility, search rankings, and this will lead to quality traffic.  If you make a story, stick to it and always make sure it is told.

The bounce rate is also a topic Kirgin covered.  If people are going to visit your page make sure that there are keywords and links that may take them to helpful end pages.  You don’t want your website visitors to be confused on where they end up.  Make sure you have a sticky homepage, good design, parallax, and no auto play sound or video.  You want them to be intrigued at all times with your site.  Another important thing to remember when talking about good design is having a natural look.  By having an unnatural looking link structure, it can make you lose 33% of traffic.  If something is unnatural, it makes people feel like something isn’t right and they don’t want to have anything to do with it.

Kirgin’s whole presentation allowed me to see how everything we are covering now in class can actually be put to use in the real world.  It was pretty crazy to hear him talk about the Google Penguin and Panda, considering we just talked about the importance and reasoning behind them only a couple weeks ago in class.  It puts everything into perspective and opened my eyes on what to expect when entering the real world.  We are always talking and blogging in class and it’s nice to see how Kirgin uses his Twitter page and Google+ to stay connected with his customers, friends, and potential future customers.  We are always blogging and posting on our community page for our Geek class, but everything we are doing in our class is what Kirgin is doing for his career every day.  If there is one thing I will remember from all of this it is to BLOG LIKE CRAZY AND KEEP BLOGGING!!!!!!

Keyword Research Adventures

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When going on to Google AdWords, I decided to go with something simple yet stylish.  I wanted to look up the short-tail keyword jean jackets.  There were a lot of different options that popped up once I began my search. When using the simple phrase such as jean jackets a lot of things such as; clothing, jean shorts, cheap jeans, vintage jean jackets, leather jackets, and etc. popped up as alternative keywords. The highest search on this short-tail was for leather jackets which had an average monthly search of 131,580, with a high competition rate and the suggested bid at $1.26. The keyword clothing took second place with the AMS of 81,020, with a high competition rate and the suggested bid at $1.11.

AND THE SEARCH CONTINUES

When doing keyword research, like the short-tail which was discussed earlier, the long-tail is 3 or more words, not as competitive as short-tail, and it has more insight for its users. When searching the long-tail keywords I used the phrase vintage jean jackets for women. This phrase helped to narrow down the search and it is a lot more descriptive. When typing in vintage jean jackets for women there was an AMS of 40, the competition was high, and the suggested bid was $1.67. This research was a little difficult for me to understand because I’ve never really looked into keywords or anything like that. Everyone uses them everyday but when you look into it it’s cool to see everything broken down.

SERP is another thing we touched base on in class on Tuesday. The search engine results page is what pops up after typing something into the search engine. The name is pretty self explanatory when talking about the SERP. It is all of the results from which you are trying to research. The user intent is very important when it comes time for people seeking information. It is frustrating at times for people when using certain search browsers and it should be an easy process. The user intent is what exactly the user means by using the keyword.

The search query is everything put together. It is everything that has been searched for in the search box. During this research advernture I have learned that every word matters. Putting more information and detail into the search query will end with a more narrowed down result.

Learning how to use keywords is very important because it helps to see how things are searched for and other related searches. This process also allows users to see how the competition is and etc. I also like all the graphs that shows exactly what is searched for and the increase and decrease over time.

Blog #1-REFLECTIONS ON THE DIGITAL FOOTPRINTS

In class we were all introduced to the scary concept of the digital footprint.  It is absolutely terrifying, yet oddly intriguing to see how everything is linked together. Any item that has been keyed into the URL is going to become tracked by other companies and used for their own use. With all of the digital media it is hard not to be traced and held accountable for your actions. When our parents were younger, they didn’t have to worry about all of their information being tracked because they usually used analog media. Everything today is constantly being followed allowing us to lose more and more privacy. Companies are using analytics to gather data and watch the meaningful patterns created by those who are browsing. This allows them to see what is being searched for and keep an eye out on what people are browsing for.

Over time all of the metadata gathered will allow one to sum up your life. It is absolutely insane how closely people are being watched when it comes to online usage. The only thing we don’t share is our social security number, but I’m sure the computer could figure that out as well. It is crazy how much things have changed with the internet over the span of 5 or so years. I feel as if we are all becoming tangled in the webs of the internet. Social media sites have allowed everyone to become more involved, but at what cost? On Facebook and Twitter, men and women are constantly sharing their life stories and information about themselves. People don’t realize that with these sites advertisers are looking at the things you share, like, and follow so that they can benefit and try to get their advertising to your page.

Once you have entered information, uploaded/shared a photo, liked an item, created an event, and/or given any input on a social network, your information will forever be there. Twenty years from now, my children will be able to look me up when I was in high school and see picture of me and even read the comments I may have said, and that is a scary thought. I have never been on to put bad things on the internet, but knowing that my information will always be there does frighten me. Just like in the article we read in class, the woman started receiving information about a disease she didn’t even have. Advertising has definitely become harder over the years, but people back in the day had to deal with it and find ways to advertise, why is it so hard for this generation to do the same? Everyone is entitled to privacy, but lately I don’t think anyone feels like they aren’t being monitored when it comes to using the web.

If I am searching the web for something and stumble across an article, I like being able to use the hyperlinks and the anchor texts which allow me to jump all over the web. This is also a great way for advertisers to work their magic because it takes the web browser to an unknown site. Overall I feel as if the internet is going to continue to become more and more monitored as time goes on. There should definitely be a new rule that allows the person to be notified when they are being tracked, monitored and etc. This would give people a more comfortable take on the internet and at least they would have the ability to decide their privacy settings.

Lauren Weller-Calvin Klein Case Study Response

While watching the Calvin Klein advertising commercials with the “underage” teens, it made me feel very uncomfortable.  The atmosphere of the old wood panneled basement, dim lighting, and laddar left a very uneasy feeling.  Klein’s creepy man voice made it seem as if he was a pervert getting ready to attack his next victim.  This strategy was bold and very risky because people don’t do well when it comes to children in an unsafe environment, and that is exaclty what it is.  In today’s society, I feel like this would go over much worse.  We are use to people using sex to sex products and to advertise, but this is a whole different level.  This is in the category of molestation and a sick old man watching young adults dance around and show off their bodies.  You would never even know that the commercial was for jeans if you were just to stumble accross it on TV or the internet.  The only thing that reassures you that it’s a jean commercial for Calvin Klein is at the end when his name pops up, as well as when he asks if the jeans are comfortable (in a low/creepy voice).  It definitely grabs the attention of the viewers in a sense that it is awkward and you feel gross for even watching it.  I don’t think this type of advertising would go over well in today’s society.  These commercials are everything that your parents warned you about as a kid.