A “New” Job

Well, it has been awhile. While I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been busy, that is not an acceptable excuse. In October 2013, I began a new job in marketing and social media at a local digital marketing company, UplinkSpyder. Let me share some information about the company with you:

  • It is based in Eugene but has multiple clients in states such as California and Texas.
  • It is a relatively young company, starting less than a decade ago.
  • Its services go beyond social media and marketing, into websites design.

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My Experience

I was hired to help ease the transition of a new client. My tasks included helping build the business through social media growth, connecting with bloggers, and reaching out to possible product distributors. This was five months ago, and I’m proud to look back and see how much I have grown.

Today, in addition to my beginning tasks, I help with social media for three additional clients, I write blog posts, I provide content for newsletters, and assist where ever else I am needed on a day-to-day basis. I work with clients in the health and beauty industry, hunting industry and the crafting industry. My ultimate goal is to work in fashion and beauty public relations, so I was thrilled when asked to help with our health and beauty clients.

After looking for jobs big and small for the past two years, I could not be more thankful for this opportunity. It is a chance to develop my public relations skills through real experience with a variety of subjects. I believe it is a strong beginning to a promising career in fashion and beauty public relations.

Birchbox: Social Media Done Well

Birchbox launched in September 2010 as a women’s beauty product retailer with a unique concept. Subscribers to Birchbox receive a monthly box of samples and often full-size hair products, make-up and various other items for a $10 monthly fee. The box and products come in chic, modern packaging with a simple description of each product. Since its start, Birchbox launched a men’s box, reinvented its website, engaged in multiple collaborations, began a blog, and added many more products.

So, where does the social media come in?

Each month Birchbox debuts a “sneak peek” video through its YouTube channel of the upcoming month’s box. Most months the video features the two founders, which creates a personal relationship between the customer and the founders. The founders also post Instagram photos of themselves, places they go, and things they do. Birchbox employees also take part in the companies social media.

In addition to YouTube and Instagram, Birchbox uses Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter. The company’s unique product paired with its heavy investment in social media led to an involved social media audience. It is not always a good idea to heavily invest in social media, but in this case the company dedicates enough time to handle it well. Photos of Birchboxes explode on Instagram, “#birchbox” pops up all over Twitter and YouTube overflows with “unboxing” videos.

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My October Birchbox

What is an “unboxing”?

The overwhelming excitement that comes with opening a pretty little box each month prompted subscribers to record themselves during the opening. They talk about each product, share their excitement, and then upload their short video to YouTube. Birchbox loves it, the fans love it and everyone is happy.

Birchbox posts about sales, contests, beauty tips and tutorials, and it once posted a video on how to make the perfect cup of tea. Surprisingly, it finds time to respond to fans. Across all social media platforms, Birchbox comments appear in response to fan inquiries and compliments. Great social media and great customer service? That is a win, win in my book.

A Summer Internship with Digital Felt Productions

I recently finished up an incredible summer internship with Digital Felt Productions. Digital Felt Productions is a young media company that wanted to focus on improving its social media presence. This internship was unique because I contributed ideas for my weekly assignments and worked flexible hours from home.

I started by intensively researching the top competitors and continued to monitor their efforts throughout the course of my internship. I used the social media measuring tools Social Mention, TweetLevel and SimplyMeasured to research the industry. I also provided my supervisors with a description of each tool, and what each does, for their own records.

After researching the competition, we decided to focus on the company’s Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account. I helped my supervisors create content for Twitter and Facebook through research and by creating Twitter and Facebook posts for the company. I also created content for introductory emails to potential customers and news releases.

The internship was a great introduction to a career in social media related public relations. The experience was both rewarding and humbling. I learn that the company was surprised with my social media knowledge. I also found that I am eager to develop more skills to set myself apart in the PR world.

I want to share some of my takeaways from this beautiful experience.

  • With no budget, a Facebook fan base is a challenge to grow. Many of Digital Felt Productions’ Facebook fans are friends and family. Stretching its fan base beyond that was not easy, but it was rewarding when I saw a “like” from an unknown person.
  • Blog Researching takes time and patience. It seems almost everyone has a blog today. Sifting through all of the blogs in Digital Felt Productions’ niche to find the blogs that work best for its products took time.
  • I have never been more grateful for the field I am going into. Although it demands dedication and time, when you are doing something you truly enjoy it seems effortless.
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    Digital Felt’s Twitter before

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    Digital Felt’s Twitter after

#littleblackjean

If you didn’t already know, I am interested in fashion and beauty PR. J Brand Jeans is one company in the industry that excels with its social media. The brand recently created its own hashtag, #littleblackjean, to promote black denim. The hashtag has transformed the classic little black dress into a modern fashion trend that is worn often among celebrities, fashion icons and everyday people. Here are some glimpses at how J Brand is using the hashtag on Twitter and Pinterest.

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Tips for Creating an Infographic

Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 1.18.03 PMFor my public relations class I created a persuasive infographic. While designing it took dedication, the assignment was engaging and fun. I used Adobe InDesign, so I could be precise with the placement of objects and the color scheme.

Infographics are a great way to visually persuade an audience to take action. They should include relevant graphics and minimal words, so people can understand the point from the pictures. I want to share my tips with you in case you plan on diving into making an infographic of your own.

  • Make it meaningful: Choose a topic that means something to you. By doing this you will remain engaged, and all of the hours you invest in it won’t seem like wasted time.
  • Know your audience: If you have an idea of the target audience, you can sift through irrelevant statistics effortlessly. This will make your infographic more persuasive.
  • Choose an appropriate color scheme: An infographic needs to be visually pleasing to capture an audience. I used a blue color scheme because my infographic talked about stand up paddleboarding. I also pulled colors from my graphics to make the design flow.

Thanks for reading,

Shae

A Social Media Experiment on Sock It to Me

For my PR class I was asked to do a social media audit and conversation analysis in a group of four people. My group chose Sock It to Me, a sock company based in Portland, Ore., as our main company. As our company’s competitors, we used Gumball Poodle, K. Bell and Happy Socks. The assignment was to evaluate Sock It to Me’s social media uses, channels, interactions and overall effectiveness in comparison to its competitors’. This included using social media measuring tools such as TweetLevel, Social Mention and Simply Measured. We measured the Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram of the four companies over the course of two months. Using the information that we gathered, we wrote a paper with graphs and images to visually show our data.

The channel frequency graph shows the number of times each brand updated its social media throughout our time period.

The channel frequency graph shows the number of times each brand updated its social media throughout our time period.

Sock It to Me used social media the most efficiently. It not only updated content regularly but also responded to comments and tweets. Facebook was the strongest place of interaction for the brand, but it did well on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram too. Sock It to Me also used an exciting, fun voice on social media, crafted for its target customer. During our time period, Sock It to Me hosted its Design-a-Sock Contest, which engaged fans across Sock It to Me’s social media platforms. The event was covered by television news stations and newspapers; it was a major theme for Sock It to Me.

Through our efforts, I noticed a few key things:

• Customer Relationships: Sock It to Me successfully interacts with its fans on a personal level; its social media platforms are a great foundation for building relationships with its followers.

• Content Creation: Content varies slightly across social media channels; different audiences use different social media platforms.

• Brand Consistency: Brand consistency is a challenge, but keeping a brand’s image and a brand’s name consistent across social media platforms is worth the results.

The most important lesson I learned is that a company should regularly compare its social media efforts to those of its competitors to discover its strengths and areas that need improvement.

One Woman, One Job and a Lot of Responsibilities

This week I was able to talk to Nicole Stratton, the marketing coordinator and women’s clothing buyer at Jack’s Surfboards. Jack’s Surfboards is a surf equipment and clothing company with six stores located in Southern California. Although her job title is limited to marketing coordinator and women’s clothing buyer, her responsibilities include employee relations and event planning. She has been a Jack’s Surfboards employee for 11 years, starting her career as a store sales associate. After graduating from college, she noticed that the company could use an employee to handle its marketing and public relations. All she did was ask, and the job belonged to her.

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Photo courtesy of Nicole’s LinkedIn profile

Her Work

It’s difficult for Nicole to pinpoint some of her everyday tasks other than sending and receiving emails. In fact, Nicole shared, “I think the best part of my job is that there is something different every day.” Some people would run at the thought of spontaneity in a workplace, but this very idea fuels Nicole’s life. Events take up most of Nicole’s time at work. From TOMS events to store openings, she keeps busy with a variety of affairs to plan. In preparation for events, Nicole contacts brands, arranges giveaways, handles promotion tactics, designates discounts and coordinates games.

Her Passion, Their Cause

Working for Jack’s Surfboards allows Nicole to work in the area she loves: the fashion industry. A large amount of Nicole’s work involves giving back, and her job allows her to do this through fashion. Nicole gets to participate in fashion shows that are held to raise money for the community. The fashion shows give her a break from the office and let her creative mind run wild.

Obstacles

Like any job, Nicole’s position has its difficulties. “There are so many bosses,” Nicole expressed. She has seven bosses, which means communication challenges are common.

Her Wisdom

Nicole encourages to “start out small.

  • She says that a young PR pro needs to take the lower position and embrace it. PR students and recent graduates have to start somewhere, but eventually they will work their way up.

Nicole expresses, “It’s a lot of work.

  • Don’t be surprised if the job has a lot more work than anticipated. If hard work and time are invested, it will pay off later.
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