Friday, December 14, 2018

Week 16, Part B Blog Post: Commenting on Other Students' Work

For the Week 16 assignment, I responded to blog posts by Jesus Farias, Chade Montgomery, Cassandra Quinn, and Eva Whitburn.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Week 16, Part A Blog Post

Out of all the social media platforms that we have explored, I have probably enjoyed using Facebook the most. Since my fictional business, Codex Alexandria, is an educational software company that would focus on selling reputable, seriously academic software to children who have an interested in learning more in a variety of academic fields outside of a school environment, I especially like the way that Facebook is structured. Since Facebook allows users the ability to publish posts featuring an unlimited amount of words, it has the greatest potential for me to communicate my points about Codex Alexandria in depth, compared to social media websites like Twitter and Instagram that would limit the amount of space that I would have to write whatever I like. Since I am a writer, I believe that I communicate the most effectively when I can paint images into people’s heads with words, and I feel like words would clearly often explain whatever I would be trying to convey about Codex Alexandria better than any social media platform that is heavily image based (like Pinterest, Snapchat, or Instagram) could ever do. However, I also did enjoy using Twitter, although perhaps not as much as Facebook. Even though I prefer the option of being able to write as much as I want with a given space, I did appreciate the fact that Twitter provided the right infrastructure for me to be able to write fun, creative tweets that did not necessarily have to be directly related to selling Codex Alexandria products. I enjoyed the fact that I could hypothetically connect with my potential customers in a fun, social manner without aggressively pressuring them into buying any Codex Alexandria software, a tactic which I think could have backfired on me had I attempted to make the subjects of my Twitter posts all about communicating news about upcoming sales on Codex Alexandria software. In addition, I also appreciated the fact that compared to Facebook, it is easy to follow and be associated with other related educational companies (similar enough to Codex Alexandria). Unlike Twitter, which allows anyone with a Twitter account to follow and associate with any other users or companies that they want to, Facebook and LinkedIn, two other social media sites that I think would be used effectively for promoting Codex Alexandria, require that users who seek friends/connections on those websites have their friend requests approve before being allowed to associate with other users. I basically like the fact that it is a lot quicker and easy to for Codex Alexandria to socially network with similar computer-based education companies on Twitter compared other social media sites.

In my personal opinion, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn would most effectively complement Codex Alexandria for a few key reasons. Of course, Codex Alexandria would greatly benefit from Facebook because its profile would probably be accessed by many more users because Facebook has millions upon millions more registered users than other social media websites that I have listed here. On Facebook, a social media manager for Codex Alexandria would be able to write posts of any length and engage with other users in the comment section. Twitter would obviously work well for Codex Alexandria, because, as an educational software company, Codex Alexandria’s tweets can be a variety of subjects, including everything about upcoming sales, links to articles about the future of e-learning, and interesting, random facts about academic topics that might delight codex Alexandria’s followers. It would also benefit Codex Alexandria to maintain a LinkedIn profile because having one would announce Codex Alexandria’s status as a legitimate business with a reputable record of manufacturing high-quality software that actually works for students that use it. Out of all the tools we studied this semester, I would be most inclined to implement Google Analytics and SEO in my online marketing strategy. Google Analytics would benefit Codex Alexandria because this tool would show me crucial information such as the demographics of users who visit Codex Alexandria social media websites, and at what hours of the day and days of the week that people are most likely to visit these profile pages. Being about to look at these statistics would help me more effectively gage when I should post new social media posts so that they are more likely to be read immediately after they are posted. These are also the reasons why I also believe that Codex Alexandria could also benefit from using Facebook Analytics as a tool. Finally, Codex Alexandria could benefit from using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as a tool because implementing SEO would mean that people searching for phrases “educational companies”, “e-learning”, “educational companies” would find information about Codex Alexandria faster than they otherwise would. This is because the implementation of SEO would put any websites featuring information about codex Alexandria closer to the top of search engines results in major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Since I have never actually run my own business before, it is difficult for me to figure out how much time I would have to spend marketing Codex Alexandria on social media if it were a real business. Nevertheless, I will attempt to respond reasonably to this question. I think it would best if Codex Alexandria devoted roughly two days a week to spend time maintaining and expanding its social media profiles. I feel this way because the most successful (well-known with a lot of social media followers) businesses that I researched during the course of this class seemed to all be posted within a general time span of every 3 to 5 days, or approximately twice a week. During each session spent updating Codex Alexandria’s social media profiles and publishing new posts, I would spend approximately 45 minutes to an 1 hour on performing these tasks. Within this period of time, I could probably write at least two well-written posts and spend time going back and forth to previous posts on the Codex Alexandria social media accounts to respond to my visitors’ questions and comments. Posting every day would seem excessive and it would appear that the employees at Codex Alexandria have no other concerns than just trying to bolster company’s presence on social media, which might make the company look as though it were a shallow veneer lacking substance. Ultimately, I would not want Codex Alexandria’s social media presence to overshadow the fact that the company’s ultimate mission (and how its employees spend the majority of their time) is actually creating high-quality software products that will help students with access to a computer at home.

It is difficult to plan out what kind of content that I can post on social media for Codex Alexandria’s profiles, but I will attempt to sketch out at least somewhat of a framework that I could follow. With regard to future LinkedIn content, I could spend January 1st-5th establishing a presence on Linked by writing a biography about the company, and then sending friend requests to other educational companies that I discover on LinkedIn. From January 6th to 31st, I could write four to six articles on topics such as the future of online education, the benefits of teaching computer technology to schoolchildren, and other topics related to Codex Alexandria software on various academic course subjects. During this time, I would also continue to try to network with other educational companies and hope that at least some of them accept my connection requests. As for future Twitter content, I could spend the whole month gradually revisiting Twitter whenever I come up with any idea from an interesting, educational tweet that might reflect positively on the academic integrity of Codex Alexandria. Since it would tacky and premeditated if I were to release nine tweets on the same day and then post only one tweet two weeks later, I would use this strategy to make my tweets appear as if they were organic and freely flowing. With regard to future Facebook content, my strategy would to post anything (as long as it is related to marketing Codex Alexandria products or the type of interesting educational facts that I might post for the company on other social media websites) that randomly comes into my head within every 3-5 days from the last post was published.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Week 17: Wrapping It Up Post

My viewpoint on the purpose and use of social media has somewhat changed while taking this class, but not completely.  My current opinion on social media is that it is actually very useful for businesses, particularly businesses whose customer markets include younger people who are more adept and familiar with using social media websites like Facebook, Twitter,, Tumblr, Pinterest, and  Instagram. In fact, I believe that small and large businesses alike, and not social media users that want to just socialize with their friends, are ones that actually benefit the most from social media out of all the users and individual entities that have presences on there. I feel this way because social media has enabled even the smallest of businesses to communicate with and possibly attract business from consumers all over the globe, not just in the regions where the businesses were originally founded. Because smart businesses focus on pleasing customers and are likely to consciously avoid posting things that offend potential customers, businesses with social media profiles often enjoy the benefit of not getting into any comment wars with other users or not suffering the consequences of posting anything that will cause outrage.

In the past, I thought businesses having presences on social media websites would not be a particularly good use of the businesses’ time and money because I believed that very few customers would be interested in interacting with these business online on platforms that were originally set up so that people could socialize more easily with their friends, family members, and subscribers. While researching various topics for the assignments of this class, though, I realized how very wrong my assumption turned out to be. My assumption was based on the fact that I myself, as a consumer (and as a student that does not have a lot money to spend, anyway), had virtually no interest in spending time on social media looking up the wares of a company that was probably selling products that I either could not afford, nor had any use for in the first place. To my surprise, however, I gradually discovered that my own lack of interest in looking up businesses on social media is actually a bit unusual when I visited several random companies’ pages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest and discovered that interested potential customers left hundreds or even thousands (for more well-known, popular companies) comments on these businesses’ social media pages. After seeing dozens of these heavily commented-upon business profiles on social media and how customers were responding to them, I changed my attitude toward social media halfway through the class and began seeing it as a very valuable tool for businesses to use. In fact, at this point, I believe that if businesses do not take advantage of creating profiles on popular media and regularly communicate with customers on them, they are not truly serious about attracting more customers and expanding their businesses. Even though I do not own a business myself, I respect businesses that use social media regularly to communicate with customers because these companies’ presence on these websites shows that they are at least willing to work hard and be ambitious about proving that their products and services are worthy enough for customers to part with their own hard-earned money for. In addition, it is obvious that we live in a digital age of high dependence on technology, so it is only natural to expect that businesses will take advantage of modern technology (such as social media websites) in order to help themselves make a profit and make themselves appear more relatable to the billions of people in the world who have Internet access.

However, I still stand by my belief that overall, social media websites actually strain or even destroy personal relationships between people because of my own personal experience with Facebook and seeing how I have lost at least one friendship over arguments that I had about politics, religion, and other sensitive topics while I was conversing with a former friend on Facebook Messenger. Ever since I lost that friend on Facebook (he unfriended me and never contacted me again), I became more and more aware of how people I knew (even people that were normally kind in real life) were using Facebook to personally attack and write demeaning comments to each other over differing opinions, and my sorrow over seeing how people have the ability to mistreat each other on social media remained the same as I took this class. In fact, I have grown even more convinced that social media use can even be detrimental for individual users because using social media for several hours a day could also lower their self-esteem and lead to depression because they might not feel like they “measure up” to more popular social media users with celebrity status and acclaim. In spite of this class, I also still feel that social media is often used negatively by potential employers (and current employers) to search for information that could lead to people being fired at their jobs or not even getting hired at all.

I definitely have a better understanding of how to develop a business than I did before I had taken this class, but I do not necessarily think that I would be a good entrepreneur because I am not inclined to risk-taking or a willingness to financially invest in a business that might not survive within its first year of inception. Nevertheless, this class has taught me several strategies about how thriving businesses maintain successful profiles on social media, and how these businesses interact with current and potential customers in a caring, attentive manner that shows that they are willing to respond back to customers, answer their questions, and make amends for mistakes that the companies may have made while doing business with particular customers. As someone who has worked in customer service positions in the past, a lot of the advice that the lectures and class textbook suggested struck me as common sense because I already know that people respond well when they feel like they are listened to and that employees sincerely care about solving whatever problems and needs that they may have. However, the newest lessons that I did learn from this class was how to set up a business on Facebook and how to use Google Analytics, even though I did not have the chance to thoroughly explore all the aspects of Google Analytics. I also gained a better understanding of how to effectively use different types of ads on social media, even though I did not create any such ads myself because I cannot really afford to spend money on such ads.

With all honesty, I have rarely used social media to research businesses, services, or products that I could possibly be interested in during the course of taking this class. However, I will admit that in the process of trying to figure how my fictional educational software businesses, Codex Alexandria, could benefit from engagement with other users, I stumbled upon Rosetta Stone’s Facebook, Google +, and YouTube profiles. When I discovered the Rosetta Stone Facebook profile, I was especially impressed with how Rosetta Stone managed to display several interesting, true testimonies about how people used their language-learning software to travel the world and interact with people who spoke the languages that they were learning. From there, I then discovered Rosetta Stone’s YouTube account, which featured intriguing videos that either featured Rosetta Stone instructors talking about interesting language learners that they got to know more personally, or language learners showing how they able to apply their new language skills in real life. By visiting Rosetta Stone’s various social media profiles, I became so impressed with the company’s reputation and language-learning software that it almost convinced me to buy Rosetta Stone software for learning Russian (a language that I have long wanted to learn) when it was on sale.

Week 13, Part B Post

There are certain types of ads on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that Codex Alexandria could use to garner more attention and attract more potential customers. With regard to Twitter ads, I would only post new Codex Alexandria ads once every month to remind people that Codex Alexandria exists and offers great products, but I would notice more frequently than within that same period of time because I would not want the company too appear too aggressive about pushing its products because this pushy aggressive might actually disgust customers and turn them off from wanting to buy Codex Alexandria products. I would specifically uses gallery card ads, website card ads, and product card ads to drive curious customers to the Codex Alexandria website to learn about the computer’s history, mission, products, and current sales specials. If I were to use advertising to attract potential customers on Instagram, though, I would post new advertisements there every two weeks because of the very nature of Instagram itself. Whenever people visit Instagram, they go there for the purpose of clicking on and looking at lots of images of depicting ideas or advertisements for products that they may not even have known existed, so my guess is that many people who visit Instagram would be more comfortable with seeing more frequent, bimonthly advertisements by a company like Codex Alexandria because many users visit Instagram to become more acquainted with things that they had not known about before, anyway. Meanwhile, I would also post new Codex Alexandria banner ads on Facebook every two weeks in order to catch Facebook users’ attention with fun, colorful image advertising and then have the promises of Codex Alexandria software remain their mind after they click on these banner ads to discover more about the company and its products. I would not post Facebook banner ads more frequently than that, though, because I understand that the majority of people primarily visit Facebook for the express purpose of chatting with their friends and family first, not seek out businesses that will heavily market ads and products to them on Facebook.

Additionally, there are several other types of advertising that Codex Alexandria can use to promote its products. For example, I would use advertising to create a sense of urgency by using ads that limited-time sales/deals that are only available for a certain amount of time before they return to the regular price. This advertising would appear once a month in order give customers the idea that Codex Alexandria has educational software sales fairly regularly, but often enough to give customers the impression that company is overly desperate and practically coercing customers to buy its software at lower prices than the software would ordinarily be worth in the retail market. Since I believe that offering deals on normally expensive software would be excellent way of extracting more customers (especially during economic hard times when many people might not have as much money to spend on non-essential products, I would spend around $100.00 on this type of advertising. Another advertising tactic that would serve me well would be for me identify and target my audience so I would not needlessly waste money marketing Codex Alexandria educational software to people who fall outside of the demographic groups that would be interested in it. This method would essentially help me focus on targeting K-12 public school students, homeschoolers, and parents who are raising children in this wide age range. I would use this advertising method once a month, and spend approximately $75.00 every month that I used this technique if I were a small business owner.

If Codex Alexandria were to grow to become a large company like Rosetta Stone, I could also see how incorporating user-generated content-post pictures of real student customers enjoying Codex Alexandria software might also generate its interest from potential customers and persuade them to click on advertisements that feature these user-generated pictures. For example, the pictures could feature students doing things like smiling and  giving “thumbs up” signs of approval next to empty Codex Alexandria software containers while using their computers. Because most Codex Alexandria customers would probably realistically have no interest in mailing in photographs of themselves (or their children) enjoying the educational software, it would best to only use this type of advertising once or twice every six months, and not to spend more than $50.00 on this type of adverting during this period of time. Although it would be wonderful to show real customers enjoying Codex Alexandria, many customers who gaze upon these photos might come to the conclusion that they were staged and created using hired actors, so this particular advertising move might be rendered pointless. Meanwhile, I might also rely on the advertising tactic of using images that resonate with my audience. These images would be those that pictorially depict situations where students met their academic goals through using Codex Alexandria software, like one example image advertisement that shows a smiling student in graduation cap and gown graduating from college. With this type of image advertising, I would attempt to use it at least once a week because I think that people tend to be more motivated to buy things (especially expensive items like software that involve a significant amount of time that people need to devote to using them) if they are constantly reminded of the rewards of using these products. Since I would use this type of advertising quite often, I would devote approximately $150.00 on these ads per week. Finally, the last type of advertising that I could imagine Codex Alexandria using effectively would be the tactic of making attractive offers to customers. This would essentially mean creating and projecting ads that offer sales/deals on Codex Alexandria, especially deals that are anywhere from 25% to 50% off. Since these deals would offer quite a bit off the original prices of the advertised software, I would offer these attractive deals every three to four months so that customers do not spend paying attention to Codex Alexandria and or take for granted that they may have missed Codex Alexandria sales where they could have saved a lot of money on new educational software. Since I would not be advertising these attractive offers as often as I would be using the other advertising strategies that I listed, I would probably not spend any more than $50.00 on sales offers every three to four months.