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LSW8: Developing A University Oriented Social Media Plan

March 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Considering my authentic client, The Den at Columbus State University, and questioning how I might advise them in developing a social media marketing plan led me to an informative article on mashable.com. Dan Klamm’s, 6 Best Practices for Universities Embracing Social Media, is excellent advice for the university that is a social media novice. Klamm expertly explains the necessity for participating in the social media conversation, “For universities, deciding to use social media is a no-brainer. The 18-to24-year old college student demographic is all over the social web, and its younger counterpart (the high school crowd) is equally immersed. Alumni, recent and far-removed, use social networks to engage and stay connected with the world. Community members, parents of students, potential donors, faculty and staff and other constituents are just a tweet or “like” away. With so many key populations embracing social media, universities almost have no choice but to integrate these platforms into their marketing and communications plans.”

Although all universities have a social media presence, many are not used effectively to showcase the schools amenities. Social media’s importance and power led Klamm to develop a list to help universities build successful social media programs.
1. Develop a Strategy and Set Goals
2. Pick and Choose Your Platforms
3. Empower and Support Individual Departments
4. Put Guidelines in Place
5. Develop a Consistent Voice Across Platforms
6. Communicate Across Campus
These are all great tips that I plan to use for The Den’s Social Media Marketing Plan.
(Word Count 244)

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LSW 7: Campus Dining at The University of West Georgia

My authentic client is The Den which is located downtown at Columbus State University’s Riverpark Campus; henceforth CSU. For my second organization to analyze, I chose the University of West Georgia; henceforth UWG. This school is an excellent example as their Foodservices Department is identical to CSU’s; both are operated by Aramark, the global professional services corporation. Like CSU, the Auxiliary Services Department oversees the foodservices operator. This is pertinent information. After a long and exhaustive internet search, I discovered that UWG’s Auxiliary Services Department Facebook and Twitter pages are where social media posts related to campus dining are located; they seemed hidden. The importance of food to college students is legendary. Frankly, this discovery left me scratching my head.

The Facebook posts attempted to completely cover the Auxiliary Services Department. A strategy that lacked clear focus, and made the page seem like a catch-all. I could see that UWG did care about the traditional components of grammar in writing. The university’s posts were properly worded, punctuated, and expressed a complete thought. Basically, the few students that seemed to be aware of the dining hall posts used a combination of proper grammar and text-speak. Students tended to stay more conservative with the occasion emoticon or acronym. The posts made by UWG strive to inform the student body by including details about upcoming events, recipes, surveys, and questionnaires. I could not find evidence of the entertaining component of Orsburn’s social media equation. As far as the converting to business component, in this situation, it is a moot point; residential student customers are forced to purchase a meal plan.

I am leaving this investigation better informed but concerned. After comparing my authentic client, The Den at CSU, to UGA’s Bull Dawg Dining (LSW 6), and UWG, I discovered that only UGA’s Foodservices has an effective social media plan. An interesting fact to note, UGA is the only school amongst these three that insources campus dining; and they are obviously proud enough of their Food Services to advertise through social media.
(word count 340)

What can the social media of a competitor show?

February 23, 2013 Leave a comment

In an effort to compare the social media of my authentic client, The Den at Columbus State University, to that of a competitor, I analyzed the University of Georgia’s Food Services; a process that was very informative. The department posts at least twice a day and uses a combination of text, video and photographs to inform, entertain, interact, and convert to business. In the UGA Food Services department, Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter are the two most used social media sites. Looking over these sites revealed that the University of Georgia exhibits enthusiasm and honors culture in their daily social media interactions.

During the month of February, UGA Food Services honored American culture with a typical Superbowl meal of wings and things,hosted the game show Let’s Make a Meal, celebrated Valentine’s Day, and hoisted Chef Shelly Orozco-Marrs professional accomplishments, celebrated Mardi Gras, and had a naming contest for a new campus dining hall. All of these examples show the University of Georgia’s Food Services department to be proud of their staff and products. Pride in the products produced is used to inform and convert to business. A good example is the posts made on Valentine’s Day; pictures of cappuccino’s decorated with hearts and a chocolate fountain buffet were irresistible.

The University of Georgia’s Food Services cares about their customer’s satisfaction. Their posts always invite interaction from their client base; a task they seem to be successful at. The University of Georgia’s Food Services page is filled with commentary. In a show of pride and solidarity, the department’s executive director maintains a social media presence.

Observing the social media pages of the University of Georgia’s Food Services department revealed that they view social media as a valuable part of their business and illustrated how the University of Georgia’s uses social media to inform, entertain, interact and convert to business. (Word Count 310)

How Important is Grammar to Social Media Marketing?

February 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Social media has infinitely expanded the way language is used.  More than ever before, social media provides businesses the opportunity to join the online conversation and speak to the world.  As exciting as this opportunity is, before jumping straight into the conversation, businesses must first decide exactly how they want to present themselves.  For everyone, grammar seems to be a large part of the decision making process.  Since the world of social media is filled with jargon, text speak, emoticons, acronyms, odd grammatical substitutions and errors, the world of language can be quite confusing. 

 

Social media’s unique use of language creates an opportunity for the business to decide how it wants to be viewed within the context of the online conversation.  At this point it is important to note an important fact; social media’s free form language is not generally appropriate for businesses.  For the potential customer, the type of language a business uses can be a good indicator of the company’s operational standards.

 

On smallbusiness.yahoo.com, in her February 7, 2013 article, “Social Media Grammar Gaffes:  How to Embarrass Yourself Online-Part 2,” Amanda Clark writes about this very subject.  Amanda is surprised at the number of people that willingly massacre the English language on social media.  Additionally, she thinks the annihilations are due to people who are not proofreading or not caring.  She might be right, but no matter what, as the business world embraces social media, customers deserve a concise, properly spelled and punctuated answer.  Business relationships are fostered and grown on clarity, concision and trust.  Using proper grammar not only helps a business to say what it means it also shows customers that your business is serious about its business. 

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 http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/social-media-grammar-gaffes-embarrass-yourself-online-part-021508515.html. 

word count: 281

How Many Social Media Posts Does it Take?

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Among the foodservice companies that participate in social media, most seem to think one to four daily posts will adequately inform the social media world of the company’s core values. Momentus Media’s data on our WordPress blog’s resource page, advises up to twelve posts per day for any business. Many foodservice providers (restaurants, caterers, campus dining, etc..) appear to believe that one post of the daily menu/specials is all they need to do to effectively market their brand through social media. Wiley Cerilli, a contributor to HuffingtonPost.com and the CEO of SinglePlatform, reviewed five restaurants that successfully use social media marketing to showcase their products and services. In addition to regular posts, the restaurants that he analyzed used a variety of tactics to keep their old customers interested while simultaneously expanding their customer base; contests, games, and cooking classes are a few examples. According to Cerilli, an active social media presence, one that feels alive, will help restaurants grow. Cerilli’s approach is interesting to me in the ways that it mirrors the old mentality that a restaurant is a living entity that is meant to be nurtured and grown. (word count 189)

Authentic Client Project

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

My Authentic Client Project will showcase the social media plan of The Den, a Columbus State University dining facility that is located on the downtown Riverpark Campus. The Den does currently have a facebook page and a twitter presence, but neither are maintained on a regular basis. In fact, the last time there was a facebook post was early January and the last tweet sent out was mid January. In addition, The Den also has a presence on campusdish.com. Interestingly, it is Columbus State University’s College of the Arts that most consistently uses social media to promote The Den through their facebook page. Additionally, the university dining service mascot, Chef Cody, occassionally uses social media to mention The Den. Surprisingly, the foosdervice operator at Columbus State University, Aramark Corporation (headquartered in Phildelphia, PA), does not seem to have a consistent social media marketing plan either.

The Den appears to be the victim of a social media marketing that is scattered but ineffective as no one seems to control a master plan. Instead, The Den seems to rely on well intentioned volunteers to spread the message about their foodservices. (word count 188)

Social Media Speaks

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

I must admit that I am not an expert on the subject of social media. To be honest with you, I have hardly any experience at all, but when I do participate in social media, I find the language patterns fascinating. Culture has always fascinated me. One of the ways I see the internet is as an opportunity to view culture and learn.

Social media speaks its own language that is unique in its composition and in its lack of rules. It definitely seems like the language of social media has an anything goes attitude when it gives its speakers the ability to combine letters, words, symbols, acronyms, tongues, punctuation marks, and the like. Surprisingly, this casual, free-form communication is effective. People understand each other and are having an ongoing online conversation.

To many, this is a tactic that dumbs-down our language. To me, this is sheer genius. Manipulating a language, bending it to meet your own personal rules, is the work of a person who truly understands that language. When we talk about the language of social media we talk about a whole community of people who have the same ability to manipulate the language. This yields a fascinating, no-holds-barred style of communication and a voice that is representative of the world. Word Count 213.