No. Point blank.
The answer is no.
On a personal level, I refuse to work for a company who has a bad social media plan, and if they do, I had better be the one who was hired to fix it.
What is worse to you? When you are looking for a business and they don’t have a Twitter or Facebook, or when it’s half filled out and haven’t sent a tweet in 4 weeks? Well, of course the answer is both, but I would say it’s more irritating as a consumer to see a lack of consistency in social media.
Maybe it’s just because I’m from this generation of technology and social media and startups and new-age media. Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of most traditional advertising campaigns. But this doesn’t change the fact that those people in the business world who AREN’T like me need to change their ideas of marketing.
I can’t stress this enough: Social media is important.
Social media for:
Personal use? Have to.
Your brand? Of course.
For business and customer service? … Are you really going to tell me you thought you couldn’t?
You have to use social media.
Let’s just talk about your business – Why you need to have a social media plan, and why it’s not enough to just have a social media presence.
This is why you plan.
In an article from SocialMediaToday, writer James Debono notes 13 reasons why social media is non-negotiable.
Summed up, social media allows your consumers to do research and decide whether your business is reputable and can be trusted, and if they care about quality. It shows transparency.
Social media humanizes your brand and allows you to connect with your audience, one to one. You’ll show up higher in Google results, because social sharing is considered when rankings are calculated.
Your customer service quality will go through the roof, if you’re doing it right. Read: Consistency. And a plan.
And guess what? Your competition is using it. So that means you should do it. And do it better.
And guess what else? Your target audience is using it.
“Companies are paying a lot of money to advertise and grow their brands in social media. That suggests that using social media for business is working. If you aren’t already, then you should be.” Why would you spend thousands on an advertising campaign, and skimp on your social media – a medium that can reach multiple amounts more than your advertisements can. It’s word of mouth marketing at its finest.
There’s no excuse not to use social media. There’s no excuse not to hire somebody to do it, either, because guess what? Chances are if you aren’t using social media, you don’t know how to use it correctly, either.
[originally posted here, for class]
Being able to say “Oh, I spent last weekend in prison” isn’t something most people say. In my case, I get to say it three times, and I love sharing the story of why.
Currently, myself and three classmates from the University of North Texas are working on a project with Pegasus news founder Mike Orren on his new entrepre-venture (entrepreneur venture…or something) of a book-umentary. (Check out all these made up words, right?) Mike was drawn to the program because of its quantifiable results in reducing recidivism and finding work for released prisoners in Texas. But what stuck with him were the remarkable stories of these men, many of them multiple-time felons, and how the program pushed them over the top in their efforts to build a new life.
This doesn’t even begin to justify how excited I am for this project.
After writing an article for Pegasus about the Prison Entrepreneurship Project, Mike decided there was a deeper story with this program.
The program, established in 2004, is a Houston-based nonprofit organization and self-proclaimed pioneers of innovative programs that connect the nation’s top executives, MBA students and politicians with convicted felons. The entrepreneurship boot camp and re-entry programs are proven solutions for reformed inmates who thrive on challenge and accountability.
From Mike’s blog:
[bra_blockquote align="left"]The response to that story, as well as a series of talks I gave afterwards, made me realize that there was interest in a deeper exploration of the program and the struggles, stumbles and triumphs of these men. I and the organization heard from interested volunteers, news organizations and even a major reality TV producer. [/bra_blockquote][bra_blockquote align="right"]I’ve decided that the best way to approach this was to follow one class from recruitment through graduation while simultaneously following the recently-released graduates working in PEP transitional homes and co-working facilities. I hope to explore and better understand what divides the graduates from those who fall by the wayside, as well as how this changes the lives of the families involved.[/bra_blockquote]
There are three components to this project:
Book: Written by Mike Orren, scheduled for release in late 2012 to be published by a publisher, and if this is unable to happen, will be self-published both as a printed book and an e-book.
Documentary: This is where I come in – myself and the three other students are filming a documentary and snapping some stills during out three trips down to the Cleveland Correctional Facility in south Texas, in addition to creating packages about the outside-life and transitional houses and graduates of the people involved.
And the addition of a digital community to be found at pepbook.org, where you can find all of this information and more.
Now, I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, and to leave you in suspense for the bookumentary. So I leave you with this: after the first of three opportunities we have to shoot inside the facility and the first visit to the safe house, we are realizing the potential of the content we are creating. I put together a trailer for the project that was showcased this past weekend at SXSW and to the Mayborn School of Journalism faculty. Here it is.
Disclaimer: Yes, this says 2012. YouTube pulled the wrong video and it took too long to upload in the first place, so this is it, and the date will be changed in trailer numero dos. Whoops! January 2013, for the record.)
Group donates headbands inspired by girl’s cancer fight
Before she was 3 years old, Brooke Hester was rarely seen without a bow or flower pinned in her thin, light-brown hair.
Since she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma a year ago, Brooke’s hair pins have been replaced with headbands decorated with flowers, bows, feathers and beads.
The headbands are the inspiration for Brooke’s Blossoms, a fundraiser and childhood cancer awareness program created by the 4-year-old’s neighbor Sunnie Jo Stewart and Brooke’s family in South Texas.
“Brooke always had flowers or bows on her head,” Stewart said. “I wanted to give her a way to still wear them and express herself while raising awareness for childhood cancers.”
The group has donated nearly a thousand blossoms across the United States, including the family’s native Dallas-Fort Worth, and as far as Tokyo.
The blossoms are given to girls who have lost their hair in battles against cancer as a way for them to express themselves, said Brooke’s mom, Jessica Hester.
Brooke’s own battle began in 2010, when she started to get inexplicable fe- vers and stomachaches, and then developed a limp.
After several months of testing and surgery, doctors found a large tumor in her abdomen pressing on her spine and organs and diagnosed Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma, her mother said.
In November 2010, days after Brooke began chemotherapy, her hair began to fall out.
Stewart wanted to find a way to raise money for research and help Brooke feel more like herself, so she began crafting headbands out of bows, flowers and other materials.
Funds for the materials come from donations from the community, and anything left over goes to foundations that fund research and clinical trials such as the one Brooke is undergoing in New York.
“Brooke’s Blossoms is a small project that made a bigger impact than we ever could have imagined,” her mother said.
Jessica, a Decatur native who now lives in Kingsville, gave up her job as a teacher to be with Brooke full time in New York. Her husband, Beau, works in the Tarrant County town of Kennedale and visits Brooke as often as he can.
“Right now, Brooke comes first,” Jessica said. “She’s our top priority. If there’s anything else we can help with for a foundation or for Brooke’s Blossoms, we do it. Without our home community and the community we have found through this, none of it would be possible.”
Brooke not only wears the headbands but has begun helping to decorate and pack them before handing them out to other children.
Hester said her daughter is consumed by the spirit of giving, which she hopes will continue to make her treatments bearable.
“She can be having a rough day, a day when doctors drilled into her pelvis, medicine and treatments,” her mother said, “but the second she has a bag of the blossoms in hand, she’s focused on other people instead of her pain.”
And if she doesn’t have a spare headband handy, she’ll gladly give up her own for another sick girl.
“Often, Brooke will see a child in the center who is new and she will take the headband right off her head to give to them,” Hester said. “She is thinking of other people before herself, and that’s huge.”
Brooke went from not being able to walk last year to being able to run, skip, hop, dance and play, her mother said.
“We’re taking things one day at a time.”
Brooke thinks of the project as a way to spread smiles to other girls like her.
“I love being able to give the blossoms to other kids I see whose hair has fallen out too,” Brooke said. “It makes the other girls smile and laugh, and that makes me smile.”
A 7-foot-tall dinosaur, hand-crafted from laundry detergent bottles and coca-cola carriers, greeted guests at the second annual Recycled Art Festival. Once inside, they were met by a constructed aluminum-can robot, complete with scenery of floral recycled cans.
More than 65 artists and vendors created art for the Amarillo Museum of Art Alliance Recycled Art Festival. The event drew crowds from throughout the Panhandle on Friday evening with a showing of art made mostly of recycled materials.
“All materials have to be at least 75 percent recyclable, things that would be thrown away if they would not have been used,” says Kay Kennedy, Amarillo Museum of Art director of development.
The AMoA Alliance hopes the festival, originally inspired by a recycled art festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico, can put the idea of recycling in the minds of Amarillo visitors and natives in a fun way, Kennedy says.
Some of the works shown include a shelf-like piece with collected bottles, tea cups, spoons and every day objects painted white, a lamp crafted from ordinary kitchen objects and a creature made out of hair-curlers. Some of the other materials used by participants were egg beaters, tin foil, musical instruments, shows, cameras and keys.
“When they said recycled, I wasn’t sure what I expected,” Eloise Haynes, a visitor to the exhibit says. “It’s definitely an experiment in creativity.”
The festival will continue throughout Saturday at the museum with a day full of free activities, including vendors, a youth art festival and a “Make and Take” workshop for children.