Monday, July 29, 2013

Social Media: the New Way to Better Your Business

Social media platforms continue to grow, adding new, fun features that both maintain its users and attract new ones. These new and old features make it easier to connect, engage, and be informed. Best of all, it’s absolutely free.

Given its zero cost and opportunities, it’s essential for businesses to be active in social media. Businesses have the opportunity to emphasize their brand, voice their values, promote items, and provide better customer service.

If you’re a business owner who still relies on word of mouth, you’ll probably (hopefully) reconsider after reading these facts below:
  • ·       Social media is the number one activity on the Web
  • ·       53 per cent of people recommend products on Twitter
  • ·       90 per cent of consumers trust peer recommendations
  • ·       Only 14 per cent trust advertisements
  • ·       34 per cent of bloggers post opinions about products and brands
  • ·       83 percent of consumers exposed to a brand’s social media presence would try the brand’s products
  • ·       78 percent of participants found that website traffic increased with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing
  • ·       More than half of marketers who have been using social media for more than 3 years say that it has helped them increase sales

Word of mouth can still get you far, but social media will surely get you further.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Make This Summer Count

If you’re a PR student, creative thinking and strong writing skills are necessary. Though, what use will they be if you’re not given the right opportunity? Sometimes despite what you know, who you know is what will help you.

I’m sure your professor has told you this many times before, along with the suggestion that you should go out there, get involved and be seen. Though, you probably had little to no time, if you were a full-time student and working like me.

And now that its summer, all you want to do is make up for lost time with friends and family. Anything school related is the last thing on your mind, even that book your professor recommended, and you love reading. When it ends, you’ll find yourself not only struggling school and work, but finding opportunities to explore your career options. Meeting the right people can offer you valuable experience and narrow it down for you.

So make the most of your summer, while lessening next year’s stress. Committing at least one day a week to either volunteering or attending a local event, will still allow time for whatever your heart desires. After all, summer break is four months long.

Here are a few tips on how to get started:

1. Social media: It’s essential you connect on at least Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest are a plus!

2. Twitter: If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity in Ottawa, you can follow @VolunteerOttawa, or search both hastags #Ottawa #Volunteer. For events, follow @Ottawa_Events, or search hastags #Ottawa #Events

3. Ottawa Kijiji: Aside from the volunteer section, look in the tv, media, fashion section. PR internships can be found there sometimes.

4. Local blogs: Read local blogs to stay updated with local events, news and possibly an internship. Check out 613 Style and Apartment 613.

5. Business cards: You never know who you’ll end up meeting by chance, so always have business cards in hand to exchange.

 Last, but not least, don’t be afraid to volunteer or attend events by yourself. Others will find you more approachable and it’s better to step outside your comfort zone.

Good luck!

-Lisa Tanh

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What the heck is an Open Device Lab?

Those were my very first thoughts when I heard on Twitter that digital creative agency bv02 was launching one on July 11th. I immediately investigated and soon discovered that an open device lab is, well, pretty self explanatory. It is a lab, with devices, that is open to the public. Simple enough, right? The more I pondered on this, the more I came to the realization of what an incredibly innovative idea this indeed was.

Targeted towards startups and entrepreneurs, the Open Device Lab (ODL) gives businesses access to test out their website or software on a wide range of devices free of charge. Every cell phone model imaginable was there, as well as tablets, e-readers and laptops. I have to admit it was a pretty fabulous feeling to see our website simultaneously loading on over 20 different screens. The ODL does a lot more than solely allow you to admire your business's own handiwork; another entertaining game to play is to see which device loads the fastest (and the slowest).

The ODL is actually the first one in the country. There are currently 64 ODLs spread across 22 countries, that can now include Canada.

Kudos to the team at bv02 for not only a fantastic idea, but an even better execution. This is exactly what Ottawa needs to support the ever growing startup community. We will definitely be bringing our clients by the ODL. Good PR definitely includes knowing how clients are viewing your product/service digitally and adapting accordingly.

The ODL is now open for business, so swing by and see how your business is being viewed today!

Monday, July 1, 2013 hosts Degrassi Star Melinda Shankar

It’s a Sunday afternoon, but the ByWard Market says otherwise. The market is as lively as the night before, filled with pre-Canada day celebrators. They show their enthusiasm by dressing in white and red, while waving a Canadian flag. Amongst them, are women and men dressed completely different. These women are in bold colors, contrasting the rest of their ensemble, while the men are in perfectly tailored suits.

Needless to say, there was a fabulous event going on, hidden in the heart of the market. It was the pre-launch of Miss Conception, founded by Degrassi star, Melinda Shankar. Miss Conception will be offersing services from image consulting, personal styling and shopping, to hair and makeup. 

Accompanying Shankar, were more favorites of Degrassi, Samantha Munro and Lyle O’Donohue. 613 Style hosted this event at Kinki Restaurant’s patio. It was a beautiful, Miami-like version of a patio belonging to an Asian-Fusion restaurant. There were comfy red couches you could plop down on, two private tables at the back with curtains flowing, and faux bamboo sticks on the wall, separating the event from the chaos outside.

Celebrating Shankar’s pre-launch, besides her friends, family, and co-stars, were fans, designers, photographers, and bloggers. That explains their noticeably great sense of style. Hosts made sure each of us had a chance to mingle, and take pictures with the Degrassi stars.

During Shankar’s speech, she shares her first experience with beauty. “I started competitive ballet when I was three-years old, so you can imagine how much makeup I’d have on.” Eventually, Shankar preferred to do her own hair and makeup for competitions. Through word of mouth, her talent was in demand, which influenced the start of Miss Conception.

Miss Conception’s dolls will not only offer their services in Ottawa, but Toronto, Los Angeles and New York City. They are set to launch in the fall and will work with any budget.  It’s the perfect time, considering many will need assistance for their new back-to-school look or first party of the year.

Shankar, both flawless and fabulous, will surely make Miss Conception a success. Aside from her many talents and sense of style, she’s sweet, amiable, and won’t make others feel intimidated by her stardom. It will be a dream come true to many, helping them discover their inner sense of style and confidence.

Shankar’s dress was both sophisticated and flirty. I love how her coral lipstick matches her eye shadow, yet it’s very subtle. Her sleek, high, ponytail emphasizes her youthfulness.

-Lisa Tanh