The Impact of Social Media on Living Organ Donation [Guest Blog for WELD]

Guest Blog For WELD (Women Encouraging Living Donation)
www.weld.org

 
 

Social Media is one of the most powerful tools our society has seen come to fruition over the last decade. It’s become a way to reach a mass audience with one click of a button, and provides a chance to connect with people around the world that we previously did not have access to. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, it is bringing light and attention to current events, personal stories, and radical movements.

I got into this business 9 years ago, and I stand by its impact. But first, a little bit on how I got here. My life has been defined by action. Sports, dance, hiking, gymnastics, you name it – I couldn’t sit still. With action comes health. Growing up active has helped me understand the necessary wellness measures needed to feel good. Aside from physical action, comes mental and emotional vigor. I began focusing on self-awareness and creating a life that defines me. Not only was my body strong, but I noticed how sound it made my mind. Group activities have also introduced me to my innate high levels of empathy. As an only child, the energy I possessed and love I had was channeled into being social, and showing friends, family, and strangers the kindness they deserved. This was my personal foundation.

Fast forward to May 2009, and it was time for me to graduate from college. Majoring in Communications Media and Business; I knew my passion for entrepreneurship, creative ideas, and unconditional understanding of people would land me into a career where I would help others in some way.

After a summer of fun, at age 22 I started my Social Media Marketing business: Ant Colony Marketing (www.antcolonymarketing.com), with the purpose of helping musicians and personal brands find success in a new evolving market.  It was an exciting time to be learning a new internet idea of presenting one’s self and brand through a media platform designed for staying connected.

After nine years and a list of multifaceted self-taught services, I met Diane Brockington, the founder of WELD. In all nine years, it was my first opportunity to work with a non-profit, and a smart and like-minded female leader!  Before working with WELD, I wore the “donor” badge on my license proudly, but that was the extent of my knowledge on organ donation. Becoming a part of WELD has not only been my job, but has now become a passion. Through WELD, I’ve met a group of the kindest and most cheerful women who have donated or received, and who are eager to share their stories. This is where Social Media makes its deepest impact. WELD is continuously adding personalization around the generally passive and sensitive subject of Living Organ Donation.

Mass media campaigns can work through direct and indirect pathways to change the opinion and behavior of a whole population, helping people adopt a strengthened understanding of intentions and social norms.  Think of tobacco campaigns helping expose the health risks and lowering the amount of smokers. Or the positive messages surrounding Planned Parenthood and contraceptives that have proven lowered numbers of teen pregnancy. The magnitude is undeniable. Negative opinions of Social Media aside, it has helped people get more comfortable talking about uncomfortable topics. Maybe more sensitivity is good, because it often leads to compassion.

The Earth is wired for story, and a more educated and positive message can prevent negative results; or at least encourage change for good.  At 31, I am dedicated to staying active, keeping a healthy mind/body, and practicing a life of unconditional kindness.  Who knows what the next 10 years will bring, or which family member or friend may need a donation, but I pledge that after 41, I will enter the process of being a living donor.  WELD has had that impact, their social media has had that impact, and the support that these women (and men) show to their group has had that impact.

Reinforcing public discussion about living donation can influence the decision without persuading. These ladies are traveling the world, walking miles to support a great cause, and enjoying life with good food, good wine, and good company. The list for donors needed is long, but the reasons for giving someone new opportunities at life are…endless.

 
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A Musician's Guide To Social Media Strategy

Guest blog for Creative Entertainment Network
www.thecenetwork.com

 
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Let’s be honest: making it as a musician is tough.  Not only do you have to write songs, twist up a catchy beat, hire a manager, and push for tour dates - you have to be “on” in the limelight 24/7. 

As if that wasn’t enough, it’s almost 2019, so you also have to sell your soul on social media. 

Okay, that’s dramatic, but I promise once you get the hang of it, it’s very rewarding. 

Feeling lost on where to start? Or too exhausted to figure it out? That’s why I’m here to help guide you.

Let’s dive in!

FIRST: SELLING YOU ON THE “WHY”

Gone be the days of telegraphs and newspaper ads. You have to imagine all of your fans are glued to their cell phones; so Social Media is your ticket to reaching them. 

Facebook has 1.8 billion monthly users, YouTube 1.3 billion, Instagram 600 million, and Twitter 300 million. The potential reach with these numbers is undeniable. 

While touring is still the leading way to secure new fans, Social Media will help pull them in, and fill the room.

In the outline below I highlighted a step-by-step process for getting you into the Social Media mood. Consider it a checklist to covering all your basis.

Then, most importantly, have fun with it. 

PILLARS OF PERSONA

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” - Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Theoretically, we encourage you to build a house for your fans to live in, grow with, and eagerly engage. This means being personal and relatable with your audience. 

I recommend making a list of 3-5 “pillars of your persona.” These are your umbrellas of content. Then, list all the sub-topics that fit under these pillars. Lastly, which of these are you going to have the most access to? And how will you design the conversation around these persona points? This is your guide to content style.

You want to control the conversation your audience is going to be verbally and socially using when talking about your brand. Guide them by providing content and text copy that fits. 

Think you want to *only* focus on music?  Then flip this guide and write-out 10 adjectives that will drive your content’s vibe. Use this to delicately maneuver through conversation in your captions, while wowing them with photos and video.

VISUALLY BRANDING AND SEO OPTIMIZING

Be the part, look the part, get discovered. 

Polish up the look of your profiles by:

  • Ensuring all bios (long and snippet), links, and profile information are up-to-date

  • Keeping the main profile and cover images alike on all platforms - use promotion value where needed

  • URLs and Usernames all match so it’s easier to find you in search

Creative assets should be in-plenty as a musician. But, in case you are design challenged, I recommend using canva.com. They have layout dimensions and visual guidelines already intact.

MARKET RESEARCH

“What we call originality relies on a good deal of imagination, and even a bit of theft.” - James Polchin

This quote is pulled from one my favorite books, “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. It claims that original ideas have already been done, and now it’s your job to use the process of full stacking to re-imagine them as your own. 

Do your research! 

Pull out Spotify or Apple Music and start listening to like-artists, make a full list - these are your ad targets. This is the fan base you want to be engaging with.

Hop on Instagram and Twitter. How are artists whom you admire presenting to and communicating with their audience? These are your potential fan targets, too. 

Research hashtags, curated and user-generated profiles to tag, brands you’d love to work with; write them down! These are your organic marketing tips, and potential influencer connections. 

You already have your Pillars in place, this plan is your jumping-off-point when it comes to who you should be engaging with. 

KEEP YOUR CONTENT FRESH

There are two types of content:

  • Social Lifestyle:  The example of what your day-to-day looks like behind the scenes

  • Social Selling:  The “watch my video”, “listen to my song”, “come to my show” promotional points

My rule is 90/10.  90% of your content should reflect the lifestyle. This is the most relatable and personal pieces of your visual.  Once you snag followers that enjoy tuning into your personal network, they will be more inclined to take action on the 10% - your Social Selling.

Don’t forget to check off these boxes:

  • Don’t post too often - or too little. Quality over quantity. Read analytics to find out when your audience is most engaged, and also schedule posts to go out when other brands are quiet. You’ll be sure to stand out. 

  • Interact back. You want the ROI, so do the other 1 billion users. Like other’s content, comment, reply back, say thank you. These won’t be forgotten. This is how you create real connection.

  • Tease with variety. Use a personal tone. Take your followers on along for the process.

HAVE A CONTENT SCHEDULE

All that time you spend worrying about finding the time organize your Social Media campaign, could be put into writing out a content schedule. 

If you know which visual piece, caption, and platform you will be sharing on any given day, a month in advance - you and your team will never drop the ball.  

This will also help you think more “Social Media” forward when on the road.  More of “oh crap, I need to take a lifestyle photo today” rather than “oh crap, I haven’t connected with my audience in over a week.”

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HAVE AN AD BUDGET

You are putting in countless hours of taking and editing photos/videos, coming up with clever captions, setting a “branded mood” on your profiles, engaging with the right audience; but you are 1 of a million accounts posting daily - so you need to have an edge. 

Use the market research plan to set up ad testing. Going on a 15 city tour? Run an ad geo-targeting those cities toward fans who like a similar sound to yours. 

Have a budget to promote that new music video you emptied your piggy bank to produce. 

Nowadays, it’s a fight to the top of the newsfeed, make sure you are ranked by boosting the content that deserves to be seen. 

If you’re even more stressed reading this blog, I recommend therapy. Kidding - maybe just a Social Media Consultant.  

Ant Colony has competitive prices, and personalized plans to help you reach your online growth goals. Give me a holler, send me your biggest challenges. I have your back!

E: jessica@antcolonymarketing.com