Thursday, May 30, 2013

My best friends wedding

is one of my favorite Julia Roberts movies, but that's not what I'm referring to.  

My best friend got married earlier this month and she did something really cool that I wanted to share.  The wedding was a small, intimate affair and in an effort to capture the moment, her and her fiance (now husband!) came up with a hashtag for the occasion and encouraged attendees to tag their photos on instagram.  As the matron of honor and self proclaimed social media goddess, I took it upon myself to document as much as possible throughout the weekend and encouraged everyone else to do the same.  The end result was a beautiful album that captured moments the photographer never would have gotten (after all, she's only one person).  I'll post some of my favorites from the day below.  

PS: Follow me on Instagram @J3ssBecause and visit the brides blog at The Sweet Ashley Life

The Bride getting ready
You just can't beat McD's sweet tea on a hot summer day in Nashville


The Bride and Groom

My favorite ladies

Monday, April 29, 2013

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Let's face it people, social media is a wonderful tool for communication.  Unfortunately, it's also an open forum for voicing your dislikes and poor experiences.  Good business practice tells us that you should never delete a comment from your Facebook page just because you don't like the negative feedback.  Obviously there are exceptions to every rule--for instance if someone is being obscene or trolling your page, but for the most part you just have to roll with the punches and handle the situation to the best of your ability.

Windstream Communications phone services went down today -- are currently still down, actually.  This outage is affecting THOUSANDS of businesses and apparently is not the first time this has happened.  After a client my husband works with contacted him regarding the outage, we began searching for answers, but seeing as how even Windstream itself doesn't have phone access, finding out what was going on was a little difficult.  That's when I decided to check their Facebook page.  There was one simple status update that  read "Currently, there is an outage with long distance which we are working on resolving as soon as possible.  No ETR at the time.  Updates will be provided as they are available." Comments were pouring in about the location of the outages and how they were not simply long distance outages, but phone services all together.  Needless to say, people were not happy.  What I found a little fishy is that as I was scrolling through the comments, the count suddenly went from 83 comments to 7 comments.  No, no, no, Windstream.  Please tell me you are not deleting these comments from your loyal customers?  Comments that are simply asking for answers and updates, none of which were obscene, profane, or troll-like, mind you.

Now I realize that Windstream is probably under a lot of stress at this immediate moment.  The phone lines of a phone company going down is like KFC running out of chicken, but as someone who stood behind the counters at KFC at the tender age of fifeteen, I can tell you that even KFC does indeed run out of chicken from time to time.  The appropriate response, however, is not to ignore your customers and hope they go away, but to politely say "I'm sorry sir (or madam), but the chicken is in the fryer and we will serve you as soon as possible.  Here's a free fountain drink for your wait."

See, Windstream, is that so hard?  You clearly have internet access--after all, you've already made a post some-what acknowledging the issue.  Just let the people know where you stand and don't, I repeat, DON'T delete their comments.

Friday, April 12, 2013

HootSuite Certified (pt 2)

I did a post earlier this week about my HootSuite certification and what it was but I want to talk a little more about what I learned through this process and how it has helped me in my current usage of the dashboard.

As someone who has been a user for close to two years now, I was amazed to find out how much I didn't know about what HootSuite could do for me.  For starters, I've never used any of the analytics they offer--I've always just pulled them from other sources.  I knew that HootSuite offered this option, but I never took the time to figure out how to build the individual reports--a task that seemed daunting and difficult, but after watching the HootSuite University videos, I actually found that they're   quite user-friendly and offer a much more in-depth look at the analytics of each social media outlet.

Finding out how to schedule bulk messages was also something i'm not sure how I ever lived without before. My current internship and the freelance work I do require me to make Facebook and Twitter posts multiple times a day and since I'm never in the same place at the same time, having the ability to schedule posts is what drew me to HootSuite in the first place, but I've been doing it all wrong.  Instead of scheduling each tweet/post separately  you have the option of creating a spreadsheet and uploading that into the dashboard which will then schedule all of these posts for you.  How convenient!  I used it for the first time this week and it cut my schedule time in half!

Lastly, getting a more detailed overview of how geo-tagging works has helped me track certain tweets and subjects more accurately and efficiently.  I'm currently brainstorming a list of hashtags I intend to follow for the various social media accounts I manage.

If you've got some spare time and an interest in social media management I highly suggest becoming familiar with HootSuite or a similar dashboard product.  The basic HootSuite account is free, but they're currently offering a 30-day free trial of HootSuite Pro and HootSuite University.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

HootSuite Certified (pt. 1)

As a requirement for my social media class we were asked to complete a HootSuite certification.  If you're not familiar with HootSuite, it is a social media management systems that allows you to access all of your social media outlets from one dashboard platform.  It's a great asset for individuals or companies who use multiple social media services and want to be able to track and analyze all of the data in one place.  I personally use this to manage many social media accounts and I don't know that I could do my job nearly as efficiently without it.

The certification is made available through HootSuite University, an online service offered through HootSuite to help you get the most out of its use.  In addition to offering the certification, the University offers lecture series covering a multitude of subjects surrounding social media and using it for business.  Once you've passed the certification exam, you are then listed in a database of certified professionals where potential employers can search for you.  It's a great asset for a resume--especially if you're considering a career in social media as I am.

Normally this is a paid service, however HootSuite allowed us to use the service for free as students.  If you're not as fortunate, they're currently offering a 30-day free trial of both HootSuite Pro and HootSuite University.  It only took me a couple of hours to get through most of the University so it is certainly something that could be completed within a 30-day time frame.  You can find all of the information here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

I've officially made it to the big time.

For years I have joked that I'll know I've made it when I get on Perez Hilton's website.  As a pop-culture junkie, there's nothing I love more than some good celebrity gossip and Perez delivers like no other.  Several years ago, during the Britney meltdown (you know, where she shaved her head and tried to break into a car with an umbrella), I was checking Perez's website religiously trying to get as much info as I could on the princess of pop.  As a frequent browser, I noticed that once every week or so Perez would post photos of his fans with an accompanying post.  I thought he deserved to know the lengths of my love for his website so I sent him a photo of myself and 2 of my best friends tailgating at a U of L football game with the caption "Louisville Girls Love Perez".  Alas, I waited and waited, but my photo never appeared.  Oh well, life went on as normal for the next, ohhh 4 years or so, and then BAM! there it is.  Today.

So here are my fifteen minutes of fame.  Enjoy.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


So I just recently scored my third internship; suffice it to say I feel like a professional intern-er now.  My new position is with Yelp as a Marketing intern.  Before I applied for the position, I was familiar with Yelp, but I wasn't fully aware of all the cool stuff they offered.  

If you've never heard of it, Yelp is an online community committed to providing business reviews from real people.  It's almost like a social network in the sense that you're able to create your own profile, like other peoples reviews by voting them a funny, cool and/or useful, and engage with other users by asking them questions in the "talk" section about anything from what their favorite ice cream in the city is to where they get their taxes done. 

Unlike similar websites, Yelp isn't just for restaurants, its for almost any business you could imagine.  If you can patronize it, it's probably on Yelp.  But it doesn't stop there.  The website provides a list of upcoming events in your city, tells you about new businesses in the area, and features challenges you can join with other users.  It's not just a website either, there's also a mobile app that gives you the ability to access reviews, find nearby deals, check-in places and much more.  

As someone who values word-of-mouth advertising above all else, I really can't sing the praises of Yelp highly enough (and I swear they're not paying me to say that).  If you're not using Yelp, you should at least check it out (here's a link to the Louisville Yelp).  And if you do decide to sign up, add me as a friend (here's a link to my profile).

P.S.--check out my cool Yelp feed that I added to the blog--pretty snazzy, huh?  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Do work, son.

The March IComm meeting hosted an awesome panel of people and I wanted to highlight some of the advice they gave as I thought it was pretty good advice.  I mean, they're pretty successful so it must be good, right?  Joining us, we had Mike Mays, the owner of Heine Brothers’ Coffee, Will Russell, the owner of Why Louisville, Sean Bailey, the Social Media Manager for The Louisville Palace and the creator of Louisville MUSICulture, Stacy Owens from 91.9 WFPK and Louisville Public Media, and Jessica Murr, music blogger and Social Media Manager for Ben Sollee, a nationally-recognized folk musician.  Yeah, that’s a lot of awesome for one room.

While our panelists had many things in common both personally and professionally, the overarching message they relayed was one of making good connections and not being afraid to fail.  Essentially,  ”If you build it, they will come.”, at least according to Will Russell, who is not only the owner of WhyLouisville, but also the founder of Lebowski Fest and PeeWee Over Louisville.  As Will put it, “haters gon’ hate”, but finding your passion is important and chances are your passion is someone else’s passion as well.You can never have too many connections, especially when it comes to the professional world.  Making good connections has played an intricate part in making each of these professionals who they are today.  You never know when you’re going to need help or just a different perspective on something and having an extensive professional network is the best place to start when seeking assistance.

Not sure where/how to start networking?  Get to know your professors.  They were students once too and more often than not they’re more than willing to help.  Joining professional groups like YPAL(Young Professional Association of Louisville) and YAP (Young Advertising Professionals) is also a good starting point.  Groups like these exist for the sole purpose of networking and often host happy hours and special events for professionals to get together.  Everyone you meet has the potential of being a new connection, something to keep in mind when making first impressions.

Also, if you're unsure about what this "Icomm" I speak of is, it is a club I belong to at U of L for Communications students.  It's been a great resource for meeting people, networking and hearing from professionals who have been working in fields related to communications.  If you're at U of L I'd highly recommend checking it don't have to be a member to come to the meetings, but it looks good on a resume :) I'd be happy to provide you with more info!