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Driven. Oriented. Professional. Interactive Media Web Producer.

Creating a Brand with Facebook

As I stare at my computer screen and envision the overwhelming back-end coding, I am terrified that Facebook will take over my brain for the next few days. These are the thoughts that crossed my mind whenever I first embarked on learning how to optimize Facebook pages.

First, I started out with some research. I thought to myself, it’s Facebook, how hard could it be to find information about how to make fan pages better. This is where I began to become both overwhelmed and excited, there are so many great things that can be added to a page to make it better. To name a few, Twitter integration, YouTube integration, polling, welcome pages, advertising, and the list goes on and on. I thought where do I even begin?

After the suggestion of Richard Brasser, The Targeted Group, a couple of weeks ago, I looked at Jeffrey Gitomer’s Facebook page. He does an excellent job at incorporating all of his social media together and making his own brand. After browsing through his Facebook page, I realized that he was using a certain company’s apps, Involver. This led me to check out Involver’s Facebook page and all of their applications. They do a wonderful job at making their apps easily accessible and easy to use.

Once I dove into the whole process, I really learned a lot! I was customizing pages left and right. It was amazing to me how simple it was, once I did some research.

Through looking at Jeffrey Gitomer’s Facebook page as well as his other social media, I realized the true meaning of creating a brand identity for yourself. Fans will recognize you by the face and image you put in front of them. Social media allows us to create that image easily and further define our brand.

Be sure to check out what I did to optimize Jenna Wagner Racing’s Facebook fan page!!!

Design and functionality are two of the most important items when it comes to developing a mobile application or a mobile site.

With the advances of smartphone technology and the shift to online, mobile application development is becoming more prominent. According to Neilson report, 31% of US mobile phone owners have a smartphone (December 2010). They predict that smartphones will become the majority by the end of 2011. With this trend, companies are determining ways to incorporate mobile application development into their budgets and deciding how to make their application as functional for the consumer as possible.

Implementation of these strategies is what differentiates a good app from a great app. From what I researched, the key goal is accessibility. Consumers of the mobile app want to the get their information as quickly as possible. This is where great design and functionality come into play.

The following is a great infographic that puts mobile application development into some perspective. The credit goes to ShoutEm Blog who compiled these stats into an amazing infographic.

ShoutEm

ShoutEm Mobile Application Infographic

ShoutEm Mobile Application Infographic

Credit to Smashing Magazine, Advansys and Online Marketing Trends as well!

Interactive Media Marketing

Interactive media can be defined as products or services on computer-based systems that respond to the user’s actions by presenting content such as text, graphics, animation, video, and audio. In a nutshell, as a company you want to make the consumer’s experience as interactive as possible. You want them to see your logo or advertisement and think, “Wow, they are speaking directly to me!” You want your audience to talk about your marketing strategies or advertisements around the water cooler.

Companies can now connect with consumers on a more personal level. They can tweet at them in the morning, send them a Facebook message in the afternoon and finish their day off with a blog post. Consumers can now see every update a company makes throughout the day. This interaction is vital to the transparency and image of the company. How companies portray themselves online is becoming even more critical as we become more technologically advanced and as more of our day-to-day lives move online.

Here are some interactive media tools that can be incorporated into a company’s overall marketing strategy:

  • Virtual tours
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Social media
  • Photo galleries
  • Blogging
  • Audio elements
  • Interactive text
  • Games

The great thing about these tools is that they all can be incorporated into a company’s marketing plan with relatively little effort.

Interactive Media

I graduated from James Madison University (JMU) in May 2011 and I thought to myself, now what? With the development of social media in recent years and technology advancing more and more everyday, I found myself feeling left out of a digital world. I had gained the skills I needed to get me a jump start on the technical world; however, I still did not feel prepared enough to embark on my journey into the real world. I’m not going to lie; I felt a little lost in the digital revolution.

I attended a seminar at JMU that taught me about graduate school and the advantages of attending. Basically, with the way the economy has been in recent years, my Bachelor’s degree was going to be more like a high school diploma with everyone who has been attending graduate school. This idea hit me pretty hard and made me consider going to get my Master’s. Now, I know that some of you might be  asking, why are you rambling on about your life? Well…the purpose of this rant is to explain how I came across the innovative field of interactive media. When looking at graduate schools, there just were not many options that catered to my interest in web design. I did not necessarily want to go to art school or any hard core programming school. Then I came across Elon University. Being from the state of Virginia, I figured North Carolina would be a good fit for a southern girl. It was the only program of its kind. And in 10 short months, I would earn a Masters of Arts in Interactive Media.

You all might be asking yourselves, why should I care? Well, upon my 10 months at Elon, I learned new strategies, theories, and skills to better prepare me to enter the work world and have the necessary items in my skill set to assist the client in any way possible. So, to explain interactive media and what I learned over the past 10 months, I will define interactive media for you.

Interactive media, by definition, is the integration of digital media including combinations of electronic text, graphics, moving images, and sound into a structured digital computerized environment. This includes, but is not limited to, social media, video production, photography, web design and development, public opinion, marketing, visual aesthetics, theory, and strategy. When you combine all of these things, the ultimate result is interactive media. All of the processes mentioned above help the experience to be as interactive for the user as possible.

I truly enjoyed my 10 months at Elon and am now in the work world and loving every minute of it! Interactive media is a monstrous wave of the future, and it is only bound to get bigger in the coming years.

Capstone in Review

It has been a fun-filled and busy semester. My capstone has been by far my favorite project this semester. I was able to choose the project I wanted to work on. Therefore, I chose to redesign my racing site, Jenna Wagner Racing. I have learned so much over the past 10 months. However, these past 3 months, my expertise and skills have come on strong and I have truly grown as a interactive media designer and developer.

My original racing site was lacking in all areas: content, design, development, interactivity,  social media, updates, and many more. With this redesign, I wanted to connect with my fans on a more personal level and truly discover and implement ways to interact with them. With the new site, I have tried to incorporate as many interactive elements as possible to allow the user to have a first-hand look into my racing. I also wanted to be able to update my fans on everything I am doing in the racing world. I have given myself flexibility by incorporating Twitter, Facebook, and a blog and video blog. Users will be able to see videos of my racing, videos of me, photos of all the tracks I go to, and much, much more. The possibilities with my new site are endless and I feel that this redesign will be much more attractive to my fans, sponsors, and potential sponsors.

Below are images showing my progression from the start of the semester.

Sketches

Sketches

Sketches

Sketches

Sketches

Project Versions – Prototypes

Prototype 1

Jenna Wagner Racing Prototype 1

Jenna Wagner Racing Prototype 1

Prototype 2

Jenna Wagner Racing Prototype 2

Jenna Wagner Racing Prototype 2

Prototype 3

Jenna Wagner Racing Prototype 3

Jenna Wagner Racing Prototype 3

Usability Testing

Just a small look at of some of my usability testing results:

Usability Testing

Usability Testing


Usability Testing

Usability Testing

Usability Testing

Usability Testing

Final Product

Jenna Wagner Racing Final Product

Jenna Wagner Racing Final Product

Be sure to check out www.jennawagnerracing.com!

You can check out the video blog of my capstone progress here.

A special thank you also goes out to my classmates: Brad Mu, Carolyn Frazier, Lea Schlanger, Greg Green, Jackie Kozma and Alison Hydrick, and my teacher, Qian Xu for helping my project to progress to where it is today!

My classmates, Tara MacDaniels and Jordan Thorndyke, did a presentation about how social media has changed relationships, entitled “Relationships Online: A Look at How Web Has Changed Romance”. Here is my take away from the presentation:

Why should we care?

  • sustainability
  • improvement
  • makeing clearly defined lines

There are many negative consequences to social media in relationships: encourage cheating, porn, defining the relationship, jealousy, and risk of deception. On the flip side, there is an increase in people finding mates.

According to my classmates’ research, there are certain types of people that are likely to use online dating sites. For example, older internet users, people in an unsatisfying relationship, and individuals with low self esteem.

This presentation gave me a good insight into social media’s involvement in relationships. A very interesting topic that is only bound to become more prominent.

Online vs. Offline

My classmate, Bettina Johnson, did a presentation about online and offline parallels and how it affects our social networking, entitled “The Effect of Modern Technology on Offline Interpersonal Skills”. Here is my take away from the presentation:

People are proactive and adaptive with new technologies. The Internet is a new method of doing old things. It does not necessarily mean that old means will cease to exist. We are just doing them in a different way. With technology and every day life, we have somewhat of a “social toolkit”. This basically is our means of communication: face-to-face, telephone, and mail communication.

There are early adopters that take the head-way when it comes to adopting new technology; however, there is also new and inexperienced people in the technology world. We evolve with technology and become intertwined with how we are in real life. This modern technology encourages social engagment on and offline.

Cooperation can be a major problem and cause tension between individuals. With the online compute mediated interaction, it is wider, has greater truthfulness, and puts emphasis on value over status.

This presentation has been a great additive to the knowledge that I have received in my classes thus far about the online vs. offline worlds. I am sure that in the future, this information will only continue to become more complex.

iMedia Disconnect

In my Contemporary Media Issues class we read “Hamlet’s Blackberry” by William Powers. Definitely an interesting take on a life of constant connectedness.

Hamlet's Blackberr by William Powers

Hamlet's Blackberr by William Powers

Being an iMedia student, it is definitely hard to make yourself “unplug”, even if just for a few hours. However, I try to make myself step away from the computer every couple of hours and go do something else. Running has been my sweet escape this past week. I have been able to go to class, do homework, go home, run, and the come back to school to do more homework refreshed! During my runs, I don’t listen to an iPod. Which is probably unheard of nowadays. I just like to do my running and be able to hear what is around me and pay attention to what is around me, instead of just being in the “zone” with music in my ears.

Power’s idea of the “conundrum of connectedness” and constantly being flooded with information can get extremely overwhelming. Even in an iMedia world. There are days that I don’t get on Twitter, or post anything to my Tumblr. However, Facebook seems to be my relief from homework during the week. However, on the weekends, I don’t feel the need to get on it.

This weekend I am going on somewhat of a mini-vacation. I am going to use this time to “unplug” a little more and relax before the final push until graduation. I am taking the usual electronic devices: phone, ipod, computer. However, I am going to try my best to not get on the computer all weekend. This will be a relaxing for me to hang out and relax.

There is a lot going on in the world today and technology plays a big part it. I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t consider where we have been and where we are going, as it relates to technology. It’s part of my career and expertise to stay up-to-date on these things. However, being disconnected is important too. Like Powers and family did on the weekends, I have consider the whole idea of an “Internet Sabbatical”. This could definitely help to relieve some stress and to have a better work week. It would also give everyone time to enjoy the people and places around them. I am going to try my best in the coming weeks to take time away from technology. I think it will really help me stay more focused.

Scare-city

An update from my readings of Robert Cialdini…

The issue: Cialdini writes a chapter about scarcity and the premises behind scarcity as it relates to products, services, and topics.

Major strength: There is a quote mentioned in the book by G. K. Chesterton that I think sums up the topic of scarcity, “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost”. The scarcity principal implies that opportunities seem more valuable to us when they are less available. I am finding myself relating the idea of scarcity to branding and marketing to consumers. This idea directly relates to my final paper topic. For example, take a popular brand, Oakley. Consumers are more likely to buy the products because of the brand name and quality. However, what if Oakley started only making certain products and they were limited edition. Would their sales sky rocket?

This is often the case around Christmas time with the hot gift of the year. Companies produce less products and supply because of the high demand. This idea is a very intriguing branding technique to me. However, how do you achieve the scarcity factor with your brand? Does the consumer consider what would happen if they didn’t gain the product (the loss) or do they just think of how much more popular or cool they are going to be?

Psychological reactance can also be brought into play with marketing and branding. If a product or service is difficult to attain, it is more valuable to the consumer, according to Cialdini. In other words, we want the product most when we are in competition for it.

Cialdini does a great job at explaining the ideas behind scarcity and when it can be applied.

Major weakness: I understand the scarcity principal as it relates to health concerns and issues; however, I need more clarification on how this topic can be relatable to companies and their marketing tactics. This chapter left me wondering how a company goes about making their products or services “scarce”.

I think that understanding a business plan and possibly a social media strategy would help me to further develop my understanding of scarcity and why it is implemented in product development.

Underlying assumption: From what I have learned, it seems that it is important to find out when scarcity works best on a certain target audience and in general. Scarcity is an interesting idea that can be implemented in a variety of ways, according to Cialdini. There are certain situations when scarcity is more effective than others; however, overall it can be implemented to benefit a company as a whole.

Provocative questions:

What is the real drive behind making a product scarce?

How can this topic be related to marketing and branding of a company?

Cognitive Surplus

What a week this has been! First of all, my prayers go out to the people of Japan and every country and every person affected by the earthquakes and tsunamis. This week has been both crazy and interesting as far as the media goes. I have been paying close attention to the happenings with new media and how word spread about the earthquakes and tsunamis. I awoke Friday morning, just like any other Friday, went to class, and then I overheard two girls in my Contemporary Media Issues class talking about the happenings and events of the morning. I was intrigued…”wait, what’s going on?” They told me and I was in complete shock. What a devastating event. My professor gave us the option to talk about Clay Shirky and Cognitive Surplus or to watch the events taking place in real time and determine how it relates to Contemporary Media Issues and what Shirky talks about in Cognitive Surplus. We all chose the latter. I was so taken back and fascinated by the entire unfolding of events in the Pacific. I can’t imagine going through a tragedy like this. It definitely put some things in perspective for me. I stress about being in graduate school? Some people just lost everything they own, EVERYTHING! I was so distraught.

I watched the events on Twitter, Facebook, and every news source I could find. I updated every social media outlet: Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr with articles, links and photos. I looked at photos and graphics, read news stories, watched the networks, looked at infographics and interactive pieces, and yet there seemed to be nothing else I could do but watch, listen, and wait. I am two months away from an interactive media degree and yet, I felt so helpless. I came to the reality that all I could really do was donate, and even that on the budget of a graduate student.

Over the past few days I have watched the coverage less and less. Maybe its because I have so many other things going on in my life. These events have definitely helped me to take a step back and cherish what I have in life and what God has given me. Why be so concerned with your own priorities? Look at what the people in the Pacific are going through. It’s simply tragic.

These recent events have made me consider what the coverage would have been like without Twitter and every social media outlet. Would I have learned as much about the events? Would I have learned anything? I appreciated my professor letting us watch the events unfold. I think too often we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our day to day lives and forget to reflect and realize what is happening around the world. Would I have been so interested in the events had I not watched them unfold in real time? Definitely something for me to ponder.

I need to make the time to pay attention to not only my industry, but also to how my industry affects real life and real world events.

Now on to Shirky and how his thoughts relate to the recent events.

Cognitive Surplus - Clay Shirky

Cognitive Surplus - Clay Shirky

Shirky talks about how we have been increasingly watching more and more television as a humanity. However, in my opinion this could sometimes be a good thing and sometimes be a bad thing. Take the recent events, television is how many people are getting their information about the happenings in the Pacific. Shirky thinks this downward spiral of TV watching is a bad thing, but I wouldn’t argue that there are two sides to it. Shirky talks about television sucking up our leisure time and not producing any results. This is true in some cases of reality TV watching; however, the television is a very brilliant news source for everyone. I personally, am a fan of television; however, I limit my viewing. Shirky talks about it telling stories, it makes people feel less alone, and it passes the time. These are all very true statements and why a lot of people watch TV. In class we talked about the fact that this free time could be used by sharing links on Twitter or Wikipedia pages. I would argue that this is happening with recent events people are sharing information through all different types of news sources and outlets.

All in all, we are becoming very advanced in every way. I am excited for new developments and to see how we adapt to them.