Start a Revival in Me

This year I have had the privilege of being able to Co-Director my university’s revival on campus. I am currently halfway through the process, and my, what a journey it has been already! This leadership position is nothing like I have ever experienced before. My personality is naturally drawn to positions of leadership, but this is stretching me and growing me where I never knew I needed growth. Many new challenges, opportunities for growth, and plenty of ways for my faith to be shaken.

Often times, I find myself throwing around this word: Revival. “Headed to a Revival meeting! I need to make some phone calls for Revival. Have you heard about Revival? Are you going to be there?!” This word has become such a ‘normal’ word in my vocabulary, that every time I say it, it doesn’t have the impact that it should have. The dictionary.com definition reads as follows: “restoration to life”. Churches have events called Revival in hopes of Christians experiencing faith in a way they never have before and to bring new followers to Christ.

My hope and prayer for our Revival is that no matter who you are, where you’re from, what degree you’re pursuing, where you work, what you do in your free time, that we would all come together as one body of Christ. That people would feel and receive the grace that God has for them. It doesn’t matter what you have done, a new life is waiting for you. One filled with love, acceptance, forgiveness (and forgiveness again), and a way in which we don’t have to carry the weight of our mistakes. My prayer is that in that moment where people are truly honest and vulnerable, they would only be met by Christ love through us.

Today I was overwhelmed with emotions of what it’s like to start seeing revival come together after planning and praying over it for so long (this was a result of our speaker for this year coming to visit for the day). The most difficult part of planning revival is there is no real measurement of success. We plan this event so that people are encouraged towards living a life pursuing faith; whether that be for the first time, or just a new depth for others. This is my second year serving, and I still don’t know how many people were changed because of last years event. It is difficult because you really don’t know if anyone really did have a life change or renewal. But, I truly believe that I have been called to this ministry. I believe that even though I haven’t heard a story, that someone’s life was changed.

The biggest thing I have learned through this whole experience, and still have to remind myself of daily, is that this is not my event. This is not UMHB’s event, it is not our committees event; it is fully 100% the Lord’s. I am constantly pausing in my work to remember this. It is easy to get caught up in the details; in worrying that nobody will show up, or that it will rain the week of, that maybe the logo isn’t flashy enough, and maybe that we didn’t pick the right verse. But in all reality, it is not we who bring the people. It is not us who saves people or changes lives–we are merely making a way for those things to happen. Being stewards to a God who has a plan. In the rest of my journey as Co-Director, I am resting in that fact that he has a plan for UMHB Revival 2015.

“I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.” Colossians 2:2

UMHB Revival 2015
Come As You Are
April 6-8th

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A Career in Pinteresting!?

Who loves Pinterst?! Maybe a better question is, who doesn’t love Pinterest!? I know for me personally, I try to stay away from this website for the very reason of: I’m going to get sucked in. Sucked in to what you ask? Wanting to cook, wanting to craft, planning my dream wedding, shopping for and purchasing my new wardrobe, gathering furniture for my future home, and sometimes even making my Christmas wish list! Pinterest seems like a website that is all about the community of consumers. With the idea of pinning what other people post to your own boards, so that you one day can look back and try it out also! With this idea of consumer community, how exactly can a business get involved with this high trending website?

Like I have said in the past, it is important for a company to meet consumers where they are. For that very reason, organizations should be jumping right in the middle of all this buzz of Pinterest! There is so much that a company can do to show consumers that they are staying up to date with all of the trends. A company could start a board about anything and if they are using Pinterest to the best of their abilities, could be very effective.

What I would like to see companies’ start doing on Pinterest is becoming more engaged when their products show up as pins. There has been multiple times that I have seen a picture of something I want, and there just happens to be no link attached to the image! This is the most frustrating part of Pinterest when I am trying to shop. With the use of image recognition technology, I think there is no reason why a company should not know when this happens with one of their products.

A company could categorize boards by whatever it is that is going on at the time. For instance, Christmas boards, fall boards, summertime boards…and from there, you could have different subthemes within each board.

For each season, you could have products to purchase, things to do, crafts to make, gifts to give, and the list goes on and on!

The best part of Pinterest, is that you become a victim of the snowball effect…which is so great!!! The snowball effect is one somebody sees something, and passes it along to all of their friends, and if someone else sees it who is interested, they also pass it along. Before you know it, you have people across the globe looking at what YOU are doing on Pinterest!

Being apart of the Pinterest community may seem like a silly waste of time, but this is one of those little pieces that piece together you’re greater marketing desire: for people to purchase what YOU have to offer. What consumers want is a relationship. And by being apart of the Pinterest community, you are building just that-community. They don’t feel like you are trying to sell something to them, but just that you are another user who pins awesome stuff.

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Effective Use of a Business Social Network

There is nothing worse than when you want to complain or compliment a product, and no one is around to receive it! I have experienced this multiple times and it can be extremely frustrating. Companies always talk about wanting the consumers opinions in order to improve or know what is already working, but how do we know that our voice is being heard?

In an article read on mediabistro.com, the statistics are scary-only one out of every six social media messages that are being sent to brands, are getting responses.

This is a huge issue! It is very crucial that companies realize the importance of social media in today’s society. Most people realize how much influence it has on people, but most of the time companies struggle with seeing how this can benefit their business. Every brand should desire to have a personal connection with their market-that’s the key to selling themselves. So how is it that five out of six messages are not being answered by corporations?

Which arises another question: is it really significantly hurting their brand if they do not respond? YES, it is! I personally have tweeted to two different companies because I was geniunely curious, or had a legitament concern. And neither time did I get a response! I lost a lot of respect for those two organizations through that. In one scenario, I literally asked a question, and heard nothing back. It was completely frustrating!

Should how should a company use social media? Post all the time, constantly respond to people, or post a little at a time? The best way to approach social media on a professional platform is to have a content calendar. A content calendar is scheduling out when you are going to share what content with your consumers. This is a key part to social media marketing for a few reasons.

1. You don’t want to clutter your consumers timeline. There is nothing that people hate more than seeing the same company or person pop up in their timeline over and over again. If you are posting too much, or sharing content too much, your consumers will most likely get annoyed and unfollow you. At that point, what could have been a possible customer, now is not aware of what is going on with your company anymore.

2. You want to be able to offer a variety of content. Without it being on a calendar, it is to repeat the same thing over and over which is not being helpful to your target audience. It is a way to stay organized, and if for some reason you are sharing the content publishing with someone else or a team, it is a good way for everyone to stay on the same page.

3. Although content calendars are important, you want to still be able to leave some wiggle room for what I like to call ‘spontaneous posts’. These are posts reserved for new content that comes up, that you want to be able to be a leader on! Sharing content first before others builds your reputation. So use a calendar, but also be able to be flexible!

There is so much that falls under social media marketing, that companies usually do not realize the magnitude of how much time it will take to use effective. And for this reason, many companies are not using social media to it’s full potential. To businesses now and for those who want to be successful in the biggest media platform, social networks, know this: hire some who strictly does social media marketing. You aren’t using your social media to its full potential until you have someone who focuses only on that. I’m currently looking for a part time job if you need some help getting started!

Reference of article read: 
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/brands-social-messages_b61144?utm_content=buffer09899&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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Hashtag Hashbrown

The key to marketing is meeting consumers where they are. And where are they exactly? What is trending in their personal life’s right now? It’s always interesting to me. As a twenty year old college student, I think of what’s important to me right now. Having fun, building friendships that last a lifetime, and learning how to live in the moment. Can you guess what I love even more than that? Sharing it with all my friends and family via social media. Social media has replaced those hour long phone calls of “What’s going on in your life?”. Now, we post about it and instantly everyone we’re connected with will know the latest of what we’re doing.

But you know what I have noticed more on social networking now more than ever? The use of memes. Meme, what is that!? According to dictionary.com, a meme is “a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.” If you’ve been on the Internet within the last year, you have most likely seen a meme, whether you realize it or not!

Image memes are the most common. Clever sayings, usually humorous. Hashtag Hashbrown is one of my personal favorites!

hash-brown-tag-hashtag-scaled500

But what does all of this meme talk mean for business? Or even marketing in general? Let’s look at some companies who have joined consumers where they are, and joined in on this trend of memes.

meme1

This is one billboard that is embracing the popularity of memes. ‘Success Kid’ is a meme that people use when accomplishing something, or having success. Virgin Mobile uses it well in this photo to advertise getting HD channels at no extra cost.

Here is an example of a video meme:

Again, this one brings humor, and the ever so popular keyboard cat to their meme inspiration. This is a very popular cat, and Pistachios did a really great job of placing their product in the view the whole time that the cat was playing the keyboard.

One thing that I have found interesting, is the importance of images in the cultural that we are in today. Writing about infographics last week, and memes this week, I am now not surprised that Instagram became so popular! Images have become a huge part of marketing because we as consumers are very visual people.

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Infographics: Much More Than a Picture

Marketing in the 21st century has new challenges. But along with new challenges, also comes new opportunities. The advancement of today’s technology has been so impressive that we can barely keep up! But it has been able to help businesses advance and grow in almost every area, including marketing.

One challenge that marketers have is trying to appeal to consumers. Although this may seem easy, it is rather challenging. Yes, you have a product that is going to ROCK the world of those who your target market is! But then the question becomes, how are they going to know about this life-altering product? That seems to be the challenge that stumps so many marketers in today’s society. You have to create something that is going to grab attention, at just the right time, and that doesn’t take too much time to process.

We are known to be people who are busy, always going; constantly doing something. With advancing technology, we also live in a day in age where we want everything instantly. And if it’s not instant, we’d rather just go without it. Interesting fact- did you know that in some cultures, there is this atmosphere of “we will start whenever everyone gets here.” How many times have we staying in the Starbucks line for two minutes and thought the world was going to end? That’s a conversation for another day, back to what I had to say….

With an instant atmosphere, marketers need to develop something that catches the consumer, and is not a lot to read. There’s a reason why one of the most popular social medias is a community of messages that are all abbreviated to 140 characters. The solution to this problem is infographics.

Infographics is a highly effective way to advertise. Everyone likes pretty pictures over a full page of text to read! But how do you make an effective infographic? There are three key components: design, information and illustration. An infographic is not something that can just be thrown together and classified as an ‘infographic’. It takes planning on what information it is that you are trying to communicate. That is where you design the graphic, and add an illustration.

While looking for information on the Internet to share about this topic, I came across this blog that our professor had shared with us. One of the most interesting facts listed on this blog is that 200% more images are liked on Facebook over text. What a significant number to prove just how important infographics are!

Resource:
http://blog.visual.ly/11-infographics-about-infographics/

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What Are You Passionate About?

How would you define a passion? The dictionary.com definition reads “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.” Therefore you can have a passion for something that makes you upset, or something you love. But my definition of passion, is something that you feel is worth fighting for. It is in these passions that shows what is important to us, where we see ourselves going in life, and what kind of change we want to see in the community.

But when it comes to change, many people are not comfortable with that word, and all that it entails. We all get comfortable in our day-to-day lives; get up, go to work/school, come home, relax, hang with friends…even in our daily routine there is a sense of consistency. I believe this is where we begin to be stagnant, and standing out doesn’t even occur to us. We live in a lazy generation-everything we’ve ever wanted is right in front of us with the push of a button. So why go out of our way to make a difference? Isn’t just posting about it on social media for our friends and family to see, to grow awareness, enough?

Through a class I am currently taking about social media marketing, we focus on how social media can be used for your company. We always talk about new ways to use social media that the average joe might not know about. It is all very useful information, and is really going to be something that I will be using once I begin my career out of college. But a new perspective that we talked about this week in class, was when is enough, enough? Yes, social media can be very beneficial, and it’s brilliant to meet your consumers where they are-on social media 24/7. But when do we become classified as stagnant in what we are passionate about? Yeah, so I shared an article about something that really interested me. I even commented on it to tell people how passionate I am about it and to spread the word! But is that enough?

In our world today, social media becomes who we are. It is all about how many friends we have on Facebook, how many likes we get on pictures we post on Instagram, how many followers we have on Twitter; when is it that we come out from behind the computer screen and really start speaking about what we are passionate about? I’m guilty of it too!

I am passionate about youth ministry. I am a Christian, and I have always felt called to show others the love of Christ-whether that be through day-to-day conversations and actions, or even sharing the gospel with them-that is something that I am passionate about. But it wasn’t until the summer after my freshman year of college that passion really came to life for me. I went to work at a summer camp, and it changed my life. Going three months without a phone besides six hours a week, sleeping on average six hours a night, and only having off time about six hours a week, my focus really begin to shift. It was then that I realized what I had been missing out on back at school-life. I felt more in touch with people than I ever had with a cell phone in my hand. I learned how to really listen to people, how to ask the right questions, and how much people desire your full attention when interacting with them.

It was in these three months that I found my passion. Not only my passion, but my touch back into the real world. Social media is not a bad thing, it’s all about balance. How much time do you spend online talking about your passion, and how much time do you actually spend with people living it out? Check out this video and feel inspired to put down the cell phone a little bit more.

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A New Take on Marketing Yourself

When I think of Marketing, the first thing that pops into my head is the 4 P’s of marketing. Little do people realize that when trying to find a job, they are marketing themselves. So my thought process is always: where do the 4 P’s come into that type of marketing?

  • Product: When trying to find a job, you become the product. You are the product that you want other companies to ‘buy’. What sets you apart from all the other products (applicants)? This is the time to brag about yourself and what you have to offer in comparison to everyone else.
  • Price: That would be your salary-when they do decide to hire you, how much are they going to pay for you? This is something that you will have a say in, there’s almost always a place for a desired salary on many applications. Not always, but a good majority of the time.
  • Place: This one is pretty straight forward-where do you want to work? This could be a variety of places, just know that where ever you do choose, you need to be educated on that company because in essence, that’s where you want to work.
  • Promotion: This is all the fluff that you are going to give yourself. What are you going to want to highlight about your resume to a specific place? Know the company you want, and know enough about them that you have a good idea of what is going to appeal to them.

This idea of marketing yourself has always been interesting to me, and I don’t think that people pay as much attention to it as they should. There is so much more to applying for a job than just filling out an application. Especially if this is a career that you want on a long-term basis.

With this idea of marketing yourself, how do you know where to market yourself? If you aren’t surprised by my posts about social media, then you probably won’t be surprised to hear that many employees are now turning to social media to find potential future employees.
A huge social network that can benefit you and your future career, is most definitely LinkedIn. LinkedIn is basically a Facebook, but build around people’s resumes. It’s an online resume, where numerous companies can go searching for candidates that best fit their company. On top of that, you as a user can search companies that you think might be the best fit for you.
In today’s day in age, an online presence and network is just as important as personal contacts. Typically, we spend more time online connecting with people than we do in real life. So why not use this technology to your advantage? It can save you time and energy in the future, and you can find a ton of different kinds of information online. In a changing world, we need to learn how to adapt and use technology to our advantage instead of letting it take over our lives.

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Social Marketing

One of the newest ways that marketers are making themselves known is through the use of social marketing. Social marketing is a technique marketers are using in order to form a sense of community for their consumers. A big way of noticing this trend is through television nowadays. How you ever noticed when you’re watching a show, there will appear a faint hashtag in the corner of the screen? This is a technique that is becoming more and more common and technology continues to advanced.

Twitter has grown significantly within the past couple of years, and is becoming one of the best ways for companies, celebrities, and organizations to connect with society. Hashtags are the newest phenomenal that is revolutionizing the way we use social media. Instead of just connecting with other people via social media sites, we can now find ways to connect to other people about a subject, event, or just a trending topic through the use of hashtags.

We have all been in a situation where we have been separated from the ones that we love. This is unfortunately, but is completely normal at this day in age. One way that marketers want to bring people together and form a community, is through the use of these hashtags. This makes it possible to interact with others who are experiencing the same show, having the same frustration with something, or fangirling together about the latest One Direction CD. This is creating a community for users, and is helping people connect not only to each other, but also to the organization in a way they might not normally.

So where do we see this social marketing going? What is next for the future of interacting with consumers? A marketer not only want product awareness for their company, but also customer relations.

What if TV shows decided to start casting for shows via the Internet? Instead of holding a casting call, they asked viewers who they would think would make a show even more successful.

What if anything you saw on the TV, you could instantly purchase? If you followed a hashtag of a show, you could instantly find links to things that were worn, displayed, or even music that was played during that episode.

What if consumers had the power to change the course of a television show, or the decision made for a product? What if you got to pick the next flavor of Lays chips that would be sold(which by they way Frito Lay has actually been doing this, and been pretty successful at it too!)?

People like to have control. Whether that is control of getting to wear whatever they want to work, or whether that is deciding the direction that their favorite show is going to take. The more us as marketers listen to what the consumers want, and give them a voice, I think the more surprised we will be with the success of our products and company overall in the future.

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Social Media Marketing

A new phenomenal that has hit our generation is the power of social media. People like to stay connected no matter the distance and thanks to modern technology; we have the resources to do that. First phones, then texting, and now the Internet to stay connected in a way not possible before. The great thing about the Internet and social media is that we are able to post one thing to a mass number of people at a time. We live in a fast paced, busy world- wanting everything instantly. So being able to update every family member, friend, coworker, or long lost cousin at the same time is convenient and saves a ton of time.

So how can a business get in on the action of such a common platform, such as social media, that so many people use nowadays?

Facebook is the most common platform of social media. You can find kids all the way to grandparents on this platform. A few things that a business can do on here are creating a page for other users to ‘like’. There are many reasons why you may want to do this. Users will be able to see all of your business information. Such as: who you are, where you are located, and even the hours that you are open. Many users like this because they can also see reviews posted by other people. And if someone posts a negative comment, it is impossible for a company to delete just that one comment. The only way to put it, would be to hide the entire review section.

Twitter is also another platform that is very popular right now-particularly with the younger generation. Twitter is used for concise messages-only 140 characters long. I personally like Twitter the best because I am a person that is all about efficiency. I’m too busy to sit a status that is longer than 140 characters. Okay, so I’m not THAT busy, but I still loose focus really quickly. This is why I like Twitter-it is everything you need to know-in a small amount of space. It is the definition of effective communication. Businesses have the opportunity to not only advertise special promotions and products, but also may be able to do some marketing research. Not just that, but also build customer relations. If someone tags your business in a tweet, asking a question or complaining, you have an opportunity to build that relationship by responding. That customer automatically feels important just by getting a tweet at them from an official Twitter account.

Whichever way you decide to go, there are so many different benefits of being apart of a trend that does not seem to be dying any time soon-social media. What is the best part of social media? It is free to use! Of course there are always extra things that you can pay for that can beneficial, but the start up is free. What other marketing campaign can you say that about? Take advantage of this free to use service and connect with your market!

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Marketing through Story Telling

It was that time of year again. That time when you knew all year long when you were asked this question, you were going to know exactly what to say. You had seen things throughout the year, that you wanted; that you stored in the back of your mind waiting for the day that mom and dad were going to ask you. For me, today was the day for that question.

“What do you want for Christmas this year?”

I knew it! I knew the second that they asked; I was going to have a blank stare on my face, just like every year before. As a child I never had the issue of trying to decide what I wanted, life was so simple back then! Whether it was a new Barbie, some kind of cookbook (I use to think I was going into the business of culinary), or I’d even be happy with new clothes-since most of my clothes ended up being hand me downs from my sister. But lucky for me, I have parents who know me better than I know myself.

I have one brother and one sister who are both older than me. We are all within three years of each other, so we were in the same stage of life most of the time growing up. My sister and I fought a lot, and my brother would just wait for us to stop so we could all play together. My brother being the oldest was always so chill, and almost never picked a fight with us-something I admire to this day.

Our Christmas traditions were different than many other peoples. My family is not one to have a ton of traditions, but around Christmas, we always knew what to expect. Christmas Eve we would all go to the Christmas Eve service at church together. Afterwards, we would drive around the neighborhood looking at all the Christmas lights that were hung (this was the torturous part because we just wanted to open presents!). We would finally get home to eat dinner-which was always a Chick-Fil-A nugget catered tray, and Red Lobster shrimp. To this day, I’m still not sure how that tradition came to be, but it’s one I’ve known my whole life! From there, we would be opening presents. My family opened all but one of our presents on Christmas Eve. The one present that we didn’t open Christmas Eve, was our “Santa gift”.

Our Santa gift started, as we were young and still believed in Santa. Although, I’m twenty and still call it a Santa gift….anyway. We always looked forward to this gift-it usually was our most expensive, or the one gift we really wanted.

This particular year, I was in second grade, and I remember Christmas like it was yesterday! My brother, sister, and I got a collective Santa gift this year. What could it be? Our parents had put together a scavenger hunt for us to go find it-we were so excited! We read our clue, and traveled to a couple different locations around the house, until finally, we got the last clue.

At the time, we had lived in San Antonio, Texas. It had iced over the night before, and almost looked like snow on the ground, when it was really just ice. We read the last clue, and it led us to our backyard. There we found a trampoline. Back at this time, it was the coolest present that none of us had even asked for. We ran out, in our pajamas, on the iced over trampoline, and jumped together while our parents marveled at how happy we were. It was the best Christmas present I’ve ever received. It was so great because for me, it was more about the memory of jumping together with my siblings, and my parents staying up all night to put it together for us to have the next morning, than it ever was about the object.

Cool story, right? What if you were watching this, as a commercial-as a parent, is this kind of experience you would want to give your chi For me, yes! And that would be the art of story telling through marketing. Did you realize this whole story was an advertisement for a trampoline? The best marketing campaigns are when the consumer doesn’t even know they’re being marketed.

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