A Short Lesson in Modern French Slang

Bon Chic Bon Genre. Observe the first letter in each word and say them as one word. "Baysaybayzhay." Say that more quickly and there it is, "Baisebeige!" Translated, it refers to people who think they're all that. I am exploring the changing values of world culture and expressing through dress the evolving image of the pillar of our modern society.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Moving Experience ... Part III



I have tried everything to facilitate finding and moving into a new home, but after four months, it has become painfully obvious that I need to do something different.

Please donate to my moving fund. The links are at the end of this post.
Also, please share this post with your social networks, and by e-mail to altruistic friends and organizations.

I have freed most of the next three weeks by working ahead in my current course to help accomplish finding an acceptable place to live and work. There is no break between the end of this term and the beginning of the next one.

Part of the reason I am considerably more anxious now is because my 60th birthday is on June 28th. There's not one living person who would know that unless informed by a social network, but it just matters to me that my birthday isn't awful. And, I am more than mildly concerned that, after being on vacation for four months, it will be challenging to get my Etsy shops to rebound to the same level of performance.

I am sure, too, considering my less than optimum health, that it will take all of three weeks to find a place and slowly move into it. The weather is no longer in my favor.

I have been without transportation now for almost two weeks, but the search resumes tomorrow. Finding a first floor (or accessible) apartment with secure mail is more difficult than I thought, but I will be persistent and am willing to live in less than optimum conditions, if necessary.

The hotel and storage locker rent has almost completely consumed the entire two months of my typical living expenses, which is part of my financial aid package.

I need your help more than ever and right now right now.

Realistically, I need:

  • Hotel rent until the end of June. My room rate has slightly been increased to $55 + tax. If you want to pay for nights directly to the hotel, the manager's name and number is below this post.
  • Apartment application, deposit, prorated June, and July rent.
  • Transportation
  • Moving help that will help me move a few things several times per week, and help me unpack, clean items, and put them away. My previous landlord soaked my apartment and everything in it with insecticide, which made me sicker than I already was, and I want to clean things up before I live with them.
  • Funds for bills and food.
Here's how you can help:

  • Because of intermittent disbursements of money from my generosity fund, please donate directly into my PayPal account. My PayPal email is baisebeige@gmail.com.
  • The hotel manager's name is Andy Mugosa and you can call him at (317) 352-0481.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

My Moving Experience ... Part II


I am mostly writing this post to be able to release everything that's on my mind and try to relax while things are stable in the present moment. This is night #91 since being stranded in the hotel, and, while trying to remain calm, the anxiety is overwhelming. That magical situation of finding a place that is for rent, a landlord who will respond to inquiries about his ad, transportation to go to see the apartment, a landlord who will show up for the appointment, cash on hand to rent the apartment, and reliable moving help is the most elusive thing. Like. Ever. In the meantime, hotel and storage locker rent eats the cash resources and I have become perpetually stuck.

This is my vacation from school, and I had once again envisioned moving during this period of reduced responsibilities. Can it happen? I don't know. I am now working a little ahead with the homework for the class that starts Monday, because something disruptive can happen, and I want to be ready. I could run out of money and end up on the streets. But, I believe in miracles, especially since my entire moving experience has been a string of one miracle after another and I do believe, to the depths of my being, that my move can be in motion soon.

I have accomplished much since being "location inspecific". I was invited to join an honor society for nontraditional students called, Alpha Sigma Lambda. I aced my cognitive psychology and social media marketing strategy courses. I took these pictures of the insides of my storage lockers when I collected the merchandise and some shipping materials to be able to open my CockADoodleDuds shop on Etsy so I could enter it in a contest. I didn't win but I got a more than average amount of votes, and I am pleased. I sorely miss my Etsy shops and am eager to get all of them open again soon. Some vintage patterns and vintage fabric ended up at the hotel during my botched move, so I am able to prepare them for listing when I reopen. Some Etsy participation is better than none. I also finished knitting a blanket for my teeny camper cot which will be my bed for awhile. Everything you see in the photos above is what I have left from my whole life and I discarded most of my furniture.

I'm going to be very honest. I need immediate help.

My Facebook friend, Ali Shanti, helped me create a generosity fund. You can donate at this link:
https://igg.me/at/HD6XVIxECsU
The fundraiser will be live until my situation stabilizes.

Because the generosity fund disburses cash intermittently and I have pressing, immediate, everyday needs, donations can be made directly through PayPal. My PayPal e-mail is baisebeige@gmail.com.

If you live in Indianapolis, here is a description, in the form of a Facebook note. It describes what I am looking for in a new home. It is probably not the kind of place that would ever be advertised by any other way than a sign on the property. What have you seen? Please comment on this post and share your lead!
https://www.facebook.com/notes/laura-fisher/you-tell-me-where-is-this-place/1302779889771389/

Thank you so much for reading this post. You can also help by sharing it with your social networks, with groups and organizations, and with friends who are in a position to help. On the theme, of helping, just writing this update helps me clear my mind and relax a little. This has, beyond any doubt, been the most challenging situation I have ever faced. But. Still. I am optimistic that I will go home soon, and somehow, life will be even better than before this mess unfolded.




Sunday, April 2, 2017

Marketing on Pinterest



I admit it. In the beginning, when I was a beta-tester on Pinterest, I completely "dropped the ball" and failed to see the marketing potential that site offered. Perhaps, I was too mesmerized by the abundance of all things wonderful presented in an endless visual array. Or, perhaps, I was already feeling overwhelmed by social media in my first year online to consider exploring the site further. Just more than one year ago, though, I returned to the site with fresh eyes and began to understand why Pinterest has become a key channel for businesses.

I became an enthusiastic Pinner again, because I realized the target markets for my Etsy business were active Pinterest users. That is a fundamental motivation for any business use of a social network (Charleston, 2016). My own mostly female, Millennial or older, and low middle to upper middle income demographic was well-represented on the site. Many more market segments are well-represented on Pinterest and it is worth the effort for marketers to explore. And, certain "fun facts" about Pinterest may surprise any marketer. For example, Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram. And, two-thirds of all pins represent brands and products. Every day 2 million people pin product-rich pins. Considering those pinned products, 87% of users have purchased a pinned product, 72% use Pinterest to make decisions about purchases, and 92% plan purchases using their pins (Aslam, 2017). In other words, consumers create beautiful boards that they use to guide their consumer behavior. Pinterest is a marketer's dream come true.

I used Pinterest as a personal account until I had more than 10,000 followers. For some reason, unknown even to myself, I thought that would help me understand what my followers liked best. Don't make the same mistake. Use Pinterest as a business account from the beginning. Pinning your own content will automatically create "rich pins" with eye-catching information about your product. But, more importantly than that, Pinterest Analytics for business accounts will help take all of the guesswork out of understanding your followers' interests. Insights, providing data on consumer preferences based on pinning behavior, combined with the demographic details about the audience can be used to guide business strategy to generate more engagement that is measured in impressions, clicks, and saves (Pinterest, 2017). Pinterest organizes information to help businesses make wise decisions and also provides tools to collect more data from content. In addition to organic engagement, well-performing pins can be promoted with paid ads to increase reach.

Unlike tweets, or most other social media posts, pins are forever. Users curate them on their boards and they are discovered and repinned by other users, which keeps content in perpetual circulation. The main job for the marketer becomes creating irresistible pins with content targeted precisely using information from Pinterest Analytics. I may have returned to Pinterest with fresh eyes, but those eyes are now wide open. Within that beautiful array of all things wonderful lies unique opportunities for business and all of the tools to achieve success on Pinterest.



References

Aslam, S. (2017). Pinterest by the numbers: stats,demographicsand fun facts. omnicoreagency.com. 
     Retrieved from https://www.omnicoreagency.com/pinterest-statistics/

Charleston, L.-J. (2016). How much social media is too much for your business? Huffington Post
     [AU edition]. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/04/28/how-much-
     social-media-is-too-much-for-your-business/

Pinterest (2017). Pinterest analytics. pinterest.com. Retrieved from
     https://business.pinterest.com/en/pinterest-analytics

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Marketing on Twitter



I describe my own experience with marketing on Twitter as a blend of failing forward and learning by doing. I believed Twitter was an ideal platform for shamelessly self-promoting my own content, but in my early days online I had very little content of my own. I did the next best thing. I published sponsored tweets for an online ad agency. I could write the tweet content, and the tweets were automatically posted during times of high engagement. As pennies per click added up to hundreds of dollars, I learned valuable lessons about when to post and the best formats for tweets. Times have changed and Twitter's own sponsored tweet program has driven the agencies from the network. In fact, the appearance of the network is different. Instead of being a stream of text messages, timelines have become visual and tweets with images or video are most effective at capturing attention. I have learned to observe what others do to get ideas for my own projects.

Because big brands have marketing strategies that are not very relevant to small businesses, I have a tendency to visit their profiles, instead of following them, to look for information and promotions. Any business's well-managed social media profile is a place for sharing and discussing content (Ryan & Jones, 2009). However, the small businesses and organizations in my own timeline are a source of ideas and tactics I can model. It is especially beneficial for me to see their tweets in real time and in the context of online chatter. The most eye-catching tweets have "pictures worth 1000 words" and are crafted to complement the text of the tweet. I observe social listening practices to see how small brands engage users and see how hashtags are used for market targeting. Once again, I find myself failing forward and learning by doing as I promote my chicken sweater shop for an Etsy contest. With just one day into the project and just one brand image to promote, I am discovering that the more Twitter changes, the more it stays the same. It's going to take considerable work and patience to determine an actionable strategy to fit my purposes, but my belief that Twitter is a formidable marketing platform is still unwavering.

Reference

Ryan, D., & Jones, C. (2009). Understanding digital marketing: Marketing strategies for engaging    
     the digital generation. [Books24x7 version] Retrieved from
     http://common.books24x7.com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/toc.aspx?bookid=31037




Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Moving Experience... Part I

The house where I had been living had a certain je ne sais quoi from before the time when I moved in more than two years ago. For more than twenty years, every resident who moved out filled up the dumpster on the way out. What a curiosity, right?

It didn't take long after moving in to begin to understand why. I've lived in old houses for most of my adult life and never had negative experiences. My luck completely changed. A variety of toxic conditions took a terrible toll on my health, including impacting my ability to walk.

Drastic action was required and I joined the ranks of former tenants who discarded significant worldly goods on the way to a healthier future. I snapped a quick pic of my first dumpster load from the kitchen window. It was too physically taxing at that point to even go outdoors and capture a better image. I filled the dumpster a second time. I only kept things that were well-protected from the environment in the building the whole time, which included my Etsy shop merchandise and supplies, art supplies and tools, my clothing, my kitchen equipment and tools, a couple of small pieces of furniture, and a few precious personal items.

I did have a plan in the beginning of the move and was as well-prepared as I possibly could be. Since I had lived in my neighborhood since 1989 and didn't have a good idea of where else I would want to live, I was going to live in a temporary place for awhile. However, at the last minute, my friend reneged on the room, leaving me the choice of living on the street or checking into a hotel.

To be perfectly fair to the person who was helping me move everything I had left from my life into storage, I let him choose the general location of the hotel for convenience, since there was more work to do after that apartment had been vacated. I made the final choice of hotel after seeing the selection on Shadeland Avenue. You have to understand that I have only spent a maximum of two hours total on Shadeland Avenue in the whole 35 years I have lived in Indianapolis.

Then, the most unexpected thing happened after I became isolated in an unfamiliar place. The person who was helping me with moving and transportation unexpectedly abandoned the responsibility. That left me stuck worse than I have ever been stuck as I helplessly watched the hotel room rate erode my moving fund.

I found irony in the situation, though. It was fascinating that a decision that I made to improve my overall situation put me in another precarious situation. It was a different sort of bad situation, because of the extreme financial instability. I was living the truth of that out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-the-fire adage. On the other hand, almost immediately, after being in the clean environment of the hotel, my sleep and digestion patterns had become more normal after two years of disruption. My suspicions were being supported, but I still have a long way to go until I completely recover from living in a toxic place. And, to make matters worse, there is nowhere to call home.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

[P]interest[ing] Observations

Having a short hiatus from my everyday life provides the opportunity to evaluate how I use social media for promoting my Etsy shops as well as how I share other elements of my personal brand. In the beginning,when the Internet was new to me, I believed I had to use all of the social media without really knowing much about social media at all. So, not surprisingly, I jumped at the opportunity to be a beta-tester for Pinterest. I created a profile, but didn't do much with it for years. More than one year ago, I discovered that the target market for my Etsy business closely mirrored the overall demographics of Pinterest. I, therefore, decided to explore that site with fresh eyes. Through the years I have experienced delightful personal engagement on a variety of social networking sites, but the interaction has done little to advance my personal projects or to be measurable in profit. To be effective for social business, engagement is essential to inspire collaboration between business and customers in a variety of combinations. So, as one of my social media marketing strategy course textbooks stated so well, I decided "to fish where fish are and not where I wish they were" (Evans, 2010).

Building an engaged network took longer than I had expected. The task involved creating boards that reflected my business and personal interests. I then found content that related exactly to my interests and pinned it to my boards. I kept calm and pinned on, day after day. I pinned dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of pieces of content every day. The idea was to aggregate content that would be interesting to my target market. That meant I had to be selective about the users I followed to make sure my choices for shareable content perfectly reflected my taste and creative aesthetic. As much as I might like a particular user or brand, I will only follow the account if the content relates to me. I can always visit profiles and individual boards for specific information. Avoiding clutter in my own feed reduced distraction and increased productivity. Minutes matter when there is massive pinning to do.

It's true. If you build it, they do come. Once my network was up and running like a well-oiled perpetual motion machine with 10,000 followers, I switched my personal account to a business account and began inserting my own content intermittently to gauge my followers' reactions. I now have more than 15,000 followers and that number increases daily.  Happily, my content has proven to be a good fit with my carefully nurtured followers who interact with it at the same rate as content from other sources. People click through to my shops and sales are made.

Once engagement is established, a Pinterest network grows effortlessly. Content is shared effortlessly, too. Pinned content has eternal life, never falling into oblivion at the depths of news feeds like other social networks. Pins circulate, whether or not I am actively pinning. It is simply magical.  The theory has been tested and proven, but there is still work to do. As I look forward to reopening my Etsy shops soon, the goal is to make content even more convenient for others to share. I am also exploring methods to create even more eye-catching promotional pins for my content for posting directly on Pinterest or to be shared to Pinterest from other social networks. The only disappointment is that Pinterest engagement doesn't enhance social influence scores. However, a better "social network fit" is leading to purchases and making online success finally measurable in profit.

Reference

Evans, D. (2010). Social media marketing: the next generation of business engagement. [Books24x7 
     version] Retrieved from
     http://common.books24x7.com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/toc.aspx?bookid=41104. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

From Crickets to Profit


This wasn't my first holiday season on Etsy, but this was the first time I actually had a holiday season. Look at this! My little Etsy shops did this much business in just one day and I am not particularly "seasonal." Needless to say, I got my rock star mail lady a nicer-than-usual Christmas treat for all that bending over she did. I'll bet she wonders what happened. My home-based, online business used to be the one business on her route that she could count on to not vex her during the December package rush. The deafening sound of crickets used to fill the space outside my door where the Priority Mail boxes are stacked. What happened to change that? I did the smart and right thing and repaired the titles, tags, and listing content in all of my Etsy shops and then ran Etsy Search Ads to maximize that effort. Will the trend in increased sales continue after the holiday merriment ends? Yes, it will. I can say that with confidence because I paid attention in the integrated marketing communications course I am finishing today. After I press "submit" to turn in the final assignments, I'm logging onto Etsy to discover what all of the data I collected informs me about the next direction to take.

Etsy, as a company, has such an intimate relationship with data that, in September, it acquired Blackbird Technologies, a Big Data company, to be able to apply Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligences, especially to consumer searches. The idea is be able to provide an enhanced shopping experience which is unique to the buyer (Armstrong, 2016). I want to take advantage of these changes, and, fortunately, Etsy provides me with data relevant to the daily activities of my shops in addition to data generated by my ads. I also have data from Twitter and Pinterest, which are my social media networks I use most to promote my shops. For having a tiny business, it certainly seems I have plenty of numbers. That's good because I know, that no matter the size of the business, evaluation of marketing campaigns is beneficial. In a way, I am reverse engineering research. My goal is to more deeply understand my customer and discover the messaging to communicate better in the future. The better I align my goals within the Etsy strategy, the better my results will be, and the outgoing boxes will continue piling up. I have to be able to understand what happened until now and data can tell me that.

At first glance, when I started running and paying for the ads, I felt like my efforts made a good example for the marketing concept called marginal analysis. The spending on ads seemed to have a limit to profitability (Clow & Baack, 2014, 103). Plenty of clicks seemed to generate an underwhelming amount of sales. On one hand, the increase in traffic was desirable, but conversion was elusive. The process short-circuited at the listing level and that becomes my first focus when creating an integrated marketing strategy that works better. There were sales. There also was a product-specific awareness determined from keyword searches that included exact words from item titles and listing content. Affective responses, "hearting" items and shops, increased. The short-term successes are indeed noteworthy achievements in evaluating a simple ad campaign (Clow & Baack, 2014, 413). Evaluating the metrics will help me make decisions about tailoring future ad spending to conform better to results already observed. However, I must exercise caution about my judgments since online shopping, especially for one-of-a-kind items, suggests a Cinderella's slipper situation. A poorly performing ad might simply indicate the right shoppers have not yet searched for the item. 

Doing everything I can possibly do to increase the visits to my shops is only part of the plan. The messaging, which I use in my shop content as well as the messages I create on social media networking sites to promote my shops, is also ripe for evaluation. My online metrics will provide some insight (Clow & Baack, 2014, 421). However, getting to better know the customers who were motivated to add items to the cart, can shape future communications. I have ZIP codes and the A C Nielsen company has narratives that describe, with amazing accuracy, persons living in every ZIP code in America (A C Nielsen, 2016). Knowing to whom I am speaking can guide the words I write and the images I create. Being specific optimizes effectiveness of the futuristic technology Etsy now owns. Similarly, care must be taken to avoid alienating other market segments by being too specific. Finding the balance becomes the challenge as I attempt to address what I think my customer thinks about my content and how the customer thinks that content applies to a want or need. Applying inferences about thinking as derived from generalities is beginning to sound suspiciously like the realm of cognitive science. Lucky for me, the next course I will study, beginning in January, is cognitive psychology. And, yes, I will be playing along at home.

References

A C Nielsen (2016). ZIP code look up. In My Best Segments. Retrieved from
    https://segmentationsolutions.nielsen.com/mybestsegments/Default.jsp?ID=20&menuOption=
    zipcodelookup&pageName=ZIP%2BCode%2BLookup&filterstate=&sortby=segment_code&
    prevSegID=CLA.PZP
Armstrong, P. (2016, December 15). What you don't know about Etsy (and its 2017 strategy). In
    Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/paularmstrongtech/2016/12/15/what-you-
    dont-know-about-etsy-and-its-2017-strategy/#40cd9e3b4d90
Clow, K. E., & Baack, D. (2014). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications 
    (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.; 103, 413, & 421.