Monday, August 29, 2016

Just Call Me Bloglee

Summertime is usually known as a period of freedom, adventure, and care-free attitude... until you get old.

While preparing for my senior year of college, I had to put all the shenanigans aside this past summer and do what big girls do at this age: get an internship. But I didn't want just any internship. The last thing I wanted was to sit behind a desk all day wearing a pant suit and kitten heels while marketing for a company that my values didn't align with. So I chose to intern for a business that I truly believed in.

Based here in Athens, Georgia, umano is a fashion brand on a mission to unleash kids’ creativity by showcasing a kid’s drawings as Artwork on all products/designs. With every purchase, they give a backpack full of school supplies to empower a kid. So I had found a brand whose morals resonated with my own and that was also conveniently located in my backyard. But then I had to decide what I could bring to the team.

During my phone interview, the subject of blogging came up. I mentioned that I had dabbled in a little lifestyle blogging of my own and kept up with a few brand blogs pretty regularly, but nothing of expertise. Next thing I knew, I had been hired as the new blogging intern and was now to be addressed as 'bloglee.' Big moves in Summer16.

Blogging is such a cool channel of digital marketing with a lot of potential and opportunity, yet often gets overlooked. Usually brands tend to focus on the main priorities such as their website social media. However, blogging actually appeals to a wide audience because it's almost like the posts serve as short stories. Blogs are quick and easy to read and filled with inspiration, if you do it right. I knew that as umano's blog intern, I wanted the story behind the company to be sincerely translated through all posts while simultaneously producing "on brand" lifestyle and fashion inspiration in their own voice.

To be honest, the job wasn't easy. With all the social media trend critique today, it's hard to translate authenticity through an online presence. I learned so much from this position such as:
1) Keeping a consistent brand voice on all online platforms is so so important, and not very easy. While a different person was providing content for emails, Instagram, website, Facebook, and the blog, how do you make umano seem like a real, consistent voice? That's the challenge and the goal. 

2) For many brands, the blog is not the most popular outlet. Especially with fashion brands, many audiences gravitate to Instagram because of the photo content paired with captions that are short, sweet, and to the point. Scrolling through Instagram takes far less effort than reading and committing to a blog post. So sometimes you work really hard on a post, and the statistics from the other media channels don't quite match up. That's kind of hard, yet very important and very humbling to accept.

3) Blogging opens up a world of opportunities and creative potential. There is no standard type of blog post. The directions are endless! You can feature an interview, a how-to, videos, recipes, and so many other forms of inspiration. Blogs are a great outlet to trying something new. They really are a blank (digital) canvas. This position gave me a lot of creative freedom, and I was able to experiment with my abilities. 

So I guess this summer really was a time of freedom and adventure, just in a different context this time. I'm so thankful to umano for an amazing learning and growing opportunity. And if your looking for a stylish brand with a deeper mission, check them out. They are a truly authentic brand whose #umanounion I am incredibly proud to still be apart of. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How Instagram Can Enhance Your Travels

Going into college, I knew that I wanted to study abroad. But where? Didn't know. When? Didn't know. How? Really didn't know. So naturally, my first step was to literally google "UGA study abroad programs." That search basically gave me all the logistics that I needed. I knew the different cities, dates, classes, and prices offered for these programs, but how could I feel drawn to or connected with a destination by a list of information and some dated photos on a UGA website? That's where social media surprisingly took a role in my journey to the best decision of my college career.

I knew a ton of people who had studied abroad in college, so I figured why not look through their albums on Facebook to see what all they did on their trip? This eventually led me to stalking people on Instagram months and even years back to see their study abroad posts. With the advancement in technology and specifically in social media platforms today, it's super easy to get 'lost' searching. One click led to a new page, that led to a new account, that led me to a completely different city. 

The beauty of social media today is that you can pretty much find anything. Someone posts a bomb ass looking sandwich? They probably tagged the restaurant's account or at least added the location. Cute shoes that you have to have? I'm sure they tagged the brand or hashtagged the store. Easy- add it to the list! So after hours of searching a stalking hashtags, locations, and random account searches, I found so much real-life information about the cities that I was considering studying abroad in. The the end, I knew that Valencia, Spain was the place for me.

After finally deciding on a destination, I went back to the Instagram accounts of people that I knew had studied or visited this city and began making a list. I wrote down restaurants, clubs, museums, and so many other cool things that I wanted to see or do. It was so easy. This process led me to another epiphany- I can probably find other blogs or accounts based in this city from a basic Instagram search. I ended up finding Valencian food accounts, annual music and arts festival information, and cool boutiques around the city. So thanks Instagram- I owe my carefully detailed and mostly completed bucket list to you.

Discovering how easy it was to find out information about a certain city through Instagram and other social media sites has definitely affected my travels. Now when I go on a trip, I search that city or place on Instagram to find local accounts, blogs, tags, or cool locations. This is such an easy, practical and free resource to use when traveling. 

So next time you're preparing for an adventure, take to social media before a travel agent or other traveling companies. You just might come across some truly honest, authentic, and helpful recommendations that you wouldn't otherwise find. And those little spots will change your entire trip and lead you to views that you never knew existed.