Sole Tan

Any business can benefit from social media

By Alyssa Lajoie and Shay Sweet

Sole Tan, a local tanning salon just minutes away from Lasell College campus, is a thriving and booming company.  Being such a prime company for the young adult and teenage community, social media is a vital way for this organization to reach their key audience.  For the two of us, being tanners ourselves, this company caught our interest because we are included as key customers to this business.  After learning more about social media in our class and looking at the way that Sole Tan handled their social media, we thought this would be a company we could help improve.  Before talking to the owner, Andrea Mancini, we did a little background research on what kind of social media they did have.

We found that Sole Tan did have a Facebook page as well as their own website.  We also found that their website was lacking in energy, as well as updates.  Looking further we saw that the specials that they offered hadn’t been updated since early 2011.  After contacting Sole Tan we gathered more information about the company itself and how it began.

Sole Tan was established in 2005 and has been growing since then.  Current owner, Andrea, bought the business in April of 2010.  Since she’s taken over the company, she has made many changes which have resulted in an increase in customer traffic, as well as a monthly pick up.  Andrea credits the expansion to the variety of their product lines and the new friendly staff, making customers eager to come back.  Knowing that she is so close to Lasell and many other schools like Brandeis, Regis, BC, and Mount Ida,  Andrea can see an increase in her business when school is in session. Different promotions that Sole Tan offers are also accredited to the increase in customers.

We then asked a little bit about the difficulties a company like a tanning salon comes into contact with.  After stating that going tanning is a luxury, Andrea talked about the fact that being in the tanning business is very challenging with the economy the way it is.  When Andrea took over the company,  she stated that she immediately lowered the prices.  She talked about how she would much rather see her business busy than slow because of prices being too high for people.  Another difficulty that Andrea and the staff of Sole Tan came into contact with was the 10% tan tax on all services, which started in July of 2010 shortly after Andrea had taken over.  This not only upset Sole Tan as a business but also upset its customers.  Andrea, however, was very happy to say that it didn’t slow down their business all too much.  The final difficulty that Andrea mentioned was that Sole Tan did not have their own parking lot, just street metered parking.

There were some benefits for the company, however.  Sole Tan offers events such as “free tan day” or “$5 tan day.”  Andrea said that both of these events are very successful for the company and bring in a lot of new customers, as well as returning clients.  Two other offers that they have are for new customers to tan free on their first visit and if an existing customer refers a friend, they get a free upgrade to stronger equipment.  Andrea stated that they get the word out about these types of events by passing out flyers and using their Facebook page.   After mentioning Facebook, we took the time to jump on social media in general and ask Andrea more about how it works for the company.

After taking over the company, there was already a Facebook profile established for Sole Tan.  Andrea then went in and made a business page for customers to like, but she has said that the personal page has gotten more feedback and has seen more grown than the business page.  The Sole Tan Facebook profile is used to update customers on upcoming promotions and deals that the salon is offering.  Andrea was very happy with having Facebook since she knows that her key customers are within the ages of 18 and 30.  And by association, they use Facebook a lot. While she has paid for creative marketing, nothing has worked as well as in-person promoting, word-of-mouth, and posting on Facebook.  Andrea’s goals are to get customers excited about events and upcoming specials.  Bringing in as many new members as possible as well is always a goal for Sole Tan.

Andrea is the social media “expert” for Sole, although she says that it would definitely be helpful if they had someone other than herself or an actual expert to help with the social media of her company.  She updates the Facebook herself and also uses the help of her current employees to promote on their two pages.  Andrea admits she has had some problems with social media because she doesn’t know the ins-and-outs of each outlet, but she is very confident in the way social media works.  She says that social media has been a great tool for her small business because it is free, but reaches a bigger market.

After having our interview with Andrea we got a better grasp of knowledge on what exactly Sole Tan is doing with the social media technologies and how they are contacting their key audience.  There were some great things that Sole Tan is doing and then there were many others that we found they could do a lot better.  One of the first things that we wanted to recommend to the company was to keep on track with their website.  We found that it hadn’t been updated in over a year and that was something we definitely wanted to see change.  Another thing that we wanted to change was the Facebook page, but only a little.  The first thing that we saw was that the pictures on the Facebook did not pertain to the company at all.  We would recommend that the company put pictures of the actual tanning salon itself, the products that they sell and even pictures of the employees to show the friendly staff.

The next thing that we would want to see happen is have Sole create a Twitter page.  They could use the page the same way that they use their Facebook page; to promote offers and specials that the tanning salon is offering.  We thought that this would be a great idea for them because of the target audience that they are aimed at.  Not only could they use the Twitter to reach current consumers, those consumers could help open new doors for Sole by retweeting them and getting the word out about them with just an easy click.

Another form of social media that we would recommend for Sole is to create a Pinterest.   With Pinterest becoming such a popular social media we feel that Sole could benefit from having a page on this website.  We could picture the company having multiple themed boards with pictures of products they sell, spray tans, or sun-friendly destinations.  We could also see the employees having their own boards to help contribute towards the overall Pinterest.

Lastly, we would recommend that Sole create a FourSquare account.  FourSquare is a social media where people can check into the places that they go to.  By creating this account, again this is a great way for customers to promote for the company, but it could also open doors for other offers that Sole could give.  If a customer checks in a certain number of times, Sole could reward them with a free tan, etc. 

We were very happy to work with Sole Tan and are looking forward to seeing them grow in the social media world.

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Social Media: Good or Evil?

By Shay Sweet

Social Media is perceived as one the greatest technological advances of today’s generation.  Social Media provides individuals with a sense of community as well as giving people a platform to integrate opinions into the world.  With every great idea, there is a contrasting view, making many people question how safe social media sites really are, and how they are affecting our relationships with those around us.

Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Skype, Pinterest, etc., have changed the way people interact with one another,  due to constant updates about what is going on around the world, in your hometown or even in your own house.  Social media allows people to connect with others at the touch of keyboard, making it easier to form relationships and enter ourselves in numerous networks.  Online, you have the opportunity to meet people from all different walks of life that you wouldn’t necessarily have had the chance to without it.  You can find individuals who share similar passions, hobbies and dreams, giving you the chance to fit in.  Social media is also great for businesses to set themselves apart and establish a brand, as well as reaching out to its consumers in a discussion based environment.

What bad could possibly come from a place where humans come together to just be themselves? The positive effects from these sites seem overpowering at first glance, but recent studies have shown that the illusions produced from these environments are what inevitably drive their popularity.  With more leeway to put your information online come more privacy issues, which can diminish your own reputation and unknowingly allow others to harm you.  If an individual authors negative comments or information, it could damage how people perceive them online.

It is too easy to produce a false image on the internet.  People can edit what they write about themselves, choose which pictures others see and join groups that can “fit” your desired facade.  Becoming engrossed with being admired online can weaken your interpersonal skills with the lack of face to face interaction.  Another reason people flock to online websites would be an absence of affection in their personal lives.  Whether it is from your parents, friends or a significant other, if you are not getting the attention deserved, the altering of your image can cause others to “like” you online.

One of the largest issues facing the internet and social media today is that of cyber bullying.  Cyberbullying.us reports that 33% of today’s youth is subjected to online bulling in some way or another and can be found commonly in chat rooms, on your Facebook page or sometimes even in your email.  The National Crime Prevention Council states that more than half of teens today are exposed to cyber bullying, whether they are the ones being bullied or the ones doing the harassing.  Those being attacked often attain low self-esteem, depression, skip school often, get poor grades and in the worst cases can even lead to suicide.

Another effect of social media sites is the Emotional Contagion Effect, which is when the feelings of one user are transmitted to whoever they are communicating with.  Studies show that you are 53% more likely to absorb the feelings of someone in your network when they are promoting feelings such as anger or hostility.

Social Media has also been known to be a large downfall in many relationships.  Humans rely on technology to find out who someone is,what their interests are, and if they would be a perfect fit for them, rather than getting to know the person outside the web. They communicate through chats and emails rather than talking on the telephone or meeting for a meal. When a person is  in a relationship, social media can lead to suspicion, jealousy and often times cheating.

These sites can be used to stay in touch with old friends, meet new business contacts or post pictures from an excursion to a foreign place.  People can write blogs relating to their interests and share thoughts with others just like you.  Belonging to a Social media outlet is by no means a bad thing to be a part of.  People should remain educated and take small steps to keep this amazing creation from being tainted.


Freshmen Days

By Shay Sweet

Whether you are an incoming freshman or a transfer student, going away to school for the first time can be an eye widening experience for anyone.  As this semester comes to an end, several Lasell students will finish their first year of college and even more students will receive their college acceptances. Meeting new people, getting your academic schedule just right and balancing your relationships from home can seem like daunting tasks of higher education. But, with these tips and the right attitude, your transition into the “adult” world should become more manageable and even fun.

One of the biggest fears for an individual going away to school is that they won’t make friends as easily as they did in their secondary school years.  That fear can cause students to become introverted in an atmosphere where they are not completely comfortable.  College is a time of self-discovery and the best piece of advice that can be given to those unsure of themselves is to sign up, sign up, sign up.

There are sports, drama, music, art and basically any club you can imagine available. With some schools, such as Lasell, even letting you create your own organizations if they do not already exist.  Joining in on extracurricular activities is a great way to meet students who share the same passions as yourself.  Students who stay active in their schools community are proven to lead more productive lives academically as well.

As far as creating a challenging and engaging schedule, meeting with your advisor is always the first step and are individuals that are there to guide you throughout college career.  They can present you with each option available as well as give you their insight to the curriculum since they are the most familiar with the school itself.  Along with your advisors being openly available to you would be your actual professors.  Those teaching you the material can be thought of as one of your biggest assets and for the most part are more than willing to answer any questions you may have.

Another tip would be to attend all orientations provided in the beginning of the semester by the school.  This will help you become more familiar with the campus, giving you one less added stress on your first day of classes.  Once you become more comfortable with your surroundings, the next thing you should do is find an ideal place to study where you know you can completely focus.  Nothing is more difficult than trying to prepare for an exam when your roommate is continuously chatting on their phone or blasting their tunes.

When you are living away from your family and friends, one of the largest struggles can be balancing your personal life with your college life.  Missing your parents, making new friends without neglecting your familiar ones and many times managing long distance relationships are examples of the common problems that arise.  The one thing you always need to remember is communication.  Never forget the people who were there for you from the beginning but keep in mind that life is constantly changing, as well as yourself and you may find yourself going in different directions.  Make sure those closest to you are made a priority by telephone, writing letters or by using any of today’s technologies to keep in touch. Realize that long distance relationships in college can work out if both individuals are dedicated, but if it fails life will go on.  Assign a designated day every week to reach out to those important, no matter how busy your schedule may be and take trips to visit one another every month.

Many students find themselves unprepared upon arrival at school and not knowing what to expect, inevitably affecting the overall experience gained.  Every person’s time at college is unique but with the right advice it can be realized that its more than taking courses to earn a degree but it’s an opportunity to learn about who you are and where you are going in life, while making some memories along the way.


Relay for Life

By Shay Sweet

Although it may be a tender subject to brush upon for many, cancer is a disease that has touched every single one of our lives. Whether from having affected family members, friends, or by hearing stories from peers.  The word “cancer” is normally correlated with a negative presence, but members of the American Cancer Association are taking large strides to change that stereotype. They created an event that promotes hope, strength and goodwill.

Relay for Life

The Relay for Life is a program that takes place in over 19 countries worldwide, 3.5 million of the people involved are in the U.S. alone. Lasell College has decided to join in the cause, raising over $4,000 dollars already this year.  The relay lasts up to 24 hours and consists of volunteers, both youth and adults, camping out and taking turns to walk or run a track or path in honor of those who have battled against this disease.  This event typically takes place overnight to promote the message that “cancer never sleeps” and requires there to be an individual from each team moving at all times.

There are ceremonies that differ depending on the location, but there are a few traditions that take place throughout every event.  The Survivor Lap initiates the relay, which is where those who have won the battle against this illness join together and start off the movement to commemorate all that they have overcome.  After dark, the Luminaria Ceremony takes place and each volunteer is given a candle lit paper bag, filled with sand that holds the name of someone who has been passed from cancer.  Typically a moment of silence follows this ritual.  The Fight Back Ceremony ties up the event, each individual is encouraged to make a commitment to personally take up the fight against cancer.

Since the creation of this event in 1985 by Dr. Gordy Klatt, the American Cancer Association has raised over 3.5 billion dollars in donations that go toward service programs, such as local support for patients, therapy sessions for those dealing with the side effects of cancer and Living with Cancer conferences.  Lasell’s 2012 Relay for life will take place on March 30, at 7 p.m., until March 31, 7 a.m. You still have time to sign up with teams ranging from 7-15 people and a $10 registration fee that will be contributed to the  total donations.   For more information on registering or on donating log on to www.relayforlife.org/lasell or contact the Lasell Relay for Life Chair Holly Irvin.


Go! Abroad

By Shay Sweet     

An experience that is heavily endorsed throughout the Lasell community, as well as any college or university, would be the opportunity to study or do an internship abroad.  It gives students the chance to reach beyond the comfort of their everyday lives and experience different cultures, stretching their knowledge both academically and socially.  Lasell offers over 130 programs in nearly 35 countries, helping cater to the desires of the individual traveling.

You can travel to Australia and surf on the Gold Coast, see the picturesque landscaping of Ireland or go off on a Roman adventure.  Meghan Peters, 21, a Lasell College junior said she, “learned so much about myself and where I want to go in life.  Deciding to go to London was the best decision I ever made and anyone who would pass up this opportunity would be crazy.”

Study Abroad

One program that is particularly popular and was created by the Lasell Communications Department Chair, Janice Barett, is the Boston University Study Abroad Program, that is interconnected with Lasell. It combines the opportunity to take courses offered in a foreign country while also getting to indulge in a professional internship related to the student’s major.

For example, someone who may want to enter the marketing field could get the chance to work for an actual firm; or a person who may like to enter politics could work for The Department of Foreign Affairs.  This helps students gain real world experience while expanding their network for a future career.  This program is offered in major cities Such as Dublin, Paris and London.

The March 2nd deadline for the Study Abroad application is quickly approaching. Both undergraduates and graduates alike are encouraged to consider applying.  Although going abroad your junior year is standard for these programs, it is never too early to start planning by going to Lasells study abroad homepage or contacting your adviser for more advice.