Category Archives: Social Media

Canadian Music Week casts artists in new light with help of influencer Ashley Bruzas

When Digital Writer and Content Producer, Ashley Bruzas, looks back on her life, she cannot ever remember a time where writing was not a main component of her deepest inner passions. As a child, she recalls her mother and father encouraging her to send hand written letters to her family members, praising her for her adept ability to articulate and for the way in which she used her extensive vocabulary to express herself in an interesting way. From then on, she made a personal point of ensuring that she made full use of the resources within her reach to be able to establish well-rounded, educated points of view. For Bruzas, it was always important to embrace the historical, cultural, and personal differences of the world around her and to celebrate these variations through the stories she tells.

“I have always had a passion for writing and I have been able to use my writing and journalism background to assist me with a number of different positions that have required my skills as a writer and digital content producer. Of course, digital writing involves writing content such as news stories, editorials, opinion pieces, blogs, etc., that are published in a digital environment and that can be accessed through digital devices and online platforms that require the internet to be searched, shared, commented on, and more. It is essentially the same as a content producer; however, you are working alongside others to bring life to new ideas and create unique content that is ultimately shared across different mediums,” stated Bruzas.

One of the most essential qualities that Bruzas has developed thus far in her career is her ability to maximize her versatility at all times, be that through her skill set, her range of job opportunities, her collaboration with influential brands, and more. In fact, her versatility is undoubtably the reason that she has successfully branched out into various inherently different, yet interrelated fields. For instance, throughout her career, Bruzas has utilized her journalism skills and techniques to work for the Toronto Observer in both a print and digital fashion. In addition, she uses her online presence to obtain viewership on her prosperous lifestyle blog, WhoIsVeronika.com, as well as to earn a substantial following on other various social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. When Bruzas sets her mind on something, she stops just short of nothing to not only achieve it, but to do so while exceeding all expectations of those around her. This is why, earlier on in 2017, she managed to earn herself a position working at CIUT 89.5FM, writing on air announcements, station advertisements, organizing shows, and running the control board, as well as organizing large-scale initiatives such as Canadian Music Week 2017.

For Bruzas, working at CIUT 89.5FM meant so much more than expanding upon her skill set in the field of radio journalism. It was an opportunity to explore one of the oldest forms of journalism, whilst excelling in her area of expertise: connecting with niche audiences and sharing information on a digital platform that requires elements of content production. Her in-depth understanding of how to interact through the use of social media allowed her to help CIUT 89.5FM reach audiences in ways they hadn’t ever imagined before she came on board. This, paired with her dexterity as a journalist lead to her leaving a lasting mark on the station and its counterparts. They were fortunate to have such an accomplished member on board and shared in the sentiments that she has received from previous co-workers throughout her professional career in terms of applauding her versatility and commending her unprecedented work ethic. Imad Elsheikh, for instance, who has worked with Bruzas on a number of occasions through creative agency, PIQUE, and highly esteemed brand, MooseKnuckles, celebrates her versatility and similar to those who worked with Bruzas at CIUT 89.5FM, found her to be instrumental to the success of the initiatives she shared her expertise on.

“The best word to describe Ashley would be versatile. She is able to integrate many skills, like pitching ideas, writing, interviewing, working with people, understanding target demographics and creating a final product that combines all of the elements that are needed to create original content that can be shared. She has appeared both in front of and behind the camera and delivers on her work promptly, working around the clock and with others to make sure there is a common objective for everyone on board. I have yet to work with Ashley on a project that was not well received and imitated by others in the realm of social media and content/writing,” noted Elsheikh.

Working at CIUT 98.5FM meant writing content for a terrestrial range of more than 8 million people. Bruzas, with a personal following of over 85,000 people, was the ideal candidate for the job due to her understanding of interacting with and appealing to a large audience. She went above and beyond the call of duty in order to introduce new artists, segments, stories, and news happening in Toronto that would be relevant to the station’s target audience, and demographic that she had a strong foundational understanding about from her previous work history. She is a natural-born connector and has a profound ability to inspire others to join in her efforts to celebrate the undiscovered talents and skill sets of individuals all over the globe. When she worked on the Canadian Music Week 2017 project, in particular, she took great pride in increasing awareness of the station and bringing together artists and listeners who would find value in experiencing the programs she created. In the process, she was thrilled to be able to brush up upon her skills as an interviewer, communicator, writer, radio host, editor, and content producer.

In all, working for CIUT 98.5FM and coordinating top projects like their Canadian Music Week 2017 helped reinforce the fact that Bruzas is equipped with a rare skill set and one which she maximizes the use of on a continual basis. She takes great pride in knowing that she helps to inform and inspire through the content that she generates and she hopes to be able to continue to do so for the remainder of her career. In the long term, she endeavors to use her platform as a journalist and a digital writer to give a voice to the voiceless in our society and raise awareness about uncovered issues across the globe. In the meantime, she continues to build her online presence and tell compelling stories to all that will listen. Check out her blog for a better idea: WhoIsVeronika.com.

 

Photo by Pat Moore

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Watch Ryan Hughes give back to his community in special “CS:GO” charity edition

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Ryan Hughes is widely known under the alias ‘Bucks”

It can be argued that Western society has progressed quicker in the last decade than in the last 50 years combined. With the rise of technology and the ever-changing way in which information is created, distributed, and consumed, it is easier than ever before to spread a given message or idea across the globe. In the wake of this fast-paced societal transformation, there lies a community that was seemingly inconceivable for generations gone by: a network of online personalities, social media moguls, and internet gurus. More commonly, we now understand these individuals as being social media influencers: social media users who have established credibility within a specific industry and who have access to a large audience, allowing them to persuade their followers by virtue of their authenticity and reach. While it may appear to be a glamorous profession, in reality, social media influencers undergo immense amounts of pressure and public scrutiny for the views they put forth before others. For the most part, however, they attract large followings of supporters who value their efforts and find inspiration in their content. For one social media influencer in particular, Ryan Hughes, it is a dream job and one that he cherishes dearly. It is his pride and joy and the British-native works tirelessly to ensure that it is everything his followers desire and more.

“Being an influencer, especially on YouTube, is a 24/7 job. There isn’t a time of day where it is not on your mind. You’re constantly juggling your next idea, your future ideas, your current online performance, any increase or decrease in growth, any upcoming deadlines, any contracts, or sponsorships, etc. It takes a great toll on you mentally,” said Hughes.

Hughes began his YouTube career in 2012 when he created a channel under the alias, “BuckFizz,” a name which he later shortened to “Bucks.” It wasn’t until he began attracting thousands upon thousands of followers that he decided to leave his role at a large, global digital marketing agency to pursue a full-time occupation as a professional social media influencer. Today, his YouTube channel hosts to over 400,000 subscribers and all of his videos combined have earned a remarkable 62,839,195 views and counting. In addition, Hughes Instagram and Twitter accounts have earned upward of 90,000 and 72,000 followers respectively. As he continues to create and publish his content, those numbers are only sure to rise. His reach is wide and his motivation to expand his presence in the online entertainment industry is stronger than ever before.

At the beginning of his YouTube career, Hughes set out to create a channel that would act as a source of entertainment and laughter within the online gaming community. He recorded himself playing popular online games, full of tips and tricks as well as elements of his own quirky personality. Today, he has expanded his content to include not only gaming material, but also personal vlogs, product promotions, and much more. For instance, earlier this year, Hughes was selected as a candidate to promote and endorse a Cineplex and WorldGaming tournament in Canada which has earned nearly 100,000 views in total and can be found online here. In another of his brand collaborations, Hughes was approached by the app, Skinsilo, to promote their inflammable mobile phone case. In situations like this, companies will reach out to social media influencers in order to use their creative space and their strong followings to promote their products. These influencers are often given full creative reign to create a video using and reviewing the chosen product. In his collaboration with Skinsilo, Hughes entertainingly set fire to a phone, which you can watch here.

Hughes is well known for his unusual, captivating antics and his followers continue to tune into his videos time and time again knowing that they will get to see whatever exciting new idea he has conjured up. Another of his more notable characteristics, however, which makes him an even larger source of inspiration for his subscribers, is the fact that he is consistently looking for ways to not only connect with his followers, but to reach out to them and to give back to the community in whichever way he can. He recognizes that social media platforms provide influencers like himself a unique opportunity to raise money and awareness about prominent social issues and he is proud to work in an industry that makes a great effort to support individuals and communities in our society that experience hardship in their daily lives.

“Charity is a very important thing in my life. As a child, I always vowed that I would support charities at all costs, no matter what sort of salary I’m making. There are so many people in this world that experience unfair situations and I think it is imperative that as humans, we join together and help,” Hughes noted.

On May 22, 2017, a homemade bomb was detonated at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom. In the wake of this devastating attack, twenty-three people were killed and over 500 others were injured. When Hughes learned of this news, he was extremely affected and determined to find a way to lend his support to the victims and loved ones of this horrific event. In June, he learned of a crowdfunding page hosted by the website, www.justgiving.com, and decided that he would find a unique way to raise money to donate to the cause.

“Working on this involved playing on the sponsored website, CSGORoll.com, which essentially offers Vegas-style games to bet on using onsite credit which can be exchanged and withdrawn in the form of in-game cosmetics for CS:GO. To raise money, I filmed myself playing on the website to earn as much money as possible to donate to the charity. In the end, myself and the website put forward a total of over $1700.00. In addition, the amount that my audience donated in total is unknown due to the fact that they were contributing to a large-scale crowdfunding page; however, it is thought to have added a substantial amount to their total. You can watch the video here,” indicated Hughes.

Hughes’ manager and agent, Ryan Fenwick, took great pride in knowing that he is representing such a courageous, giving individual and supported Hughes every step of the way for this initiative. He was astounded by Hughes’ drive to carry this project out carefully and considerately. He wanted to raise as much money as possible, whilst still appealing to his audiences and making sure that the entertainment and fun they know and love about him was not compromised at any given point.

“Ryan and I worked very closely to come up with a highly effective way to make a positive impact. Not only did Ryan show great support and love, he went above and beyond to complete the video in a timely manner. I’ve never seen someone miss so much sleep over a charity video before, but I could really tell that Ryan cared and his fans did the same. He has one of the most sickening work ethics I’ve ever seen and he is truly dedicated to creating as much valuable content as possible. He’s by far the greatest social influencer I get to work with on a daily basis.

For Hughes, being able to use his YouTube channel to generate awareness about this tragic event, but also a financial contribution to its victims, was indescribable. He felt that being able to bring such a powerful meaning to this particular video gave it a very intense feel and he made a strong effort to raise as much money as he possibly could in order to donate. Being able to combine his creative and philanthropic interests was unlike anything he had ever done before on his channel and it inspired him to continue to do so for as long as his YouTube and social media influencing career will permit.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCER EZGI EREN: MAKING DREAM COME TRUE

Social Media; it’s intimidating and sometimes confusing to older generations and the thought of being without is unthinkable to younger generations. Your interpretation of it and its prevalence in your life is somewhat delineating and defining of your generation en masse. Social Media producer/manager Ezgi Eren is right in the sweet spot of Social Media (SM) and the idea of online interaction. Forgive the pun but she seems to be hardwired to achieve in the industry. She grew up in Izmir on the west coast of Turkey and used Myspace to connect with others worldwide about her interest in music, fashion, and creativity. A self-described shy young girl, being online empowered her with an ease of sharing thoughts and ideas. These days you’ll find Eren shuffling back and forth between her two modern day home cities of New York and Los Angeles conducting her work with clients and growing their brands with her SM skills. Her early interest and embrace of SM and its ability to connect with others for a variety of ends has served both Eren and those she works with quite well.

Dreaming has always been a part of Ezgi’s formula for life. While attending university she had thought she would be pursuing a role in music management, working with famous musicians from around the world. Her intuitive nature working with SM would lead to a redirecting opportunity. She recalls, “I was 20 when I started an internship at Opening Ceremony Web. I applied when I was still in Turkey. At that point going to New York was still a pipe dream but I ended up having a few Skype interviews and got the job; they even waited over a month for me to get my visa. My official title was Online Marketing and Social Media Intern. I worked directly with the Social Media manager and I learned a lot from her. I started out with compiling FB albums with the brand’s press mentions and later got to help with insights and analytics to figure out which posts work best on all social channels. I learned a lot about insights during this internship. I tracked all stats on google analytics and presented these to the whole team once a month. It was terrifying as an intern but I’m so grateful I got to do it as it made me so much better at public speaking.” Once again, SM helped a somewhat shy Ezgi break out of her shell.

Eren’s skills became so adept that she was recognized and hired to work as a social media manager to celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, whose social media presence is almost as well-known as her famous hair styles! Atkin was chosen Creative Influencer of the Year in 2016 by WWD. “Jen Atkin has always been one of my professional inspirations. I think she was one of the first people who was relatable on social media without even trying. She just makes her followers feel like they’re on her journey with her and I think that’s a powerful connection to establish. It’s such an honor to work as a social media manager to one of my ultimate social media she-roes!” notes Eren.

 

Ezgi is also most recently working on a new segment for Whitney Casey’s company Finery. Finer  is a highly interactive web based system for organizing, styling, and management of one’s wardrobe. It’s yet another indicator how people are using online methods to cultivate organization and style. Ezgi was brought on as Finery’s social media producer/manager shortly after the company’s conception in 2016. Casey (CEO & Founder of Finery) states, “It was important for us to have a social media manager from the beginning of our company to make sure we have a strong visual brand identity from the get-go. Ezgi worked closely with us from the beginning to achieve that and knows a lot about who we are as a brand and who exactly our customers are. “ Finery recently launched an exciting new segment on the site called “Featured Wardrobes”. Casey states “Our initial idea was to launch a blog for Finery to dip our toe in content and spotlight our friends and people we admire in the fashion industry but then we started receiving more and more comments from our users asking for styling advice, inspiration, etc. People don’t just want to see their clothes; they want you to help them put them together in different ways. We had various wardrobes we were curating for different reasons, mostly to continuously test out the site and its new features. Ezgi started helping me put one together and I loved all the items she curated, I even bought a few!! Most importantly it was great to see a wardrobe in front of you that was curated for a specific style. This combined with the comments from our users had us thinking, why not feature different influencers every month and give their fans a chance to go through their wardrobe digitally, instead of going with the same old blog content? Ezgi has been a key player in Finery in this process of rolling out a whole new way of presenting content. She knows the brand so well and cares about developing real relationships with our audience, which is part of what makes her so great at what she does.”

Seeing this professional woman who shuttles back and forth between NYC & LA, working in an exciting new industry…it’s hard to imagine that shy young girl from Izmir who only gained the courage to truly open up when she was typing to someone on a computer. In such a short amount of time both Eren and the way the world uses SM has evolved a great deal. Learning to find your passion and embrace change has worked well for Ezgi and it’s a good lesson for all of us. When considering change she states, “I think about this a lot because there’s no way of predicting what shape SM will be in in 20 years or more, but I think a big part of working in SM is collaborating with people from many adjacent industries: photography, videography, design, tech, styling, & others. I try to acquire as many new skills as possible from them along the way and just be more prepared for whatever SM managing turns into in the future.”

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