COM0015 – Blog #4 – Out of the Box

Social media is used in so many ways in the field of online marketing. One unexpectedly successful application of social media in this field is the widespread popularity of social media influencers. Social media Influencers are most often paid by the company to leverage their popularity in order to promote a company or product. This seems as though it is very obviously a paid endorsement rather than an honest interest in the product or company in question (Newberry, 2021). It is simply put; a more modern form of paid advertisement and it allows the company to pay for a new target audience to market to and people fall for it, hook, line and sinker. It’s a brilliant marketing tactic, don’t get me wrong, however it surprises me that it is so successful. I find it strange that more people aren’t turned off by the fact that the influencer is being paid to promote something, that it is not a genuine interest in the product or company as it often comes across as, instead it is an obvious marketing ploy. Influencer marketing is one of the most successful forms of social media marketing at the moment and its popularity is growing each year. According to Hootsuite, ‘More than two-thirds (67.9%) of U.S marketers will use some form of influencer marketing this year. That’s expected to increase to 72.5% in 2022’ (Newberry, 2021, para 6). 

Do the influencers use the products that they promote? This is a great question. One has to wonder if the influencer has even used the product themselves or whether they are simply promoting it for the sole purpose of making some money. According to a Forbes survey, ‘82% of respondents said social media influencers should absolutely disclose any history of personal use when promoting a product’ (Suciu, 2019, para 6). This bodes well for the future of the influence marketing world. Hopefully in the future influencers will be held to a higher standard and encouraged to discuss their own use of a product before trying to sell it to others. Do you agree or disagree?


Newberry, C. (August 2021) ‘Influencer Marketing Guide: How to Work With Social Media Influencers’ Retrieved from

Suciu, P. (December 2019), ‘Can We Trust Social Media Influencers?’ Retrieved from

COM0015 – Blog #3 – Professional Networking – Now and in the Future

I work in an industry that has been put on hold for the last year and a half and things are just now starting to happen again. The live music industry has been pretty hard hit in Ottawa and many of our fellow venues have had to close permanently because of the Covid 19 pandemic. We are one of the only venues in Ottawa that has somewhat consistently had live music or live streamed music for the majority of the pandemic. Because of this I have had the opportunity to work with people in the industry that I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to work with. 

The live music industry is not the type of industry that typically has conferences and conventions, although I do know of a few annual events that could be considered as such, for example the Folk Music Ontario Conference. This is an annual event, usually held in a hotel somewhere in Ontario, where musicians come to play and attend networking events and festival planners come to learn about new music and to book acts for their festivals (Folk Music Ontario Conference, n.d.). From what I hear from those who have attended it is a pretty wild weekend, people play music all night long and many make significant connections with festival planners, venues and other musicians from all over the province.

The most common type of professional networking that takes place in this industry requires one to go to events and chat with people as well as meet people at my place of work through the events that we host. I am a fairly shy person, and it has always been difficult for me to talk to people I don’t know, despite 20 years of bartending. This is why I sometimes find it more effective to network online. I do my fair share of social media listening for work, especially during the pandemic. As things begin to reopen and live music begins to re-emerge, I have taken a more direct approach with people and organizations that I am interested in working with. On a number of occasions, I have noticed something of interest on social media and I have contacted the party of interest directly to enquire about working with them and as a result have been quite successful. I have recently worked with several people in the city that I had not previously had the opportunity to work with because of this approach. This in turn has given me more confidence to reach out to others in the industry and expand my professional network. In the next 6-12 months I will be reaching out to other Arts organizations, venues and larger touring acts in order to develop and expand my professional network and aid in bolstering our city’s music scene. I will also attend more events and network in person when such opportunities again begin to arise in Ottawa. I do feel like I have a renewed sense of self confidence after being back in school over the last two years as well and I will try to bring that with me when I travel (hopefully) to other cities in Canada such as Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver in the coming months and I will attend events in order to create a network outside of our city as well. Perhaps I will even attend the next Folk Music Ontario Conference in September! (Folk Music Ontario Conference, n.d.).

Image Source


Folk Music Ontario, (n.d.), ‘Folk Music Ontario Conference’ Retrieved from

COM0015 – Blog #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

In this day and age social media is a very important tool for organizations of all types. Some are doing it well and others are not. One organization that I believe has always had a strong social media strategy is Starbucks. They have had an impressive social media presence for years, some of their most memorable are Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Unicorn Frappuccino, Red Cup Art, Starbucks Stories: To Be Human, Upstanders and Extra Shot of Pride (Gilliland, 2020). Starbucks have taken a social justice approach to some of their social media campaigns and in turn have raised a lot of money for organizations such as ‘Born This Way Foundation’, an organization who support mental health initiatives for transgendered and LGBTQ+ communities with their #Extrashotofpride campaign (Gilliland, 2020). They have also donated over $500 000 in grants to small non-profits with their ‘Upstanders campaign’ (Gilliland, 2020). It is important to be honest and genuine when creating cause-related social media campaigns and Starbucks has done this successfully by raising money for organizations who directly support each cause.

            Starbucks’ most recent social justice campaign is the ‘What’s Your Name’ campaign. A campaign that addresses the issue of birth name for many transgendered people (Markairn, 2020). This campaign highlights the stigma surrounding birth name, that transgendered people often face as they transition and the importance of a name in one’s identity (Markairn, 2020). Starbucks has a tradition of writing people’s names on takeout cups in their establishments and this was used as a way of supporting people who have changed their names to better suit their true identities (Markairn, 2020). Starbucks genuinely supports the LGBTQ+ community and have showed their support in this campaign as well by partnering with Mermaids, a charity that ‘supports young transgender and gender diverse groups’ (Markairn, 2020, para 15), and raising over $100 000 for them in a short time (Markairn, 2020). They did so by selling Mermaid cookies and user generated content to get the word out with the hashtag #what’syourname (Cyca, 2020). Here is the original video from the ‘What’s My Name?’ campaign:

Video Source

            Another organization that has a strong social media strategy is GoPro. They have successfully harnessed user generated content in a new and extreme fashion (Kannenberg, 2020). GoPro are a camera company who’s target market are people who love extreme sports and adventure, and the GoPro is the perfect camera to capture this, whether you are a surfer, snowboarder, hiker or some other sport enthusiast (Ideagoras, n.d.). What sets the GoPro apart from other cameras is its ability to be worn on the body, this allows the viewer to get a true sense of the experience and doesn’t require a second person to film (Ideagoras, n.d.). The GoPro easily uploads the footage directly to social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (Ideagoras, n.d.). People then share their extreme videos with the hashtag #GoPro and the perfect user generated content strategy is created, encouraging others to buy the camera and capture their own adventure (Ideagoras, n.d.). User generated content is a brilliant social media strategy for a product such as this because it is not only genuine, but it is also basically free (Ideagoras, n.d.). The GoPro user becomes a brand ambassador, especially with YouTube, and this has helped them to grow their social media following and thus increase their revenue (Krows Team, 2020). This form of social media strategy has been very successful because it creates a strong bond with the brand and encourages people to share their experiences which establishes a deeper connection with the company and creates a sense of community and loyalty (Krows Team, 2020). 

Here is an example of a YouTube video filmed on a GoPro:

Video Source

            Most large companies have invested quite heavily in social media by this point in time, it seems that it’s some smaller, less corporate businesses that lack social media strategies. However, social media has become so incredibly ubiquitous that it was quite difficult to find even a local company that completely lacks a social media presence, but I did find one. The convenience store near my house, Domestic Foods on Gladstone Avenue has obviously thought about the importance of social media because they have a Facebook Page and an Instagram account, but they have yet to post anything on their Instagram despite having over 1400 followers (Domestic Foods, n.d.), and they only have two check-ins on their Facebook page and only one post (Domestic Foods, n.d.). This is a well-known independent convenience and grocery store in an area of Ottawa’s Centretown neighbourhood that could be considered a food dessert, especially for those who lack transportation, as the closest real grocery store is a fifteen minute walk from Domestic Foods. This is a great opportunity for Domestic Foods to create a social media strategy as the stop gap between grocery shopping trips for people who live nearby. Their objectives should be to increase awareness about what they offer, when they are open and who they are as a family run business. They could benefit by posting about new products and potentially introduce fresh produce and use social media to gain awareness about it. Instagram stories would be a good tool to start with because they have some many followers already and stories published by businesses get more views than personal accounts (Ganta, 2020). Instagram Stories are also great for improving brand visibility and getting feedback on new products and staying top of mind (Ganta, 2020). Centretown residents are mostly millennials and generations Z and are therefore social media savvy and because of this, a social media presence would greatly benefit Domestic Foods. They should begin their foray into social media by posting stories on their Instagram page about their staff who have been the same people for the fifteen years I have been going there as well as the products they sell, the hours they keep and the services they provide. 

Image Source


Cyca, M. (August, 2020)  ‘Social Media Campaigns (And What You Can Learn From Them)’

Retrieved from

Facebook, (n.d.) ‘Domestic Foods’ Retrieved from

Instagram (n.d.), ‘Domestic Foods’ Retrieved from

Ganta, M (November 2020), ‘10 Reasons Why Businesses Are Using Instagram Stories’

Retrieved from

Gilliland, N. (January 2020), ‘Eight awesome social campaigns from Starbucks’ Retrieved from

Ideagoras, (n.d.), ‘GoPro – Building a Social Brand Using Consumer Generated Content’

Retrieved from

Kannenberg, L. (October 2019), ‘Social Spotlight: How GoPro fuels brand loyalty with UGC’

Retrieved from

Krows Team (May 2020), ‘GoPro Marketing Strategy – Let Your Audience Expresses Itself! – Marketing Case Study #7’ Retrieved from

Markairn, (January 2020), ‘Here’s How Starbucks Recognized LGBTQ+ Customers: The ‘What’s Your Name?’ Campaign’ Retrieved from

COM0015 – Blog #1 – Tools and Sources

Social media has changed the way that we get our news and find out about goings on in the circles that we keep. Social media changes very rapidly and we tend to evolve with it. My primary news source from last year is different from the year before and will probably be different next year or the year after that. For now, I would say that I gather most of my news and updates from Instagram, and sometimes Facebook via two different sources: Narcity and CBC. Narcity is a Canadian media corporation who are ‘Canada’s leading publisher for millennials’, (Narcity Media, 2020) and they have over 20 Million daily readers (Narcity Media, 2020). They are members of the National NewsMedia Council which is the body that oversees ethics in Canadian media. This organization is both voluntary and self-regulating and this bodes well for Narcity’s journalism credibility (Narcity Media, 2020). They post local articles about Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. I work in a live music venue that is also a restaurant and Narcity has been a very useful source of information over the pandemic. The province of Ontario has changed regulations for the restaurant industry many times over the las year and a half and Narcity has often been the first to publish updates on various zones and steps. They have also been a great source of information for pandemic trends for restaurants and live music venues, whether the topic was plexiglass barriers, live streams or takeout and delivery trends. Here is an example of Narcity’s style in their 2020 Year in Review featuring viewer submissions.

Narcity Year in Review Video Source

            The CBC may be one of Canada’s oldest traditional media outlets, but it has kept up with changing trends better than most of its competitors. The CBC are very present on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, I often follow the link in bio on Instagram or a link on the other platforms to read articles on their app rather than looking at their app directly, as I used to. It is one of my favorite sources because I feel that it is the most trusted news source in Canada. The CBC is a very useful news source to me because it is national as well as local and CBC has always had a strong focus on the Arts. This is relevant for me in my line of work because they post articles about music and the Arts industry all over the country and at home and CBC Ottawa often promotes our events too. This is extremely beneficial to us because the CBC has such a wide reach and strong reputation. This is a great example of how one evolves with changing technology, from radio and television, to the website, to the mobile app and now through social media, CBC has always been my #1 source, only the delivery system has changed.

I was introduced to Brand24 in COM0013 during the process of monitoring and measuring a real company’s social media. Brand24 is great, it gives a very in depth analysis of a company’s digital landscape and I found that it picked up more mentions than did Google Alerts. Brand24 monitors social media and traditional media for mentions of the brand’s name (Brand24, n.d.). Google Alerts was useful as well because one can set alerts for multiple keywords associated with the company which allows one to cast a wider net. 

All in all, I found that Google Alerts wasn’t able to pick up as many mentions from traditional media sources as Brand24 was, and thus it made for a much better monitoring tool.

SimilarWeb was very useful for monitoring websites. This is important for social media because it allows one to see how people arrive at the company’s website and highlights the keywords that are most used for that company (SimilarWeb, n.d.). Knowing where website traffic originates from is very useful because it can help the company decide where to focus their efforts and their budget. 

What are your favorite monitoring tools?


Cision, (April 2020), ‘Narcity Media Joins the National NewsMedia Council & Announces Record-Breaking 2020’ Retrieved from

SimilarWeb (n.d.), ‘’ Retrieved from

Brand24, (n.d.), ‘Brand24’ Retrieved from

COM0014 – Blog #7 – Personal Reflection

Storytelling is essential for the creation of great digital content because people want to be able to relate, either to a personal or corporate brand. Great content has to be authentic and one can only accomplish this by telling the unique story of one’s life, their company or organization and the people who work there. This is great way to communicate with one’s audience because it allows one to discuss their values, desires, hopes and dreams in an indirect way and people like to see their own values reflected in that of the content that they follow, like and engage with. These elements become part of the woven fabric that is one’s brand and it’s important that this lines up with the content that one shares on social media. By telling a story through content people feel more connected, they feel like they are a part of the journey and that creates a sense of belonging and thus a stronger trust and bond.

            Content is guided by story when it comes naturally. Content can be planned but should also reflect what is actually happening in the organization such as an event, partnership, renovation, move or new product, or simply a visit from a cute pet. People like to be included they like to be on the secret because it helps to create a relationship. It also creates a buzz and that is important for social media engagement, because it’s the wheel that sets things in motion toward the ultimate goal.

Photo Credit: Aislinn Calvert

            As the Social Media Manager for a small live music venue, I want to tell the story of who we are as an organization as well as the people who work and patronize our business. I want to tell the story of the community that surrounds our establishment. I want to tell people about the musicians and the artists who grace our stage and our walls and the local products that we sell. Over the last year and a half, it has become more and more important to support local companies as often as possible because that is how we can ensure that our communities thrives, especially in times of hardship. 

COM0014 – Blog #6 – Do People Know Your Story?

In the article written by John Jantsch he asks many questions in relation to whether people know your story or the story of one’s business. The one that stood out to me was: What’s your favorite customer story? So, I will tell you the tale. It isn’t a story about great customer service, raving reviews or good deeds. It is a strange story that reflects the peculiar nature of our particular establishment and the odd things that sometimes occur without explanation.

I work in a live music venue that is a pub and restaurant as well. We have been open for 36 years and we have had generations of regulars through the doors, we host weddings and funerals, and we are often the first restaurant that people bring their newborn babies too. 

In 2007, the original owner had put the business up for sale and was entertaining several offers. Pubs with a lot of regulars often have a very active rumour mill, people love to gossip, and this was a massive event in the lives of these people and in the life of the establishment. There were three potential new owners, a bartender whom we knew from another spot in town, a former regular that nobody liked and an unknown engineer who lived in the neighbourhood. The rumours were flying, and everyone was speculating about what the fate of the pub would be. The official date was coming up quickly and suffice it to say it was a tense time. 

One afternoon during this time one of our regulars was paying her bill with her credit card after a few beverages and wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the process, she put in a tip and passed it back to my colleague and it was approved. When the receipt printed the total amount was just over $275 000.00. We were shocked, to say the least, and so was the woman whose credit card with a limit of $1000 had been approved for over a quarter million dollars. We phoned the debit machine provider as well as the bank to try to get an explanation for what had happened, and they were just as baffled as we were. Things were resolved in the sense that the money was not deposited in our account, nor was our regular on the hook for such a large sum. However, an explanation was never given because the company couldn’t figure out what had happened.

A week later the pub was finally sold and strangely, for exactly the same amount. And, so the joke goes, that it was she who had really bought the bar.


Jantsch, J. (n.d.), ‘Do People Know Your Story?’ Retrieved from

Blog #5 – COM0014 – Personal Brand

One’s personal brand can be hard to define. It requires a lot of introspection which can be difficult for some people, myself included. I have worked in the hospitality industry for over twenty years and that has shaped my personality and thus my personal brand. Long hours and hard physical work has most definitely contribute to the person I have become. For the last fourteen years I have worked in a local live music venue where I am a Bartender, Social Media Manager and the Event Coordinator. I work with the public and because of that I have well developed communication skills and I am good with people. However, spending a lot of time surrounded by people can be taxing and sometimes, I am very happy to be alone doing yoga, cycling or reading a good book. 

Image Source: Selfie

            I am a huge supporter of live music and the Arts in Ottawa and I feel that that is important to my personal brand because it is the motivation for the work that I do, and I am proud of that. I am driven, trustworthy, fair and honest, creative, yet strong willed and perhaps a little too stubborn at times, I am a Taurus after all. I do like to have fun and that’s why organizing events is something I truly enjoy doing. It gives me great pleasure to create an environment where people are happy, safe and thoroughly enjoying themselves. I live for the nights where the band and the patrons are in sync and the love can be felt in the room. I believe that this is something that others would say is one of my best traits, I am a true host. 

            The last year and a half has been difficult because the live music industry has basically been put on hold and because of that I have had to re-evaluate my place in life. This was very hard for me, but I think that I have grown a lot as a person during this time. I returned to School in September of 2020 at the age of 39 and have since completed the Marketing Management Graduate Certificate program through Algonquin and I graduate with honours this coming Wednesday. This is something that I feel makes me stand out because I have developed a new set of skills and I have a renewed sense of confidence. This experience has allowed me to see that I am capable of accomplishing anything I put my mind to. I am sincerely looking forward to the day when we can begin to have live music again I can again create an atmosphere where people can have fun and enjoy the talented folks in the music industry in Ottawa.

COM0014 – Blog #4 – B2C Case Study – Chipotle and TikTok

Social media is everchanging. There are always new platforms on the rise, most notably TikTok, for now. TikTok is a short video streaming social media platform that is quickly becoming very popular, especially with the up and coming Generation Z cohort, who make up a large part of the Chipotle target market (Kelso, 2019). TikTok was launched in 2016 and now have 689 million users worldwide and they are gaining momentum faster than Facebook or Instagram initially did (Moshin, 2021). As a business it is important to keep up with emerging trends, especially online, and that is exactly what Chipotle has done. 

            Chipotle Mexican Grill is an American fast casual restaurant that was able to use their social media listening skills to discover that although they were not active on TikTok, they were trending (Pittman, 2020).

An Instagram video posted by an employee, Daniel Vasquez, flipping a lid on a burrito bowl was the beginning of the TikTok journey for the popular restaurant (Kelso, 2019). TikTok challenges are essential to the platform and Chipotle seized on the opportunity to participate themselves (Chipotle Fans, 2020). The #Chipotlelidflip challenge was marketing genius (Pittman, 2020). It was a campaign for free delivery for online orders for Cinco de Mayo and resulted in 110 000 video submissions and unprecedented online sales (Chipotle fans, 2020). 

National Avocado Day was Chipotle’s second official foray into the land of TikTok challenges. They began with a dance challenge to a children’s song by Dr. Jean about Avocados known colloquially as the Guacamole Song and the #GuacDance took off with 250 000 video submissions (Pittman, 2020). Another success resulting in a 68% rise in guacamole sales for Avocado day (Kelso, 2019).

Chipotle’s decision to embark on the TikTok adventure was excellent and successful and it is definitely working for them and they continue to be active on the platform. Chipotle took the time to research and understand what TikTok culture was about and they produce genuine quality content that resonated perfectly with their audience and this has in turn increased their revenue and their online presence (Pittman, 2020). The series of challenges has also garnered them 1.6 million followers on TikTok and has solidified the company’s relevance with the younger generation (Chipotle, n.d.). 


AdAge (April 2020), ‘Chipotle Fans Flip Their Lids Over Viral TikTok Challenge’ Retrieved from

TikTok, (n.d.) ‘Chipotle’ Retrieved from

Kelso, A. (August 2019), ‘Why Chipotle’s Bet on TikTok is paying off’ Retrieved from

Mohsin, M. (March 2021), ‘Ten TIKTOK Statistics you need to know in 2021’ Retrieved from

Pittman, R. (January 2020), ‘ How Chipotle Took Over TikTok’ Retrieved from

COM0014 – Blog # 3 – Target Audiences

I work for a live music venue in the Glebe in Ottawa, Ontario that has been around for 35 years. We are also a neighbourhood pub and restaurant. As it turns out, we have two different main target markets, which is something that has become more apparent during the past year. We have the millennial and Generation Z group who love live music and frequent our establishment for that purpose, and we have the Generation X and Baby Boomer market who enjoy the pub atmosphere and the food. I should mention that there is obviously some crossover, some of the older generation enjoy the live music and some of the younger generation are there for the pub atmosphere and the food, especially as they get older and have families of their own.

During the pandemic, especially at the beginning in March of 2020, we were forced to put live music on hold and food became our sole focus for revenue and this is when it became obvious that we were dealing with two entirely different target markets. 

The younger generation, we will call them target market A, frequented our establishment mostly for live music. They are university students and young professionals who come from many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, they have disposable income and most of this group tend to rent in the Glebe, Centretown or Hintonburg. This target market are trendy people who spend money on going out and having fun. They are often single or dating, are of all genders and hang out in large groups with their friends.

Target market B are older, upper middle-class, well-educated Glebe home owners who are nearing the end of their careers or already retired. A lot of them are or were federal government employees, they have adult children, they drive expensive cars, they travel and most of them have cottages nearby where they spend the summer. They generally frequent our establishment with their spouses and other couples for dinner or simply for a drink on their way home from work or after a game of golf.

Before March of 2020 we focused most of our social media marketing on live music and thus target market A. Target market A are younger and because of that are more present on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and that is how we had been focusing our marketing. We also send out a weekly email list to over 2000 people and, before the pandemic, it was centred around our events as well.

As we pivoted to takeout food only, we began to see the number of subscribers drop from our email list, and we also began to see a pretty major decrease in the amount of likes, comments and shares from Instagram and Facebook when posting about food.

We also noticed that the people who were coming to pick up food from the pub were the people in target market B who live in the neighbourhood, were slightly older and were familiar with the food, not those who had been coming for the music. Because of this we have begun to use Twitter more frequently and have had some great success in marketing our takeout efforts there. We have also acquired new email subscribers from target market B who are primarily interested in the food.

It has been a difficult, but interesting year and hopefully we will see both of our main target markets return to the pub as we reopen in the coming months and finally see the return of live music.

Blog #2 – COM0014 – Storytelling and Communication Style

The first and most important aspect of storytelling and communication is to know one’s audience. Then, one must tell a relevant yet engaging story in a clear and concise writing style that flows well, and encourages people to connect with the material. The more the story resonates with the target audience, the bigger the impression it will make and because of that it will elicit engagement.

The target audience is important to study for storytelling because it is essential to write for the audience. The audience may be segmented by some criteria or be a broader target audience based on geographical location or some other factor. Either way, it will be important to take into account who they are, what they do, how they live and what they are interested in. Truly understanding who one’s audience will ensure that the story makes the biggest possible impact.

The second important aspect of storytelling is the communication style. The story must be written in a manner that makes it easy to follow and understand as well as makes it captivating. It is also important to remember to edit. Grammar and spelling mistakes will take away form the story, and in turn decrease the overall impact and engagement.

Social media is all about storytelling. Whether it is your personal story, the story of your brand or something else that is close to your heart. It is important in social media to connect and engage with the audience. That is why it can he helpful to ask questions in one’s writing where social media is concerned because it is an excellent way to encourage people to participate. It’s as simple as asking for an example, an opinion or a story of their own.