COM0015 Applied Social Media in Business: Assignment #1 Blogpost #4: Out of the Box

Post 4 – Out of the Box We have focused primarily on best practices in a very new and evolving field, what unexpected applications have you found in the field of online marketing and social media?

I was a relative neophyte when I began this certificate program. I had an instagram account because my daughter told me I had to have one; I originally got a Facebook account because I was keeping an eye on my kids, but don’t think I posted anything until I took my first class; and I had a twitter account because it was the thing to do, but didn’t really know how to use it.

Through the classes I have taken, I have learned to differentiate between what is posted on a website and social media platforms, how to use social media to strike up conversations with your audience, and finally how to differentiate between Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook when creating a social media strategy. I have learned that not all social media are created equal, that you can use one to drive people to another, and finally, they can help monetize your site through conversion. This is so exciting!

Who knew this could be such a deliberate medium? I come from a communications and marketing background, so I have a good grounding in the application of traditional marketing strategies. This, however, is a whole other thing. At times this journey has made me think back to times at the beginning of my career when I  wanted to create a mock up for my client, but could not just print in colour and make up my own. I had to go to a design firm, who would be paid to realize my design electronically, then print it out on this gigantic printer and have it couriered. This generally took no fewer than two days!! Imagine if we said that now! it is like all time and design obstacles have been removed. If you draw up a strategy based on good information (listening), with clear objectives and well-established ways to measure success, followed by checks to adjust your path as you go, there is no reason not to succeed!


COM0015 SM in Business – Assignment #1, comment #2: Dirt Simple

I have been following Deborah Silver’s blog now for a number of years

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 6.40.04 PM

Retrieved from

( Deborah is a landscape artist in Detroit Michigan. She owns a nursery with her partner Rob, and writes 2-3 three times per month to talk about different things she is seeing in the gardens she manages, or plants that are in bloom at that particular time of year. I particularly like her blog, because she covers such a wide range of subjects:

-Planting planters -which plants work really well, what to use for certain textures or colours.

-Bedding plants – annuals vs. perennials, and how to mix them. How to decorate all year round.

-The problems she encounters with certain clients along with descriptions of relationships she has had for decades.

-She works on some really impressive estates, so get to work on a scale most of us will never realize.

You get the idea. So recently, she posted a blog post that was exactly in tune with how I was feeling about the length of winter, so was whining about that. But she then told a story about a friendship she developed over years of tending her garden, and what that person and that relationship meant to her. The friend died this winter, and I think it was appropriate that the story about a never ending winter and the end of a relationship went together.

My comment:

Deborah – As usual, I was delighted to see an email in my inbox announcing your latest blogpost this morning. Yours are the only ones I do not delete until I have read them. Even if a couple have to pile up because I get busy, I still wait. Your submission today was particularly á propos, as I was having the same feelings about this never ending winter myself. I was especially miffed the other day, when Facebook reminded me of a post I made a year ago of my crocuses, which of course have not dared show their faces in this weather. I was depressed by the idea that the beginning of the season was so far behind, and made similar noises to yours.

I did enjoy your effort to cheer us all up with your descriptions of the various plants we

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 6.43.51 PM.png

Retrieved from

could expect over the coming weeks. I have many of them myself, and almost every morning I go out to check and see what is happening with them, waiting for them to show their faces.

I also enjoyed the story you told of your relationship with Marianne – I always find it so interesting to hear about the ebbs and flows of peoples relationships, and while it was sad that you ended up parting ways, I think that while the relationship lasted, you both enjoyed it tremendously.

I want to thank you for producing such a thoughtful blog, and being so generous with your time and your love for you what you do. Your blog is well written and authentic – a difficult thing made to look easy. You are one of the lucky ones that gets to do what they were made to do for a living. And I for one feel blessed to get to peek inside once in a while.

Internationally ME.

I have been following this blog ( for several months now. It is actually a video blog, very capably produced by a young woman named Angela. She is of Japanese descent, but grew up in New Zealand, but decided to return to Japan to live. She posts substantive videos of between 10-15 minutes, each one telling a different story about a travelling throughoutJapan. I like this blog because Angela seems very sweet, genuine and conscientious in her posts as she chronicles all aspects of Japanese life, from what foods to eat, to where to go all over Japan. Clearly it must be working, because she has an amazing 175,546 subscribers! Most of her videos get 25- 50,000 views – some are as high as 1 million!!

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 9.23.15 PM

So, the post I want to comment on today is one where Angela goes for a 70km bike trip, across 6 islands in southern Japan, beginning with a bullet ride from Tokyo to Hiroshima:

Hello, Angela! I loved watching your post today! How great is it that you can cycle through the beautiful Japanese countryside so easily. I loved all of the small details you gave like what bike rental to choose, and the maps along the way. I especially loved the the way you built suspense in your post, by splitting the video in two just as you were looking for somewhere to stay for the night – a great way to get people to come back for more, and see how things turned out! Also, a really great way to demonstrate Japanese hospitality. As one of your followers so aptly said:

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 8.30.11 PM

This comment retrieved from Internationally ME

I think the more I watch your videos, not only do I learn a lot about Japanese culture and cuisine, but also it makes me want to go there. Your posts are refreshing, and I love the way you find ‘off the beaten track‘ things to show us.

I thank you for your posts, and wish you success.



SM in Business: Blog Post #2 Social Media – the good and the ugly

It is always impressive when you encounter a company that uses all relevant social media platforms well. In this blog post, I have found two companies that compete in the same industry and have vastly different approaches to social media.

The first – WestJet  – is a company that engages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube, and engages well. They encourage their employees to communicate on Twitter and Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, and to also to make suggestions regarding possible YouTube videos that get posted through Facebook and Twitter. The WestJet Christmas Miracle videos are watched worldwide, and have achieved legendary status.

Commitment to social media engagement and strategies comes from and is reinforced at highest levels. They are also the first travel company to engage a 24/7 social media team that stays in touch with their travellers at all times.

United Airlines on the other hand is active on social media, but does not have a great strategy for dealing with bad PR issues. Beginning with the incident when Dave Carroll travelled from Halifax to Chicago and found his guitar broken at the other end. After a lot of back and forth, United refused to repair or replace his guitar. Dave ended up writing a song called ‘United Breaks Guitars’, which has been viewed on YouTube over 18 million times. Ultimately, saving themselves $1,200 was probably not worth the social media fallout.

The second incident occurred more recently when a passenger was forcibly dragged off a flight to make room for an employee who needed to be relocated, resulting in some serious injuries to the passenger. The incident was filmed by a number of onboard passengers. In the days following the incident, the president of United Airlines did not respond in a manner that suggested that that he was actually sorry for what happened.

These two incidents clearly demonstrate that United Airlines does not have a social media strategy beyond transmitting information to their customers. In my opinion, they need to spend some time listening to what people are saying about them online, and formulate a strategy that responds to the concerns are being expressed. They also need to rethink the manner in which they respond to customer service issues by establishing a protocol for how complaints or incidents get escalated, and what approach should be taken. It could be argued that $1,200 for a guitar would have been cheaper than the actual fallout, and that if they had offered more money or benefits to people while they were waiting to get on the plane, someone else would have taken it, thereby avoiding the PR nightmare and eventual payout that followed.


Listen well…


I have been thinking lately about listening. Specifically about the tools we use to make our lives easier when trying to listening to what is being said or published out there in the world. My two favourite social media trend listening/monitoring tools are Hootsuite and Google Alerts.

Hootsuite will allow me to consolidate information from several outposts in one place on a number of subjects. I can create a custom stream of social content, integrating information from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. This allows me to stay current on what is happening in social media in all of your areas of interest.

Posting: I can schedule all of my posts on all my social media platforms, with options to plan weeks or months ahead of time. The application also takes into consideration time zone differences.

Measurement: Hootsuite will gives me a clear snapshot of how users are interacting with and using my content, tracking trends and measuring growth. Hootsuite analytics allow me to track Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in real time, allowing me to assess the effectiveness of social media campaigns as they roll out, and make adjustments.

One of the advantages of Hootsuite is that I can start using the tool for free, and as my enterprise develops, there are paid subscriptions at the professional, team, business, and enterprise levels that give me access to more and more information

Google Alerts is a free “content change detection and notification service” (Wikipedia, 2017) that delivers content via notifications to my email or RSS feed. I can set up to 1,000 search terms, and the service will search through news articles, blogs, websites, video and Google books and forums. (Zimmerman, Ng. 2017)

My preferred News sources are Feedly and Google News:

Feedly is a news aggregator that allows me to collect information from a variety of sources based on my search criteria. My results are delivered via RSS feeds from the sites, so I don’t have to go searching for the articles myself. This is a listening tool that lets me see what people are saying about my industry or organization on a variety of blogs and websites. I simply subscribe to the RSS feeds of each site, and Feedly does the rest. Any time there is an article or blog posting of interest to me (based on key words I have set up), Feedly loads it into my account. This news aggregator allows me to share to my Hootsuite account too.

A good addition to this is Google News. This free service allows me to search for content on Google using keywords. This service ranks stories according to timeliness and relevance. It is very easy to use, and the search parameters can be changed and refined.

I like these four applications because they are easy to use and allow for growth of the business. I also like the fact that the Hootsuite and Feedly applications are compatible – allowing me to upload information from Feedly to Hootsuite so that everything is in one place. As an aggregate, the four applications allow me to see how users are interacting with my social media platforms and to stay informed about what is being said about my brand, your community and the market at large.

As a startup, I need to implement tools that will not overwhelm me from a time management or technology perspective. This will save me a LOT of time.

Do you have a listening or news application that you really like? Tell me about it.




Wikipedia. (2017). Google Alerts. Retrieved from

Zimmerman, Jan, Ng, Deborah. (2017). Social Media Marketing for Dummies. 120.

COM0014 – Blogpost #7

Storytelling is the heart and soul of social media. The content I create must speak to the people I communicate with in a way that makes them want to engage in dialogue with me, and with each other. I know that the objective is ultimately to monetize the site, but in order to be successful, the stories I tell have to be interesting, informative and engaging enough to make them return, engage and share. My posts must be authentic, provide value to the reader, and establish me as an Asia travel expert.

I want to paint pictures for them

Because I have travelled all my life, I know very well what a joy it is to make discoveries in far-away places, discovering new people, languages, culture and history. In fact, to discover how much we are like people half a world away. I want to create content that encourages people to create great experiences and memories for themselves, that encourages my audience to try something new.

I want to tell them stories that they can relate to on some level, imagining themselves coming along. I want them to become master-travellers with the help of my blog posts, Facebook posts, and the posts of others who have linked to my site.

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

John Jantsch’s article “Do People Know Your Story?” on Duct Tape Marketing ( got me thinking. What about my childhood shaped me for this moment? To do this job?

I think that I was always destined to become a professional traveller. I lived in 4 countries on three continents before I was 17, and although I did NOT appreciate it at the time because of all of the moving around and the constant change, I do credit this as the inception of my love for travel. As a diplomatic brat, I moved roughly every two years until I was in my 20’s. We lived in Kenya, the United States, Algeria, Canada and Europe. The cultural environments in those places were at times familiar and foreign, so being in unfamiliar surroundings no longer stresses me out.

I was an artsy kid, and loved visiting museums, playing music and exploring the places we lived in with my parents. As an adult, I still love doing those things, and further challenge myself to find things off the beaten track while seeing the ‘usual’ sites. Consider Watt’s Towers in Los Angeles, the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh (who know that was where he was born?!), a TinTin exhibit at La Défense in Paris, or the small but powerful (and not to be missed) Borghese Gallery in Rome. These are all important art or cultural sites that might be overlooked in favour of the bigger (and in some ways overwhelming) Louvre or Getty museum.

In my personal travel, I spend a huge amount of time researching the history and culture of the places I visit, to find these important must-sees that make a trip more interesting. I also love to help people discover the little things that make a place special or unique.

Have you ever found a small gem that just ‘made’ your trip? Where did you go? What made it special?


COM0014 Blog #5 – Personal Brand

I think the word I would most likely use to describe myself would be artist. Not painter, not sculptor, not potter, not glass artist, not fibre artist. This is because I have difficulty restricting myself to only one medium. In my free time, I create murals, I knit, and crochet, I sew, I create stained glass art, fused glass and ceramic art. In my professional life, I am a communicator. I have worked on and off in either marketing or communications for the past 15 years, giving me a solid background in communicating an organization’s brand and value proposition. My creativity and constant curiosity always makes me look at opportunities from several different perspectives.

To set my company apart from our competitors in the Real Estate market, I created a blog to discuss the many pitfalls and joys of purchasing a home, an Instagram account for house postings which directed people back to the blog, and a Twitter account to communicate with prospective buyers on the latest developments in the Ottawa market.

I am well-known for my enthusiasm, teamwork and my ability to forge relationships. I have often taken on projects that others had abandoned and achieved success by engaging the team through the development of rapport, and  developing a vision that I communicated to my team to encourage them to succeed.

I am most proud of the way I  have embraced the changing face of marketing and communications. Things have come a long way since the days where we had to hire a supplier to print out colour proofs of collateral material because colour printers didn’t exist, and I have embraced each advance. Particularly now – I am so excited by the development of social media and the way it allows us to communicate with one another across many platforms, and on any interest.

COM0014 Blog #4 – B2C Case Study: Talkin’ to your peeps!

How much do I love it that WestJet is on social media? As an avid traveller who has lived through the days of ‘too bad for you – we have your money’ travelling where there was almost no way to contact airlines or travel companies outside of business hours when something went wrong (and things ALWAYS went wrong outside of business hours!)

Since their creation in 1996, WestJet has engaged in social media, engaging travellers through their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram platforms as soon as they were available, and engaged with travellers to tell stories about their charitable activities or to engage in what I would call ‘travel talk’ – communicating information about low fares or the best things to do during a beach vacation. They go above and beyond to reach out and touch their customers – even when they have negative things to say. They use Twitter to help young Jedi to get their light-sabres home and YouTube to tell people about the Top Ten things to do in London! Their award winning WestJet Christmas Miracle videos have broken reach records, going viral, and making me cry every year!

And to demonstrate how important social media is to the company,  last April WestJet announced that they would be the first airline in Canada to provide 24/7 social media support via Twitter and Facebook. So you can talk to them ANY TIME!!!

I love WestJet’s mission, which is to ‘enrich the lives of everyone in WestJet’s world.’ (WestJet Annual Report, 2016 p.8). They truly try to make the world a better place to live in by enriching both the lives of their employees and those they serve. Bravo.

Have you ever had an experience like that with an airline? Drop me a line.

COM0014 Blog 3: Target Audiences

When creating a marketing strategy, one of the very first things you do after you decide to create a strategy is figure out who you are speaking to. No point in talking to seniors about baby toys, or men about women’s make-up, right? So how does this work?

Several years ago, WestJet realized that they were losing a lot of potential business to low cost airlines in the United States departing from airports close to our border like Buffalo, Detroit and Bellingham. According to StrategyOnline, WestJet has spent the past several years looking at successful business models in other countries, picking out the best elements to create their own low cost airline that would keep the business in Canada.


 Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 7.20.08 PM

Swoop was developed as an independent, low-cost airline that would appeal to people who are price sensitive. As such, they wanted to “win over travellers who pack light and aren’t looking for frills. (Singh H. 2017) “There is a growing market of people who want to get from point A to Point B as cheaply as possible”, according to Executive Vice President of strategy at WestJet, Bob Cummings. This group includes millennials, young families and frugal travellers, and those whose household income is less than $110,000/year.

How will the communicate with their clients? Well, WestJet already has a very mature presence online, and has adopted the use of a number of platforms as they became available. They are also very good at initiating conversations with their customers through blog posts, facebook and twitter.

Millenials and young families comprise people between the ages of 16-34. They are independent, social media savvy, technologically literate and are always looking to find the product that meets their needs, so would be ideal market segments to communicate with digitally. According to Forbes Magazine, “this generation values being acknowledged as individuals, being presented with options, and feeling connected. They’re receptive to brand storytelling over straightforward ads. Millennials exhibit early adoption tendencies and develop a loyalty to brands they can trust. Millennials don’t care if content is branded; they care about whether it speaks to them.” (Ehlers, K. 2017)

So the bottom line is, if Swoop intends to be successful, they should take a page out of the WestJet handbook, and engage their market in conversations on several platforms: Twitter with #flyswoop to communicate quick information, allow users to start conversations with Swoop and to listen like this:

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 9.44.43 PM

Facebook and of perhaps a frugal traveller’s blog, with tips from Swoop employees on where to get the best deals.