COM0014-Blog Post #7: Personal Reflection

“successful social media is not about companies interacting, it’s about humans interacting.”

-Lesson 7 (2019) 

When we are creating digital content, often times we do not have an in-person relationship with the people on the other side of the computer screen. Thus, to combat this lack of physical interaction, it is necessary to engage with those individuals through other means. One of the best ways to do this is to be a good story teller. We tell a story in order to interact with the individual(s) living on the other end of that screen. In order for this interaction to be successful, we as content creators, have to ensure we know our audience. What does our audience expect from us? What questions might they have that we can provide answers to?

Story telling has been an important aspect to human beings, the only difference being how we communicate that story. Going forward, in the digital age, using the devices we have accessible to us, like social media, enables story tellers to reach more people than previous generations. When we use the tools made available to us, such as social media, digital content enables multiple individuals to share their stories together. The best part of digital content when it comes to storytelling, is the ability to still convey emotions. We can share stories through video across almost all digital channels, which enables the viewer to feel as though they are with the storyteller.

When our content is guided through storytelling, we are working to provide our audiences with an opportunity understand what we want them to see. We weave together a depiction of the event in such a way that our audience is intrigued by what we have to say, yearning for more.

I think given what we have learned throughout the course, is that our stories are deep, often deeper than we even anticipated as was the case with Motrin. We no longer are singularly in charge of telling that story, and need to accept that the story we are telling is often in the hands of others as much as it is ours. However, we have the opportunity to guide the stories. To interact and engage and incorporate the stories of others into our own.

I want to tell a story that is authentic and true to myself. Rather than embrace a version that I think others want to see, it is always best to keep our stories true to the brand we are representing.

A Picture Advertisement on Instagram is Worth More Than 1,000 Words

Have you ever had that moment where you are mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, and try to like something, only to realize it was actually an advertisement? Who remembers YouTube when you could watch a video without being forced to watch an advertisement first?

Our once advertisement free social media is now filled with advertisements which impact what we see–and inevitably what we buy. Especially during those mindless scrolling moments when we are simply absorbing what we see rather than interacting or engaging with it.

Some Advertisement Trends

In less than 5 years, the amount of money that is being spent on social media advertising has doubled—with little likelihood of it stopping. Social media advertising reached over $19.3 Billion in 2018–And that’s only in America (Statista, 2019). Unsurprisingly, North America continues to be the biggest leaders of this advertising trend (Shukairy, 2018). However, there is social media advertising taking place globally. In 2016, social media advertising was around $31 Billion (Jolly, 2019).

Moreover, the ways in which this money is being spent has changed. Picture sharing platforms have become the top choice for social media advertisements (Jolly, 2019). Think Instagram and Pinterest.

The top choices for any organization looking for a return on their investment would be:

  1. Facebook (social networking)
  2. Instagram (photo sharing)
  3. Twitter (micro blogging)
  4. Pinterest (photo sharing)
  5. LinkedIn (social networking)
  6. Snapchat (photo sharing)

The Best Part, Social Media Made the Learning Easy

The social media platforms which monopolize the industry are there to support you through the process. Whether its learning what should be considered in your next marketing campaign on Facebook, or wondering what successes other companies in the same industry as you have had by using Instagram advertisements, you can now gain “business insights”. Here is the link to Facebook and Instagram‘s business insights pages. If you are a business and want to know where to begin, how to increase your advertising, and what advertising type to use which will suite your objectives best these pages are a great resource. Basically, the industry which has ingrained itself into our everyday living, can help organizations know and be more involved in your life. Is it just good business for those social media organizations? Or is it worrisome?

How did Instagram know I was Talking About That?

I think one part of social media advertising which has suddenly surprised the mass majority of people, is learning that their phone’s are listening to them. And that the information their phone gathers by listening to them, does result in related advertisements. Apparently, there is an application called Alphonso, whose main intention is to know what TV programs you are watching or listening to (Aonso, 2018). This application gets downloaded when you download things like games or other applications. Therefore, when you agree to the applications terms and services, you are also downloading and accepting the condition that that application uses Alphonso. Which means you legally agree to this application listening to you. Given that our cell phones are basically an additional arm, its not a far stretch that they would want this technology. The companies we interact with, or talk about are able to track these habits and as a result, target their advertisements to us (Bridge, 2017). Whether you wanted to agree to that or not, the organizations already know so much about you.

The Future of Social Media Advertisements

In Sprout Socials article on trends we can anticipate seeing in 2019 related to social media, it is clear that the game is continuing to change. Organizations which use social media in order to advertise to their clientele will need to think about what they can do in order to capture the attention of their potential consumers. One of the aspects which will have a presence in the coming months, is employees using their personal social media to advertise their organization to their network. The blend between personal and professional social media is already taking place. As transparency continues to be an ask of consumers, it is up to the organization to provide this. And who is in a better position than your own employees?

Retrieved from

Let me know what you think!

Is is a bad thing to have advertisements tailored to you based on what you search or talk about? Is it okay that organizations know this much about us? Do you feel like you’ve lost your privacy because of modern social media marketing?

Facebook: How has the advertising game changed with the emergence of social media? Check out the full article here:

Twitter: When #Advertisingtakesover your #socialmedia

Instagram: Does the advertisements on here look like posts from those in your feed? Check out the latest blog post about advertising on social media. Link in bio


Aonso, c. (2018). There’s A Reason Why You Keep Getting Ads For Things You’ve Talked About But Haven’t Actually Searched Up Online. Retrieved from <;.

Bridge, S. (2017). Is social media targeting ads based on our conversations?Retrieved from <;.

Chen, J . (2019).7 social media trends to watch in 2019. Retrieved from <;.

Facebook Business. (2019). Insights. Retrieved from <;.

Instagram Business (2019). Consumer Insights. Retrieved from <;.

Jolly, W. (2019). The 6 Most Effective Types of Social Media Advertising in 2019. Retrieved from <;.

Shukairy, A. (2018). Social Media Ad Spending – Statistics and Trends. Retrieved from <;.

Statista. (2019). Social network advertising spending in the United States from 2015 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars). Retrieved from <;.

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

My greatest achievement is a result of my greatest disappointment. The two really go hand in hand. If I had never let myself get disappointed, I would not have worked so hard to achieve what I have today.

What is your greatest disappointment?

My greatest disappointment to date was when I believed I was not good enough to change my position in life. That I needed to accept the life I was living, and I was not capable of making it better. It took over 2 years (and a whole lot of tears) to actually do something about it.

When I first finished my undergraduate degree and started working for a major corporation, I thought my dreams had come true. Little did I know that I had started to change who I was, and who I wanted to be in order to get an o-kay pay cheque every couple of weeks. After 6 months, people told me I was jaded. After 12 months, I couldn’t go to work without crying. After 18 months, I stopped caring altogether. It was somewhere around the 2 year mark when something happened to my family which shifted all our perspectives. I immediately began demanding a job opportunity that I knew was possible if I was persistent enough. I was persistent enough :). While I took on this new job opportunity my jaded personality disappeared, and my outlook on who I could be changed. I did not have to wake up and go to a job I hated every single day. There were other opportunities, so long as I sought them out and applied myself to be the best candidate.

What is your greatest achievement?

While working in this new role, I started seeking other opportunities. At this point I knew three things: 1. I loved traveling 2. I loved learning and 3. I did not want to work for a large corporation anymore. I found a Masters program at the University of Guelph which allowed me to incorporate all three. I was going to have to study and pass a GRE, I was going to have to get together a long list of references, and I was going to have to want this more than anything. Luckily, I had 2 years of disappointment in myself as motivation. After taking the GRE and getting in touch with old professors, I had applied and was anxiously waiting to hear back if I had been accepted. The email came while I was in travelling Peru, and not wanting to ruin the trip, I waited until we landed on the tarmac in Toronto to open it. 8 letters never looked so good. I had been a-c-c-e-p-t-e-d!

What have I learned from my disappointment and achievement?

There are enough things that happen in life that will disappoint us. We should never be our own disappointment. I have learned that I am not the girl who settles for how life is when I can work towards having the life I want. I am not a jaded person, but a compassionate one. I am not lazy, but ambitious. And I want as much adventure in my career as I do when I travel.

Have you every been disappointed in yourself? How did you overcome that disappointment?

COMM 0014-Post 5 – Personal Brand

Looking at my personal brand, there are three things I want to be remembered for, which I hope my social media depicts!


I think that there are many opportunities for us to make another persons day a little brighter. I’ve taken that lesson and applied it to my daily life, remembering to slow down if that means I can be nice or do something nice for another. We often can get so focused on our own tasks at hand, but when we ask and listen how another person might be. Moreover, I have loved having the opportunities and hope I can continue to have opportunities where I fundraise for charities. I got heavily involved in SickKids and United Way, which eventually lead to a contract position with United Way.

Stepping up for our community

2. Adventurous

I really enjoy using this term to describe me because it highlighted through a number of ways. First, I am adventurous when it comes to the destinations and travels I take part in. When it comes to my next travel destination, I usually pick it only if adventure is an option. Secondly, this is a good term when it comes to taking on new challenges. Whether it be applying for a new job, taking on a new task, or simply learning a different way of completing something, I often take on the challenge, accepting the potential failures and hopefully successes that will come out of the new adventure.

Taking the adventurous route to the top

3. Ambitious

Have you ever worked a job that felt like you weren’t going anywhere and knew you were capable of more? I did once and I do not think I can ever go back to that feeling again. I have too much drive and determination to want more out of my life. As a result, I ambitiously worked to get into a masters program. Once I got in, I ambitiously worked to be the top of my class. And now that the experience is coming to a close, I am ambitiously working towards a new job with my acquired skills. I know that we can accept a decent and healthy life, but I want to work hard for a life and career I love.

Pursuing my dream!

All in all, my personal brand has and will continue to be defined by these three characteristics. I will live my life compassionately, adventurously, and ambitiously as I continue to pursue my goals in life.

When Connections go Beyond Social Media

With Valentine’s Day last week and love still in the air, I thought it would be a great week to look at how social media is influencing modern dating.

 Liudmyla Ivashchenko

A couple I know recently got engaged. They met through Instagram after one of them commented on the others post. The conversation quickly turned to private messaging and before long they were meeting. Their connection was only made possible because social media existed. Our ability to connect with people from around the world has been made easier through social media, where our access to love has become borderless. We can connect with anyone, regardless of where they live. As a result, the number of potential people we could date has also increased. The ways in which dating has changed as a result of social media is quite extensive.

How does dating through social media work?

There are two ways in which social media influences potential future romances:

  1. Online Dating- This is when the person is actively searching for another person using a form of social media called a social networking application intended for the deed. Often times people will use applications such as Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, Hinge, Grindr, Her. The list of social networking websites is quite long and growing! Check out Mashable’s top list of online dating websites here.
  2. Social Media Directly- Some people just by chance can get connected online. Whether it be that two individuals are following the same people on Instagram, they were suggested to be friends because of mutual connections, or maybe they are the creators of a blog and one partner reaches out to another. In this sense, it might not be so intentional that two people are going to become romantically involved. Rather, its a great outcome of always being connected. Marvin Vaca (2017) claims Millennials are using this method to their advantage in his article on Social Media Dating.

Social Media’s impact on Modern Dating

As younger generations who grew up with a cell phone always accessible and methods to always be connected with others, online social media dating has increased significantly. In 2018, over 53% of those aged 18-29 were using online dating applications, while fewer than 12% of those aged 65 and older were using those same applications (Statista, 2019). While the older generations might be using these social networking applications less than younger generations, they are still using them! Which highlights how all generations are able to and actively accessing romantic relationships with through social media. In the same way we order clothes and groceries online, we can now order a relationship.

Social media has certainly changed the dating game. As one author notes, accessing potential partners has become much more easy with social media’s presence (Niesen, 2017). All you have to do is download the application, which will connect to information you’ve already put into places like Facebook and Instagram to create a profile for you. Therefore, you don’t even need to work hard to create a profile. Social media is easing that process as well by all being connected (okay monopolized by a limited few). Either way, the companies which have gotten on board with social media dating understand its growing importance for modern relationship seekers.

Constant Social Media Checking

How Your Relationship to Social Media Can Impact Your Relationship with Your Partner

With social media, we also have access to a plethora of information about our current or potential partners. Want to know where they went on their last trip? Check their Instagram. Want to know about their previous relationships? Check their Facebook. Want to know where they’ve worked before? Check their LinkedIn. As Francesca Friday puts it, we can know so much information about a future partner that our first dates don’t even feel like first dates anymore. Those questions we would normally like how many siblings one might have or what they studied in school, are answered before we even meet. Some people might see this as a positive. You really know the person ahead of time and can be slightly more sure this is the person for you. In the same way we monitor our online personal brands because of potential employers, we have to monitor how that brand we portray online will impact our dating. Check out e-Harmony’s Do and Don’t List when it comes to online dating.

Alternatively, you could become obsessed. We can monitor our partners very easily now. In a world where we can ALWAYS be connected thanks to social media, if your partner is not answering you, but you can see they read the last meme you sent them on Instagram, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get a reply (Break the Cycle, 2019). It can lead to some awkward moments when you are constantly confronting your partner on their whereabouts. Moreover, it can make us really insecure about our relationships. Does the person like me because they used that emoji or liked another persons Instagram photo? Our constant monitoring has made us capable to reading into our partners social media use and what use means in our relationship. Some jealous partners have even taken this so far they are using Facebook as a means to manipulate their partners.

Also, theres the very real risk that one might be catfished! This article by Kate A goes into depth about the risks of being catfished.

Let me know what you think!

How has social media impacted your relationships, or the relationships of those closest to you? Does social media make love borderless? Does social media make us more jealous partners?

With more than 50% of Millennials using Social Networking Sites to find love, social media is becoming a mainstream means to dating. Check out the full article by clicking on the link here:

Finding Love on Social Media. #SocialMediaDating #LoveisOnline


A, K. (2019). Reeling in a Catfish: How to spot if you’re being lied to online. Retrieved from <;.

Creffield, F. (2019). The social media rules when dating. Retrieved from <;.

Friday, F. (2017). Love in the Age of Social Media: Where Does Creeping End, and Dating Begin? Retrieved from <; .

G., M. (2019). How Social Media Changes Dating. Retrieved from <;.

Niesen, L. (2017). Dating in the 21st century: How social media influences relationships on the example of Tinder. Retrieved from <;

Patrick, W. (2018). How Jealous Partners Use Facebook to Monitor and Manipulate. Retrieved from <;.

Statista. (2019). Most popular online dating app or websites according to online users in the United States as of January 2018, by age group. Retrieved from <;.

Stodart, L. (2018). Best free dating sites and apps for singles on a budget. Retrieved from <;.

Vaca, M. (2017). Dating In The Age Of Social Media: How Millennials Use It To Their Advantage. Retrieved from <;.

COM0014 – Blog # 4- B2C Case Study

In continuing with a tourism focus, I am going to take a look at Tourism Toronto’s use of social media to interact with their consumers.

Tourism Toronto’s Social Media Presence

As a destination marketing organization (DMO), Tourism Toronto is tasked with the role of providing visitors and locals alike with information surrounding attractions, events, restaurants, and places to stay. These are the products that Tourism Toronto is selling, with the only difference between them and other businesses being that they are not in charge of the transaction directly. In order to maximize their reach, they have made their presence known through a number of social media accounts. Tourism Toronto has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Live Social Stream, a Pinterest account, an Instagram account, and a Youtube channel. As the DMO for the largest city in Canada, their reach ranges from 5K followers on Youtube to 234K followers on Facebook, highlighting an extensive reach. These followers also don’t account for individuals who seek out information without actually becoming a follower.

What Tourism Toronto Does Right

What I love about Tourism Toronto’s social media presence is their use of the same images to consistently communicate their message across the various platforms. For example, when the Christmas Market was on at the Distillery District in December, there were a number of photographs, videos, blogs, tweets, and posts related to this attraction. Rather than posting about the event once to one social media account, the company uses repetition in order enhance the image of an iconic Toronto event. Tourism Toronto also depends on the fact that people use social media as a means to obtain a certain social status (Tussyadiah, Kausar, & Soesilo, 2018). We want to go to the same restaurants and attractions as our friends so that we can share on social media that we are similar. Essentially, it pulls on our desire to conform by having Instagram worthy images. And Tourism Toronto is the one depicting what those images worth seeking are.

What Tourism Toronto Could Improve On

One way I think Tourism Toronto is lacking in success is their ability to engage with their audience. While the organization will occasionally respond to users and encourage their use of their hashtag #SeeTorontoNow when posting to any social media platform (which is then included on their live social stream), this is sporadic. They miss opportunities to engage with their communities and build relationships. It does feel very much like a one way communication street, with limited attempts to engage their community to be more active in liking, retweeting, and responding to their posts across all platforms. Even Instagram which seems to have the most engaged community, the number of likes posts receive can be inconsistent ranging from only 214 to over 2900 likes.

Take a look at the various social media accounts of Toronto Tourism. Do you think they are missing opportunities to engage with their community? Could they take a more active approach in building relationships with their followers and potential followers?


Facebook. (2019). Retrieved from <>.

Instagram. (2019). Retrieved from<>.

Live Social Stream. (2019). Retrieved from <>.

Pinterest. (2019). Retrieved from <>

Tussyadiah, I. P., Kausar, D. R. & Soesilo, P. K. M. (2018). The effect of engagement in online social network on susceptibility to influence. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 42(2), 201-223.

Twitter. (2019). Retrieved from <>.

Youtube. (2019). Retrieved from <>

The do’s and oh no’s for DMO’s on social media

As someone who is aspiring to work for a destination marketing organization (DMO), whether it be local, regional, provincial or national, how these organizations use the various social media applications is of great interest for me. DMO’s have to leverage their social media accounts if they want to be successful in attracting visitors.

What are DMOs?

“Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are official agencies charged with promoting travel to particular destinations. They’re typically part of a government or quasi-governmental agency and are  responsible for formulating and implementing travel and tourism policy.”

(Figueroa, 2017).

For DMO’s, when they spend $1 towards marketing, it often leads to a return on that investment in the amount of $38! Thus, they are tasked with the role of enhancing the economy through tourism. In 2014, tourism spending reached $88.5 billion and generated 1.7 million tourism related jobs in Canada (Canadian Tourism Research Institute (CTRI), 2016). With such a large return on their investment, DMO’s significantly contribute to the industries ability to increase tourism spending and create jobs. Without a doubt, these organizations add value to the economies that they promote. They are tasked with the role of ensuring people spend their money in the areas that they operate over.

How do DMOs use Social Media?

According to Trekk Blog, there are four main ways in which DMO’s should be using social media. First they need to make information a priority, they need to engage their consumers, should tell a story or have a voice, and they need to get creative. Generally speaking, DMO’s are using social media as a means to aid their marketing and advertising of the destination. They have become conscious of the fact that social media has a strong hold over user’s attraction towards a destination (Llodra-Riera et al., 2015) Whether it be a small town, a big city, a province or even a country, gaining visitors is the primary objective of the DMOs. Therefore, they must utilize their presence on social media to do so.

Have you ever looked at a social media page of a DMO? Check out Ontario Tourism’s Facebook page! When you scroll through their posts, you can see they are sharing topics on a wide variety of relevant topics for anyone living or visiting Ontario. The stories they are sharing are creative and the information is captivating. They even feature a number of blogs to give a storytelling aspect. Ontario Travel would work with a number of local and regional DMOs to ensure they are promoting all the regions and opportunities available. Do you see anything that might be wrong with their Facebook page?

Does Ontario Travel feature your home town or city?

DMOs Ability to Leverage their Social Media

At first glance, the Facebook page for Ontario Travel appears like a very good one. They have great photographs, showcasing some of Ontario’s most beautiful destinations. But, one thing I noticed upon further inspection was how inconsistent their engagement was, both by them and by their audience. Consumer engagement is when a marketing plan includes customers in the process. And, as we know, consumer engagement is such an important component that DMOs need to leverage. Moreover, this was the second recommendation of Trekk Blog. 

Remaining neutral is a necessary role of DMOs. If they are seen as favouring one restaurant, hotel, or other attraction too favourably, they can appear biased. Moreover, the organizations which are being featured less will argue that the DMO is negatively impacting their ability to compete on the market. Given that most DMOs are funded by the government favouritism is not acceptable.

That being said, the DMOs are able to utilize social media in a way that benefits them without directly favouriting one organization over another. This is by engaging other people to participate in the social media. Rather than being the biased ones, organizations are able to highlight the positive aspects of the destination because visitors have opted to become participants in the production of the materials.

Can DMOs use Social Media Right?

When I look at Tourism Toronto’s website, I see a stark contrast in how they are using social media in comparison to Ontario Travel. One of the things that I think Tourism Toronto did well was using photos which were not taken officially by them, but rather photos that had been posted to Instagram using the hashtag #SeeTorontoNow which were then placed on the main page of their website. It allows their consumers to be a part of creating the image which surrounds the destination.

A screenshot of Tourism Toronto's website page which features Instagram posts. Some of the posts include the Happy Place art exhibit, Toronto Christmas Market, the city skyline, and fireworks. All the posts feature the hashtag #SeeTorontoNow.
Tourism Toronto Website’s Main Page

Not only does this add an element of engagement between the organization and those who are visiting some of its major attractions, but it also allows multiple social media platforms to become interconnected. By encouraging other people to use a hashtag (like #SeeTorontoNow), it enables social media users to be a part of the marketing campaign. The image of the destination is no longer solely in the hands of the DMO (Llodra-Rierta et al., 2015). Tourism Toronto has recognized this, making sure they embrace what is being posted about the city as opposed to shying away from it.

City of Kawartha Lakes DMO Website

Tourism Toronto’s website can be contrasted by City of Kawartha Lakes who connects their own Instagram page to their website. In doing this, yes they highlight the many beautiful features of their region and make the destination look appealing. But it removes that sense of consumer engagement which Tourism Toronto is capitalizing on. Again, the image of the destination is no longer in the hands of the DMO solely. Those who visit and post their experience to social media are seen as equally if not more reliable than the DMO (Öz, 2014 ).

A great activity is to check out your own local DMO and see what they are doing when it comes to their social media use and strategies. Do they engage their audience? Are they missing out on opportunities to capitalize on a social media strategy where the audience is in control of content creation as much as the DMO is? Are they using the four recommendations that Trekk Blog put forward?

Is your DMO utilizing social media to the fullest? Check out to learn more on how to engage your consumer market!
Does your #DMO know? #consumerengagement #socialmedia
Check out the new blog post up now on how to maximize your DMO’s social media engagement. Link in bio:


Burkhard, S. N. (2016). How DMO’s can respond to social media’s prominence in reaching the travel market. Retrieved from <;.

Canadian Tourism Research Institute (CTRI) (2016), Bottom Line: Labour Challenges Threaten Tourism’s Growth, CTRI, Ottawa.

Figueroa, A. (2017). List of Destination Marketing Organizations. Retrieved from <;

Figueroa, A. (2018). Definition of DMO as It Relates to Travel and Tourism. Retrieved from <;.

Llodra-Riera, I. Martínez-Ruiz, M. P., Jiménez-Zarco, a. I., & Izquierdo-Yusta, A. (2015). Assessing the influence of social media on tourists’ motivations and image formation of a destination. International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, 7(4), 458-482.

Ontario Travel. (2019). Retrieved from <;.

Öz, M. (2014). Social media utilization of tourists for travel-related purposes. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality, 27(5), 1003-1023.

Payne, R. (2016). Why destination marketing organizations need to become experts at visitor engagement. Retrieved from <;.

Toronto Tourism. (2019). Retrieved from <;

COM0014 – Blog # 3- – Target Audiences

One of the greatest aspects of modern technology is being able to understand and market products directly to a target audience. Technology allows us become familiar with and to track the communities of individuals who would be interested in our products. Forbes highlights this fact in their article on decoding your target audience.

In tourism, understanding your target market is critical to the destination or organizations success. One market which I have been focusing my attention specifically is Millennial tourists who use Instagram.

You might be thinking, well thats not a very specific group. In reality though, this group is crucial to the tourism industry. Not surprising, Instagram is most popular among those who are between the ages of 18 and 34 years old aka Millennials. Also, Instagram is equally popular amongst both genders, and is now one of the most important sources of information when a tourist is planning their trip (Casciano, 2018).

You might be thinking, well thats not a very specific group. In reality though, this group is crucial to the tourism industry. Not surprising, Instagram is most popular among those who are between the ages of 18 and 34 years old aka Millennials. Also, Instagram is equally popular amongst both genders, and is now one of the most important sources of information when a tourist is planning their trip (Casciano, 2018).

When the Millennial focused Contiki Travel Tours conducted their study on what Millennials, they found out just how important travel is to this generation of Instagram users, who would give up coffee, alcohol, and sex if it meant that they could travel. More importantly, Millennials are motivated to select travel destinations based on how “Instagrammable” that destination will be.

In an effort to better understand their community of potential buyers, Contiki has even launched a travel and lifestyle blog called six-two. This website ensures a two way dialogue between it’s parent company Contiki and potential consumers.

Contiki is doing a lot of things right when it comes to their over all brand in order to reach their target market of Millennial tourists (who are likely on Instagram). They have used modern technology to conduct surveys, engage with influencers to show the “Instagrammability” of their trips, provide avenues with which to get to know their target market, allow readers to share their comments, and track potential consumers. If they have had a PR fail, it has not surfaced to the point that their reputation became severely impacted in the same way as Motrin.


Casciano, M. (2018).

Contiki. (2019). https://www

DeMares, J. (2013).

Hosie, R. (2017).

six-two. (2019).

Statista. (2019).

Now you’re playing with influence

With social media’s growing popularity amongst millennials, particularly Instagram users, influencer marketing has emerged itself as a popular promotional strategy for organizations.

But, what is an influencer?

“An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience.”

Influencer Marketing Hub

In this regard, a person who is an hired by an organization to be an influencer will post to their own social media page having used a product. Organizations that use influencers can capitalize on the fact that they are targeting a group of people who perceive themselves to be in alignment with what the influencer (aka the organization) represents. So, unlike previous advertisements which are displayed to the masses with a small margin of reaching the intended population of consumers, influencer marketing is much more pointed (Barker, 2018). By using an influencer in a social media marketing strategy, the organization has better control of reaching the population of consumers who are likely to purchase the product. The use of an influencer also increases the credibility of the organizations brand. Mostly because the influencer is favourably describing the product to their audience of followers, making that product seem desirable. The influencer is generally speaking someone in a position of power, whether it be for their celebrity status, knowledge on a given topic, or number of social media followers.

Who can be an influence?

Kim K’s Instagram

One of the most notorious influencers of our time? Kim Kardashian ! She capitalizes on her celebrity status and millions of followers in order to make money as an influencer. (Did you see that she has 125 million followers?!). In doing so, she promotes products which she claims she uses herself. So, when those 125 million followers are scrolling through their Instagram feed and see the photo of her using a product, they too will want to consume that product. The idea being that, in order to have some resemblance with Kim K, you have to use the same products she uses. More importantly, those 125 million followers are people who already identify themselves with Kim in some way or another. If they didn’t, they would not be one of her followers. The brand she sells is the brand her followers want to be associated with. So organizations who pay Kim to be an influencer aren’t reaching unnecessary individuals through this marketing scheme. Rather, they are reaching 125 million Instagram users who have a high likelihood of being influenced to purchase what Kim Kardashian tells them to purchase through a (un)subtle Instagram post of her using the product.

Controversy amongst the Influencers

What is happening more recently though, is a shift in the conversation on how influencers should be used. Some are arguing that it is fine to be and use influencers, but this needs to be done consciously and without negative impacts to the influencer or their followers. When Kim Kardashian posted an Instagram post of her using tummy slimming products, another celebrity stepped up to criticize Kim for using her position to influence the purchasing of a product she felt was wrong and unsafe. Jameela Jamil has publicly slammed Kim and the other Kardashians who promote these tummy slimming products which according to her are essentially a non FDA approved laxative. Jameela is arguing that as someone who is in a position of power to influence those around her, Kim Kardashian needs to be conscious of the message she is sending to her followers through these influencer posts. Rather then telling the mostly young female group of followers they need a slimmer tummy, Kim Kardashian could be telling her followers something related to greater body positivity.

“Keepin’ up with the Joneses” Instagram  Style

Social media has changed the way in which we interact with society and consume goods. With 64% of Canadians aged 18-34 years having an Instagram account (McKinnon, 2018) with 61% of those account holders using the platform EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. (Gruzd, Jacobson, Mai & Dubois, 2018), how does this translate into a good thing for organizations? As organizations try to promote and sell products using an influencer marketing strategy, backlash is undoubtedly possible. But, that has more to do with the product itself being seen as something which is socially acceptable to promote. Not the process in which it is done.

Is it wrong that Kim Kardashian promotes tummy slimming products on Instagram to her followers? Would the conversation shift to be less controversial if she was promoting a lip gloss? Who decides what is acceptable to be marketed through an influencer and what is not? Should there be a body regulating influencer marketing? These are many of the questions we need to be asking ourselves as influencer marketing increases with the growing popularity of Instagram amongst younger generations.

It does not matter if you are one of Kim K’s 125 million followers or not, by having a social media account you undoubtedly are being exposed to an influencer . This occurs both unconsciously or not. We use social media because we want to be close to those who are like us, or those who we want to be like (Tussyadiah, Kauser & Soesilo, 2018). So, even if you do not follow one celebrity or public figure on Instagram, your own social group can influence your choices based on their posts. Maybe they tried a new restaurant? Got a new pair of sunglasses? Went on a really cool trip? The possibilities are endless! But, by posting our consumer purchases on social media we influence the choices of those in our network. We have inadvertently–and to the advantage of many organizations–became Instagram influencers.

Influencer Marketing in 2019

Influencer marketing will continue to be on the rise in the coming year. According to Forbes, it is anticipated that in 2019 more organizations will spend more money towards the influencer marketing industry as a means to promote their products. More importantly, it does not matter whether the influencer being selected to market the product is a favourable choice, companies want the influencer with the most engagement from their social media interactions. Again, the question arises on whether a person should be invited to be a paid influencer if their engagement comes from behaving in controversial means.

What do you think about influencer marketing? Are we playing with fire by always posting our consumer purchases to social media? Should people be allowed to get paid from an organization in order to be an influencer? Is this morally wrong or a simple fact to be accepted with the growth of social media as a prominent aspect of our everyday life?

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Barker, S. (2018). Why Brands Should Rely on Influencer Marketing in 2018 and Beyond. Retrieved from

Gruzd, A., Jacobson, J., Mai, P., & Dubois, E. (2018). The State of Social Media in Canada 2017. Ryerson University Social Media Lab. 

Influencer Marketing Hub (2019). What is an Influencer? Retrieved from

Kim Kardashian’s Instagram. Retrieved from

Leadbetter, C. (2018). Jameela Jamil Wants These Celebrities To ‘S**t Themselves In Public’ For Promoting Detox Tea. Retrieved from

McKinnon, M. (2018). Retrieved from

Tussyadiah, I. P. Kausar, D. R., Soesilo, P. K. M. (2018). The effect of engagement in online social network on susceptibility to influence. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 42(2), 201-223.

Ward, T. (2018). The Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Explode In 2019. Retrieved from

COM0014 – Post 2 – Storytelling and Communication Styles

To be successful in communicating this blog post, the words I will select are just as critical as the order in which I present them.

Like, right here. If you, the reader, suddenly felt I was delivering a passive statement about something relatively insignificant to the blog post, I would probably lose you as a reader right? The content from here on out would seem relatively insignificant and the likelihood you would continue to read my story would weaken.

You want to know that what I am saying is not just another passive voice that can be read by anyone with an elementary reading ability. You want me to produce information that relates to topics you already know about, so that you don’t just analyze the information, but form your own opinions after synthesizing this information with that of other sources.

The importance of the words we choose when telling a story is so critical if we are going to give our blog a voice which suites its narrative. This works in conjunction to knowing what your audience is looking for. When you’re writing to academics, they are clearly looking for something very different than a teenager with limited understanding on the given topic.

We tell stories for the important reason that we want others to hear, remember, and ideally pass that story on. We owe it not just to ourselves, but to you, our readers, to ensure we have a lasting impact on you. That our story adds value to your life and you are able to form your own individual opinion on the story. Each readers perspective will vary, changing how the story can be read and interpreted. But, a good storyteller will never loose you as a reader, even if our opinions differ.