Video saved the Marketing Star

From Facebook to IGTV. 

From Podcasts to AI.

From the days of sitting on the kitchen floor with a curly cord holding the phone to our ears, so much has changed in the way we communicate.

The evolution of on-line marketing and social media has been so swift, that many of the reference articles throughout this college certificate have been out of date. Like my iPhone, it seems that platforms and algorithms are constantly being updated. Don’t get too comfortable with how your favourite one woks, cuz it will change sooner rather than later. 

There are so many unexpected applications that have come up throughout the course, and in my own experiences, but the one that I didn’t expect to be so important was live streaming/video. 

Certainly not a new concept in itself, video has become the biggest shift in social media marketing. Although YouTube has been the cornerstone of that market for years, influencers and top social media accounts have seen massive growth with the implementation of Facebook Live, and IGTV. Even LinkedIn is getting into the live video.

“Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now, and the one most likely to get people talking,” said Pete Davies, the director of product management at LinkedIn.

Why do you think that is? Because it is working! Live video lets people connect with brands in a raw, authentic way that had never been done before. 

In addition, people who watch a brand video rather than reading a post are found to be more likely to retain the information and follow through.

In 2020 I will start to implement video into all my strategic planning. Late to the party is better than not showing up at all!


Video stat graphic sourced from Moshin, M (March 23, 2019) 10 Video Marketing Statistics for 2019 [Infographic]

LinkedIN quote sourced from Lunden, I (Feb 11, 2019) LinkedIn debuts LinkedIn Live, a new live video broadcast service

Telephone photo sourced from Walkter, Z, Do You Remember (2017) Only 70s Kids Remember These Forgotten Relics

COM0015 Blog 3 – Just get out there.

Just get out there. Be present. Show up. Start with hello.

Regardless if I am on-line or in line, this is the strategy I am carrying into 2020. 

Professional networking, like any relationship, starts with building a conversation. No one ever gets involved in a committed relationship without first getting to know each other, and that is no different in business. 

To build my network, I want to keep in touch with those from my past, and build a path to those in my future, while paying particular attention to those in my present. Again, no different than everyday life. 

We make networking a complicated thing, like there is more at stake. And there is. We need to make a good impression. Showcase ourselves as both a professional, and an expert in our field, while being personal enough that people want to engage. Sounds hard, but if we take the time to make it a daily habit, on-line or in-person, it becomes a habit.  

My commitment is to get out more, meet new people and put myself out there, in person. Where I can’t hide behind the screen, and just type out what I want to say.

Leading Ladies Networking Event, Halifax. Photo by AJSmithPhoto

The beauty of hiding behind my Mac is I can be authentic and not worry if people are accepting what I say. It takes away the imposter syndrome. In person, we are more guarded with our comments so as to not see the expression on the face of someone who somehow disagrees, or disbelieves in what we say. 

I also want to be more present in my on-line communities. I have to remember that while having a strategic plan and posting for my clients is important, it should not be at the expense of my own platforms. I need to be seen, and heard, because even by networking on line, I can build relationships that may lead to opportunities.

Want to be part of my network? Let’s connect, stay in touch, and support each other going forward. You can find me on the interweb as AJSmithPhoto on LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter

COM0015 Blog #2 💪 vs. 👎

The instructions say find 2 organizations that have a strong social media presence. That being said, I believe that the strongest presence is currently an individual brand, rather than a corporate one. It’s not a Kardashian, or a teenage pop star, it is our very own VanCityReynolds. 

Ryan Reynolds is the only celebrity I follow. Yes, in-part because he is Canadian, and sexy as hell, with the snarkiest sense of humour (just my type!), but also because his social media portrays a persona that seems genuine. From interviews to commercials, as with all “stars”, he promotes his movies, but in a manner that his personality has become his brand. His Twitter is as much parenting zingers as Deadpool. 

More recently he has transitioned from Hollywood elite to marketing entrepreneur, making him a case study worth paying attention to, carrying that forward into his new business ventures with Aviation Gin, and now MintMobile

Looking at his social media profiles, it is his businesses, not his movies that he lists and links to. While the page transparency of his Facebooks lists 6 in the US managing the page, it always sounds and feels authentically Ryan Reynolds. 

He has active social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. With millions of followers on each platform, what do you think of his style? 

For a corporate organization, I select the Calgary Telus Convention Centre. While it utilizes its social media to promote itself as a special event venue in downtown Calgary, it also promotes its people, events, partners, and the City of Calgary. It uses it’s social media not just to sell its services, but to promote its value for planners and visitors. One of my favourite stories this year was about the urban honey bees they set up on one their balconies. 

They utilize a branded hashtag #atthecentre and have features such as #TeamTuesday to introduce staff. They have 9 IG Story tabs, and are active on  LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. By active I don’t just mean they push posts, but rather they share stories of their community, respond to comments, and play an active role in their brand. 

On the flip side, a company that is lacking in its social media is Goodkey Show Services. Based out of Edmonton, they have a National Reach, but little to no social media. In their Google Search a LinkedIn profile comes up, but its last post was 1yr ago. Twitter and Instagram share their last post from April 1, while Facebook got a bonus post in June. Even the blog on their website has no 2019 posts.

I became aware of this lacking during an audit for Superior Show Service, a competing event services company I am contracted to handle social media for. As someone who does this for a similar company I see so many windows they have closed. They must be relying heavily on their existing clients because they certainly don’t seem worried about gaining the attention of potential future business. 

Would you let your social media lapse like this, or would delete the accounts rather than appear uninterested?

graphic via The Method Blog

Tools of the Social Trade

Com0015 Blog 1, Tools & Sources

Following trends and listening for industry related news is important to be able to share current, relevant information with our audience. 

The easiest first step to accomplish this is with Google Alerts. Simply type in the business or keywords to monitor, and google will send us notifications if they pop up. This gives us the opportunity to quickly receive, review,  and if warranted, share the news in a timely fashion with our audience. 

Another option is RSS feeds. Whether through programs such as Feedly, this allows up to coordinate our news, blogs and updates so that we can gather everything in a single location to share out with our audience, keeping our accounts current and relevant.

Other options can include Reddit and the HuffingtonPost

News sources such as Twitter may not always be fully accurate. Sites like Snopes let you fact check a story if it makes you raise, or furrow an eyebrow.

Photo Jensen Ackles via AllMediaNY

My Tools of Choice

For the last few years my go to tool has been Hootsuite. It not only allows me to schedule posts, but also allows for listening with hashtags, keywords and mentions on certain platforms.

For local content within the Industries I follow, I rely on LinkedIn. As a professional network, most news posts are shared by experts in their field, which I find is a trustworthy source.

Most recently I discovered SocialBee. Similar to Hootsuite it has scheduling and monitoring options, but it also has the option to post evergreen content, and has its own RSS feed so it can be very all in one. Now I just have to become more proficient with it so that I can take full advantage of its uses and transfer my accounts over. 

Social Bee Overview via YouTube

Have you found a new tool to share? What makes it worth taking a look at?


Jensen Ackles Photo (date unknown) from AllMediaNY from…10506.19920..22921…0.0..0.117.740.2j5……0….1..gws-wiz-img…….35i39j0i67j0j0i8i30j0i24.nawBeidi5O0&ved=0ahUKEwiO24WT19jlAhXMu54KHe0zCh0Q4dUDCAc&uact=5#imgrc=KPxigmXxNzIZvM:

Social Bee Video (July 29, 2019) from YouTube

Com0014 Blog 7 Personal Reflection

Four down, one to go! What started as something to keep me busy after a new move, has turned into an amazing experience of self reflection and business set-up. A lot of what I have written as part of my Social Media Certificate is now being utilized as I set up my new website for Dandelion Digital. 

Although already experienced in social media for business the thing I really took away so far was about measurement and the importance of tracking what we do, and how it is received. Oh, and lets not forget…APA formatting. 

In this particular course focusing on Communication and storytelling, I truly enjoyed not only reading the work of my fellow “classmates” but reading the comments and encouragement we fed each other. That is the spirit of what we are striving for in our audience. So I guess, in this course my take away is the importance of our audience. 

Photo by Gioavana Thayane on Unsplash

Not just that they are there, but recognizing that we write, not for ourselves, but for them, so understanding where to find them, and what is important to them is how we should structure our content. 

 Storytelling is so important to not only to capture an audience, but to keep them. Our content should be focused to the audience we want to attract, rather then to the masses. Finding a persona, or an ideal client to direct our content to can help maintain a consistency that the entire audience will appreciate. It can also act as a funnel to rid those who are maybe not our ideal person, so that we don’t spend wasted energy on the wrong targets. 

My stories are a reflection of my personality. It’s the only way I can write; as the voice in my head. That voice can carry different tones depending on the subject and its level of seriousness. Fun vs formal. 

Stories will also change when writing for a client rather than myself, but now all I have to do is put into practise what I have learned, and develop their ideal client and the tone they want to portray.

I look forward to learning more as we start Applied Social Media for Business.

Com0014 Blog #6: Why I am Starting Over

New beginning can be exciting, but rarely easy. Hence the saying goes, nothing in life is ever easy. 

2019 was another new beginning. As a military family, starting over is not a new concept. We relocated from land locked Alberta, to coastal Nova Scotia. As a photographer this was a thrilling adventure, trading Canada’s canola fields and mountain scapes for her valley’s and shores.  

While my husband moved for his job, I had to leave mine behind. Once here, I can’t even say I decided to start my own business, it just seemed to be that I knew that was the path I was on. Over the past several years I had provided community photography and social media wearing both my professional and volunteer hats, so that was the focus of my job search. It was only half hearted though. Did I want to work for someone else’s ideas and vision? Did I want the commute? Did I want to work for less than my worth? Everything came up no.

I continued to find connections with local entrepreneurs in my niche. I continued to put out content on my own social media that aimed toward being my own entrepreneur. So starting my own business was the natural path. 

Although my idea has 3 prongs, it is very focused. I am a photographer, but rather than having a drop down menu for weddings and families, and babies, and head shots and… I want to be specific to corporate and community events. 

I also want to offer small business solutions for social media and photoshop. I want to help the little companies so they can have the time back for themselves without sacrificing their on-line presence. 

If there were a part of your business that you struggle over, would you not want to hand it over to a professional, to have that time to spend with your family?

That is exactly why I have a book keeper, and why you may need me! 


Driving map of Canada sourced from

Com0014 Blog 5 Personal Branding

Despite years of experience, and continued training, day jobs and a home based business all around photography, I have never had the confidence to consider myself “A PHOTOGRAPHER”. I mean I say I am when people ask, but I have never taken the plunge to allow myself to dive into it with both feet, and say “I am a photographer”. 

Until now. 

This week I signed commitment papers for a Self Employment Business plan with the province of Nova Scotia. It is a 40 week sponsored plan to help me build a business. I have the creative experience, but lack any experience running a full time, profitable business. This program requires monthly reports for networking and leads, assists with writing a business plan and provides courses from bookkeeping to selling.

I also have to build my brand. I need marketing material and a website, and I have slowly been transitioning my business based social media content to fit the new business concept. 

My business name is Dandelion Digital. As a base brat growing up, and raising 3 military kids, the dandelion is the official flower of the military child. Taking to the wind and planting roots wherever we may land. The logo has 3 seedlings, specific to my 3 services of photography, photoshop and social media. My primary colour is orange, conveniently representing creativity, adventure, enthusiasm, success and balance. (Vana, J 2019)

However, we have already discussed that a brand is so much more than a logo. So what qualities set me apart? The biggest attribute I need to play up is my experience. My new business will offer event photography and social media solutions for small businesses. Exactly what I have been doing for years for employers out west. I can highlight my accomplishments as a multi year finalist for the Chamber of Commerce Business awards, as well as winning for Marketing Excellence Award with the event services team I was last with. 

I asked a couple past employers back home about the attributes I should focus on. They came back with Diligent – Benevolent – Trustworthy – Creative – Involved – Community Minded.

Even if it just starts off as the description line on my LikedIn account, how does this sound?

An award winning creative, offering social media solutions for small business, and event photography for corporate & community events. 

I am open to suggestions, please offer your feedback.


Vana, J LinkedIn (October, 2019) What feelings Do Colors Evoke?

Com0014 Blog 4: I BLEED BROWN

Blog 4 – B2C case study

I had a hard time choosing a company to look at for a case study. I don’t really follow consumer companies in my own social media feed, and didn’t want to go to the big brands that are a household name. I am quite sure Pepsi knows I am forever faithful, but I am going with a B2C that has just as much of an impact in my life….Kicking Horse Coffee.

Today is the first time I have connected with them on social media, so it was an immediate visual audit of how they are doing.

Photo sourced from Kicking Horse Coffee


This was my first stop, and although there are only a handful of posts, all from within this year, I was really impressed by them. With only 22 posts they already have 18.1K followers. 

The how-to graphics are great and the product shots are rich and beautiful (like their brew!). 


This has been up since 2010, and has over 9K followers. That is half compared to their newer Instagram account, which says a lot about their audience. There last post was in June, compared to September on Instagram, so perhaps they are making a shift as many of the more recent tweets are repeated on Instagram 


The Page Transparency of this page states it was started in 2010 as well, and it has nearly 120K page likes and followers. I find it baffling however that the feed is very similar to that of Instagram, only going back to this past February

Overall, their engagement started off strong (see what I did there!), but it became inconsistent, and it doesn’t seem like they acknowledge comments that were made much later than the original post. 

They do address a few key questions such as requests for on-line merch sales, and environmentally friendly packages by directing followers to DM them for further conversation (social media 101). Other than that it almost seems like every now and then they simply go through and like comments, but have no dialogue. 

Photo sourced from Kicking Horse Coffee

My personal thoughts are, first, they need to have someone as dedicated to the social media as they are to their brew. The few times they do comment across their channels, can be rather entertaining, and their imagery is outstanding. Secondly, this was a good learning tool, giving me the opportunity to recognize how disingenuous a lazy thumbs up can be. 

Finally, I did not actually understand the difference between light and dark roast until today, but I love a rich dark hot coffee (454 Horsepower), ideally with a little stevia, and some cream. How do you take yours?

Com0014 Blog 3: Tipping the Scale at 50

COM0014 Blog 3

Understanding who my message is intended for, and ultimately who I need it to reach is a key component of establishing my target audience. Starting a new business in a new city, I have been struggling with who that may be. Then, I wrote a clarifying statement in last weeks Personal Story assignment. 

I will offer Social Media and Photoshop services for entrepreneurs. The intent is to give you back the time and freedom for your own endeavours, by taking off your plate the part of your business you may not have the resources or expertise to do yourself.”

In this one point, I clarified a key target audience. My target will be small business owners who have neither the time, or the resource to keep up with their own social media. That will most likely be those of us tipping the Gen X scale. The near 50:ish where social media is used more for personal than business. Typically, most people my age are either already well established with the technology of computers and social media, or they curse them. 

So in essence, my target audience is “Steve”. He is actually my husband, but the perfect example. Steve is a 49 year old Lineman. Like everyone, he has a tablet and a cel phone. The phone’s single purpose is for communication, be it text or calls. His tablet is used for Netflix, banking and facebook. That’s it. Even as he scrolls through Facebook, he has no engagement. He is a “skimmer” (Clark, B. 2008). Rarely comments or Likes a post, and has to constantly ask me how or where he can send messages. People with Steve’s lack of tech savvy are my target audience. 

If I consider myself, I would be the perfect target audience for a bookkeeper. I am a small business entrepreneur who hates anything to do with math and numbers, so I need someone who can take care of my business records and taxes. I have neither the experience, expertise, or desire to do it myself. Finding an entrepreneur with that exact attitude about social media, that right there is who I need to find.

So where do I find them? Step one is to run local, targeted Facebook ads for male or female ages 45-55, and then select specific interests to narrow that down further. Step two is find out their hang outs. Be it on line in Facebook groups, at the local pub, or … where? Where would you suggest I look in the Burbs of Nova Scotia?


Clark, B, CopyBlogger (August 27, 2008), How to Read from:

Unknown, Streampage (January, 2018), The ABCs of Marketing to Generations X, Y, & Z from:

Com0014 Blog 2: Shorter Stories for Storytelling.

Short is Sweet!

Confession time. The very first thing I do when I open a link to read a story is scroll to the end. No spoiler alerts, I’m not trying to see how it ends, I am trying to see when it ends. 

In today’s lesson I learned I am definitely an Inspectional Reader. On-line I am a “skimmer”, and even with my favourite books I am admittedly “superficial”. 

So here is the thing. I find the hardest part of writing is to be short and sweet. 

Our last assignment on summer vacations, I deleted entire paragraphs just to get it down to the suggested max word count. As a radio newscaster I used to have to write my stories for the website, and you’d have thought they were a newspaper feature.

The more blogs I read, the more I realize they are a collection of ideas and insight, rather than encyclopedias of knowledge. Several ideas can generate several good blogs, rather than 1 long one that nobody (especially me) finishes. 

So today I learned I need to write the way I read. 

Short and sweet.

Not simple. Concise. Entertaining. Engaging. Not just for that one story, but for the future ones I hope they return for.

Have you discovered your method? Realized your best path?
It’s actually quite enlightening. 

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Clark, B, Copyblogger (August 27, 2008) How to Read