COM0015 Assignment#1 Blog#4 Out of the Box

I think one of the most surprising applications both personal branders and organizations are using more and more is the use of video content that disappears after a certain time frame (also known as stories). You would think that brands would want their content to be viewed over a long period of time in order to increase traffic to their website,  and using only a 24 hour window could hinder the amount of people that you reach.

Perhaps that is the appeal of this type of marketing, however. It encourages your audience to check for updates more frequently to make sure they do not miss anything important (from company news updates to product/service sales to contests). It also lessens the risk of having complete PR disasters given that the content will be automatically erased after a certain period of time (rather than having to go through the trouble of having it removed from a website (a good example of this was seen in our lesson content about the Motrin Moms incident). It seems that both organizations and individuals can have a more light hearted fun with short ‘stories’ and the content can still be highly engaging.

I find that overall, my followers respond more to video stories over photograph stories and I think it’s because they appreciate the interaction / dialogue / visuals and audio that come with video. With 300 hours of video content being uploaded to YouTube every minute ( / 2017) it’s no doubt that other social applications need to compete by providing a platform that offers more video features.

A great example of a company that uses Instagram stories is AirTransat. They show compelling and dreamy-looking short video clips and photographs of travelers throughout their adventures around the world. They also post quick contest entry details and weekly flight specials.

On Snapchat, there are now gossip and news type channels such as Brother, The Rundown and The Update that highlight current entertainment or world news events which provides convenience and decreases search time.

Here is an interesting article depicting the rise of story usage and the competitiveness between Instagram and Snapchat . Instagram has the upper hand due to its already larger user base over snapchat.

Social media as a whole will continue to evolve with the use of technology that provides more convenience to users and I am eager to see what applications and trends will arise in 2018.

COM0014 Blog #7 Storytelling

It is become evident through the learnings of this course that great storytelling is necessary for personal branding online. Giving yourself a voice, set with an appropriate tone that best characterizes you as a person and the product/service you are bringing to the table and having it resonate with your audience is vital to your online success.

One of my favourite quotes I have taken from the course below:


It’s true, the more organic, genuine, sympathetic and relatable you are in your content and brand building, the more people will engage and this will result in longer, more loyal relationships. It’s important that we guide our audience through a personal journey – and stand out amongst the masses. I think it’s important that people and organizations ‘humanize’ their content so that people can relate and be more inclined to participate in the conversation. Campaigns such as the #Kindawesome with Kind Bars, the Christmas Miracle with West Jet and even the Dove real beauty campaign are only a few of many that have successfully tapped into the hearts and minds of their target audience. It is through great storytelling that we distinguish ourselves and attract people from all walks of life.

The story I want to tell is to highlight how much the restaurant scene has improved and expanded in Ottawa in recent years. I want to engage a younger demographic to get out there and enjoy good food and atmospheres and fight against the stigma that Ottawa is boring and our culinary scene does not compare to other major cities in Canada. I want my story to be fun, light and engaging. 2017 has been a rough year for our World, from mass shootings to devastating natural disasters, and I think it’s important for people to treat themselves to life’s simple joys (which to me has already revolved around food and enjoying food with the ones I love). I am looking forward to seeing where my story takes me in both the short and long term and hope that I can attract all of the right readers to join me in the process!

COM0014 Blog #6 – Biggest Challenge

As a food blogger, my biggest challenge by far is getting noticed in a sea of hundreds of thousands of bloggers who are offering the same thing as me. I must therefore bring something to the table that no one else is – which is much easier said than done. And with that being said, comes the notion of ‘niches’ and more and more with the help of this course I see just how important it is to create a niche and build your strategy around that niche. By using proper listening, dashboard creation and monitoring techniques it is vital that you see where / what / why / when conversations around your industry are happening and then figure out what you can do that no one (or few) are currently doing. I think for me, I was able to overcome this challenge somewhat by focusing all of my effort on Ottawa restaurants and Ottawa chefs through my TV program. However, looking back now, I feel that I could have implemented a much stronger and effective social media marketing strategy to promote the show. I was too focused on having friends and family be engaged that I missed out on listening and engaging with the bigger market.

Food programs are very popular on YouTube – and I think this will be my biggest (most necessary to implement) challenge going forward – to build and secure a catchy, subscriber-worthy, shareable-worthy YouTube channel that reaches the Ottawa market as a whole. To date, the program has only been available to Bell Fibe subscribers across Canada and with more and more people getting rid of their cable because of large movie/tv library programs such as Netflix or just using online streaming, this has not been the most effective way to reach my audience (especially because I would like to target millennials!). The competition is huge – however I think I will leverage the fact that my content is Ottawa focused and try not to make it bigger than it is.  It won’t happen overnight – but I think a lot of people in my position are facing the same challenge so my plan is to get ahead of the curb (as I would anticipate new trends will pop up all over the place in the near future!)

COM0015 Professional Networking

For both my personal food blogging and my production work with my local food television show, I have managed to create a fairly large professional network that includes like-minded foodies, friends/family, and collaboration with other food bloggers/tv hosts in the area, the Bell Media family and with Ottawa restaurant owners.

Some of the strategies I have used to date is to engage with my audience i.e posting a Thanksgiving recipe then asking followers what their favourite recipe is and encourage them to share. I also tag Ottawa restaurants and encourage them to re-post my content in order to reach a wider audience. I find that direct messaging on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is a great tool to get noticed and offer up ways to cross promote (i.e I will re-post your content if you re-post mine, or let’s grab a meal sometime and post a live-feed to engage followers). I have also reached out to various print outlets (who also have a very strong online presence) such as Ottawa Citizen food critics and Ottawa Life Magazine journalists to promote my brand and content. ( I have invited people to come on set and give them a behind the scenes look at how a TV show is produced and post their experience on their social handles. I am constantly tagging influencers to widen my reach / get noticed and post engaging content that stands out against my competitors.

As the event planner for the TV1 Ottawa family (we have produced over 15 Ottawa focused shows in the past 2 years) I have planned and hosted events with several influencers in the area and worked with our editor to create ‘promo’ videos of the events and give people a sense of what we do and where you can watch our content.

I am also quick to attend Generation Next (United Way Ottawa) events in the area to meet local influencers and bloggers in order to network and develop skills / obtain resources that I otherwise would not have. In the next 6 to 12 months I plan on attending as many influencer events in the city as possible to extend these networks. I also plan to offer incentives for people who may want to collaborate with me (i.e on-air time, adding their name to show credits, working with other bloggers to create and promote recipes and encourage people to create more live feeds (vlogs – which a rising trend) with me.

COM0014-Ass #1 Blog #5 Personal Branding

My personal brand goes far beyond being a foodie. I am a total go-getter, a great motivator, an event enthusiast, a social butterfly and an evangelist of all things Ottawa. I have been able to stand out among my fellow food bloggers over the past year by taking my big personality and big love of food to the TV screen with my work as a producer and host. I have found a way to take something as simple as a fish taco and make it exciting and enticing to even the biggest skeptic. My confidence has enabled me to push certain boundaries and write real, genuine reviews about the food that I eat in my city and network with like-minded individuals through collaboration.

I am also well educated in healthy living and I feel I am able to cater to various markets and food preferences. I am most proud of my ability to think outside of the box and write scripts and content that is relatable, outgoing, fun and entertaining. As a single, twenty something I pride myself on my ability to flaunt a foodie-heaven lifestyle but on a budget and without compromising my health. I think my positive and highly engaging online presence helps my audience, friends and family to confidently share my content and join in on my conversations. I think what sets me apart is that I make my food content ‘sexy’ and make cooking and recipe sharing seem like something anyone can achieve. I am excited to keep listening to what my followers are saying, to stay on top of food blogging and food show trends and keep developing the brand that I have already established for myself.

The real threat of security breaches

Just yesterday, reports surfaced that UK spies are using social media data from millions of people and sending it to mass governments. Do I have your attention? Ya, this scared the s**t out of me too.

According to an article on “It remains unclear exactly what aspects of our communications they hold and what other types of information the government agencies are collecting, beyond the broad unspecific categories previously identified such as ‘biographical details’, ‘commercial and financial activities’, ‘communications’, ‘travel data’, and ‘legally privileged communications’.” (Natasha Lomas / 2017) says an investigation was launched back in March of 2015 when it came to light the UK spy agencies were gathering information on the general public and not just on people of interest.

In a response, Facebook said “it did not provide “back doors” and that it scrutinised “each government request for user data”.” ( / 2017)

This incident further highlights the security risks we all face when using social media tools. Everything from e-mail address, date of birth, ethnicity and religious beliefs to passwords and credit card information can in theory be hacked from our profiles.


( / 2017)

With the increasingly growing trend of sharing your real-time location (a feature most recently made available on Snapchat) it is all too easy for your followers/friends/the public (if you have a public profile) to know exactly where you are at all times. wrote an article depicting 8 ways that we can minimize social media risk:

1-Change social media privacy settings

2-Use a virtual private network

3-Know and understand the risks of using Cloud networks!!!

4-Always read the fine print

5-Be smart with your passwords

6-Use secured websites

7-Always bypass phishing attacks

8-Use anti-malware software

( / 2017)

I myself have been a victim of several phishing attacks – and while I am confident with my privacy settings and passwords, I almost always neglect to read fine print and I always forget how easily data can be accessed through the cloud. Having a public profile on Instagram, I know I should be more careful with how often I post my location in my Insta stories. A great mitigation technique here is to always post later. The #latergram hashtag is often used and reduces that ‘real time’ location sharing.

Coming back to the massive security breach of personal data in the UK – I think this is a matter way beyond personal internal control and security settings. I hope both government and Facebook can immediately work together to reverse (if possible) this breach and ensure it does not continue to happen.

What kinds of personal security measures do you use when using your social platforms? Can you think of anything not listed above?

twitter  How safe is your personal information on social media? Not safe enough. #UKsecuritybreach

facebook  UK spy agency gains access to millions of personal data. Time to re address social media security risks. #UKsecuritybreach #protectyourdata



COM0015 Blog Post #2 Strong & Weak

A company that deserves some serious recognition when it comes to their social media game is Go Pro. The camera/video recording technology giant was an early adopter of dominating several social networks and to give you a quick idea of their current status take a look at the chart below:

Platform Followers
Twitter 2.36M
Facebook 10.3M
Instagram 13.2M
YouTube 5.1M

Impressive, right? Go Pro taps into human emotions every day, encouraging their followers to post content (videos) of their everyday lives. The bonus? These videos are created by using GoPro products so they are killing two birds with one stone. Using hashtags that promote their products (#GoProHero6 for example) but also hashtags that promote a #YOLO lifestyle such as their #followme travel hashtag invite a wide target of people to participate in the conversation. GoPro also uses ambassadors (who use the #GoProAmbassador hashtag) that are notorious for high adrenaline activity that they capture using their products (same idea as Redbull). They tap into the millennial market with their highly visual and appealing content and video sharing (their YouTube channel is loaded with action packed videos, some that have been viewed and shared over 600K times). On Facebook and Instagram, GoPro’s loyal community does the work for them by consistently tagging them in content that the company can re post and use to their advantage.

On the other end of the spectrum, a company that I believe could utilize social media and see quick, positive results would be Aurelius Food Co. which is a small Ottawa business that produces and supplies high quality olive oil to the public and to restaurants. They currently have a small presence on Facebook and Instagram but I think they could highly benefit from creating a Twitter account to promote their brand and cross promote the events that they attend where they set up promotional booths.

According to “The oleic acid in olive oil is highly resistant to oxidation and has been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer” and I think they need to leverage these health benefit facts to promote their product beyond cooking use (which is the only ‘benefit’ they have tapped into and promoted thus far). I think it is vital for Aurelius to take advantage of social influencers in and around the Ottawa area to promote their brand – since they are so new, they have yet to develop a loyal community and give reason for people to go out and buy their product (which is manufactured and shipped from Italy – unlike many EVOO brands we see in retail grocery stores). With the increase of live video feeds and video content, they could use their influencers (both food bloggers and health bloggers) to show them using their product in real time in various ways (i.e cooking up a stirfry or soaking their hair in it for beauty regiments) to engage their followers. Then, they should create a hashtag and encourage the community to show their favourite recipes or health regiments using Aurelius olive oil. They could also run a campaign that narrows in on the cancer fighting benefits encouraging people to consume 2 tablespoons of olive oil every day, post a video or photo and use the hashtag #aureliusfightscancer or #EVOOadaykeepsthedoctoraway.

According to Food and Health are two of the biggest 2017 search trends on Pinterest and I think a great way for this small business to drive more traffic to their website (where consumers can learn more about their products and where to purchase them) would be to pin their Instagram photos to this online tool.

Lastly, Ottawa Life Magazine is a great resource for promotion. With 5000 followers on Facebook, they are able to share content to a fairly large audience in the Ottawa area (Aurelius’ target market). OLM creates 1 page posts about Ottawa companies and influencers (I have worked with them in the past to promote my show on Bell TV1) and this would also drive people to their website and ultimately increase the chance of purchase.

COM0014-Blog Post #4 Dove’s strong B2C relationship misses the mark

My example of a B2C business using social media highlights how even the best company strategies and influencers can completely go from hero to zero in a matter of a 3 second video clip.

The Dove body wash company philosophy is about conveying and being proud of inner beauty. This company was one of the bigger marketing staples for launching very effective (sometimes controversial) campaigns that were beyond the norm of the typical beauty and health industry. Since the Dove evolution ad which shed light on the intense and deceiving use of Photoshop and their campaign for ‘Real Beauty’ showcasing women of all shapes and sizes , they have secured a strong and engaging social media presence via Instagram, Twitter and by a long shot, Facebook with its 27 million followers. Through highly personal content sharing (including sharing real life stories from their consumers around the world) and listening techniques they have successfully created a B2C relationship with their consumers.

However, like loads of other companies that have found themselves in a PR crisis this year, Dove body wash recently missed the mark with their latest campaign ad which showcased a very short video clip where the attempt was to showcase beauty diversity but instead was seen as highly racist. Dove’s approach to utilizing social media for the most part has been above par until now. See the quick clip below:

According to an article by , this PR blip could kill the over 13 year successful real beauty campaign and forever hurt the company’s reputation (and is being compared to the Pepsi protest commercial crisis from earlier this year).

Here’s the confusing part. How could Dove get this campaign SO wrong? They are consistently engaging with their consumers and giving them a strong voice. They have always been praised for their ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts’ mentality and that is depicted time and time again on their platforms through their content, hashtags and campaigns. Each campaign needs to tie in with their marketing strategy and how a company of this magnitude (who typically nails all of their social media activity) could not have foreseen this backlash is somewhat baffling. Dove has responded very quickly to the conversations surrounding this controversy and has removed the ad and posted an official apology across their social handles. Hopefully Dove spins this PR controversy into a positive by driving the conversation and giving consumers talking about racism an even stronger voice.

Twitter adds 140 invaluable characters

On September 26, 2017, Twitter announced that it was increasing the amount of allotted tweet characters from its standard 140 to 280 for a select few accounts as a trial. One of these accounts, is definitely not Ellen Degeneres who in true comical fashion took to Twitter to express her feelings about it:


( / 2017)

According to the article on

“The 280-character tweets is 140 more opportunities to make a mistake. At least with 140 characters, we spend considerable time crafting each word. Most people spend more time on that dozen or so words than we do on paragraphs we write in emails.

Having 280 characters means we will spend twice as much time editing and polishing our tweets. We’ll be tweeting less and making more mistakes.” (Lance Ulanoff, 2017)

Lance goes on to explain that Twitter should be focusing on allowing users to edit their tweets, which would decrease the amount of tweets being deleted when the user notices embarrassing spelling errors. Furthermore, this addition of characters risks companies and social power houses to add words that do not provide any value to their post – the popular @jack account with over 4 million followers depicted this brilliantly:

( / 2017)

Bottom line, the 140 character limit has actually been embraced since the dawn of Twitter. Keeping content short, sweet, concise, free from errors and most of all unique from competing social platforms. Most of the backlash tweets that have popped up since the announcement are targeted at the dangers of President Trump having the luxury to lengthen his already highly controversial tweets (i.e like starting wars with the NFL). says “America’s tweeter-in-chief has proved prolific with 140 characters. One can only imagine what he could achieve with twice that number” (Adam Gabbatt, 2017). And then went on to create prototype 280 character tweets that the President might subject his now 40.3 million followers to, here’s an example:


( / 2017)

According to Twitter, as depicted in an article on , the added character strategy is to help with frustration: “Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English,” the company said in a blog post. “When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting — which is awesome!” (Casey Newton, 2017). But the article continues to say that the amount of tweets that are 140 characters now are only 9%, a statistic that does not necessarily support the need for expansion.

What do you think about the increased character limit? Will this drive more success for personal and professional accounts or will this cause a major backlash? Everything from having more room for error (the character limit was a mega successful internal control to have in place) to just having more wordy content (which might turn twitter filterer’s off the platform for their primary news source) are factors that I think need to be considered.

facebook Would having 140 more twitter characters really add anything of value to your social presence? We think not.:

twitter Twitter announces (unnecessary) 280 character increase for select accounts in a trial run:


When was the last time you witnessed an act of kindness? With the terrible events we are exposed to on the news every day, whether it be from natural disasters or gun violence, I think it’s important that we unify and spread love and kindness in any way that we can. KIND snack bars are spearheading this idea with their #kindawesome campaign and the impact has been huge.

This past spring I was walking through old Montreal when a KIND representative handed me a snack bar. Rather than hearing something along the lines of ‘have you tried our new snack bars? They’re delicious!” the representative encouraged me to give the bar to someone else – someone who I might witness performing an act of kindness throughout the day. Minutes later, I saw a man in a suit, also with a KIND bar in his hand (most likely he had just received it from the same rep as me) walk by a homeless man on the street and drop the KIND bar into his hand, wishing him a good day. The idea here is to be selfless – there’s no monetary value associated with the campaign, but they are indeed successfully exposing people to their brand. Additionally, KIND reps are giving out KIND cards which can be redeemed for free snack bars. They have created a website dedicated to the campaign and have created several YouTube videos that depict kind acts :

World Kindness Day, a campaign launched by the World Kindness Foundation in 2015 is what inspired KIND snack bars to launch #kindawesome. The objective was simple, and according to the article For this brand, kindness is currency :

“KIND measures its success based on what it calls the “brAND” philosophy — a belief that profits and good works are not mutually exclusive. It derives from the idea that KIND bars are healthy and tasty, proving that you don’t always have to chose between things that may seem incompatible at first. So if you don’t immediately think of kindness when you pick up a KIND bar to fuel your mid-day sweet cravings, the KIND team is making sure you do. For KIND, #kindawesome was an important moment in the brand’s history to get both product and the Movement message to reinforce each other in the public consciousness. (For this brand kindness is currency, MIHIKA BARUA, 2016)

The article also talks about social responsibility, an ideation that brands like KIND are adopting and integrating into their marketing plans, which if used properly can make a significant impact on the company and consumers alike.

KIND snack bars latest ‘guerilla marketing’ stunt involved them placing a huge pile of sugar (45, 485 lbs of it) with sugar-sculpted children in NYC’s times square to make a bold, visual statement about the amount of sugar children consume every 5 minutes.


( / 2017)

The goal was to highlight the ingredients found in their new children’s snack fruit bars (which happens to be zero added sugar). And while the brand’s philosophy is not to completely bash sugar consumption, they alternatively are trying to point out that many companies market snacks “being perceived as healthy, but in fact, are primarily from sugar.” (Why Kind Dumped 45,000 Pounds of Sugar, and Sculpted Children Out of It, in Times Square Today, 2017)

The video of the KIND company creating the display has been viewed on YouTube over 600K times in just over a month. See it below:

(KIND Snacks, 2017)

Kindness is what our world needs. There is currently an average of 29 unique tweets per hour using this hashtag with an exposure of 108K people according to , but if more brands adopt a social responsibility philosophy, these numbers could increase significantly.

facebook KIND bars are leveraging social responsibility by spreading (yummy) kindness in 24 markets

twitter How @KINDSnacks is being #kindawesome