COM0014 – Blog No. 1 – Dog Days of Summer

Post No 1 – What I Did on My Vacation

Photo Credit: Gaye Janzen

Vacation! Who wants more than a few days off at a time to go to some exotic location and just soak in the sunshine? Not I.  My vacations consist of weekends at agricultural fairgrounds, community centres, and arenas. No sunshine here (well sometimes when we’re outside); as we travel between Ontario and Quebec. My Bernese Mountain Dogs are the reason. Would you travel for hours to have fun with your dog?

We show my dogs in Canadian Canine Conformation. Conformation showing is all about whether or not your breed specific dog conforms to what the breed standards state is correct. Is the colour of their fur the right colour, do they fall within the height limits as set out in the standards, is their tail too long, are their ears too short, is their body the right shape . . . All of this is judged by judges who have worked for years to become a conformation judge. They must take classes on breed standards, they must be mentored by other judges, or breed specific breeders, pass tests and then they must judge a specific number of dogs within a breed before they can be qualified to judge that breed.

Enough of all the technical stuff, we have a blast every summer taking our Berners on adventures throughout Ontario and Quebec. This summer was no exception! We traveled to Knowlton, Quebec for the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada’s Canadian National Conformation Show. All the best of the best Berners were there from across Canada, the United States and I believe there was a couple there who traveled from Europe.

We left early Thursday morning, got stuck in rush hour traffic for about an hour and a half. Wasn’t that a great start to this “vacation” (can you just see the air quotes happening?). I’m not one who loves to drive on the 400 series highways so the delay was a little more aggravating than normal. We got through the traffic jam and started our eight-hour drive down the boring (and I mean boring) 401. Kilometer after kilometer ticked away and we finally arrived at our destination. Nine and half hours later – the reason is another story.

Upon arrival, we ran into so many friends and people we knew. It’s always a great time when you can vacay with friends; it makes the parties so much more fun. We needed to get settled in and set up – a friend rented an RV for us but it was a little small – I need to tell you that my husband is a bigger man and our dogs aren’t small – I’m not huge but I’m certainly not small and we could hardly fit us all in – just made for a cozier four days. The dogs didn’t like it at all – that was for sure!

For the next two and half days we competed in all the classes we were eligible to compete in – although my one guy won his class – he needed to move up the ladder and there was no more love after his class wins. All the dogs competing were the best and beautiful representations of this great breed. The judges came from all over the world (Austria, Australia, US, and Canada) had nothing but great comments about all of the competing dogs. We were happy for our friends and for our new friends who were honoured with some of the great wins. Sunday afternoon, we packed up and with a heavy heart said goodbye to friends we wouldn’t see for a while and some new friends we might not see again then headed back down the highway towards home.

Friends, dogs, ribbons, great weather and a mini vacation – could you ask for anything more??



7 Steps for an Instagram Campaign from Nothing

Instagram continues to rise in popularity ever since it entered into the social media scene. As of July 16, 2015 it was active with over 500 million users  –  the second most popular social media platform next to Facebook. What a huge marketing opportunity, just imagine the impact on leads and sales.

Here’s an outline of steps to follow to be able to take advantage of Instagram:

  1. Find Your Niche

Before opening an account, download the app, or before you start posting pictures you need to figure out your niche. Because of the millions of users you will need to determine what will make you stand out from the rest and that you provide something valuable and relevant to the specific demographic you are marketing.

  1. Claim Your Account

You need to decide between a personal account and a branded corporate account. Download the app, pick a user name (short and relevant to you). When you complete your profile use a delightful image of yourself and be sure to connect to all your other social media accounts. Be thorough.

  1. Post Something New Once Per Day

To be able to attract a following you must be providing a steady stream of new material so you give people a reason to return. For the Instagram social media platform, posting once per day is the general rule. Check out 100 Killer Ideas For Your Social Media Content

Attract Initial Followers

If you decided to create a personal brand and connected your Facebook – you canfollow everyone you know. You can also ask people to follow you. The bigger the audience the more you’ll need to meet a minimum threshold. Check out 50 Free Ways to Increase Your Instagram Followers.

  1. Perfect Your Photography & Hashtags

The more exceptional your posts are, the more followers you will attract, and the more engagement you will get from them. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to be able to post great Instagram Photos but you do need to know some of the basics such as the rule of thirds, effective framing and the right/wrong way to use colours. Example, a photo that is pre-dominantly red would attract more interactions just because they would stand out on people’s newsfeeds. Hashtags on everything you post, labelling them with a description or specific trends. People use hashtags to help you find new material. Have a look at What Does the Perfect Instagram Post Look Like

  1. Follow People in Your Niche

Now you need to follow other people in your niche. This gives you an opportunity to expand your following. This also gives you the opportunity to check out your competition and to learn from the kinds of posts they make. You could even work together to help expand your reach.

  1. Engage

The most important aspect of Instagram Marketing success comes from the reason we have social media to begin with: engaging with each other on a social level. To keep your audience they need to be engaged, informed and entertained.

These are important for building and maintaining a follow up.  To start, comment on images in your newsfeed and respond to all the people who comment on your images.

These steps can’t guarantee a massive Instagram following – for that you need amazing content, consistency, and engagement.




“Thing” To Do!

Several years ago, at work, we started using several different social media platforms because wasn’t that the “thing” to do? Well, up until now we haven’t really been able to determine how we were doing.  We have used some of the metrics info you find within the different platforms, without much success. After going through the information in this lesson – it has become apparent that there is still much to learn.

Key Performance Indicators

Now when we decide to launch a social media campaign and for it to be effective and efficient we most certainly have to have a defined set of measurable objectives and outcomes. In order to have measurable outcomes or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are agreed upon metrics that will help us establish how successful our social media activity actually is. The first important thing to decide is what we want to measure. Some of the popular metrics are:

Reach –  it could measure the number of fans, followers, blog subscribers and other statistics which would gauge the size of the community

Engagement –  is about measuring retweets, comments, average time on the site, bounce rate, clicks, video views, white paper downloads, and anything else that requires the user to engage

Competitive – data may include the brand’s “voice” across the web or number of competitors brand mentions

Sentiment – possible measure the number of positive or negative mentions

Sales Conversions –   you can measure social media referral traffic which goes to the top of the sales funnel or  number of sales aided by social media efforts

Budget Comes Into Play

The budget will come into play for the amount data which needs to be collected and archived. This will help in the determination of the cost of social media monitoring. Before going out and buying the most expansive tool  that promises to keep your data forever, you can ask yourself do we really need it? There are several lower-cost tools that would include some Google Alert. Google Alerts is a free way to monitor our brand terms across the web. Google analytics is a free tool which helps us track social media.

So to make sure that you’re getting the best deal, make sure that you provide yourself with all of the knowledge of exactly what you need to track your social media.

What will you use to monitor your social media?



What Will You Be Thankful For?


As I sit here and decide what I will write for my Blog post this week, I look around. Today my family will celebrate Thanksgiving. There will be 15 of us for dinner here at my house. We will have turkey and ham hot out of the oven and all the fixings to go with it. The smell right is incredible.

I currently have CNN on TV and I decide in a split second that I’m thankful because I live in Canada and I am able to celebrate this festive holiday with my family and not be in constant fear of a bomb dropping on us as we sit to partake of this meal. Or that we have had to evacuate while a hurricane comes barrelling down on us.  This place we call home is the best place on earth and for that I am thankful.

My family will start to arrive shortly and I look forward to the easy way that we all get along. Many, many Thanksgiving dinners have seen stomach hurting laughter as we all seem to get a little silly while we wait for the finishing touches to end. So funny are the stories that we reminisce about – they all seem to be a lot better and funnier than when they first happened. There will be talk of politics – again thankful that we are in Canada. We don’t talk much about Canadian politics mostly American – and I think that’s a good thing. I couldn’t image having Donald Trump as our Prime Minister. Canada would go to hell in a hand basket quicker than you could say “but Bill Clinton did . . .”

After all the dinner is done and we sit back to let the food settle – we’ll all look around and be thankful that mom’s still here – that we have a brother and sisters who we’re all close with and know that although we all live very busy active lives – our family is what we all are thankful for the most. Hopefully, your Thanksgiving is all about family and friends that you can thankful for the good things in your life.

What will you be thankful for this holiday weekend?

7 LOL Explanations of Social Media










Shaken To My Core!

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity” – Albert Einstein

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I’m not a person who goes around expressing my thoughts openly on social media (although I have opinions on most things I read) – at least not until now. In my introduction to this course, I talked about my non-work interest being my Bernese Mountain Dogs. A lot of what I do revolves around them, their needs, and their overall wellbeing. With that in mind, about 14 days ago I was shaken to my core when I opened my Facebook page and learned of a St. Catharines Veterinarian (the clinic is almost across the street from where I live) who had for years been abusing our pets.


Suspension Could Be Reduced

You may have heard about this story or seen posts on social media about it and had your own reaction but animal lover or not we need to speak up and correct a wrong. Dr. Mahavir Singh Rekhi has received from The College of Veterinarians of Ontario a suspension of 10 months and a $10,000 fine for professional misconduct which took effect on August 20th. The suspension will be reduced after he attends retraining on animal restraint and behaviour modification techniques and could be practicing again by December. He has not been criminally charged however, the Niagara Regional Police are currently investigating the situation. The Lincoln County Humane Society and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) are also conducting their own investigation.

Jessica Hamilton, one of the vet techs at his clinic along with three other techs knew he was abusing the animals and worked laboriously to get proof to be able to file a complaint with The College of Veterinarians of Ontario. Dr. Rekhi can be seen in the videos punching, choking, and abusing animals. One of the videos shows him holding a sedated cat by the tail and slamming it up against a cupboard, beating a dog across its snout with metal nail clippers and on another one he is seen choking a dog until it defecated. CTV News  broke the story on their evening news and social media platforms. When one or all of the techs knew something had happened with an animal in his care, they would mentally make note of the time and then rewind security camera video, play it back and record it on their cell phones. Once he received his suspension, the techs that filed the original complaint released these videos on social media because they felt his suspension was too lenient and wanted people to know about it.

Right A Wrong

Having my own dogs I couldn’t imagine what I would feel had it been one of them in those videos and neither could people in the neighbourhood. It is being talked about by people that I have met over the last couple of weeks. When asked how they found out about this horrific situation – social media was a big part of their news source and they have indicated that they want justice. Social media can serve as a catalyst to help transform this situation. The story has been circulating around social media now it’s time to turn this into something good – use social media to right a wrong. So here I am embracing social media! Only good can come from this, right? As more people in our community become aware of this man and his abuse; the more people we hope will be outraged by the suspension and act to have it changed. There is a petition circulating  for The College of Veterinarians of Ontario to permanently revoked his license. He should never be allowed to As of today there are over 44,800 signatures towards their goal of 50,000.

Can we use social media to change their minds? “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity” (Albert Einstein) – I signed the petition. Will you?

COM0011 – Our Clients Want More!

In an effort to offer our clients different options and to generate more advertising revenue, I am determined to explore new ideas throughout the next several weeks; since I have already realized that there are soooo many more options out there. After reading this week’s lesson notes, I found myself going off in many different directions checking out some of the ideas I had read about. Facebook really isn’t the be-all but it would be a starting place and it does help because I know how to use it. The one idea that stood out to me immediately was video!

Print advertising alone doesn’t cut it and our clients want more! Our student newspaper  has been around for 52 years and has always offered print advertising as a way to generate revenue. Over the last few years it has become obvious that our print revenue is slowly diminishing. According to an article written by Alastair Sharp on Reuters Canada  the Canadian newspaper industry reported an almost 25% decline in national advertising and didn’t gain it back through online advertising.  A few years ago we opened up our website to our clients for online advertising and to date I can still count on one hand how many online advertisements we actually received.

According to Kendall Walters (Hootsuite Blog Coordinator) the trend to watch in 2016 is video. We all remember the viral video “Gangnam Style” (2.6 billion views). Wouldn’t we all love to have our social media viewed that many times. But being a little more realistic and as a start, we can try video on our Facebook page.

A transformation is happening with visual content on Facebook according to an article – notably with video. In the last couple of years there has been at least 1 billion video views per day. 50% of the people who come back to Facebook see at least one video per day and 76% of the people who discover videos say they see them on Facebook. With these statistics it would be worth creating a 15-30 second video which would explain to our clients the benefits of advertising with us on our Facebook page.  We will pin it so it stays at the top of our news feed while we introduce it to our clients. Clients would then be able to create a 15-30 second video that showcases their own products and services. This would then be offered as part of an advertising package; this advertising package could consist of print advertising as well as the online video. This will ensure that our revenue is generated by both of our media services. Further investigation into this concept would include how long should the video be, what type of content would do well (serious, comedy, etc.), auto-play videos, and who would actually want to watch it. Who knows maybe one of our videos could one day go viral!