How public is too public?

I encountered a situation this week that has not been brought up to me in my ten years of social media management for businesses. In all of my communications roles, sharing images from different events has been expected – especially when we are also a sponsor of the event. In this particular situation I was at a minor hockey game. It was atom level, with kids under 11 playing.

The reason I was there was specifically to take promotional photography that would serve as an ad for my employer’s minor hockey sponsorship and fundraising opportunities. The coach and parents were aware of this. During this rather informal photoshoot I snapped a picture with my phone of the rink board advertisement we have featured, as well as some of the players, and tweeted it with the following caption: “We’re proud to support future hockey superstars in communities across the #Prairies!”1

I thought nothing of this until it was brought up to me later that perhaps it was not appropriate to tweet an image of children without their parent’s explicit, written permission for it to be shared on social media. I understood where they were coming from but I couldn’t help but think of all the reasons why this situation was no different than tweeting an image from a dinner, or conference or trade show that have people in them that perhaps wouldn’t have agreed to be. These are all types of events we’ve featured images from in the past.

In today’s world, with a camera on every cell phone, the risk of being photographed in a public place is high and the right to take a photograph in a public place exists. There’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in a hockey arena open to the public. Anyone could have come in off the street and seen what was shown in the photo – kids playing hockey, nearly unrecognizable through their face masks.

I started thinking that perhaps it was our position as a business that would make this situation different but was shocked to discover that there isn’t really legislation that pertains specifically to the use of pictures taken in public. “Photography is mentioned in very few Canadian laws,”2 according to the website Ambient Light and where I live, in Alberta, there is no provincial legislation pertaining to the use of photography.

The only situations where this changes is when that reasonable expectation of privacy becomes criminal voyeurism (i.e. public washrooms are public, but you can’t take pictures in them.) There’s nothing that exists to say how businesses can use public photos to promote themselves; not that I could find anyway. I would not have used a public photo to sell a product, but promoting our community support could be seen by some as selling ourselves. Likewise, a professional photographer can sell images taken in public places without necessarily having signed waivers.

This has left me with a lot of questions but one stands above the rest – should there be an exception in this situation because of the age of those in the image, or is being in a public place and not identifiable in the photo, enough to satisfy that what a member of the public can see with their eyes is fair use?

1 Proven Seed. (2017, December 09). We’re proud to support future hockey superstars in communities across the #Prairies! Retrieved December 11, 2017, from
2 Photography Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved December 11, 2017, from



How public is too public? Finding the balance between public photography and a right to privacy. Read more:


Photographers and the right to privacy in public. Should commercial photography be limited to studios and staged shoots or should photographers have the right to shoot images in public for use on social media? Weigh in on the issue:

Exploring social listening software [NUVI review]

Over the last few months, I have been trying different social media management tools to find the best fit for my communications team that will allow us the most flexibility managing multiple brands online. These products tend to have a high subscription price point, so there is a lot of value in taking advantage of the vendor’s free trial or demo period and try out the capabilities and components of the service.

I give each trial at least two weeks before deciding whether or not it’s something I want to find out more about, at which time I’ll usually book a demo with a sales rep for a more in-depth exploration of the tool. The latest piece of social media management software I tried is NUVI.


NUVI is a “real-time tracking, analytics, and data visualization tool for social media.”1 Although it boasts itself as a scheduling tool also, I found that NUVI is a much better platform for listening. It’s strength seems to be social listening in terms of tracking mentions, competitors and industry terms both within social networks and on online platforms such as forums.

The software is quite limited when it comes to scheduling and managing mentions. In order to reply you’re taken out of the NUVI platform, which add unnecessary time to flip back and forth between pages. I also think this increases the risk of mistakes.

The reporting dashboard is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of the amount of information it collects, but I still feel like there are some tweaks required.


A sample report was produced for @provenseed2 from July 18 to August 17, 2017. The report analyzed 51 social mentions including the keywords proven seed, #provenseed, @provenseed and PV 200 CL, which was a product we had been featuring at the time.

The peak of conversation happened on July 18th at 5pm, which included the keywords thanks, sign, land, information joe and enbridge runs tests. Positive conversations included the emotions pretty fantastic, thanks, amazing, where the best genetics and beautiful crop.

The most influential profile during the selected time period was @Foodgrains, which has 2,534 followers.

I don’t know that these sentiment results mean much to me in the big picture. Things like information joe and enbridge runs tests don’t mean anything to me in terms of what we were tweeting about at the time – or, really, at all. I felt this sentiment data could be misleading in some ways, even showing tweets with the word don’t in them as being a negative for the brand, which is not necessarily the case.

Here’s a visual sample of part of the report, which comes in a PDF format:

Sample Repor July 18th - August 17th 2Sample Repor July 18th - August 17th 3

NUVI also produced a competitive summary based on which companies we identify as our biggest competition in the social space. A competitive summary was included which showed a comparison of total volume of mentions, share of the conversation, sentiment spread, mention volume and notable activity.

Again, this information was interesting but not all of it was terribly valuable. I find NUVI to be a bit of information overload. Although it’s nice to have all of those resources at your fingertips, I don’t know that the $150/month sticker price can be easily justified.

Showing a direct return on that investment when only 50 percent of the tool’s full capacity is being used would be a challenge, but I think a more robust team, managing a larger number of platforms might be able to better leverage the amount of information that NUVI supplies.

1 Real-Time Social Intelligence. (n.d.). Retrieved December 05, 2017, from
2 Proven Seed (@ProvenSeed). Retrieved December 05, 2017, from

twitter icon

Thinking you might give @NUVI a try? Check out my #productreview of the social suite including a sample of the report layout.


Want to know how social media is helping your business? I took a test drive of NUVI, the social listening platform and marketing suite to see how it can help show #ROI through reporting and measurement.

#Control: Shift the sentiment

When hashtags first exploded onto the Twitterverse back in 20121, it was a way for social media users to follow conversations about trending topics and events. As they have evolved, brands have begun to use hashtags as a way to encourage relevant users to join a targeted conversation.

Unfortunately for some more popular brands, the best of intentions don’t always turn out how they’d planned. Hashtag hijacking has become akin to a game on Twitter, where users take advantage of corporate hashtags for their amusement2.

ilovewalgreens-12  mcdstories-12
On the other end of the spectrum, hashtags are also an opportunity to take back control of a conversation that directly impacts a business. For example, #GMO has been used by anti-GMO (scientifically-bred, or genetically modified crops) and anti-Monsanto protesters to speak negatively about crop science and agriculture companies.

These corporations, with the assistance of the scientific community and supporters are attempting to reclaim this hashtag, attaching positive messaging to the negative sentiment. Now when curious users click the hashtag they will find a mix of negative propaganda with the factual messaging to counter it.

Whether it’s possible to completely shift the sentiment on a hashtag remains to be seen, as there is still triple the amount of negative posts compared to positive on the #GMO hashtag, but I think it’s a great example of corporate social media using hashtag hijacking against users that are attempting to control the conversation.

Is this an effective way to challenge negative sentiment or will the message be lost on those people most likely to explore that hashtag?

1. Lawler, R. (2012, June 10). Twitter’s Hashtag Pages Could Be The New AOL Keywords — But Better. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from
2. Roncero-Menendez, S. (2013, October 19). 8 Hijacked Hashtags Gone Horribly Wrong (or Right). Retrieved November 26, 2017, from

Photo credit: Nevenova, K. (2014, August 15). The Power Of Hashtags Concept [File #68830229]. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from


twitter icon #Takeover. The power of hashtags to control the message for better or for worse. []

facebook In the battle for hashtag supremacy, who comes out on top? The corporations with the power to pay for trends or the users with strength in numbers? []

The new content King is a Queen… and she’s an influencer

The ultimate goal for any good content marketing plan is for content to be appreciating. An idea becomes a blog post, a video, a tweet, a Facebook Live stream and, a year down the road, another blog post. In today’s marketing landscape, only 16 percent of consumers trust information found on a company’s website according to social media marketing expert Tyler Anderson, this includes informational content. While consumers turn a skeptical eye toward branded content, roughly 85 percent trust user generated content.

An opportunity existed in the market to bridge the gap between the type of content that consumers are willing to engage with and the products that companies want to promote. Enter: TapInfluence. As the first automated influencer marketing platform, TapInfluence has created a way to pair a consumer with a large social media following and a desire to use their position as a marketing vessel with companies looking to promote their products. The platform even offers a complete library of resources for marketers on how to add influencer marketing to a robust strategic plan. 

TapInfluence CEO, Promise Phelon, recently spoke to a group of content marketing professionals at INBOUND 2017 in Boston, MA about the rise of influencer marketing and how the new King of content is a Queen. Phelon says that women are responsible for the rise of social media. Within the next decade, she expects that two-thirds of consumer wealth will be controlled by women.

COM0011-Image1Women are 80 percent more likely to turn to the internet for recommendations, opinions and advice on products prior to purchase. Sponsored social media posts that are authentic and relatable can add a level of consumer trust that traditional advertising can’t produce. Influencers essentially take what was an advertisement and turn it into an experience that another consumer can understand in simple terms.

COM0011-Image2According to Phelon, the simplicity of this concept is too good to be true for many marketers. She believes that 90 percent of companies have selected the wrong influencers to promote their products on social media. Marketers tend to look simply at an influencer’s reach, but not pay enough consideration to their ability to engage with their audience. Phelon puts more value in the two-way communication that influencers are able to engage in, showing they are real people with real experiences, lending more credibility to the post. A large following or ability to take stylized photos are not as influential to the consumer.

Phelon says the key to picking the right influencer for a product is to choose a believer. Those influencers who are being insightful and engaging are providing a value of $271 per social share back to the company they represent, even with new requirements to add disclaimers on posts outlining that they are sponsored content.

Compared to the price of digital investments, that just makes good sense. Do you see through the marketing veil to know when the average social media post is trying to sell you something, or do you value the reviews and advice of user generated content?


twitter icon

Could finding the right social media influencer be the key to your product’s success? @PromisePhelon thinks so. [Link]


The new content King is a Queen… and she’s an influencer. Tap into the future of social media marketing with Promise Phelon and how she thinks women, and her company TapInfluence, are the key to credible, user generated promotions. [Link]