COM0015 – Blog Post 1 Tool & Sources

Social Media has taken on a huge role in how a business markets its brand. For me, I personally don’t dabble with Social for work however on a personal note, I simply love it.

I work for a Power Generation company called Alstom that is well connected with the social world. However, my only involvement here would be to share announcements or videos to friends, colleagues or customers. It is not something I do as being part of my role in the workplace, it is something I do when I spot something I feel my connections may find interesting.

When perusing the social world, I tend to spend most of my time on Facebook and LinkedIn, primarily for personal reasons. I enjoy Facebook for its casual atmosphere and ability to help me stay connected with friends and family. It’s a fun place to chat, share some laughs, share videos and talk about todays top stories.

LinkedIn on the other hand is where I will network with like-minded people in the business world. I’ve been tuning into LinkedIn for its career advise as well connecting me with groups or businesses that peak my curiosity. I really enjoy LinkedIn as I find the tool quite insightful.

If I were to use Social for business I would lean on google alerts to seek out what’s tending in the news world and the customization features it has so one can seek out subject specific information. Hootsuite is another tool I would use but for its ability to measure web traffic, conversations and overall campaign visibility and productivity.

In the meantime, as I am a late bloomer to this www, I will continue learn from courses like this one bringing myself up to speed in no time…. here I go.

– Nicole MacDonald

COM0012-521 – Tips for developing a digital strategy

From a personal standpoint, when I think about how I’m going to tackle my next digital strategy, I think of the Coldplay song called The Scientist. The video that plays in reverse, starting with the end and working its way to how it got there. For me, without putting the cart before the horse, I first develop a strategy by taking a look at the end result that I’d like to achieve and ask myself if this is a realistic goal that aligns with my overall business objective.

Secondly, I recommend that you create a road map highlighting the steps required to take in order to achieve your end goal. Then, I would get the ball rolling by researching the customer market and develop an understanding of their online behaviors and trends. Trend spotting can be discovered through multiple channels such as trendsmap, hootsuite, or radian6, to name a few.

It’s also important to review the most popular online tools and ask yourself if any of these match the tone for your digital strategy without straying from your brands identity.

After that, take a peak at what the competition is doing. Seek out their areas of strength and where they need improvement. This can be used as a reference guide when building your own campaign. For instance: gather best practices including what to do and what not to do.

When creating your own strategy, ensure your audience will be able to relate to your message. Create an emotion that captures their attention, keeping them retained and taking on your call to action (if there is one).

Once you considered all of these areas, its time to put evaluate your campaign needs. Ask yourself if all of your resources are in place? Do you have a large enough team to get the job done in a timely fashion?  Is there an end date to this strategy or is it ongoing? 

Lastly you measure your success. Appropriate metrics can differ based on your objectives. If it is social media that has increased your ROI, the dollar values can be measured according to when a campaign was launched versus when it was not. Hit rates to one’s website can also be measured which can identify your online traffic flow.

Well, I hope this helps to some degree. Wishing you all the best with your next campaign.





COM0011-521 – Blog #5: Social Media Case Studies

I have to say I enjoyed researching the campaigns that failed more than the one’s that succeeded. I guess it’s because I was shocked and humored by the ideas that were approved and took launch. Here’s one…

….Back in 2007 Molson Canadian ran a photo contest on Facebook targeting 19-24 year old college students.  The campaign was called, “Be the #1 party school in Canada”. The action plan, the school with the most pictures uploaded would win a trip for five people to spend spring break in Cancun, Mexico. Do you see a problem here?

The whole idea was apparently intended to promote school spirit; instead it was viewed as a promotion to drink more. There was also an issue with the photos submitted and questions raised about those being of the legal drinking age.  With over 200 pictures submitted, St. John’s, Newfoundland won.

I first thought of Nike and then moved on to Canadian Tire. As far as campaigns that are going well, Canadian Tire’s anthem called “We all play for Canada” is very catchy, memorable and raises an emotion to get outside and so something. The commercial drew me to their website and they’ve definitely branched out to numerous channels. I was quite surprised. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and they have a mobile Ap. I clicked on their Facebook page and there are plenty of calls to action and rewards available.

In the end, browsing through the Canadian Tire social pages gave me a sense of pride. Maybe it’s because they are a Canadian company that is taking the right shots by bringing social to their enterprise.

– Nicole MacDonald

COM0011-521 – Blog#3 (social in your industry): Social in the Business-to-Business World

Social within the business-to-business world is still quite new to a lot of companies however growing very quickly. So its key to ensure your business is on top of it all as it can affect your brand’s credibility if your not.

Even in the field of engineering and power generation, social proves to be a great tool for lead generation, building relationships on an interactive level, and overall makes good business sense.

Let’s take a look at Alstom. They adapted their presence on the hottest social networks out there, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, DailyMotion, YouTube and lastly Flickr. However managing all these sites wouldn’t be possible without the help from their large communications department and product management teams.

The not so good presence Alstom is making with these networks is the lack of local news, information or local connections. There is too much emphasis on activities around the world and not enough happening close by. This can steer enquiry minds interested in Canada’s activities elsewhere.

On a positive note, because the company is so large, there are a lot of stories to tell and new technologies coming our way. The discussions and presentations are always flowing with new content keeping these networks exciting all the time.

Social can definitely enhance one’s businesses presence as long as there is a dedicated team in place to keep the content current, positive, flowing and true to one’s brand. In due time, customer retention will improve and so will your bottom line.

– Nicole MacDonald

COM0011-521: Blog #6 – Socially Connected


Is Alstom using social media channels? Absolutely.

Alstom is the company I work for. If you were to travel through Europe, you likely took a ride on one of their trains. Lucky for us, the Alstom has made a strong appearance right here in Ottawa with new trains provided to OC Transpo and the upcoming light rail project. Yeah!

So, a little bit more on what they do; Alstom is a power generation, electrical grid and rail transportation business with over 92,000 employees around the world. To ensure Alstom’s stakeholders and enquiry minds have a quick, easy to find access to everything Alstom, social was adapted and is doing quite well.

Managed by corporate located in Paris France, Alstom definitely has their bases covered when it comes to social media. They have their own Facebook page, Twitter account, Google+, LinkedIn, DailyMotion, YouTube and lastly Flickr.

The types of content used throughout are news worthy, educational and very resourceful.  Each channel offers a similar look and feel allowing the brand to be easily recognizable. The high quality video presentations are very impressive and effective. The audience tends to primarily be employees, students and customers.

To me, one drawback from these sites is that they are globally focused with little emphasis on local business. Although the content is very interesting, one seeking local discussions will get lost in the shuffle.

Aside from that, Alstom’s video library within DailyMotion and YouTube are very educational and you don’t have to be a techy or engineer to enjoy them. If you like the Discover Channel, then you will enjoy navigating through Alstom’s social networks.

Well, hopefully I have peaked your interest a bit about Alstom. For more information, go to


– Nicole MacDonald

COM0011-521 – Blog (pick your own topic): Digital revolution or digital ignorance?

How about digital ignorance. I’m talking about those so consumed with their smart phones that the real world has become removed and allot  more quiet. I seriously can’t remember the last time someone called me just to talk. Someone other than a telemarketer. I miss that. Does that make me out of touch?

This overwhelming need for information and cry for attention is getting out of control. Is it all really necessary? Apparently, it must be. But where is that fine line? The line with a message that says there really is more to life than these pretty incredible tiny tools.

Last summer I finally got to enjoy Sandbanks. Ah, the sound of the waves splashing, the sun beaming down on my skin, and the beautiful view of the rolling dunes. To add to my delight, a young girl texting tripped over me as I lay peacefully on my towel catching some rays. The beach wasn’t even crowded that day. How could she miss me? Well, its sad to say, that even on this most perfect day, the majority are more interested in what’s going on elsewhere than what’s going on around them.

I got together with four friends recently for a dinner party. These girls I got to know through the running community, and healthy eating always takes priority. This was one of those potluck dinners where we can’t bring anything containing gluten or dairy. So, salad it is. But no one said anything about smart phones on the menu. Yes, my one friend sitting next to me, trying to be discreet by hiding her cell phone under the table as she text away non-stop during the entire dinner missing out on some of the conversations had. Do folks not find this rude? Is this an addiction? Or is this just part of the new world we live in?

COM0011-521 Blog Post #2: Listening


Social has brought me closer to friends and family over the years. It has even brought me to my fiancé who I’m looking forward to sharing my life with. However, I have this one friend who lives alone and is socially addicted. She has left me concerned as she advertises her every move to 1000+ of her friends on Facebook. I am sure you know people who do this too.

An online conversation I’ve been listening too, is one not to do. Don’t put your safety at risk by sharing too much of your plans. For example, telling everyone you are looking forward to your European trip and that you are leaving tomorrow for two weeks can become an open yet unwelcome invitation to your vacant home.

The Internet can connect us to identity thieves, cyber bullies and even people claiming to be someone they are not. Criminal activity has found it’s way to the web in many forms and we need to remember to cautious of our online surroundings. Fortunately everything typed is traceable and the tool has proven to be useful for police officers to conduct investigations and solve crimes.

Although there are privacy settings on most social sites, it’s important to recognize that once you publish something online, it is public knowledge. You can’t retract it.

Enjoy the benefits of the online social world and remember to be extra cautious of the private information you publish about yourself.

– Nicole MacDonald

COMM011-521 – Blog #1 Favourite Social Media Tool

Well, there is a first for everything. Today, I write my first blog. I hope I do this right. To be honest, it took me a while to embrace social media. Placing personal information online left me in fear of getting into the hands of the wrong person. After careful practice, and a slow introduction, I found myself hooked.

Personally, I don’t need to know what my friends or favourite movie star is up to 24/7. However, when news take a turn for good or bad, I turn to social media for information or discussion.

For instance, when the attacks occurred at the Boston Marathon, I found myself glued to Facebook and various media outlets seeking information. I became obsessed and needed to know what was happening and quickly. Being a runner myself, I personally felt affected. Facebook kept me informed and in touch with friends affected by this tragedy.

Facebook truly ranks as my favourite tool for social media. Even with its quirks, this website helped me reconnect with friends, family, and former colleagues. I am able to share photos and stories about my journey in life and vice versa. This form of reconnecting has proved to be cost effective and even by sending a few likes proves that even borders and oceans apart, there are people out there paying attention. Now how do I change my cover photo again?

Nicole MacDonald