Out of the Box


Native Ad Generator with Sharethrough

I think the most interesting application I found for social marketing was with a company called Sharethrough.  This company was founded in 2008 by graduates from Stanford University.  Their studies there were based on the psychology of virality.  The exact definition of this is: The tendency of an image, video or piece of information to be circulated rapidly and widely form one internet user to another; the quality or f act of being viral.  With this being the basis for their studies, they approached the psychology of social media advertising is done quite differently.  Instead of it grabbing you attention, they feel that an ad  should be worth your time to watch.

12,000,000,000+ : the number of Native Ad Impressions every month.

The reason why this model is so successful is that you don’t need to recreate an ad for each platform.  There is Real-Time Templating, which means all need to provide into the template is a headline, thumbnail, brand name ad content URL.  I used their sample and it is literally that easy to use.  Along with the platform comes all the analytics for the ad campaign which I did not get the pricing because you need to add quit a few parameters to get one.  

For small business or large, I think this application may prove to be beneficial to use for two reasons.  One, you do not have the financial ability to pay an advertiser.  Secondly, this seems to be quick and easy for large companies to have multiple ads running on many platforms with, also very little internal resources used.

What I’ve learned from my own personal experience is that you can’t spread yourself too thin and be an expert at everything.  You need to decide where you allocate your resources.

Professional Networking, Now And In The Future

As of a year ago, I did not have a formal strategy for networking.  I am currently between finishing one career and looking to the future, so I returned to school to build on my creative side and to help guide me to a career change.  Currently, I have a very well developed network in my aquatic word, but I would like to see myself using my Social Media Certificate program to work with young entrepreneurs once I retire. 

My first step was working on my online portfolio.  LinkedIn was my primary focus as this is where business relationships are formed.  I updated my profile to add in that I’m a social media student and this led me connect with others in the field.  I also joined a variety of groups within LinkedIn, so this helps me read up on different events of stories related to social media, social marketing and Public Relations.  

For this course requirements, we needed to sign up for a networking event.  I had never attended an event that wasn’t required to attend for work.  I am excited to see how it is, as the event is the AGM for the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).  The keynote speaker is Bob Pickard, Principal at Signal Leadership Communications.  He will be speaking about PR in the C-Suite and how there is a missed opportunity in the potential influence of top executives using social media.  If this organization looks like an interesting group to network with, I may join as a member.

For the future, my plan is to post more on LinkedIn about Social Media to attract more people to my profile.  In turn, I am hoping that this will lead to more networking events and making more connections.  The other profile that I am working on is my own personal branding through my personal website.  Although still a work in progress, I am blogging there and showing casing some my photography. I also have a live feed of my twitter, which will show that I keep up to date and current with my social media platforms.  This is something that I am contemplating spending some money on in the future as I am not as happy with the look as I would like for a sample of an live resume for securing future work.

In my aquatic professional development, I have 2 important speaking engagements coming up.  In November, I am presenting a session on developing social media campaigns for local drowning prevention coalitions.  As well at this conference, I will be leading a plenary session on incorporating the World Health Organization drowning prevention plan into you local coalitions.  Next year, I will be attending and have submitted an abstract to speak at the that conference which is in South Africa.  I did attend and speak at that conference last year in Vancouver, which helped grow my networks.

I do have 3 more years in my career, so I am still hopeful that I can master WordPress to make an appealing website.  Excited for my networking event tonight and will be writing about it as we come to an end to this course.

Strong and Weak Organizations

In researching for a company with an impressive social media strategy, I went to Sprout Social to see what they thought.  In looking at their Top 8 Standout Social Media Marketing Examples from 2018, there was one that stood out to me.  This was ASOS, that implemented a user-generated content approach.  This was great because they had people who had bought their products, submit a picture of them wearing it.  The pictures were varied, colourful and very different because each person showcased themselves in their own way.  As I continues research, I then came across a company called Blenders Eyewear.  These guys have gone from selling sunglasses from their backpacks, to a multi-million dollar company, all through Facebook and Instagram.  They used their strong relationships with a photography network.  They then used “Instameets” to have the photographers meet up and then were offered free products to produce content for them.  They currently have 243K followers with 2846 fantastic posts.

For a company that could benefit from a more interactive social media site was difficult to find.  I could refer to the City of Ottawa or the Lifesaving Society, but I’ve already done different projects on their weaknesses.  I searched all the companies I follow and couldn’t find anything glaring either.  So, what I did find in my searches, is that one company, that reached a profit of over a trillion dollars, has no social media accounts.  This is Apple.  When reading about why they do not, it was initially believed it was because of the arrogance of Steve Jobs.  What Apple describes as their marketing strategy, is that they have a large conference to unveil their latest products.  This then drives you back to their website for a very simple, yet colourful presentation of all their products.  The second belief of Apple, is that they provide exceptional customer service.  Now that they have more store fronts, the staff are knowledgable and so approachable.  What I do find amusing, is that when you do go in because of something dumb you’ve done to your Apple baby, and they sit you down at the Genuis bar…..

As for recommendations for the company that I work for currently?  I would recommend developing a strategy with a calendar for posting and engaging both clients and employees to post.  In addition, providing the hashtags so that more and more people tag as well.  Currently the #ottawarecreation only has 10 photos tagged and considering the amount of interest that photos could generate, we are way behind.   

Blo Post 1: Tools and Sources

Tools and Sources


One thing that I’ve discovered over the journey of this Social Media program is that you really need to just dive in and try many of monitoring and listening tools out there.  The amount of information on the webs overwhelming, so learning how to set up your tools to pull the information for you is the only way to stay on top of things.  I even found that over the duration of the past 4 courses, the volume of email I get is incredible as I’ve used my email to try their product, and therefore I get on their mailing list.  I find that this in itself is a great listening tool to monitor their products and what’s new within the platform.

Listening and Monitoring Tools

Although there are many out there to use, I have found that Social Media Examiner is a great source.  I subscribed to their emails and often visit their website.  They have posted their Top 14 Social Media listening Tools.  I have investigated most of these and have implemented  some of them to help me in both my journey of learning more about social media and for projects in myth courses.

I did have the raw RSS feed and once I discovered Feedly, this was a true game changer for keeping on all the social media news and blogs.  Here, Feedly has information set up in an easy to follow, visually attractive set up by far.


In the course Monitoring and Measurement, I used the opportunity to learn how to use Supermetrics and integrating into the Google platform.  In developing this, it provided up to the minute statistics of whatever social media platforms I wanted to monitor.  It was a fairly large undertaking  to set up and learn, but once it’s set up, it is literally a simple date change and all the new statics are updated into whatever graph format you have decided to use.  In addition, within the platform you can pull pretty much whatever information you want.  Likes, shares, retweets, comments and so much more.  I have also built my own website for my blog.  Within the program I use, I paid for Monster Insights. This brings all the information within my social media platforms right to my WordPress.org site.

I still use Tweetdeck as my go to for Twitter.  I moderate 3 accounts and find that Twitter has so much going on, that I personally require a totally separate tool to keep me up to speed on my hashtags, keywords and notifications.  I still not 100% comfortable o this platform, but what I have learned is to just keep tweeting and that’s how you learn.  I recently just downloaded an app to my phone called Image Size that perfectly lines up your image for posting.  So many times my image was missing peoples heads and only showed properly if you opened the tweet, which is not typically what people do on Twitter.

So my development is ever growing as I explore more and more tools.  I do listen to the Social Media Examiner podcast, which I find is very topical and also introduces a new “find” each week. I think that my dashboard is developed to where I am personally as I learn more about being a social media marketer.  I have started to help a few young entrepreneurs in their social media and I feel that my platform will have to further grow as I take on paying clients in my future career.


Photo credits




Blog 7: Personal Reflection

Why is storytelling important to creating great digital content?

One thing that I enjoyed reading during this course, was about the history of storytelling.  We have been telling stories, both true and ferry tail, for thousands of years, even before we developed language.  We can see these stories through pictures on stone walls all around the world. 

In my personal blog, the focus that I have taken, is to find people I meet and tell their story as it relates to lifesaving and drowning prevention.  The most difficult story so far, was about a 15 year old teen who drowned in the Ottawa River.  The story was told to me by his sister, and then written by me.  In this story, I tried to capture the way teens are in the summer; carefree, hanging out with friends and having fun.  I also wanted to describe how easily it is for teens to make a bad decision and have the rest of their lives changed.  In this case, he died, leaving a grieving family, and the friends that were with him in the river, forever altered.  Capturing this story was hard because I wanted to ensure I brought the reader to a very uncomfortable place to help move their thinking to ensuring all Canadians learn how to swim and have basic CPR skills.

Creating Good Content

I think that I got the most out of Lesson 6.  In here, what I learned about are the practices that I am only half applying to my blog.  I have been getting out more, and talking to people about their stories.  I’ve been taking notes, wrapping my head around how I would write about them, but then stalling.  This lesson set out a better process for me.  This includes just writing, read it, sleep on it, and read it out loud.  I will never get any better without practice!  Another checkbox for me was to ensure I have a clear starting statement to capture the reader’s attention.  Story flow is important for the ready to make it easy to read with a middle and an end that can be broken up with sub headings.  This also let’s the reader skim through and then come back for a full read.  The ending is a good place to finish with a question that will spur the reader to write back their opinion or provide a question to continue the conversation.

Concepts for Writing Content

Once the blog has been told with a capturing opening, then flowing to a middle and finishing off with intrigue.  Once we have some comments, questions or opinions, this is where we develop our listening skills.  Audiences was to have that personal connection and simply not be told what is happening.  Now to ensure you have a diverse audience, you can use your variety of outposts to reach different followers.  The reach on Facebook will be different than those on LinkedIn or on Tumblr.

My final note is to pay respect to one of the best story tellers that we Canadian’s recently lost, Stuart McLean.  He told very simple stories with a familiar voice and with a little added comedy that kept his audience engaged until the end.

Do People Know Your Story

Blog 6:  Do People Know Your Story

The question I’ve decided to answer is:  “What is the greatest challenge my business must overcome?”

In the world of volunteering, every organization does face a variety of challenges.  Some of these can include an over-dependance on them, dealing with a multitude of age groups and talents, people with varying time to dedicate, matching skill sets plus a plethora of other hurdles.

In my organization of the Lifesaving Society, we do have one advantage.  We are an organization that is based on those who volunteer’s passion: Drowning Prevention.  Within the organization, we try to reduce drownings through a variety of programs.  We teach swim and certification courses that requires people in the field to pilot programs and to mange people delivering the programs.  We have a branch that is dedicated to sport and this is the only sport that has a humanitarian background, and gives those who love sport an opportunity to volunteer to run competitions.  We also have a whole group who run fundraising for the society.  A good example of this is, in the upcoming 2 weeks we will be running a 2 week event, completely run by volunteers in Ottawa, that we hope to raise over $5000.00 for drowning prevention.  There’s much more, but I will focus my final initiative, Public Education.  Without this group of volunteers, without whom we would not be reaching our most vulnerable populations.  With my team, we spear head programs for Indigenous peoples, New Canadians, remote populations and advocating for all school aged children to receive swimming lessons through the schools.

So, our specific challenge is, that those of us who volunteer, are also working full time in aquatics.  What this specifically means is that National Drowning Prevention Week is July 15th to the 21st.  This is when we see the most drownings in Canada so w4e do many media events, run community events and try to be very active on social media.  What the challenge is, is that we who also work full time in the industry, have many of of work mates taking holidays and but also have the most people in our pools during this time.

How we solve it?  How many organizations do-we just work hard, pulling double time hoping that we don’t hear those catastrophic stories of someone losing their life to a completely preventable accident.

Have a safe a wonderful summer on and around the water!


My Personal Brand

In my world as a drowning prevention advocate, I think that one of my best traits is that I am genuine.  I have devoted my whole life to a variety of aspects in the aquatic world.  I think this lets me see things through a lease that is not typical of everyone else.  

In my work career, I have managed almost every aquatic facility in the City of Ottawa.  Over the years, I have gotten to know thousands of people, most of whom I developed great friendships with.  Getting to understand where there are such differences in communities, has helped my become very adaptable to different team dynamics and seek and out and try and meet the particular needs of a community.

In my personal life, I have devoted much of my time to drowning prevention.  Until the last 10 years, much of my efforts have not been intentional to get me to where I am today.  I have moved through different positions within the Lifesaving Society.  I have been both an official and an athlete, been Volunteer Chair, Aboriginal Chair, Area Chair for Ottawa and now currently Vice President of Public Education.  I don’t think I could have been in this position unless I had accumulated all this other experience.

I think that being seen as genuine has also helped me gain the trust in the public and the media that when I come to speak, it is from the heart and as an expert in my field.  I felt that I have a unique ability to connect people and make them feel good.  I experienced this yesterday at a media event.  We do this from my dentist’s back yard.  The brief history here is that she bought a house with a pool and confided in me that she didn’t know how to swim.  She, yet so accomplished in her professional life, was embarrassed that she did not know how to swim.  She was terrified that she would not bye able to help her children if they got into trouble.  I got her into some lessons and she is now a great swimmer.  She and her family are now great supporters of the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition and helps us to get our backyard safety messaging out every year.

I also think an attribute of mine that helps, is that I foster and nurture relationships.  I’m not afraid to introduce myself to others and I nurture those connections through my Twitter and Facebook accounts.  After the event yesterday, I made sure to reach out and personally thank the Deputy Mayor Taylor, Supervising Coroner Dr. Louise McNaughton-Filion, and CEO of Cheo, Alex Munter.

As I continue to develop my social media platforms, I find that I am getting more and more opportunities to speak and share my experiences with others.  I have put in an abstract to speak at a conference about using social media to promote aquatics.  I am lucky to have a co-speaker who does PR for the society!

Blog 4: B2C Case Study


In this case study, there are 2 businesses using Twitter to engage with their audience together.  In the Netflix series, Stranger Things, one of the sci-fi characters named 11, steals frozen Eggs waffles in what turned out to be an episode favourite.  

In the scene of 11 shoplifting 4 boxes of Eggo’s was by viewers to be an iconic part of the show.  11 grabs the Eggo’s and store manager is trying to stop her but she uses her powers to block the doors from opening and she walks away wit them.  What this did for Eggo was to revive the love for Eggo’s as a breakfast favourite.  This was driven straight from viewers as Eggo claims that they had no idea that they were featured in Season 1.

Both the franchise Stranger Things and Eggo’s launched a very successful twitter campaign with many fun posts like the one featured above.  They wrote everything upside down in this post, as was one of the things that was featured in the Sci-fi series often in Season 1.

To launch Season 2, there was a surprise Super Bowl commercial.  As an one knows some of us tune in for the game and some of us simply want to see the ads!  Here, Eggo’s showed the beginning of an ad from back in the 80’s which then flipped to the sneak peak to Season 2.  This was genius in the approach to resonate with those of us who loved them back in the 80’s, those who love the show and then to attract young watchers of the series to try Eggo’s as part of their breakfast routine.

So a very successful Twitter campaign that was actually created by viewers of Stranger Things!  Great opportunity seized by both the series and the Eggo company.

Blog 3: Target Audiences

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.59.34 PM

Know Your Audience

It is critical to know who you are trying to engage with through social media.  Doing research on your target demographics should includes age, sex, marital status, level of education, income level and where are they spending their time online.  Once you can define where they are, who they are, you then need to sit back and listen to the conversations happening. This will provide the insight so you can see what is being said so that you can weigh in.  As well, this will allow you to see where your competition is and where you can fill the missing gaps in product, service or information to be competitive and make change.

The Campaign

Policy development and change in behavior is where I work within the Lifesaving Society. Through Public Education and Research in drownings is how we are trying to achieve the aggressive goal of zero drownings in Canada within 50 years.  The Lifesaving Society has a variety of platforms in which we use for social media messaging.  To target specific audiences, a targeted message is chosen, and then made public to share throughout the platforms to achieve the highest impact.  The campaign “Watch Me not Your Phone”, was launched last summer through Facebook and Instagram.  These platforms were chosen because the demographic targeted were young mothers. Instagram and Facebook are used highly by this demographic.  We felt that these mom’s would share through their networks and though Facebook as well.

Measuring Success

This poster was extremly successful!  The image is one that so many of us can resognate with. The messaging of being distracted by our phones while out with friends, while at work and of course while driving.  Jumping on that concrete message and adding a little girl poolside would hit parents as a reminder that they must keep eyes on swimmers at all times!


Blog 2: Storytelling and Communication Styles

In consideration that I am a writing personal blog versus a technical corporate approach, I believe the most important thing that I have learned is to know my audience.  I see that, perhaps what I find interesting and news worthy, may not be interesting to my audience unless I write it to intrigue their interest.

Opening the post with the newsworthy topic is what will catch the readers attention.  Opening with and interesting fact or statistic will be what brings the eye to continue reading, but I also agree that breaking up a post into bullets and sub headings  to allow the reader to skim through and decide to read on. 

Once your subject is clearly expressed and subtitles outlined, you need to get in a write your story.  Story telling is as old as time and we have done this in many forms over time, but what is similar to all, is that it is told from a personal perspective.  Readers love to be told a story that comes from the readers perspective and draws you in using your intuition. Blogging is a short story version, but can easily have pictures and links to bring you into a much deeper world.

What is critical in writing is to ensure that the flow is easy to follow.  As a writer, I find a great habit is to write without stopping or worrying about grammar and spelling. Then take a break and come back to re-read, correct, and revise for flow.  A new practice that I will incorporate that I was not doing previously, is to read it out loud.

As you can see but my focus image, there is a comma.  This has been one of the most difficult pieces to get right.  At first, I never used commas.  Then, I was throwing them in where I felt needed.  Now, with practicing reading out loud, perhaps now I will add them where they naturally should go.

In my blog, I enjoy ending with a question or call to action to include the reader in the blog and asking them their opinion and perspective.  Now that I have written a few blogs, I have gotten into a recommended practice or reviewing older posts to see how my writing has changed and hopefully improved!