COM0014 – Blog 1 – What I Did on My Vacation (Johanne Albert)

I love traveling, and have to say that I am fortunate to have traveled quite a bit for my young age. I enjoy the adventurous, cultural types of trips rather than all-inclusive ones. I like to go off the beaten track, where I can meet more locals than tourists, and try to learn about the culture as much as I can while I am there. I’ve had quite a few of those trips in my early 20’s and I vowed I would never do the typical “touristy” type, you know, ..the one where you find tourists that look like this:


My last vacation was my honeymoon in October 2016. I was excited to plan our honeymoon. Although we could have opted for the “off the beaten track- let’s back pack and discover the culture – mingle with locals” type of trip, we decided to forgo the idea. I was not too sure how I would enjoy an all-inclusive trip, and was apprehensive about it from the get-go when we booked an 11 day cruise.

I have to say that this was one instance in my life where I was so thankful I made a decision that was naturally against what I usually lean towards. I was so overtired (that is what happens when you are your own wedding planner for the big day!). Planning my own trip was the last thing I had energy to do as we got closer to the big day. I am glad I kicked some good sense into me and decided to “go to the dark side” to do the “touristy thing” like most people.

We visited 6 countries in 11 days on the Norwegian Spirit Mediterranean cruise. It was amazing, relaxing and worth every penny! I needed to be somewhere where everything was catered and planned, and all I needed to do was follow. We were both so very tired from the previous few weeks, we both enjoyed the stress –free trip a cruise allowed us to have.


Dubrovnik, Croatia


You should be on LinkedIn !

COM0011 – Johanne Albert – Blog post #6 

I’ve been using LinkedIn mainly to create contacts within my industry here in Ottawa and for job search. I have to say this is the social media tools I use the less and just visit it from time to time to see what interesting jobs might be out there…Other than that I do not adventure in all the possibilities this tool has to offer.

LinkedIn has been most helpful in 2013 for enabling people to

  • Research people and companies (75.8 percent)
  • Reconnect with past business associates/colleagues (70.6 percent)
  • Build new relationships with people who may influence potential customers (45 percent)
  • Increase face-to-face networking effectiveness (41.2 percent)


Tips for LinkedIn:

1) It is not just to network in your field, you can market your business here too (check the video below –  5 marketing tips for LinkedIn)

2) Enable people to contact you: List an email address, or links to your Facebook or Twitter profiles.

3) Employ visuals: Feature examples of your work on your profile, including videos, presentations or Word documents.

4) Show off additional qualifications: Add volunteer experience, certifications, projects, test scores and anything else that may set you apart from others.

5) List all of your past jobs: The more jobs you list, the better you will be able to connect with people from those organizations.

(Read more tips here:



I’ve learn so much in this class, and searching for online marketing tips, working in the field of communications, I knew that social media was important, however, this class has made me have realized just HOW MUCH impact is has on our society. From marketing our business, to staying connected with family and friends who are far away, to making connections in your field and create job opportunities for  yourself, social media is amazing and brings so much advantages to our lives, if we use it well and in moderation 🙂



To Pin or Not to Pin? That is the Question!

Johanne Albert – Blog Post # 5

If you are woman, you have likely heard about Pinterest, one of the more recent social media tools.  Women are top users of this tools, weighing in at roughly 80%. I am not sure why Pinterest is more appealing to women than men, but I know that it does get addictive! Once you start “pinning” (which is in essence, saving a picture with the web link where that picture is located, on your “board” (like your wall on Facebook, kind of). It can be a recipe, a dress you like, a tatttoo you would want, quote you love, a band you adore – you can pin it all!  Anything you are interested in, you can  find on Pinterest and “pin” (save it, so to speak) on your personal boards. You can also pin stuff that is from another Pinterest user’s board, you can follow friends, family, and strangers on Pinterest and see what they are posting on their boards. Pinterest is the leader in social media in terms of retail conversions, delivering more traffic to retail sites than others.

Example: My Pinterest Profile/Boards:



This social media tools is , obviously, targeted on the visuals – women like shopping, and this is in essence, like a virtual shopping experience, for…anything! Pinterest is in this way, more easily addressable by advertisers.

“Perhaps one of the unique things about Pinterest is that users don’t see ads as … well, ads. Users don’t respond to a sponsored image any differently than an image pinned by a close friend, advertisers say, largely because the website is used less for social interaction and more as a search engine for users who are already in a consumption mindset. Further, Pinterest is most popular with a demographic that already has a huge amount of buying power.” Says Kathy Troutman” (Read complete article here).

On the business side of things, it is not as easy to promote yourself through this social media tool. As Emily Couch explains in her review, there is no self-promotion allowed on Pinterest:

One of the hardest parts of being social on Pinterest as a business is the no self-promotion part of the site. If you are using it for business, you’ll have to be completely subtle and discreet about your products. Best thing you can do is to post up things that invoke the thought of your product with a link back to the site. For blatant and more noticeable advertising, you’ll still need Twitter and Facebook.”  (Read complete article here)

Personally I love to use Pinterest to find recipes, arts and crafts ideas and fashion looks. I don’t tend to look at specific brands, stores, or anything else, it’s just whatever meets the eye at that moment and that seems interesting enough that I would want to go back to it in the future, so then  I save the “pin” on my wall, which is a bit like a Facebook wall, but divided in categories (boards) that you create.

If someone following you on your board pins your pictures of your board, you are able to write a little comment in the comment box that appears underneath that image. I have pinned many posts for my business (pictures of jewelry that I sell that is linked to my personal website). Some of my followers may pin these onto there wall, or “like” it, just as you can on Facebook. Pinterest is a great visual tool that you can use in your business but it should not replace your Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Check out this video to learn more about using Pinterest for your business:



Social Media Analytics: it’s Confusing!

Johanne Albert – Blog post #4


Am I the only one to be confused about all the measurements, monitoring and analytics that can be done for social media? There are so many networks available out there (Google Analytics, Woopra, HootSuite,, SocialToo,..just to name a few!). A big lesson learned from the point of view of someone who has a small business is that it’s not only important to be PRESENT on social media and providing content, but how to MEASURE and EVALUATE is just as, if not more important for your business.

Measurements are essential to an organization that wishes to know what the outcome of their use of social media creates for their business. However, after reviewing networks (most of which I did not know existed prior to this class!), I realize that many of these measurement tools are geared towards large corporation or organization that have a budget to create strategies and evaluate them. Measuring and analyzing social media is not a small feat and most can’t do it alone. Many of these networks offer various packages depending on the services you need. Since I have no budget for this, I researched two which are free of use (to a certain extent). I have to say, I love living in this era where you can search YouTube for pretty much ANYTHING! I am very visual and had to search the tools below on YouTube to actually “see” and understand better what they can provide. Hope it can help all of you as well 🙂

Google Analytics:

If you have a website, blog and you are present on social media, you can track all sorts of things via this amazing tool. I personally find it a bit more time consuming and you have to be a little more “tech savy” to manage your way around it. With Google Analytics you can, among many other things:

– understand how your visitors use your website

– know where your visitors are coming from

– know where your leads are coming from

To know more about Google Analytics, check out this webinar, presented by N-VisionIT Interactive to the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce:

What do you think? Has anyone used Google Analytics for their personal website, if so, did you find the analysis was useful to you?


Personally, I find this one is very user-friendly and more useful for entrepreneurs. If you have a small business and use Twitter, Facebook , Linkedin, WordPress – this is the tool to use! You can manage all your accounts from this ONE tool rather than login in and out of each one. It does offer some analytics. Also, you can schedule Tweets and posts, this is very useful for entrepreneurs who are too busy to Tweet ‘live” all the time. I just created my account and am looking forward to SAVE TIME!

Blog 4


Sentiment Analysis

A newer term in analyzing/tracking social media trends is “sentiment analysis” which is very hard to quantify! Tweet Feel, Viral Heat, Sentiment Metrics are a few of many tools available for this type of analysis. One industry which has benefited very much with this type of analysis is the entertainment industry. They are now able to predict which movie will be a success or failure because of tweets and hashtags and emoticons. That baffles me – its pretty incredible what these tools are capable of “quantifiying”.

Check out this video from IBM pertaining to Sentiment Analysis:


Bottom line: small business entrepreneurs have no budget for high cost type of analysis and don’t necessary need the level of details Nike or Coca-Cola would. That being said, I think it is important to be able to evaluate if your social media presence is working for you with these two great FREE tools!




Social Media for Business

Johanne Albert – Blog Post #3

In this post I have decided to take a look at two local Ottawa business  and evaluate  their social media use, content, marketing, personal brand and how they communicate with the public with the tools they use. I used the article “What ‘s Wrong With Social Media Marketing?”  as a reference (from Lesson #3) to see which tactics these business’ used to market via social media tools. I’ve decided on two business: one on fashion, and one on gluten free products : 2 subjects I enjoy 🙂

#1 : Erica On Fashion

Who: Erica Wark

What: Fashion Stylist

Where: Business based in Ottawa, but works in Montreal and Toronto as well.

Social Media tools used: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest

Overall, the use of social media for this business is awesome: from her website to her social media accounts, everything is up to date (no blog post dating back to a few months ago!).

Blog 3 -2 Blog 3 Blog 3-3Erica - Instgram


Likes on Facebook: 1549 Followers on Twitter: 2663


1) Cross promotion on social media: She is very keen on cross promoting : which is a must for all business’. On her website she has a icon for her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest accounts. On her Pinterest accounts she promotes her Twitter. On her Twitter she promotes her website, etc…

2) Personal Brand: she’s got this down! First, her logo, which is amazing (her name signed in the form of a shoe – which you can see above). Second, on all social media accounts she keeps her personal brand the same: which includes her logo with the following:

Talking and sharing everything fashion. Get your style fix from a chic Canadian perspective with Erica On Fashion.

I am taking this in note for myself as I realize that the social media tools I use for my business ( – my personal brand/message is not consistent! It looks way more professional when you have the same message across multiple social media tools!

3) Extending PR efforts through social media use: Erica is well known in Ottawa for working in collaboration with St Laurent Mall, Holt and Renfrew , Le Château and TV shows such as The Social, Steven and Chris and ET Canada. Through each of these, she promotes her business. There are multiple Tweets, Facebook post that are from these companies/tv shows and that creates more accessibility to her website and social media accounts because they advertise her work on theirs own social media tools.

Check out one of her appearances on CTV’s The Social :

4) Room for improvement: she does not communicate with the people that post messages under her Facebook posts, other than “liking” that message, she does not engage with her online community/public. On Twitter she does re-tweet or tweet back, however, it’s important to keep the communication flowing on all the social media tools that we use.


#2 The Joy of Gluten Free –

Who: Susan Phipps, owner/baker

What: Gluten free bakery

Where: Ottawa

Social Media tools used: Facebook, Blogspot, Instagram

Overall, the use of social media for this business needs a little help: although her presence on her Facebook page is great: her Facebook page is up to date, with lots of post and she does answer and comment on other people’s post – which is a great way to communicate with her public. Her blog is not up to date (last post was in December 2013) and she does not use Twitter, which could be a great advantage for her local business.

Joy G-Free4 gf Glute Free - 2 Instagram


Likes on Facebook:  1606 Followers on Instagram: 18

1) Cross promotion on social media: Her Facebook page promotes her website and blog post , however the blog is not up to date. If you have a blog and are promoting it – make sure you post at least once a week and be consistent – it makes it look unprofessional and leaves room to wonder what is your business really like if the blog post is not up to date. Her website does have the link to her Facebook and Instagram , however, they are not user-friendly as I can’t click on them and there are no “clickable” icons that bring us to her social media page.

2) Personal Brand: It’s wishy-washy: they are not the same everywhere. It’s important to have the same message across the social media tools you use. The three below could be rearrange in one message and should be the first thing we see on all tools used.

Here are different “personal brands” I found:

1- On Facebook: The Joy of Gluten Free is a wheat free, rye free, barley free commercial bakery and catering company; artisan bread, cakes, pastries and lunch items (soon to come), catering, gourmet foods, homemade candies. Everything on a batch by batch basis.

2- On Blogspot: The Joy of Gluten Free Bakery is located at 250 Greenbank Rd in Ottawa. 10 years of intensive recipe development and a love of cooking inspired the creation of the store.  Thank you to all who visit us and to all who continue to inspire us.

3- We carry the largest selection of gluten free breads and baked goods made from scratch and available every day in North America. 


3) Extending PR efforts through social media use: Not yet, but I am sure it will come. It seems as this bakery grew very quickly and the owner does not have the time needed for social media. CBC was recently there for a segment “Made in Ottawa” last March – she could of used this opportunity to promote the video on her Facebook page but only posted pictures of the CBC crew being there.


4) Room for improvement: I would definitely make use of Twitter, as I found a few Tweets who commented on this bakery on but could not “tag” her in their Tweet because she has no Twitter account. Her Instagram looks scarce – a few pictures of her amazing gluten free food, and not much followers (18). I would scratch the blog and focus on creating a Twitter account, and putting good use to her already existing Instagram and Facebook accounts. I would also recommend updating her website and using icons for user-friendly way to get to her social media. Also, I would work on her personal brand and have the same message across all the social media tools that she uses.



Rest assured, I know it’s not easy for small business owners to be up to date all the time: most entrepreneurs do everything from serving clients to their finances,and it leaves little time for marketing and social media skills. It’s not quantity but quality and consistency that count. If you don’t have time to update your blog at least once a week – don’t have a blog, use quick media tools like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote your business. As always, you do need to be consistent on these tools as well, so set up a schedule: how many posts do you want per day? When do you have the time to do it? Do it at the same time every day as part of your daily tasks for your business. What is nice with Twitter is that you can post once there and it will repost the same automatically on Facebook  if you arrange  your settings in this way.  Instagram also has a setting where pictures here can be automatically shared on Facebook. You save time by doing this!




COM0011 – Post 2: Social media use in the government : Digital Diplomacy

Johanne Albert – Blog Assignment 2

Government and Social Media

Social Media has only taken appearance within government in the recent years. Various government agencies such as Transport Canada, Environment Canada, Industry Canada, and more,  now have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and some even have YouTube, Google + and Flickr accounts.  However, due to the high bureaucracy standards of government, there are many rules and protocol for the use of social media within government, which sometimes leads to a less effective tool than it could actually be.

For example, Social Media Protocol listed on the website of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada states the following for their use of Twitter:

Blog post 2 - image

With these boundaries put in place by the government  it makes “free and open” communication, not so free and open! The fact that they encourage replies, but will not respond to some comments if they don’t follow a certain set of rules, is kind of ridiculous! Social media is most effective when the communication is a dialogue. I understand that many of these protocols exist to protect the agency legally, however I believe that they could be more lenient in certain areas and create more dialogue than just pushing news, events and press releases.

Digital Diplomacy

The United States and the United Kingdom are leading examples of creating a more open use of social media, especially within their respective foreign affairs departments. The term “Digital Diplomacy” has been used for the specific use of social media within the diplomatic world, to foster dialogue with the foreign public, not only between diplomats.  Alec Ross was the instigator of Digital Diplomacy at the US State Department as Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the duration of her term as Secretary of State, a role created for him that blends technology with diplomacy.

Traditionally, communication was more so government to government interactions. Now, digital diplomacy allows diplomats to engage people in their respective countries and allow conversations about local concerns and engage much larger number of people.

Canada and Digital Diplomacy

Canada has been slower to involve digital diplomacy in its current foreign affairs model. It is only recently (February 2014) that Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird talked officially about this tool and term of use. It is only recently that Digital Diplomacy has taken place in Canada, and it is still fairly poor compared to other countries. In the article Why is Canada Lagging Behind?, by Roland Paris, professor at Ottawa University, presents the lack of digital diplomacy in Canada compared to other countries:


Figure 1Figure 2Figure 3 Figure 4Fig 5Fig 6Fig 7


I believe that Digital Diplomacy has it right: it creates much more dialogue than the way agencies within the government of Canada use social media. I truly hope that Canada will step up to the plate with this!


COM0011 – Post 1: Dialogue vs. Monologue: Learning from your social media audience

Johanne Albert – Blog Assignment 1 (due week 4 – March 24-30, 2014)

Our society has become accustomed to fast pace technology;  Social media has brought an expectancy of rapid communications into our lives: everywhere, all the time, anytime. With the millions of users out there, how do we know if we are sending out the appropriate message? Is our brand message really helping us connect with our audience? What about our sales? Can they be affected by the content we produce on our various social media platforms? In essence, social media has allowed big name products to open up their doors to the public. Obviously, this can be a dangerous thing: companies must be aware of all comments posted, what is being “tweeted” about their brands, and must strategize how to  connect with their online public, on the appropriate platforms. Some may engage more on Faebook than Twitter, or the reverse, or, some might solely use YouTube videos to connect with their respective public.  With the evolving and ever changing social media tools, how do we know which one is best to use? Check out the top 2014 social media marketing trends presented by @EngageTarget.

Impacts and Risks

Although many positive outcomes have been seen with the arrival of fast pace communication tools such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, there is however,  a hesitation to take from a brand perspective. Too many brands hope for a quick marketing tool that would produce high sales. Social Media is in essence, a way of communicating and networking. If you’re number one goal is getting sales – you are most likely at the wrong place.

Bad Representation Online
Think of all the “haters” out there, who’ve received bad services from an airline, or from a certain telecommunications company (we’ve all been there!). We all know how long it can take to even speak to a human being calling their 1-800 numbers! Today, the quick way in wanting an answer is connecting through the company’s social media tool of preference. The public’s first attempt is now on social media, because they  know this will have a bigger impact on the brand and therefore, will get quick attention. We want better and faster responses from the company. The user is creating content – they want the brands to engage! A big no-no is to simply ignore a public’s concern because this will simply escalate to more negative outcome online.

“Real Time Marketing”

A new term in the social media marketing world is “real time marketing”. Brands are more and more present online and don’t make as much use of traditional media. In the article Social Media: the biggest lesson of real time marketing” ,  Nick Westergaard (Founder of Brand Driven Digital), grabs our attention on the importance of this type of marketing:


Superbowl’s “Oreo” example:
A great example of real time marketing, mentioned in the article above, is the case of Oreo’s Twitter feed publishing, upon the SuperBowl’s blackout, the following Tweet: “You can still dunk in the dark.” This was a smart move : they were engaging in something they new millions of their consumers were also interested in and obviously, watching, at the same moment it was happening. The result?  It was re-tweeted approximately 10,000 times! More info in this video: 

Do you have a social media strategy and culture?

Finally, as we can easily conclude, the importance of a social media presence is key and is becoming a must for all brands. However, it is not WHAT content you produce, but most importantly, HOW you ENGAGE with the public on these platforms. Easier said than done: take time to think of your brand, what you want to share with the public, and how you would like  THEM to communicate and engage with YOUR BRAND. Producing a social media strategy is important: that way you are not caught off guard when problems/complaints do happen. In the end, the CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT, even on social media!