Blog 4: Out of the Box

This course was a big step for me not only was it outside of the box, but it was also outside of my comfort zone. When I started this journey back in January, I knew I had a lot to learn about social media and online marketing, I had no idea just how much I was about to learn. 


 Being in print sales for over 15 years I thought I was a bit of an expert when it came to marketing. Well, maybe print marketing but not online marketing. This was very unexpected for me, there are similarities between print and online marketing. The differences outweigh the similarities.  Print marketing is unmeasurable, you cannot engage, you cannot listen and you cannot target your audience. There is no way to know it works. The more I learned about social media and online marketing the more I knew that I had to get out of the print advertising business and get on board this new and exciting way of marketing.

Over the years I have also found print advertising has become boring, never changing and losing its momentum. Online and social media marketing is changing in some way as I type this blog. This new way to market and reach your audience is exciting, never boring and I cannot see it ever losing it momentum.

Another factor for me was age, I thought that online marketing and social media was for millenniums, this course taught me that every age group can be targeted, engaged with and sold too. I have jumped on board and I am excited that I have.

“Miracles start when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do your fears” Richard Wilkens

This past week I have left my job with Metroland Media, I am no longer a print advertising sales consultant, my new business card reads Social Media Marketing Consultant. This blog is my final assignment of the Algonquin College Social Media Certification course, is my learning coming to an end? Not at all. I read articles and blogs, listen to podcasts and watch videos daily to keep up with this new way of marketing, staying on top of the learning is going to be an important part of this new journey.

 I have enjoyed this course the lessons, assignments, the discussions and most of all writing blogs. What was the part of this course did you liked the most?





COM0015 Blog 3: Networking Strategies


My strategy for in-person networking is to attend and help organize local networking events. Network events can be business breakfast, golf tournaments, trade shows or even just having lunch with a customer. Each spring local hospitals, charities and chambers host golf tournaments, local business people attend to have fun, be seen and to network with others. I am not a golfer, so I always volunteer at these events and do this for the same reason people go the event to golf.  Volunteering at events gives you more exposure and sometimes more opportunity to network. Also, it shows that you support local business and charities in the community. I don’t feel the need to go to all the networking events in my local market, the local women’s group has a lot of network marketing members, they are not my customer, therefore I usually do not attend. The local chamber of commerce does monthly business breakfasts and evening meet and greets. These events are more for business owners and I get more leads and sales from attending. In my opinion, it is still important to have face to face interaction with customers and to be able to put a face to a name. I enjoy going to networking events and learning more about my customers and what is going on in their business and personal life. This is an article I found on The Importance of Face-to-Face Networking in a Digital World, good read.


Online networking will have a completely different strategy. The most important strategy I have about online networking is to keep it personal. You can make it more personal by knowing whom you are talking to.  Are you talking to business owners and decision makers or are you talking to an employee in charge of updating the businesses social media platforms? I find LinkedIn a good online networking platform. Business owners are more likely to update their own LinkedIn site and there are lots of groups to join to get conversations going. Online networking like anything else online it should be short and to the point, I find when people are reading what you have to say it is easier to lose them then if they are actually listening to what you have to say. 

This week I am going through a career change, I will no longer be selling advertising for the local newspaper. I will be managing the local health food store and starting my social media marketing business. Over the next 6 months, I will be attending more networking events for health and wellness. These events will be put on by local fitness centers. health professionals and suppliers. I will also be attending the local chamber of commerce events, Christmas wine and cheese, business breakfasts and one on ones with local business people. At the store, I will be creating workshops, demonstrations and one on one appointments that will all be a form of networking.


I prefer face to face networking. I am a very social person and I have found in the past that face to face networking works in my market and with my audience.  The more I learn about online networking I am sure I will see it also being successful. I enjoy meeting and learning about people, I have only connected with one person outside the discussion board within this course, I am sure it would have been different if we all had of been sitting in a classroom. What do you prefer online or face to face?

COM0015 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!


The Good: Top Shelf Distillers is a small moonshine, vodka and gin distillery in Perth, Ontario, this company distributes all over Canada. Their social media platforms are well done, well followed and there is a lot of engagement. They post regularly, their posts are interesting, the photos and videos are well done. They use social media to promote events, taste tasting and pop up shops across Canada. Recipes of cocktails are posted seasonally. Social media is also used to connect and promote other local business and suppliers. Social media is a major part of their marketing plan and time is taken to manage all their platforms.


The Bad: We are in the middle of a municipal election, I have been following quite a few candidates and debate sites. Social media especially Facebook has played a big role in the election this year. Some candidates did a good job using social media for their platforms and interacting with voters. Some candidates used it to be negative, confrontational and to discredit other candidates. Twitter really heated up with comments and retweets good and bad. Following some of these platforms was like watching a train wreck and not productive.


The Ugly: the media company I work for Metroland Media, Star Metroland Media or Toronto Star not sure what name we are going by right now. Even the employees are not sure what the name of our company is, our customers are so confused. This is a perfect example of changing your branding too often confuses everyone involved. There is very little social media presence under any of these names except the Toronto Star.  Each of the community newspapers under this umbrella has a good social media presence but makes no mention of the parent company. It is important to stay true to your brand for your employees and your customers. Their branding and social media platforms are weak.


So many people complain about the negativity on social media, like anything there is the good, the bad and the ugly. I try to focus on the good, it is hard to sometimes not get sucked into the bad and the ugly especially during election time. What do you do to try to stay away from the negativity on social media?


COM0015 Blog 1- Tools & Sources

All I can say is there are so many tools and sources it makes me dizzy!

Who do you trust, what is fake,  where do you find the best sources and tools. How many do you follow and actually usE? In the ever-changing world of social media, the tools and sources are changing just as fast, you better keep up. As a social media marketer, it is important to stay on top of the changes. This is a great article about social media tools and what works well. Take Your Social Media to the Next Level.

This Social Media course has introduced me to some really great tools. Evernote has been my go-to for writing blogs, content, assignment and discussion. There are a lot of great tools within Evernote, fonts, layouts and you can save your work for future use. Grammarly has been a lifesaver in all my writing and it is free! Hootsuite, I can spend hours on, learning and discovering all it can do. It is my tool for scheduling posts and monitoring. Picmonkey is great for making posts for Instagram and Facebook, there are so many templates and images available. And the best part is it  Picmonkey is a free program with so many possibilities. Bitly is great for shrinking web addresses and they always work. These are just a few of the tools I use and I am sure the more I discover about social media. the more  I will discover more great tools. I am interested in trying some more other scheduling tools and learning about tools I can use to organize my business and my life.

I have a few great sources for social media information.  My 2-millennium sons are a huge source of information about social media, market trends and what is really cool right now. They both serve as my editors and give me great advice on all my posts, blogs, content and writing. This course has also introduced me to some great sites to trust for current information on social media and business. Buffer, Social Media Today, Forbes are just a few I follow on my social media platforms. Forbes has great articles on running a business, social media updates and inspirational advice on life. I also follow other social media marketers and marketing companies on all platforms for a source of content ideas. I have also met with colleagues to discuss customer issues, brainstorming and some days just vent. Following my customer’s competition is a great source to find out what is new in their markets. On those days I wonder if I am on the right track and just need a kick in the you know what, I turn to  Gary Vaynerchuk and Tony Robinson for some inspiration and guidance.

I’m just always looking forward. I spend very little time, looking backward”
– Gary Vaynerchuk

I am excited to learn more about social media tools and sources others have been successful with and ones to stay away from. What have you trusted and what have you thought was fake information?

Personal Reflection : My Dad

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me “Jim Valvano

Sixteen years ago, this week, I lost my Dad. This was the first time I had lost anyone close to me and I was devasted. My Dad died unexpectedly and suddenly which was a good thing he did not suffer, he had never spent a day in the hospital and he had never really been sick. It was a good thing for my Dad, but not for his loved ones. He left a trail of lost and sad people. My Dad had been a local farmer and worked for over 30 years for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The night he passed as we left the hospital feeling lost and unsure, we had to stop for a train going through town. This gave us a little bit of peace knowing he was on that train embarking on his next journey. My Dad was one of the best people I have ever known, he was a simple man with a big heart and loved life and everyone close to him.


My Dad was an only child and because of this, he called many of his close friends brother or sister. He worked hard and loved to volunteer in his community. In fact, earlier the night he died he had delivered meals on wheels to some local seniors who were not able to get out. Not only was he loved by his family, he had a big circle of friends that also loved him He loved to have people around him and loved to tell stories, these are traits I have gotten from my Dad. The day my Dad walked me down the aisle holding my hand very tight, to marry my husband, he told me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. I was fortunate to have my Dad in my life for over 40 years, he taught me so much and molded me into the caring loving person I am.

What I miss the most about not having my Dad around over the last 16 years is that he never got to see the amazing young men that my 2 boys have become. They were young when he passed, he did move closer to my house and was able to take them to the park and have sleepovers with them. I am grateful for that. I am sure he knows where ever he is, what great people they have become.  I see traits of my Dad in both boys, they are hard working, respecting and loving. They often ask about my Dad and we tell stories often about him. I want them to know and love the man my Dad was.

white butterfly

Whenever I see a white butterfly flying in my garden I know it is my Dad checking up on me. I still talk to him daily and look back on the advice he gave me on life. I know he would and is proud of the successes in my life and sorry he wasn’t there when life was not so successful for me. Even though he has passed I have never closed the door on him, he will always be a part of my life.

This is my personal reflection for this week. The quote by Richard Branson – “My philosophy in life is that you only live once. Live life to its fullest. This is so true, I try to practice this daily and ask hope that my boys do also. I never really thought about personal reflections before the topic was given to us for our final blog for this course. I am now going to try to write a personal refection every week, I have lots to reflect on and it will be a good reminder of what a good life I have. What is your personal reflection for this week or next?






Do people know your story?

“We all have a life story and a message that can inspire others to live a better life or run a better business. Why not use that story and message to serve others and grow a real business doing it?” Brendon Burchard


I am outgoing and love to tell my story to whoever will listen. Sometimes I think I talk too much, but my personal story spans over several decades, there is a lot to tell. I have played many roles during this time and I have different roles for the people in my life. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. No one role is more important than other. My mother plays a big role in my story, teaching me to be a good mom and a strong woman, I thank her for this.

My Facebook Page tells my personal story. I like to post quotes, pics, events and just have fun engaging with family and friends! There are many ways to tell your story, blogs, videos and pictures are just a few. I have recently learned how to blog for the social media course I am enrolled in, I am enjoying telling my story through this platforms and sharing with others. The biggest part of my personal story is being a Mom, I have raised 2 wonderful young men. This has been my most challenging and rewarding story of all. I hope my boys have been inspired by my story and that I get to play a role in theirs.

Brene Brown Twitter

Brene Brown Twitter

My customers know they can trust me, I will listen and I can be counted on, this is how I tell my business story. If you follow me on Linkedin you will see how I post and engage with colleagues and businesses. This platform is serious, educating and has a business-like tone. I manage, support and educate my customers to help them create a marketing strategy for their business. Educating on different marketing platforms, learning more about their business and giving them advice on what will work for them.  Giving them support and measurement on idea’s we have worked on. Telling my professional story to my customers has gained their trust and helped me be successful in my career as a sales and marketing consultant.

It would be interesting to ask a few people in my life to tell me my story, I wonder how their story would be different from my version of my story. Social Media gives us a great opportunity to tell our story. What is your story?


Personal Brand

“If you don’t have a powerful and visible personal brand, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage in almost every aspect of your professional, business and personal life. Personal branding has become a requirement for anyone looking to grow their business, get a better job, get noticed by the press, take their career to the next level or meet new, high-quality friends.”8 Reasons a Powerful Personal Brand Will Make You Successful


Your personal brand should be the best version of you personally and professionally. You should be authentic with your brand and your audience will put trust in you.  There are so many social media platforms to tell your story, you must make sure your brand is consistent an all of them. Knowing your personal brand will help you build relationships, gain trust and engage with your audience.


In this video Own Your Personal Brand,  Jenni Flinders talks about owning your personal brand. First impressions, confidence and owning your story is an important part of your personal brand. I deal with business people daily, I am always impressed with people who are confident, not shy about their success and who they are. These people are successful business people and have a large audience that they influence. I recently had a meeting with 2 candidates from our local municipal election. When I asked them what they wanted to talk to me about, they replied, ” We wanted to talk to different influencers in our riding so that we have a good understanding of what voters are looking for and how to reach them” In their minds, I was a marketing influencer in my small town. Every time I thought about this comment I had a smile on my face. I am no Gary Vaynerchuk, whom I admire and have learned so much from by listening to his podcasts and audiobooks, but in the eyes of some of my audience, I was a marketing influencer. I knew over the years I had built relationships, gained trust and educated the people in my audience and my community. I had a personal brand of being trusted, respected and a successful part of my community.


How I worked on discovering my personal brand was I asked a few friends, family members and co-workers to describe me in 5 words or phrases. Similar words and phrases showed up: trusting, works for her customers, honest, great sense of humor and knowledgeable were a few that were mentioned. Using these words and phrases I had found my personal brand. Do you know your personal brand? Are you true to your personal brand? Try asking the people in your life how they would describe you? This is a great exercise to learn about yourself and your personal brand.


B2C Canopy Growth


Four years ago, Canopy Growth moved into Smiths Falls, a small Ottawa Valley town and they took over the abandoned Hershey chocolate plant, they opened shop. Canopy Growth is the first Canadian regulated cannabis grower.

Check out their story, “Canopy Growth our story”

With over 400 employees they have given life back to the town and the community. With the legalization of cannabis coming October 2018 and the research that is being done on the medical benefits, Canopy Growth is getting ready!  By opening visitors centres across Canada, expanding the grow operation, educating and hiring staff to keep up with the demand. How do you promote and advertise a product with so much controversy? Canopy Growth is doing a great job of marketing and educating to an expanding audience.


“With conventional advertising largely prohibited, social media is quickly becoming a new frontier for companies to test messaging. Tweed, the main subsidiary of multibillion-dollar Canopy Growth, scatters its social media profiles with posts in a not-so-subtle indicator of its product.” How do you market weed when you can’t market weed?

An important part of this expansion and legalization will be to educate, inform and answer questions on cannabis and the legalization of it. Canopy Growth is taking to social media to spread the word. By using all social media platforms they will be able to expand their existing followers to include a new audience and educate them on their products and services.  Proof that cannabis is socially accepted! Using Facebook “Events” will get the word out on events, job fairs and tours. On all platforms they make good use of tagging, using location and being involved in the different communities where they are located. On Twitter, there are lots of tweets, retweets and mentions on their posts. The audience is large and engaging. With Instagram, they take the opportunity to post about events, products and how they are supporting the local communities where they are located. Using LinkedIn helps them have a more professional persona, find investors and employees. They use a play on the word “Hi.” on all their platforms and hiring ads. Their marketing team clearly knows what they are doing!

I follow Tweed, Tweed Mainstreet and Canopy Growth on all their platforms, they are doing a great job of using social media to tell their story about a product with so many unknowns. On almost all their posts there is engagement, shares and likes.  With the legalization this fall, people are curious. I do not see much negativity and I am sure due to the nature of their business there is quite a bit. They must have a good social media team in place.  They know their audience, using social media to expand, educate, and engage it and continue to grow it…see what I did there.

Are you curious about the legalization and health benefits of cannabis? If yes, follow these platforms and some of your questions will be answered.


Target Audience: Ask the right questions.

“Are you struggling to connect with your customers on social media?” Social Media Examiner

Are you asking the right questions to find your target audience?


Do we really know who our target audience is?  To find out who they are you need to analyze, test and measure your social media platforms to find out who is commenting, sharing and engaging with you. Focus on the demographics of whom you think is your target audience, age, gender, education level and where do they live. Also, consider analyzing the psychographics of this group, are they conservative, trendy, what class are they, followers, leaders and what do they do for entertainment. You can also learn more about your audience by following them on their social media platforms, personal and professional. We also need to think outside of whom we think our target audience is and see if we are missing out on an opportunity. Finding out who your target audience will be an ongoing exercise.


Where is our target audience engaging? On what platforms do we see our audience engaging, posting and sharing. Is there one platform favored more than another? Is there a certain type of content engaging them more, video seems to be a great way to get your audience to engage? Are they also following your competition and what is their engagement with them? Keep track of this information and update weekly, see if there are any trends.


When is our target market engaging? What day, time of day and what platform? These are questions you need to measure to find out more about your target audience. Facebook works well to measure and test when your audience is online engaging. Facebook makes engagement visible and Facebook Insight is a great measuring tool. Twitter is so up to the minute, it is also a good way to monitor your target audience.  This article gives some good information on  how to connect with your  Target Audiences on Twitter .


Why is the target market doing what is doing on social media? Are their needs being met? Is the product and service you are offering interesting to them. Watch to see if any people drop off and see if you can find out why. If you find they are asking a lot of questions, maybe you need to educate them more on your products and services. Try to get your followers to share your posts with friend and family to try to target an even greater audience.


What are you doing right to keep your target market? Educating, answering questions and listening to your audience will let you know if you are talking to the right audience. Do not ignore any feedback, posts or questions. Once you get the audience you must work hard to keep them.


I follow quite a few businesses locally and nationally on social media. I am always curious to see what others are doing on social media, I started following Wendy’s and I don’t even eat their food, they have quite an impressive social media platform. Do you follow social media platforms that do not really interest you? Have you been able to learn about some interesting products, services and marketing idea’s, even though you are not their target market?

COM0014 Communication Styles

It was not until recently that I realized I had a communication style. My style is very different professionally and personally. I believe I do stay true to my self in both styles. I like to include humour and personal experiences in my blogs. When I started writing blogs for Introduction to Social Media, I had not written anything other than an email in a long time. The thought of writing blogs and having others read them intimidated me. After the second blog, I realized how much I enjoyed writing and getting feedback.

“No one communication style is inherently better than another. But picking the wrong style for a particular audience, whether it’s one person or a thousand, shuts down listening and can spell trouble.”  Which Of These 4 Communication Styles are you? Forbes

Who is your audience? Knowing this will help you decide what communication style to use. Posting topics that interest your audience and writing the posts in a way that they will stay engaged is an important rule to follow.  A personal post can be light, short and easy to read. A  professional post you need to be more informative, assertive, serious and maybe add a taste of your personal style.



Grabbing the readers attention in the first paragraph, good grammar, make it a quick and easy read. Giving the reader a call to action and something to think about is important in any communication style.

I also like to include links in my posts so that the reader can further research the topic if they want. Using social media links to your page or to groups you follow in your posts will help you get a bigger audience. Pictures, short paragraphs, subtitles, and bullets are also good ways to break up the blog or post, this will keep the reader interested. Before I started this course I was guilty of being a skimmer, now I take the time to read blogs, posts and articles. I am not only learning about the topic but also about the different styles of writing that keep me interested.


What do you look for in blogs and posts? What is a deal breaker for you when reading posts or blogs?