COM0015 – Event Participation

On March 2, the Advertising Coordination and Partnerships Directorate (ACPD) at Public Works hosted a webinar featuring guest speakers from Facebook: Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Director and Kevin Chan, Public Policy Manager.
I chose to attend the event so that I could learn more about:

·      Suggested content that gets the best and most engagement;

·      The different ways that a page can talk to fans (comments, Q&As, FB Live, messaging);
·      What tools to consider for managing comments including having a comments policy,             using the moderation block list and the profanity filter and much more.

 What ideas have you walked away with from the event?

There was a ton of great information provided to the webinar attendees on organic Facebook posts:

·         Live video (streaming) is now available on IOS platforms and coming soon to

·         Page moderation tools: profanity filter, private messaging, and instant replies;

·         Post reach is important – watch the trending reports and ensure that is moving

·         Time of day for posts matters!

·         It is important to continue to use traditional media as part of your marketing mix,
alongside social media.

·         Important information can be found at

·         Using the words “like” and “share” as part of your posts content can lower your reach. Avoid
doing this!

Quotable quote:

“Look at reach, not just engagement”.

Attend a similar event in the future?

ACPD sessions are very valuable to my work/position. I will continue to attend ACPD sessions, as long as they are being offered. The sessions are for Government employees only, so it offers a chance for federal servants to meet and discuss their projects, as well as an opportunity for the federal service to be on the same page in terms of best practices. ACPD brings in speakers from the field that can help provide information, spark creativity and enthusiasm.

For your viewing pleasure:

The event was recorded – please see the link to view the session:

(I hope that you are able to access the link and that it’s not blocked for federal servants).

Have you been to any cool events (online or in-person) lately that might be of interest to other marketers?

COM0015: Blog post #4 – Out of the Box

What unexpected applications have you found in the field of online marketing and social media? Creative ways to use marketing and social media tools and techniques to your benefit?

twitterTwitter: Using your organization’s Twitter handle as a marketing tool is a great way to engage your audience with your social media platform. Ordinarily, you will see the Twitter logo indicating that you have a Twitter page, but by including the handle, you drive the consumer directly to your content. Join in weekly hashtag themes (i.e. #ThrowbackThursday) to build your social media following. TwitterChats are a great way to engage an audience by having a content matter expert take questions from the audience.

A great example of out-of-the-box use of Twitter was by LG. They hosted a Twitter Treasure Hunt with the objective of promoting sales to 16-24 year olds. LG set out a stall in UK city and the first person to arrive won two tickets to a concert. According to LG, “to help users find the stall, LG placed a map online that gradually zoomed in on the precise location whenever the hashtag #lgtickethunter was used on Twitter”



Metrics: 5k tweets on the first day and 50k by the end of the campaign. Engagement rate was 38%. Quadrupled smartphone sales to the target audience in the weeks following the campaign.

Sponsorships: use your social media accounts as part of the creative for any sponsorship opportunities (i.e. sponsoring an event – use your Twitter handle or Facebook page title, in lieu of the traditional corporate logo, or both).

Contests: Host a video and/or photo contest on platforms like Instagram. Then, use your social media platforms to promote the contest (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn). Create a hashtag for your contest. Offer bonus points for sharing information – extra entries (I have seen this work very well on Mommy Blogs were the blogger is offering a handmade item).

video Video – use video in lieu of the traditional written word. With video applications readily available, literally speaking to your audience will draw more engagement than a written explanation (i.e. explainer videos). According to Social Media Today, “the retention rate for visual information can reach 65% versus 10% for text-based information”.

The Department of Canadian Heritage used YouTube as a creative tool to encourage engagement from viewers by producing a video Journey Into the Arctic that entices viewers to become an explorer on a mission to find the Northwest Passage.


Infographics – like videos, instead of a long, drawn out explanation of your product or service, create a detailed infographic to get your message across and host it on your social media platforms.

Blogs/Vlogs – like Twitter Chats, consider having a guest blogger who can provide a different insight and take questions from your audience.

What cool applications have you discovered?







COM0015 – Blog Post 3 – Professional networking now in the future

Developing professional networks – online and in person


I’ve created a LinkedIn page that outlines my experience and education. Recently, I’ve asked some of my former managers and colleagues to provide recommendations – LinkedIn hit the nail on the head with this function, as it allows individuals the opportunity to share these recommendations with potential employers – brilliant!

LinkedIn also allows members to participate in groups – I follow a number of groups that are of interest.

Personally, I don’t use Facebook and Twitter as professional platforms.

I also sign-up to a number of emails from marketing and advertising organizations – this helps to stay in the loop regarding what’s happening in the industry as a whole.

What are tools are you using to develop your networks online?

Image result for google images I want to succeed(Image courtesy of


I manage an internal (departmental) community of practice – the Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Marketing Network. The network consists of marketing and communications professionals from across the department, special operating agencies, and portfolio partners, meeting to provide a forum to network, examine common issues, and increase marketing success. The network meets monthly, usually with speakers from within the group. The goals of this community of practice are to ensure brand continuity, alignment of top priorities and to promote a client-centered focus. These meetings allow me to network with colleagues, learn about their programs and promote myself as a candidate that is an asset to their marketing programs. There is also a WIKI presence (internal): posting presentations to the internal WIKI for all to view/reference.

I also belong to a group that meets on a monthly basis for presentations from the Advertising Coordination and Partnerships Directorate at Public Works – they are usually training sessions or sessions on what is happening with advertising in the Government of Canada realm. Meeting with this group allows me to learn more about advertising in the federal service – and those that I need to call on for assistance.

To come…

In the near future, I’d like to continue to develop my online presence using LinkedIn (research like-groups, request additional recommendations, update my experience section, etc.).

I will also continue to participate in communities of practice with supporting-agencies of the federal service. I will also look for additional communities of practice that are of interest and participate as frequently as possible.

COM0015 – Blog Post #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

COM0015 – Blog post #2

I chose two big brands for discussion around successful social media strategies: Health Canada and McDonald’s (Canada).

Health Canada

Health Canada is a Government Department that provides Canadians with information on healthy living and healthy lifestyles.

HC-signature.jpg(Image courtesy of Health Canada)

The main objective of the department is to ensure that Canadians are provided with as much information as possible on healthy living. The mantra, if you will, is to have Canadians “stay connected and use the social media tools to share content and to access reliable and timely health and safety information when, where and how you need it.”

Health Canada understands that it needs to reach Canadians by way of technology that they have embraced. They have a great social media strategy, in that they are using multiple platforms to share messaging (and its interesting content!). On Facebook, they are using separate pages to reach different target audiences.

·        Healthy First Nations and Inuit FB page to reach this specific audience: – messaging and imagery is individual to the audience – relatable.

·        Healthy Canadians FB page: This page reaches out to a variety of audiences with varying messages: being active, healthy meal ideas (substitutes), product recalls, pregnancy and raising children (to name a few).

I believe that Health Canada is successful in social media, as they allow the user to use whatever platform they are comfortable with:

·        Recalls and Safety Alerts Mobile Application: messages about health and safety recalls are delivered right to the user’s phone.

·        Healthy Canadians Pinterest account: provides tips to help Canadians be healthy and safe.

·         Twitter: Health Canada uses their Twitter page for an array of messaging: product recalls, advisories and media releases. I think it’s a great idea to share their news releases on Twitter – the right platform, audience, for non-traditional news.

·         YouTube: Visitors can pick up Health Canada’s PSAs and television ads on the HC YouTube pages.

Health Canada provides users with many opportunities to “share” their content. I believe this is a brilliant strategy – if people are interested and like the content, they have an opportunity to be ambassadors of the messaging. Health Canada uses the following platforms for “sharing”: email the page, share on Twitter/Facebook/Delicious/Digg/Google Bookmarks/StumbleUpon, MySpace, reddit.

(* I should also note that HC prepares a call out to other government departments for content.)


McDonald’s has launched a program called Our Food, Your Questions program allowing individuals to ask food-specific questions (other questions are directed elsewhere).


(Image courtesy of McDonald’s Canada:

To ask a question, participants must connect with either Facebook or Twitter – social visibility and viral effect. If your question has already been asked and an answer has been provided, you can see the responses right on the webpage.

Given the craze on healthy/nutritional eating, McDonald’s is nipping rumours in the bud; they are answering questions/addressing issues of inquiring minds.

And, if McDonald’s are providing answers on social media, they must be true!?

McDonald’s uses Facebook and Twitter as their main social media tools.

What other organizations do you think have excellent social media strategies in place?

And which organization needs a little help?

The Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry need a social media strategy. Currently, they have a website, but no social media presence.


(Image courtesy of: The Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry –

The Counties of SD&G should be using Facebook and Twitter to relay messages to citizens – suggest that they should participate (follow, share, like, retweet) with other like organizations (i.e. City of Cornwall, Township of South Glengarry). They should also include “follow us” messaging on all media releases, publications, newsletters and their website. Perhaps they should also include this information on their bricks and mortar location.

Objectives could include informing local citizens about finding business listings, libraries, development applications, etc.

As mentioned above, I would suggest that they start with the traditional social media channels – Facebook and Twitter. Also, they should consider making videos about successes and starting a YouTube channel. LinkedIn would be a good source for capturing local professionals.

What other organizations do you think could stand to embark in the social media realm?

COM0015 – Blog Post #1: Tools and Sources

My two favourite social media trend listening and monitoring tools are:


Facebook Insights – access through Analyst:

This is the tool we use for organic posts and advertising on Facebook. It provides spreadsheet reports, as well as interesting and interactive reports.



I like the report generated from TweetReach – it’s a snapshot – provides tweet metrics such as user reach & impressions, number of tweets, retweets, top contributors and most retweeted tweets.

These are considered my “favourite” monitoring tools, as these are the tools used by my organization. As I am not a member of our social media team, these reports are generated ad-hoc based on requirements/campaigns. Although, I do find both tools useful for generating performance results and key statistics.

The reports are analyzed to determine what worked and what didn’t. A synposis is prepared to share with senior management and the Minister’s Office (Impact Report). Decisions are then made on the themes going forward – focusing on thematics that drew interest (likes, share, etc.).

The most important metrics are the click-throughs from posts to websites (as per our department), followed by engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc.).

When launching a new program or using social media to support ministerial announcements, all metrics are viewed with a fine-toothed comb. The results of all media efforts (traditional and online) are reviewed for performance/engagement.



The two best sources of news and updates include:

I follow a number of news authorities on Twitter, but not on Facebook. Although the “news” is often informative, I find that there is too much information – CTV Ottawa post a lot! On Facebook, I rely on friends to share their thoughts on breaking news and if it is of interest, then I’ll click and follow the link to the actual news source/page. This is my preferred method, as I’m not as inundated with information, as I would be on Twitter.

How do you gather news that’s important to you?

COM0014 – Blog #7 – Personal Reflection

Why is storytelling important to creating great digital content?

Everybody loves a good story! Some folks are great at storytelling and others are, well, really just ramblers. Storytelling helps people relate to something – relations = relationships. If people feel like you understand some aspect of their life, you are more likely to get buy-in/build a connection. Everyone loves to talk about themselves – it’s not that people are being arrogant, I think it’s just human nature.

Example: I always ask my colleagues how their children/partner are doing… are they taking a vacation this year… are they excited about this or that… it sets the tone for a more pleasant conversation than jumping right into work-related issues. It sets people at ease; lets people know that I am interested in their lives.

When using digital content to sell a product or service, I think it’s important to create a relationship – talk directly to your audience and let them talk back! We’ve always believed that marketing is pushing out a message, but in the digital age, your story (and your audience’s) can be so much more interesting if it’s a conversation!

How will your content be guided by story?

Using some of the tactics I’ve learned in this course, I recently submitted a “pitch” for a project using a storyline as my direction – I could have submitted a typical business case, but I’ve given this approach a try instead (reaction/conclusion: TBD).

Moving forward, I will attempt to use story/conversation as my approach to business, when suitable. I think it’s a more “human” approach to corporate communications.

What kind of stories do you want to tell?

I want to tell stories about successful and even unsuccessful projects – to help others determine the best approach and best practices. I want to open up clear lines of communications with Canadians to help them build (and maintain) prosperous businesses!


 So now it’s your turn – what kind of stories do you want to tell?

COM0014 – Blog #6 – Do People Know Your Story?

What is my secret wish for my organization?

I work for a Federal Department – a large organization that is known as the “Department of Everything Else”. Our audiences include consumers, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), Large Corporations, Science; a vast array of audiences, organizations, and messages.

The secret wish I have for my organization is to focus on one area – break the department down into the various silos and concentrate interest on one focus at a time. “It’s the human side of business where the real stories lie” – and with SME business owners, they always have a story to tell. As part of my professional role, from time to time, I would feature articles in our departmental e-newsletterabout SMEs. Those stories were incredibly successful (in terms of readership), as there was an opportunity for the reader to relate:Isobel & Company, Naturally for Life, Birtch Farms and Estate Winery. These stories are the outcomes/results of SMEs working with our department, at some level, whether for financing or the internship program. These stories are the human touch behind the big government machine.

If the department was to share more “human-interest” stories, perhaps small business owners wouldn’t be concerned or too overwhelmed to seek assistance from the Government of Canada. If communications lines were opened up where SMEs could ask questions, provide feedback, this would assist the department in its communications role – provide information that will help Canadians build and maintain small businesses.

My secret wish for my department is to offer help to all entrepreneurs – make their business responsibilities easier by having all of the information required to succeed by opening up lines of communications (through social media channels, perhaps). Imagine if all Canadian SMEs could be the next Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook… Now that’s a story!

 Do you think it would help entrepreneurs if the Government of Canada had open lines of communications through social media channels (i.e. blogs, infographics, etc.)?

COM0014 – Blog #5 – Personal Brand

Who is Sylvia McLaughlin?

Well, most folks would say that above and beyond anything else, I am a mother first. Nothing else is as important or rewarding – I always put family first. However, I am also a marketing professional who has an old-fashioned work ethic. I come from the school of hard knocks where I had to make my own way in the world – although I may not have a PhD, I am a worldly woman who knows about sickness and loss, yet I face each day with a positive attitude. I believe that no matter what your “professional title”, everyone deserves respect and empathy. I am organized beyond expectation, deliver on time, and am incredibly flexible.

My colleagues would say that I am the “go-to” – the colleague that will help you (even if it’s not in my job description!) and support you. I am the person that is excited about new ideas and projects and can’t wait to get started. A senior management colleague once stated “I love your can-do attitude” and that is how I tackle each and every situation in my life: personal and professional…there is a way to make it work, it’s just figuring out “how”!

By expanding professional interests, I have opened up a whole new world of opportunity and growing my professional network. It’s not business as usual in today’s world!


Most proud of…

My children – they’re whole world has been guided by what I provide for them: time! There’s a saying “Children don’t need more presents, they need more presence” – and that is the underlying factor of how I live my life. It doesn’t always bode well in professional life, as I have always been honest about my priorities, but in the end, I believe that I have chosen the right priority. In the same breath, my employer gets 110% of my attention when I am professionally responsible.

What are you most proud of? What are your priorities?

COM014 – Blog #4 – B2C Case Study

Company: Coca-Cola

How is Coca-Cola engaging with its audience online 

As Coca-Cola is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, it only seems natural that its social media strategy is to engage, rather than a push-tactic to draw customers.

How is Coca-Cola using Social Media 

With the primary audience being women, Coca-Cola current has:

  • Over 93 million likes on its Facebook page. The page is generally used to ask questions and post polls.
  • Over 3.1 million followers on its Twitter page, with 143k tweets. Tweets are generally used to respond to @mentions. Twitter interactions are used for communicating, not for pushing out messages.
  • Over 8.3k followers on Pinterest. Coca-Cola ran a competition on Pinterest whereby individuals had to create a new board and pin four autumn fashion images using a hashtag (#TakeMeToNYC).
  • Over 2 million followers and over 59 million views on Google+. Coca-Cola is also experimenting with Hangouts.

Undoubtedly, with the number of followers per platform, along with company messaging, the Coca-Cola brand is still going strong. The “Share a Coke” campaign, where given names appear on cans/bottles is all the rage! Organically, individuals will post a picture of themselves to their social media pages illustrating themselves with their “name branded” product. It is clear that their approach to social media (and branding) is working.

Does your name appear on Coca-Cola bottles/cans?

This summer Coca-Cola is selling personalized bottles that feature 250 popular names. (Photo:                              Photo:

COM0014 – Blog #3 – Target Audiences

Your Money Matters Canada

Client: Industry Canada, with the Canada Revenue Agency and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

In the spring of 2015, Industry Canada launched a Facebook page: Your Money Matters Canada. The objective of the page is to provide Canadians with helpful, trustworthy consumer tips. The campaign is over, but the page is live and waiting for your “like”!

An advertising campaign, on Facebook, was launched to promote the page and to inform Canadians of this resource.

Audience segments:

  • Parents
  • Adults aged 50+
  • Youth 19-34
  • Adults 18+

Different creative and copy (messaging) were created for each group to engage users.

  • Parents: cell phone contracts, stop text spam, fraud, unclaimed funds, and tax benefits for families.
  • Adults aged 50+: cell phone contracts, stop text spam, buying a condo, fraud, unclaimed funds.
  • Youth 19-34: cell phone contracts, stop text spam, fraud, unclaimed funds, mortgage calculator, tax benefits for families.
  • Adults 18+: cell phone contracts, stop text spam, buying a condo, fraud, unclaimed funds, mortgage calculator, tax benefits for families.

The messaging was based on topics that are important to the various target audiences. Organic posts were also created to support the advertising campaign.

The campaign generated almost 15,000 page likes.

Other media used to support the campaign included partner buttons, partner sites, partner messaging.

Since the campaign launch, the page is populated daily with additional tips to help Canadian consumers with making appropriate choices, avoiding fraudulent activities, and keeping safe online and otherwise.

Check out the Your Money Matters Canada Facebook page – and like the page to be provided with great tips!