COM0015 – Assignment 1, Blog #4, Out of the Box

I think I have referenced myself in previous blogs as being a bit of a Social Media T-Rex, not because I am a fierce hunter or have small pincer hands, but because I admit to being a bit pre-historic.  trex

I am constantly amazed at the evolution of social media but also the changes and advancements in APPs and how people are using them in their lives.

The current generation of people (I will call them the under 40’s) are adapting at an alarming rate to changing technology and how to use this tech to solve problems.  Gone are the days when people had to learn how to do things by hand, take classes, or be taught by a doting parent.  Everything, and I do mean everything is available on either YouTube or via an APP now. deadcar

So here is the scenario, a very competent Mother of four children, out for dinner and Christmas shopping with a whole slew of kids, hers’ plus a few extra; leaves the mall to find her brand new van is DEAD in the parking lot.  Her husband out-of-town, she calls the local tow truck or CAA type rescue people and they, although backlogged, agree to send someone over but tell her it might be a wait.

With 7 kids with her, she quickly uses her phone and social media apps, to find friends near me and puts out a quick SOS; amazingly in seconds locates two friends inside the Mall shopping as well!  SOS

One of the friends has cables but doesn’t know how to use them; this resourceful mother pulls out her cell phone, downloads a 30 second APP which shows her how to jump-start her car with a quick 20 sec. video.  Shortly she is underway, and as she is leaving the parking lot, the Emergency Tow Truck arrives.  She didn’t need them after all, and it didn’t cost her a dime.

From a dead vehicle to driving home took about 15 mins.  I myself took auto-shop class, (I won’t admit in what decade), and have had to jump-start cars several times in my life.  I am pretty sure I would have been okay.

However, no matter how much I have learned about social media, I would not have been quite as quick or cleaver to use social media for help, or to download instructional apps to get myself out of a jam.  This to me is an amazing example of just how social media has evolved, and how this generation thinks outside the box!

appsPerhaps I can cancel my CAA membership now?   Hhhmmm…..







Photos courtesy of UNSPLASH

COM0015 – Assignment 1 – Blog #3 Professional Networking, now and in the future!

I am an entrepreneur, and my existing networking strategy thus far hasn’t been perfect, okay I will admit it, to date I have had NO strategy.  But with information and energy from my most recent Social Media management courses, I now understand the power and the commitment one must make to networking.


In truth, networking shouldn’t be something that you do once a year with some ads at your peak season, you need to be consistent and work it 365.  For me the aha moment about networking is like the revelation in the Grinch that Stole Christmas when he realizes in Whoville, they have that happy feeling all year round, even without presents!

When I used to think about networking, I would get a flash of a “used car salesman or an overeager insurance agent at a cocktail party”.  Not anymore, now I get it, I get the web of intricate threads woven between me and many of my contacts; and how that web can spread an idea faster and perhaps even cheaper than I could.

And really, isn’t that the basis for the whole success of the Internet and Social Media so far?  It’s like the old-fashioned commercial “and you tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on and so forth”, basically this is everyone’s modern day dream, going viral.

For me the concept of viral is pretty much like winning the lottery.  People do win the lottery, but it is rare, and they don’t necessarily learn about managing money when they win.  Viral products, concepts and videos are amazing, sometimes flashes in the pan, but in many cases, they didn’t have to work too hard for it.

For me, I have been working hard (although clearly not smart) on two separate businesses for several years now.  No viral success here, everything has been a tough slog.  But then I didn’t understand networking.  So, from now on, I will “work the room” both in real-time and online.

For my book, I will practice more online networking, taking more time to review and respond to many follow requests I get on Instagram perhaps looking for ways to offer reciprocal marketing with suitable partners.  I will search out more groups who would be interested in my book and spend at least 1 hour a week reviewing the blog posts from my target audience to see if there is good material for sharing or people I should be getting in touch with.   I will also focus more on the blog and sharing that to appropriate channels.

I also regularly enjoy going to presentations and workshops in my local business community for budding entrepreneurs but have never once handed out business cards or samples of my book, I will in 2019.


For my website, I commit to working the room in person, I need to go to sporting events and competitions, and demonstrate my website software to potential users.  I will also go “door to door” in my local community to approach dance studio owners and showcase my software face to face.

Overall, I need to go out there more.  I have become a huge EVENTBRITE fan, I regularly scroll throw their easy to use app to find conferences, meetups, and think tank sessions in my location.  There are tons of free stuff going on all the time.  I learn, and I network.

Going forward, I promise myself just not to miss an opportunity, I will carry my business cards for both businesses; use every chance to network and find out about other people and connections, in the hopes that I will expand my network but also create opportunities for growth for myself.  And then… I will tell two friends about it, and they will tell 2 friends….



Photos courtesy of Google, Unsplash & Rawpixel

COM0015 – Assignment 1, Blog #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

I have had the chance lately to look at two wonderful companies, both of which I am quite familiar with, having known them through friends or family for several years.

But this time I looked at them through a different lens, not just a company a friend started, or where a family member works; but from a social media managers’ viewpoint and local community perspective.

I was asked to define two companies as either strong or weak in relation to social media management, and I chose these.


I confess that in my case, I equate this task to having to label beloved siblings as either “smart or pretty.   Not something anyone really wants to do, but if you put my writing hand to the fire so to speak, I guess I can tell you “who the smarty in the room is“.



Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery is a wonderfully quirky company that brews delicious craft beer in Barrie, Ontario.  They are small, creative and a terrific social media, if not local, following.  They are not as small as one would think though, selling beer in 12 countries around the world, an impressive feat for any entrepreneurial operation.

I truly love their sense of fun, their “we don’t have a filter” sense of humor, and the creative approach to everything they do.

They are doing tremendously well for a company who is, and even they admit it, “flying by the seat of their pants”, if you will pardon the pun.  Their social media posts are hilarious, their beer names outrageous (try their “NETHERWORLD or JUICY ASS” beers) ….and oh those beer label designs! beerlabel

There social media posts to date garner 250+ likes typically and 12-15 comments each post.  The original photography they use is stunning.  They understand social media very well, from multiple platforms, to creative hashtags, Instagram stories, and have even begun to use Facebook LIVE etc. FMinstagram

The real testimony to Flying Monkeys’ success is that they have never paid for advertising, even admitting to me in a recent interview that they do not even have a marketing plan or budget; and yet, they have made it into every BEER & LCBO store in Ontario and have a social media following of 14K people, with terrific engagement.

I won’t go so far as to categorize their beer as either strong or weak, but I will say they are strong on social media.  Well done FM.

Release the flying monkeys” ….




I hate, even loathe to use the word weak when describing Fenix Event Management Company, because there is nothing weak about their story.  Fenix is a corporate event planning company based out of Pickering Ontario.  fenixpic

Fenix, a play on the name of the mythical Phoenix bird that rises from the ashes, is a firey symbol of the tremendous determination and success of 3 key women; who literally found themselves suddenly out of a job at a previous event management company suddenly shutdown.

Within weeks they opened their own shop, managed to swing over most of the existing client relationships and projects from the previous firm; and created a company and, more importantly, and a place to call home for many out of work employees.

5 years later, as Fenix event management, they are thriving and providing amazing custom-tailored corporate incentive events and travel programs, around the world – for big automotive, big data firms, big pharmacy, and other industries.

And they are busy, maybe too busy to market or implement a Social Media strategy for their themselves.

They have relied on existing relationships and well-deserved referrals for their ongoing business so far.  Currently, they do not operate on TWITTER or LINKEDIN, have only 1 post on INSTAGRAM, and their FACEBOOK page is lacking in current posts.  Perhaps their lack of social media is by design, necessity, or even corporate choice.

But given the landscape of ever-changing politics around the world, what would seem like a looming global financial decline, and companies forever tightening their expenses to be more accountable to shareholders; one would think that eventually Fenix’s client base will need stoking or replenishing in the future.  In this writers’ opinion, social media is their perfect answer.

Starting is easy, Fenix has creative staff, people who are very tech savvy; and getting setup on the major social media platforms is a simple first step.  From there, they can begin posting content on a regular basis.  Their leadership teams’ experience and expertise lend itself perfectly for blogging – as a thought leader on “big corporate event management, large group travel, insider travel hacks, creating the right theme for your incentive program, what can go wrong will go wrong with big events and how to fix it” type articles.

Social media will showcase Fenix to the world, new clients, industry professionals, even competitors; but I also believe their story should be told in traditional publications – entrepreneurial magazines, local papers, news articles, etc. as encouragement to others with the unsung Canadian success story that THEY really are – as corporate survivors, as women entrepreneurs, as a local business story, corporate incentive travel & tourism specialists, and so much more.

Whether it is fresh and whimsical; or full on business and corporate style, Fenix’s feathers, brand and evolution will one day make a fabulous social media story.

So, as asked by my school assignment, I will point out that beloved pretty girl in the corner and say that Fenix may be WEAK on social media but nobody can call her weak on anything else, and one day this Fenix will rise!








So, there you have it, I said it, but whether STRONG or WEAK, they both fly!


aleksey-boev-675376-unsplashby Tracy Hogg



Pictures from UNSPLASH, Google & Instagram
Tracy Hogg
December 11, 2018


COM0015 – Assignment 1 – Blog #1 – Tools & Sources

To do your clients or yourself the greatest service in the ever-changing social media arena; you need to be an effective online listener and have great sources of current info and content.  With millions of daily tweets, posts, webinars, and blogs; it can be a very intimidating task.

So how can you possibly listen in on so many digital conversations?


One way to keep current on what is happening in your arena is to use monitoring tools and setup alerts or custom feeds to your blog site, email, etc.

These magical algorithmic media monitoring tools are able to do the filtering required and present the info in a custom feed tailored just for you.

My preferences are still the original work horses of the digital world, GOOGLE ALERTS, and RSS feeds (can be done through your blog site like WORDPRESS).  I have established alerts and news feeds for my businesses and find their delivery of information to be accurate and relevant, providing you have sorted and organized by Keywords, topics, etc.

Why did I choose to stick with two of the biggies, easy, broadness of interests and research.  Some of the smaller website or search engines are trendy (and some even come and go) or have a very specific industry focus (Gizmodo etc).  Google alerts and RSS feeds can do searches on anything and everything, will focus on whatever I tell it to, and are easy to use.

Currently, I am acting as the social media manager for two businesses – the first is a SAAS website platform for competitive performance sports like Cheer, Dance, Pageant and Skate; the 2nd  project is for a broad, worldwide audience of parents for my book about raising a son with autism.

When working across cultures, countries, languages, different age groups, with multiple topics or demographic issues; the big engines have the greatest content and are the best, in my opinion, at finding and disseminating information.   I have tried some of the other sites, from Mashable to Delicious etc., they either didn’t know or understand what I was looking for, weren’t as easy to use for this old gal, or didn’t deliver the content I truly need for my business.

So, for this digital dinosaur, in an age where information is power, I think I will stick with the T-REXs of monitoring and listening tools.



Tracy Hogg. November 6, 2018

COM0015 – Assignment #1, Blog Post #1

Photos from, you guessed it, GOOGLE!
Definitions from Wikipedia



COM0014 – Assignment 1 – Blog#7 Personal Reflection

As I wrap up another successful course in creating social media magic, I have thought long and hard about what is truly important in storytelling.  As a business owner I have so much to convey and have so much competition out there in the digital media stream.  joshua-sortino-215039-unsplash_resized

As a consumer, I am barraged with posts, ads, stories, videos, boomerangs, etc. and more 10 second stuff than I can ever hope to consume or absorb.  Consumers must pick and choose where to spend their time.

My greatest takeaways from this course were speed and writing stories well.  If you can’t write well, entertain or capture your audience with a genuine story or perspective; and then do it all in less than 10 seconds (some say 8), people will just scroll past you to the next story.

nong-vang-471256-unsplash_resizedHow do your capture your audience; with great storytelling on topics that you truly passionate about – because if you don’t care, they won’t care.

So, you need to make a difference, be unique, find that lightening in a bottle topic that you are totally crazy about and tell the story really well.

Going forward I have so much to write about and can create content from so many inspiration points just within my own life/career – from being an entrepreneur, fighting cancer like a boss, overcoming autism, being an older worker in a young arena; and always, always living with passion and humor.

Can’t talk now, so much to write about……aaron-burden-123584-unsplash_resized_1



Photos courtesy of UNSPLASH

COM0014 – Assignment #1 – Blog #6 – Do People Know Your Story?

As I put the proverbial pen to paper today, I was asked to answer “What do you think is your greatest achievement” for a school assignment.


I confess I struggled with this,  it is easy to pick high level stuff of course – mountains climbed, trophies earned, benchmarks reached, # of followers, or books sold; but that is not the real story here.  In all honesty, the real story isn’t even MY greatest achievement, it is mine & my son’s.

autismIn March 2007, at the age of 4, my son was literally “written off” by the chief autism specialist of a most respected Autism Treatment Center (I will be nice and not name names).  I was told in no uncertain terms that he would never talk, never make eye contact, never attend regular school, and never get out of diapers.   She finished by handing me a form for a Government grant for diapers and proceeded to usher us out of her office.

I suppose other people might go home and cry over the bleak future just painted for a  sweet boy.  I went home and got mad, really mad.  Mad and completely hell bent on proving that *beatch* wrong, and I cursed her & the cereal box she clearly got her medical license from.  So that is where OUR story started, from pure unadulterated rage!

Rage fueled years of research, which became a way of life for me.   I found private speech therapists, occupational therapists, social skills training programs, hand writing courses, drama classes for expression, gymnastics for balance, and started studying nutrition online.   For years we attended doctors’ offices, and a gazillion therapies; in all more appointments than I could ever count.   He worked hard, and I worked hard.

I also discovered a Naturopathic Doctor with an autism focus, I worked with her for another 2 years.   We did everything – biomedical testing, food tracking, and a huge amount of vitamin therapies.  You name it and we tried it.   Working with her I documented his entire life, and while I didn’t know it at the time, I began writing a book.


Within 6 months of  beginning my efforts and “getting mad”, my son was looking at me when I called him.  Twelve months later, he was talking in short sentences and attempting to sing along with me to the car radio.  A few years more and he was hanging out with friends climbing trees in the forest, doing well in school, and eventually he could even identify the occasional day when his “brain felt crazy”.

Where is he now?

My son, who was written off by the best of the best; is now in a regular high school, with a regular curriculum, maintaining a B average (sadly without much effort…groan), he boasts 5 good friends and not only talks; he now hosts and narrates his own YouTube channel videos.

So in answering my assignment today, my greatest achievement wasn’t writing and publishing a book, creating a Facebook group  to share our story and support 17,850 other autism parent followers; all reasons to be proud for sure.  But my life’s greatest achievement was what my son and I accomplished, together.

Now 15 years old and towering over me at 6 ft 2; I get to hear daily samples of  our greatest achievement – that voice they said he would never have –  the dry wit, the bottomless sarcasm, the reasons he didn’t clean up his room today, excuses why homework isn’t done, the endless swearing, and no matter how rude a typical teenager he has become;  I couldn’t be more proud each and everyday!


Photos courtesy of UNSPLASH, TJHOGG


COM0014 – Assignment #1 – Blog #5 -Personal Brand, by Tracy Hogg

Personal branding is an ever-evolving target, as life changes us as human beings, so does our personal brand.   Mine has changed quite a lot over the years.  aleksey-boev-675376-unsplash

My brand today is not what it might have been 15 years ago, but I am a stronger person now.  Today I am fearless, funny, appreciative and motivated; life has taught me that.  In one word, my colleagues and family call me the “Tank” and I am unstoppable.

In the last 2 years, I have published a book about raising a son with autism and developed a following of 17,000+ parents; and at the same time, I developed and successfully launched a SAAS (software as a service) website for competitive performance athletes.

I am proud to say I completed both projects while undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer myself.

I try everyday to stand out and motivate others in my many social media channels, whether it be autism parents going through tough times, performance athletes trying to reach the podium, or other cancer patients just beginning their treatment; many times it was silently with an IV in my own arm.

My message is clear – never give up, never surrender, always strive to do better than you did yesterday, laugh at yourself, and above all else; there are no dreams or obstacles too big.

One of my business partners says she lives for my “lack of filter”.   Cancer and resilience give you that freedom, to say what others won’t.  Sometimes that lack of filter and brutal honesty, served with a side of humor, is just what people need.

Tank for Hire!!


Like a tank, I am proud of my “keep rolling” attitude, I will continue to steam roll over any obstacles in life, I live to conquer the next hill; and once there, you will find me laughing all the way down the other side.

I am ready for my next challenge.


Tank for Hire…..


Photos courtesy of UNSPLASH
Tracy Hogg
October 24, 2018

COM0014 – Assignment #1 -Blog #4 – B2C Case Study

Please just make me laugh.

Making people laugh is important.  Being able to laugh at yourself is equally important.

And if you are going to go out for an evening and likely lose some money at a casino, being able to laugh about it is REALLY important.  fallsviewcasino

One of my favorite set of TV commercials is from the Fallsview Casino.  I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t laugh at their TV spots.

They are always humorous pieces about “remember the time you DIDN’T go to Fallsview”?    The most recent one is about a bunch of guys who get invited to a crazy cat lady birthday party for her FELINE, instead of going to FALLSVIEW with friends where they were invited.  FALLSVIEW COMMERICAL 2018

There have been a whole series of commercials over the last few years, they are brilliant and hilarious.  But where FALLSVIEW fails is their regular social media.  Brilliant TV commercials don’t always translate into brilliant posts online I get it, but they have literally NO sense of humor online.

Fallsview on TWITTER has done 6637 tweets at the time of my review and enjoy 5840 followers.  Their average engagement per tweet is less than 10 people.  Their INSTAGRAM is only marginally better, 3067 people with 542 posts, they rarely crest 200 likes on a post, with the average around 75.   fallsview

In my opinion, they need to find their sense of fun/humor online.

If I wanted to know about their restaurants or what is being served for dinner tonight, quite frankly I would look it up on their website.

Their commercials are amazing, but their online media teams need to look at how to scale those down and use similar concepts funny campaigns online, more videos, boomerang, etc. but my preference would be to use the same tone and please, just make me laugh.


Photos courtesy of Twitter, Google
Tracy Hogg,
October 10, 2018

COM0014 – Assignment #1 – Blog #3 – Target Audiences.

Finding your target audience may feel like looking for the “GOLDEN TICKET” from Willy Wonka, but it doesn’t have to, just be prepared to drill down, hard.

Effectively mastering research on your “ideal client” can be done using GOOGLE, FACEBOOK groups, or general market/product research.  Realistically, if you are knowledgeable about your product or business, you should have a good idea about who your ultimate customer is.  Or so I thought.

A recent example for me was my website platform, MYBUSYLIFE.COM., a software website designed to keep every detail surrounding a competitive dance season/year or competitive skaters’ life all in one place, from costumes to practices to competition dates and travel info, all at the touch of a button.  My ideal client was a busy dance mom.

By drilling down the actual gender, age group for children, region, sport interests, using keywords like dance moms, tap, dance studio, etc., we were able to achieve a 4% response rate on Facebook Ads (the average I am told is .5% to high-end of 2% for most ads).  A great result.



My second effort at customer profiling my average book customer was a different experience.

I did tons of research on autism parents, ex., googling top 10 countries with the highest reported autism rates, countries with best autism treatment programs, looked for autism support groups online, Facebook communities etc.  I marketed using the right age splits, most popular keywords, etc. and targeted those top 10 countries and groups.

I was successful in garnering 18,000 people to follow my book on Facebook.  But those 18,000 people did not download my book.  Why, I didn’t factor in the household income and disposable cash factor (not much as it turns out), English is only their 2nd or 3rd language, some of these countries have societal stigmas still attached to Autism or any disability, etc.  And there are huge differences in how to communicate with these other countries and I didn’t alter or translate my ADs.

They do follow my Facebook page online to get as much free information as they can to benefit their child.  A nice community result from a social media perspective (even if they are a quiet bunch), but a financial failure from an e-commerce AD perspective.

So, be sure when you are doing market and audience research for your ideal customer profile, that you are clear who will be a chief user or actual consumer, not just someone who is interested in the topic or item.  Look into household income levels, buying patterns, subscription to similar services, language, access to technology, what problem are you solving for them, what is the price point that customer is willing to bear etc.; it is all very important if your business is to make money and be a good fit for your client.

The right audience is out there, you just need to make sure you have the right data to drill down far enough to identify who that is.  Cue the Willy Wonka song……” I’ve got a golden ticket”.

What does your ultimate client look like? GoldenTicket_0004_10






September 26, 2018

Photos – TJHOGG, Google



COM0014 – Assignment # 1 – Blog #2 -Storytelling.

Want to be a great digital storyteller,  learn to keep it short. age-barros-425551-unsplash_resized

I confess I come from a house with many words.  I am forever repeating to my teenage daughter “10 words or less please” when she gets verbal diarrhea about her day at school.  It’s lovely that she still talks to me, but exhausting to listen to, and eventually I start writing my grocery list in my head while she drones on.  I know I need lessons in better listening, but when she learns to sum up, I will learn to listen longer.  As for me, my background as an author constantly works against me to keep it short, when I want nothing more than to fill up a page with great words that ooze images to my readers.

In the digital arena however, where you fight other media gladiators for the attention of your audience, you probably only have 10 seconds, or less, before you lose their attention and they scroll past you to your competitors.    In fact, Timothy Egan of the NY Times will tell you it is more like only 8 seconds.

So, in digital, you need to keep it short.  I like this article on how to keep your writing SHORT.  The whole social media universe seems to be designed to keep you from running on.  Most platforms have a limit as to the number of characters or words.  Many apps and platforms limit the size of videos or files you can share etc.

I use the best tools I can.   Top 10 rules for better, shorter writing.  Tools to help save space on your posts likes BITLY, or other URL shorteners.  There are lots of good reminders out there on how to tighten up my wording; short & sweet is the ticket.

The most effective tool for me when drafting new work now, I simply start counting in my head…. 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….and if I haven’t got my message across in that time, well, you get it.


Tracy Hogg


Photo – courtesy of UNSPLASH