COM0015 – Blog #4 Out of the Box: Watch it –Your Vacation Plans could be Hijacked!

Calg 031

So, now we have companies stalking our vacation plans to lure us away from their competitors. Wow! This is very clever.

What a creative way for Banff/Lake Louise Tourism to increase winter skiers and snowboarders to the Banff region. Can you imagine being offered a free weekend in Banff to ski or snowboard? All you have to do is change your vacation plans? Some lucky skiers/boarders (targeted of course) will be flown to Calgary, provided accommodation at the Fairmont Banff Springs, and treated to a free weekend of skiing and/or snowboarding in the Banff area ( I think I would give up my planned vacation if I was offered a free ski weekend in Banff. Wouldn’t you? I wander how the other ski hills in the west like Banff/Lake Louise’s new marketing strategy.

I am fascinated by the way companies are using social media to maintain and attract new customers. They are becoming more creative each day. I thought West Jet’s video was impressive during the holidays (, but, this #skijack video is amazing.

It will be interesting to see how the competitor ski resorts react to this social media marketing campaign.

Just be forewarned – they are definitely tracking you. The creative director at Village & Co. states: “Through Instagram we can see where they live, and through plain old social media stalking we can find out who they are dating, their best friends, films they’ve been to, if they’ve been to Banff before, whether they are boarders or heli skiers.”

Budget Cuts Forced Me to Try Online Networking (Blog post #3)


Budget 2012 forced me to try a different method of developing my professional network. I was reluctant to use social media as I was skeptical about the benefits. The idea of “showcasing” myself on the world wide web was outside my comfort zone. However, after receiving my “affected letter” from my employer I knew I had to find out more about this emerging field. LinkedIn is now one of my favourite social media tools and part of my strategy for developing and expanding my professional network.

LinkedIn provides a great network of professionals and it’s free. I was surprised how quickly I connected with people from past employers. Not only did I connect with many professionals, I was also provided with additional names to contact regarding job opportunities. My network increased significantly in a short period of time.

My plan for the next year is to become more active in group discussions on LinkedIn. Part of that plan includes doing some research and determining which groups would be beneficial for me to join where I can participate. One of my biggest challenges using LinkedIn is finding the right groups to join. This will be my focus over the next 6 months.

I also plan to engage more online at work (when I return from my 1 year educational leave). We have numerous internal social media sites at work where you can join groups and network with colleagues. I think this will be very beneficial to me in expanding my professional network at work.

My in person networking includes attending presentations and networking events sponsored by both the Canadian Public Relations Society and the International Association of Business Communicators. I’ve been to a few events and have met some new people. My goal over the next year is to attend a number of these events. I prefer the in person networking as I find you can really make a connection to people.

What is your preferred way of networking?

Photo Credit: Wordle

Blog Post 2 – Strong & Weak Organizations: WestJet & Nike – Impressive Social Media



WestJet has an impressive social media strategy. I have used the airline previously but I was captivated by their Christmas marketing video. WestJet uses the main social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and YouTube ( But, their use of video sets them apart from other companies.

In this video customers were asked what they wanted for Christmas by a virtual Santa at the airport ( Then, when the passengers arrived at their destination and went to pick up their luggage, presents addressed to them arrived on the carousel. It was an emotional video which made you feel good. WestJet did something different. They approached their sponsors to participate in this social media strategy to help with the costs. They also enlisted the support of Whoopi Goldberg to assist in marketing the video ( The video had over 6 million views, over 24,000 Twitter shares and over 215,000 Facebook shares.

Another organization that has a great social media strategy is Nike. What sets Nike apart from others is their expertise in telling stories. Nike’s video “Find Your Greatness” really engaged their listeners ( Their campaign featured everyday athletes from around the world. It had a personalized touch that made people feel they too could be great and that people did not have to be an Olympian to find their “greatness”. The ad had a very high emotional appeal.

Nike used a new #findgreatness hashtag on twitter which was very successful. One particular video about a 12 year old boy who was overweight and jogging went viral in America. One follower said “I just jogged till I couldn’t anymore. #nike#findyourgreatness jogger commercial really inspired me” ( “While advertising and cultivating an image are still important, it’s interaction that creates loyal customers” ( The campaign ignited conversation with everyone, everywhere (
Nike did a great job of telling “the story” with “Find Your Greatness” campaign and in getting their listeners to respond.

Some small not-for-profit associations in the Ottawa area could benefit from a social media strategy. For example, Carlington Community Health Centre. They have no visible social media platforms, just a website: Social media can be a great tool for not-for-profit associations. It is free and they can use it to engage with people who are passionate about their cause.
I think this community health centre could be promoting their services and expand upon their health promotion strategies through social media, which are part of their mission. As well, they could be using social media to engage with supporters and increase their donations. Other community health centres are using social media (e.g. Pincrest Queensway Community Health Centre

As a first step Carlington Community Health Centre would need to listen on various social media channels and determine their target audience. They could start by doing some research, listen, and determine what other community health associations are doing in social media. Then, a social media strategy would need to be developed for the organization. A Facebook page and Twitter account could be developed and implemented. As well, a blog page for the organization could be developed at a later date. Content for the blog site could be about health promotion. By using some new social media tools they could reach a larger audience and generate more funding for the organization.

COM0015 Assignment #5: Event Participation: “PD Event: The strategy behind measuring and changing opinions”


“PD Event: The strategy behind measuring and changing opinions” ( The topic sounded interesting, so I decided to attend this professional development event hosted by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

The session started with a networking opportunity over breakfast. I met a diverse group of people who work in/for: communication and public relations, Member of Parliament, NGO, and the government. It was great talking with them and finding out some of the priorities within their organizations. Many indicated that the number one request from clients is help with social media. Everything from developing company Facebook pages to using Twitter. Companies need help in learning more about social media and how to use it effectively within their organization.

Stephen Carter, National Director of Campaign Strategy, Hill & Knowlton Canada gave an informative presentation.


What I Learned
National campaigns are not the best way of doing things. National campaigns, “has worked against companies looking to blanket everybody with the same message and who respond to critics with a tin ear,” said Carter.

If you are doing a campaign you need:

• Big data
• Simplified messaging
• Multi-faceted campaigns
• Target small groups
• Test and refine

It’s important to collect the data first. Analyze the data and then act. The data collection is important. You not only need to determine the attitudes of people, but you need to know the size of role it plays in motivating an action. Find out what matters to people (e.g. their values).

Micro-message first and test your campaign to a small group. Then, after some refinement (if needed) move to a bigger audience. For example, you test a campaign in a community first before moving to a whole city. Based on the outcome from the campaign you might need to tweak the message. Change a few words and then test the campaign again. You need to give the right message to the right people. Changing a word or two can alter the outcome – i.e. the reaction of the target audience in response to your message.

Incremental engagement is best. In other words “whisper” – e.g. build a relationship first with your audience. Start small and build big.

Carter also talked about the use of heat mapping to determine the message. Heat mapping is “online visualization tools that can help you see which areas of your site are “hot” or which areas are “cold” (

I was impressed by the presentation and the opportunity to network with other professionals at the event. I’ll be back for another event with the IABC.

COM0015 – Blog #1: LinkedIn & TweetDeck work for me

There are so many social media trend listening and monitoring tools out there and all used for different purposes. Two of my favorites (for professional purposes) are LinkedIn and TweetDeck.

LinkedIn provides a great network of professionals and it’s free. I was surprised how quickly I connected with people from past employers. Not only did I connect with many professionals, I was also provided with additional names to contact regarding job opportunities. My network increased significantly in a short period of time. 70% of jobs are found through networking ( and many professionals are listing their profiles on LinkedIn.

I like the group discussions that are offered on LinkedIn. You can increase your profile and obtain new opportunities by participating in group discussions.

Businesses are increasingly using LinkedIn to search for prospective new talent ( Some of my former colleagues advised that they found new jobs through LinkedIn. Imagine posting your profile on LinkedIn and being sought after by a company.

LinkedIn can also be used to conduct job searches and find out information about companies. You can follow companies and check out profiles of people that work at the organization. Many companies are now posting jobs directly on LinkedIn. The traditional networking approaches are still valid i.e. personal telephone calls and face-to-face informational meetings. However, LinkedIn can be a great additional source of news and updates on companies and professionals.

TweetDeck is another one of my favourites – and it’s free too. At first it took awhile to figure it out and get it organized, but now I like it. It’s a great dashboard for monitoring the folks and organizations I follow on Twitter. It saves me time and keeps me updated on current issues and news.

I know there are comparisons between TweetDeck and HootSuite with HootSuite being the winner. But, for now I’m not prepared to pay a fee to use HootSuite for personal use.

What are your favourite social media tools?