Out of the Box


Oh my….my last blog of the Social Media course at Algonquin College! I began my journey on Sept 4th, 2019 and will be finished TODAY!!!!! Can you tell I’m a little bit excited?

Social media has never been a high priority for me. Other than looking on Facebook to see what my friends are up to, I really did not use social media for any real purpose. Until that one dreaded day….when the boss said,

“Nikki….as of Monday, you are going to start looking after our website and our social media account!”…….The Boss

I had absolutely no idea what was being put on my plate! But, I have never shied away from a challenge before, so I decided it would be in my, and the business’s, best interest to have me take the Social Media course.


Over the duration of the course I have learned so much! I am very sure that upon completion of the course I will have the ability to create and maintain social media content for the business. I have learned that we definitely need to invest in a social media monitoring dashboard. We have chosen Hootsuite. Who else uses Hootsuite?

Over all, I would definitely recommend the Social Media course at Algonquin College to anyone who needs assistance in learning how to market their business on social media properly and effectively.

Thank you!!!


Unexpected applications of social media

Spending the time focusing on social media through this and the other courses for the Social Media Certificate has certainly broadened my mind on how and where social media can be used.

The most surprising element to me is how broadly social media can be used for business. It can be used by the biggest enterprise or the smallest mom and pop shop. It can be used by non-profits, schools, businesses, basically any organization of any size at any time, anywhere in the world.

The other interesting aspect of it is that you don’t have to be a huge successful conglomeration to have a successful social media program. It is true that the smaller businesses may not have teams of people dedicated to their social media, but that doesn’t prevent those smaller businesses from developing an appropriate plan that targets their specific audience and builds content and metrics to support that audience.

I am curious to see how and where social media will continue to evolve. I do hope that it continues to maintain its nature of being a platform for all. Although, who knows, maybe there is a new platform for all right around the corner!

Networking Now & in the Future


So how will I go about developing my professional network online and in person.

In person is easy peasy! I love to talk, I love to learn, I love to ask questions and basically that is what networking is. I hope to expand the amount of people that I am able to interact with by attending more monthly meetings held by our little town for fellow business owners. Not only will I be able to network with other small business owners, but I will be able to network with small business owners in the same scope of work as us.


Online may prove to be a little harder for me to network with people. I find that sitting behind a screen to be very impersonable and I have a hard time connecting to people, as it is not the same as in person.


My commitments for the next 6-12 months to continue the development of my networks are:

1- To continue to interact with more business owners in our town and to ask more relevant business questions and save the personal questions for when we are not in a business setting.

2- To continue to involve myself and our business in all community events. Having our business name seen at all these events helps with brand recognition, but also to network with as many people there as possible.

3- To continue to interact with as many people as possible on our social media platforms.

4- To continue to take classes and courses about social media and network with other students and educators there.


Meeting new people is something I enjoy doing. I will continue to try and meet new people daily in person and online.

Who wants to chat??

COM0015 – BLOG #4 – One more piece of the puzzle

As a photographer (working for federal government) I also have my side business and I understand what’s involved in the challenge of managing your own enterprise.

When I started this Social Media Course about a year and a half ago, I felt that Social Media and Photography would be a great complement to each other. I also knew that I wanted to eventually work on a plan for the Martial Art School I am attending. It is a small local business with an owner who comes from Venezuela and since I joined only a couple months following the opening, I get to witness the progress of his academy as one of the first adults in the group. I regularly have discussions with the owner about his school and processes, whether it concerns physical renovations or social medias posts and recruiting, etc.

Creating a social media plan and especially the SWOT analysis for a business that is outside my field (photography) and comparing its performance to other schools in the area was something that allowed me to analyze somehow outside my comfort zone.

I realized that I was really enjoying having an input into his growing business. Integrating Networking + Social Media + Business/marketing turned out to be very interesting. It felt as if everything was falling into place. Just the way I felt Social Media and Photography would complement each other. I think that, moving forward, I will be seeking some courses in marketing, as this is probably the missing piece of the puzzle.

Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 21.55.04 PM

Screenshot of ebomartialarts.com

Assignment #5 – Professional Networking

On November 13th, I attended a networking event hosted by Canada Post on the topic of Data Visualization. It sounded like an interesting topic and there wasn’t much information shared in advance of the event so I signed up to attend. As I said, it sounded like an interesting topic, since I wasn’t quite sure what they meant by data visualization and thought it could be applicable to a number of different areas – social media, internal use, etc.


Data Visualization as a topic was much simpler than I thought – it was essentially the idea that presenting data in a visual format is better than presenting it as numbers. Which, duh. Surprisingly, that was the essence of the presentation – I would have hoped for more items on different ways to showcase information, but that was pretty much it.

The presentation itself also had its share of hiccups. The primary presenter was based in the UK, but they were unable to connect with him via video conference so he was audio only. There were also technical challenges in the room which meant that those in the room couldn’t speak or interact with him – only those on the phone were able to – so as someone who was in the room, it was not a great experience.

Those in the room were a cross-section of Canada Post head office employees, with a number of reporting teams, communications professionals and more. I didn’t have a chance to chat with too many of them, apart from sharing looks about the relative ineffectiveness of the presentation.

Honestly, what I learned from the interaction was what not to do – don’t have someone present remotely without video and triple check and then triple check again all the audio requirements. It’s a difficult experience as an attendee when you don’t feel connected to the presenter at all.


The one quotable quote that I took from the event was, “Presenting data visually allows for the viewer to quickly understand at a glance the point you are trying to make, without having to use unnecessary words or time to explain it.”

As for whether I will attend future presentations, I likely will, but from my desk and through the phone!

COM0015 – Blog #4: Out of the Box

Companies withdrawing from social media, video pitching and ephemeral stories are three aspects of marketing and social media that surprised me.

  1. Withdrawing

pixabay connection-lost-3498366_960_720

Image: Pixabay Free Stock

For all the access that social media and online marketing provides, they also expose to backlashes that can be even greater.

So I feel there is a growing awareness of “reserve” that is surprising to me given the potential that social media offers at an affordable cost.

On that front, Apple is a particularly telling example of a deliberate “shyness” on social media, which does not seem to weigh on the depth and breadth of the brand, judging by the lineups of people waiting for the next iPhone version for hours at a time to be the first ones to own it.

Going to the extreme, some brands like Lush simply gave up on social media.

  1. Video Pitching

Video is really touching every aspect of social media.

But where it surprises me the most is in media relations, with some PR specialist recommending pitching journalists by video.

As a former reporter, I have been pitched by a large variety of organizations. But never by video. I don’t think it is a convenient way because it requires the reporter to either open an app or go to YouTube or a website, not knowing whether there is a possibility of a security breach.

A basic email, on the other hand, creates less resistance in my view: it is convenient and doesn’t require to open anything but the email without clicking on a link.

  1. Stories

pixabay ephemeral

Image: Pixabay Free Stock

Finally, while social media content already tends to be short-term oriented in my view, the rise of ephemeral  “stories” only accessible for 24 hours on Instagram or Facebook is very surprising to me.

It particularly surprises me coming from the younger generations since I thought the self-centered aspect of teens would drive them to want to be seen forever. Yet they like the “temporary” aspect of stories.

And experts seem to predict it will continue to develop, with marketers embracing stories ads.

What surprises you the most in social media and digital marketing?

Video saved the Marketing Star

From Facebook to IGTV. 

From Podcasts to AI.

From the days of sitting on the kitchen floor with a curly cord holding the phone to our ears, so much has changed in the way we communicate.

The evolution of on-line marketing and social media has been so swift, that many of the reference articles throughout this college certificate have been out of date. Like my iPhone, it seems that platforms and algorithms are constantly being updated. Don’t get too comfortable with how your favourite one woks, cuz it will change sooner rather than later. 

There are so many unexpected applications that have come up throughout the course, and in my own experiences, but the one that I didn’t expect to be so important was live streaming/video. 

Certainly not a new concept in itself, video has become the biggest shift in social media marketing. Although YouTube has been the cornerstone of that market for years, influencers and top social media accounts have seen massive growth with the implementation of Facebook Live, and IGTV. Even LinkedIn is getting into the live video.

“Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now, and the one most likely to get people talking,” said Pete Davies, the director of product management at LinkedIn.

Why do you think that is? Because it is working! Live video lets people connect with brands in a raw, authentic way that had never been done before. 

In addition, people who watch a brand video rather than reading a post are found to be more likely to retain the information and follow through.

In 2020 I will start to implement video into all my strategic planning. Late to the party is better than not showing up at all!


Video stat graphic sourced from Moshin, M oberlo.ca (March 23, 2019) 10 Video Marketing Statistics for 2019 [Infographic] https://www.oberlo.ca/blog/video-marketing-statistics

LinkedIN quote sourced from Lunden, I techcrunch.com (Feb 11, 2019) LinkedIn debuts LinkedIn Live, a new live video broadcast service https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/11/linkedin-debuts-linkedin-live-a-new-live-video-broadcast-service/

Telephone photo sourced from Walkter, Z, Do You Remember (2017) Only 70s Kids Remember These Forgotten Relics https://doyouremember.com/55753/70s-kids-remember-forgotten-relics

COM0015 Blog 3 – Just get out there.

Just get out there. Be present. Show up. Start with hello.

Regardless if I am on-line or in line, this is the strategy I am carrying into 2020. 

Professional networking, like any relationship, starts with building a conversation. No one ever gets involved in a committed relationship without first getting to know each other, and that is no different in business. 

To build my network, I want to keep in touch with those from my past, and build a path to those in my future, while paying particular attention to those in my present. Again, no different than everyday life. 

We make networking a complicated thing, like there is more at stake. And there is. We need to make a good impression. Showcase ourselves as both a professional, and an expert in our field, while being personal enough that people want to engage. Sounds hard, but if we take the time to make it a daily habit, on-line or in-person, it becomes a habit.  

My commitment is to get out more, meet new people and put myself out there, in person. Where I can’t hide behind the screen, and just type out what I want to say.

Leading Ladies Networking Event, Halifax. Photo by AJSmithPhoto

The beauty of hiding behind my Mac is I can be authentic and not worry if people are accepting what I say. It takes away the imposter syndrome. In person, we are more guarded with our comments so as to not see the expression on the face of someone who somehow disagrees, or disbelieves in what we say. 

I also want to be more present in my on-line communities. I have to remember that while having a strategic plan and posting for my clients is important, it should not be at the expense of my own platforms. I need to be seen, and heard, because even by networking on line, I can build relationships that may lead to opportunities.

Want to be part of my network? Let’s connect, stay in touch, and support each other going forward. You can find me on the interweb as AJSmithPhoto on LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter

COMM0015 – BLOG #3 – Make friends

At some point in my military career I was an official photographer for a VIP. During this time, I had the extreme opportunity to work and travel alongside some of the best news photographers in Canada and abroad.

Knowing that this assignment was only temporary, I was preparing the next phase in my career and I needed to work on a Plan B. I decided to register my business as a photographer and started to compare my workflow with what the other photographers were doing.


Prime minister Swearing In ceremony, November 2015 – Photo by Justin Tang

In order to gain access to their incredible knowledge, I had to extend my hand out, introduce myself, observe how they were working, ask questions and most of all, try my best to return the favor and I would even take some pictures of them while working some of the historic stories we had the pleasure of covering. Make friends. That was my strategy. And it worked.

Fortunately it was during the time that Facebook and Instagram were becoming popular so that helped me connect with them on the longer term. I have since continued to pick on their brain from time to time but the best of all is that I managed to follow their incredible work, daily.

Regardless of the network I am trying to create, online or in person, this is the strategy I would adopt in order to grow my own network:

  1. Be friendly,
  2. Ask questions,
  3. Try my best to give back,
  4. Stay in touch,

It has since become a habit to look around to see what my colleagues are doing and how I can connect them. I believe that once you have added this to your routine it just becomes second nature. I don’t believe much in competition; after all, we are never going to run out of light…

In the near future, I plan on growing my network by connecting with other colleagues within government to see how they manage Social Medias in their department. I will of course start with our own then go from there.

Would you know someone with a photography background that work in social media?

Professional Network – now and in the future

Developing a professional network has been something that I haven’t really dedicated a lot of time to, preferring to primarily use LinkedIn on a passive basis. I add colleagues from work and networking events, I update when I change jobs or achieve personal accreditation, but I do not use the platform to its full potential. That is one activity that I can definitely do more work on in the near future.

Additionally, I don’t use other social media as a way to develop my personal network as much as I could. I am typically a pretty passive social media user – preferring to “like” other posts and content but not developing my own. By developing a stronger online presence, I can do a better job of outlining a personal narrative that others might find compelling.

In person, it’s a bit more difficult as I live outside the city. But even within my work environment, I could do more social activities as there are a number of networking events hosted by the company I work for – I could even join some of those networking committees. I’m relatively new in my role, so once I develop a stronger understanding of my current responsibilities, I will be in a better position to volunteer my time to some of these initiatives.

I’m a bit of an introvert, in the real world and online, so the biggest thing I will have to do is push myself further!