COM 0015 BLOG POST 2: Strong and Weak Organizations

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Two organizations  which I have discovered that have really impressive social media campaigns are Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.  Both of these organizations are very active on twitter, You Tube, Facebook and provide lots of information regarding their campaigns on their landing campaigns.

The Canadian Red Cross is particularly effective in terms of tweeting out pictures of their latest aide campaign which over the Christmas holiday was helping those in need affected by the ice storm.

image In addition to these images appearing on their tweets, they also appeared on their daily  blogs and video versions were posted to youtube with duplications and links on  their Facebook page as well at to their main page at: www. redcross.ca.

Oxfam Canada has a very similar strategy in their approach to social media.   Their main page consists of an overall look at the goals of their operation as well as links to their various social media platforms including likes for Facebook and the opportunity to follow this organization on Facebook.  Their blogs and links are all interconnected including a number of video postings to youtube as well as assessments with news links that can be found on LinkedIn.  The landing page for Oxfam, like that of the Red Cross, is very easy to find: http://www.oxfam.ca.

Given how difficult it is for aide organizations to stay front and centre and receive donations while providing information, their social media campaigns are a critical component of fundraising and communicating during disasters.  The first big example of this was during the appeal for donations to help immediately after the earthquake in Haiti.  Many larger aide organizations, ie. the Red Cross,  were set up to allow twitter and facebook followers to donate money directly to their sites.  And many news organizations were following these agency twitter accounts to get updates on their developments on the ground.  It seems organizations such at the Red Cross and Oxfam discovered early on the importance of a strong social media campaign, and they are continuing to engage and connect to audience members in as many platforms that seem to have a good cross section of viewers that will participate in their activity or at least share with others what these organizations are posting.

By comparison, a relatively large organization that has much more work to do in terms of its social media strategy campaign is the Conservative Party of Canada.  Although the federal party has about 27,000 followers on Facebook, very little daily activity exists in terms of updating its followers to what is happening on a federal level on a consistent basis.  Here the party should be adding speeches and statements the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers are making in terms of funding announcements or policy statements which the party in turn could use to show how their party in power is working to improve lives of Canadians.  (Of course this may be viewed as propaganda but to the party loyal, this will help ensure party loyalty).  As well there is very little activity for the party on YouTube.  A search on You Tube for the Conservative Party of Canada consists mostly of attacks and again very little that is tied to the party in power or MP’s announcements.  There are very few tweets and not a lot that seems to engage a younger audience which is what the party should be trying to engage well before the next federal election.  (U.S. President Obama won the social media campaign for his last two presidential elections and he proved that if you can engage a younger audience through social media, you can build a strong base that can be a very difficult movement to contain or stop).  I think think the Conservative Party should use its numbers on Facebook and engage its audience with questions or encourage them to check out other platforms (ie YouTube and Facebook), to cross promote itself as well as containing ‘it’s spin”, particurlarly as we get closer to a federal election.  If the party does not do this, and other federal parties step into this arena and take the lead, the price of not enough engagement for the conservatives, may be seen on Election Day.

COMOO14 BLOG #4 Case Study

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     The business to consumer case study that I have chosen for this exercise is the Canadian Red Cross.  I have been following this non-governmental organization for the past few weeks for personal reasons and I have been very impressed with their use of social media and how they use various applications to engage their audience.

     Earlier this week the Canadian Red Cross put out a teaser on Facebook around 9:00am for their followers which read: “Fascinating look at the role of technology in delivering humanitarian aid and move on the digital divide.”  Below this post was a link to a you tube video.  A short time later a similar tweet with the same description and it also included a link to the same you tube video.  After a quick search I discovered the Canadian Red Cross, (CRC) maintain a blog on word press which also included a short explanation of the you tube video along with a question for readers which could be answered by going to the International Committee of the Red Cross (commonly referred to as the ICRC), website.  And as one might expect, all of this information could be found on the landing page of the Canadian Red Cross’ own website.

     A couple of weeks ago the CRC was promoting interviews with a delegate who has just returned from the middle east following a short study or the Syrian refugee crisis.  The delegate’s story and his report was featured in the Ottawa Citizen with a mention of a noon time web chat.   That same web chat was also promoted on both twitter and Facebook.  The teaser included questions that audience participants would like to see addressed in the web chat.  This was a very effective tool in getting readers to engage, provide input to an upcoming event and for the CRC to show its audience that it was listening and implementing their suggestions.

     The CRC uses various tools within social media very effectively and they have proven that their communicators know how to use these tools effectively.  I will continue to monitor the CRC for both personal reasons and to see how their social media strategy adapts to the changing communications environment.