COM0011- Social Media Campaigns That Struck Gold

Hey everyone!

My name is Desiree and I’m a Marketing Coordinator for a large property management company in Ottawa, Ontario. I’m also now apparently a blogger (but bear with me- I’m new to this).

I wanted to shed some light on a couple of genius social media campaigns that have caught my eye over the past few years and why I think they are important.

The Curious Case of IHOB. I’ll admit it. This campaign both irritated me and commanded some serious admiration. In case you missed it, the classic American breakfast franchise, IHOP, claimed to be rebranding and changing their name to IHOB. They asked the public to take a crack at guessing what the new and mysterious “B” stood for. From burgers to breakfast, the social media universe was alive. More than 30,000 users responded with their guesses and their burger sales quadrupled from the year previously.

One great prank – what does the “B” stand for?

Of course, in the end, it was all just a giant prank, but that certainly didn’t make the level of brand exposure they received any less real. Way to go, IHOP (or IHOB…whatever your name is). You got me. Well played.

Next up – your favourite childhood dunking cookie, Oreo. This is a prime example of staying on top of your toes and maximizing your social media exposure. Brands often use major events, such as the sporting events or holidays, and develop social media campaigns around them.

During Super Bowl XXLVII, there was a blackout that lasted close to 35 minutes. Within ten minutes of that blackout, Oreo’s social media team released a simplistic ad with the catchy and all-too-fitting for the moment tagline , “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark”. Simple, effective, modern, and time-sensitive. Proof that responding to social media trends in a quick manner is essential. Had they waited even another 20 minutes, the impressiveness of the ad would have been non-existent. Simply genius. Now where can I get my hands on some Oreos to dunk?

You can still dunk in the dark.

With all of the advancements in marketing and digital communication, it has never been more important to stay up-to-date on current communication trends. What social media campaigns/advertisements (good or bad) that have caught your eye? Leave your responses in the comments below!

The Influencer: A Whole New Ball Game

Content is fire, social media is gasoline

Okay, so you’ve wound up on this article because of an intriguing title, that to be honest, much of current generation have yet to fully grasp and understand how crucial it is to build an online platform for yourself, or especially your business. We’ve all been there; I have friends running and managing their own media pages on Instagram and Facebook, as well as running and managing client’s social media pages getting paid a solid amount. Even more so, I’m currently doing the same with my photography account and my personal account, taking advantage of a network-driven platform and leveraging it to my advantage.

So the question must be asked: What exactly is an “influencer”?

An influencer is essentially someone who is able to influence consumer purchase decisions by promoting x-product(s) through their considerably large social media platform.

Now, why on earth is being an influencer a game-changing lifestyle? In the business world, being an influencer has redesigned the marketing industry as more people and companies become heavily immersed into social media, all with the goal to reach more people around the world. Not only do you get products either free or largely discounted by these brands, but it increases your network and also increases your online net value, making you a very competitive individual to partner up with. Becoming an influencer has changed the entire marketing industry, as it became the most prominent form of digital marketing in all of 2018. According to Forbes, the infamous platform, Instagram, made up for 93% of all influencer campaigns in 2018 alone, above its parent company Facebook. In addition, Instagram alone beat YouTube as one of the top platforms for many popular online celebrities, such as KingBach, or Amanda Cerny. Isn’t it cool to work directly from your phone?

Who is an influencer?

I know for many that aren’t very involved with the new wave of social media platforms and the understanding of how to capitalize on the powerful tools platforms such as Instagram and Facebook offer, the idea of scaling one’s profile might sound very intimidating. However, the rise of micro influencing simply redefined how someone with even a few hundred to a few thousand followers can become an effective representative for any brand. I, myself, am currently representing a few of my own partnered brands (@aboveandbelowofficial, @serengetee, @halifornia.apparel, @livingstonebrand), and I have learned to effectively scale and grow my account, along with making amazing new connections from around the world. Not only do I get products both free and largely discounted in bundles, I’m able to get products before they’re even released to the public.

Aside from my own experience, influencers in general are huge assets for brands to collaborate with because they are able to boost conversion rates and increase sales. The most important factor in all of this lies upon selecting the proper talent to create a relationship with, since influencers allow brands to engage and interact with millions of niches and audiences at large scales. This is entirely different from previous methods of marketing, where companies used to pay online platforms to place an ad for their brand; whereas now, it is all about creating partnerships and infusing a brand image with an individual in a more natural way. According to Adweek, “brands don’t need to worry about ‘banner blindness’ or viewability because they are literally appending themselves to content from the creators themselves.”

The reason influencers generate sales effectively is that they are social celebrities with high engagement rates. Their photos and videos reach hundreds and thousands, or even millions of people. And even a small percentage increase in conversions can generate a large increase of sales

Shane Barker, Digital Marketing Consultant –

Is There Any Longevity to Being an Influencer?

Here’s the thing; building a brand for yourself is definitely not the easiest thing to do, and it definitely doesn’t happen over night. The toughest part for anyone in this new age of social media marketing is scaling and maintaining your following, and finding new ways to consistently increase your audience engagement. Not to make this whole new endeavour intimidating, but it is just the harsh reality of it, just like any piece of artwork; you have to be consistent and pick a niche. One thing that makes an individual a great influencer is their ability to create good content that is focused on a specific niche or target audience. What about the longevity of all this? Is there any future to this whole “influencer” thing? Actually, yes there is. In a world of business and a heavily intuitive social media platform with millions of people at your fingertips, millions of opportunities for you to grasp, it ultimately lies on your creativity with how you want to present your content.

“You’ve marketed yourself, and therefore your brand, to thousands of people already. And they like it.”

Brenna Spalding from Influencer News –

Every post you share and upload to your profile, every story and update you send out online, ultimately shapes your personal brand image. Depending on how you structure and design your profile to look like, that now becomes an aspect of who you are as a person. This becomes your personal brand image. It doesn’t necessarily mean it has to stay that way forever, but as the great Marshall McLuhan says, “we become what we behold… we shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us”.

A New Direction

As more and more companies immerse and expand their services onto these social media platforms, the idea of door-to-door marketing and news flyers slowly ceases to exist. Instead, networking on social media platform occurs through the DMs (direct messages). Just like anything in life, there will always be more than one side to the story. In this case, yes, there are an abundance of opportunities at your disposal, but the only thing you are limited to is how creative you can be with your content. The idea of a greater connected interpersonal lifestyle is what the future could be for the entire business and marketing industry. If this is the future of social media, could it possible affect our personal lives, possibly through audience exploitation? Would our lives be ran by statistics and numbers? If the influencer game becomes over saturated, would there be any sense of uniqueness or trust between brands and people, if they are all doing the exact same thing? What could the marketing industry look like for 2019, and beyond?


Under the Influence

Have Influencers Run Their Course?

With many influencers on social media displaying the same content as one another and having the same look and feel, I was wondering if influencers were still relevant in social media marketing.  There doesn’t seem to be much of a risk or expense for a business to engage an influencer; they are providing them with their product or service (and sometimes paying them) and in return, an influencer helps create brand awareness with their audience.


Photo Source: Pexels.

What is an Influencer and Who Are They?

Basically an influencer is an individual that has the power to persuade and ultimately affect purchasing decisions because of their authority, knowledge, and relationship with their audience.  They are actively engaged with their following and usually specialize in a particular niche, for example lifestyle, fashion, or food.


Photo Source: Pexels.

Types of Influencers

The majority of influencers fit into four categories:

  1. Bloggers/content creators—have a large reach in niche areas.
  2. Micro influencers—everyday users and regular posters that have a moderate following.  They find a niche market and become an expert.
  3. Industry experts/thought leaders—gain respect and followers because of their qualifications.
  4. Celebrities—the birth of the celebrity influencer was a result of paid endorsements/product placements.  The cost for a company is astronomical and would not feasible or attainable for smaller brands/companies.

Of the above mentioned categories, the focus has shifted from celebrities, to the bloggers and micro influencers.  Audiences can relate more to these groups and feel that their connection is more authentic as is their relatability.

Influencer Marketing

Google searches for 2017, saw the term “influencer marketing” increase by 325%.  I’ve noticed in my own job hunting an influx of social media marketing and social media & communications type positions as departments are increasing their budgets in this area.  Generally speaking, this is money is well spent. For each dollar spent on influencer marketing, marketers see an average of $7.65 in earned media value returned.

The biggest platform for influencer marketing is Instagram. Last year there was over 12 million brand sponsored influencer posts and experts estimate that number to double in 2018.  Those are some crazy numbers!


Photo Source: Pexels

Why Are They So Popular?

Everyone has their passions and influencers share theirs—they’re people who aren’t afraid to share their enthusiasm which enables them to influence audiences through the power of social media.  They are also authentic and this is probably one of the most important attributes to their success.

What also makes influencers so effective is that people can relate to them on a social level—they are every day people, just like you and me.  They use their personalities and shared interests with their audience, and because of this, people buy in through purchasing or sharing of their content.

Bursting the Bubble

There’s been a boom of influencers, and now the bust.  The technological landscape is changing and many influencers are feeling that their content is getting lost because of new algorithms.  Take Instagram for example, it now shows you what it thinks you will want to see based on past likes as well as images that have received a lot of likes instead of being sequential.  Not very “insta”, is it?  But these likes may or may not be authentic, they could be purchased or from fake accounts.

One of my favourite influencers, Erin Sousa (Sparkle Media), wrote a fantastic blog post all about Instagram and how it has been affected by the new algorithms.  Aside from being super creative, Erin is incredibly knowledgable and real, and believes in the power of community and brand.  She has always remained true to herself and is a fantastic example of authenticity.  (I messaged her for permission to mention and link her blog—she is delightful!)

Others are finding it hard to stand out in a sea of blogs that all look the same and are promoting the same things.  So when they try to change it up, and get sponsored by a new product or service, oftentimes their followers call them out on it because they are no longer being authentic.  Is the payoff worth losing followers over?

Who are some of your favourite influencers?  Comment below.



Facebook: Are You Under the Influence?  A look a social media marketing.

Twitter: Under the influence of influencers?


COM0015 – Blog #4: Out of the box and into the social media sphere

Everyone knows – well, hopefully everyone knows – that once you put something out there on social media, it’s out there forever. There’s no taking it back because a screenshot can live forever.

The person you portray on your various platforms is the person most of the world will see you as. Not just your posts, but your likes and dislikes, your music and movie preferences, your employer and alma mater. It’s all there to find.

And social media platforms and marketing experts have figured this out – and are taking


Newspaper ad buys are steadily decreasing as companies turn online and to social media.

advantage of it in a big way. I didn’t realize until recently just how targeted a marketer could be when building an advertising campaign on social media. But every bit of information you put online can be used to find you and try to sell you something.

A Facebook ad campaign, for example, can target people living in certain areas, with a specific job title, who like pages A and B, who like pages A and B but not C. The list goes on and on. Marketers can now reach the exact audience that they want for a very affordable cost. In the old days (less than a decade ago) they would have had to spend huge amounts of money on an ad buy and hope that the right people saw it amongst the masses.


Is this the new face of the polling industry?

But I’m also amazed at the other ways in which our social media information is being used. Polling firms that use artificial intelligence to scan social media platforms are far more accurate than traditional telephone polls. This new system can analyze a person’s feed and determine their opinions – some which they may never have the courage to tell a stranger on the other end of a call.

The information on social media says so much more about us than we even realize. It can tell a company what we’ll buy, or a pollster how we’ll vote. Organizations that figure this out sooner rather than later will produce more effective campaigns for much less money.

And maybe we’ll start to see Facebook ads for things we want to buy.

All photos courtesy of

COMM0015: Assignment 5: Professional Development: “Creating Better Brand Content… All Year Long” Webinar

In today’s day and age, it is critical to be consistently educating yourself on the latest trends in technology and marketing.

I attended a webinar December 13th called “Create Better Brand Content… All year Long” put on by Annemaria Nicholson of Cision and Kerry O’Shea Gorgone of MarketingProfs.

The webinar was approximately about one hour, discussing how to plan content better in 2017, including being aware of possible legal pitfalls when posting social media content.

For social media success, it’s critical to have a plan in place. Kerry O’Shea Gorgone highlighted some key components of a good plan. This includes:

  1. Committing to establishing a timeline for promoting on all social channels.
  2. Catalog proposed projects.
  3. Examine Data & determine the bandwidth. For example, key performance indicators may include past overall performance, landing page views, downloads.
  4. Execute your vision. Plan sequenced content across channels while factoring in other calendar considerations (i.e. holidays, personal days, etc.).

Gargone argues it’s critical to have original rich content which should link back to the original website.

While it’s good to plan out content, one thing I was very appreciative about this webinar, was addressing possible legal issues.


webinar photo 1.jpg

Photo Courtesy of Adam Johnston 


These issues include:

  1. Copyright, including posting pictures to a social media site. One example is photos in the Creative Commons. Although some photos maybe “ok” to use from the Creative Commons, the panelists argued that some of these photos may be stolen, and face copyright concerns. They recommend creating your images and video to prevent potential copyright concerns.
  2. Streaming Video: with the rise of live video platforms including Periscope and Facebook Live, it’s easy for many to create their live video show. However, there are some possible quagmires, as noted by both Gorgone and Nicholson, including, filming in a very public area, accidentally filming company documents scattered all over the table, or marking board. Both panelists suggest filming in an area where there is no company documents or company information which could be breached by live streaming video.

Unfortunately, the webinar did not allow an opportunity to connect with others but was just limited to question and answers. If there is one major concern I have with many webinars is the lack of interaction between other participants.

Nonetheless, I thought this was a good professional development exercise, which I will take to heart heading into 2017.

Out of the Box Social Media Thinking with The Internet of Things (IoT)

Social media is evolving rapidly because of this; we see some very innovative things coming out. Today I will look what crazy ideas folks are doing with social media to increase a consumer’s experience, thanks t0 the Internet of Things (IoT).

One area was we see interesting social media developments is within the IoT realm. Depending on who you ask, experts predict there will be anywhere from 30.7 billion to 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. Meanwhile, We are Social is perhaps too extremely optimistic, predicting around 200 billion by 2020.



Nonetheless, the “social media for machines” movement is playing out in front of our very eyes. Marketers tremendous opportunities now with IoT. recently discussed how marketers are taking maximizing IoT’s benefits.

One way was how companies are using products as communication devices. An example pointed out was FitBit, which is an Internet-connected device, which tracks key health information. What FitBit does is take the person’s health information, then utilizes various social media channels, showcasing the benefits of FitBit’s analysis. According to, this encourages friends to see the information and investigate purchasing a FitBit device.

Products tied to the IoT ecosystem is another way marketers are capitalizing on IOT’s potential. Take a look at Uber and Spotify. Users of Uber, who have Spotify premium accounts can use those to personalize their rides while using the ride-sharing service. As Uber CEO Travis Kalenick told Business Insider in 2014 people, listen to music in three places: Their homes, out and in their automobiles. Kalenick added they are helping make a deeply emerging customer experience within the car, by teaming up with Spotify to personalize rides more than taxis.

When done properly, as shown by FitBit, Uber, and Spotify, IoT can be a dream come true for social media marketers, who are looking at expanding their brand. As Robert Allen puts it:

The Internet of Things presents a fantastic opportunity for marketers. Products that market themselves, order themselves and integrate into an ecosystem that will increase customer retention. 10 years ago marketers could only dream of such things; now they are a reality. These trends have to be seized by marketers, as those that do will see fantastic growth, while those that don’t will rapidly fall behind.

What potential things do you think social media marketers can capitalize with IoT? Do social media managers understand the power of IoT now to really utilize its potential for some really out of the box ideas? If not, what will it take for creative thinking between the social media and IoT nexus?


COMM15 – Blog Post #2 / Strong and Weak Organizations

Getting your business on social media isn’t just something that happens overnight.

Ok, maybe it is – but reaping the the rewards of a social media presence certainly isn’t as simple. Why? Because having a social media presence is much, much different than having a social media strategy. Whereas anyone can make a Facebook page or sign up for an account on Twitter, it takes extra care, effort and planning to execute a content strategy for your profiles. To do it right means you’re taking full advantage of a digital demographic and enhancing your business, but to do it wrong could prove detrimental.

To make things even more complicated, there is no single social media strategy that is applicable to all businesses; a business to consumer model would manage their social media in a completely different way to a business to business model, while a business in the service industry would do it differently from a business selling toys, for example.

When it comes to my two favourite restaurants this side of Toronto, social media is used in two completely different ways – one that is unconventional yet effective, and one that is conventional but ineffective.


The Waterfront River Pub and Terrace is a beautiful gastro pub located just south of the centre of Napanee, Ontario. Opening within a historic limestone building right upon the Napanee River, I had the pleasure of working there as a server for two summers while studying at Queen’s in Kingston.

Their social media approach is… ecclectic – but it works. Jane Adams Roy, the owner of the restaurant, is a vibrant yet to-the-point woman whose years serving in the Canadian Military rubs off only in her management style, but not in her people skills. She’s warm and extremely personable, which reflects in the way she manages her restaurant’s Facebook page.

Napanee is a small city of around 15,000 people and the Facebook page caters primarily to that community. If you’re not part of the Napanee community, their social media presence makes you feel like like a part of it. While The Waterfront is every bit a community pub, the food, craft beers and decor hardly reflect that; with Jane’s social media approach to personal, wacky, and non-corporate engagement with their digital audience, the restaurant simultaneously manages to be up-scale, yet innately rooted in community.

Although The Waterfront doesn’t make use of Twitter or Instagram (where their delicious food could most certainly be photographed and posted) AND they don’t make much use of proper hashtags or tagging in general, the communicative skills they employ on their Facebook page has made the pub a surprising success, growing from 200 likes to nearly 6,000 in just under two years.wooden-heads-exterior

My other favourite restaurant in the Kingston/Napanee area is not quite as effective on social media despite being open for decades longer and with a far more esteemed reputation. Wooden Heads is located in Kingston’s historic downtown area right by the water and has an exceptional modern-Italian cuisine that I’m literally craving at this very second – but that’s only because I’ve been there.

Their Facebook and Twitter pages are practically barren despite being updated frequently. How is that possible, you ask? The only pictures or updates going on either page are the daily specials… and that’s it. Sure, the specials are a fantastic way to get your existing followers keen on coming to the restaurant for something new, but it’s not a way to grow your business’s digital presence.

In contrast with the Waterfront River Pub and Terrace’s social media efforts, which has seen their Facebook following go from 0 to 6,000 in the short three years that they’ve been open, Wooden Heads has around a mere 2,250 following on Facebook and very little engagement – and it’s been open for over 22 years.

COM0015 Blog #4 Out of the box, into the cell

When I began the social media certificate at Algonquin College learning to use new tools was expected. What I did not expect was to fall back on a very handy (and powerful) tool – the spreadsheet. This tool has been in my toolbox for years and I didn’t expect it would be so useful as a building block for monitoring and measuring my social media platforms.


I started off with a simple list using data from a Facebook page I administer.  I created columns for:

  • Date
  • Categories
  • Subcategories
  • Target
  • Calls to Action
  • Posts
  • Impressions
  • Comments (replies)
  • Likes (favorites)
  • Shares (retweets)
  • Clicks
  • Total Engagement
  • Total Reach

The data for each of the above can be imported from Facebook Insights, as an example. Without too much thought, I can see what content was most effective but simply sorting my data by descending order.


Based on this, I can see a huge increase on October 29. On this day, a slide show was posted. Consistently, over the life of this page, slide shows have boosted engagement.

Once the top content is identified, it can be compared to trends upward or downward over a certain period of time. Did this trend result in a change in ROI – did more participants enrol at the next registration?

This is just a very simplistic example of how an old tool can be used to keep things new.

Comm 0015 March 2014 – Blog Post 5 – Event Participation

On May 29, I facilitated a 90 minute session, Social Media Marketing Overview, at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Community Adult Learning Councils and Family Literacy Organizations at Grande Prairie Regional College.  The Chair of my Department told me that this group was looking for someone to speak about social media, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to apply some of the concepts I’ve learned in the Social Media Certificate Program.

Here is an excerpt from the first e-mail that the event organizer, Renée LaBoucane, sent me:

 I am working with Community Adult Learning Councils and Family Literacy Organizations on their joint annual meeting that we host at GPRC in Grande Prairie May 29-30.  There will be 20-30 coordinators who work at these non-profit organizations who are looking for guidance on how to use social media to market their programs and services.  Most of the coordinators come from north western Alberta rural communities.  They would like to know some best practices for social media, trends in social media, etc.  Some would like a longer hands on session. 

Based on comments from the attendees, the session went fairly well.  It was a challenging talk, since the audience had varied experience and interest with social media.  The session was held in a computer lab and I tried to make it as interactive as possible by incorporating real online examples, Twitter searches, etc.  If I were to do this talk again, I’d include more “real life” case study examples.

Link to the Power Point slides I used.



COM0014 – Blog # 2: How To Tell a Great Story For Your Brand

People love  great stories.  Stories evoke emotions and move us in various ways.   They connect with us and help us connect with other people.   People have always loved a great story and therefore marketers have been using storytelling in their campaigns for years. However,  today the traditional marketing channels have evolved and continue to do so.

In order to tell a great story today,  a brand must consider all of following:

1. Goals:  Why are you telling your story? What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to solve a problem?  Are you trying to convey a message? What is the point of the story?

2. Audience: Who are you creating the story for? Who are your customers? What do they want to see?

3. Authenticity: Be true to your brand and tell your own story using your own unique voice.  A perfect example is Commander Chris Hadfield‘s   jovial and down to earth (pun intended)  promotional video for his new book.

Also, remember that  using your own unique voice doesn’t mean that grammar rules don’t apply. Grammar mistakes are distracting and take away from the story.

4.  Creativity:  Get creative and creativity does not need to be complicated.  Sometimes the simplest of ideas make the best stories like the following creative tweet from Boston Pizza on hockey’s opening night in Canada.

In celebration of hockey’s return,we have a big announcement.Our pizzas will be available puck-shaped all season long

— Boston Pizza (@bostonpizza) October 1, 2013

5. Consistency: Be consistent in your message.  Tell the same cohesive story across all your marketing channels.

6. Relationship Building: Listen to your audience and monitor what is being said about your brand, your competition, and your industry. Ask your customers for their input and their opinions. Respond, talk to them, and have a conversation.  Engage with them and energize them. Build the relationship and then maintain it.

What other elements or factors do you think lead to great storytelling today? What are some of your favourite social media marketing stories?

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