COMM0014 – Blog #4 – Problem solved.

Earlier this year, Amanda Lindhout was invited as a guest speaker at work. After going through her her biography in the event invitation, I felt the urge to read her book before she would come. Since I read at an extra slow speed, I decided to look for the audio book version on Audible . In only 2 days I managed to “read” the book, just in time before her visit. My reading speed was not an issue anymore; problem solved.

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My picture of Amanda Lindhout used in a Social Media post from work on Facebook.

I was hooked. Suddenly my commute was more enjoyable, and I could go through a book in less than 6 months! While I was not very keen on another monthly subscription, Audible’s initial offer was very generous; 3 audiobooks for free over 3 months.

They followed up with an email strategy that worked where other had failed; they were sending me personalized suggestions of book to read with the possibility of sampling them. With over 5 millions followers on the Audible’s Canadian Facebook page, they are truly engaging with their audience effectively. In this article from Mediakix , they explain how Audible is using Influencer in marketing campaigns on Instagram and Youtube to encourage new clients to try Audible and feed the discussion. Audiobooks are like movies in a sense that they are easy to share and comment on and the company can easily afford to have influencers do that for them.

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Personalized suggestion from Audible received via email

When my offer came to an end, I decided quit to save money. Once again, they had an offer that was hard to resist and to this day I am still with them and have gone through many books since. I believe their marketing is very effective and not aggressive but yet generous. At least it works for me…

Here are a few of the books I have been listening to. Which one was your favorite?

Can’t hurt me – David Goggins 

A house in the sky – Amanda Lindhout

Here I am – Alan Huffman

The Operator – Robert O’Neil

 

COM0014-Blog #4: Reading Closer into Chapters, Indigo and Cole’s Social Media Strategy and Online Interaction

Chapters is every book lovers favourite store, mine included, and that’s why I’ve decided to put their approach on social media and online interaction to the test and see if they use it effectively.

To begin, if you look on their website: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/ you’ll see that they are on all five of the major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube. For the purpose of this post we’re only going to be looking at the first four- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

 Facebook and Twitter:

When it comes to Facebook and Twitter their interaction seems to mainly revolve around customers concerns, orders, returns and customer service queries. Which as we know both Facebook and Twitter can be used for greater conversations to be had and interaction to take place, so there they could improve and up their interaction.

Instagram and Pinterest:

Instagram and Pinterest on the other they seem to do well in using effectively and from what I’ve found it’s the most appealing to look through. This is because they’ve used Instagram’s story telling ability to not just sell books but the experience of reading by posting photos of people reading, cozy scenes of blankets, teas, soups and lots of books to promote that experience to readers.

Similarly, they used Pinterest to put together boards under specific categories like the Foodie that pairs pictures of some of the completed dishes along with their matching cookbooks working well to entice any intimidated cooks to come check out the book and give those recipes a try. Demonstrating how it’s board features can be used to prompt people’s interests and get them to exploring Chapter’s site.

Conclusion:

Overall they seem to use most platforms well, in using social media but could do better with direct customer interaction.

 

Links: https://twitter.com/chaptersindigo/with_replies

https://www.facebook.com/ChaptersIndigo/

https://www.pinterest.ca/chaptersindigo/

https://www.instagram.com/chaptersindigo/

 

 

 

COM0015 – Blog #3 Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Being fairly new to the world of professional networks, I have not created a strategy for myself as of yet. I am more interested in creating a strategy for the company that I work for, Open Options Corporation.

LinkedIn Logo

Currently we have a LinkedIn account and that is about it for our social media presence. I am hoping to revamp our LinkedIn profile and add more to it to make it more interesting to prospective clients. It is lacking content, photos, videos and members.

As a small strategy consulting firm, having a Facebook and Instagram would not benefit us or our clients very much, but we have talked about creating a Twitter account. We are in a very specialized field and creating a social media strategy plan is proving to be difficult. Coming up with relevant content to post on a regular basis is a challenge.

As for commitments that we would like to make in the future, we would like to find ourselves at consulting conferences all over the world. There is the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts. There is also the Change Management conference. And more locally, in Hamilton, Ontario, there is the National Strategy Consulting Competition and Conference which is open to university students, but as a company that specializes in, we would likely be able to get involved in that conference.

COM0015 – Blog 2: Strong and Weak Organizations

Two organizations that would fit into the category of having a good social media strategy are Tangerine Bank and WestJet Canada.

Tangerine Bank does an excellent job of making sure that they are communicating with their customers and making sure that they are keeping their customers updated of any upcoming promotions or updates that may affect them.

They make sure that they are conversing with their customers in real time and understand the importance that if they don’t respond quickly and effectively to customers, they do some damage to their brand.

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tweet-tangerine

WestJet is also very good about answering their customers in real time, something that is very important considering a lot of their customers are asking for clarification or advice that they need straight away about a flight.

WestJet also realizes the number of customers and followers they have on social media and that their marketing strategy needs to include a heavy social media presence. WestJet is very active on social media with their market promotions as well as highlighting vacation spots to help entice their followers.

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WestJet understands just how important social media is to their customers and how things happen in real time and they were actually the first airline in Canada to implement 24/7 customer service on social media.

Both organizations have obviously put a lot of work and effort in to a social media strategy. They realize that most of their customers are using social media and that in order to connect to their audience in a way that they wanted to be connected with, they need to be using the same tools.

By the fact that both organizations have daily social media posts lined up about their organizations and services, and also connect with their customers in a timely fashion shows that they have a good handle on social media strategy.

There are many examples of social media strategies going wrong for organizations. Organizations and companies are getting a lot better about using social media but every once in a while there is obviously no strategy behind a social media campaign.

I think a lot of time organizations can make mistakes when they open themselves up to Twitter and Facebook chats. While these are great for transparency they may not always come out in the favour of the company, who did not strategize long and hard about all possible outcomes.

An example of this is in 2015 when SeaWorld ran a Twitter chat using the hashtag #AskSeaWorld in an attempt to improve their image around a number of controversial issuing involving their marine life at the park.

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Instead of getting a good conversation about the good initiatives SeaWorld has implemented, people took the opportunity to chastise SeaWorld for their cruelty and a new hashtag quickly formed #Emptythetanks.

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SeaWorld had not thought long a hard about the implications of the chat they were doing and how it could affect them. From the looks of the tweets they also didn’t have a back-up plan in case anything went wrong. Instead of a successful strategy they were receiving even more bad press then they did before.

 

COM0015: Assignment #1, Blog Post #2 – Strong & Weak Organizations (Tara MacDonald)

Non-profits make a real difference in the world and they deserve support and recognition. But in order for your organization to be effective, you need to attract and engage the attention of those who share your vision, care about your cause and can make meaningful contributions to move your work forward.

In today’s online world, social media is a non-profit’s best friend.

As social media continues to change the way people communicate, it has become an increasingly important tool for non-profit organizations. Learning which social network appeals most to your target audience, how to master the unique tools and features on each platform, and how to listen and engage with your audience is essential. The sooner your organization masters content distribution and engagement on social networks, the more likely (and faster) your fundraising and marketing efforts will result in success.

Case Studies

We’ll look at 2 social media case studies to show you how non-profit organizations are doing social media right. We’ll also take a look at a small organization that recently started using social media and point out ways they can build their online presence and garner support.

Case Study 1: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF is leading the pack when it comes to creating powerful social media campaigns and rallying online support. With 4.9 million Facebook fans, 4.02 million Twitter followers and more than 64,000 YouTube subscribers, UNICEF is the 3rd highest ranking non-profit organization on social media.

What are they doing well?

While brand recognition certainly played a role in garnering support and becoming a powerful social media influencer, UNICEF also takes a front-seat when it comes to implementing best practices. They create compelling content through the use of visual and audio-visual storytelling methods, respond promptly to community feedback, and harmonize their various platforms with common goals by seizing every opportunity to direct users to donation, information and action pages for their initiatives.

Best Practices

Within an increasingly ‘virtual’ world, most activist groups and non-profits were using social media to capture public attention and rally support for various causes. While other organizations were racing to attract followers, fans and likes, UNICEF took a radically different approach making this bold statement: “Like us on Facebook, and we will vaccinate zero children against polio.”

UNICEF’s campaign ripped open the debate between slacktivism – or  ‘armchair activists’ – and the need to contribute in a more meaningful and tangible way while highlighting the fact that social shares aren’t enough.

Their risky approach was recognized by Nonprofithub.org as one of the Top 4 Non-Profit Social Media Campaigns of 2013 because they used social media in an unexpected way, drove home the fact that monetary donations make a greater impact than social media likes and motivated people to donate rather than simply clicking a like button.

Case Study 2: CARE

CARE is one of my favourite international non-government organizations and I was fortunate enough to volunteer with the Canada office during the summer of 2008. They do amazing work around the world and they have a good handle on using social media as a platform to build awareness and support fundraising initiatives.

Due to the organizational set-up, CARE’s social media efforts are not quite as unified as UNICEF. However, they did place 42nd is the list of highest ranking non-profit organizations on social media in 2014.

What are they doing well?

CARE’s individual country webpages maintain a similar layout and design with an attractive home page featuring their most relevant initiatives around the world catagorized by type of project. This enables visitors to find the type of work they’re most interested in quickly and easily.

Best Practices

CARE makes extensive use of storytelling in their online campaigns. Stories show visitors what it’s like to work on the ground and invite us into the lives of the people they help using vivid and compelling photography, videos, quotes and personal interviews.

While CARE has an exemplary online presence, there are areas where they could improve the efficiency of their social media efforts. For example while they do provide compelling content and provide space for visitor engagement, they lack a demonstrable call-to-action. CARE would be wise to take a hint from UNICEF’s campaign by including a handy ‘donate now’ button at the end of each video. While increased awareness is a worthy pursuit, a clear call-to-action will increase the likelihood of turning ‘armchair activists’ into potential donors.

Case Study 3: Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force

 

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force facilitates community partnerships to advocate for poverty reduction and elimination. Their values include:

  • Collaboration / Partnership – Building trust and respect across community stakeholders through dialogue and purposeful partnerships;

  • Understanding Poverty Issues and Each Other – Working together to educate each other, share creative solutions and develop a common understanding of issues related to poverty;
  • Equality / Justice – Working to improve lives within the community, while ensuring the services are accessible, affordable, humanitarian, equitable, and provides choice;
  • Advocacy – Acting in partnership to leverage our community knowledge and expertise to advocate for change;
  • Com(passion) for Change – Acting with compassion to make meaningful change for individuals and families when they need it most;
  • Collective Synergies – Recognizing that our collective energies are greater than that of any individual. Individually we can do little, together we can move mountains.

In terms of online presence and social media engagement, the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force represents the tail end of the spectrum. With only 133 Facebook fans, one active and one inactive Facebook page, no Twitter or YouTube account and a WordPress site that flickers between private and public settings, the Task Force has no where to go but up.

Many of Task Force’s values – e.g. collaboration, partnership, advocacy, awareness building, public education – combined with lack of financial resources available for traditional advertising and marketing campaigns make social media an ideal platform for achieving success.

Some immediate objectives the Task Force might consider implementing in their social media approach include:

  • Determining how they would like to be perceived and developing a vision for their organizational brand;
  • Developing a social media strategy with well-established goals and clear objectives;
  • Explore different social media platforms to discover where their audience is most present and engaged while identifying a list of topic influencers to follow;
  • Determine which platforms best suit their organization’s vision and goals and developing a list of measurable key performance indicators which they can monitor and evaluate;
  • Create a digital filing system to store content, find creative ways to re-use or re-vamp content and develop a content distribution plan;
  • Listen to their communities and begin to engage in the conversation.

As a small advocacy and awareness group, the Task Force faces a number of barriers, such as a small staff responsible for multiple tasks, lack of a dedicated social media or communications officer, etc.

To help overcome these challenges, I’ll be working with the Task Force to get their website back online, providing an evaluation of their existing social media efforts and helping them develop a social media strategy that they can carry forward into the future.

What do you think?

Do you have any other Social Media tips for Non-Profits?

Please comment below! 

Want to learn more?

This post was written as a requirement for COM0015: Applied Social Media in Business. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Algonquin College’s Social Media Certificate programme today!

COM0015 – Post 3 – Professional Networking: Now and in the Future

I must say I am very excited to be able to actually make a strategy to develop my professional network. With my 2014 accelerated pursuit of 26 online courses, my network (and my life) was on hold for the last year. Now that I am down to my final course, I can finally lift my head and see what is happening around me. The biggest question is where to start…

QuestionPeopleOne priority is to refresh my image on various social media platforms, as well as my website to bring them up to date and align them with my current outlook. The past year has offered me personal success and improvements which need to be incorporated into my online profile. My company needs a fresh face for reintroduction.

An important step is to reconnect with my pre-existing contacts and forums to let them all know that I have completed my studies, what I am up to now, what has changed and where I am headed. I also want to know what has been happening with them, what I have missed, and bring myself up to date on their current circumstance.

Thankfully, I will finally have time to listen to people and respond instead of a rushed apology for not having time. Offline, I will talk at the gym, riding the trails, waiting in lineups, and walking through my neighbourhood. Online will see me connect via LinkedIn, at webinars (I have so many to catch up on), in forums and online with colleagues. Reading and writing blogs by choice has been absent from my life for over a year.

Also, I will start reaching out to make new connections. This I will accomplish through my current network both on and offline. With my new found “time freedom”, I have already started looking for events, seminars and meetings to attend. I serve on two boards of directors for non-profit organizations and I want to immerse myself into the fundraising programs for this year that I missed out on in 2014. These type of events are perfect for expanding networks both for the organizations as well as myself.

Especially, I will once again enjoy the camaraderie of my coworkers and mentors to expand my network through theirs and participate in company events. I really missed the interaction with clients who had to be reassigned during my studies. I look forward to reconnecting with them and enhancing their businesses by implementing my new knowledge and fresh perspective.

Over the past year, I have forged many new connections with classmates and facilitators and while it was very enjoyable to bond with like-minded people it was done briefly and only touched the surface. I don’t want that network to become fleeting and hope to spend some time acquainting myself with those connections and expand my network to include them permanently. Are you ready to join me?

COM0015Please add me to your network if you like: ca.linkedin.com/pub/thornleybay @thornleybay @carveyourmarket

COM0015 Blog #3: Networking – I do it my way!

Networking has taken on a whole new meaning in the Internet age. Keeping up with the competition demands cultivating contacts at warp speed, and that means working your shtick online.

Online – LinkedIn

I believe it is important to focus on your first- and second-degree connections. First-degree connections are contacts that have already accepted your invitation to join your network, or vice versa, and second-degree connections are contacts known to your first-degree connection. Third-degree connections require more than one introduction and can be difficult to reach, as you may not have a mutual acquaintance.

When I ask someone in my network for an introduction, I try to make it easy for my first-degree contact by mentioning how I’d like to be introduced and the reasons I need help. I even go so far as to write out the introduction and forward it to my connection. Networking works best when both parties can offer the other something useful, so I always make sure that I am reciprocate.

Groups are one way to contact second- and third-degree LinkedIn members directly. But don’t join a group and start contacting individual members without making an earnest attempt to participate in community dialogue, be genuine.

Face-to-Face

I believe it is important to focus on quality over quantity, as well as working toward having a well-rounded network. There are a couple key people to have as part of your network, including:

  • A Mentor: A person who has reached the level of success you aspire to have. You can learn from their success as well as their mistakes. Heed their wisdom and experience. This relationship offers a unique perspective because they have known you through several peaks and valleys in your life and watched you evolve.
  • A Coach: Someone who comes in at different times in your life and help with critical decisions and transitions and offer an objective perspective, similar to a sounding-board.
  • An Industry Insider: Someone in your chosen field who has expert-level information or access to it. This person will keep you informed of what’s happening now and what the next big thing is.

Building a deep network by only including people from your current profession leaves too many stones unturned, limiting potential opportunities.

Have you used some of these strategies in your personal networking plan?

COMM 0015 Blog Post #2 Spotting Strong and Weak Social Media Strategies

like, share, tweet and followWhat organizations have a social media strategy that impresses you?

Right away the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) comes to mind since I follow them on Twitter. The COC does an excellent job of engaging Canadians by using a wide variety of social media tools. Just a quick glance on their website reveal links to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram. Their website is well laid out and has an obvious focus on Canadian athletes, their stories, photos, competitions, successes and failures. Virtually everything is sharable and relies mainly on images and videos rather than text to get their message across.

With the Sochi Olympics just around the corner the COC is ramping up interest by rolling out their #WeAreWinter campaign which has an official partnership with Twitter. Since the COC has almost 70,000 followers on their Twitter account, it was and obvious choice. “This campaign is built around emotional videos celebrating the heroic determination of Canada’s Winter Olympic athletes and winter itself—or at least winter’s inextricable place in the Canadian psyche.” The videos included in this social media campaign are dark, tough, edgy and are aimed at appealing to Canadians and their national pride. If this is just the beginning, I look forward to what’s in store for our athletes.

Another organization that has a social media approach that’s growing at very fast pace is the Canadian Curling Association (CCA). Even though the CCA are working on a smaller scale, they have a focused approach on gaining awareness of their ronburgundysport with the aim of recruitment and retention. A quick overview of their site reveals links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and an RSS feed. The website is easy to navigate, has videos, polls, stats, blogs, and a news feed that are all updated regularly.

Their latest social media campaign had the CCA partnered with Tim Horton’s for Roar of the Rings which are the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials. With the clever title and the addition of Will Farrell as Ron Burgundy to attract more attention, participants and spectators were encouraged to tweet and share photos via Flickr. With over 12,000 views on Flickr, 3,000 likes on Facebook and 10,000 followers on Twitter, the CCA is a great example of how an organization can gain interest for what they do (in this case curling) and the events that they hold.

Which organization needs improvement?

Sport Matters Group (SMG) is a non-profit organization that seeks to have open, non-biased communication with the sport community. They have a focus on collaboration, sharing and participation for sport organizations, leaders and the public to voice their ideas or concerns regarding sport and sport policies.  A quick overview of their website reveals links to Facebook, Twitter and an RSS feed. This site is clean, easy to read and is updated on a regular basis; for an organization that has limited resources they do a decent job of getting their information out to the public but there is a lack of consistency in the platforms they use.

Aerial ParliamentTheir Twitter account is used quite frequently and regularly engages their followers but their Facebook page hasn’t had any new postings since April 2013. Since I work with SMG on a regular basis, I know that they attend many social, sporting, and networking events.  Attending these events is an easy way to generate content for their social media platforms; photos, quotes and videos from these events can help increase awareness of their organization which will increase their likes, followers, etc.

My advice to SMG would be to start small and to work with what they have. Every year they host Lobby Day where they meet with various MP’s, ministers, senators, and senior policy advisors to increase awareness of what they do. Having a clear social media plan for the lead up to this event could futher help participation, awareness and ultimately the success of their organizations’ ability to get their message out to the key people they are trying to reach.

Having a good social media plan doesn’t always mean an organization should be on every social media platform they can sign up to. Since SMG already has accounts with Facebook and Twitter they should start with a plan to optimize those tools to their best advantage. If opportunities arise in the future for expansion into other media platforms, they could update their media strategy to accomodate them as well. Since the organization is so small, there is a chance that they may only be able to allocate time and resources to those two social media websites but as long as they use them consistently and well, they should see a positive difference.

COM0015 Blog Post #3 Networking=Relationship Building

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I am a true believer that in order to grow you need to put yourself in situations that may not be the most comfortable or easy. Networking falls into this category for most. I do have to say that I have come along way over the past couple of years and it is in result of nothing but personally forcing myself to put myself out there, to walk up to someone that I don’t know at an event and introduce myself.  The good news is, it does get easier, especially when technology is involved.

To be truly effective in networking,  there are now two areas of focus, online and in person. Online, I have worked to build my professional networks but I have been strategic about it. I keep my Facebook profile locked down for personal use, knowing that there is some cross-over between personal and professional and keeping that in mind every time I post something. My mantra is, “is this something I would want my employer to see?” On the flip side “is this something I would want my mother to see (I have a very strict mother 🙂 ) . ” I apply this same tactic to Twitter, but use this tool mostly for professional use. I strategically search for key individuals that I would like to connect with professionally. This includes speakers of events that I am attending, other key participants as well as business and community leaders and colleagues. I utilize LinkedIn the same way, building my profile, ensuring that it’s current, providing useful information, links to my blog and making sure to strategically connect with key people. I don’t accept everyone and I don’t ask to connect to individuals without either a warm contact or introduction message. Strategy is key.

In result of my current role within my organization, I am constantly out and about at community events. This is something that I enjoy and is very strategic by both my company and me as a person. At this time in my life, I have the time to be able to be out there and connect with people. I know it won’t be that way for ever so I really do take advantage of all of the opportunities that come my way. I would say this is a strength of mine but as mentioned above, I do push myself. I will go to an event alone and I’m not going to lie, sometimes it is extremely uncomfortable. Call me crazy, but I continue to do this to myself and it has benefited me greatly. Doing your research prior to connecting with people is key so that you can break the ice with a little common ground.

There is always room for improvement, so what I plan to focus on over the next year are the following tactics:
– Double the amount of followers that I currently have on Twitter
– Attend at least one networking or industry event a month
– Continue to build presence on LinkedIn
– Dedicate more time to my blog in order to keep content current
– Once a month, sit down and have coffee with someone I would find value in connecting with

*Image care of: http://www.righttransept.com/41-the-new-marketing-method-relationship-building

COM0015 – Blog Post #3 Professional Networking Now and In the Future

This is where I fall short. I don’t have a strategy for my networking on or offline. I go online, I read, I sometimes share articles and posts and then I’m done, very closed and one way. Offline is even less. I don’t like to admit it but I don’t make much of an effort to research events that I know I would love to attend and meet the industry professionals that I really want to connect with. This is where I have the opportunity to catch up and make up for lost time.

It is all too easy to hide behind time. There isn’t enough time for this, there isn’t enough time for that. And sometimes there just isn’t. But I am committing to making time now and going forward to concentrate more on sharing my thoughts and comments on articles and news. I need to be proactive in making myself more visible, I can’t sit in the corner anymore. And speaking of sitting in a corner, I might as well be in sitting in the corner if I am not attending events that will give me the opportunity to meet new people and industry professionals that I can gain so much and share what I have to offer too.

This is just the icing on the cake. You just never know who you are going to meet and where. Networking is more than putting yourself out there in typical networking forums on and offline. It is everywhere and I need to take advantage of every opportunity.

Monday-Mingle

*images from Twitter – An Ordinary Girl’s Travel Scrapbook