COM0015 Blog 2 – Does Bigger Mean Better?

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Does increasing your social media posts directly relate to the success of your business? Let’s focus on two non-profit organizations which share similar beginnings but have taken slightly different paths, not only in their services but also in their social media.   Both are celebrating over 50 years of operation, both have recently hired communication/marketing positions and both began as Community Residential Facilities (CRFs or half-way houses) providing support and supervision for individuals making the transition from correctional facilities to the community.  Similar starts, similar services, but different social media strategies.

St. Leonard’s Community Services in Brantford is more open and transparent online than their counterpart in London.  Brantford expanded in the late 90s to offer a Career Resource Centre for Youth and opened Employment Centres in Caledonia and Dunnville in the past decade.  Their mission is to provide programs and services in Addictions and Mental Health, Housing, Justice, and Employment.  They are fairly active on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. A recent Facebook post promoting a Virtual Job Fair had a large number of Likes, Comments and Shares.  SLCS was quick to reply to the comments and offer additional information as needed.  The timing for this event couldn’t be better as so many people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 restrictions and/or closures. This post was shared by job seekers, community partners and over 40 regional companies.  Most of SLCS’s feeds are filled with job skill workshops, education and support groups.  Over 95% of this content is original. Video content is a great way to advertise your business and SLCS capitalizes on this by sharing YouTube videos of their virtual AGM (262 views), and workshops on Conflict Resolution (51 views) and Job Searching During a Pandemic (159 views).   Even though they provide justice programs like bail verification, supportive interventions, and transitional housing, this information is rarely promoted or mentioned in their social media feed.

On the flip side, St. Leonard’s Community Services for London focuses primarily on justice programs for adults and youth who are, or could be, in conflict with the law.  On social media, Twitter is their primary communication tool, however they post much less often than Brantford.  Original content accounts for only 50% of their posts, opting to share news articles and updates from similar organizations regularly.  St. Leonard’s London has historically kept a low profile on social media but are now looking to build up their presence to increase awareness and understanding for their programs and services. Understandably they want to respect the privacy of the individuals that they serve, but could look for opportunities to feature their staff and community supporters. To maximize their efforts, this content should be visually appealing, utilizing photos or videos and can be presented in such a way to protect privacy.  Of course, promotion is a double-edge sword and organizers need to be prepared for the NIMBY Syndrome (Not in my back yard) and the misperceptions that CRFs increase crime and lower property values.  This can be countered with open and honest conversations with neighbourhoods, community leaders, corrections experts, and individuals.  Perhaps we all need to understand how the correctional process works and the steps being taken to create communities, where everyone feels safe, valued, and supported. 

Both organizations are successful and offer valuable, much-needed services to their communities. Does more social media posts make one organization stronger than the other?  Does bigger mean better?


COM0015: Blog Post #2 – Strong vs Weak Organizations

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Dermalogica is a skin care company. It isn’t a beauty product. It isn’t makeup. It is all about Skin care. I picked this product, because I use it. I was having a face massage at a salon, when I told the girl my main issue, she gave me some free Dermalogica samples to try. I was hooked! The company has their marketing campaign down to a science. They love giving away samples of their product because they know the product works. I love this line on the main page of their website, “We’re not pretty, or beautiful, or pampering, or luxury. We’re far too interested in guiding you to a new level of health fitness!” I ordered one product from their website, and I picked 6 new free samples of other products to try.

Dermalogica also understands social media. If you log onto their facebook page, you can learn all about their products. You see women that work there actually using the product. You can see first hand what their cleansing routine is and what products they use. They practice what they sell. No touch ups, no filters. Just basic skin care.

They are on Twitter. Of course, who isn’t? Again, you get real testimonials from real users. Dermalogica is all about skin care, and less about covering up your face with makeup. I also love their catchy phrases. “A Dermalogica product a day keeps your fear of rollercoasters at bay. #CanadasWonderland. It also gives you excellent skin but that doesn’t rhyme!” It made me laugh.

In 2017 Dermalogica ran a global campaign #MyFaceMyStory. This campaign is all about encouraging women to understand their skin better. I love this company. Read about the campaign here. And see for yourself why I love this product and this company. They are also on Youtube, and Instagram. They have recently launched their newest campaign #skindividual, highlighting new products. They have teamed up with TV and social media personality Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo. Their aim is to reduce the stigma around acne and how to achieve the healthiest skin at any age.

Photo courtesy of Dermalogica website

On the flip side, I had a harder time coming up with a company that doesn’t manage their social media well. I mean when you think about it, I only know about companies that do their advertising and social media well. How else would I know about them? I looked at Tim Hortons, CarStar, and many more companies. Most companies in todays marketing world need to figure out social media. So who did I find? Well…. is a local (Kingston)Hair Studio. I know about this company because my daughter used to work there. They are actually a great studio with awesome hair stylists and modern ideas. Their issue is that they haven’t quite grasped the necessity of social media marketing. Which is unfortunate because they are a very talented crew. Hair salons have a lot of competition and they need marketing to gain an edge. They have no website. They do have a Facebook page, but it isn’t updated very often. They don’t have any other social media site that I can find. No Twitter, no Instagram, nothing.

This company would benefit from a social media strategy. I would design it around highlighting the local talent. Currently they are using word of mouth, (which is great) but they could do so much more. Using an app like Instagram would be an amazing tool for a local hair salon. I would start a campaign highlighting each artist and what they specialize in. They are great with popular trends like balayage. (Hair painted technique to give a blended rooted effect.) They should showcase this talent with Instagram and snapchat. This is where the younger social media users hang. Posting pictures of their clients on their social media sights is free advertising!

Their Facebook Page needs to highlight their talents as well. Using the same type of effect as with Instagram, Facebook could be their go to app for older clients who use it. Who doesn’t like to show off their new doo?

Also, Facebook offers paid advertising. It is cheaper than most other marketing. It also allows you to use targeted ads so you are getting your advertising money well spent!




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So what about you? Any ideas to add to the list? Is Instagram and Snapchat the way into young client’s social media senses? Any other apps you would suggest?


COM0015 – Blog #2: Strong & Weak Organizations

It’s Canada Day, so I thought why not do an all-Canadian themed post for this assignment, and see how three companies based in this great country of ours are faring with their social media efforts.  Canada may be known internationally for some of companies like Tim Hortons and Lululemon, but I’ve chosen to look at some of our home grown gems in this post.


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One of my favourite retailers these days is Princess Auto; contrary to its name, they do not sell cars but instead specialize in farm, industrial, garage, hydraulics and surplus items… in other words, a do-it-yourselfer’s go-to for supplies.  Princess Auto is a 75 year-old Winnipeg, Manitoba based company that uses several social media platforms to engage with its customers.  Lately they are more active on Instagram, but are also active on Twitter and Facebook. In addition to usual post about new products and sales, Princess Auto also uses social media to show off their philanthropic efforts on a local and national level, encouraging customers to participate in the events, or contribute to the causes.  They also frequently solicit feedback from customers on products, and are very quick to respond to concerns and negative comments.  Over the past few months they have been running a contest called “The Ultimate Figure It Outer” where customers post pictures/video/stories to the Facebook/Instagram pages showcasing the best of their home-built contraptions that use materials from Princess Auto.  Subscribers have voted on their favourite creations, and have narrowed it down to three finalists for another round of voting; the winner gets announced later this month.


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One of my other favourite Canadian companies that has embraced social media is Joe Rocket Canada.  They are a twenty-five year old maker of motorcycle/motocross equipment and apparel based in Windsor, Ontario.  Since their company benefits greatly from visual marketing, Facebook and Instagram have been a natural fit.  They use both platforms to showcase their collection of merchandise, as well as their sponsorships for various motorsports/motocross events.  Joe Rocket Canada also encourages customers to upload pictures of them using their products, and share honest reviews.  When reviews are not favorable they act quickly to resolve issues, often going over and above to fix things.  In fact when I shared a picture of my badly damaged jacket from my accident they sent me a private message asking for my address; they sent me a get-well card, a bunch of swag, and a sizeable discount coupon.   Additionally Joe Rocket Canada have jumped on the “brand ambassador” bandwagon appointing artist, and motorcycle enthusiast Kristine Vodon.  She was introduced to the audience when they were running a contest where followers could submit pictures of their motorcycles to the Facebook and Instagram pages; the winner received an original drawing of their motorcycle by Kristine Vodon.


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While these two Canadian organizations have demonstrated great social media strategies, there is one in particular that is close to home that really needs to help.  When I say close to home I mean it quite literally as it is where I live, the Town of Newmarket, Ontario.  Their social media presence is less strategy, and more “we should probably put something on Facebook every now and then.”  Despite having a population of over 90,000 and growing, their social media efforts and the way they connect with residents really could use some help.  For example, every year on Canada Day they spend thousands of dollars putting on a great fireworks display; I wanted to find out what time they are starting, and if there are parking restrictions where they are.  I posted a message on their Facebook page this past week, which has no mention of the event, asking this… no response from anyone, just others asking the same question, or speculating on answers.  Really they are missing out on an opportunity to promote town events and provide real-time announcements.  The Town of Newmarket is used to one-sided communication, and needs to be open to accepting two way communication that is fostered by social media.  Their main objective should be interacting with residents – answering questions in a timely manner, directing to appropriate resources, and taking feedback to the right people.  Having just a couple people on staff that can do this regularly on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter would allow them to meet this objective.

COM0015 – Blog #2 Strong and Weak Organizations

Strong Organization

An example of an organization that has a strong social media strategy would be the Toronto Blue Jays. For many years, the Blue Jays were floundering. Their viewership and stadium attendance was dismal. The team itself lacked heart and soul and wasn’t performing very well at all. That all changed in the 2015 season when they made an extraordinary comeback after the trade deadline in August when they acquired some no name, all star players.

With fans starting to pay more attention to the Blue Jays, their social media coverage began to explode with the team. I love baseball and have been an avid Blue Jays fan ever since I can remember, I follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. They have lead impressive hashtag campaigns with #cometogether, #ourmoment, #lovethisteam and a new one for the 2017 season #letsrise. These hashtags bring people together and let them share their love for baseball with others. Last year when the Blue Jays were doing well late into the season, I felt like I could go up to anyone and talk about the Blue Jays and they would know what was going on, even people who aren’t normally into baseball. When sports teams do well, it really brings people together, and the Toronto Blue Jays have grabbed onto their popularity and have done an impressive job with their social media platform.

Weak Organization

On the other end of the spectrum, my husband works for a small print shop in Kitchener, Ontario which is run by a baby boomer who has owned the shop for 35 years. My husband has been their for a just over a year and feels like the print shop would benefit greatly from a social media strategy. The printing business is not nearly as popular as it once was, but there is still a small market for it and they do well. The shop is located in a a city with two large universities nearby. There is a massive student population that they are not marketing to. They do have a Twitter, a Facebook and an Instagram but never mapped out any strategies to properly and consistently use them. If they were to use these social media tools effectively, they could be engaging the students who live close by and start to bring more business into their shop.

Their objectives should be:

  • Use appropriate and creative hash tags to grow their social media audience
  • Direct products and services to the large student population
  • Celebrate the clients they already have

In order to implement these objectives, they need to create a consistent social media strategy that would see them posting more frequently on their social media platforms. They need to outline creative and engaging ways to share their products and services and try to reach their untapped student customers.

Post #2 – COM0015 – Strong and Weak Organizations

Social Media – Strong and Weak Organizations



My teen-aged children do not watch TV.  They do not read newspapers or magazines.  They do not listen to the Radio. Don Draper’s tools no longer work in today’s society. My children are exceptionally well informed and they are savvy consumers. In order to be successful in today’s marketplace the business or organization needs to meet the consumer where they live.  If your target audience is younger then this likely means capitalizing on Instagram, YouTube, or Vine.  If your audience is older then you likely have to meet them on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Two Successful Social Media Campaigns

Michael’s – The Arts and Craft Store: Michael’s Stores are located in both Canada and the United States.  They are a publicly traded company currently worth 4.21 Billion USD.  Their clientele runs from the very young to the very old and they have an impressive Social Media presence.  Because they know their customer base demographic, they have targeted all mainstream social media platforms.  While they are not on Vine, they do have a presence on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Crafting appeals to me because it is something that I have always loved, Michael’s makes it easy.  They deposit creative ideas on my Facebook news feed and they make these ideas appealing because they provide pictures and videos explaining just how easy the project is to do.  They have almost 26,000 pins on Pinterest making projects accessible, searchable and exciting.  They are good at promoting engagement as all of these posts are highly shareable within the crafting community.  Their mobile content is excellent and includes an app available for download that delivers a 40% off coupon directly to your phone that is scannable when you purchase your crafty goods. They even include WiFi in their stores so that you can access their mobile content. I believe that Michael’s commitment and investment in Social Media has contributed greatly to their success.

Guiding Mosaic 2016: Guiding Mosaic was a massive Girl Guides of Canada event that took place this past summer. These events only occur every 7 or 8 years and because of this it will occur only once during a girl’s guiding career.  The excitement and build up for this camp is hard to explain.  Billed as a ‘Once in a Lifetime Event’, almost 3000 girls spent two years fund raising with cookies, bottle drives, tee-shirts and other creative ideas to raise the money to go to Sylvan Lake, Alberta for 10 days in July.  My interest in this group is because my own daughter was one of those girls.  While this non profit, largely volunteer group did not have the same Social Media presence that Michael’s did, they did an amazing job with the resources that were available to them.

Because it was such a long process leading up to the camp (involving cases upon cases of tedious girl guide cookie sales) they were able to maintain excitement by involving the girls themselves. They had a presence on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Flikr, Instagram and YouTube.  They maximized engagement by involving the girls throughout the two year lead-up.  Girls were uploading content from around the country that included Camp Songs tutorials, craft swaps, and instructions on how to pack the perfect camp ruck sack.  As the camp got closer they awarded points for pictures of the girls packing with a hashtag #guidingmosaic, this encouraged further engagement.  Their website was mobile enhanced so it was easy as a parent to visit the site and see what they were doing each day. Finally they showcased the kids and staff.  The camp is now four months past and they are still uploading pictures to “Maintain the Awesome!”

Guiding Mosaic.jpg

A Weak Social Media Campaign

DND/CF Ombudsman:  The office of the Ombudsman is a place where the Canadian defense community can go for help.  They are outside of the chain of command and have direct access to the Minister of National Defense to make recommendations based on the feedback that they get from the people they serve. This organization is important to me as I am a passionate part of that community.

Because they are a community-driven organization I believe that they could greatly benefit from a comprehensive overhaul of their existing Social Media presence.  They currently utilize Twitter and You-Tube.  Their Twitter feed is amazing.  They publish great content several times per week, and have just over 2000 followers.  Their YouTube Channel has only 3 followers and content is sparse.

In the Social Media Examiner article that was assigned in lesson 3 of this course, Phil Mershon discusses how to best promote your organization.  A big part of this is increasing engagement and social sharing.  This is the perfect solution for this organization, particularly since the Ombudsman’s mandate is to understand and advocate for issues that affect the military.   While the twitter feed of  DND/CF Ombudsman office is a great start, it wouldn’t take much to enhance this by expanding to further platforms.  They are already spending the time and energy to create and share relivant content.  As discussed earlier it is important to understand your audience and go to them, not expect them to come to you. Within the military, people find support and community on Facebook because they are seldom near family.  Each base has multiple Facebook communities and there are several national groups that contain thousands of people.  This is where the Ombudsman’s office needs to live. With a simple expansion to Facebook alone they can ask questions, share resources, and listen to issues of the community that they serve – a community that is already motivated to engage.

Summary – Social Media is not just useful in a business, profit environment. While Michael’s demonstrates that a huge budget and marketing campaign can be highly successful I also believe that Social Media is the way forward for non-profit and government organizations to engage with the people they seek to serve.



COM 0015 Blog Post # 2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

When we think of strong organizations in terms of social media Starbucks, Oreo, WestJet and Tim Horton’s are some of the examples that immediately come to mind.

The strength of an organization’s social media strategy  is especially tested in situations of crisis. The way an organization chooses to manage the problem  differentiates a strong organization from a weak one.

Gini Dietrich details the following great examples of both a strong and weak organization in her book Spin Sucks – Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age.





Strong: Dominos Pizza

The employees of one Domino’s franchise made and uploaded a video to YouTube for their friends to see. The video consisted of the employees spitting and sneezing in the food and then serving it to their customers.  As one would expect, this caused quite a stir on YouTube.

The way Dominos handled the situation differentiated itself as an organization with a strong social media and communications strategy.

Upon finding the video,  Dominos:

  • Said sorry – The CEO made a public apology and uploaded  it to YouTube soon after finding this video.   The franchise whose employees made the video also created a video apology and offered discounts or free pizzas to current customers.
  • Communicated the story – Both the corporate office and the franchise used their social networks to spread the apology and the message.
  •  Addressed the problem and took  timely action – They fired the employees; made sure their apology was heard and offered a solution to ensure that this didn’t happen again.

By doing all of the above, Dominos created  trust because they handled it properly and within days of the YouTube video release.

Weak: Applebee’s Restaurant

A waitress at the St. Louis Applebee’s was fired for posting on Reddit a photo of the receipt where a pastor who had eaten at the restaurant crossed out the automatic 18% tip charged for parties of more than eight and wrote “I give God 10% why do you get 18” above her signature.

Rage spread instantaneously across all social media platforms when an image of a back of another receipt where a customer praised the service he received was found on the same franchise location’s Facebook page.  Questions such as “Why wasn’t this person fired?” and “How can this still be on your page?” turned into further criticism and negative comments  around the double standard of Applebee’s company policy.

The real issue was how Applebee’s responded next.

They began to copy and paste the same preapproved message over and over again. They were also accused of deleting negative comments and blocking users.

Applebee’s should have:

  • Thought it through before reacting.
  • Actually addressed the problem and communicated properly.
  •  Apologized instead of getting defensive and backed down when they were wrong and admitted that there was a double standard in their policy.


Source: Both case studies and tips for managing a crisis from Spin Sucks – Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age by Gini Dietrich

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