DIY Digital Marketing

7 To-Dos for Every Entrepreneur

This Thursday, I had the opportunity to present a workshop at SVI Women in Vancouver, a three-day conference dedicated to women committed to social change in business.

Here’s the presentation in case you’d like to see it. As always, the best part of any presentation isn’t what I’m saying or showing but the active participation with, and among, the attendees.

For a sense of what we discussed in person, jump below the slides.

A few of the questions that I can remember are:

  • Should I be on Twitter?
    Only if your business goals include reaching an audience active on that network AND you have the resources to commit to daily engagement.
  • When is the best time to post on my social networks?
    Depends—there are lots of studies that can give you general guidelines, but you should experiment with when your particular audience is most active and likely to see your posts in their stream. But here are a few great infographics to start: The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Networks and The Science of Social Timing.
  • What can I do to protect my intellectual property on Pinterest?
    Tough one—only you can decide if it’s worth the risk of posting content on Pinterest. Some creative are watermarking images to highlight copyright ownership, but is that enough? Check out Creators Against Pinterest to see what other artists think.

The most divided opinions centered on who should be handling social media for your organization: I maintain that this isn’t a task that you want to delegate to either interns or outside agencies.

After all, you’re using social media to build critical relationships with customers, partners and stakeholders. Entrust the task to those who are invested in your organization, closest to your brand and clear about evolving business goals.

Unfortunately, interns and even agencies come and go—when they leave, you’ll have to start over again.

But that’s just my opinion and there were folks in the workshop who’d had excellent experiences using interns and outside experts, including Denise Taschereau of Fairware.

And that’s the best lesson: what works for me may not make sense for you. There’s never been a single formula for success, especially not in the fast-paced arena digital media.

Three Ways Target Canada Won Twitter on Oscar Night

Screenshot of a tweet
Last night, Target Canada threw its first Twitter Party for Canadians during the 85th annual Oscars, winning Twitter nationwide in the process.

The retailer is on the cusp of opening 124 stores in Canada this year with more to follow in 2014. To create buzz ahead of its grand opening celebrations across the country, Target Canada hosted a fast-paced forum on Twitter. Prizes were awarded to those who registered to participate and answered a series of questions using the hashtag #TargetCa.

The Twitter Party ran for an hour, generated 1,890 tweets, and trended across Canada.

Here’s how Target Canada hosted a winning party on Twitter:

1. Awareness of its audience

The retailer went after women aged 18 to 54 across the country, partnering with ShesConnected and @ShoppingWoman to help organize the event. Plus, Target Canada showed impeccable timing by scheduling their party to coincide with the Oscars when many women would already be watching the awards ceremony on TV and sharing their thoughts on Twitter…

To see the rest of the article, please see techvibes.com where the article was originally published.

Changing the Face of a City: Live Tweet Transcript

I got a chance to attend last night’s session on the content strategy used to rework the City of Vancouver’s website from the ground up.

My favourite tidbits:

  • 4,500 citizens responded to a survey about how the City could improve the site–those are outstanding numbers and indicate that the stakes are high
  • The site went from 26,000 HTML pages to under 5,000 through a combination of prioritizing most frequently visited content and rewriting copy in plain English
  • Visitors go to the site to find out about parking and traffic tickets, garbage and recycling, and how to arrange inspections. What does the City focus on? Council minutes and bylaws–after all, the City is required to maintain these records. But that doesn’t service the public.

Want the full transcript tweet by tweet? Here’s my transcript via Storify.

2012: A look back at the halfway mark

2012 Nesting Doll Calendar
Photo courtesy of Melissa Gruntkosky/Creative Commons license

“2012 is going to be my year,” I told myself, starting last November.

Since then, it’s been a daily mantra. At the halfway mark of the year, it’s time to do a gut check and see how the year is measuring up against what I’d hoped to accomplish.

Last year, I took advantage of a workplace program where I could meet with a career coach for six sessions. I started working with Nancy Hogan in late October, asking for her help in my job hunt.

She was a terrific sounding board, urging me not to “lose the light” and create a real plan for getting where I wanted to be instead of the “spray and pray” method I’d always used previously to apply for openings.

So I created a shortlist of companies that I was curious to learn more about. And tapped my network via email, Twitter, LinkedIn and in person to see if I could find contacts to meet for coffee. After all, I too had been invited to several such coffees over the last couple of years.

The results stunned me. In the past, job hunting had always been painful and long. This time it was still a long process; but a small, steady stream of successes along the way made the search far more manageable and upbeat.

Eight informational interviews led to three telephone interviews, three face-to-face interviews, two follow-up interviews, one presentation, one informal lunch and the offer I wanted most: to work full-time in digital marketing.

In mid-April, I started my new job. And a week or so prior to starting, I also learned that I had won an international Gold Quill Award for my strategic campaign to notify 40,000 UBC students of big changes to their transit pass. Plus, I got a post on a local conference published on The Huffington Post.

At the halfway mark of 2012, I’m stoked about where I find myself. And I’m looking forward to the second-half, in particular the conclusion of my passion project: a community dialogue on how we can empower girls to commemorate the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child this October hosted by the Girl Effect YVR, a local chapter of girl champs.

How is your 2012 shaping up? I’d love to know so please leave a comment or tweet me.

Recapping Sam Sullivan’s 11th Public Salon

Tonight, I attended my first Public Salon–an event hosted by former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan and the Global Civic Policy Society. Seven speakers had seven minutes to tell a story that expanded our minds. Listening to each, I felt that each was able to inspire by sharing their personal stories and what drives them to excel.

The speakers ranged from Shari Graydon who tries to correct the prevalent gender bias among media by empowering women to step up as experts to Myriam Laroche, the founder and President of Eco Fashion Week, and The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean who is now a UNESCO envoy. Jean has also recently launched her own foundation to enable Canada’s youth to become changemakers.

Since so many folks did an excellent job of tweeting gems from the evening, I’ve collected the best in a tweet transcript powered by Storify. One thing is clear: we need more events like these in Vancouver! Please help spread the word so we can continue to hear from the city’s best and brightest.

Live Blogging with CoverItLive

Lately, I’ve been live blogging more frequently at local events like Me in Media, Inside Stories and Lost in Translation?.  On a few occasions, I’ve been asked for tips on how to successfully create a live blog, leading to this entry.

There are a few free online tools available to live bloggers as Nancy Messieh outlines in 3 Easy Methods to Live Blog. But I’ll focus exclusively on CoverItLive, which is the service I use when live blogging.

I like CoverItLive, because it’s (1) free, (2) highly customizable, (3) allows me to embed its code in my WordPress site, and (4) offers basic analytics.

Pre-Event

I set up each Live Event in advance—ideally, a week or two before the event.
Click on any image in the slider to see the full-size screenshot.

Add New

Login to CoverItLive and select "Add New."

CoverItLive Home Page

Event Details

Enter your event’s details, including date, time and title

.CoverItLive Live Event Details

 

Customize Settings

Customize a range of settings for your Live Blog.CoverItLive Options

 

Twitter Feed

You can automatically publish tweets from a particular user and/or tweets with your event’s hashtag.

CoverItLive Twitter

Grab Code

Grab the code to place the Viewer Window in your site.

CoverItLive iFrame Code

CoverItLivealso enables you to add links, photos, videos and prewritten text like your panelists’ bios to a Media Library in advance. I love this feature because it means I don’t have to scramble during an event to find relevant information to publish.

At the Event

Login to CoverItLive to launch your event. Then, double-check your website to ensure that the Viewer Window is working properly. As always, it’s worthwhile to arrive early and work out any kinks, like Wi-Fi access, before any event gets underway.

Initially, I managed my live blog via CoverItLive’s console. But the downside is that you can’t engage with others who are live tweeting at the same event—remember, your live blog is accessible to those on your website and not those following the hashtag on Twitter.

To address this problem, I now set up each live blog to automatically publish any tweets from my Twitter feed. This allows me to continue engaging on Twitter with others who are at the event, while automatically feeding content directly to my live blog.

Regardless of which tool you use, try to have a couple of people who are sending content to the live blog—one can provide colour commentary while the other offers a blow-by-blow account of the event. I find it’s too difficult for one person to take on both roles, because it’s hard to provide analysis on top of accurately documenting what people are saying or doing.

Post Event

Once your event comes to a close, remember to end it on CoverItLive. Now, you’ll have a great transcript of the whole thing on your website ready to be replayed at any time.

Got a cool tip for how to get the best out of CoverItLive? Leave a comment or email me.

 

Why I’m Paying Attention to LinkedIn

Seven Takeaways for Marketers
Tracy Bains LinkedIn profile
I’m an avid user of LinkedIn—one of over 120 million professionals from more than 200 countries and territories who have signed up to manage their business identity, keep current with industry news, or search for jobs on this social network.

But when I put together a marketing plan, LinkedIn isn’t necessarily the first place I think to advertise. Since I work in the non-profit sector—higher education by day, community development by night—it hasn’t been a natural fit.

At least that’s what I thought entering this week’s LinkedIn Marketing Innovation session in Vancouver. After spending a couple of hours learning more about this platform, I’m starting to mull over how I can use LinkedIn’s sophisticated customer segmentation for my business needs. At the very least, it’s important to keep up-to-speed on what’s possible on this platform—even if I can’t apply that knowledge immediately.

Seven Takeaways

  1. At Ad Week this year, LinkedIn will announce a new feature: Company Pages will allow status updates similar to how you can post what you’re doing on your personal profile.
  2. LinkedIn’s ability to target customers is unparalleled, leading to precise segmentation by profession, gender, title, seniority, age, industry, connection size, company size, company name, geography, group targeting, education, language and influence.
  3. In Canada, a minimum budget to be effective is $10,000. This applies to campaigns that involve custom polls, banner ads or sponsored messages via InMail.
  4. A self-serve portal allows even marketers with small budgets like me to access some of LinkedIn’s power.
  5. There are nearly one million Groups on LinkedIn—some good, some bad. If you’re considering starting a Group, consider the fact that you’ll likely need to pay for advertising to attract followers.
  6. Interactive LinkedIn Content Ads are morphing banner ads into microsites, featuring rich opportunities for engagement like videos, webcasts and content for download.
  7. Build your Company Page—you own this space so use it strategically to share your story, including a showcase for your Products and Services.

Do your marketing efforts include LinkedIn? Share your wins, lessons and wish list items below.

Buzzing after #KaiNagata Talk at SFU

Is TV News Journalism Salvageable?
Photo credit: SFU Woodward’s

Why do we continue to watch TV news when the end product is superficial and designed to either placate viewers or play to our fears?

Is TV journalism salvageable?

That was the starting point for Kai Nagata’s talk at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts earlier this week.

Rebuttals were made by long-time broadcaster George Orr, CBC Radio’s Kathryn Gretsinger, Openmedia.ca‘s Steve Anderson, and SFU communications instructor Bob Hackett who is also the co-founder of Media Democracy Day. Veteran journalist and UBC instructor Deborah Campbell moderated the discussion.

Since Nagata left his position as CTV’s Quebec Bureau Chief this summer and published Why I Quit, the blog post has generated 500,000 hits and 1,450 comments.

So I was excited to hear from him in person. Nagata didn’t disappoint. He’s passionate about the institution, and hopeful for the future and the potential to empower citizens to become “volunteer journalists” (a la volunteer firefighters) using open-source, online training that doesn’t leave students in debt like traditional j-schools.

By his own admission, it’s a working idea that’s still baking and will likely change and evolve over the course of three years—a self-imposed time limit.

But, of course, it’s his commitment to his craft that I find most compelling and magnetic.

Plus, I admire his willingness to show a clip of his own work and critique its shortcomings in front of peers, mentors and strangers.

I also enjoyed hearing from George Orr who made it clear that the idea of a “golden age” of Canadian reporting is a myth, idealizing a past that never existed. He also succinctly revealed the pitfalls of modern reporting, but didn’t just glibly mouth tired excuses about deadlines and diminishing resources. For example, Orr outlined the desk’s overwhelming desire for conformity that punishes reporters who stray too far from what their competitors produce. And how Google has helped dumb down media, lulling reporters into doing a simple browser search instead of doing their own research over the phone or in person.

It was an excellent discussion and I walked away buzzing with all that’s possible when professional journalists and citizen media start collaborating together.

Julie Ovenell-Carter live tweeted the evening so I’ve pulled together a transcript below of her tweets if you’re interested in a post-by-post replay of the evening.

Vancouver’s hungry for open dialogue on media and ethncity

Me in Media: The Team
Photo credit: Jeremy Lim

Last Tuesday, the United Nations Association in Canada and Schema Magazine co-hosted Me in Media, a public town hall to explore how we can make Vancouver a more inclusive city through media.

CoopCulture helped sponsor the event and, as its Director of Online Media, I put together the social media strategy to promote this free event.

As always, it’s gratifying to see an event come together after months of patient planning over coffee, Skype calls, phone calls and Google Docs.

But most importantly, it’s invigorating to be in a room filled with likeminded people who are passionate about the same thing that drives us to volunteer our time: how we can use media to make positive change.

Over the course of two hours, people sent out 352 tweets that included the event’s hashtag, #meinmedia, and we became a trending topic in Vancouver.

Screenshot of Trendsmap showing trending topics in Vancouver

Five days after the event, the number of total tweets has risen to 661. In fact, the most recent 50 tweets have reached 20, 453 people and produced 47,707 impressions according to TweetReach.

Screenshot of Tweetreach, showing reach of most recent 50 tweets for #meinmedia

 

The numbers show how hungry we are for more events like #NetCulture and Me in Media where we can come together, be candid and brainstorm new ideas.

Check out our live blog below for a tweet-by-tweet transcript of the evening.

What do you think our next town hall should tackle?

Freelance Camp 2011: Storify

I attended this year’s Freelance Camp at The Network Hub’s new digs in New Westminster. The event is an unconference for freelancers. Like any unconference, the day’s agenda is shaped by those who attend rather than pre-programmed weeks in advance by a committee.

I’m not a consultant but have worked with many freelance writers and designers over the years. And I’m regularly asked by friends and colleagues why I haven’t thought about freelancing myself.

The truth is it’s scary. So, I attended Freelance Camp this year to check out the scene and see if I had what it takes to be a successful freelancer.

Here’s an archive of my favourite tips and ah-ha moments. Be warned–it’s a stream of tweets from multiple sessions. If it seems chaotic, try processing all of that information in real time!

One of the themes of the day was the need to be “selflessly grateful” as Raul Pacheco-Vega put it in his session on productivity. In that spirit, I’d like to thank The Network Hub and all of the folks who volunteered to make this event a success. Plus, all of the proceeds from ticket sales are going to charity!