In a world where social media can make or break a business, Tripcentral.ca puts it all on the line for their customers. The only major travel agency to leave their Facebook reviews open for public comment (with a 4.8 star approval rating and immediate responses to any negative comments), they put their reputation to task daily to hold themselves accountable to their customers, and to be the best they can be.
TripAdvisor is a good example of how to build successful business and sustain YoY growth by customers’ usage and engagement. Once a website for hotel reviews, TripAdvisor became an online place where customers can plan and book nearly everything for their trip: starting with accommodation, restaurants, guiding tours etc. Nowadays, TripAdvisor provides both its customers: businesses and travelers, a platform to socialize. Travelers share their experiences via reviews and businesses have an option to respond directly to the traveler. TripAdvisor is one of the largest travel sites that offers advice from millions its users. With 465 million reviews, covering 7 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions in 49 markets worldwide, TripAdvisor is branded the largest travel community in the world. TripAdvisor attracts 390M unique visitors every month, more than 280 reviews are submitted to the website every minute and more than 10 000 businesses are added to the website and apps every week.
When we think of social media, we often envision the curved necks, hunched shoulders and bent elbows of mobile phone users. These active, engaged audiences are liking, following, tweeting, and pinning their way through the day with ease. Social media provides incredible opportunities to create engaged communities. And companies are increasingly considering how to leverage these technologies to strengthen, widen and deepen their reach among a key stakeholder group: their own employees. Would it be possible for employees to feel as engaged using social media at their place of work as they do on their mobile devices during leisure time? If so, how can companies develop a robust, successful employee involvement strategy around social media; the kind of strategy that could be a game-changer when it comes to reaching the highest heights of internal collaboration and external recruitment? Exchange Solutions, a software solutions company in Massachusetts and Toronto, has discovered some novel ways to promote the use of social media and technology tools to improve talent attraction, and increase collaboration across their organization.
Sephora has made a global presence in the last few decades in the cosmetic industry. Founded in France 1970, by Dominique Mandonnaud, which was then sold to LVMH in 1997. The company had quickly evolved with retail stores expansions and a wider variety of products. Sephora offers a large range of products such as fragrance, makeup, skincare, hair products, and accessories. In the last few years Sephora has taken a massive transition into digital retailing as the company uses social media as a main platform to expand the brand.
Tripcentral.ca started as a one store operation in Hamilton, Ontario back in 1989. It has maintained that intimate, family dynamic over the years even though they now employ over 120 people with agents in 25 locations across Central and Eastern Canada.
“You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within them.” — Dr. Bob Nelson, Employee Engagement Expert (http://www.egroupengage.com/blog/social-media-to-increase-employee-engagement) It’s no secret – the Vega team is definitely lit from within. With a strong set of internal values and a workforce that lives and breathes those values, it is unsurprising that Vega was named one of the Best Workplaces in Canada for six years running and this year nabbed the prestigious title of #1 Best Workplace in Canada 2017. How does an organization like Vega secure its place at the top? It starts with a connected community of likeminded people.
“I think that [social media] will be more integrated into everything. As you think further down the road, I don’t think that there’s going to be something called social media that people will be talking about in 30 years. I’m not even sure if people will be talking about it in five years.” – Ellie Wheeler, Greycroft Partners, Principal Social Media’s future is being shaped by such emerging technological trends as wearable electronic devices and activity tracker applications. Both FitBit wearable activity tracker device and iFit fitness application for treadmills are actively engaged in building social communities on-line, making them an integral part of the overall experience.
TELUS is a Canadian communications company that was officially founded in 1990. Since then, the company has grown to become Canada’s fastest growing national telecommunications company. TELUS provides services to 8.6 million wireless subscribers, 1.7 million high-speed internet subscribers, 1.4 million residential network access lines subscribers and 1 million television subscribers. Telus also provides communication products and services, which include wireless data, Internet Protocol, voice, television, entertainment and video and it’s also the nation’s largest healthcare IT provider. The success of TELUS can be credited to their company ideology. The TELUS slogan is “The Future is Friendly” and the company incorporates this ideology into each aspect of their brand. TELUS is known for their cheeky use of ‘cute’ animals throughout their branding and marketing campaigns to emphasize their slogan; but they also take many other measures to ensure the continued success of the company and to demonstrate their loyalty in providing excellent service to their customers. TELUS is active on a number of different social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn. They also have a company blog and an online discussion forum for customers called the Neighbourhood, that allows customers to “Share thoughts, ask questions, and get answers. All in one place.”
Love them or hate them, The Real Housewives franchise is undeniably in your face. The franchise which originated with producer/host/personality/media guru Andy Cohen, has been unapologetically sashaying its way into living rooms globally since 2005. Viewers are provided with the opportunity to peek behind the curtains and gates and business women from Beverly Hills, Orange County, and most recently Toronto (!). What we see is not always funny – it can be emotional, heartbreaking, or downright embarrassing. But no matter the situation, viewership continues to embrace the popular television series, which has led Bravo TV to create more and more methods for their viewers to engage and consume programming content. Bravo has taken a dynamic approach to consumer engagement, including generating dynamic social media strategies to a continually thirsty audience. Bravo’s whole enterprise social media formula is nothing more than a well-devised strategic assault on the senses – and it’s bloody genius.
When you’re an airline that receives 35,000 social media inquiries per week, you need a fully engaged team to be able to pull off your commitment “to respond to every user comment or question within 60 minutes” and resolve every issue within 24 hours, but this is exactly what KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is doing. The airline even updates their social media banners every five minutes letting customers know the approximate wait time for a response.
Today, most companies are using social media in some capacity, but very few are anywhere near achieving the full potential. People assume that social media for business purposes are primarily for marketing and recruitment. But, leading organizations like Burberry, Virgin and General Electric are recognizing the positive impact social media can have when it implemented across all departments within the organization. The term Whole Enterprise Social Media means the integrated approach to the use of social media for performance improvement. Though integrated social media systems are available, most companies are still functioning with internal department working in silos and using technology systems specified for a single business purpose. The problem is that this makes communication more difficult and processes very inefficient. For example accounting, sales and marketing are three different areas that likely have overlap of customer and vendor data. Working independently means three different departments are entering the same data, communicating in various capacities and likely not coordinating efforts very well internally.
Brands becoming more Digital Consumer packaged goods companies have started to spend more for digital and social media to better meet changing needs of their consumers who are increasingly looking for education and inspiration on-line. Digital and social media helps companies to craft a more personalized and better targeted message to their consumers and, as such, often achieve higher ROI vs. traditional TV media based on one-size-fits-all approach. Parmalat Canada views Social Media marketing as an essential tool in brand building and promotional plans for its flagship brands President, Galbani, Black Diamond, Balderson and Astro. These brands have on-going digital presence at major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. The company seems to having embraced Social Media practices that require more message customization, more personal approach to consumers and faster response time vs. some traditional marketing media like TV and print.
If you’re like me and a fan of the television show Big Brother Canada, you were undoubtedly excited when it returned earlier this month for its fifth season. One thing they changed up however, was the live show following the eviction. In the past, the evicted house guest was interviewed on stage by the show’s host Arisa Cox and former house guests Peter Brown and Gary Levy. This year however, the format has changed and viewers are now asked to watch ‘After the Eviction’ live on Facebook. Every day when I scroll through my Facebook feed I notice at least one Facebook Live video posted by someone I follow. Whether it’s an acquaintance who as has begun using the social media platform to try and make a name for them self in the fitness community, or someone who has attended a concert and wanted everyone to get a glimpse into the show by posting their favourite song as it’s being played – live streaming appears to be here to stay.
WebiMax is an internet marketing company that was founded in 2008 by Ken Wisnefski. According to Wisnefski, the company was founded on the principle of providing a service that would actually help clients succeed “by working with them more as a strategic partner than merely an outsourced vendor.” WebiMax boasts that since its founding in 2008, the company continues to evolve as the internet marketing industry evolves. The company claims to have the largest number of internet marketing professionals in the US, with over 100 marketing specialists on their team to help their clients reach their organizational goals. The company provides a wide range of services to their clients such as: Search Engine Optimization Search Engine Marketing Web Design Social Media Marketing Reputation Management Conversion Optimization PR Marketing Lead Generation E-mail Marketing E-Commerce Solutions Mobile Websites Link Removal Services
Eight years ago, when my Dad told me that he had joined Facebook, I groaned. Being in my early adulthood at the time, when my social status meant a lot more to me, I was worried about what my friends would think. While I adored my father (and still do!), Facebook was a space for Millennials with Bieber haircuts and skinny jeans, not for Dads who wore Velcro sandals. In fact, prior to the public launch in 2006, Facebook was only available to users who were enrolled in a university or college. Fast-forward to 2017, and Facebook is a place everyone—Dads included! Most of us have grown so accustomed to social media being a part of our lives that it seems strange to think about it as a “new” phenomenon — but it is. In less than 10 years, a handful of niche sites catering to small populations have turned into thousands of apps and platforms that connect the majority of the world’s population. But where is social media and technology headed in the future?
Synchronized swimming is a relatively small sport when comparing it to sports like hockey, soccer, speed swimming, and gymnastics. Synchro’s numbers in Ontario, in Canada and in the world are a mere fraction of those of the larger, more popular sports. So how does a small club, in such a small sport get noticed? For the Waterloo Regional Synchronized Swim Club, located in Elmira, Ontario, the answer came to them this past summer. While most club’s take a break from everything for a few months in the summer, the Waterloo Synchro Club aimed to increase the club’s profile not only in the Waterloo Region, but across all 7 continents. Erika Lindner, president of the local club, noted that at the beginning of summer 2016 “our follower numbers on Instagram and Facebook were low, and limited to current and past swimmers and their families”. In the pool, the local club is top dog, having earned the Provincial title of top club in the Province for 7 of the last 10 years. “We’ve always been trend setters and now that our club was on social media we wanted to set ourselves apart from others in this arena too”.
In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low, affectionately called Daisy, started a movement. This movement focused on learnings she had gained abroad, in the form of outdoor and educational programs. This became a program of female empowerment and the Girl Scouts became a place where girls could truly participate in life beyond the classroom and home. Girl Scouts served as a community of girls who wanted to change the world, and build lifelong bonds along the way. Many years later, the Girl Scouts organization is synonymous with uniforms and badges, charitable endeavours, and of course, cookies! But in the same way that retailers have had to understand how to engage consumers online, so have the Girl Scouts. Starting in 2015, Girl Scouts USA launched user-generated Facebook, Twitter and Instagram campaigns that created massive upticks in online engagement and product sales.
At times we can all become the victims of a good trend. The next big things is always around the corner and can often times seem like the answer that we have been looking for. But is the appeal the concept itself or the popularity of the solution ? Will the solution work within the operating reality? In the world of social media the only true predictor is Social Media Metrics.
If you are like me, you were one of those people shocked to hear Donald Trump won the American Presidential election. Chances are – also like me — you weren’t putting as much stock into the predictions of social media analysts as you were to major media outlets and traditional election polling firms. If we had been looking at the numbers and analytics we may have been better prepared. Phil Ross, a social media analyst at Socialbakers told Techcrunch.com “Analysts monitoring the social media activity of both campaigns on the major social media channels saw the outcome of this election coming months ago, and kept talking about the massive silent voter base that was forming around the Republican nominee. Social media analysts continually sounded the alarm that all of the polls were not reflecting the actual situation on the ground in the pre-election landscape.”
In today’s highly competitive market, organizations must strategize to create avenues of innovation, efficiency, and increased productivity to hold on to their competitive advantage. An area with room for growth for many firms is more effective supply chain management. With a vast array of social media tools available, organizations can improve operations in several ways including but not limited to increased visibility, communication, coordination, and reduced costs. “Although a vast majority of people reference only the most popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn when thinking of social media, the true social media experience is much larger for companies. They can engage users through smart phone applications, RFID, IoT, Big Data, business social media (for sharing information between partner groups) in order to help information spread much more quickly.” Ranjan Sinha, Logistics and Supply Chain Management Professional
When you think of social media, popular networking websites like Facebook and Twitter may be the first applications that come to mind, however many companies are leveraging more robust social platforms to better plan and control their supply chain. Data mining, data sharing and online collaboration are just a few ways that social media can improve supply chain efficiency. The term supply chain management is relatively new and was first published in the Financial Times in 1982. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s when the term began to take hold. The term supply chain refers to the process involved in the production and distribution of a product or service. To explain the term further, I will use an example of an Oreo. The beginning of the supply chain starts with sourcing ingredients for the product such as sugar and cocoa. Other points of the supply chain of an Oreo include shipping, manufacturing, distributing, retail sales, consumption and finally waste disposal. Supply chain management strategies requires a total view of the system to optimize business processes. Having control over supply chains are essential for businesses as it impacts costs and risks, and because today’s customers are demanding transparency of it. For example, customers want to know where the foods they eat or the clothes they wear come from, and are asking companies to provide information about sustainability and ethical sourcing.
Role of Innovation in Consumer Packaged Goods Developing innovative products for consumers is considered as one of essential marketing functions at Parmalat. Product innovation usually plays an important role in life cycle of any consumer packaged goods company. Innovation is tasked to drive incremental volume for the company, keep consumer delighted with its products and provide retailers with increased profits opportunities. In Food Industry, major players, such as Parmalat, are literally expected to come up with new products every year to inject news and dynamics to the category and “protect” their shelf space at retail.
Thirteen years ago Steve Brooks was a husband, and a new father, married to a synchronized swimming coach. As a graduate of Sheridan College’s Graphic Design diploma program, Steve had taken many photography elective courses and was now a camera and photography hobbyist. Steve enthusiastically took photos of his wife’s synchronized swimming teams to help with the local club’s promotional material. This is how Brooks Photography began. Recognizing that parents enjoyed seeing action photos of their athletes, then Markham Synchro president, Nancy Chan, suggested Steve take pictures of all competitors at the upcoming Central & Northern Ontario regional championships. The photos were a great hit, and soon Steve was at all Synchro Ontario competitions as the official photographer of Synchro Swim Ontario. Taking action shots at synchronized swimming events began to make Brooks Photography a household name in synchronized swimming households. Parents and athletes alike followed Brooks Photography on Facebook. Wanting to take the business further, Steve started as second shooter at weddings. Once he started sharing those photos on Facebook, he began getting phone calls requesting him to be the main photographer for weddings.
IBM is an American technology company with its headquarters in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware, middleware and software, and offers hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. IBM is also a major research hub that holds the record for most patents generated by a business enterprise for 24 years in a row. In 2001, IBM introduced the Jam concept in the form of a social computing experiment to engage its workforce. This was completed via a web-based, moderated brainstorming session. Starting in 2007, IBM opened the sessions to external organizations similarly intent on fostering innovation through online cooperation. IBM’s Innovation Jams have been used by governments, academic institutions, businesses and other organizations to address proposals ranging from employee involvement, urban development, to global community engagement through public service. “Jams drive IBM’s research mandate forward. IBM uses the most cutting edge technology to glean information from the data collected. Jams bolster organizational value as specific recommendations are provided to the participants upon completion. Jams are the most effective style of crowdsourcing as they target groups of people with common goals.” Christopher Murray, Technician in Development, IBM
A powerful component of social media from a business perspective is the ability to listen to what consumers are saying. Social listening technologies are available to track conversations around specific phrases, words or brands. As a result, companies are able to identifying new opportunities that may not have been on their radar, and many are responding with innovative product development or design. Twenty-five years ago, it would have been costly and time consuming to gather focus groups in order to gain feedback. But today, this valuable market information can be gathered in a matter of minutes—assuming of course that people are in fact talking about your brand. The food industry is a specific sector where product development is critical to success. There are a number of reasons why this specific industry is constantly creating new products or innovating existing ones. I chatted with my colleague, Karen Proper, who is a technical manager in the product and process development department at NSF International to gain more insight on this topic. Karen and her team work with clients in the food and beverage industry to help bring a product concept to life, overcome production challenges or to innovate an existing one. When asked why product development is so integral to business, especially in the food industry, Karen replied, “Product development keeps companies competitive in the marketplace, compliant to regulations, able to react to ingredient and manufacturing process changes, and also responsive to trends and consumer demands—all of which are critical to success in the food industry today.”