In recent years the essential oil industry has really taken off. New companies have jumped on the band wagon with great fervor and consumers can now find essential oils at shopping malls and big box stores. In such a booming industry, doTERRA International, a Utah based direct sales essential oil and wellness company, has set itself apart from the competition in large part due to its integrated use of social media to educate and engage consumers about the company, its sourcing practices, product development and philanthropic work. From a grass roots company founded in 2008, it has now surpassed the billion dollar sales mark and expanded its global reach to over 3 million customers spanning 100 countries in less than ten years. While their accomplishments are directly related to developing and sustaining their own product supply chain, it is safe to say the company’s efforts in social media aimed at bringing the supply chain to life, ongoing customer engagement and collaboration, as well as the continual education made available have all had a significant impact on their success.
Our day is populated with up-to-the-second news of what president-elect Trump will do next. This timely case study does raise the question…as powerful as social media is today in our private and business lives, what does the future hold for this platform? Before I look to the future let’s briefly look back. In my youth the word “social” meant going outside to play hide and seek with my friends. In my 20’s “connected” meant you owned a thing called a “Portable Bag Cell Phone” which weighed 8 to 10 lbs and was an affordable alternative (at $1800) to the “flip phone” which retailed for nearly $3,500. For Star Trek fans the flip was almost a must have! Then came the internet as we know it today and the mainstream platforms of digital connection were exemplified by email and blogging. Fast forward to Feb.4, 2004: Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in his Harvard University dorm room. At present the business, marketing and political landscape looks bright. But what does the crystal ball say?
Rolling around on a skateboard is a right of passage for most children growing up in North America, many of them dreaming of becoming the next Tony Hawk, or Nyjah Huston. While many of these people will never attain these goals, they will still have a blast pushing around town on their boards. Skateboarding is a wonderful tool for transportation, but it has a few key limitations. The main problem is hills, and everyone who has ever stepped on a skateboard has a deep fear of the dreaded “speed wobble“. While going down a hill on a skateboard, you don’t have many options for braking and going up hills is also an issue, as it becomes a battle against gravity. Boosted Board is a company that was founded to improve some of the issues that have plagued skaters for years. Boosted Board is an electric skateboard controlled by a small handheld remote. You can adjust your speed and even brake! Skateboarders everywhere now have a solution to some of their problems. Boosted Boards has turned to social media to showcase their product to the skateboarders of the world and get everyone skateboarding again.
In April 2013 Lowe’s launched their extremely successful “Fix in Six” campaign on Vine. With Lowe’s being the second largest home improvement retailer in the world it seems appropriate that their Vine campaign is a variety of six second videos that gives tips for home improvement. Since the campaign began in 2013, Lowe’s has created and shared 115 vines that have generated over 65 million views.
Brandwatch is the world’s leading social intelligence company, they are used throughout large corporations as a tool for analyzing and sharing insights about social media. Brandwatch’s objective is to take regular analytics and share them with their clients in way that is attractive and understandable. The information shared by the company tells their clients about the conversations, trends, and people impacting their business. Their technology spans over 80 million online sources to ensure they, ‘never miss a mention that matters’. Brandwatch is a unique and futuristic company that, “gathers millions of online conversations every day and provides users with the tools to analyze them, empowering the world’s most admired brands and agencies to make insightful, data-driven business decisions.”
Church leaders of all ministry types and sizes will likely agree that the task of numerically measuring progress, although sometimes tedious, can be one important means of gaining insight to a ministry’s health. We measure congregational attendance and engagement to help gauge existing ministry connection and determine future programming, staffing and resource needs. We measure congregational giving both in the monetary sense and by way of volunteer hours, to help with our strategic planning and ongoing ministry mission. Many churches have broadened their mission field to include the online world. This includes utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more to connect and network with people who may otherwise never engage with any aspect of the church. According to Church Works, “Social media can be a brilliant way to reach users who may be entirely outside of your community…effective, generous engagement on social media can attract new followers who appreciate your message and identify with your mission.” How then can we best measure our social media and digital reach?
As one of the world’s most renowned supply chain managers most people would not question that Walmart has ‘perfected’ their product management, as they have products made in over 70 countries and manage an average inventory of $32 billion. However, during this Halloween season Walmart seems to have dropped the ball when listing a Halloween costume from supplier, Totally Costumes. This highly controversial costume is named, Razor Blade Suicide Scar Wound Latex Costume, it is a stick on latex scar that looks like a fresh wound from the blade of a razor. The wound is designed to be worn on wrists to look as though the individual has attempted to take their own life. Bloggers, Nicole Lyons & Stephanie Bennett-Henry, recently caught eye of this costume while it was posted on Walmart’s online store and responded to the item on, thelithiumchronicles.org, in a letter titled, “Dear Walmart”. In the letter the two go on to explain how if the company would like to do this costume justice they could go on to make an entire line-up of costumes “to make a buck off of one of the most devastating things that could ever befall a family”. They suggest to go along with the latex scars the individual could wear a sash that says, “I finally did something right”, and even have blood that shoots out of the veins after the razor finally cuts through the right vein. They suggest adding a straightjacket and a pail of meds for the individuals who do not “get the job right” and have to live knowing they could not succeed at that either. They also added the idea of a speaker that repeats a permanent goodbye to haunt those they are leaving behind. The idea of a Grieving Mother Costume was even brought forward to add some cash to the corporations pocket that would include, “ a lifetime of guilt, stigma, and shame … some latex wrinkles for the torment of unanswered questions about what they could have done differently, and why couldn’t they see the signs”. The letter goes on to add a Suicide Survivor Costume saying, “You’d add one of those tacky letters you carry, like an “F” for Failure or “D” for Didn’t do it right, or “W” for Walmart is a disgusting corporation who makes money off of the backs of people who battle every … day with their own… Read more »
As I sit, and write this blog today I am sipping on nothing but Mildmay’s finest alkaline spring water, Flow. If you haven’t experienced Flow water yet you truly are missing out. This naturally alkaline spring water is from owner’s (Nicholas Reichenbach) , own family farm in small town, Mildmay, Ontario. The water is packaged into a recyclable Tetra Pak box that is PET and BPA free. This packaging is the first of it’s kind to be used in North America. Since beginning packaging the water has become recognized across North America, and has even gained Josh Donaldson from the Toronto Blue Jays as a spokes person for the brand. Flow prides itself on having a package that is ‘as positive as their water’. In Canadian Grocer article, Canadian company gets into the Flow with spring water, Reichenbach quotes, “It appeals to conscious consumers… people who like high-quality, healthful water and really care about what they put into their body. They also equally care about minimizing their carbon footprint and minimizing their impact on the environment”.
If you were using social media for personal or business use in Canada during the summer of 2016, you will have no doubt heard at least something about The Tragically Hip. The favoured Canadian band was touring in what likely would be their last, due to frontman Gord Downie’s onset of brain cancer. Concerts sold out and media of all sorts took note of what was developing into a notable time in our country’s music and lifestyle history. As the final concert came to pass in August – complete with the attendance and interaction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – an influential social media phenomenon was occurring. Ensight Canada reported, “In addition to multiple trending topics throughout the weekend of the concert, social media posts about The Hip and (Gord) Downie’s First Nations comments generated roughly 20 million potential impressions across Canada over the past week. What’s really telling is that Canada has about 14 million daily Facebook users, so when we look at the impressions generated, we can conclude almost everyone in the country who used the internet or social media came in contact with the story in some way.”
A business cannot remain successful without undergoing change through ongoing product development and design. At one point in time, the majority of new products would be developed through brainstorming sessions – likely with key corporate players sitting around a boardroom table and a large flip chart or white board for recording. Today, product development is vastly different. The current use of technology enables individuals to converse and collaborate anywhere in the world. Perhaps what is of particular interest is the inclusion of social media and how it is now common place for companies to rely on their customers to come up with product ideas. In the world of retail sales, this route can be quite successful. Frito-Lay and their “Do Us A Flavor” contest is a perfect example of a company that took incorporating social media for product development to a whole new level and with great success. Not only does a social media based product development campaign engage customers, it enables the company a chance to create a product that hits the shelves with customers already feeling invested and ready to open their wallets. But is it possible to utilize the same social media product development in other industries to develop services, or possibly entertainment?
Even if you’re not in the market to buy or sell a home, you’ve likely had your eye caught by a realtor’s face on a bench sign, bus stop ad or other billboard-type promotion. It has been a successful exposure-gaining method used for decades by people in the real estate industry, one that has often been a strong step to gaining contacts for potential deals. But did you know that according to Realtor Social Marketing, 90% of home buyers begin their search online? Nicole Bafaro, Sales Representative with Sutton Group Heritage Realty in Ontario’s Durham Region, has successfully built her real estate career by venturing beyond the goal of simply making contacts; she is building and strengthening relationships through online client engagement within her community through her use of social media.
In 1872, long before the invention of social media, Mildmay’s Commercial Hotel began it’s first days of operation. It has since welcomed thousands of visitors to the small town located in Southwestern Ontario with its country charm and welcoming flare. In 1919 the the business was bought by the Schmalz family and has remained with them ever since. In 2006 the business was bought by Nicole Wise (Schmalz) and became Harleys Pub and Perk. Harleys Pub and Perk has proven that some things will just never get old with it’s almost century old charm, Grandma Schmalz’s Ribs and Kraut, and even with a few of the regulars; however, the functionality of the pub and it’s marketing tactics have had to be changed with their times.
In a rapidly expanding town that has seen its farm fields disappear under housing developments and many small businesses go under due to the influx of nearby big box stores, Victoria Hunt, owner of Carousel Kids, a children’s second-hand clothes & new toy shop in Waterdown, Ontario, has discovered that utilizing social media to connect with the community can have a profound impact on the success of a business. With a Facebook page and an unapologetically authentic personal social media account, Ms. Hunt has shared the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur with a huge heart and a desire to succeed in what some would say is a difficult sector of the retail industry.
For small town non-profit, WES For Youth Online, social media plays a large role in volunteer involvement. As a small organization, WES For Youth Online currently has less than a hand full of staff members on pay role. To wear as many hats, and play as many roles as these individuals do on a regular basis takes real passion. Therefore, their issue doesn’t lie in keeping employees engaged and connected; the question is, how do they keep their volunteers involved? The answer… social media.
Starting out in a 1 room unit back in 1999, Saysons Web Design & Printing has grown to be the go-to hub for small to medium businesses in Brampton, Ontario to help with their marketing and technological needs. The team of Shafia Hussaini and Ilyas Yazdani combine to use their respective skills in a joint proprietorship that would allow for them to run their own organization and at the same time, provide the expertise and creativity needed for other businesses to stand out among a crowded and competitive environment. Saysons has developed a unique team that spans worldwide and not just offers graphic design services, but also IT solutions, web design, hosting options, and valuable marketing & consulting help.
When William Booth founded The Salvation Army back in 1882, he based much of its mission on the concept of “adapting to attract.” Employees of the Ontario Central East Division of The Salvation Army have recognized that utilizing the social media communication methods of today is in keeping with that concept, which is one of the reasons they are looking to Facebook Groups to help employees plan their 2016 Christmas Kettle Campaign.
No matter which social media platform I’m on, there it is…. No matter which conversation I join, someone brings it up…. Turn on the news and there is again… Pokémon GO. Pokémon GO is officially the biggest mobile game in the United States, with 21 million active daily users.1 According to Wikipedia it is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company. It was released in July 2016 for iOS and Android devices. The game allows players to capture, train, and battle virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world. It makes use of the GPS and camera of compatible devices. Although it is free-to-play, the game supports in-app purchases of additional gameplay items. An optional companion Bluetooth wearable device, the Pokémon GO Plus, is planned for future release, and it will alert users when Pokémon are nearby.2
In the last decade we have watched the birth of social media, and are continuing to watch it grow and mature. In times like these, where Trump and Clinton are in a tight race for the U.S. Presidency, The UK has just voted to leave the European Union after 23 years together, and we are facing something reminiscent of the civil rights movement with #BlackLivesMatter…there’s a lot to talk about. Opinions and commentary fly free on the internet and political opinions in particular are abundant. Networks like Twitter are so full of posts, following issues in real time, that it’s not uncommon to see something on Twitter before an official article is written about it. A lot of people find it annoying to open up their Facebook pages to find the opinions of their old high school acquaintance’s neighbour’s sister on their Newsfeed. Others love engaging in a good old fashioned political debate within the comments section of a post. Trump and Hillary themselves are tweeting their way to the White House, using it to stay relevant and connect with their audience. There’s no denying, our social media world is becoming more and more political whether we like it or not.
Marketing strategies have shifted, grown, and developed greatly over the course of history. From DeBeer’s age old “Diamonds are Forever” campaign in the early 1900’s and the Lucky Strike ads which had everyone picking up a bad habit in the 60’s, to the modern day “Just Do It” Slogan that defines Nike, we’ve seen a lot over the years. The channels of communication for marketers has changed over time as well. The game changed for marketers again and again, challenging them to come up with new and innovative ways to promote their products and services as the technologies and trends changed over time. In today’s world the internet reigns supreme, and marketers have quickly adopted web advertising as a part of any self-respecting ad campaign. Social Media is the most important aspect of this. A campaign that doesn’t have a #hashtag, YouTube video, or searchable Facebook content, may as well not exist at all. The companies that are realizing, embracing, and integrating social media into their campaigns are the ones who are seeing the most success. Many modern brands are doing a great job of combining social media with their marketing strategies, but one in particular really stands out.
Social Media Metrics can be used to benefit virtually any business, but are even more beneficial for small businesses and those in the early stages of growth and establishing themselves. Metrics help to illustrate and clarify which aspects of the business are gathering the best response and most traffic over various social media platforms. This allows marketers to select and focus more attention on the platforms that are getting the best response rate, to keep doing what’s working, and to improve upon what’s not.
There’s no denying that social media has become a part of our every day lives. It has evolved far beyond individual and personal use, and is now a necessity in the business world. You would be hard pressed to find a company without a Facebook page, and any one that doesn’t won’t be around for very long. Even a business like Camp Grounded, a summer camp for adults that is built on the concept of “unplugging” and leaving all of your electronics at the door 1, has their own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts on which they do their advertising. It is used everywhere. And while the primary function of social media among businesses is to stay connected with customers and to carry an online presence, it can also be used as a way to increase efficiency and improve upon supply chain management. One major issue most companies face when managing their supply chain is communication. It’s important that all suppliers and manufacturers work together, but especially if different components are being sourced from different time zones, maintaining efficient communication can be challenging. This is where social media comes into play; it’s all about communication! If used correctly, social media should help the supply chain become more streamlined and efficient.2
DB Schenker supports industry and trade in the global exchange of goods: in land transport, worldwide air and ocean freight, contract logistics and supply chain management.1 Globally they employ over 66,000 employees at over 2000 locations. Their Canadian operations account for over 1600 employees at over 40 locations. Roughly 3 years ago, DB Schenker started to utilize social media as part of their marketing strategy.
His head thrashes side to side at night for hours on end while he hums loudly. Not knowing if this is normal three year old dreaming behaviour, night terrors, or signs of something more serious, his parents take to the internet to find out what they should be doing about it. You Tube specifically. It didn’t take them long to decide to book a doctors appointment. A year later he has a diagnosis of Epilepsy and his symptoms are being managed to reduce long term effects. This is a great example of how social media is currently playing a role in preventative health care and alerts us to the potential expansion in this area.
Chances are if you have used a wearable device or sat in traffic and had to use Waze on your smartphone, you have already been apart of The Internet of Things. Wikipedia defines The internet of things (IoT) as the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. So when we talk about the future of social media, the internet of things must also be included in the conversation. IoT has the potential to change what it means to be social. We can see this first hand in the mobile traffic app, Waze. By linking internet connected smartphones to traffic signals, cameras, people, data and other systems, the network helps drivers optimize their journeys in real time.
New Trends in Marketing Some people today will tell you that traditional marketing is dead – killed off by social media and the redistribution of power from marketers to the consumers. With technology we are able to find out for ourselves which brands are superior; we don’t need to be bombarded by ads to be persuaded we can simply read online reviews, blog posts, feeds etc. or ask our friends and family. We are even able to block digital ads from reaching us as we peruse our favourite sites. Consumers are literally outcompeting marketers for each other’s attention – according to Forrester Research 70% of people trust brand recommendations from friends and only 10% trust advertising. Personally, I agree. This is the end of marketing as we have known it; ads full of purely self-serving content merely get overlooked these days. Enter Content Marketing. This is when companies provide valuable and interesting information to their target audience and the consumers can’t help but to read or watch and take notice. The strategy behind it is to produce useful and relevant information to buyers who will then reward the company with business and loyalty. It’s no longer about marketing your brand but rather marketing an experience with your brand and reaching people on an emotional level before they make their purchasing decisions. This isn’t exactly a new marketing technique but a growing trend with 92% of marketers using it to increase brand awareness according to the Content Marketing Institute. One company that has this marketing tactic down pat is Huggies the maker of diapers, wipes, swim pants and training pants. Their target market is huge and they do a fantastic job of connecting with them and keeping them engaged. They even have a large following from women who don’t need their products yet – moms to be! Here’s how they do it…