Chatting with the media- Social media inside Metroland Media Group

BradenPomeroy    May 15, 2017

  Everybody knows of their community newspapers, but few know that these community newspapers are owned, operated and published in Ontario by Metroland Media. It’s a surprise that Metroland Media is not a common household name, having most of Ontario’s community media market share. In fact many people refer to their community newspapers by the name on the front page, but behind it all, is Metroland Media. Metroland Media Group has gone through many stages of ownership and various titles, but has since been remained Metroland Media Group after the 2006 merge of Metroland Publishing and City Media Group. Torstar, originally The Toronto Star, owns and operates Metroland Media Group, Star Media Group and has a diverse and developing portfolio of operations mainly across Canada, as well as other sectors around the world.

   Metroland Media is one of Canada’s leading community media companies with operations in newspapers, digital properties, flyer distribution, printing, consumer shows, magazines, directories and online commerce. They are known to be the most trusted and read source of local news and shopping, with loyal readers, deep trust and the ability to drive action. President Ian Oliver of Metroland Media Group, is a strong believer in staying connected to communities and is quoted as saying “I don’t consider myself an individual success, our company is successful and I just happen to be the president. Metroland has been successful by being deeply involved in the communities it serves, staying very close to businesses in those communities and responding quickly to changing needs.” Metroland’s mission statement is focused on being connected to the community and accessing over millions of consumers across Ontario weekly, Publishing over 100 weekly newspapers, 2 daily newspapers and distributing over 4 billion flyers each year. They even own a variety of websites that are highly used in today’s markets, for example; Wag Jag, and

To say Metroland Media is connected to the community is an understatement; they are the leaders in communication, so, how did they develop such talented and professional communication skills? It all goes back to what happens inside the company, the roots, the backbone, and the employees. I, being an employee of Metroland Media, know first hand how the company communicates and what steps and actions they take when trying to develop or implement new ideas, products and services. Salesforce, one of America’s most highly valued cloud based computing companies, developed a customer relationship management product focused on communication and building customer relationships along with many other aspects. Metroland, after years of deliberating, planning, structuring and customizing, recently implemented Salesforce throughout the organization. This was not an easy task considering the size of the organization, as well as the many different divisions, cost factors and legal aspects, but they finally did it. We are currently in phase one of the process, which allows employees access to some of the basic functions and the social media tool inside the platform, Chatter.

   Chatter allows us to connect with every employee, with files, data, and experts- anywhere, anytime. This statement is nothing further than the truth. Having a social media tool like Chatter in the organization was something Metroland needed for their employees to stay on top of the trends while keeping employees active and creating a new-found passion for their work. This quality improvement leads to heightened employee retention, motivation, and innovation. These three key success factors allow the company to drive new revenue, deliver better products, create inspiring content and ultimately keep their consumers happy. Chatter has many various functions and avenues for employees that are able to create individual groups for projects, discuss latest ideas, share images or videos and collaborate as a team from opposite sides of the province, without managers.  Salesforce says “Connect, engage, and motivate employees to work efficiently regardless of their role or location, collaborate on sales opportunities, service cases, campaigns, and projects with embedded apps and custom actions”, these capabilities in a single tool allow employees to be innovative without limits, right inside our own organizations forum.  Receiving instant feedback from multiple employees all over the province creates efficient work while receiving professional expertise about information you may know nothing about.

    Metroland, originally known as a print and distribution company, has come a long way in developing their digital products and services. Striving for excellence and staying number one in connection to the community, took a big step in implementing Salesforce and for good reason, communication. How else are you going to communicate with your consumers if you can’t communicate with your employees and keep them involved, motivated, engaged and committed to the company? Chatter has only been released to my division of the company for a few months, but I have seen immense success in the brief period it has been operational. The amount of posts, information, and ideas that have been generated is outstanding. The employes, being mainly 40+, are having a ton of fun and success with this platform, isn’t that what it’s all about? Work being fun, creates involvement, innovation and results. The amount of emails it will decrease, the phone calls it will limit and the time spent searching for answers has already dropped significantly, not to mention a decrease in stress and an improvement in decision-making. Implementing Chatter, minimizes stress, turn-over rates and maximizes performance, management attitude and overall quality of life.  

Lessons for Others

    Implementing Salesforce was strategically the best move Metroland could have done for consumers and the employee’s. When a company’s employees are involved, encouraged, motivated and inspired, all by their own co-workers, it does remarkable things for the business. Social media inside any organization will have beneficial results when implemented properly, is well structured, monitored and tracked. Metroland Media has done an excellent job with doing so and I look forward to seeing the results and being a part of the movement.

Organization: Metroland Media Group
Industry: Media
Name of Organization Contact: Ian Oliver, President

Authored by: Braden Pomeroy

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


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