Would you have thought for a moment that you could use an integrated social media strategy to promote local food? It is possible and the Taste of Huron (TOH) program is doing just that. Taste of Huron is a program that has been around for over 10 years. It has encountered it’s up and downs over the years, but not because of lack of interest. It is more about lack of funding and lack staff resources to dedicate to program development and administration. The program started out being managed by Huron Tourism Association (HTA) and Huron County Economic Development. Over the years the program has made some remarkable gains in the marketplace. The lack of resources and the closure of the Huron Tourism Association could have been the death of the program, but thankfully with the insight of the Huron Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) and the final board of HTA, the Taste of Huron program was not to fall through the cracks and be forgotten. “It’s not surprising that Community Futures Huron continues to invest in our local food system. It’s one of the fastest growing components of the Huron County economy, with great prospects for business and job growth”. – Paul Nichol General Manager Community Futures Huron Taste Of Huron was resurrected in 2017 through government grants and the sheer desire to make the program work. You might ask yourself why not let it end with a painless death; the simple truth is there is too much to lose. Huron County is one of the most agricultural productive counties in Ontario. The work that has been done in the past has proven that with the proper social media tactics and a strong, event-driven, marketing plan, the brand can prosper and grow.
Social media gives us the ability to stay connected like never before. From personal relationships to workplace inclusivity, the power and importance of social tools has never been more evident or necessary. For companies life LifeWorks, which works to help employees feel loved by providing businesses with a global employee wellbeing platform, this ideology around social media and connectivity is what the technology company is built on. Research by the McKinsey Global Institute found that using social tools to boost communications can raise productivity by 25%. Social media has the potential to empower employees by helping them collaborate and work effectively together. If used properly, social tools have the potential to completely transform workplace morale, attitudes and overall performance.
Climate change and environmental accountability are both hot topics in the 21st century. More and more people are becoming concerned about the products they buy and what impact on the climate their production has. It has been reported that also more businesses are increasingly taking environmental performance into account when selecting suppliers. In July 2009, Wal-Mart announced its intention to create a global sustainability index system to keep track of products ratings according to the environmental and social impacts of their manufacturing and distribution. The motivation behind the index is to create environmental accountability in Wal-Mart’s supply chain and to encourage other retail companies to do the same. Wal-mart Stores, Inc., doing business as simply Walmart, is an American multinational retailing corporation that operates as a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores. As of January 31, 2017, Walmart has 11,695 stores and clubs in 28 countries. Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue – approximately $480 bln (2016), as well as the largest private employer in the world with 2.3 million employees. Walmart Canada has stores in every province and territory, except for Yukon and Nunavut. Walmart Canada has in total 410 stores (January, 31st, 2017).
“Customer engagement is the emotional connection between a customer and a brand. Highly engaged customers buy more, promote more, and demonstrate more loyalty. Providing a high-quality customer experience is an important component in your customer engagement strategy.” – Clarabridge. Customer engagement has always been at the core of any successful business. Making sure that the people your organization is trying to reach feel cared for and connected to your brand keeps you at the forefront of their mind whenever they are in need of a particular good or service. And nowhere is an engaged customer base more important than in the case of a natural disaster. However when you think of emergency services, you may not immediately think of the people they serve as “customers.” After all, we typically refer to “customers” as “a person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or business.” But, without spending money, people rely on the Red Cross, and the Red Cross relies on people for a very vital and essential service.
In his article ao.com: setting an example in social media strategy, Chris Price states that AO.com (formerly Appliances Online) “knows more than most about the power of social media.” The UK based company was founded in 2000 in by CEO John Roberts. According to the their website, the story goes like this: “Following a drink with a friend, CEO John Roberts bets him a pound that he could change the way white goods [aka household appliances] are purchased via the internet. The AO business is born as DRL Limited.” Fast forward to 2016: AO.com expands into the Netherlands with the launch of AO.nl, is named Best UK Retailer of the Year 2016 by Verdict Retail, is awarded the Customer Experience Initiative of the Year at the Retail Week Awards 2016, and is ranked #1 in the Retail Week/Glassdoor Top 15 Retails to work for in 2016. And these are just the latest in a string of awards the company has received. As Andrew Kirkcaldy, who is currently the Group Brand Director at AO.com, admits to Price, “We have to think a little out of the box because white goods aren’t the sexiest of things to create content around.” And at AO.com, thinking out of the box comes to life through an impressive social media strategy that touches virtually all areas of the business.
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.
According to the Instant Pot website, this “intelligent multi-cooker, [is] capable of completely replacing [a] pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker/porridge maker, sauté/browning pan, steamer, yogurt maker and stockpot warmer.” Currently one of Amazon’s best selling items, Instant Pot has a huge online fan base. With an official community site on Facebook boasting more than 434K members and a number of satellite communities (e.g. Instant Pot Recipes with 122K members and Instant Pot Cooks with 60K members), the Instant Pot is an internet sensation. That said, it may be surprising to find out that Instant Pot is not a brand new product . According to Grace Hwang Lynch in her article Not Just a Crock: The Viral Word-Of-Mouth Success of Instant Pot, the electric pressure cooker “has been around since 2010, but really became the buzz during the last six months of 2016.” Let’s take a look at the clever social media strategy that created all that buzz.
Victoria’s Secret is a brand known around the world for it’s glamours images of it’s elusive Angels creating a goal that many aspire to. In the fast paced world of today the excitement of receiving their catalogue in the mail has been replaced by a few easy clicks to order a little piece of the magic. Though this provides quick and easy access to the customer, the company has been faced with the question of how to reinvent that same excitement in today’s world? Enter social media.
Before we are born, we are already getting measured. We enter this world with a measurement of weight and length. Through no decision of our own, we are thrust into a world where the measurement of virtually everything is embedded into the fabric of society. We measure blood sugar levels, job performance, life goals, height, intelligence, and so forth, and the list of possibilities is endless. In fact, I am even getting measured on the quality and content of this blog. “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts – for support rather than for illumination.” Andrew Lang, Scottish Writer Today’s business world provides a prime example in which our obsession with metrics is evident on a voluminous scale. As it relates to the business world, without analytics, a company is vulnerable. However, just owning analytics tools and methods of measure is not enough. While data in business is important, being able to identify the right data that correlates to your overall growth as a company is essential to achieving your longterm goals. This too can be said of the social media for business environment.
PowToon is web-based software that enables users to create animated videos, According to the PowToon website, “anyone – even if you don’t know a pixel from a proxy server – can create engaging, animated videos with a professional look and feel.” Four years after its launch in 2012, PowToon boasts over 10 million users worldwide who have created and shared more than 30 million PowToons. Product development is ongoing; company co-founder and CEO Ilya Spitalnik recently posted PowToon 2016 Year-in-Review: New Features & 2017 Spoilers on the company blog and social media channels. The product enhancements celebrated in this post were, of course, presented in a PowToon video.
Paul Sperry hailed from a family that had a longstanding relationship with the sea. As a result, he went on to become an accomplished sailor himself. Sperry was a Seamen, First Class in the United States Navy and in his spare time sailed aboard his own boat ‘Sirocco‘. During a chance encounter with rough seas, poor shoes on a slippery deck nearly cost Paul Sperry his life. It was at that moment that he began searching for a solution to the unfortunate problem of many sailors. After much trial and error, it was eventually Sperry’s dog who would help him come to a solution. After watching his dog run across ice without struggle, Sperry decided to create grooves in a rubber sole, similar to those that were in his dog’s paws. In 1935, the first Sperry deck shoes were made. The sole of the Sperry Top-Sider deck shoe “sticks like a barnacle” and was therefore trusted by the United States Navy as an official shoe during the Second World War, The Kennedy Family during their sailing adventures, and as the official shoe for the America’s Cup. Given the fact that the Sperry brand of deck shoes were, and continue to be the top choice of such customers, it is no wonder that the Sperry brand entrusts their customers to ensure the quality and the longevity of the brand.
The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the world’s leading museums in regard to natural history and world cultures. Given this fact, one might assume that an institution such as The ROM would want to keep it’s knowledge within it’s walls; however that is not the case. The ROM is arguably one of the most social and tech savvy learning institutions in the country. This is due by and large to their philosophy on social media and their social media coordinating team. Through online communication, The ROM hopes to build strong community connections and encourages individuals to engage in conversations and debates with their experts and employees directly.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most disruptive professional network with over 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories. When I tell people I work at LinkedIn, one of the most popular questions I receive is whether our environment is like Google… then I get asked whether we’re hiring. (The answer to both questions, I would say, is yes.) We are a dynamic company that is fiercely proud of our culture. One of the easiest ways for us to show who we are – beyond the company that sends out connection requests – is by using our hashtag #linkedinlife. Created in early 2015, #linkedinlife has moved beyond LinkedIn into other social platforms, and is being used by employees all over the world to demonstrate the breadth of our culture and our humanity beyond the work we do.
Many churches are finding benefit from promoting their services and events online through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. However, if we look to the education world, we may find ways that social media is being used in the classroom that can be effectively adapted into a Pastors role of teaching, including the weekly sermon and Bible study methods. Jason Tomaszewski, Associate Editor of EducationWorld.com, reminds us in his article “Social Media Has a Place in Classrooms” of the findings of Dr. Richard J. Light (Harvard School of Education) with regards to social learning theory and the learning success of college students, “People learn most effectively when they interact with other learners. According to Light, the strongest determinant of students’ success in college is their ability to form or participate in small study groups. He suggests that this is more important than their instructors’ teaching styles. Student research participants who studied in groups, even only once a week, were more engaged in their studies, were better prepared for class, and learned significantly more than students who worked on their own.” This study underlines the significant learning impact that small group type Bible studies can have, which could include those happening online. It also addresses the lecture-style sermon delivery that is the basis for most traditional church services, which may be better absorbed if given the opportunity to be discussed among those who have listened to it. Social media can provide such opportunities through various means available to pastors and their congregations today.
In our age of digital marketing where there are so many social media options to choose from, one community library is finding success through their development and use of videos. In addition to using Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, the Pickering Public Library is including short, in-house created videos in their Facebook Page, YouTube channel and website to communicate upcoming events, new programs and services, fun facts and promote client engagement. These videos have become quite popular in their community and beyond. Donna Moritz of Social Media Examiner attributes the rise in popularity of short video social media content to how “snackable” they are, as a quick visual method that grabs our attention, “Short videos suit our busy lives, brief attention spans and the need to consume content easily and quickly. Because fans are consuming content via their mobile devices while they’re on the go, the shorter the content is, the better.”
The media itself has been the news lately. The Trump campaign has made the press headline news. This conversation is not new. Since ancient Rome when important announcements were carved out on stone tablets and placed in busy squares, the public has measured the quality, delivery and merit of information/content. We are a society obsessed with being “in the loop” and up to date with news that is important to us. This is evidenced by the ubiquitous and near-constant use of electronic devices. I chose The Hamilton Spectator, one of Canada’s oldest newspapers and media outlets, for this week’s case study. I wanted to know how TheSpec.com measures their performance using web and social media metrics.
When you ask an old person what their biggest regret in life is, an overwhelming majority lament that they wish they had travelled more in their youth. They often cite a lack of funds, or life’s responsibilities as reason for postponing their plans. Contiki was a company that was created to address this issue. Contiki is a tour company that connects like-minded people, by offering affordable trip packages for ages 18-35. The organization’s slogan is “No Regrets” which shows that they know what note they need to strike with their customers to encourage them to book a trip. Contiki uses social media effectively to encourage their customers to tell their story, and by doing so, market the service to all of their friends. While not the only marketing technique they use, this is one of the many ways Contiki keeps their customers engaged.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats is the oldest professional sports team in north America. The Hamilton Football Club was formed on November 3, 1869, and played their first game on December 18, 1869 against the 13th Battalion (now Royal Hamilton Light Infantry). Some of the early history of football in Canada and Hamilton is a bit vague, but by 1883, there are records of the Hamilton Tigers playing in the Ontario Rugby Football Union playoffs. The decades and the game have changed but the Ticats commitment to community and fan engagement has not. Being active, accessible and current with their fans is critical on and of the field even during off-season times. In the ever changing landscape of professional sports and out-bound marketing, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have kept up with new technologies and successfully tackled challenges to reach their fan base.
When it comes to social media, most of the time it is the IT and retail companies actively engage with their employees and customers through digital channel. Unlike many traditional manufacturing companies who struggle with effective social media communication, Cummins, a Fortune 500 tech giant, knows how to make the most of social media to engage with its employees.
Professor Justin Bruckmann walked into his martial arts academy on September 8th, 2016, expecting a normal day of teaching classes. What he was instead greeted by was the destruction of his life’s work. The club’s hot water tank had burst, flooding the entire building. Nothing could be salvaged, from the floor mats, to the washrooms and Justin was left waiting for insurance to pick up the pieces. With nothing to do but wait, Justin turned to his social media network to spread the terrible news, there were classes to teach and no academy to house the students. What happened next was a perfect example of employee involvement helping an organization recover and thrive.
As excitement continues to build for the Jays, I started thinking about how this week’s topic of Social Media and Employee Involvement draws several parallels to baseball. Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) is a solid team. It’s one of “Canada’s most shopped general merchandise retailers” (CTC, 2015) and is “strengthened and supported by a Financial Services sector (CTFS).” (CTC, 2015). Yes, its outfield is well positioned with a vast external Social Media presence; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Linkedin, but its infield is quite impressive and should be commended as well. The use of Social Media within this company has been a key contributor to involving their employees.
Going to the dentist for most of us can be a stressful visit and many patients suffer from anxiety before going to the dentist. At a visit to Gardner Dental Group (Burlington, Ontario) they do their best to make the patient visit a relaxing and enjoyable experience. From the moment you step into their office you are greeted with a friendly smile in a modern environment. You have the choice of three waiting areas; a quiet reading room, a TV room or an arcade room that actually includes retro video games! This made me think …the patients are likely at peace in this setting…but how does the practice maintain the morale and engagement of the employees?
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.
Employee engagement is a vital element of a successful and productive work environment. 1 Companies like Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants (herein referred to as “O&B”) have been empowering their employees for years, which has helped them become one of Canada’s top fine dining restaurant companies. Their employees are passionate, energetic and have a sense of pride when speaking about their employers. O&B operates a portfolio of unique and innovative restaurants across Ontario3.
Social media is often perceived in the business world only as a marketing tool that bolsters customer satisfaction and engagement. This client-centric approach limits the ways in which social media can be utilized as a positive tool in the workplace. Social media has many business applications that are not related to marketing, including strengthening employee engagement by improving internal communications.