Top Ten List – Lessons Learned!

I love taking Continuing Education at McMaster because each course is unique and there is always much knowledge to gain.  This is my last post for my Social Media Research & Techniques.  The focus for our last assignment is to discuss the important lessons that we learned.  Here goes:

10.  There are endless tools, platforms and programs available to enhance research and evaluation of PR & marketing campaigns. The trick is to find the one that best suits your needs and to keep on top of what is new.

9.  When blogging, get to the point and keep it concise.

8.  Just like your grade 5 teacher taught you, spelling and grammar does count.  Keep your copy clean and accurate to build your credibility.  It really is true that the credibility of the writer decreases with the number of errors.

7.  One of the most difficult things to do when creating a plan is to decide what you want out of it.  If your goals are not really specific and defined, then it is really difficult to evaluate if you are successful in your campaign.  This is also very important when justifying a social media campaign to someone who has not bought into the social media.  You need to provide them with clear objectives so they are well aware of your end goal.

6.  Group work is always a challenge, even with the most awesome group.  I personally find it really difficult to brain storm, assign tasks and resolve issues through a shared document on-line.  Then I lost access, which really threw off my plan of action.   Plans are meant to change!

5.  Return of investment may really differ on a social media campaign compared to a marketing campaign.  The ROI may be “softer” and less direct as far as outcomes.

4. The importance of blogging and the influence they have in mainstream media is significant.  They may not be “reporters”’ however, they have an important role to disseminate ideas, news, opinions and conversation.  It still needs to be written well to be influential.

3.  Twitter is more than just a 140 character micro blog.  It can be an effective tool to find your audience and speak to them.  Be authentic, timely and don’t forget to have some fun.  You are more likely to have people follow and interact with you if you are enjoying yourself.

2.  Measurement tools are out there on the internet and many of them are free.  Make sure you set up your campaign well, so you know you can measure your metrics.  You need to set this up well in advance of setting your plan into place.

1.  Most likely my biggest lesson learned is the importance of the multi-level approach.  Twitter is good, Facebook fine, blogging is beneficial; however, using all three or other tools in conjunction with one another provides a platform.  Your message can resonate with your audience on a blog, discussion and links can take place on Twitter and more in-depth discussion, pictures and documentation on Facebook.  They are great tools on their own, but together they have more impact and power.  Don’t be afraid to give them a try and experiment a little.  You have nothing to lose.


Kony 2012 ~ Public Opinion

Who is this Kony?

Kony 2012 coverage last week could be compared to traffic on the 401 on a Friday night.  Traffic was heavy and bumper to bumper.  There were some unhappy drivers,  a few collisions, but people were happy to get on board and move.

Kony 2012 - HBO

Kony 2012 - HBO (Photo credit: Avakian)

Enough of the analogy; needless to say if you liked the campaign or not, it has brought coverage and awareness to a long time issue in Uganda.  It is not a new issue but it may be new to some people, which in my mind has made it a successful campaign.

Why was it successful?

By targeting fans of people who influence others, they created a huge buzz and movement on-line.  This was more effective than relying on those who influence or the stars themselves.  It also stirred other stars to become involved, which created even more traffic and hits.  This wave of activity  caused the topic to be front & centre on every social media platform.

Their campaign was successful because it was clear how to take action and they provided various degrees of action.  You could donate, sign a petition, re-tweet or assist with the awareness campaign on April 20th.  I personally signed up for their campaign package because I want my kids to understand and care about others, that are not as fortunate as they, to live in Canada.

Did it make a difference?

Kony may or may not be caught in 2012.  There could be someone just as evil waiting in the wing to take his place; however, a whole lot more people around the world know and care about what will happen to the people in Uganda.  I think this is a good start to making a difference.

The Philanthropist Within

Research Project –

Canadian Cancer Society

Image via Wikipedia

Canadian Cancer Society

Our research is focused on students aged 19-25 in University and College.  We already know from our preliminary research that this age group is very engaged in social media.  The Canadian Cancer Society is very prominent on-line; however, this demographic does not seem to be as prevalent.

Twitter Users

After completing a Twitter Search, 100 user groups and individuals were found.  Only two Universities had Twitter groups specific to the Canadian Cancer Society, McMaster and Lethbridge University.

Narrowing our focus to this niche market in this age demographic, could have a significant impact for the Canadian Cancer Society.  According to the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada,  2.1 million students are enrolled  in Canada.  Even a 10% participation rate could boost Canadian Cancer Society’s awareness, volunteers and revenues. 


Canadian Pirates say “Eh” not “Argh”!

I had the pleasure to attend the #MacPirate event at the beautiful Ron Joyce Centre/DeGroote School of Business in Burlington.  The event was a McMaster Class in Advertising , set up to formally thank the Pirate Group for their archive donation.  It also became a lesson in advertising from a truly successful Canadian company.

Twitter Back Channel

It was great to have the Twitter back channel as part of the event. I did feel at first like I was interrupting the speakers and presenter (my mother’s lessons must be ingrained in my psyche).  It also felt a little intimidating, as the entire room can view what you have just written.  Once the event progressed, it felt more natural and I found that it helped me to stay connected with the speakers.

I also found it a helpful tool to ask questions during the presentation, so  you could Tweet and then continue to listen.   I was able to listen more actively and feel more connected to the speakers.  They were really engaging and had many humourous stories and commercials to share with the audience.  I am sure that by tweeting during the sessions, those classmates not able to attend could glean some useful content from the three advertising professionals.

I felt my Tweets were mostly commenting or reporting on the event itself and the advertising lessons that they shared.   Terry O’Reilly’s advice to test the product or service before you can sell it was very valuable.  It certainly did him well as he created a successful advertising campaign for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  I  put a few questions forward during the presentations; however, because of the moderator and time constraints, there was not a lot of time available for questions.

Lessons Learned

Custom LEGO Pirate
Image via ?Image via CrunchBase

For my next Twitter Back Channel opportunity,  I would  ensure one hour before the event that my Twitter app is working on my phone!  That was too stressful and easily fixed!  I would also get there earlier to get a better seat, as it is hard to read the feed if you are on the sidelines.

At future events (one which I hope to host for work in May), I would ensure that the questions that are poised by the Twitter audience get some type of forum.  If not at the event, possibly the speakers could answer some of them after the event through Twitter.

Lastly, I would continue to do some homework prior to going to an event with a Twitter Back Channel.  I think it helps to create your Twitter questions and makes for a more interactive event.  I also found it good to check in and out so you could see who else might be in the room.  It might be someone you know in real-time or on Twitter that you have not yet met face to face (like Aron Wade in the Wednesday night class).

Overall, I felt the Twitter Back Channel brought the pirates to the people.  It was a great way to collaborate, share and learn more about the bootie that Pirate Group has so generously donated.


The old saying “If you don’t know where you are going – how do you know if you get there” holds true when creating your communication objectives.  Here’s their road map to clearer social media communication.

Communication Objective – begin two-way conversations with your audience

1.  Tweet solar energy advice, policies, information, trends on a daily basis (at a minimum)

2.  Search for people in the Hamilton area, that are home owners and follow them (10 per week)

3.  Use Tweet Scan to find people and groups interested in clean energy, solar panels and the environment (weekly)

4.  Post testimonials and record retrofits on Facebook so it is a record of the work they have done

5.  Link to the Solart  customer’s Facebook accounts


The measure of their success will be in the increase in conversations and leads that are generated from Twitter and Facebook.

English: Real Goods Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Issues and Opportunities

Often times, the issue that surrounds using social media as a communication tool is how to measure its success, how much time it takes and who is responsible for the task.  As it needs to be utilized on a daily basis, it must be designated to someone who can be responsible for it and ensure that everyone is feeding into the plan in an appropriate way.  This most likely would fall to the Communication or Marketing Dept.

The opportunities that Solart can leverage are many.  They are involved in local Home Shows where they participate as an exhibitor.  This is the perfect opportunity for them to have people participate in a poll on their website as to why they would use Solar energy and what is holding them back.  They could also create a contest with the #solarenergy hashtag, encouraging people to Tweet why they want a cleaner city.  This would assist them to find their potential audience.

Risks and Assumptions

Solart could risk hitting the wrong target market with a contest, as some people will enter a draw just for the prize.  Then they will be trying to communicate with people who are not engaged with their products.

I have assumed in this blog that Solart wants to increase their social media presence and they are not successfully doing this at present.  They may have a different measure of success than I do.  I am also assuming that people who install solar panels would also want to share this information with others.


Assignment #2 – Yours to discover

Secondary Research

This is an interesting group of people who are influencing the way we communicate.  The young to mid 30’s group is quite large in Hamilton, with  504,559 people in this age category.

According to a recent survey by uSamp 81.2 % of people use Facebook, 46.2 % use YouTube and 33.2 % use Twitter.

Environics Canada has done a study on social media research.  Hamilton ranks very high (on of the top ten) in the contribution of social media postings.  The study relates this to the demographics of our community as being diverse.

Environics is able to draw the conclusion through research that 1/3 of Canadians stay in touch with family and friends through Facebook and YouTube.

When doing a Google Search for : solar panels, Ontario; Solart Groups shows up on the first page, but in the 11th spot.  This can easily be missed by most consumers researching the topic.

Primary Research

Unfortunately, Solart Group does not have enough data to warrant data on a Google Ads seach, so I have to dig deeper into what they are presently doing on-line.

Here’s the stats on their social media presence:


Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

21 Followers           21  Following

15 updates

No one is retweeting or developing any conversation with the company, with 18 days between Tweets.  I would give them a “C” for their engagement on Twitter.


Solart has 606 people on their Facebook account; however, most of their posts are just information on where they plan to be giving information sessions.  There was some older posts answering some simple questions, but for the most part it seems very controlled and one way.  I will give them a “B” because they at least have people going to their page.


Although it is on the website, there is nothing on their YouTube site, which begs the question… why bother!

What did I discover?

Solart cannot increase it’s opportunities to provide estimates, if people are not talking to them.  Solart’s gap is clearly engaging their audience.  Solart needs to find a way to get their listening caps on and participate in the broader conversation about solar energy.  They need to find ways to participate with their Facebook Friendss and utilize Twitter to search trends and topics.  By doing this, they will be able to demonstrate they are leaders in the field and can be trusted.



Assignment #2- It’s Elementary Dear Watson!

UK Pounds and magnifying glass

Image by Images_of_Money via Flickr

Defining a goal statement for Solart

Solart Energy Group has an opportunity to turn prospective customers into real customers.  You don’t start to go to open houses, unless you are in the market for a house (unless you are really nosey).   So one of their social media goals is to:

  1. Increase the number of home solar estimates in new home owners by 10% in the first quarter

Yoo Who – Where are You?

Our market is directed specifically at young, upwardly mobile couples that own homes in the City of Hamilton.  They are interested in sustainable energy, organic gardening, eating fresh food that is grown close to home and with an income in the mid 50-80’s.  They are interested in saving money and the planet.

Where can we find these young green couples?  They are busy working full-time, networking and enjoying their friends and co-workers.  According to Mashables, 17% are sharing experiences with brands on Facebook.  For the Twitter users, 55% are using this platform on their phone.  According to Rebetel more than 60% are using Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with friends, family and co-workers.  What we don’t know is how many are in the market and what terms they use to search and what groups they join to discuss green issues.

More research is needed to discover more this Hamilton market!