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Words That Get Your Content Shared!

Well, this is one handy Infographic!

We do quite a lot of Social Media Management over here at Engine. It certainly is true that WHAT you SAY and HOW you SAY IT makes a big difference in engaging people online. Of course the ‘Likes’ of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on, change the rules all of the time, but your audience always reacts to engaging content. Because, guess what? They’re human!

What’s the Rule?

Be real. Be transparent. Provide interesting, valuable information (CONTENT) via images and text to keep user’s interested. Practice different ways of sending your message. Here’s a handy guide that offers great insight on how important your words really are.

Need help with Content Marketing? Contact Us >

Merry Christmas ~ It’s 5 Days of Awesome Time!

Monday December 17 – Friday December 21 ~ Get your marketing questions answered by our team on our FaceBook Page. Our Gift to you. No strings attached.

We Love Our Clients


April showers bring PR Disasters?

Spring is a time of birth, renewal and PR crises it seems. Sony, Facebook, and a NHL player, agents and broadcaster are in the midst of protecting their image.

First up: Sony Debacle (here too)
Sony has been dealing with hackers stealing their users’ information. Sony has terribly managed the situation. It took them a week to notify their customers of a breach (7 days too late) and two weeks for the CEO to apologize (13 days too late).

Aside from debacles, a great article on how to use social media within your corporation: Implementing Social Media in Business

Sean Avery, his agent, and an NHL sportscaster (now fired) get embroiled in the same-sex marriage debate. Twitter can cause controversy quickly, and lose you your job. Always think before you Tweet!

And to round things up:
Facebook pays a PR company to send bad news and reports about Google to bloggers. Too bad the agencies forgot to tell the bloggers that they were working for Google… oops!

Brand that Facebook Page!

Recently I read an article from Techipedia about “Building the Perfect Facebook Page for 2011.” This article breaks down and simplifies the page layout. It is a great resource for companies, small businesses and not-for-profits.

Normally, the a page looks like an extension of Facebook with your logo on it; however, customizing your page will easily create brand awareness and continuity. Many people realize the importance of a great looking website, but underestimate the importance of a great looking fan page.

Having an underwhelming fan page will get you an underwhelming response. Companies such as Pepsi, Red Bull, and McDonald’s realize the potential opportunity and have created a page that is consistent with their image and looks fantastic.

Creating a branded, stylistic Facebook page will entice customers to check out your company. You will get your message out, not Facebook’s. Talk with us today and we can help your brand successfully use Facebook Pages.

Social Media for Small Business

Thanks to the team at Hastings County for inviting me to speak to a group of entrepreneurs, from all over the region, about Social Media for Small Business. Despite some technical difficulties with the internet (which ended up being a good illustration for the technology gap business owners face in rural Ontario), the day was really successful.

We introduced the group to the basics of social media, explaining how it could benefit their businesses. There was so much more I would have liked to accomplish, but we covered quite a lot with limited internet access. However, I did promise that I would make my slideshow for the workshop accessible. (We didn’t make it past the fourth slide, but we did have some lively conversation!)

For those in the group who were able to sign up for Twitter, here are a few people you’ll want to follow:

Daryl Kramp, MP Prince Edward-Hastings – @darylkramp

Mayor Neil Ellis – @MayorNeilEllis

Councillor Bob Dolan – @Councillorbob

Hastings County – @HastingsCounty

Bill Glisky – @BillGlisky

Dan Taylor – @CreativeDanT

You can find a list of local folks on Twitter, HERE.

This is also a great resource: Time Magazine’s list of Eight Big Ideas for Small Business.

Thanks to those of you who were able to join us, and to Hastings County, and the Marmora Town Hall for their hospitality!

Tweet Up Outtakes

Thursday’s Tweet Up, at the Boathouse Restaurant, was a huge success! We had lots of fun, gave out a tonne of prizes and we were able to raise some money for a good cause. What better combination could you ask for?

We here at Engine wanted to take a moment to thank the students from Loyalist PR, who partnered with us to put together this evening of networking and fun. Special thanks to Marina, Jeremy, Michael, Jordan, and Eri for all of their hard work! Thanks to Kerry Ramsay, co-ordinator of the Loyalist PR program, for her direction and guidance.

Another huge thank you goes out to Winding Violets, for taking the time out of their busy schedules to photograph our event. They also donated our grand prize: A private portrait session! (So cool!) Despite poor (very poor) lighting, they took a bunch of great photos, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Make sure you follow Lucas on Twitter, and check out their Facebook Fan Page for an album of pictures from the event.

Thanks also to all of the vendors who donated door prizes: The Boathouse Restaurant, Classic Hits 95.5 & Cool 100.1 FM, Polish Day Spa & Salon, Essential Relaxation, Capers Restaurant, L’Auberge de France, The Organic Underground, The Empire Theatre, Chumleighs, Kernels Popcorn, Sweet Escape Dessert & Coffee Lounge, Belleville Art Association, Symphony Boutique, Stephen License Ltd., The Bull & Boar, and Foxy Hair Salon. Wow – that’s a lot of amazing donations!

You can take a look at our Facebook Fan Page for more pictures from the evening, but here are some outtakes that you won’t find anywhere else.

@brynajones (Me) having a great chat with some tweet up guests

@brynajones (Me) having a great chat with @KerryRamsay and some tweet up guests

@ariel_54 (Ariel) signing in with the help of @TweeterBird82 (Jeremy)

@ariel_54 signing in with the help of @TweeterBird82

What do you call a whole group of Tweeters? A flock? A gaggle?

What do you call a whole group of Tweeters? A flock? A gaggle?

@youresovanilla chatting it up

@youresovanilla chatting it up

@quinterecycles enjoying the company of @SaraHamil

@quinterecycles enjoying the company of @SaraHamil

@QuintePR and @jerikabradford

@QuintePR and @jerikabradford





@jayzeb deep in conversation with @ariel_54

@jayzeb deep in conversation with @ariel_54

@dantruman and @brynajones having some fun with @maltesefalcon behind the lens

@dantruman and @brynajones having some fun with @maltesefalcon behind the lens

Thanks again to everyone for a successful evening! My only question: Who’s hosting the next Tweet Up?!

It’s Official: Tweet Up!

As I’m sure you’re aware, we here at Engine have partnered with the students from Loyalist College’s Public Relations program to host a tweet up for all Quinte area social media users. All of the details can be found on our Facebook Fan Page, and you can RSVP via our event profile. You can also tweet, email, call or fax in, your attendance.

Heck, we’ll take anything but carrier pigeon and smoke signal.

There are so many ways to connect! That’s why we’re hosting a tweet up. We want to take all of our great online connections, and translate them to the real world.

You’re all so cool! We want to meet you, and introduce you to some other great people in our community.

You know what else is cool? Our logo for the event! (Fillmore is my hero.)


Toronto Works for Haiti

torontoforhaitiToday is one of those days when I’m amazed by the connections, and opportunities for community building and business, that social media allows. I’m even more awestruck by being surrounded by so many people working passionately for the cause of Haiti.

Why focus on Haiti on a business blog? Because it’s the perfect example of how so many elements that we’ve been discussing in this forum (ie. social media, cause marketing, corporate social responsibility) come together to make a measurable impact on society.

Today my friend and colleague in the social media space, Sophie Bifield, introduced me to her friend and colleague, Elliot Ng. Elliot is the founder of Toronto Works for Haiti, a group of volunteers in Toronto offering professional services in exchange for donations to Haiti.

Their goal is to raise $5,000 for relief efforts before March 18, 2010.

Currently they stand at 20 volunteers with skills ranging from administrative services to professional editing,
social media marketing, and realty. There are no overhead costs, and they’re asking that all donation go directly to the organizations they support, namely the Humanitarian Coalition, the Canadian Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. All the recipients of the goods and services have to do is let them know how much they’re donating so they can keep track of their efforts.

Founder of Toronto Works for Haiti, Elliot Ng

Founder of Toronto Works for Haiti, Elliot Ng

Here’s Elliot’s take:

After hearing about the earthquake, I felt that it would not be enough to for me to just make a donation to the charities. I asked myself, “What can I do to offer more? How can I help people in Haiti even though I am in Toronto?” On top of that, my professional background helped me put my own spin on it: coming from the business background, I understand the need for businesses, and naturally I started connecting the dots. Why don’t I try to find other like-minded individuals who are compassionate and want to mobilize our skills for this great cause? So I picked up the phone and pitched to my friends: Roxanne Chow, Katherine Lee, Kilim Park, and Mark Savel. They liked it! Roxanne gave the group the name we are using now. Katherine started creating the structure of the organization. Kilim started writing on our blog. Mark suggested ideas on how to make this idea bigger. It snowballed and the rest is history.

There are a few things I love about this idea:

  1. It raises money for a great cause.
  2. It allows small business owners to make an impact on a global scale.
  3. It creates awareness for small business, and is a great PR opportunity.
  4. It creates opportunity for collaboration, and networking.
  5. It’s a simple idea that your business could easily adopt for any cause you’re passionate about.

What do I want you to do?

  • Take some of the ideas we’ve dissected and apply them to your own business strategy. The bottom line for you is increased awareness, networking and sales.
  • Get involved with Toronto Works for Haiti or another local group like New Mercy Ministries, both to help with relief efforts, and to network with some brilliant, talented people.
  • Join the Toronto Works for Haiti Facebook group, and voice your support. Put their logo on your profile to spread awareness.

Whatever you do, make sure you act now. If not for Haiti, then for the cause you care about. Everybody wins! And you know I love a good win-win.

Are You Connected?

Maasai warriors on their cell phones, in rural Kenya. Are they more connected than your small business?

Maasai warriors on their cell phones, in rural Kenya. Are they more connected than your small business?

I have to admit, after the earthquake hit Haiti, I was having trouble writing new blog posts. I was having trouble writing anything. When the world is rocked by tragedy, our collective heart goes out to others in extraordinary ways. Already having a passion for this nation and its people, I was happy to see the world community reach out.

Non-profits, government, military, and citizens put their creativity to the test to mobilize and act to help Haiti. I was blown away by the level to which new technologies assisted not only relief efforts, but also rescue efforts. We saw an iPhone app save a man’s life. Tweets from Haiti were sent, and picked up by CNN, moments after the quake. I was able to follow the Canada for Haiti telethon unfold on Facebook, while watching the American efforts live via the Hope for Haiti iPhone app. Both the American Red Cross and World Vision Canada initiated text campaigns to raise funds.

All of these efforts have raised millions of dollars. Millions. And those are just a few examples of the ways that social media has united people for the cause of Haiti.

So what’s the lesson that your business can take away from this?

It’s that social media works, and it isn’t going anywhere. Let me repeat: Social media is not simply a trend. It’s not a fad. It’ll change–that’s guaranteed. Next year we might not be talking Facebook. We might not be using Twitter in the same ways we do now. But I can promise you, social media tools aren’t going anywhere.

When the tsunami hit Thailand on Dec 26, 2004, we didn’t have the iPhone. There was no “app for that.” The term “app” wasn’t even in our lexicon. That was only five years ago. Imagine how our communications will change in the next five years?

With technology being accessible to the masses, whether through free online platforms, websites, or smart phones, it’s time that small business owners sit up and take note. Your target market is donating millions of dollars online. They’re creating movements via text campaigns. They’re looking at your website, judging your expertise based on your content. Your audience is connected. Are you?

Case Study: Changing behaviour one tweet at a time?


Are you creating a call to action, or simply talking to hear yourself speak?

Two incidents last week in the world of social media piqued my interest as to the value associated with spreading a message online. There’s been lots of discussion on the topic of viral marketing–using preexisting social networks to increase brand awareness or achieve other marketing goals–so I won’t talk definitions. However, using these two cases to highlight the pros and cons of our cache of marketing tools is never a bad idea.

The first issue arose on Wednesday, when the New York Times revealed that H & M had been destroying new, unworn clothing that it couldn’t sell. Needless to say, people were outraged. After a brutal recession, and in the middle of winter, rather than donate these items to charity, H & M had the gall to throw them in the garbage. Apparently Wal-Mart does the same thing, as do many others in the for-profit production system.

When this story hit the social media world, it went viral. Twitter lit up with tweets and retweets about the incident–none of of which were positive, or in defense of the retailer. The blogging, sharing, and passing on of this story must have hit thousands of people online. It became a PR crisis for H & M, and one that they addressed pallidly, albeit promptly, saying that it wasn’t “standard practice”, and it wouldn’t happen again.

We could discuss this issue ad nauseam from a public relations standpoint, and I still might in a future post, but right now, let’s focus on the spread of information online. The second case also involved a viral message, but this one was found on Facebook.

On Thursday of last week, you may have noticed a strange trend: Many of your female friends changing their status line to their bra colour to raise awareness for breast cancer. No one quite knows where the message originated from, but it reached viral status quickly, with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Fan Page going crazy with new fans and updates. The Toronto Star reported that the page went from 135 members to 700 within hours, but today, it’s at over 141,000 fans! That’s viral marketing in action.

However, it bodes another question that I think is more important: Does the online transfer of information change the behaviour of your target audience?

The case of the H & M debacle created a movement that changed the behaviour of the retailer (at least for now). People (many in their target market) got angry, voiced their concern, and the target audience (H & M) had to take action. In this case, apologize and remedy the situation. Here we see viral messages creating a call to action, and a level of awareness, that had to be addressed by the party in question.

The breast cancer bra colour “campaign” definitely spread a message, but did it have a real-world affect? Some might say that increasing awareness equates with reaching an objective. I would agree that that’s the case if there had been a concerted effort on the part of a legitimate cancer-related organization to organize this campaign, but it just wasn’t so. As the origin of the message is unknown, there’s no way to track the communication process. There were no goals set, there were no measurable objectives–it was just an idea.

Now I love ideas, but I don’t think an idea alone results in action. Isn’t that what we want viral marketing to be about?

A spokesperson from the Susan G. Komen Foundation said that they don’t care whether the campaign raised money or not; if it leads to more women getting mammograms, and lives saved, while people have fun, then that’s enough. I tend to disagree–it’s not enough because there’s nothing to prove that any of this awareness will change the behaviour of the women involved.

Whether in the for-profit or non-profit world, don’t we want that information to be a call to action? Shouldn’t we expect not only brand awareness, but increased revenue or donations, recruitment of new volunteers, etc.? These are just some of the questions that these two incidents should have us asking.

What I love in both cases is the spread of information. What I think is lacking, especially in the bra colour example, is the means by which to track and validate our claims that awareness leads to action. Anil Dash touched on this subject last week in the context of his personal Twitter account. Quantity doesn’t equal quality, nor results.

The moral of the story? If we’re to successfully drive online marketing campaigns, we need to stick to the basics: Define your target audience, set measurable goals, and devise a way to evaluate the success of the campaign.

What do you think? Is awareness an end in itself?