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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?!

Collaboration, Photography and Tweet Ups!

19246_257781601065_257755301065_4875631_4067735_nHi everyone! Wow, has it been a busy week for anyone else?!

This morning I had the privilege of speaking with the students from Loyalist College’s Art & Design Foundation program. The subject: “Social Media for Creatives”.

I’ve had the chance to work with the group before, and I couldn’t have been happier to be invited back by program co-ordinator, Robert Kranendonk. We love working with Loyalist’s faculty and students, and it’s always a pleasure to visit the college. On top of that, one of the highlights of the morning for me, was guest presenting with Lucas Tingle, and his wife and co-owner, Melissa Howlett, of Winding Violets.

These two incredibly talented professional photographers are based in Kingston, Ontario, but have worked throughout North America. They came in, literally at the last minute, to help me explain to the group why social media and personal branding are of the utmost importance for young, creative entrepreneurs. You must take a look at their website to see why I was so excited to bring them on board.

And it gets better!

Tomorrow, we’re partnering with Winding Violets and Loyalist Public Relations, to present the next Quinte Tweet Up! Lucas and Melissa have generously come on board to chronicle the event, pictorally, and we couldn’t be happier! With their avid use of social media, and their gifted photographic skills, they’re the perfect people to work with for the event.

And it gets even better!

Winding Violets is donating our grand prize: A personal portrait session for one lucky guest!

How do you qualify to win? Easy! All you have to do is show up to the Boathouse Restaurant in Belleville, Ontario, tomorrow night between 5:30-7:30pm, and donate to Flights of Hope and their relief efforts in Haiti. This is such a win-win scenario!

Why do you win? Once again, may I direct you to Winding Violets’ website. Also make sure to become a fan on Facebook, and follow Lucas on Twitter.

There’s still plenty of time to RSVP to this event via our Facebook Fan Page, our event profile, or by tweeting me, @brynajones, or @EngineCom.

Hope to see you there!

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.)


Exciting Announcement

twitter-logo-forwebWe here at Engine are psyched to announce a very special collaboration with the students of Loyalist College’s Public Relations program. Along with their professor and program coordinator, Kerry Ramsay, we will be hosting a Tweet Up for Quinte area tweeters.

Details will come soon, but in the meantime, keep your calendars open on Thursday, February 18, 2010 for a night of networking, social media and raising money for a great cause! (Bonus: Fabulous door prizes!)

This is a great group of students, and we’re excited to have them on board to help with all elements of planning, design and promotion. Take a look at the great work they just did for Haiti here, and you’ll see why we can’t wait to work with them.

And as an added bonus, we’ve got pro photograpers, Winding Violets, covering the event as our official photographers. Lucas Tingle and Melissa Howlett are two of the best in their business. Make sure to follow Lucas on Twitter, and take a look at Melissa Howlett Photography on Facebook.

Even if you’re not on Twitter (yet) but you’re interested in learning more about social media, or you love to blog, use Facebook, etc. This is the event for you. Come learn, engage and connect.

Stay tuned for more info! We’ll be posting all of the event updates here and on our Facebook Fan Page.

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?

The Future is Now

retro_space_11The start of any new year brings with it certain emotion: hope, excitment, excpectation. People want to set their sights on things to come, and raise the bar personally and professionally. Yes, most times these resolutions are made with an awareness that what we want might not be what we actually get. However, the consensus seems to be that 2010 feels different. There might be good reason for this–especially in business.

2009 was ripe with innovation in technology, media and marketing. In one year, over 100,000 iPhone apps were created. (And if you didn’t know, word on the street today is that for a mere $200 US you can create your own.) According to social media source, Mashable, YouTube sees over 100 million monthly views. In an eight month span Facebook doubled its size: from 100 million to 200 million users. The release of James Cameron’s new movie, Avatar, was heralded by a highly integrated social media PR campaign. And if we got into the heavy stuff, (ie. Iran elections, Obama’s presidential campaign) we could talk for days about how social media has affected how we live.

The implications for business are astounding. But don’t take my word for it.

Here’s what’s being said of a new year in business, marketing, and all things social (for your Monday reading pleasure):

Social network economy leaving business behind – Toronto Star

The 10 players who will shape technology law – Toronto Star

Five tips to manage Facebook’s new privacy settings – Globe and Mail

Media trends for 2010 – The Guardian

‘Washington Times’ cuts staff 40% – MediaDailyNews

Facebook Anyone?

This is us!

This is us!

A little FYI for all of our amazing blog readers out there: We have a Facebook Fan Page that’s active and full of information that you can’t get here: albums, notes, recipes, links, portfolio, staff bios, events and more to come.

We appreciate all of you who’ve taken the time to follow us here (blog), there (Facebook), and everywhere (Twitter, LinkedIn, Thank you so much!

If you haven’t reached out and connected with us, drop us a line, a tweet–whatever–we’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, check out the Fan Page for today’s…blog post? Yes, that’s right! Our picks for Thursday reading are up.

Monday Morning Reads

j0438525Coffee. Check.

Music. Check.

Articles to inspire. Check.

A list of what I’m reading this morning:

AdvertisingAge’s Book of Tens – The ten best of everything media, design, marketing, and more. If you’re in any creative field, this is a must-read. If you’re not, it’s still a must-read. So read it. Now.

Fast Company: Mr. Social – I have to admit, I always wondered what Demi saw in him. How Ashton Kutcher has proven me wrong, and why he matters to the future of social media.

The New Yorker: Branded a Cheat – I’ve been trying to avoid the Tiger gossip machine, but for us PR/marketing types, this is going to be a case study. Put down the US Weekly, and pick up the New Yorker.

Wired: James Cameron and Avatar – What James Cameron’s epic new film means for movies, media, and the future of communications.

Ad Week 2010 – I’m not so much reading this as I am madly planning my itinerary. But if we’re talking inspiration, then I can hardly leave it out.

What are you reading? Who’s inspiring you today?