social media

The Next Adventure Begins

I’m excited to announce that I am heading out to Calgary for a new job opportunity starting November 1! (More details about my new position to come.)

Calgary

Interestingly, I was in Calgary when I got hired at Circus Communications in Ontario, so I find it quite fitting that I am now heading back to Alberta for a new opportunity in marketing & communications.

Anyone who knows me shouldn’t be surprised, this is the fourth time I’ve moved for a job. 🙂

It’s definitely been an amazing experience working at Circus. I’ve learned so many new things and met amazing people in my time there.

circussite

I originally applied as a copywriter after a friend pointed out the job listing,. The position ended up being a Social Media Coordinator & Writer position. Little did I know that I would end up wearing MANY different hats unrelated to my job description, and that was awesome. Before working at Circus, I knew nothing of Facebook Pages, Google Analytics and AdWords, loyalty program creation, shopping mall marketing….the list goes on.

To say they created a social media monster is an understatement. As anyone who has been bombarded by my tweets, blogs, status updates, videos and more is well aware of. I love my social media!

I had the pleasure to work with an amazing group of people with skill sets all over the map. It’s cliché to say each day was different, but that’s the truth. One day I was writing social media reports, the next I’m in Ottawa making videos in a mall on a research trip for a client pitch.

My manager Angie wrote some kind words to announce my departure and I think they sum up everything quite nicely:

Where does one go after an exciting career full of rollercoasters and ringleaders? How about the rodeo? It’s with mixed emotions that we will be bidding Brad farewell as he heads westbound to find new adventures in Calgary.

Brad’s been an integral member of the social/digital media department and will be missed for all he contributes to the Circus team, from writing to reporting, to Apple genius to man-on-the-street video interviewing… and everything in between!

His last day with us will be Friday, October 19th – details of farewell festivities to follow.

To everyone I worked with, thanks for a great experience. On to the next chapter of the unpredictable life I live. Don’t worry, you’ll still be bombarded with updates from me so it’s like I’m not even gone. 😉

Revealing the secrets behind McDonald’s food

In case you haven’t heard, McDonald’s Canada has pulled back the curtain to showcase how their food is made. In a bold attempt at transparency, they are letting real consumers ask any question they like about the food. Instead of the usual corporate B.S. the public is used to getting, they are actually addressing the questions on a dedicated site using videos and real answers. Ever wanted to know how the food looks so perfect, or what’s in the secret sauce? All is being revealed over at McDonald’s Canada Youtube channel and the Your Questions microsite.

“Ever wanted to ask us about the food in our Canadian restaurants?  Now’s your chance! We’ll answer any questions about our food – even  the tough ones – then post a personal reply from McDonald’s® Canada.”

Simple, direct and honest. This is social media at it’s best: opening a two-way dialogue, creating buzz and being super awesome. It’s genius.

In this always connected world where every brand is now under the spotlight, McDonald’s is taking control of their message and showing they have nothing to hide. They have even revealed how to make the secret sauce for the Big Mac.

I must say this is the best advertising campaign I have seen in a long time (and it’s not just because I happen to worship McDonald’s!). The takeaways here aren’t anything new: be open and honest and everything else will fall into place. Many brands just haven’t got that message yet. Social media is helping them understand there is nowhere to hide anymore!

Of course there are critics, this is a billion dollar brand that is known for many controversial issues (pink slime anyone?), but McDonald’s has reacted in a perfect way that resonates with consumers.

The campaign is picking up a ton of momentum, I’ve heard people talking about it on radio, television  and all over the web. News outlets all over the world have picked up on the campaign. This is a viral campaign in every sense of the word: it’s spreading like virus!  Everyone wants to know the secrets behind the biggest fast food chain in the world. Many urban legends and misconceptions have circulated the internet for years, and this is their bold attempt at stopping them in their tracks.

One point of criticism: Users can’t comment on the videos, and while they do show real behind the scenes, they are also very controlled. While very open and honest, key information is being left out of the conversation. Maybe the next video can detail the food additives and manufacturing process of the food before it gets into the store. Either way, at least the world now knows how to make Big Mac sauce.

Great job McDonald’s! Now to head to my kitchen and attempt to see if I can make a Big Mac that is just as good as the restaurant!

How do you feel about this campaign? Do you love it, or hate it? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

10 Ways to stay up to date with Social Media (and other things)

In my previous post, I talked about how constant learning is key to survive in the social media realm (and really in an industry). As there are millions of sources for information, it’s difficult to organize everything and keep up to date. I’m going to share some tools I use to digest as much information as I can in the most efficient way. A future post will focus on sources I use to keep updated about my industry, in the meantime here are some tools you can use to stay fresh in yours:

Flipboard

A great app for the iPad and iPhone. You can add all your social streams like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, plus Google Reader (see below). You can also subscribe to content within the app from Conde Nast, TechCrunch, and many others. It’s great because it takes all that information and presents it like a magazine you can flip through. Kind of a one-stop-place for all your important sources of information.

Google Reader

A simple place to subscribe to RSS feeds of blogs and websites to keep track of what you’ve read if you don’t have an iPad to use Flipboard.

Google Alerts

Simply pick keywords you want to know about, and receive a digest of activity related to that keyword from across the web. Especially good to set one up for your own name to monitor your personal brand (a future topic).

Twitter and Facebook Streams

Simply follow or Like brands and pages you want updates from, and while you see what your friends are up to, you can see the breaking news about social media as part of your stream. I find Twitter is great to uncover content I may miss, I pop in a few times a day to see what’s going on.

Newsletters

The good ones amalgamate various sources to produce a great overview of high quality content you can digest quickly. The bad ones (and you can tell) are very sales oriented and provide little information that’s useful to the reader. I hate those and quickly unsubscribe. It’s really easy to subscribe to a few newsletters and find yourself with inbox overload. I say pick 2 or 3 at first and make sure you read them. If not, move on to the next.

Pinterest

The hottest site on the web these days. It’s visually based, making it a breeze to skim and get excellent information, infographics and inspiring images. Still in Beta, you can email me for an invite if you want to join the site.

Read in the bathroom

Seriously, how much time do you spend sitting there just doing your business? Why not utilize that time to learn a few things. Take a book you’re reading, magazine, heck, even your iPad. People may judge, but you’ll be smarter for it! Trust me.

Magazines & Industry Publications

Print is not dead. Sometimes it’s nice to read something printed on paper. Our agency subscribes to a million different publications and I will skim them as I chow down at lunch. Another opportune time to grab some information. If you don’t get the print editions, visit the websites. Most of the content is the same, even expanded on the sites.

Blogs & Websites

An obvious one, but still worth mentioning. Tons of information is available on everything you can think of. Great for late breaking news & multiple viewpoints and opinions.

Podcasts

In the shower, on your commute to work, while your working out. All great times to listen to marketing, advertising and social media podcasts. There are lots out there, many of varying quality. Find the ones you like and subscribe to them in iTunes so they can update automatically.

Needless to say, I’m ALWAYS absorbing information everywhere I go. I feel like the only time I’m not learning is when I sleep. You may call it information overkill, I call it staying competitive and on the ball for my career.

These sources are what work for me, but may not be optimal for the way you digest information. Let me know how you stay up to date in your industry in the comments below.

The key is to find out what works for you by experimenting. Also, realize that someone else will always know more than you and that’s ok. The key is to be well-rounded and able to have a conversation.

Make sure to check back for my next post featuring a cheat sheet of sources to stay up to date.