Lessons Learned Overall

I have already made blog posts about specific lessons that I have learned, such as how to blog effectively, ROI of social media , live twitter feeds at events (MacPirate), and  team work. This blog post is meant to be about over-arching lessons I have learned about social media due to the SMRT CCE class. So overall I have learned learned many things.


Properly Engage Social Media 

This semester I have learned that it isn’t enough to just be on social media. Previous to this class I thought that as long as businesses had Twitter and Facebook accounts they were doing their job. However, I have learned that organizations must effectively use these different social mediums. One must engage these mediums based on how they were designed to be engaged. For example, perhaps one would use Facebook to post photos after an event, but rather use Twitter at an event as a live feed (similar to how it was used at MacPirate).


I have also learned about social media ethics. Before engaging social media I have learned to be aware of the policies that each medium has established. I was surprised to find out that it actually against Facebook’s policy to faci

litate a contest via Facebook and use “likes” as a way to vote. It is outlined in their policy that Facebook is not to be used in that way. However, I am allowed to use a third party application to host contest. I was particularly surprised by this because I have seen many organizations use Facebook to host contests and use “likes” as a voting mechanism.  BUT…just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right!  I have also learned be more cautious of how I engage Twitter. It is very important to have transparent tweets. For example, if there is a twitter account registered under my name, it would be undesirable to get someone else to tweet on my behalf. This is because people would not be know who it really is, hence it is not honest or transparent.

BUT WHY DOES THIS MATTER? I have learned that being honest and transparent is very important on social media because otherwise it can destroy the reputation of yourself or your organization. It also isn’t fair to your followers or customers to be deceived. No one likes to be tricked so it is important to use an ethical plumb-line.

About Myself  

I have learned a lot about myself and my interactions with social media. I now realize that before I engage social media I need to do the necessary preparation and research. Previously I would just jump right into different social media platforms. On a whim I signed up for Pinterest and randomly I signed up for LinkedIn. I did not really think about how to use these social mediums and thus “floundered” because I didn’t know what I was doing.  I realize there is nothing wrong with getting these accounts, however, once I had them I never used them because I didn’t know how. I was too busy to invest the time to learn them. The effects of these dormant accounts are not necessarily disastrous for me personally, but if I was organizing social media for an organization then it would be a waist of time. It could also be dangerous. If I didn’t know how to use these accounts the I wouldn’t know how to manage them. For example, I wouldn’t know how to deal with negative comments. Also, doing research before hand is important because sometimes it is NOT necessary for an organization to be on all social media platforms. Some platforms won’t help organizations meet their goals or communication objectives. Therefore I have learned that I need to always take a step back and be intentional with social media. I shouldn’t  jump in to new platforms without a purpose.


Lessons Learned: Group Work

Team work via Social Media

This semester I worked in a group to complete a case study on the Canadian Cancer Society. To view our case study on the Canadian Cancer Society click here. It was an interesting experience because we did a lot of our preparation for the case study via Google Docs.

I really enjoyed using the Google Doc because:

  • We could all work on the same document simultaneously- it was nice to have one document that contained all the information, ie. a schedule of tasks, applicable course notes, ideas, etc.

 Limitations of the Google Doc:

  • It is harder to track the changes made in a Google Doc – It is more difficult to know what other team members have changed or added.
  • Also I learned, that even though we had a Google Doc, it did not replace our need to meet face to face.  Because we were using the Google Doc for a social media class at first I thought that the Google Doc should be our main method of communication, but then I realized it should be a tool to compliment our learning and collaboration.


Our group worked very well together. The Google Doc facilitated our collaboration for the project very well. In the end we developed a very good blog detailing the case study of the Canadian Cancer Society. The blog outlines, strategies, tactics, key audiences, influencers, and so forth.

 I have learned that I personally should be more communicative about what I am doing through out the project. Sometimes my group members were not aware of my contribution and thus repeated parts of my section.  Clearly communicating the work I have done would  elevate their confusion on what I have done. It would also save time, as my other group members would not complete redundant work. I have also learned that as a group we could have used our class time more productively. As the semester went on we improved in this area, but at first we wouldn’t use our class time to its full potential, thereby limiting how much work we could get done while together.

Lessons Learned: ROI – Social Media

Can You Measure Social Media?

I have learned:

  • a) it is important to evaluate the impact of social media
  • b) social media can be measured
  • c) social media can and does have a return on investment (ROI)

 Social media = Return on Investment (ROI)

Why Measure?

  • Measurements inform good decision making
  • Measurements show value of strategies/tactics
  • If you can not show the impact social media has on meeting goals..then why use social media?

What to Measure?

  • measure against a goal(s)
  • measure things important to business
  • measure throughout a campaign (not just the start or end)
  • don’t just measure surface success (number of ‘likes’ on Facebook) — measure the depth of engagement
  • have a plan! have specific social media goals


  • sometimes it isn’t for the purpose of driving sales- the goals might not have monetary objectives
  • it takes time and effort to run a social media campaign:

Some tools to Measure Social Media: 

  • Hootsuite
  • Crowdbooster
  • Google Alerts
  • Think UP
  • Google Analytics

Climbing up the Ladder of Engagement- Measure all the way through:

  1. awareness – ask them!  avoid bias surveys
  2. subscribers, followers, etc. – watch out for users fatigue – numbers might not be true of who really is engaged
  3. level of applause – how many ‘likes’ ‘favorite’ on twitter
  4. sharing, retweeting, re-pinning – passing along information = drives networks forward
  5. engaging with content posted- comments, reaction to survey
  6. how often do others address you or write things about you without your direct provocation ? *also can you turn negative engagement into positive

Lessons Learned : Creating a Quality Blog

Blogging 101

This semester I have learned how to communicate via blog. I have learned to consider both how a blog looks and what a blog says. So here are some things to consider:

How a blog looks:

One must consider the aesthetics of a blog. How does the blog look? Great information can be posted on the blog but if it isn’t appealing to look at, then people may not continue to read it. I have learned to ask: Is the blog entry pleasing to the eye? Is the information broken up in a way that makes sense? Can it be appreciated for its appealing use of images, text, formatting, etc?

Lesson learned: a good blog may include (but is not limited to):

  • images, videos, and multimedia: this makes the blog look more interesting
  • breaks up ideas with headers: it makes the blog look more organized
  • different colours/texts/formatting options (like bullets):  increases readability

What a blog says:

Writing for a blog is different that writing a paper.

Lesson learned: I have learned that blog entries require:

  • shorter phrases/sentences: they must be thoughtful messages conveyed clearly and concisely
  • headers and bullet points: not only does it look better, but it categorizes information. This makes content easier to process.
  • simple and straightforward words
  • that writers use the least number of words to communicate an idea

A few more tips:

  • one should write for their target audience – this ensures that a majority of people can understand what you are trying to communicate
  • as with everything we write, it is important to make sure the blog posts are free of spelling and grammar errors. Blog posts with errors makes your information seem less trustworthy.
  • a blog post should not be too long. If you have a lot to say, break it up over multiple blog posts.

Kony 2012

The Invisible Children campaign to catch and stop Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA,  has gone viral over social media platforms…

From Youtube:

To Memes on Facebook:

To Twitter:

There have been great social movements throughout history, but none that have utilized social media to empower a global community and done so in such a short period of time. Over night the KONY 2012 Youtube video had 30 million views, thousands of tweets, and countless Facebook posts and status updates. The ability to mobilize millions of people over social media platforms is astonishing. But why Kong 2012? Other campaigns have attempted to use social media, but none this the same success as this campaign launched by Invisible Children..the  Globe and Mail outlined 5 differentiating factors:

1) Revealing a fact that is a secret (or percieved to be a secret) – The video indicated that the information presented was a secret, or widely unknown. In my opinion, any time viewers feel like they can be a part of something that at one point was secretive makes them feel included, and thus an important member of the campaign..

2) Celebrities– this campaign brilliantly captures the idea getting a  “spokesperson”, ” “influencer”, or “champion” on your team in order to promote the cause. By using celebrities – with many different audiences- to champion your cause, it heightens the importance of the issue and makes it famous.

3) Uses Kids– the video provides information from the perspective of Gavin, a little boy, who frames the message in a simple and innocent fashion- it allows people to relate to the message…and also, who doesn’t love kids??

4) Length– while many may have thought that a 27 minute video would not hold people’s attention spans, in fact the opposite is true, as the video instead ” flattered viewers into believing they are engaged with something meaningful” (Globe and Mail).

5) Asked viewers to get involved– the campaign listed several ways that individuals could participate in the movement, giving clear instructions and many different ways to participate.

As seen through this example of the KONY 2011 campaign, social media can be a very powerful weapon to raise awareness and promote advocacy. Because social media links us together, one person or organization can spread a powerful idea to millions of people. While social media a the tool to spread ideas, like another PR/marketing/communication tactic, one has to do their research and employ the medium advantageously.

Lessons Learned: #MacPirate

Last week I attended the McMaster Class in Advertising at the Ron Joyce Centre in Burlington. This was a special event where the Pirate Group donated over 75,000 advertisements to McMaster University.  At the event there was a live Twitter feed where all the tweets with the hashtag #MacPirate were projected onto a screen during the presentations.

Experience of interacting with the Twitter wall during presentations..

The twitter wall was fun to interact with. I really had a chance to see how social media has the capacity to both hinder or improve presentations.

  • On the one hand, I found the wall to be somewhat distracting, as it often diverted my attention from the presentations to the tweets. The twitter wall was always being updated because many people were participating- there was always something to look at.
  • On the other hand, because the tweets were relevant to the event, it was not necessarily a bad distraction because the tweets were reiterating and summarizing the key points. It was also interesting to see what people chose to tweet about.

Interesting observation…

  • During a presentation there could be several different points made, however, sometimes one point seemed so salient that many people tweeted about it, but other times points were made and no one tweeted about it. Twitter has the ability to inflate the perceived importance of one subject and deflate the relevance of another, based on the responses from the participants.

Live tweets- what an experience!

It was neat to see my tweets projected onto a screen almost seconds after submitting the tweet. However, because it was such an notable event and many “important” people were present -such as the President of the University, Patrick Deane- it made me more apprehensive to tweet. I did not want to tweet anything irrelevant and sometimes I simply did not know what to tweet about. Although, when I did tweet the live feed made it more exciting.

My role..

I acted mostly as an observer.  Every so often I ‘reported’ on a presentation or ad shown at the event, but mostly I was reading other tweets and paying attention to the presentations.


Twitter at events like this one-

I would stop:

  • having the twitter wall so prominently placed in the room
  • it was right in the center, so sometimes it was the focus and not the presenters
  • still have the wall in a visible spot, but not be the focus

I would start:

  • promoting the event and the hashtag more before the event

And continue:

  • having the wall and employing the use of social media because it acted as a promotional tool for the event

Compiling the Research + GAP Analysis

Gap Analysis 

After conducting the secondary research via blogs I have discovered a communications GAP:
  • there is a growing condo market, especially among first time home-buyers (specifically young couples). TD does not have much information offered via website or social media on the opportunities for financing in the condo market
  • Nearly three in ten Canadians who planned to sell their home didn’t know they had options when it came to their mortgage. There is a link communications gap, as previous owners aren’t aware of their options
  • There is a growing percentage of people who already have a home, but plan to downsize to another home in the next 2 years. TD needs to be more communicative with this group of people as they are a growing demographic

All in All..

TD Canada Trust has a firm grasp of how to use social media. However, they need to be more intentional with this demographic. They need to look provide more information to repeat home-owners, persons interesting in condos, and implement the recommendations above about how they use social media. Their objective  open communication so they can meet the needs of their customers, so this research and the recommendations will be beneficial in helping them meet their expressed goal and objective.

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