What’s hot in social-digital for 2016?

What’s hot and what’s not in 2016? Leading social media and digital marketing specialists weigh in with their predictions.

Sean Smith, That Social Media Guy: “Video, Video, Video. 2015 saw the arrival of platforms like Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab, but I think it is only the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to personal or mobile video broadcasting. Wide scale adoption will lead to even more innovation in the delivery methods, technology and platforms. Can you say ‘Live Streaming Drones’?

Did he say video?

Christina - The Motherpreneur

Christina Waschko of Motherpreneur Productions

Sue B Zimmerman is a kind of a social media “It” girl. Where Sue goes, others follow. Sue taught the world to use Instagram. She offers specific tips on how to get the most out of moving pictures. Sue recommends real, authentic videos, 15-seconds on Instagram in a direct message to welcome new followers and give strong calls to action, and 10-second videos on Snapchat that tell an entertaining and educational daily story.

Rebecca Coleman, of the Art of the Business, agrees. Three picks from her blog:

Short video: Snapchat (10 seconds), Vine (6 seconds), Instagram (15 seconds). Snapchat is already at 200 million active monthly users, and Instagram at 300. Both are growing, and so are their demographics. No longer just for millenials, Snapchat and Instagram are now being used much more by 25-40 year olds.

Live streaming video: 2015 was the year Periscope, Meercat and Blab came online, and they aren’t going anywhere. Periscope can now stream live right inside your Twitter timeline.

Delivering longer-form content through social media: LinkedIn Publisher and Medium started it, now Facebook has a built-in blogging platform as well. The advantage of using something like this is that it often gives the reader a better experience.

Steve Robinson of Sociovisual points in a similar direction. Says Steve, “The biggest trend is ‘meaningful content’. That would include all formats.” He adds, “… nailing the video storytelling stuff. The best way to sum it up would be that success will come to those who master the ‘2 minute long TED talk’.”

Digital strategist Bosco Anthony supports this view setting his sights on the future of adaptive content and predicting a migration from informative content to interactive content. Says Bosco “Storytelling frontiers will affect the future of social advertising”.

Darian Kovacs of JellyMarketing predicts brands will work more strategically and with more accountability and measurable metrics with influencers to target their audiences, and Anthony points out the that the rise of ‘dark social’, engagement that occurs off of trackable social media and web sites, will pose a significant challenge in measurement and demonstrating ROI (return on investment).

We’ll leave the final word to Paul Holmes, co-founder of Social Media Camp, Canada’s largest social media event, who says, “I’m predicting that Twitter will recover its lost ground, and once again become a driving force in social.  Although it may look a whole lot different when all is said and done.”

Long-form Twitter perhaps? You heard it here first.




Mike Vardy

The Best of 2015: A Round Up of Social Media Resources

With the holidays just around the corner it’s time to contemplate some downtime to dream up the upcoming year and reflect on the year that is drawing to a close. I don’t know about you, but I love to snuggle down this time of year in my flannel pajamas with a mug of something hot and delicious and surf the web, read, and catch up on new ideas.

To get you started, this month’s column offers a round up of 2015’s best resources in the wonderful world of social media and digital marketing.

Two platforms that grabbed headlines this year are Blab and Periscope. Both are live streaming platforms and both create very engaging in-the-moment video broadcasts. Highly interactive, we’re seeing users from around the world engage in topics ranging from industry conversations and how-to’s to political debates. You can log in to both via your Twitter accounts.

For the goods on ‘scoping (short form for broadcasting via Periscope), one of the best resources in North America is Sue B Zimmerman. She’s also known as the Instagram Gal, so adding her to your list of top resources gives you double the insight, plus double the fun. Sue is well-known for her energetic, outgoing personality and high-quality detailed information on using both Periscope and Instagram to grow your business and your brand.

If you are looking to jump onto the Blab-wagon, the absolute best resource is Canada’s favourite geek, Steve Dotto of Dottotech. For that matter, Steve is your go-to guy for expertise on Youtube, Evernote, Slack, and a plethora of other tech tools, apps and platforms. Steve’s star is rising and he is rapidly becoming known internationally as a tech guru. He recently teamed up with the folks at Social Media Examiner, the world’s largest online social media magazine, to offer video tutorials. Find and follow social Media Examiner to get the most current news in the social-digital marketplace.

2015 also brought some nifty changes to Linked In, including a new app and a friendlier, more Facebook-like interface. Viveka von Rosen is the author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and LinkedIn Security: Who’s Watching You? She is a contributing expert to LinkedIn’s official Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide, among others. Known internationally as the LinkedIn Expert, she’s your number one Linked In resource.

Finally, in the interest of ensuring a healthy balance between your online and offline activities during the holidays, spend some of your jammie time holding an actual book. My best pick for 2015 is The Joy of Missing Out, Finding Balance in a Wired World by Christina Crook. It is both inspiring and thought-provoking, and a much-needed reminder to maintain mindfulness in a sometimes overwhelming world.

Wishing you comfy PJs, a hot bevvie, and some helpful resources for the happiest of holidays to you and yours.

Vicki McLeod is a Maple Ridge Social Chick and is a business and personal coach and consultant. She will join Christina Crook as a speaker at the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in 2016, and is happy to answer your social media or business questions. Find her at http://www.mainstreetcommunications.ca.


Blab is Social Media’s Newest Platform: Is it Right For Your Business?

Imagine Twitter, Google Hangouts, YouTube, webinars, and reality talk television all rolled into one and you have a notion of social media’s newest platform, Blab. Blab launched in beta about three months ago and already geeks, nerds, social media specialists and technophiles have flocked to Blab and are blabbing about –well, everything.

Blab is a live streaming video platform that allows up to four people on screen to video chat, publicly. The screen is split into four, and new people can be brought in as others rotate out. A lively text chat stream accompanies the video chat making it really engaging. It can get slightly chaotic, but it may also be the right social tool for you and your business.

You might immediately think Blab is similar to Google hangouts or Skype Group calls, but its power is its simplicity. Even in beta, Blab is slicker and more seamless than either of the other two.

To join Blab all you need is a Twitter account. If you don’t have one, go to http://twitter.com and find the sign up box, or go directly to https://twitter.com/signup. Enter your name, phone number, and a password.

Click ‘Sign up for Twitter’. Done.

This integration with Twitter is a powerful feature. While on the platform, you can simply click ‘tell a little bird’ and Blab automatically live tweets for you. A nifty little ninja tip, is that if you ‘tell a little bird’ while a high profile ‘guest’ is onscreen, Blab will post to their feed as well, promoting your conversation to an even wider audience.

Once you’re all signed up for Twitter, go to Blab.im and follow the directions to sign up. You can cruise through the listing of Blabs currently ‘On Air’, scour the replays for topics you love or simply set up and host your own Blab.

To follow a Blab, you click a subscribe button. This gives you entry to the Blab chat room and the stream. You are notified when the Blab goes live, and you receive a replay of the Blab in your email. So? What is it that makes Blab a potential business tool?

Far more interactive than Periscope or Meerkat (two recently released live streaming apps), Blab facilitates candid conversation between real people happening in real time.

The potential for businesses, organizations, and brands is off the hook. Imagine real-time live chat with customer service reps, or how-to discussions for product launches. What about interviews with thought leaders in your field or local or neighbourhood online town hall meetings?

From my perspective, Blab is better than reality TV, and potentially highly addictive.

On the cautionary side, keep in mind is the dictionary definition of blab. As a verb it means to reveal secrets by indiscreet talk. Be careful out there.

Note: Blab is not Safari friendly – use another browser, Chrome or Firefox are fine. Also, you’ll want a mic. The one on your earbuds will work, and you’ll want those, too.

Vicki McLeod is a founder of the Social Chicks, offering social media tips and training. She is the host of Everyday Happiness: The Pajama Podcasts and hosts a weekly Business Blab called TGIF. She is a business and personal coach and consultant. Find her at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca

This article was originally published in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows TIMES newspaper, where Vicki writes a monthly social media column.


9 Signs That You Are Addicted to Your Smartphone & What to Do About It

Phone obsessed?

I left my house this morning to drop the kids off at school with my three essentials – my phone, my keys, and my coffee.  My purse takes second place to my phone.  If I get really desperate and run out of coffee, there’s an app for that.  We’re in the digital age and I’m riding the wave just like anyone else.  With three children that I do not want hooked on devices, it’s important for me to be painfully aware of how I am using the technology.  Am I modeling what I’d like to see in them or am I doing the good old “do what I say, not what I do?” technique?

As some of you know, we managed to pull off a family digital detox this summer by selling it as a “1970’s Summer”.  It was wicked, but now we’re back to reality and I am, after all, a Social Chick.  Below you will find 9 signs that you may be addicted to your phone but it is also my own personal “watch list” to help keep my mild phone addiction in check.

Just what is the definition of addiction?

Miriam Webster Definition of Addiction

Does the Miriam-Webster definition above sound familiar?  IF so, read on.  If not, great, you may be in the clear – either that or in denial;)  I’ve laid out nine signs, each with an “extreme condition”.

9 Signs That You May Be Hooked.

  1. While your friend/child/spouse is talking, you’re wondering how much longer it will take for them to finish so you can check your phone. In extreme conditions, you check it while they’re talking right in front of them.
  2. You bring it with you to the bathroom. In extreme conditions, you whip it out in public bathrooms because you got a moment away from your dinner guest to check what’s happening “out there”.
  3. You bring it with you to bed (yes, I know, many people use it as an alarm clock but surprisingly enough, there are actual clocks made and sold as alarm clocks). In extreme conditions, you check it after you kiss your partner goodnight and it’s the very first thing you do after opening your eyes in the morning.
  4. You check it while driving because you can’t wait that extra fifteen to twenty minutes it will take to reach your destination. In extreme conditions, you find that you have to respond to messages right there and then while you are driving.
  5. You check your phone during your child’s performance. In extreme conditions, you’re on it while she/he is actually singing/dancing/playing…sometimes the whole time!
  6. You feel lost or empty when you forget your phone somewhere. In extreme conditions, you can’t focus or function when you don’t have it.
  7. When you have alone time, the first thing you do is hang out with your phone. In extreme conditions, it’s the only thing you do.
  8. When you’re out in nature, taking a bath, eating a meal, petting a cat, watching a sunrise, you obsess about capturing the moment in a photo and posting it. In extreme conditions, you take yourself out of the moment to ensure that you do just this and post it right there and then thus missing the moment.
  9. You know how your friends and family are doing based purely on their social media posts. In extreme conditions, you don’t actually talk to them anymore, you simply comment on their posts.

Quote: connection and phones
If you can relate to two or more of these, you may have some issues and need some time away from your phone.  It is easy for us to get attached to our phones because, on the other side, there are people.  It is in our nature to want to connect with others in a loving and meaningful way.  Being addicted or slightly obsessed with our phone takes us out of the moment and we lose touch with what’s going on inside of us.  We disconnect from that creative flow and lose touch with that face to face contact.

The Good News:

The good news is, there is hope for us.  Here are some tips on what to do about it, along with a shameless plug for Vicki Chick’s grounding and self-nurturing  Joy of Missing Out (aka #JOMO) retreat (I know it’s amazing because I attended one last spring  and got nothing but awesomeness out of it):

5 Tips on Recovering:

  1. Take a week to notice your behaviours around your phone. Once you are aware, make a plan with an accounta-buddy* to make a slight change.  This could be as simple as “I will not use my phone when my child is talking to me”
  2. Do you like to do things BIG? Go on a digital detox. You can navigate through one yourself.  Check out Rebecca Coleman’s article here on tips.  The other solution is to go with a group, go off the grid do an actual digital detox retreat.  (This is where the upcoming #JOMO Retreat would come in handy).
  3. Once a week try doing something without your phone. Lock your phone away and get the paints or your writing tools.  Perhaps you’re a hiker…get the boots out.  Spend an hour or two just letting the creative flow through your body and notice how you feel.  Give time back to yourself.
  4. Ask for help. If you’re concerned that you are in the extreme and don’t see a way out, ask for help.  Talk to a trusted advisor, a counselor, a mentor, or your local clergy.  There is always help available when we reach out and ask for it.
  5. Set boundaries for yourself. I’ve heard people say, for example, that they don’t allow their kids in the bathroom while they’re using it but boundaries only work if you stick with them.  Set boundaries like that for your phone and then stick to them.  If it’s hard to remember because these behaviours are so ingrained, post up sticky-notes to help remind you.  Practice makes perfect.


*An accounta-buddy is someone that understands what you’re doing and supports you.  We coined the term in Vicki’s coaching groups for someone that will stand by you, check in with you, and call you on your crap.  They’re awesome.  Anyone need an accounta-buddy? I may be looking.

Seriously, I’d love to hear from you. Drop us a comment or connect online – ironic, isn’t it?  Facebook. Twitter. Email.

Yours truly,


Vicki McLeod and Karina Cebuliak are the Social Chicks . They offer social media tips and training. Vicki is the host of Everyday Happiness: The Pajama Podcasts and is a business and personal coach and consultant. Find her at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca

Want more? Sign up for our newsletter here.

Mindfully Going Back to School

5 Tips for Mindfully Going Back to School

Mindfully Going Back to School

As the light shifts across my kitchen table and our 1970’s summer comes to an end, I hold myself with certain sadness, mindfully aware of the changing seasons and routine.  It has been a summer of wins for our family.  We successfully pulled off a family digital detox with a flashback in time to the 1970’s when kids could just be kids and free play all day long.  Tuesday is back to school for my three kids and back to routine for all of us.  Whether you’re happy or sad for a return to school and new routines, here are my five tips for mindfully going “back to school” as a family.

  1. The Art of Noticing:

    Notice how you are feeling. Take five to ten minute breaks all throughout the day to stop, breathe, and notice your body.  Are you holding tension in your body?  How are you feeling?  Are the feelings yours or are you taking on energy in the family?  This can even be done while you are doing last last last minute (so last minute that the shelves are empty and what’s left is in the clearance bin) shopping.  Stop, breathe, observe, relax (SBOR??).  Here’s Vicki’s post on “Meditation Made Easy“.

    Pema Chodron’s Article on “Turn Your Thinking Upside Down”

  2. Social Connection:

    Socially connect with other parents and ask for help when needed. Coffee dates, phone chats, helping a friend – nurture your human need for connection outside of social media and connect in person.  Even if your week is hectic, take time for yourself with a good friend. Make it a #JOMO break.  What the heck is JOMO you say?  Follow me here – it’s pretty cool stuff, actually.

  3. Family Meetings & Check-ins:

    Create space in your schedule to gather in your family. With busy and hectic lives, it can be easy to overlook this aspect.  Imagine creating rituals around gathering in your family – like a momma duck gathers in her ducklings.  No matter how old your kids are and how busy you are, it has a far reaching ripple effect when we bring our family in close.  This could be a fifteen minute check in before bedtime.  It could be story time or games night.  It could be that you take ten minutes with each person before bed.  Create your own special time.

  4. Master These Skills:

    Saying “no” and practicing kind and gentle thoughts. Saying no frees you up to say yes to someone or something else (thanks to Vicki Chick for that life tip).  Keep in mind that the first couple of weeks back to a school routine can be hectic and disruptive to everybody in the home.  You may need to say “no” to things that you’d normally want to do just to save yourself from crazy-making.  Practicing kind and gentle thoughts can help you get through the week.  Try these on for size:

    1. I’m so grateful for myself and my ability to______________.
    2. I am doing the very best I can and I love myself for that.
    3. Tonight, I am going to take care of myself by_______________.

      Do you really want to go. Tip 2 in a Life Hack article on "Saying No".

      Do you really want to go. Tip 2 in a Life Hack article on “Saying No”.

  5. Don’t Fall into the Comparing Trap:

    You are doing the best you can at any given moment. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your insides to other people’s outsides.  Social media is a great way to pass the time away but it’s also an easy way to get distracted and start comparing your life to others.  Remember that you are amazing.  Just because one mom seems to have it all together and is posting pictures of the most spectacular bento box lunches you’ve ever seen does not mean that you are the worst.

Words to remember through the first couple of weeks:

  • Gentleness
  • Breathe
  • Self-care (Radical self-care)
  • Laughter
  • Love
  • Connect
  • Rest

I wish you the very best.  Enjoy every crazy moment.  Share it with us online too!


Want more? Listen in to our Back2School Blab this Friday, September 11th.

Listen to The Social Chicks and Lori Graham on Saturday as we discuss
Back2School Thriving or Surviving?”
Friday, September 11th at 1:30pm PST

Want to join in on the conversation?  Use hashtag #businessblab
Tweet to @lori_graham @thesocialchicks
Want to join in on the Blab but don’t know how?  Follow this link for the Vicki Chick Blab How-to.

Karina Cebuliak
The Social Chicks

Steve Dotto Todd Maffin Rebecca Coleman

Blab.im – A Simple How-to Guide by Vicki Chick

Blabbing About Blab

Here’s the simple skinny:

All you need is a Twitter account. If you don’t have one, create one. It’s very simple. Click here for instructions. Then:

  • Go to Blab.im where you can follow me and you will get the directions to sign up for the platform.
  • Click SUBSCRIBE to join scheduled Blabs. You can join any Blab this way. At showtime, simply go to to Blab and the broadcasts will show in the ON AIR now section. If you’ve subscribed you will receive a notification that the Blab is live.
  • By SUBSCRIBING you will also automatically get  reply of the Blab in your inbox if the host has recorded it. Nifty, right?
  • You can participate in the chat, or click JOIN NOW and to ask to come onscreen and join the conversation.
  • Stuff to know: Use a mic and a headset of some kind. Your iPhone earbuds with built in mic will work just fine.
  • You can ask question that will be highlighted in the chat by typing /q before your question
  • You can share the love by clicking ‘tell a little bird’ and tweeting live during the Blab
  • Note: Blab is not Safari friendly – use another browser, Chrome or Firefox are fine

For more about Blab and how you might use it in your business or life, check out Episode 15-37 of the Everyday Happiness Pajama Podcast where I blab about Blab (on Blab) with Steve Dotto, Rebecca Coleman and Todd Maffin. It was my first one. Fun, right?

I’ll also be hosting a weekly #TGIF Thriving or Surviving Business Blab. You can check out the replays by clicking here.

Steve Dotto Todd Maffin Rebecca Coleman

Includes how-to’s in the final segment.


Everyday Happiness. Not just a good idea. It’s a podcast. Listen to Vicki and guests weekly on PLV Radio. Join the #everydayhappiness conversation.

Mike Vardy

Mike Vardy – The Productivityist Weekly

The Productivityist Weekly is a weekly newsletter featuring exclusive content on productivity and workflow, written by Mike Vardy of Productivityist.  We  are subscribers because it’s filled with wicked cool stuff like this post below.  You can subscribe here – just scroll to the bottom of the subscribe link and sign-up.

Here’s Mike’s latest awesome post:

How To Tackle Your To Do List When You’re Tired

By Mike Vardy

This summer has been fun…and tiring. Between travel and project work, I’ve been doing more than just resting over the past few months. I’ve not been as productive as I’d like, but I’m still making progress on all of the things I need and want to do.

I’m going to share how I’ve managed to do that with you today.

1. Working By Energy

The first way I’ve been able to tackle my to do list – even when I’m zonked – is by tagging my tasks with energy levels in as many instances as possible. Whether I use “High Energy” or “Low Energy” can help me quickly determine whether I can do a task at a particular moment or not. Most of my tasks are low energy ones during the summer, so I’m still able to accomplish them and by labeling them in Todoist(personal tasks) and Asana (team tasks). This allows me to sort tasks quickly and get them done as well.

2. Working By Time

Time is also measurable, just like energy. But it’s far easier to manage in that you can watch the minutes tick by far more than you can feel the energy well run dry. I’m not an advocate for using time-based modes as a driving force for your task management, but there are moments when assigning modes like “5 minute” or “25 minute” can make a whole lot of sense. If you know you only have 15 minutes between one meeting and another, having tasks with a time-based mode attached can help you quickly decide what to work on during that brief period of time. When you’re tired, knowing how much time you’ve have is one thing, but knowing what you can do within that timeframe can be a big boon for your productivity.

3. Working By Energy And Time

Now imagine partnering up these types of modes per task. Wouldn’t that be phenomenally effective? I mean, if you’ve got tasks that have both low energy and 5 minute modes attached to them, then you not only know you can do them within the time period, and they won’t be too taxing on you either. Even high energy tasks that you see can be done in 10 minutes is powerful. Whenever possible, adding both a time-based and energy-based mode to a task gives me two ways to tackle a task when I’m tired. And that, quite frankly, can be more than just valuable to know – it can be rejuvenating and propel you to accomplish more than you thought possible.

If you’re having difficulty tackling your to do list when you’re tired, try using energy and time-based modes. Whether you thrive in the mornings and see your energy wane in the later hours of the day or just need something to get you moving in the morning because you’re just not as “awake” as you need to be, these modes can really help you take your task and time management to a whole new level.