The big selfie from #CIMC2015

Tip Top Tips from CIMC2015

The big selfie from #CIMC2015

The selfie , courtesy: Sunny Leonarduzzi

After an amazing weekend at the first annual Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in the raw beauty and majesty of Squamish, B.C., my head is full, my brain muscle stretched and my heart (yes, my heart was involved) full and happy. It was an amazing opportunity to hobnob with many of the people and experts I have connected with in the land of Social Media. I am really looking forward to Social Media Camp in May as well as next year’s already booked CIMC2016.

In the meantime here is my knowledge take-away, which I happily pass along to you. You are welcome;)

 Over-arching weekend theme:

Five main topics continued to repeat throughout the weekend, a common thread if you will. It pleases me to no end that these were the themes that were repeated because it tells me that I’m in with the right crowd, thus happy hearted:

  • Build relationships! It’s People to People, not Business to Business or Business to Consumer. We’re dealing with people.
  • Know your customer. No matter what you’re doing, get it down to a mad crazy science of knowing exactly whom you’re doing it for.
  • Data, research, stats…Rinse, Repeat. Data is important, know it, study it, learn from it, and be better. If you don’t know how or don’t have the time, get someone who can and will.
  • Grow, change, adapt with the times.
  • Be kind & do good. Use your marketing power to make the world a little bit better.

There were so many great moments from CIMC that I’ve decided to have fun with it and write a series of blog posts instead of trying to explode your mind with a cornucopia of my fan favorites.   Throughout the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about the BEST of CIMC2015 – think BEST of SNL but without Lorne Michaels (well, without any of those cast members…we shall have our own). I’ll try not to reminisce like a giddy schoolgirl back from summer camp but full disclosure, that’s how I feel so it may come out here and there. I look forward to blogging again soon with the top tips from the Panel speakers.

Oh! Guess what else?! Jelly Marketing and Marwick Internet Marketing along with many others have put together a Certified Digital Marketing Certificate!  Check it out and register for Beta. 

Until then, make it a great day!


Karina Lauren Cebuliak

Canadian internet marketing Conference

2015 Predictions from Our Peeps

So what’s up in the world of digital marketing and social media in 2015? Collaboration, integration and content according to presenters and organizers of two of 2015’s “do-not-miss” events, the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference (CIMC) in March, and Social Media Camp in May.

Darian Kovacs of Jelly Marketing, CIMC organizer, points to the emergence of cross-pollination between fields. He predicts more collaboration, integration and involvement between traditional, print and digital. More interactive ads versus passive ads, resulting in more engaging websites and experiential public relations.

“2015 will be the year metrics and data become sexy again.”

Business Growth Strategist, Bosco Anthony concurs. Says Anthony, “Brands are going to emphasize storytelling with meaningful contextual campaigns. We are rapidly seeing content engineering evolve. Content distribution channels will be a major focus to drive engagement, reactions and conversions. Monetization paths will be discovered in the process. I am boldly predicting marketing will evolve as an integrated platform where both online and offline channels fuse. 2015 will be the year metrics and data become sexy again.”

No argument from Maple Ridge’s Cadi Jordan who sees us getting more strategic in partnerships and thinking outside the box to share stories. She predicts people will see the value of varied content across social media platforms and an increase in content whether blogging, using video or cross-pollinating content via guest blog posts.

Yes, says Ricky Shetty, The DaddyBlogger who foresees more brands working with bloggers as a highly effective and cost-efficient way to get the message out about products and services.

Canadian internet marketing Conference

“Schools will add Social Media education as part of curriculum”

That Social Media Guy, Sean Smith predicts social media will find a place in our education system. Says Smith, “Schools will add Social Media education as part of curriculum, teaching safe use, etiquette and professional development. It may be more of a dream, but I think we are getting there.”
Social Chick, Karina Cebuliak shares Smith’s wish. Said Cebuliak, “Kids these days know more about what’s going on online than their parents do. A supportive knowledge base for parents would be awesome.” Cebuliak adds that we’ll see more online traffic than ever. All ages will look to social media for reviews, online shopping, ideas, and connections. Websites will integrate more social media and blogs to stay current with an ever-changing market.

Paul Holmes, co-founder of Social Media Camp predicts Twitter usage/traffic will decline year-over-year, while social media maven Rebecca Coleman, forecasts continued growth in video and social media that features beautiful images. She notes the speedy growth of Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.

“On and offline we’ll build relationships and expand our sphere of influence”

Speaking of Instagram, Sue B. Zimmerman, author of Instagram Basics for Your Business, declares 2015 as the year of the collaborative community. Says Zimmerman, “On and offline we’ll build relationships and expand our sphere of influence from communities outside our own. We’ll be more relaxed about sharing what we do and who we know. I call it ‘lead with giving.’ In this evolution of how to do business, everyone wins.” She also points to the hashtag as the anchor of the social media revolution. A single hashtag connects a conversation across Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Google+. From these conversations, communities are quickly formed; people with common interests unite, and this becomes the place where businesses conduct powerful market research. Integration, indeed.

Vicki McLeod is a Maple Ridge Social Chick and is a business and personal coach and consultant. She will be a speaker at the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in March, and is happy to answer your social media or business questions. Find her at  

Online Campaigns Important

Election time is upon us. Last time around I did an assessment of the candidates’ use of digital and social media tools to reach voters. The pickings were slim in 2011, with few candidates using social media or establishing much of an online presence.

I predicted then, that this time around social media would play a larger role as the tools themselves became more ubiquitous and the common folk, the often fickle target of campaign messages, became more adept at engaging in the virtual space. So what of my prediction?

I spent some time touring the City of Maple Ridge website this week, checking out registered candidates and taking a peek at their online footprints. Kudos to the City, by the way, for putting candidates bios and digital links on the community website. Kudos to the candidates themselves who provided biographical information and actually have a digital presence to find. Some don’t. Boo.

From my perch, an absolute must-have for all candidates is a good website.

It doesn’t have to be fancy but it does need to give us the basics: who they are, their experience, what they stand for, their platform, and how we can connect with them. Extra points for great visuals, and a clean layout that is easy to navigate, and anyone with a relevant blog gets a gold star.

Some of the sites I visited are pretty slick and some have more of an ‘Aw, shucks’ vibe. Whether or not the look and feel actually represents the genuine character of the candidate remains to be seen, but let’s hope so. A fundamental tenet of effective digital and good marketing is to be consistent: be who you truly are online and off. For many the only way we are going to engage with candidates during election time is online. Give us the real thing.

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So what about social media? The old marketing adage is: Go where the traffic is.

With more than a billion people using Facebook, I expect to find potential candidates there, with a good Facebook page, not just a personal profile.. I automatically deduct points for candidates who use a personal profile to campaign. Like many, I am getting numerous Facebook friend requests from candidates. I won’t be friending them back, because frankly, I don’t want to be friends with people I don’t know, but I will happily be searching for their Facebook pages to ‘like’ and follow as the election heats up. I’m an engaged voter and I want to know what they have to say.

A common thread amongst candidates is a lament about the lack of voter turnout and a desire to increase engagement. It’s no secret that if you’re after the hearts of young voters, you will find them online. Young people are digitally savvy and will be looking for candidates online who are thoughtful, relevant, interesting and engaging.

Those who have a great website integrated with links to a Facebook page, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile and content that makes an authentic connection and respects the online cultures and norms will going a long way to building credibility amongst voters. In Election 2014, it could make the difference.

How a Summer Digital Detox Made Me Happier, Calmer and More Creative

This summer, the Social Chicks and the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times hosted the community’s second annual Social Media Day, and more than 60 participants from local businesses and organizations attended to find out how to use social media to grow awareness, connect with customers and stakeholders and build a strong online presence.

Social media experts from across the region offered tips and insights and explored the impact of social media on our lives and businesses.

Most of the participants left the sessions feeling energized and excited, eager to take up more room in the digital space. There is a definite upside in the way social media can make us a stronger, more connected community and help build new relationships. Certainly, social media offers unparalleled marketing and communications opportunities and a new way for business to engage.

There is also a downside. Many people launch themselves into cyberspace to find it overwhelming.  Social media is a time suck. It can become a kind of all-consuming black hole. If you are familiar with the uneasy feeling that there is always something urgent you have to do online, or you experience a fear of missing out when you are offline, it might be time for a digital detox.

Completely off the grid - remote wilderness retreat

Completely off the grid – remote wilderness retreat

How do you know you’re in the danger zone?  Here are five ways you can tell your social media use is out of control:

  1. You check your mobile phone in the bathroom
  2. You shoo away, or ignore friends, colleagues or family members while you are on your devices
  3. You break out in a sweat if you forget your phone or iPad somewhere
  4. The first thing you do in the morning is check your smart phone or laptop (see #1)
  5. You impatiently grit your teeth during offline conversations until you can get back online and check your notifications
Remote wilderness retreat - capping off my Summer Digital Detox

Remote wilderness retreat – capping off my Summer Digital Detox

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then it’s time to back away from the keypad and get a little perspective.

Over the past four weeks or so, I experimented with the detox by imposing the following restraints:

  • No online activity before 8:30 am
  • Personal Facebook (and/or Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, G+) use restricted to 15 minutes or less at a time.
  • No checking social platforms until after individual work/home tasks are finished
  • No checking devices at dinnertime, while watching TV, or during one-to-one conversations

The results? I found out who that big man is who sleeps at my place. (“Hubby? Is that you?”).  I was able to easily complete a number of looming work related tasks and household projects.  I’ve carved out time at the beginning of each day for personal mindfulness – reading, meditation, journaling – and morning tea with the big guy. I feel more focused, calmer, and less subject to random anxieties. I’ve also re-engaged with offline hobbies resulting in a big boost in both my creativity and productivity.

I capped off the daily detox experiment with a full withdrawal program spending five days in the remote wilderness completely off the grid.

How was it?

Admittedly, it was a challenge, especially as I make part of my living as a social media specialist with a big online footprint.  But, the world kept spinning. In fact, it seems a little better and brighter these days.

Vicki McLeod is a Social Chick and is a business and personal coach and consultant. She offers monthly social media sessions with businessSTART North Fraser and has a Social Media Training session coming up in Maple Ridge on September 10.

Selfie – A fun way to engage

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day or two encouraging passers-by to snap ‘selfies’ in aid of a good cause. For those who may not know, selfies are self-portraits usually taken with a smartphone and then uploaded to social media sites.

Vicki and Lorene taking a selfie at the Haney Farmer's Market

Vicki and Lorene taking a selfie at the Haney Farmer’s Market

While most people were quite willing to play in, my request was sometimes met with “I don’t do selfies”, said in a somewhat toney way, which I must admit gave me pause. Granted, among a certain generation (usually teens, or single twenty-somethings on the club circuit) taking endless selfies or GPOYs (Gratuitous Pictures of You) can be an uber-narcissitic and annoying habit.

Having said that, the selfie can be central to creating engagement on social media and a great way to strategically involve fans and followers with your business or organization.

The B.C. Association of Farmers Markets’ (BCAFM) is running a very successful Selfie Contest that is an example of this strategy. For two weeks, people were encouraged to take a selfie at their local Farmers Market and then post it onto the BCAFM Facebook page via a contest tab.

The BCAFM contest offered a weekly prize draw and a grand prize of $500 in market shopping vouchers. Contest entrants were asked to submit their photo and the name of the market where they took their selfie. They were also asked why they love farmers markets.

Contests like these offer abundant opportunities. They create resonance with the target audience by literally putting the customer in the picture. They grow contact databases for future outreach, create a rich pool of testimonials, and engagement rates skyrocket. Particularly on Facebook, the algorithms that govern what gets seen in the fan’s newsfeed is based on how much they engage with you.

In social media parlance, this kind of content is called user-generated content and has the highest value and the most credibility.

In the BCAFM contest, the grand prizewinner will be determined by online voting, further increasing engagement and also leveraging social proof. The selfies of my friends and colleagues – people I know, like and trust – offer subconscious validation of the BCAFM’s value. Via this participation, the BCAFM, and by extension farmers markets in general, are endorsed and championed.

Contests can be run on any social platform and are very popular on sites like Instagram and Pinterest. The Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) recently ran an Instagram contest to encourage teen engagement, asking them to post selfies with their favourite books.

To organize a contest you need to know who your target audience is, figure out which social media platform they prefer, and host your contest there. You also want to be clear about the strategic goal for the contest. The FVRL was after increasing engagement with teen users of the libraries.

The BCAFM is targeting women ages 25-45 to increase market visits. We know that demographic is using Facebook, and there’s a good chance that the BCAFM contest has increased traffic both online and off.

The BCAFM contest tracked the participation of markets across the province. Haney Farmers Market hosted a ‘Selfie-Help Booth’ on two local market days to encourage market-goers to take part, and placed second only to Kamloops. Not bad for our little market.

More selfie fun!

More selfie fun!

Maple Ridge’s Bekki Hurley is currently a contender for the top prize, and a win for her will give the Maple Ridge market a boost in terms of increased recognition and awareness. Voting continues in the Farmers Market Selfie Contest until July 21, 2014.

To vote for Bekki, or any of the fine Maple Ridge entrants, go to Facebook and visit this link: , click on View Entries and then search for Maple Ridge or Haney and find our local selfies. Vote for your favourite selfie.

UPDATE: unfortunately, Becky did not win the Selfie Contest but she did win a prize for being a lucky voter and she will get to spend the rest of the summer using her new canning goods! We’ll be looking forward to some jam!


Sean Smith, Vicki McLeod and Steve Dotto

Social Media Experts Converging on Maple Ridge

Julien Smith says, “Your network is absolutely everything”. I saw and heard him say this myself at Social Media Camp in Victoria earlier this month. Julien’s work focuses on adaptation and change and draws from a deep study of evolution, biomimicry and an observation of nature – that most highly evolved network of all. Needless to say, meeting him was a *fangasm*.

He is the CEO of Breather, an on-demand space company, as well as the New York Times bestselling author of The Flinch. There were many takeaways from his closing keynote at the conference and our subsequent conversation.  Mainly, though, he emphasized the impact of change and our need for adaptation.  We will need to be not only what we want to be (or want our businesses to be) but be both that and what the environment demands. In the brave, new, highly networked digital/social environment, the demands are complex.


Sean Smith, Vicki McLeod and Steve Dotto


Inspired by Smith and being a little more emphatic than usual, I urged local businesses at a recent Twitter workshop to ‘adapt or die’ in regard to getting online and getting social. My aim is to encourage businesses, organizations and individuals to leverage and grow their networks, both online and offline, to create positive impact in our communities. To do this, we must adapt and embrace the new ecosystem where we find ourselves.

For me, one of the great examples of willingness to adapt a business to respond to the environment is practically right in our own back yard.

In a way, it feels as though I grew up alongside Steve Dotto, at least tech-wise. Like me, many of you no doubt remember Dotto’s Data Café, a national, how-to computer show that ran for 12 successful seasons until it moved from the Knowledge Network to City TV where it ran as Dotto Tech for another eight years.

Steve’s shows helped me get comfortable with the changing world of technology and to be willing try stuff out. As my friend Sean Smith, That Social Media Guy recently posted: “Steve Dotto is a the ultimate bundle of brains, talent and humour. I was asked why his video tutorials and training are so good and my answer was simple: he’s not an educator trying to train you. He’s your buddy, showing you how something works.”

Steve understands the challenges and potential of the online world – both intellectually and from the perspective of steering his own business and brand through the multiple adaptations required by the digital environment.

Responding to changes in the television industry, Steve reconfigured his show to a radio format, broadcasting from AM 650 with a corresponding podcast on his website.

He’s also produced a plethora of amazingly useful YouTube videos on topics literally from A-Z (Audacity Audio to Zapier Automation and everything in between). Recently, Steve announced the last of his on-air broadcasts with AM 650. He is moving his brand into a completely online model. Steve has built an outstanding network of fans, followers, friends and colleagues – a network that will become the source of his online success.

In true Dotto fashion, he’s taking us along on the journey, teaching us the same how-to’s he’s used to create killer YouTube and podcast content, increase productivity using technology, and lessons learned to continually adapt to new circumstances. Steve will visit Maple Ridge on June 26 to celebrate Social Media Day and share his latest insights.

Says Steve, “Web 2.0 and collaborative computing have changed the world and the way we do business.”Steve will open our eyes to the forces at work generating that change, and provide us with some potentially life and business-altering perspectives and strategies.

The Social Chicks are delighted to welcome Steve Dotto, Shelly Wilson, Rebecca Coleman and an amazing panel of local peeps to Maple Ridge on June 26 for a half-day of social media and tech learning, insight and inspiration. Tickets are limited and are available here: or at

Social Media Day 2014 is sponsored by the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times, District of Maple Ridge, Dotto Tech, businessSTART North Fraser, and the Chamber of Commerce Serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Social Media Day

Chick Cheer to Social Media Day Peeps

Social Media DayJune ended with an inspiring afternoon celebrating Social Media Day with colleagues and friends – old and new. Special shout-outs to Steve Robinson of Sociovisual Communications, Fred Armstrong of the District of Maple Ridge and the inimitable Steve Dotto of Dotto Tech for being panelists at the community forum we hosted to mark the day.

Chick cheers to all who attended and offered insights, questions and observations on social media and technology and how it is shaping our communities. Huzzah! (Yes, that is what a Chick Cheer sounds like). Thanks to our sponsors Main Street Communications Ltd. and the TIMES newspaper.

Looking for the contacts and resources from the forum? Click right here!