I was full of good intention to liveblog tonight’s Canadian Women in Communications event at BCIT tonight but the connection failed so here is the “almost” live blog of the event. There were six sessions taking place in the room. Unfortunately given the time constraints I could only attend 4 so I have tried to catch the essence of each.
1. Blogging – Telus Senior Communication Business Partner Deborah Chatterton discussed the benefits to giving employees their own publishing platform.
First you should determine if social media is right for your company. What is it all about? Its about engaging your target audience in conversation with you. In the past you pushed information out now you get info back.
Types of social media:
- You Tube for sharing videos
- Digg is a site where you can share websites you like.
- Social Networks like Facebook.
- Wikis – user generated content that can be added to
- Social Networks – like Facebook
Social Media Considerations:
- You should ask if social media is right for your company.
- Are your customers there yet?
- Are your company’s communications old style and can they adapt to this?
Blogging – Deborah points out that ghost writing a blog is unethical and that a sales or marketing pitch is a no no. You should keep the tone of voice real and hone in on actual experiences rather than trying to invent blog stories.
To find out if your company ready for social media culture – ask if they are you willing to give up control.
Q Why would you do it? A – The world is changing, people are retiring, knowledge pool is shrinking. Millenials are using this already, its a way of life for them and they are the next generation of new hires. This is going to happen anyway. You have no control over it. This is an opportunity to: shape the conversation; demonstrate thought leadership; strengthen relationships; make executives more approachable. Studies back up that social media actually increases productivity.
You have to have a strategy as to who will blog, what they will blog about, how often and whether you will allow comments.
Telus is not externally blogging.
Risks of blogging include: slander, bad behaviour – but these things happen in real life anyway.
Issues include: privacy, security, ethics, respectful workplace, insider trading. To mitigate risk: – you should post guidelines before you start – its very important to have a policy. Check out Sun MicroSystem’s policy for a great example.
Good social media examples:
- Dell were perceived to have terrible customer service in the days of â€œDellHellâ€, now they have an online customer forum where people can contribute and the company can track reactions and respond accordingly.
- Cadbury Schweppes.
- I’m for GM
- Obama campaign
To learn more:
- Darren Barefoot
- Canadian Public Relations Society Conference
- Northern Voice (registration is now closed).
2. Podcasting – CBC Radio 3 Senior Producer Andrea Gin provided insight into podcasting:
Andrea gave an introduction to podcasting and her work with podcasts at CBC. They have on average 100,000 downloads per week and are the most listened to radio podcast in Canada
Q Is it simple?
Anyone can be a podcaster. All you need is:
- recording device
- audio editing software
Before you start podcasting, Andrea recommended that you think about what you have to offer – what is your niche and why would people want to listen? Also consider how people will access your podcasts. You can offer them as downloads on your website or register in iTunes. You can use images anywhere in the chapter or section of the podcast.
Q Do you edit it or broadcast live? A – It is usually edited and posted rather than live.
Q How do you make money? CBC doesn’t have ads but is more about content and supporting Canadian artists? Other companies have sponsors or use as a marketing tool.
Podcasting is different from radio in that people can listen to it anywhere they want when they want. With a radio show you miss it you miss it. Its also much more interactive than radio, lots of people comment and contribute.
Q.Can you download to your Blackberry – A – You should be able to but it will depend on how much memory you have.
CBC Shows also appear on Web Radio and Siruis Satellite.
CBC Audience expanded worldwide thanks to podcasting – lots Canadian expats around the world tune in.
Q Do you use webtrends to track this? A -Mainly Google Analytics and an in house tool
Q – Podcasting vision has it changed over the 5 years since you’ve been doing? A – Yes at the start we treated it like radio now its more of a cycle: your listener gets involved and interacts/contributes.
CBC doesn’t launch a podcast till they have 5 or 6 shows under their belt.
- don’t do it sporadically;
- build an audience by being consistent;
- podcast regularly.
- Encourage feedback – phone calls and emails and comments from the blog.
What kind of software do you use to edit? Adobe Audition
How long are your podcasts? We try not to go over an hour and a half. An hour is about as much as people can tolerate.
Stuff you should know is a good podcast from howstuffworks.com focused on answering questions like how long can you go with out food or water.
3. Online Market Research – Angus Reid Strategies Executive Vice President, Monique Morden, discussed proprietary online panels and communities for
cost effectively reaching the voice of customer.
Angus Reid provides research services – they are a full service company providing the soup to nuts. Vision Critical is a software company (AngusReid are their power users and parent company), its a nice marriage of the companies. Angus Reid has taken research online and has opened up a whole new world. They are all across NA and have small and large companies as clients.
Research used to be done on the phone now its all online. Some people don’t even have a phone particularly in the younger demographics so phone research results are skewed and you don’t know who are you reaching when you do phone research. (No call doesn’t apply to researchers.) Online is becoming such a great communication tool – research is another form of communication.
How do you do online research? Now you show the ad (or whatever your subject matter) and ask about it before you had to just describe it and ask questions to get feedback.
Types of research companies:
- Full service – Angus Reid
- Self service – ie Zoomerang, Question Pro, Survey monkey
- Panel software – Vision Critical, GMI
Sample (the people to be surveyed) Sources:
- email list – be careful about legal issues – do you won the list and is it okay to send.
- advertise on a website
- Customer base
- Access panels set up by others
Angus Reid has a full serve service where they design the survey and bring in the survey group. They have people they work with who form the survey group.
Validity of online research: Canada has highest internet penetration (about 86%). 55 years plus demographic is the fastest growing. Angus Reid did polling for elections and were the most accurate of any of the pollsters all done online.
Comes down to quality of questions and who you survey.
Angus Reid works with a group of panelists – they know about their panelists: if they have diabetes, age, kids etc etc so you don’t have to ask every time. They use only online polling because people tend to be more honest online – its less embarrassing and they tend to be more comfortable giving info online. They use open ended questions/comparisons to validate information. Usually panelists are surveyed once per week payment and have a small renumeration incentive of 1-4 dollars per survey. Online qualitative research is possible now: a group of people can have a conversation.
5. Webnames.ca COO Cybele Negris covered website and security pointers.
Domain Name Strategy – What domain name:
Depends on budget where you are – you should get at the minimum .com and .ca –
- .com is global 77 million globally registered websites;
- .ca is specific to Canada – 1 m .ca sites exists because it helps native companies to brand themselves.
Companies should have both – webnames.com was taken by someone else and he set up in competition to them. Protect your trademark/brand.
Canadians like to deal with Canadians. We ordered $5b worth of goods onlkine in 2005 – 63% from Canadian ventures.
- 250 country code domain names in the world.
- 21 generic top level domain names: .net, .mobi (for mobile internet)
- .tel – used to store and share all contact information: Phone number, cell, home details, Facebook details etc. You can have different profiles for different aspects of your life. Works on any mobile device and gives you a geo location so that it will automatically generate a gigamap.
- Register as many as you can afford. You don’t have to pay for hosting – you can forward it to your main site.
- More sites = more links.
- You should register your domain for longer than simply one year as it shows Google continuity and improves ranking will have a better ranking.
- You should register your own domain in your name. If someone else does it then they are responsible and they can take it with them when they go.
Tips For Using Email Effectively
- Don’t use gmail, hotmail etc for your corporate communications it looks unprofessional use your branded email but gmail etc for entering on websites.
- Use departmental addresses – makes you look bigger/more established and allows you track email traffic i.e. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Use an auto signature
- Use rules and folders
Tips Online Privacy and Security:
- PIPEDA Act covers online privacy.
- Spam Act – first reading was 2008 – Still no anti spamming law in Canada.
- Phishing – people sending you an email disguising themselves as a company you deal with so that you are inclined to give them private information.