#FFWD2015: Five key takeaways from Twitter Canada session

On Wednesday FFWD Advertising Week hosted Twitter Canada for an insightful session about the #PowerOfAtweet. The panel consisted of Rita Ferrari, Director, Brand and Product Marketing at shomi, Kristi Karen, Director of Media, Consumer Engagement and Agency Partnerships at Mondelēz (Oreo), and Derek Hutchison, Head, Enterprise Social Media at RBC. The conversation, moderated by Jamie Michaels from Twitter Canada, covered success which these three very different brands were able to achieve on Twitter.

If you live in Toronto over the last month or so you have more than likely come across shomi billboards, TV or digital ads all throughout your daily routine. Ferrari’s team has been aggressively promoting shomi using a rich variety of channels including Twitter using some of the most innovative solutions the platform is able to offer. Their results of close collaboration with Twitter were a 2.3 increase in site visitations.

Kristi Karen lead the Oreo team during their collaboration with Sochi Olympics, and we all know how successful that campaign was. Their promoted tweets resulted in 14% to 24%  engagement increase. And while a bank might not seem like a Twitter account you’d want to follow RBC was able to achieve a 200% increase in positive sentiment by supporting team Canada during the same Olympics.

Throughout the discussion 5 key takeaways came up:

1. Take adventure of Twitter’s Account Associates: they are there to help you achieve better results not only by making suggestions about targeting but by working on your goals towards more innovative solutions.

2. Be creative with promoted tweets and Twitter cards. The targeting possibilities are fantastic and CTAs have a lot of potential to increase engagement. For example shomi used Twitter cards to encourage people to add their favorite shows to calendar.

3. During high-times or prolonged public events that require daily responses having a war-room will help the best ideas and solution rise to the top. Oreo had one during the Sochi Olympics and the creative outcome was incredibly attention grabbing.

4. Twitter is a great place for reputation management, software cannot possibly do that job as well as a real person. Having a team handling incoming mentions is worth the investment, especially if you’re a company that has a potential for getting a lot of questions, concerns or complaints, the labour is a worthy investment.

5. Whatever your brand challenge is Twitter alone will not solve that issue. Traditional media support is still as essential as it was a decade ago.


Julia Pott for Oreo from Hornet on Vimeo.

Lack of Social Engagement Can Damage Your Brand Image and Your Profit

I would like to think that by now most people who work in the communication industry are aware of the value of social media. I would also like to think that most business owners, marketing managers, and directors have some sort of basic understanding for why they need to spend payroll dollars on a community manager.

But let’s be realistic. That type of knowledge is not common. It is also something really easy to ignore and miss.

So I narrow down my wishful thinking to hoping that community managers, especially for bigger brands, definitely know what they are doing. But even there, in the pull of the new found profession, people are still learning the ropes. Things go by unnoticed, forgotten, and never taken care of, leaving dissatisfied customers to pout in silence.

Most people who share their dissatisfaction, or satisfaction, with the brand don’t see a response. The rage has nowhere to go but stew on their Twitter feed to be seen by everyone, unresolved.

Entrepreneur magazine posted an article about a study titled “Brands Simply Aren’t Replying on Twitter.” The report stated that “54% of [socially active] companies send less than one @-reply per day.”

Now here’s why this is a problem:

Social media is a platform for building relationships and as it stands relationship is a two-way conversation. You can share relevant, useful information all day long but if you ignore engagement you automatically create a foundation for problems.

Social media is great for PR resolutions because you can address issues in real time. But if you don’t people will notice. If you don’t acknowledge people’s compliments or complaints you put yourself at risk of losing business. For example, three years ago I had purchased a rather expensive pair of shoes, people on the streets stopped to comment on the shoes. Within two weeks both heels broke in half while I was at a TIFF party. I shared my concern with the brand on Twitter but never got a response. I haven’t purchased a pair of shoes from them since, nor did anyone in my close social circle, in fact most of us are now anti-ambassadors for this particular brand. So think about this: a million is made up of ones, how many ones are you willing to lose by not responding to a tweet?

Social ROI is calculated through engagement and what is engagement if not people talking to your brand. The math is simple, if you respond you are likely to get more mentions, if you get more mentions you have higher engagement rates, more people see what a great brand you are (increased reach) and become interested in your product (raised awareness). A simpler math is this: by responding to an @-mention you are likely to get at least another mention, which already has a potential of doubling your engagement.

The important thing, however, is to not only respond to negative mentions and comments but positive too. If people voluntarily share their love for your product they deserve an acknowledgment – that is, after all, one of the easiest ways to gain brand ambassadors. The least you can do is say “Thanks!” You can fuel the conversation by simply responding and re-tweeting.

So look at your brand’s social feed, now look at the mentions. How many of those are left unresolved?


Originally published on Advertising Week Social Club here. 


AWSC: How Many Mentions Are Too Many Mentions?


When you host a sponsored event with multiple partners everyone wants a piece of the glory. Generally a sponsorship package includes social media promotion and that’s totally fair, if you are going to give someone money you undoubtedly deserve a shout out. And so does everyone else who contributed the pie making.

But let’s look at the big picture, an average event has a minimum of 4 sponsors or partners, a standard tweet has 140 characters, so once we are done mentioning everyone who deserves a mention how much room would we have left to actually compose a message?

Most of the well organized events have some sort of cards or reminders with official hashtags and twitter handles of the people they want you to mention, which is all cool – I don’t have a problem thanking someone for an open bar on Twitter but there is a point at which it becomes plain confusing.


This one takes the cake for all of the ones I’ve seen in the last 6 months (and I’ve seen a lot). I guess where I’m going with this is:

People, pick your priorities!

I completely understand that everyone wants a spotlight but with that many handles there is no opportunity left to actually talk about the event.

The solution is simple; the main thing you should promote is your hashtag, then the main event Twitter handle. Everyone else gets the fine print.

If you are a sponsor of such an event making sure people know about it is as much your responsibility as it is the of the host so tell your followers which hashtag to follow.

Please stop the mention abuse.


Originally published on theawsc.com.

AWSC: Dear Jorge Cortell, Tweets Have Consequences

On October 22 during the “Reverse” Demo Day (investors were pitching to entrepreneurs) Jorge Cortell, the CEO of a healthcare startup, publicly shared a controversial opinion, described by people as a creepshot:


Not surprisingly, the tweet caused a storm of comments and articles and very quickly people accused him of sexisim.

One of the most interesting comment threads can be found on Valleywag, from both defenders and the offended alike (Cortell called the comment thread “knee-jerk reactions”).

As some commenters have brought up, the internet has allowed bullying and public shaming without facing the issue or consequences in real life. The ability to diss someone on Twitter is quite powerful but cowardly at the same time. I’m not sure what this tweet was exactly.


Opinion sharing?

A display of power?

The one thing it sure was not was display of professionalism.

This is a man who is the CEO of a worldwide leader in open source healthcare organization who thought that composing and sending that tweet into the world was OK.

Aside from sheer unprofessionalism of the tweet, there are a number of assumptions that come through in those 140 characters (feel free to disagree with them of course):

  • Assumption #1: Entrepreneurs could not possibly be seen in heels
  • Assumption #2: Women who wear heels are dumb
  • Assumption #3: Women who wear heels, therefore, cannot possibly be entrepreneurs

So here are my questions: Is Mr. Cortell basing this on his personal life experience, that women who wear heels are not very smart and do not need any brains to get ahead in life?

Does he hire only women in flats assuming that they are therefore smart?

The wildfire that the tweet caused did not lead Cortell to an apology. Instead his attempt at settling the argument was saying that it could have been a man wearing those, which would be equally “absurd” and stating that wearing heels is not good for your health and therefore wearing heels makes you “dumb.”

There will always be heel haters, men and women alike. But amid the Cortell supporters came through a parade of other health-related comments pointing out things that are not healthy, which Cortell might possibly, in fact, do. like eating pizza, drinking coffee, smoking, having an alcoholic drink, etc. Multiple people inquired if Cortell had a library of pictures of people doing those other unhealthy things to which he indirectly responded by saying he encourages a healthy lifestyle in all of his employees. I wonder if that involves policing of unhealthy habits or premiums for eating salad and wearing flat shoes.

With the “self-inflicted health hazard = dumb” logic, would that mean that every CEO who smokes fits into the “dumb” category? Probably not.

I found reading the tweet, some of the comments, and Cortell’s responses personally offensive — as it seems many other people did too.

So, here’s a little feedback for Jorge Cortell.

I will not go ahead and say that I am smarter than you are. And as someone who is very open about her shoe addiction, I will probably fall into your “not smart” category quite quickly.

But here is what my shoes will not tell you: I have a double major BA with honors and specialized post-grad education. I am also an entrepreneur (no, not in fashion).

High heels are a personal choice – I like them, they elevate my confidence level, improve my posture, and unlike ballerina flats, high heels do not give me knee joint pains.

The language with which you write lacks intelligence regardless of Twitter’s character limitations. And your points are archaic and very poorly defended. Heels are not a deathly health decision, nor are they in any way a signifier of intelligence.

Here are some very smart and very well off women who have been seen in heels (just to name a few):

  • Diane Sawyer, Anchor of World News, ABC, Walt Disney. The heels come with the job description.
  • Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo!
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
  • Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina, according to The Sun never leaves home without high heels.
  • Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, an investor at Accel Partners, a venture capital firm, who as the author of the Valleywag, Nitasha Tiku, points out was one of the investors pitching at the Demo Day.

I think it is safe to say that making assumptions based on someone’s footwear is prejudice. If you had a problem with that specific style of shoe you should have been clear about that.

The brave thing to do would have been to try to get to know the wearer, perhaps challenge your theory on her lack of intelligence (do you actually know what she does?).

If, on the other hand, you have a fear of women who are more successful than you are, as some other people opined, well, you’ll just have to learn how to live with that and, most importantly, how to keep it to yourself.

So, dear Mr. Cortell, tweeting such a statement was, in your own words, dumb.

I do hope that you will learn something from this experience and will, like many people have pointed out, issue an apology.

Not only to the woman who’s creepshot you took but women in general.
Originally published on theAWSC.com