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Social Business Tips

In this blog series on Social Business we had a chance to review how a local company – Jackson Triggs – is using social media and other digital marketing to support their business.   As we have seen in the other posts, Jackson Triggs Winery has a very thorough online presence and customers engaged!  Conversations a plenty – written and visual.  But what are they missing?

Tips to consider when planning a social media strategy

  • Your Website, Your Hub  – Your company website is your information center.  This does NOT have to be a social platform, but it should be to ‘go to’ source for people wanting to learn about who you are, what you have to offer and how to ‘buy’ from you.  Make sure all the social media sites (and other digital sites) link back to this one and it links to your relevant social media sites.  Jackson Triggs –  Facebook & Twitter are the only two links listed on the footer section of the site.  They should at the very least add their YouTube and Pinterest sites.
  • Don’t start something and not use it –  If you start showing your public that you are a social company, make sure that you represent all of your company.  Don’t just post a profile and then let it sit.  Some parts of the company may get more interactions because it is busier, but nothing should be allowed to go stale/ neglected. Jackson Triggs – Link to the BC Winery & Vineyard location is posted in equal prominence on the company website to that of the  NOTL site.  Links to their twitter accounts are both posted in a similar format right next to those links.  NOTL Twitter  is VERY active, BC has only 24 Tweets and last posted 6 months ago. Find someone  to start posting!  YouTube is not being consistently used and only recently a couple of video have been added.  Hard pressed to find any customer engagement on here (no comments) and the background looks like it is from Halloween! Keep it FRESH
  • Be consistent –   If you are being social in one part of the company, your customers will expect it in all parts of your organization or they might think something is wrong.  Consistency with your image is very important.  If you say (through your public actions) you have a social culture, then make sure you carry it throughout.  Jackson Triggs – Their BC Winery is not being represented well on any of their social media sites.  Put someone in charge to oversee and personalize this very underutilized part of the organization.  Hire someone local (in-house or agency).  Those offering content need to live and breathe the experience so that they can respond in an authentic way.

Social Business Blog Series:

Note:  This Social Business Series has been part of an assignment for the Social Media class that I am taking at McMaster University for the PR program.  All research has been gathered online from publicly available information.  There may be more information available as to what they have coming up in their marketing/communication road map, but we wanted this research to be from the perspective of a customer.  Truly organic in nature and meant to inspire, not criticize.

Social Business: Case Study Reference

Wine + Food + Music = Social.

Offline (of course),  Online (absolutely)

It is a natural progression to have Wine, Food, Music and then Social. So shouldn’t this type of business,  in the ‘business’ of being social, have a social business model ?

Reviewing the online presence of Jackson Triggs Winery (Niagara, Ontario), it appears that they believe this to be very important.

Are they being social?  What do you think?

Are they using social platforms effectively?  Are they choosing the social sites where their customers are ‘hanging out’ , engaging in conversation.  Is their content being shared by others to extend the reach of the conversation?  Are they posting regularly to keep content fresh?  Content is relevant & stay within the culture of the organization?  Are people talking about the company themselves?  Sharing it with their friends?

Corporate Profiles on Social Media sites

Here are few of the social and digital platforms where Jackson Triggs has chosen to engage online, and a review of their activities.

Facebook – Actively updating their status,  Images (including cover image) are being kept up to date,  Regular Contests (just past ‘A Year in Bloom’), Variety of text, images & videos used, Conversations ongoing showing engagement with their community (i.e. people making comments and posting to page), Events listed and pages created and current.  Very active – company and customers.

TwitterNOTL – active with multiple posts, retweets and images every week – 1399 Followers & 1368 Tweets – Very Active – company and customers  B.C. –  Profile is there, some activity  – not very active.

YouTube – Fun, Light-hearted videos on associated topics as well as videos of the winery.

Pinterest – Showing related images to peak the interest of people who like wine, and to show images of the winery for other people to ‘re-pin’. Board topics are relevant, fun and creative –  “Pairs well with Wine”, “At the Winery”

Industry Websites – An opportunity to add a company profile on an industry, or related industry is very important to get extended reach.  Niagara Tourism is very important to the success of our local economy, so there are many opportunities to do this (often free).  Jackson Triggs has their profile or link on many of these sites.  i.e. Wineries of NOTLWineries Ontario

Local Business Referrals – Link-Backs (links between websites and within websites) are very important for not only bringing your customers to your website, but increasing your SEO (another topic).  Niagara On The Lake businesses work together to build a good business referral program and Jackson Triggs has built that into part of their social strategy- i.e. Pillar in the post offers ‘What to do’ while in the area – Example

Corporate Website – Offers information but  no place for conversation offered.  A few small links at the bottom to a select number of their social profiles.

Third Party Conversations

Social Sites where customers have started ‘talking about’ the winery.  Perception by most is that third party opinions are more objective (more credible) when it has no official ties to the company.  If someone is willing to share a photo and an experience and not getting paid for it?  Great PR (public relation)!!

Examples – Blogs,  Photo Sharing, Customer Reviews , Geo Locating Sites

Measuring their success

Using the social analytics site – Social Mention –  to see what the online sentiment of many of these conversations showed the sentiment of what people are saying about Jackson Triggs Winery to be:  179 Neutral  45 Positive 3 Negative (June 23 2012)

Trip Advisor Reviews (to date)  36 out of 53 were excellent reviews)

Social Business Blog Series:

Note:  This Social Business Series has been part of an assignment for the Social Media class that I am taking at McMaster University for the PR program.  All research has been gathered online from publicly available information.  There may be more information available as to what they have coming up in their marketing/communication road map, but we wanted this research to be from the perspective of a customer.  Truly organic in nature and meant to inspire, not criticize.

Savour the moment with Jackson Triggs

Wine, Music, Vintage, Classy, Fun, Whimsical, Entertainment, Relaxing, Welcoming,  Niagara

These are words that come to mind after visiting the online ‘face’ of Jackson Triggs Winery.  Whether it is their official Website or presence on other social media sites; such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube, they have a similar message to it’s viewers.

After watching their most recent television commercial, I couldn’t resist learning more about this company.

Intrigued?  Then watch, and read on…

Jackson-Triggs was established as a winery in 1993.  Their name is a blend of their founders’  – Allan Jackson and Don Triggs.  The main winery is located in Niagara-On-The-Lake, and a second in the Okanagan – Oliver, British Columbia.  Four beautiful vineyards support these wineries:  2 in Niagara (Niagara Estate, Delaine Vineyard) and 2 in the Okanagan (Okanagan Estate, SunRock Vineyard).  The architecture of the buildings, the manicured grounds of the estates, the beautiful pungent smells of the grapes fermenting on the vines in the summer months are all part of the atmosphere at Jackson Triggs.

Behind their product and services, they continue to offer  “unwavering dedication to quality, value and tradition” to their customers.  This is obvious through their Internationally award winning wines that are cultivated to ‘perfection’ by a team of experienced wine makers.  Their services reach beyond their wines, which offers their customers an extended experience. Their outdoor amphitheatre offers an eclectic assortment of music with various artists performing during the summer.  This unique investment attracts award winning artists and substantial media recognition.  Also offered are  special events, dining, tours, and wine tasting on the patio.  Stimulating all the senses with the hope that their customers will remember well, and want to return again and again.

Who are their customers?  

“Glocalization” , is a niche marketing word that they embody: A business catering to a local market as well as a global one.  Global tourism is strong in Niagara.  With Niagara-On-The-Lake only minutes from the world renowned Niagara Falls, it has the added benefit of those visiting the Falls to extend their visit to the winery.  Significant challenges for Niagara tourism:  Canadian dollar is almost at par which means our American neighbours don’t have the same incentive to come north. As well, a depressed economic situation means less disposable income.

On a happier note, Canadian wineries can now celebrate the passing of bill C-311.  C-311 is law, passed this month,  that allows wineries to sell their wine between provinces: Either purchasing wine from a winery and then travelling home to another province, or through online purchases.

Company needs to give back to it’s community

And I don’t mean just through engagement with it’s online community (upcoming blog, stay tuned) but give back through CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects.  Jackson Triggs’  auctioned off best-seat tickets to their Summer Concert Series on eBay.  All proceeds went to support War Child’s work with children whose lives have been devastated by war.  (Pretty great, don’t you think?)

As for their social business? Are customers talking about them?  Are they sharing this excitement?

Social Business Blog Series:

Note:  This series is for a “Social Media for Public Relations” course at McMaster University.  I am not an expert on wineries, but definitely enjoy my wine.  I live in Niagara and have a passion for health, wellness & community.  To read more about my experience, please read my about section.  All references and images in this blog are from the Jackson Triggs Winery website or otherwise noted.

Social Media part of Halton’s Emergency Plan

   

 

In an interview with Nick Buczynsky, Community Emergency Management Coordinator at Halton Region,

I had a chance to find out first hand how one of our local regions is using Social Media to support their Emergency Management program.

Can you tell us a little bit about your job as Community Emergency Management Coordinator at Halton Region?

As the CEMC for Halton Region, I am responsible for coordinating the Region’s emergency management program, with emphasis on preparedness, training, public education and awareness, and emergency response.

How are you using Social Media to support your role?

Using a dedicated Twitter account, we tweet messages on emergency preparedness to help educate the public.  Related messaging on incidents or events that may be occurring are also tweeted.  Where we know of a potential situation, such as severe weather, we will tweet messages advising residents of how to prepare themselves for it.  In specific emergency situations, we will tweet about the incident, any actions that residents should take, and link to the Region’s website for more information.

How long have you been using social media in your role?

Since August 2011.

What tools / platforms do you use?  i.e. Twitter, Facebook.  and Why did you choose these platforms?

Currently we are only using Twitter.  It is fast and convenient and message penetration can grow exponentially in no time.

Challenges  – you have faced using Social Media in your role?

Time dedicated to sending tweets had been a challenge, although with new staff this issue has diminished. Another challenge has been building up the number of dedicated followers.  Although our initial goal was extremely modest and we have exceeded it significantly, I would like to see the number of followers in the thousands rather than the low hundreds.

Benefits – you have faced using Social Media in your role?

It has proven to be a good tool for following events – especially where we are not able to get much information from the site directly.

Is there a specific story that you can share where Social Media made a significant impact on your ability to communicate during a disaster / emergency event?  How?

Just  days after we launched Twitter, a very small tornado blew through Burlington.  By tweeting Environment Canada warnings and our own tips on what to do in a tornado, power outages, lightning storms, etc., we quickly picked up a handful of followers – without having done any marketing, public education or even a media release/announcement that we have launched Twitter.  That set the tone for future growth although, thankfully, we have not had a similar situation occur again to date.

If you can make one statement on the greatest impact social media has had on emergency management, what would that be?  What would you like to see in the near future for your industry?

I think that social media has given emergency management professionals another valuable tool for relaying real-time or near real-time information on emergencies and other signficant events to potentially thousands of individuals directly.

Do you have anything you would like to share with our class here at McMaster University #SMRTCCE about how Social Media has impacted Emergency Management?

Thanks for the opportunity to share Halton’s experience with using social media in emergency management.  I see it has great potential for communicating key messages to residents in a timely manner and can penetrate a large part of the community in little time once the number of followers grows.

Please check us out on Twitter – @BPreparedHalton

Halton Region Website

Related Blog Posts:

Emergency Management: Using Social Media to Save Lives?

According to a recent American Red Cross survey,  more than one-third of citizen respondents surveyed  said they expected help to arrive in less than one hour if they posted a request to an emergency response agency on Facebook or Twitter.  The problem here is that these assumptions could put a person in a ‘life or death’ situation if the First Responder group is not monitoring these platforms.

So the question is…

Has Emergency Management incorporated Social Media into their communication strategy?

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is listening and responding to this new public pattern of communication.  Federal Coordinating Officer Don Keldsen is quoted in a recent press release:  “Events worldwide have demonstrated how quickly social media can connect people and allow them to share information and help one another.  We have been able to reach the survivors of disasters through our continued posting to social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook.”

“The louder the voices from the ground, the better the response will be.  Access to accurate and timely information from the ground during post-crisis response  periods will enable humanitarian responders to act more efficiently,” said one volunteer involved in the evaluation of the Usahidi Haiti Project

Social Media offers real-time exchange of information on a Global scale!  An obvious advantage,  BUT all of that information is a double-edged sword.  One of the challenges emergency management has is the extra resources needed to manage this large amount of information:  to find the right conversation, analyze it and respond to it in a timely fashion.

There are other obstacles to overcome:  Professionals not familiar with social media face technical challenges, and policies/operational procedures/laws must now be adjusted to accommodate this new shift in communication. These are all factors that keep the pace of advancement towards the ultimate goal of eliminating communication silos between EM and the public, and between agencies within the EM umbrella (Fire, Police, Mayors office, etc).

But this is a work in progress.

Emergency management is taking the use of social media as a communication tool very seriously, and moving forward with great strides despite their challenges.  Online focus groups such as www.sm4em.org  have been created to support Social Media usage within the EM profession, creating chat opportunities such as #SMEM on Twitter.  Industry Conferences have recently offered sessions on best-practices  (i.e. WCDM, ASIS conference).  Most local municipalities have  started to engage with their communities on social media to best prepare them for emergencies in their areas – EMBC  offered a list of emergency #Hashtags to monitor during an event (May 2012).

What is our responsibility, as the public, to support our Emergency Management teams?

I believe that we should..

  • Be a part of the learning process.  It is just as much our responsibility to know HOW to communicate with our local first responders groups during an emergency.
  • Be forthcoming with any information that we have during an event that can help our emergency management teams respond effectively during or after an event. (I.e. video, pics, information, etc.).
  • Be smart about what is said online during a crisis to eliminate unnecessary information for EM to have to filter through

How is your local community emergency management team using Social Media?

Related Articles:

Related Posts:

Emergency Management and Communications

Who are our emergency managers?

Emergency management (EM) professionals’ role is to protect people, property, critical infrastructure and the environment during emergencies and disasters.  They are often involved in educating  the public on how to be prepared for such events. When a disaster occurs, they are the ones that are organizing the efforts to get help to those in need.  You will find emergency managers in any organization that are First-Responders during a disaster or emergency – i.e. Fire, Police, Paramedics, Hospitals, Municipalities, etc.

In Ontario, it is law that each municipality is required to have an Emergency Management Program Coordinator. [1] [2] Emergency management is sometimes a role within a role.  For example, a fire chief may take on the job of an emergency manager [3].  A sample task within this role could be overseeing the implementation of a more effective communication program between various First-Responders (i.e. police, fire, mayor’s office, etc) to use during an emergency.

How do they communicate?

Working with FutureShield for a couple of years, I have had the privilege of meeting some exceptional EM pros from across our country.  One aspect of FutureShield’s  business is to help their customers find the right software technology to support better communications within their organizations.  These men and women in charge of sourcing out such solutions are some of the most innovative, visionary and tech-savvy among their peers.  They understand the advantages of using technology to assist their efforts to support the welfare of our communities.  Examples –  Windsor Exercise , U Windsor wins the MTIA award , BC Hydro’s security during the  Olympics

Do these same people embrace social media as part of their overall communication plan?  How is social media affecting their roles?  How does it fit within their overall communication strategy?

Related Blogs:

References:

[1]  Ontario Regulation 380/04

[2] Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act

[3] Emergency Management Coordinator as an additional position – North Bay, Meaford, New Tecumseth

People, Links, Related Articles:

Patrice Cloutier  – Communications Strategist for the Ontario Government

Shared Emergency Management links

IAEM – International Association of Emergency Managers

OAEM – Ontario Association of Emergency Managers

Emergency Management Ontario – EMO

www.sm4em.org – online group for Social Media for Emergency Management – including Twitter Hash tag discussions #SMEM

The right words, at the right time: Lessons from the past

A love poem recently found was written by my late Great Uncle Wally to his new wife Ruth – Christmas 1973.  This poem  begins in sadness, but please read on, it ends in utter joy.

These words must have had such an impact on this new marriage, this new relationship – words full of  hope, possibility and absolute honesty.  And what timing!  As they ventured forward in this new relationship, these initial words must have shown his new wife how open and honest her new partner would be with her.  Such a support to this union, and obvious blessing to them both.

I sometimes thought we loved too much,

my lovely wife and I;

For we shared a love that didn’t wane

as many years slipped by.

We were indeed a unit, sharing laughter

joy and tears

As we trod along Life’s pathways those

many, many years.

Then cam that awful day when she

could no longer stay

It seemed my life must end when the

angels beckoned her away

My life, which had been beautiful

lost suddenly all flavor

And I was sure that never more would

I know Happiness’ savor.

For months I drifted, my search for

Happiness sometimes drastic

But the fun I had and those I met

seemed merely to be plastic

Things which used to make me laugh

weren’t “Happenings” anymore

And I admit, to those I met, I must

have seemed a bore

Then, miraculous it seemed, a light came

shining through.

The clouds of Loneliness parted:  Fate introduced me to you.

I’m sure it must have been ordained by the

Master up above

For suddenly, with clarity, I knew you were sent

for me to love.

Now the Sun shines bright again; birds sing

a sweeter tune:

My wintry life has taken on the beauty and

loveliness of June

This is my way of saying, Dear, to you my sweet,

new wife

That you’re more than just a wife to me –

you are indeed my Life.

Author: Wally Symons

Our communities are built on one relationship at a time.  Perhaps the lessons learned here, is that we should readily offer our words with care and thoughtfulness:  making sure the timing and choice of words are appropriate to achieve the greatest outcome of each situation.

Note:   Wally Symons at the age of 13 years and 6 months – only photo we have of him.  Given permission to share this poem by my mother.