Why Facebook is better for business than it is for you

Facebook collage by Jennifer Daniel

Facebook collage by Jennifer Daniel

True or false: Facebook has made the world a better place.

Sure, I find it interesting to see what my Grade 8 class has been up to over the years and, yes, Facebook made organizing a bachelor party much easier by wrangling all the crazies from his wife’s side of the family. But in the end, I actually think Facebook has been better for businesses than it has been for me, and here’s why.

Facebook forces brands to be more authentic and honest – exposing the good and the bad – and leaving judgment open to public opinion. So “why is this good for business?” you might ask (if you were in marketing pre-2004). Because letting people in creates more engagement and it also makes businesses a bit more interesting. The world has changed and the power over a brand has undoubtedly shifted into the on-line world – pushed and pulled by a number of forces – the strongest of which is public opinion.

But for people, it is the opposite. Facebook is where we can ‘present our best selves’, curating photos, activities, and countless friends. And curating is an understatement. People spend a great deal of effort to choose the right profile pic, the right cover image, share countless pictures of their ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ vacation, their engagement and so on. Their Facebook page becomes this polished, photo-shopped, Stepford-wife like version of real life.

And as we browse, laugh, like, share and creep, it’s hard not to compare everyone’s ‘outer-selves’ to our ‘inner-self’ – hardly a fair comparison.

As humans, we are complex, flawed and beautiful at the same time. And our lives are usually the same way. So don’t compare your real life to your Facebook feed.

Instead, find some cool companies and ‘like’ them. Hopefully they’ll share some great information, such as how to live a healthier life, or how to make delectable ricotta-filled cannoli cup desserts that you can share with your flesh-and-blood friends with the next time you have them over for dinner.

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7 Habits of Highly Effective Businesses

Best practices: what exactly do these words mean to you?

When I started searching for a topic to write about, the idea of best practices came to mind. I asked myself: who is out there and what are they doing to be successful? What have they done that is effective?

Speaking as a business owner myself, I know it can be challenging out there. Sometimes it helps to know that other people face similar challenges and have found ways to overcome such obstacles to be better than they were before. So I thought about some of the common challenges we face:

-Being reactive
-Not having enough time to plan ahead
-Looking for help
-The threat of competition
-Surviving in a changing world, because let’s face it – technology is quickly changing the way customers shop and what worked yesterday, may not work tomorrow

Our company, like yours, faces these challenges everyday but, as a marketing company, we also get to see these challenges through the eyes of our clients and help them to find solutions.

I thought I’d do a little R&D (Rip-off and Duplicate!) and take my cues from Stephen Covey’s book – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I have loosely applied these 7 habits to how we at OKD mange our business.

I’m sure we are all familiar with that feeling of simply reacting to problems as they arise. Even worse, we often see problems developing on the horizon but can’t or don’t take action be that a result of ignorance or a missed morning coffee (things tend to get a little fuzzy when you skip a ‘meal’).

Effective companies commit to getting ahead of the problem by acting first. They take initiative and make decisions. Being proactive means making a decision today because you can see what is going to happen tomorrow, be that a result of good business practice or an otherworldly, psychic ability.

Habits 2 and 3 go hand in hand – so I’ll group them together. I like planning (but no, I’m not a control freak…most days). For me, this is where mental planning and physical action come together.

Beginning with the end in mind means setting a goal. It may sound redundant, but it’s not. It’s about focusing your actions. Sure, setting a big, hairy, audacious goal can be healthy – like a company mission statement – but for this purpose, the goal should be clearly defined so it can be clearly measured.

A successful client, if I do say so myself, taught me about win-win for business. Wherein lay his win-win mentality? Well, he never wanted to pay for anything! Said client owns a logistics company, a professional hockey team and runs a charity. He’s a self-made success, but he’s also a regular guy you feel comfortable sitting with and having a beer…or two.

I got to know him through his hockey team and every time we presented him with a business opportunity he’d never fail to say “what can we trade?”. That approach, mentality and way-of-being has stuck with me. What do I have that someone else needs? What do I need that someone else has?

The point of my story here is that instead of buying and selling services, try looking at what value you can bring to the table and what you are trying to achieve. Then look for a) someone who might benefit from the value you bring and b) someone who has a similar goal or objective. Often, these similarities are the starting points of some great, and profitable, partnerships.

It sounds a bit like a prophecy, so I’ll paraphrase using a common quote:  “We have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you speak.” It’s tougher than it sounds – believe me – because it’s about self-awareness. For a business, that means knowing what makes you different and knowing what you have to offer your customers. And it’s especially important when faced with the threat of competition.

We often ask clients what their ‘competitive advantage’ is – or what is their ‘unique selling proposition’. Ironically, their answer can be very different from how their customers perceive them. Companies – like people – need to communicate effectively, but before we can do this, we need to understand who we are and what we represent to the people around us (i.e. our customers).

Much like the concept of thinking win-win, working together can be powerful. In business there is most definitely power in numbers. We have clients that use this philosophy, but for some small businesses, it’s not easy to build those numbers. Working with an agency, however, can help.

When it comes to media buying, a small business benefits from the ‘leverage’ that an agency has based on the total amount of media they are placing, not just the single budget from that business. An online marketing campaign can seem intimidating to a business owner, but some agencies have programs to support individual business across North America. This brings down the cost for a small business, allows them to focus on what they do best and lets the agency run an online campaign on their behalf.

The last habit is to sharpen the saw and by that I mean look for ways to improve, to fix and to ask questions. There’s the old quote that goes a little something like this: “the most dangerous phrase in the English language is ‘we’ve always done it this way’.” Sharpening the saw is about questioning the status-quo, because things change quickly – especially when it comes to dealing with customers!

A while back, we helped a client run an annual contest to give away a brand new car. The first year we worked on it we knocked it out of the park! Entries were up almost 30% compared to the previous year.

One year we ran subway ads with a QR code to scan – when they were popular– and the year before that we did an email marketing campaign. The year before that – if you can imagine – we put up posters in the washrooms of restaurants, bars and gyms. And the year before that we were using typewriters and snail mailing flyers – just kidding!

In the end, we exceeded our targets with each year the contest ran. It just goes to show that what works today might not work tomorrow, so we have to – and we must – keep looking for ways to improve.

I now challenge you to pick a habit and give it a try, or if you have any to add then drop us a tweet @OKDMarketing!

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#Socialnomics

It is no secret our world is becoming increasingly more social each day. We live in a world where more people own a mobile device than a toothbrush, where 1 in 5 couples meet online, and what happens in Vegas stays on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and YouTube.

#Socialnomics 2014 by Erik Qualman is the fifth version of the most watched video series on Social Media. Qualman is a #1 best selling author and keynote speaker on digital leadership. The video was produced by Equalman Studios. Source data for the statistics in the video is available in the book Socialnomics (sold on Amazon) socialnomics.com

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We’re Hiring: Social Media Communicator

The Social Media Communicator Posting is now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application.

Job Details:

OKD is looking  to hire a full-time Social Media Communicator to be responsible for managing social programs for a wide range of clients ranging from home improvement to food to small appliances.

The Social Media Communicator will  be responsible for content creation, managing and building content calendars, posting, reporting and some client interaction.

The ideal candidate will be extremely organized, creative-oriented (copywriting, editing and a good visual eye are essential) and able to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing.

This position also requires staying on top of social media industry news, trends and developments to inform and educate account teams and clients.

Duties & Responsibilities:

● Content creation and monitoring of client platforms

● Cultivate online community by engaging consumers, partners, and influencers in two-way communication via web and social channels

● Execute strategies including tactics such as contests, events, and strategic partnerships

● Execute Blog Outreach programs

● Work with account teams to support PR and marketing efforts on social media channels

● Monitor relevant trends and media that can be used to engage digital communities

● Create and review monthly client reports and analytics

● Maintain positive relationships with clients including telephone calls, in-person meetings, etc.

About Us:

The OKD Marketing Group is a fully integrated marketing and advertising company based in Burlington, Ontario.

serving local, regional, national and international clients.

For over 30 years, OKD Marketing has been building and growing brands, from start-ups to large corporations.

We help define and reinforce brand personalities and enhance brand perceptions, regardless of channel, with an entrepreneurial approach and an uncompromising commitment to outstanding service.

How to Apply:

If you are interested in applying for this position, please send a resume and a note to David Olynyk dolynyk@okd.com.

Please customize your note to show us who you are without using generic “resume speak”

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My Trip to the 2014 FIFA World Cup

On June 14, my brother and I departed for Rio de Janeiro. In Rio, we stayed on Copacabana Beach, and attended 5 World Cup games at the famous Estádio do Maracanã. The last time Brazil played a game at Maracanã was in the 1950 World Cup, where they suffered a 2-1 loss to Uruguay in the deciding match. Their loss was considered a national tragedy –however based on Brazil’s 7-1 collapse against Germany in the semi-finals this past tournament, it’s safe to say that the 1950 loss is no longer their greatest tragedy. The only opportunity for Brazil to play at Maracanã was if they made it to the final. The stadium currently seats 78,838 spectators, making it the largest stadium in Brazil and the second in South America.

The games my brother and I attended were as follows; Argentina (2) vs. Bosnia (1), Spain (0) vs. Chile (2), Belgium (1) vs. Russia (0), Ecuador (0) vs. France (0), and in the round of 16 match between Colombia (2) vs. Uruguay (0).

Argentina vs. Bosnia was the perfect way to start our trip. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to see the greatest player in the world, Lionel Messi, play in person. At 65’ Messi put on a show and score this incredible goal:

I can say with confidence that the crowd celebrating Messi’s brilliance was louder than any concert I have ever attended.

Christ the Redeemer

After Argentina’s victory, we witnessed the defending champions Spain become officially eliminated, and following that endured two rather uneventful matches between Belgium and Russia and Ecuador and France.

Although we were in Rio to watch the World Cup, my brother and I ventured to Christ the Redeemer, which is one of Brazil’s main tourist attractions. It is constructed from concrete and soapstone, and is 30 meters tall. The statue was the largest Christ statue in the world until 2010, when Poland’s Christ the King beat it by three meters. The statue over-looking the city is visible at lower elevations and is a beautiful site atop Corcovado Mountain.

Our final match on June 28 between Colombia and Uruguay had special significance. We saw 23 year-old James Rodriguez confirm his status as a star, scoring two goal in the 28’ and 50’. Rodriguez ended up leading the tournament in scoring and won the Golden Boot. His first goal of the match was as follows:

The only goal that should receive more votes for goal of the tournament is Mario Götze’s extra time, World Cup winning goal.

Overall, attending the World Cup was an incredible experience. Despite the controversy and criticism surrounding the tournament being hosted in Brazil, they certainly put on a great party and I will never forget being a part of it.

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Intern Chronicles v. 2

The fun and hard work has continued at OKD since my last blog post. I’ve been doing a mix of jobs, including packaging items to send to bloggers, searching the internet for new bloggers, and researching tips for a few different clients’ social media posts. More recently, Tamara and David have given me the opportunity to begin writing social media content for clients.

Before I begin writing, I have been researching what makes a good Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest post. I looked at various posts relating to sports, food, and home improvement, and reported on the most popular ones that I found to be effective. After reporting on several posts from each category, I was able to make a list of common characteristics between successful posts:

-Its image
-Its use of hashtags and key words
-Its relevance and timeliness
-Its accessibility
-Its use of appropriate humor
-The quality of its content

For the home improvement and food related posts specifically, I found that accessibility was a very important factor in popularity. “Do It Yourself” or “DIY” tags were common in the most popular home improvement posts because it makes project ideas seem more manageable to the average fan. In sports-related posts, humour has a more appropriate place, and seemed to be a more important characteristic in a post’s success. One of the posts I found that was particularly successful because of its humor was a SportsNet Mexican Football Team post:

I found this post interesting because the written content doesn’t offer much about the team, or the World Cup, but the image of Miguel Herrera’s faces would still be relevant to people watching Mexico play, while remaining funny enough to the general sports fan (making this post accessible to everyone).

What I’ve learned from the SportsNet post and other similar posts is that above all else, the image seems to matter the most in receiving online engagement. Although I’ve also seen that the written and linked content of the post is still the most important for its quality and eventual success, the posts with the most captivating and attractive images have the most engagement.

Well, that’s the gist of what I’ve learned this past week. And now that I’ve reflected on the research I’ve done, I can’t wait to start creating content for posts!

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Intern Chronicles v. 1

When I found out that I’d have the opportunity to help out at OKD this summer, I was ecstatic. I attended the University of British Columbia this year, and as my school year was coming to an end I began searching for summer jobs in Ontario. Initially I was worried that because I was out of the province and couldn’t attend in-person interviews, I’d have terrible difficulty finding employment opportunities in the GTA. Fortunately, I was rehired for a job at a garden centre that I worked at while I was in high school, and even better, found out that I had a position working in the Social Media department at OKD. I went from worrying about having absolutely no work to being exhausted from working 7 days a week between the two jobs. However, even with the long weeks I’ve been doing, I am so happy that I’ve had this opportunity at OKD.

After my first year at UBC, I couldn’t have hoped for a more fitting position than the one I’ve been given at OKD. Most of my course load revolved around culture and media, including a course that was focused on the evolution of journalism with the emergence of social media. Now being able to work with social media for clients is the perfect opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge that I gained in my first year of university. The work I’ve been doing has allowed me to build on what I learned in those courses, but it is still unfamiliar enough that I am engaged and excited to be learning new things.

In addition to the work being great, I’ve also just really enjoyed coming into the office. Dressing in respectable clothing and having an office and a desk has been a wonderful upgrade from loading manure into cars at the garden centre. Coming in to this particular office, where the staff are kind and welcoming has also been an excellent feeling. I’ve worked closely with Tamara and David in the Social Media department and they have made me feel very comfortable. By attending their meetings with other OKD staff, and completing the work they’ve assigned to me, I’ve learned a lot in my first month working in Social Media. I’ve learned, or begun to learn, the importance of social media as a tool for advertising. I’ve learned how much creativity and organization goes into doing quality work for each client. I’ve also learned that there is a lot of research and grunt work that goes in to advertising that doesn’t involve much creativity at all. Finally, perhaps the most surprising thing I’ve learned is that the content on Pinterest goes beyond wedding ideas and mason jar recipes. I now have a Pinterest account of my own for anyone that would like to follow me: http://www.pinterest.com/matthewscottkin/

Thank you for a great first month, OKD, and I look forward to spending the rest of my summer here and reporting back on the blog about what I’ve been up to.

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Take Your Dog to Work Day

Today we are celebrating Take Your Dog to Work Day at OKD!

We are joined by 8 of our pet companions today, and they are all getting along extremely well (so far!).

It has been said time and time again that the presence of animals helps to alleviate stress and benefit your overall mood. This can also be true in the workplace. As demonstrated by multiple studies, having a pet in the workplace not only lowers stress levels and encourages a productive work environment, but also helps to boost morale.  It worked for us today!

Take Your Dog to Work Day was created in 1999 by Pet Sitters International – an organization for professional pet sitters – as a way to celebrate canine companions and promote pet adoptions.

To donate to the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA, click here: http://hbspca.com/

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Meet you @ The Core

Congratulations to Global Spectrum on the launch of Core Entertainment, the newly named entity that replaces HECFI. OKD is proud to have been involved in the initial sessions leading to the new name, logo and positioning strategy.

The new name is being warmly received by Hamiltonians, who recognize that ‘the core’ evokes a feeling of optimism, change and new beginnings – much like the movement afoot in the city’s downtown. While HECFI will certainly have a place in history, we share the enthusiasm and optimism shown by Core Entertainment, and the rest of Hamilton.

OKD has many ties to the city of Hamilton, with humble beginnings in a little, turn-of-the-century Methodist Church on Walnut Street to working with some of the city’s best and brightest over the years, and now have several staff who live in the Greater Hamilton area.

Photo from: CBC News

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