Internet Marketing Conference returns to Vancouver

Internet Marketing Conference Vancouver 2010I’m excited to be on a panel at the upcoming Internet Marketing Conference coming to Vancouver from September 21-23rd. This will be my third year in a row speaking at the conference. Guy Kawasaki is the keynote, so I likely need not say more…

The topic of the panel is: When is Social Media not working? Social Media is the popular way of reaching people online. At the same time many businesses are failing to gain business advantage from Social Media. How do you know when Social Media is right for you and when it’s not?

If you’ll be there, make sure to say hello…

See what’s bubbling up on the CU Water Cooler.

One of my fellow credit union bloggers, Matt Davis (otherwise known as the Credit Union Warrior) recently approached me with the idea of a site where 12 credit union champions would surface relevant, inspiring and forward-looking online content for the rest of the CU world. It was an intriguing concept and I was truly honoured to be among the initial people he approached.

Well give the guy like 10 days and he’s gone from running the idea past us to launching the damn thing.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CU Water Cooler, bubbling up the best credit union content.

The site is simple. The 12 editors each tag content on delicious, and the site aggregates it all together. There will also be blog posts and radio shows, where we touch on issues affecting credit unions. Matt’s initial post sums it all up way better than I ever could.

Major kudos to Matt for making this happen. I can see this is the start of amazing things Matt will do now that he’s
joined Filene to help credit unions across the globe learn about, implement, and create financial services innovations. Pretty cool stuff.

Check it out, bookmark it, follow it on Twitter, subscribe to the feed and join in the conversation.

PS: Sorry it’s been two whopping months since my last post. I blame it on lots of activity, both professional and personal. Leave a comment to let me know you’re still reading…

I’m going to Convergence ’09 on May 11th.

Convergence '09I am very excited about Convergence ’09. It may prove to be one of the best digital marketing events in Vancouver this year. There are three reasons I make this statement.

  1. The keynote speaker is David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Obama for America
  2. It takes place at the new Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre (although it went massively over budget, it is the only LEED certified convention centre in North America)
  3. Last year’s event rocked (and I’m not just saying that because I was on a panel)

Take a look at the program, there are all kinds of great topics.

Here’s a description of the talk by David Plouffe:

After winning the election on November 4, 2008, President Obama called Plouffe “the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.” Credited with achieving one of the biggest upsets in American political history, his campaign generated a brand loyalty program with unprecedented success. Plouffe shares with the audience the election story and the process of developing a winning social media strategy that inspired millions to engage in the Obama campaign.

It takes place on May 11th. The price is $299 for the day, but they have early bird pricing on for $199. You can register for Convergence ’09 here.

Let me know if you’re going… I’ll see you there.

Work as the Program Director for The Big Wild.

Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada’s equivalent to REI, started something called The Big Wild, which “celebrates Canada’s large wild expanses: our forests, lakes, free-flowing rivers and stunning coasts. It’s an online community of people who are passionate about that wilderness. And it’s people working together to ensure at least half of our wilderness is protected forever.”

Right now, they are seeking a Program Director for the Big Wild, “an experienced strategist and communicator who can help create Canada’s most engaged and effective online community for wilderness conservation.”

As the Director of thebigwild.org, you will head up the Big Wild’s efforts to expand our community’s size and effectiveness by developing online activities and promotions, leveraging other MEC outreach channels (including our stores, email and partnerships), engaging members in outdoor activity challenges (the Big Wild Challenge) and strategizing around conservation campaigns, social networking and other collaboration tools. Your leadership will help build a large-scale community that demonstrates support for the vision of protecting at least half of Canada’s public land and water, and for specific conservation initiatives and campaigns.

This is truly an amazing opportunity for someone looking to make a mark for a really great company. MEC and Vancity are like sisters in the Vancouver area, large-scale co-operatives looking to be prosperous businesses while remaining true to their ideals.

Here’s the full deal:
Posting #09-001
Program Director of thebigwild.org
Closing Date: March 27, 2009
Status: FT One Year Contract, possibility for extension
Location: Vancouver Head Office, Sustainability and Community Department

Purpose: Mountain Equipment Co-operative seeks an experienced strategist and communicator who can help us create Canada’s most engaged and effective online community for wilderness conservation. The Big Wild is an innovative conservation initiative founded by MEC and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS): it’s an online community that brings Canadians together to enjoy our wilderness and help keep it wild. By combining conservation community expertise with MEC’s nationwide network of almost three million members, we can build a community that inspires a new constituency of Canadians to care about and act on behalf of our wilderness.

As the Director of thebigwild.org, you will head up the Big Wild’s efforts to expand our community’s size and effectiveness by developing online activities and promotions, leveraging other MEC outreach channels (including our stores, email and partnerships), engaging members in outdoor activity challenges (the Big Wild Challenge) and strategizing around conservation campaigns, social networking and other collaboration tools. Your leadership will help build a large-scale community that demonstrates support for the vision of protecting at least half of Canada’s public land and water, and for specific conservation initiatives and campaigns.

What you’ll be doing:
Setting the community’s strategic direction and goals in consultation with the Steering Committee, and implementing strategy, plans, programs and services to increase online activity
Developing plans for promotional and outreach activities, materials and partnerships, and executing those plans in collaboration with our team
Ensuring the Big Wild platform’s technical excellence and responsiveness to community needs. Includes setting the trajectory for platform development and maintaining the development roadmap
Managing the operations and growth of the Big Wild human resources (team of a part-time moderator, technical contractors, communications and conservation support), achievement of milestones, contracts, budgeting and ongoing reporting
Leading communications and marketing for The Big Wild, including marketing, public relations and responses to public inquiries
Identifying and acting on opportunities to collaborate with organizations such as other non-profit organizations, businesses and schools
Coordinating with key staff at CPAWS and MEC to build internal and external partnerships, support and audience
Establish the Big Wild as an inclusive entity that exists beyond founder organizations (later priority after the initial phase of community building)

What you need to do it well:
A passion for social media or online community, and a relentless fascination with how you can harness it to the issues you care about
A broad interdisciplinary background that includes experience in business/entrepreneurship, online technology and nonprofits or advocacy organizations
At least two years of experience related to online community, social media, blogging or social networking
Excellent communications and writing skills, including marketing and outreach experience
At least two years of experience in project management, preferably including experience managing web sites or projects
Knowledge of and passion for wilderness conservation and outdoor recreation in Canada (professional experience in this field is not a requirement)
Demonstrated ability to manage teams (including staff and contractors) and to develop effective stakeholder relationships
An established network of relationships with conservationists, recreationists, environmentalists and social media influencers
An entrepreneurial spirit and experience in successful completion of the development phase in a new venture, major project or organization.
Experience in coalition/organization building and funding an asset
Oral fluency in both official languages (French/English) highly desirable, written fluency an asset
Infectious enthusiasm that begins with one symptom: your desire to be part of making The Big Wild a bold new force for conservation

Please submit resume with covering letter stating job posting number addressed to jobs [at] mec [dot] ca

Monitoring your brand health – part two.

In part one of this series, I gave recent examples of when we respond to bloggers when they blog about Vancity. In this part, I want to talk about how to monitor the conversation so you can find those opportunities to respond.

The most basic tool – Google Alerts.
I have just changed the way I monitor the health of the words ‘vancity’ and ‘azaroff’. I have had Google Alerts set up for a couple of years now, so whenever a blog post, news article or web page is published that mentions ‘vancity‘ or ‘azaroff‘ I am alerted by email as it happens.

This helps me keep up with the conversation as it happens about my company or about me personally. Most of what is written is totally ignorable, and most often the post is not even about us. Vancity is a slang term for Vancouver (“Just landed in Vancity, ready for some skiing“), and is also the name of an art-house theatre in town (“Waiting in line to see the sci-fi, chop-socky, Korean anime slasher pic sequel at the Vancity Theatre“). But occasionally I hit a post worthy of a response.

Why should you monitor?
Truth be told, being the first to know puts you in a particularly good position within your company. You are the one with knowledge, and can raise issues. For an organization like an FI where a lot of people don’t get how this works, it almost makes you a magician. Use it! Nothing gets people excited like an extreme blog post, whether positive or negative.

How to monitor.
Monitoring what people say about Vancity is taking more and more time. I have my Google Alerts set, as I described. I also used to monitor Technorati, but stopped at some point because it just wasn’t top of mind. And I have found some good stuff using Twitter Search, but these were manual and I just don’t do it that often.

I was having lunch with my friend Gregory Krysa (“All social media is inherently authentic.“) recently, my equivalent at Aritzia, and he told me what he’s doing to monitor his brand’s online reputation. This is so simple, I almost hesitate posting it in case you are all already doing this and I’m the last one to the party. But here goes…

Using RSS as the aggregator.
So this is the stupid-easy part. I already use Google Reader daily to keep up with all of you guys and your blogs. Well Gregory simply said that all of these services have an RSS feed.

I mean duh!

So if you go to Google Blog Search and look up your company (I’ll use “credit unions” as a proxy) and sort by date, you can see all mentions of your company in the blogosphere starting with the most recent. This page has an RSS feed. You can see it if you use a browser that automatically discovers feeds, or you can see it in the left-hand column of the results page.

Google Alerts also allows you to subscribe via Google Reader instead of email. Google Alerts let you do a comprehensive search so you can get sent news, websites and blog posts. Google Blog Search allows you to do an advanced search, so I can remove words like “theatre” so I skip posts about what’s playing at the Vancity Theatre. Find the one that works best for your needs and add it to your preferred RSS reader (if you don’t yet use an RSS aggregator, I’m not sure I can help you).

Beyond Google.
Technorati also has RSS feeds included in their search. Look up your company in Technorati and then see that there’s a little RSS icon at the top-right of the centre column of the results page. For some reason, Google Reader was finicky with this, and it took a few tries, but it worked.

Now do the same thing in Twitter Search. In the right-hand column, there’s a link to the RSS feed to this result. Voila!

Now check Google Reader.
So then I created a folder within Google Reader called “vancity”, and put all these feeds in there, along with the feeds from our main website and from ChangeEverything.ca.

It isn’t perfect.
I haven’t found a way to check Facebook. Facebook is a closed community, and there aren’t RSS feeds. If your needs become this sophisticated, perhaps it’s time to invest in a blog monitoring service who can add this dimension to your search. If you use one, please leave a comment and let me know which one you use and whether or not you are satisfied. I imagine we at Vancity are ages away from needing that.

I hope this was useful as a practical way to start understanding the word of mouth that is happening online about you or your organization. Let me know if you’re already doing this, or have better methods. I have just set this up, and it’s already been phenomenal.

I look forward to your comments…