How a simple #hashtag brings together a community

Not everyone knows how to properly use a #hashtag, and even less people know how to use a hashtag to accomplish a goal. I was very proud to take part in the #SudburyMob yesterday, an opportunity for anyone to tweet about why they love the community they live in.

This initiative was wildly successful yesterday with 167 total tweets, reaching nearly 40,000 people and 85,000 timeline posts. This doesn’t even take into account all of the additional views gained by people viewing the hashtag.

In advance of the tweet mob, the word was spread privately and quickly (only 2 days in advance) through LinkedIn. The return on the effort for this one is a no brainer, do it. Not only does it bring up community pride, but it certainly helps tourism and citizen engagement. Here’s a beautiful tagboard of all of the photos and tweets from the #SudburyMob Tagboard.

SudburyMob Stats

SudburyMob Stats

Even though our goal may have been to trend nationally, we absolutely had a positive impact in the social sphere. I’d encourage anyone to do this for your community, the return on your time is amazing and it’s really a testament to your city or community.

Congrats to you, Sudbury! 

Becoming a Social Media Guru in 60 minutes

This presentation, slightly modified from another deck I use, was delivered to 4th year Marketing students at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Here’s an overview of the presentation:

  • Trends
    • What are social marketers doing today?
    • Which channels are they using, or considering?
  • Metrics
    • How can you measure your success?
    • How can you measure your success AND explain it to your CEO?
  • Best Practices
    • What is everyone wishing they were doing

Defining Your Success on Twitter: Ornithology 2.0

Defining your success on twitter from Jean-Paul Rains was a presentation delivered to the #PSEWEB conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 
With nearly all PSE institutions on Twitter, we’ve established that it is important to have a presence. That presence has differing levels of dedicated resources, different goals and varying measures of success. Like Ornithology, this presentation will cover the study of behaviours, effectiveness, and measurements of PSE Twitter presences.

Defining your success on Twitter can be difficult, even more difficult when trying to explain it to someone who is Twilliterate. If being on Twitter is merely a way for your organization to check a box, that’s fine. But, if you are interested in taking that check box and turning it into an easily attained performance measure, this presentation is for you.

Like any dedicated birdwatcher, we took a look at some of the more successful Canadian PSE Twitter accounts and aimed to find commonalities in their behaviours and how that translated to their successes.

Finally, after searching for ways to define success from # of followers, % breakdowns of interactions to 3rd party measurements, we take a look at the different ways (free!) for you to measure your success.

Look past your number of followers and turn that check box into a CEO friendly success story.

Twitter: The new church basement

First of all, I’m a numbers guy. When I saw a post from Fraser Strategies saying that my former MP had left Twitter, I wanted to crunch the numbers.

The NDP member of parliament for Timmins-James Bay, Charlie Angus, had in fact, left Twitter. I’m not disappointed in Angus, or his advisors, but I am disappointed for the 4,441 (and growing!) of us who followed him on Twitter. Here are a few numbers on what this means.

4,441 : followers on Twitter

54 : people he was following on Twitter

81,957 : population of the Timmins-James Bay riding

246,275.67 : square kilometers in the riding

24  : number of people he visited during a 90 minute town hall meeting

Expanding on some of these numbers, if Angus is to allow his constituents to ask him questions directly, in groups of 24 participants, it would take him roughly 3,415 visits. In 90 minute meetings, working 12 hour days, it would take him roughly 426 days to meet with these constituents.

Now, I commend Angus for joining Twitter and representing his constituents and especially, for the awareness he built through Twitter for the residents in Attawapiskat. However, the irony in his leaving Twitter,I will leave as fodder for the Twitterverse.

Finally, for anyone participating in Twitter, it serves as a reminder that Twitter is not a megaphone on top of a hill, it’s a really big church basement.

Measuring your Twitter Klout

Recently, when asked by a client how they could properly measure their success versus competitors on Twitter, I defaulted to my typical answer, but then thought it out a little more.

Initially I thought of or After my cursory view of both the client and their competitor I noticed that, although the client had a much more thought out content strategy, the competitor scored higher on Klout and Kred.

After my first look, this made me think of the obvious issues that already exist in measuring Twitter success (I have reluctantly relied on these sites). Of course, they provide at least some input on the matter; they have ever improving analytics of  true reach and amplification. However I have yet to see a site be able to provide a strong measurement reflecting content effectiveness.

It is my hope that Klout, while integrated with Facebook, may be able to integrate with link shortening applications to measure engagement and click throughs on content. The actual consumption of the content can be easy to measure if you own the short links however it is quite difficult to know whether or not your RTs are being read or not. Most will contend that these will receive more RTs, however that’s likely an assumption of consumption.

No matter how you slice it, we are currently missing a big piece of the analytical pie on Twitter. The question is, which service will fill the gap first?

Social Media’s Impact on Politics

The most recent Ontario election has left me wondering whether or not the results were impacted by the activities of the candidates on Social Media. With that, I decided to take a look at 3 races where an underdog came up to take the win in a close race. This will hopefully give us an idea as to whether social media may have had a positive influence on voters. Through these 3 races, I’ve tabled the social score of Facebook fans/friends + Twitter Klout score in order to establish which candidate is interacting more effectively with constituents online.


It’s easy to see in this case who had the handle on their “handles” with Thomson dominating social media. This landslide was explained by Marchese’s Facebook presence with his high privacy settings on his profile and he had linked his Twitter account to auto-update his Facebook status – classic mistake, no one wants to chat with a robot. Meanwhile, Thomson’s efforts of engaging posts and interactions were impressive. While this didn’t translate to a seat in office, the race was much closer than the anticipated result of Marchese doubling up on Thomson.
 Ottawa Centre

Naidoo held a 12 point lead however was trounced it the polls, similarly, in Klout score. As for Facebook, Naidoo had no updates to his personal profile close to election time and few interactive posts on his Facebook page. Naqvi was not much better on Facebook, with few updates but a much higher response rate on his page. Where Naqvi separated himself was in his use of Twitter, with a true reach of over 1K (175 for Naidoo) his tweets were focused and influential. In this case, again, use of social media was a pre-cursor for an unexpected result. 

Northumberland-Quinte West

In conclusion, the results have shown that the social media presences of these underdogs had a tangible impact on the end result of the elections. It is safe to assume that social media in general has a positive impact on ridings but may be further influential for city centre ridings. For me, what has been proven here, is that the impact of social media must be measured by political campaigns in order to properly gauge their polls.

Time will tell whether the winners of the election can properly use these tools in order to keep listening to their voters, or at least make the voters feel like they are ;)

This 10 point lead for Rinaldi disappeared quickly on election night as he was supplanted by teacher and beef farmer Rob Milligan. Rinaldi was non-existent on Facebook but did have a small presence on Twitter with a true reach of 148. His handle was the unassuming @VoteLouRinaldi and he rarely had tweets of any relevance, other than when he congratulated his competitor @RobMilliganPC. While Milligan’s usage of Twitter was not impressive either, his Facebook presence was tangible with updates and a significant amount of followers. While this riding did not prove the same result, however it did show us that this rural riding (and potentially others like it) may be less likely to be influenced by social media.