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Our Christmas Gift – Family Sponsorship with Nelson Youth Centres

This Christmas as a company we decided to do something special for the community close to home.  Every say we speak about the importance of the community in everything we do, and now this was the time for us to give back to the people around us.

I was placed in charge of finding a way to reach out to the community in a meaningful way.  I immediately thought of family sponsorship, but didn’t know whom to approach about sponsoring a family for the Christmas season.

After doing some research I came across Nelson Youth Centres (NYC).  NYC is an accredited Children’s Mental Health service

Nelson Youth Centres

provider, and has been serving the local community in Burlington, Ontario, Canada for over 30 years.

It has been estimated that 1 in 5 children in Ontario are living with a mental illness.   Through programs designed specifically for children, such as after school programs, children with mental illness receive the positive attention they need.

Children with emotional, social, behavioural, and learning needs often experience difficulties at home, school, and in the community.

Nelson Youth Centres provides treatment programs for children age 7 to 17.  Their program includes therapeutic treatment for children and youth who are experiencing depression, anxiety, social difficulties, ADHD, Autism, Conduct Disorder, and bullying.

Our Contribution:

We were given a family to sponsor, 1 grandparent, and 3 children, ages 11, 10, and 6.  I was especially touched by their story because the children’s grandparent took on the parental responsibility of the children.  I can only imagine how difficult it would be to relive your child-rearing years in your “Golden Years”.

Our presents for the family at Nelson Youth Centres

After receiving a list of each child’s interests, I braved Christmas shoppers and bought everything the family would need to have a happy Christmas.

Below is a list of some of the items we gave the family:

-grocery store gift card (I’m thinking lots of turkey, and leftovers, mmm)

-HBC gift card


-art set

-Lego set

-mini basketball hoop (attaches to door)


-Old Navy mittens, scarves, and hats



-Checkers game

The presents we gave to our Sponsored family at Nelson Youth Centres

This is list is nowhere exhaustive; I think that the photo does a good job of illustrating the gifts that we gave the family.

When I dropped off the Christmas gifts, I was able to take a tour of Nelson Youth Centres.  I was given a tour of the facilities by Cindy McClure, the Executive Director of NYC.  I walked into the smell of gingerbread cookies, as a group of boys were creating a special Christmas treat with their peers.  The house was so homey and comforting, I felt like I was intruding on a family dwelling.

Christmas time is not about what you receive, rather what you give to others.  Blessing a deserving family during the Christmas season, and any time of year is a privilege.

Thank you to Nelson Youth Centres for opening your hearts and allowing us to make someone’s Christmas extra special.


The Importance of Social Media: Data is King – Relationships are Queen

Continuing with an article I posted earlier on this week, I found additional poignant information on the importance of data collection and analysis from social media in the IBM study From Stretched to Strengthened – Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study. The study interviewed over 1,700 IBM Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), spanning 19 industries and 64 countries.  This study was conducted as part of a larger C-suite Studies initiative that has spanned the past seven years.

Marketing is all about Data!

Here at MavenSocial, we have been declaring from every rooftop the importance of Data and Relationships.  Now you must be wondering, how do the two connect? Very simply, companies need to shift their focus from strict data collection and analysis to data collection for the purpose of building relationships.

Building formidable relationships with one’s consumer base is important for every company looking to increase sales (who isn’t!) and the key to this interaction is social media.  Jeannette Schmitteckert, Head of Marketing and Public Relations at Bardusch GmbH & Co. KG explains that “we have to increase customer loyalty.  The digital technologies represent an important channel with which to interact with clients and attract them to our service.”

How do we create consumer loyalty?

Through creating authentic connections with consumers.  Social media provides the platform connecting with a brand’s consumers.

The Marketing Funnel has Changed:

The traditional marketing funnel is no longer sufficient when assessing consumer assessment and interaction with the brand.  The marketing funnel ends at the completion of the sale, thus missing consumer interactions with the brand after the fact.

With the outdated marketing funnel, once the consumer makes their purchase, the sales cycle is complete.  David C. Edelman explains in his Harvard Business Review article on Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in all the Wrong Places that in the age of digital, consumers are using social media to induce an open-ended relationship with the brand, sharing

Marketing is all about relationships!

their experience online across multiple platforms.

The IBM study stresses that outperforming organizations have already made this change, and are using far more data throughout the entire consumer lifecycle than their underperforming counterparts.  They explain that the differences are specifically apparent in two phases: “phases devoted to stimulating awareness and desire, and building advocacy after the sale.”

Part of building a strong relationship with consumers is creating and enforcing a strong corporate culture.  Social media and the Internet have opened the information floodgates.  Now more than ever, consumers are privy to information on employee treatment, product manufacturing processes, environment policies and follow-through, executive pay, and treatment of retirees and suppliers.  This type of knowledge can affect purchasing decisions.  With the rate of information moving faster than light-speed, it’s important that companies implement and enforce transparent governance policies.


What a company stands for is as important as what it sells.

Data collection for the purpose of creating relationships with consumers is the most important aspect of a company’s marketing and sales strategy.  Here at MavenSocial, we use WhiteFire Social software to

  • Identify and track the economic impact of influencers on your brand
  • Generate traffic and social lift
  • Generate quick SEO landing pages for A/B testing
  • Create and manage Facebook contests

We use this data to help companies create online and Facebook campaigns, where companies are able to track relationships and understand what drives people to share brand information with their community.

Data collection for the purpose of building relationships through social media is the way of the future – are you plugged in?


Changing Tides: How Companies are Realizing the Importance of Social Media Influencers and Data Collection

Recently I came across a study IBM, From Stretched to Strengthened – Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study. The study interviewed over 1,700 IBM Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), spanning 19 industries and 64 countries.  This study was conducted as part of a larger C-suite Studies initiative that has spanned the past seven years.

I’m floored by this study because it reiterates what we have been doing at MavenSocial for years now.  We have understood the importance of social media and its affect on brands.  A brand’s online social media presence can make or break a company.  Many

The power of social meda

companies fail to understand the importance of social media, and continue to only engage in traditional forms of marketing, such as direct mail, television, and magazine ads.

The Future: It’s About Data

The goal of every company and brand should be to connect with, and enter the social media realm.  In this realm they need to be equipped with proper analytics that recognizes preferences, trends, and patterns across all touch points.

The IBM study shared that they should re-prioritize their investments to analyze digital channels, such as blogs, tweets, social networks, peer reviews and consumer-generated content.  All of this is done so that the company has access to “customer’s honest, unmediated views, values, and expectations”.

Paired with powerful social media data and metrics from our WhiteFire Social software, blogging team, and interactive Facebook campaign, MavenSocial can track the life of any brand’s campaign from start to finish.  As I have shared before, we are able to identify and track the campaign’s social media influencers, allowing the brand to connect with the influencer and cement their positive brand messaging throughout the life of the campaign and generations after.

The IBM study also shared that market and technology factors are the two most powerful external forces affecting the organization today.  With the top four challenges being the “explosion of data, social media, the proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting consumer demographics”.  It is imperative that companies have streamlined social media strategy and data analysis software that will ensure brand awareness cross-pollination.

It’s About Relationships:

Customer Loyalty:

Customer loyalty is best cultivated online.  Social media allows the brand to create a personal experience for the consumer.  Platforms such as Facebook allow companies to share brand information on someone’s personal space.  Between comments from friends, and pictures of your sister’s new baby, when someone likes a brand’s Facebook Page they have direct access to that individual’s newsfeed.

Brands must understand that it's all about relationships - social media cultivates this!

A telecommunications CMO in Japan explains that the social media space needs to be understood by companies as they attempt to connect with, and increase customer loyalty.  He explains “loyalty and customer satisfaction are critical because advocates online provide you will immeasurably valuable free marketing”.

IBM has 3 top priorities for managing the shift towards digital technologies:

1)   Enhance customer loyalty/advocacy – 63%

2)   Design experience for table/mobile apps – 57%

3)   Use social media as a key engagement channel – 56%

This shift will demand that company’s stay on top of their social media strategy and strive to identify the best and the brightest in the social media analytics industry.  The next few years will see an unparalleled increase in innovation, where customers will continue to demand brand transparency and best practices.

Consumer Motivation: Self-Serving

Motivation for many people is completely self-serving; it is about time that we accepted this fact and worked with it, instead of denying or rationalizing it.  70% of the CMOs interviewed in the IBM study, believed that people “Like” a Facebook page to “get information, express an opinion and feel connected to their brand”.  In actuality, people like the page because they want to know W.I.I.F.M., or what’s in it for me?  The top reasons that consumers give for following a company is “getting discounts (61%)” and “making purchases” (55%).  Only 33% of followers connect with company’s via social media to “feel connected”.

Ann Glover, the CMO of ING Insurance U.S. sums it up nicely when she says “Customers today have more control and influence with the brand than ever.  We need to make sure it’s give and take – a two-sided conversation, with both parties having responsibilities in the interaction.”


Gender Intelligence – The Key to a Strong Social Media Strategy

Over lattes at Starbucks a few months back, a business associate of mine suggested that I pick up the book The Gender Intelligent Retailer by Joanne Thomas Yaccato with Sean McSweeny.  While waiting for a flight, I picked up the book and began to read, and have been hooked ever since!

Every time I read through a chapter I gain greater insights into the power of understanding your company’s market niche.  Thomas Yaccato and McSweeny do an excellent job of explaining the connection between women consumers and business growth – which has great applications to a brand’s social media campaigns.  It is not only about understanding the psyche of the female consumer, it is also about understanding the differences between the two genders and how we relate.

Women are Key Social Media Influencers (Mavens) to Many Campaigns.

Women Demonstrate Higher Degrees of Loyalty:

Women are good at top-down, big picture perspective, as opposed to men who are more likely to think in a linear, step-by-step fashion.  Thomas Yaccato explains that women “integrate, generalize, and synthesize, and they tolerate ambiguity better than men do”.  As a result, women take longer to make decisions, but it is well thought out. This is one reason why women demonstrate a high degree of consumer loyalty to a brand.  They have taken their time and researched enough to determine that the decision they make is the best one for them and their family.

The Power of Word-of-Mouth:

Brands are interested in Facebook ‘Likes’ not because of the one person attached to that like, but because of the community that lies behind that one person.  When someone likes a company on Facebook, the company is able to post updates that show up in the person’s newsfeed, subconsciously increasing brand familiarity and their chances of being read by the individual.

Facebook campaigns are important for brand dissemination.

When you interact with a woman, you are also interacting with her entire social network as well.  It just makes good business sense to make your product, service, and campaign woman-friendly – which means interactive and relational.

Here’s the kicker, women see the glass as half empty.

Thomas Yaccato explains that women tend to biologically internally amplify their negative life experiences.  Due to women’s attention to detail, they are more likely to amplify negative experiences and emotions.  While over time women show greater trend effects of negative emotions, men on the other hand show greater positive emotions.

WhiteFire Social, a software used by MavenSocial, allows brands to identify their social media influencers, as well as demographic factors such as the average age, and gender of campaign participants.  This way, we are able to tailor our custom made Facebook campaign applications for your brand and your clients.

Overall, it is worth it for companies to focus on women – because they are powerful brand influencers with  access to a large community of committed friends and family.


Case Study: Colio Wines – Girls’ Night Out Wines

Girls' Night Out Wines

Girls' Night Out Wines

Every woman loves a nice glass of fruity wine with girlfriends, right?  Even more so…every woman loves a shopping spree to Winners!  Our campaign for Colio Wines – Girls Night Out Wines combined their fruity wines with a $2,500 shopping spree to Winners.


The objective of the Colio Wines, Girl’s Night Out campaign was to produce brand awareness and introduce the new lines of fruity, fresh summer wines – perfect for an afternoon or evening gathering with the ladies.

The Contest:

Girls' Night Out Wines Shopping Spree Entrant Page

Girls' Night Out Wines Shopping Spree Entrant Page

The contest was held within Facebook and enticed ladies to enter to win a $2,500 Winners shopping spree!  I wish I could have entered that contest…but I digress.

Contest participants were able to participate in 2 ways through Facebook:

1)   Contest entrant (no additional information required)

2)   Opt-in (contact information required = we can contact later for future campaigns)

–  Ratio from visitor to opt-in: 25 = there was a 25% opt-in rate from visitors

– Total contest entrants: 9,561

Total contest opt-ins: 4,724

Campaign Demographics:

Recently, I have been blogging about the importance of women as brand influencers in social media.  The Girls’ Night Out

Girls' Night Out Campaign Demographics

campaign exemplifies how effective women are in a campaign that they feel strongly about.  Below are some of the stats:

  • The campaign consisted of 92% females, and 8% females
  • The highest participating age group was between 25-34 years of age – Interestingly, there was a consistently high participation rate across 22-64 year olds.  This tells us that there are less restrictions on the life of a campaign that is strategically organized and connects with people – conversations with your brand influencers are extremely important!
  • 83% of participants were homeowners, with an average home market value of $100,000 – $200,000.

The campaign demographics tell us that the campaign consisted of mainly women between 25-34 years of age who were probably first time home owners – this creates a pretty clear niche market picture – doesn’t it?

Visitor to Opt-in Funnel:

There is a big difference between visitors and opt-ins – let me explain.

Girls' Night Out Wines Facebook Campaign Visitor to Opt-in Funnel

Visitors are great, they visit the campaign page, and might even interact with the campaign, but one thing they fail to do is give us personal information, such as their name, and email.

An opt-in, literally ‘opts-in’ to the campaign or contest.  They share their personal information with us, giving us permission to

contact them in the future with additional campaign details or advertising.  We had 13,000+ Facebook Page visitors, with 36% of those visitors opting-in to future notifications from us!


Social Media Influencers Spider Graph - names removed for privacy reasons

Identify Campaign Social Media Influencers:

Another integral aspect of the campaign process was identifying the campaign’s social media influencers with the WhiteFire Social software used by MavenSocial.

As I’ve shared before in other blog posts, social media influencers are the 20% of your customers who actually bring 80% of the responders to every marketing program.

Influencers are a part of everyday life, including your social media marketing campaigns – it’s your choice to identify & engage them.

Campaign Results:

  • 13,000+ Facebook Page Visitors
  • 9,500 contest entrants
  • 7,178 new Facebook “Likes”
  • 4,124 new OPT-INS for future communications
  • Trackable results from traffic drivers
  • Food and Drink ad and Blogger Tasting party


Overall, the campaign was a great success.

  • Campaign results were 3 times forecast goals
  • The campaign generated numerous positive Facebook posts and interactions
  • Expanded Facebook following “Likes” and the opt-in database will provide a new and significant marketing channel moving forward
  • Campaign clearly supported and fostered the Girls Night Out brand with target audience.

Go Ahead, Be Picky – Choose Your Brand Influencers with Care

When working with your brand’s social media influencers it is important that you are selective about the ones that you choose to work with.

But let me back up.

What are social media influencers anyways?

Social media influencers are the people who affect the success of your brand online.  These people knowingly or unknowingly effectively disseminate information across multiple platforms to people.  They are mega sharers – passing on information about your brand.  They also do a fabulous job of drawing other people into a brand campaign, sometimes creating multiple layers of sharing…so it’s good to have them on your side!

Choose Your Influencers Carefully:

One of the influencers who is effecting positive change in your campaign has a high Kloutscore – so what?  There is more to someone’s influence than their score.  If you read through their tweets and blogs posts, and the most they have to say about make-up is that it looks good on a model, but they don’t wear it any time other than Halloween, why are you as a make-up

Top Social Media Influencers of a campaign identified with WhiteFire Social, brought to you by MavenSocial!

company trying to cater to them and get them on board?  It’s all about perspective.  Be picky, you have every right to.

Size doesn’t Matter:

Don’t judge someone based on the number of followers they have, blog posts or superbly high Klout score.  It is more valuable for your brand to initiate a working relationship with someone who has a dedicated 300 people fan base, as opposed to a 3,000 person fan base that is at most listening and unresponsive.

Consider the Long-Term:

Where’s the brand loyalty?  Companies like brand influencers because they can count on them to tweet  or blog about an upcoming campaign or event…but how long will this honeymoon last?  People’s attention spans are beginning to look a lot like Twitter’s 140 character limit – short and punchy – but short lived.

Be attentive to the needs of brand influencers – it’s all about the relationship that you create with them.  Recognition is huge!  If in your work and personal life you love to feel recognized and appreciated, why wouldn’t brand influencers want to feel the same way?  It’s about quality over quantity and relational recognition.

The Solution – MavenSocial:

Here at MavenSocial, we use a software called WhiteFire Social, with this software we are able to determine who the social media influencers of are every campaign that is run through the system.  With out backend analytics we can map out the effect the social media influencer has on the campaign, helping brands not only identify, but also understand the power of an influencer on their campaign.

Our software also helps us to identify Social Lift.  Social lift is the free sharing and traffic that originates from the initial media spend on a campaign.  This is all tracked, recorded, and reported on within the WhiteFire Social backend dashboard.