Always Learning

I spent the day at a terrific event today. In my work I spend a lot of time at my computer, however given the opportunity I am uber enthusiastic to get social, as in face to face with social. Today’s event was a partnership with Seekers Media,  TELUS, and the Chinook Country Tourism Association. The workshop’s goal was “to empower you with tips and tricks to increase your social media following and offer solutions to grow your business through digital media”.

I came away feeling pretty inspired to try some new things with video. Prior to the workshop there were some recommended apps for downloading, one of which was iMovie for the iPhone. I have used iMovie on my Mac previously but hadn’t worked with it on my phone. It is my new favourite app! Here is a quick little video I made to experiment and sum up the day.

Lots of other good little nuggets came from the day:






4 Things You Need to Know About Facebook


I spend a great deal of time studying social media, and when I say “studying” I mean endlessly double-tapping on Instagram. In all seriousness I spend a lot of time on social media trying to understand how things work. What are the settings? How do permissions work? What makes people share things? What things make you look savvy or stupid on a particular network? These are rabbit holes to fall down for sure; there are endless things to discover and as soon as you discover something it’s likely to change. 

When it comes to Facebook I want to share with you four things I think you should know, and that you should review when it comes to your own profile.

1. See How Your Profile Appears Publicly

For me, and I think for others,  Facebook is a somewhat more personal space than LinkedIn or Twitter. I like to ensure that the photos and updates I share are visible to the friends, family and even acquaintances that I have approved. What I know from looking at a lot of FB profiles is that many people either intentionally or inadvertently have a lot of their photos, updates and details shared publicly.  If you are wondering what you might be sharing with the world via Facebook, use this quick checkup to take a look. I actually check this one annually just to be sure what might be visible.

First go to your profile. Where you see the ellipsis “…” click and you should see a dropdown that says “View As…”.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.19.01 PM.png

Next check out what you timeline looks like to the publicScreen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.19.19 PM.png

As you can see Facebook will also let you see how your timeline looks to specific people. So if you are concerned what either Grandma or your ex-boyfriend might see on your timeline, this is one way to verify it.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.20.37 PM.png

I just did it today and found old things showing up that I didn’t see a year ago. I have to chalk this up to FB’s ever changing settings.

2. Customize Privacy On a Post

Next to any of your posts you will see an icon that shows whether you are sharing that post publicly, with friends, with friends excluding acquaintances, with yourself (essentially a private post), or with “custom” settings. The custom settings presents you with unique ways to share. The way I most commonly use this feature is to share with a custom list. I created a list called “Lethbridge” (the city I live in) so that when I post a local news story or share a fundraiser for a local charity I don’t have to spam my friends from California to South Africa.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.50.49 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.48.34 PM.png

This setting also comes in handy when you also want to keep specific people from seeing a post. For instance if you didn’t want your dad to know about a surprise birthday party but you wanted to tell everyone else on FB about it, you could exclude him from seeing the post. I also recommend this setting to exclude your co-workers if you are silly enough to post pictures of your epic ski day, when you called in sick to work.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 12.00.31 AM.png

3. Designate Trusted Contacts and Legacy Contacts

These lesser known settings help you establish further security over you account. First choose friends who can help you regain access to your account should you ever have a problem.  Second choose a legacy contact who has permission to manage your Facebook page after you die. This one would be easy enough to skip because who wants to plan for FB after death, but it’s an inevitability for anyone with an account. You can also opt to have your FB page removed permanently after your death.

First choose “privacy settings” (the lock icon on the top navigation). Go to your security Settings to see your options for these two. I actually designated 3 people as my trusted contact. For your Legacy contact you will only be able to designate one person.

First go to settings.


Next choose “security”.


In you security settings you will see the option to choose your “legacy contact”.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 12.17.23 AM.png


4. Save Posts to Read Later

I absolutely love this feature. This is a great way to save articles, videos, recipes and anything else to review later. I think its great because you don’t always have the time or might not be in the mood for the content your friends, or the pages you follow are posting but you may genuinely be interested in it. Reviewing some of your saved posts is a akin to  leisurely reading the Sunday paper because you have the time to sit back and take it in.

To use the feature, click the drop down at the top right of any post shared in your newsfeed and choose “save Link”.


When you want to go back to your saved items, access them on the top left nvtigation on your newsfeed page.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 6.55.24 PM.png

Here I can see all the things I have saved.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 6.55.47 PM.png

After reading the article “WestJet Got It So Right For This New Dad” I click the “x” on the right of the saved posts and it is then sent to my archive folder. Best feature!

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 7.02.25 PM.png

What are your Facebook, tricks, tips or favourite features?

Youtility: A Book Review

Last year I ordered myself a stack of books related business, social media, and content marketing. I am still working my way through the stack but one of the best books so far has been Jay Baer’s Youtility.  Youtility is defined as creating and attracting business with content that is inherently useful, valuable and empowers content consumers to help themselves. The book is chock-full of examples of Youtility across industries. Businesses from toilet paper manufactures to computer repair services have found success when they have sought first to help with winning content and only later to promote.

“The difference between helping and selling is just two letters.”


“Youtility is marketing so valuable people would gladly pay for it.”

I have spoken about content on this blog before. Content is king and all that. It’s an area of interest and I like to look at what separates the great from the rest. Developing great content requires a fundamental shift to thinking like a content consumer rather than a content creator. This is what Youtility is all about.

“ You’re not competing for attention only against similar products.You’re competing against your customers friends, family and viral videos of cute puppies. To win attention these days you must ask a different question. How can I help?”

Youtility as Baer, explains it is the highest and most sophisticated form of content marketing. It’s not just about having a blog or creating pretty infographics but doing those things with with the intention that the content always be helpful and most useful to the intended content consumer. The principle is simple: consumers of all types are turning to the internet for answers when researching solutions and or products. The question is, is your business providing the resources and solutions they seek.

The book’s forward by Marcus Sheridan, the owner of pool company, says “success flows to organizations that inform, not organizations that promote”. Faced with the economic downturn and plummeting sales in 2008, Sheridan brainstormed a list of all the questions he had ever been asked by customers and then turned those questions into blog posts for his shiny new blog. The results: greater website traffic, reduced time on consults with clients, and web analytics that accurately defined likelihood to purchase.  Sheridan’s analytics told him that if a person had read 30 pages on his site they bought a pool 80% of the time and that customers who bought pools had read 105 pages of his website. Today Sheridan claims to have the most trafficked swimming pool site in the world. Further Sheridan says if you asked them previously what they did they would have said they built fibreglass swimming pools and today they would say they “are the best teachers in the world on the subject of fibre glass swimming pools, and we happen to build them as well”.

The book profiles numerous other examples of youtility. Geeksquad famously produced videos showing people how to fix their problems themselves. When questioned about putting themselves out of work showing people how to fix their problems, their founder explained that when someone did find themselves out of their depth with the problem Geeksquad would be the first party they would call for help. Companies should not just focus on being amazing, but on being useful.

I read this book a few months ago and had to scan it again to write this blog post. Scanning it I felt sure I need to read it again, soon! The concept and the way of thinking and approaching your marketing are just so dead on. Baer obviously explains this all in more detail and much more convincingly than me. I highly recommend this book for all marketers. If you are not thinking about Youtility yet, you should be. 

Baer rounds out his suggestions with wisdom about content for Youtility being a team effort rather than a product of the marketing department and making it part of the process rather than a side project. “If you don’t supply the information your prospects need to choose your company over the competition, they’ll get that data somewhere else, and the outcome may not be as favorable to you.”

If you are ready to start on Youtility right away here are some questions to ask yourself about your customers:

How is it that they discover information?

What are their preferences for consumption? (devices, channels, content types)

What motivates them to take action?

Questions via Lee Odden Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing


I am rereading a book I read a year ago. The book is UnMarketing by Scott Stratten. Scott Stratten is a self professed Twitterholic,  having built a huge following there, I think it is fair to call him a thought leader on the platform. His book details numerous examples of Twitter successes and major fails and he has chronicled many more examples as screenshots and photos on his Facebook page. While Twitter is his real home, Stratten’s book touches on other networks and good etiquette and best practices in Social Media in general. I first became aware of him because other people on Twitter were talking about him, which led me to discover he had a book.

UnMarketing is not only the book’s title but also Stratten’s Twitter handle: @unmarketing. The idea of UnMarketing is defined right on the book’s cover: “Stop Marketing. Start engaging.”


This is a concept I take seriously in my use of social media both personally an professionally. Social media’s potential is so great but often times we use it like a dull knife. We forget about forging connections and building relationships and instead just spout and post hoping someone is paying attention. Stratten’s book and his work, I believe, are about getting us to sharpen the knife and to be effective in being “social” with social media.

One idea from the book that really resonates with me is the idea of building up your social currency.

“Think of it this way: You wouldn’t open a business bank account and ask to withdraw $5,000 without depositing anything.”

The emphasis here is that you have to “invest in something before withdrawing”. Stratten says he sent 10,000 tweets before trying to pitch something to his followers. And then when he did pitch something to them they were hungry for it, they trusted the source and they valued what he was offering. I think he has nailed this idea on the head. If you offer value to the people who follow you, you engage them and this is half the battle maybe even 76% of it. It’s hard to cut through the clutter these days; as a producer of content, the promoter of a cause, or a marketer you need to give me a reason to care.

If you want to follow UnMarketing you can find him on Twitter, Facebook, or at



Now that my final papers have been written and my taxes are done, I have been able to turn my full attention to my work search. It is time to turn up the heat on this endeavor. I have been doing all the conventional things, like developing my resume, rewriting my cover letters to be targeted to specific positions, and today I submitted my resume to a local recruiting firm. The phone is not yet ringing, and so here I sit blogging about it. Not only am I blogging but I am working on my LinkedIn profile.  Since I joined LinkedIn more than a few years ago now, I haven’t quite known what to do with it. How much detail should one add? As with my resume I have had to really pare it down to reflect what are the most important aspects of my experience, that are going to be relevant in my most desired future jobs. That said I think the fact that I worked on an asparagus farm when I was 19 is incredibly interesting, it does not however make the cut for my resume or LinkedIn.

So what do you do with your LinkedIn Profile? I have started my search for answers with Melonie Dodaro.   Her claim is that she is “Canada’s number one social media expert”. I actually did catch an article on her and her recommendations specifically for using LinkedIn in our local paper about a year ago.  Now if you are like I was and you don’t want to spend every hour of the next week improving your LI profile you can read Melonie’s 21 LinkedIn tips to just get the briefest beginner version of how to improve and develop your profile. Most of her recommendations seem like good ones: use a professional photo, use keywords in your headline, follow companies you are interested in.  There are also some interesting nuggets, like how to customize your LinkedIn URL and how you should aim to to have 501+ connections because after that your number of connections are no longer displayed. I would say for most people this is all they are going to want to know about LinkedIn. However, I have another 50 page PDF to read for my bed time story tonight to see if  there is more insight to gain yet. I will keep you posted.

If you have any doubts about the value of LinkedIn check out this infographic on how it is Revolutionizing the World of Recruiting.