My First Social Media Seminar

Social Media Seminar at Capstone Community Bible ChurchOn Wednesday, March 19, I hosted my first social media seminar. Capstone Community Bible Church was kind enough to promote this event and lend me the space to host the evening. I had seven eager attendees who listened attentively and asked pointed questions for over two hours. I spoke on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – the social media platforms that I believe are most useful for a 25+ crowd. We covered everything from “What is social media?” to “How is social media effective for Capstone’s ministry?” to controlling what we see and how often we see it, to little tips ‘n’ tricks that make our life easier on Facebook. Leading this seminar was as much a learning experience for me as it was for my attendees.

Offering social media seminars and tutorials is something I’ve been dreaming up for over a year now. I only – just recently – got the courage to try it out. What a positive response I have received! It turns out I’ve tapped into a need that isn’t being met. My parents’ generation (late social media adopters) is keen to learn about social media, but doesn’t know where to start. My peers are launching businesses and know how social media works for their personal use, but don’t know how to develop effective strategies and tactics for their start-ups.

I’m now developing many more social media seminars and private tutorials for all types of individuals and organizations:

1) Developing a personal brand for MMA and BJJ athletes (for real!)
2)  Privacy, security, anti-bullying and how-tos for pre-teens and teens – this will be piloted at Capstone for their Endeavours Jr. High and Lifesavers Sr. High youth groups
3)  Social media strategies for entrepreneurs and non-profits
4) Facebook Page how-tos
5) Setting up a LinkedIn account

I’m very excited to see where this dream will take me. If you’re interested in attending one of my seminars, or would like me to lead you in a one-on-one tutorial, don’t hesitate to contact me at

Owning the Outcome

I’ve learned a new catch phrase this week: Own the outcome. I’m really into it.

Whether you’re in college or university working on a group project, on a special project team at your office, or launching a new product/service/program that affects your entire organization, keep these three little words in mind. Own the outcome.

We’re always keen to take ownership of the piece of the puzzle that we are responsible for. Perhaps it’s the sales targets, the budget or the promotional efforts. We are focused on our personal or departmental goals and deadlines, but what about the objectives of the whole organization?

We need to bear in mind that the project isn’t complete until the product has hit the shelves, the service is offered or the program is implemented. The project isn’t complete just because our own work is done.

Moving forward, let’s aim to take ownership, see a project through, care about the details. Let’s behave as though our own success or failure is contingent on the success of the whole.

How can you own the outcome? 

  • Take on more work – go the extra mile
  • Learn the roles of your co-workers
  • Help alleviate the workload of colleagues
  • Seek out ways to create efficiencies within a department, between departments or within a project team
  • Build communication bridges between employees, departments and teams
  • Pay attention to detail

Let’s seek out collective success. Let’s settle for nothing less than excellence from ourselves and from the ultimate outcome of our team’s efforts.

You’ve landed an internship. Now what?

First off, congrats! This will be an awesome experience for you. One that, I hope, you’ll look back on with much fondness. I was the PR intern for the CFL in 2011. I learned a lot about the PR and communications industry, social media and community building, office cultures and myself. Over the past few years I’ve been an intern and worked alongside numerous interns and have come up with the following list of important characteristics to exhibit throughout your internship.

Be a sponge.

There’s no better time than your internship to absorb as much information, knowledge, experience and advice as you can. You’re surrounded by experts in the field who can feed into you and turn you into a pro. Ask questions, go out for coffee with managers, shadow your boss. Be ready to learn.

Introduce yourself to everyone.

Fellow interns, coordinators, managers, executives. If you’re hoping to earn a full-time position after your internship is complete, it’s important that everyone in the organization knows you, or at least recognizes you. These are the people that will vouch for you later.

Slow down, think logically, then ask questions. 

It is amazing what happens when people become interns. Every day they are given tasks and instructions. They’re guided through processes. They’re “bossed” around. They’re told what to do. It tends to be assumed they don’t know what’s going on and that they can’t think for themselves. After being treated like this for a while, do you know what happens? They start believing they don’t know what’s going on. They lose self confidence. They stop thinking logically, rationally and independently. They ask unnecessary questions or fail to make decisions for themselves. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else. Now, asking questions during your internship is not a bad thing. In fact, I encourage it. When you ask questions, you learn. Before you ask a question, however, take some time to think about whether you know the answer. Have you been in this situation before? What were you told to do when you encounter this problem? You are smart. You earned this internship. Now, start acting like it! Showing logic, initiative and good decision-making skills will set you apart.

Humble yourself. Be willing to do anything. 

It’s important to show your boss that there isn’t anything you aren’t willing to do. Run an errand. Work on a project for another department. Do a favour for a different manager. Volunteer to arrive early or stay late. Always lend a helping hand to any co-worker. This eagerness will catch attention and serve you well in the long run. These are the types of people they will want to hire.

Build friendships with other interns.

Your internship isn’t just about impressing your superiors. Take advantage of any opportunities to hang out with your fellow interns. They are your peers. They are the ones you are entering the industry with. They will serve as valuable referrals when job opportunities arise.   

Continue to network.

The journey isn’t over just because you’ve landed an internship. Take this time (during your non-work hours) to continue to network with professionals in your industry, go on informational interviews and seek out potential next-steps following your placement. This will help the transition into full-time employment go much smoother.

 You’re going to rock your internship!
I’d love to hear where you are working and how it’s going. 

Accomplish More by Doing Less: My 1-year revelation

I’ve almost reached the 1-year mark at my new job! It’s been a whirlwind of events, a huge corporate-culture learning curve and an all-around valuable experience from both a personal and professional stand point.

When I first started in this position, it was very much a hit-the-ground-running scenario. Annual reports had to be written, creative collateral had to be developed and press releases needed to be distributed for upcoming events. As a result, my job became much more tactical and reactionary, rather than strategic and proactive.

Now that I’m no longer the newbie at the office (phew!), I’ve been called upon to do more research, observation, reflection and strategic planning. How should we be talking about our organization? What are other non-profits doing from a social media, web and PR perspective? I need to be a one-woman think tank! This is an interesting, new phase at my job – I’m strategizing more than I’m doing – and this phase has taught me a lot:

Being tactically-oriented only gets you so far.

We can get so caught up in the “doing” we lose sight of the bigger picture.

I can think that I know what I’m doing when it comes to communications and social media, but it isn’t until you stop doing and start reading, researching, exploring, learning, observing, charting and planning that your communication and engagement with stakeholders is maximized. I’m not sure what the perfect formula is yet, but I’m certain that the time you spend planning should far outweigh the time you spend doing.

It’s one thing to tweet, post messages on Facebook, or pin ’til your heart’s content, but WHY are you doing it? What are your goals and objectives? What are the tweets and posts accomplishing? Are they even worth it? What are your competitors saying and doing on their social media platforms? What are their key messages and calls to action? Is it working for them?

How can you start doing more by doing less?

  1. Follow Twitter accounts and subscribe to blogs that relate to your industry. I follow a lot of individuals and organizations that are talking about social media for non-profits. It’s amazing what I’ve learned! There are so many online and mobile fundraising opportunities to explore. Not everything I’ve learned is applicable to my organization, but the filtering process is all part of being strategic. Not everything that works for one company will work for yours, but it’s important to know what’s out there.
  2. Attend seminars, conferences and webinars that relate to your industry. I recently attended ArtezInteraction 2012 Conference and am signed up for Non-Profit Tech 2.0′s Facebook webinar at the end of this month. This will expose you to the most innovative ideas out there, allow you to learn best practices, and will also allow you to network with professionals in your field – and we all know how I feel about networking.
  3. Invite experts in your field out for coffee. Pick their brain and find out what they’re doing, what they’re learning and what tactics have given them the greatest ROI.
Since taking a step back from the tactical, I’ve noticed a drastic improvement in the ROI on my social media engagement. Being strategic with each tweet, post, photo gallery, link or press release has resulted in better media pick up and fan/donor recognition. I’m doing less work and seeing bigger results!
My “accomplish more by doing less” philosophy isn’t only relevant to PR and communications. It’s relevant to many, and maybe any, industry. If you’re in marketing, the answer to increasing sales isn’t always to buy a billboard, make a TV ad, or hire an A-list celebrity spokesperson. If you’re on the hunt for your dream gig, the answer isn’t always to send out more resumes and job applications.

As a 2013 New Years Resolution, take the time to evaluate your situation – your company, cause, industry and competitors – and analyze what tactics will work best for you. Stop throwing darts at a target in an attempt to hit the bullseye. Start reading, researching, exploring, learning, observing, charting and planning.

Be deliberate and intentional with every tactic you choose to implement. 

I’d love to hear how you or your company accomplishes more by doing less in 2013!