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Wine, food and friends: The NAC Orchestra engages social media influencers to help attract new audiences

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Our speakers are sharing great content with us leading up to the conference. Today’s post is from Kimberly Raycroft and Kelly Rusk. who will be presenting a session called Wine, Food and Friends: Engaging social media influencers to attract new audiences to the Orchestra. SoCap is coming up fast – get your tickets soon!


What if we told you that you could enjoy amazing food and wine, a fun social atmosphere and world class live music in the heart of downtown Ottawa? All on the same night? And all in the same place?

You probably wouldn’t believe it… Or better yet — you’d want to try it out for yourself!

That’s exactly what the National Arts Centre and marketing communications agency Banfield were counting on with the launch of Casual Fridays with the NAC Orchestra.

To deliver on the promise of such a unique experience, they launched the new three-concert series with an innovative marketing campaign focused on social media, PR and a modest advertising campaign.

Building awareness for a cultural experience unlike any other

At the core of the campaign was an influencer outreach program that focused on reaching the right people, and launched with innovative invitation involving an out-of-home team — Banfield staff members, a violinist and a server — going on the road to personally invite targeted social media influencers to a special preview event.

From there, the campaign and the series became a resounding success with sell-out audiences and attracting over 60% brand new audiences and generating unprecedented social media engagement for the Orchestra.

Get an exclusive insider’s perspective on the campaign

Join 2014 Social Capital conference presenters, Kimberly Raycroft, Senior Marketing Officer at the National Arts Centre, and Kelly Rusk, Social and Content Director at Banfield, as they share exclusive insights into the Casual Fridays campaign.

Can’t-miss discussion topics will include the importance of approaching social media from a holistic marketing communications perspective and keys to developing mutually rewarding partnerships between organizations and social media influencers.

To learn more Kimberly and Kelly’s presentation, check out the conference agenda.

Connecting our communities: why it matters.

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Our speakers are sharing great content with us leading up to the conference. Today’s post is from Diana Coote who will be presenting a session called A story about a little company that made itself useful (Or, provide it and they will come.). SoCap is coming up fast – get your tickets soon!

An engaged community is fertile ground for the growth of social capital. What does that mean and why does it matter?

Having healthy social capital is like having a healthy bank account. It’s there when you need it. But you’ve got to put in the time and effort to get it there, don’t you? The same holds true for your social communities, both online and off. You’ve got to put in the time, effort and energy to grow your community. You’ve got to give first before you’ll ever get anything in return. You’ve got to provide something of value to your community, and provide it generously. Give it. And when someone gives it to you? Give it back to them freely.

Sure, you need to be informative and interesting, positive and fun, but it’s vital to remember that honesty, openness and humility are just as important in your communications with your online social circles as they are in your offline ones. Why? Because there will come a time when something goes wrong. And when that happens your circle will rally to support you if you’ve always been generous and trustworthy. Give to be generous. Get support in return. Your online (and offline) success truly does depend on it.


Diana Coote is one of the founders and a co-owner of Onya Baby. She oversees Onya Baby’s online content creation (on the blog and through chosen social media channels), nurtures current partnerships and makes new ones through outreach, shout-outs and online campaigns. Her Social Capital presentation will help attendees evaluate, understand and harness the power and value of partnerships and learn what is required to build online communities.

Social Media Strategy is Usually Missing One Key Thing

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Our speakers are sharing great content with us leading up to the conference. Today’s post is from Trefor Munn-Venn who is one of  Social Capital Conference’s Keynote Speakers. SoCap is coming up fast – get your tickets soon!


Most social media strategy overlooks the most important person

What’s missing from social media

There are endless articles on creating the perfect social media strategy. But most of them are absolutely silent on (or ignore) the thing that organizations are most frustrated about.


It’s not that they forgot about their audience . . .

. . . it’s just that they didn’t take the time to think about them very hard.


How often have you heard people talk about “engagement”? It’s brought up all the time.

Listen, the basic social media concept goes a little something like this:

You can use social media to build trust with people and really engage with them. When you do, they’ll become part of your tribe and be more likely to buy your product or service.

At the most fundamental level, there’s nothing wrong with that statement. But there’s definitely a problem.

The Fundamental Problem


The problem we run into with most social media strategy is that it assumes too much.

We can take the time to be clear on our message, refine our voice, craft our posts, optimize the EdgeRank Algorithm and a host of other things, but as long as we keep making two key assumptions, we won’t be making much headway.


Assumption 1: We understand trust


The idea of trust comes up all the time. As it should. The truth is we can’t survive without trust.

Think of even the most mundane of tasks: commuting to work. We trust that the vehicle in the next lane will stay in their lane. We rely on it. If you tried to drive without trust in the drivers around you, you’d be almost paralyzed.

Some people “get” trust. You’ve met them. Think back to a person you trusted right away. They were able to connect with you in a way that made trusting them automatic. Odds are, they don’t even know how they do it.

But if you’re in the business of establishing trusted relationships, then you need to know that building trust is a deliberate process. It’s not just an accident of personality.


Assumption 2: We understand engagement


The truth is that we use words all the time whose meaning we don’t really understand. Often we have a good sense of the meaning, and other times there’s simply an expectation that we will use a particular kind of language.

But when we use it, and don’t understand it, we can get both ourselves and our clients in trouble.

Like “trust”, we talk about building “engagement” but don’t often have a sense of what we’re hoping to see beyond a RT a Like a Comment or a Share. And honestly, that’s a pretty low standard.

To genuinely build engagement, we need to understand how people think, what they feel, how they process information, and what it will take for them to connect with us at a genuine and powerful level.


“So I’ve been pitching ‘trust’ and ‘engagement’ and you’re telling me I don’t understand them”

Well I wouldn’t put it quite like that!

Trust and engagement are among the most difficult things to get right—anywhere.

Think about your own relationships. How often do we mess up how we connect and communicate with the people we love the most? How often do we rush to conclusions instead of taking time to understand? How often are we planning what we’ll say instead of really, deeply listening?

We do it all the time.


Now what?

Wrapping our heads around trust and engagement is a lifetime commitment, but there are a things you can do right now that will help you build stronger, more meaningful relationships with your tribe.

  1. Start with how they feel—Want to really connect? Then take the time to think about the emotional state your clients are in when they’re connecting with you. 

If you provide financial restructuring, odds are your clients are deeply stressed and don’t know who to turn to. If you provide a limousine service, your clients are excited and looking to have the time of their life.
  2. Listen to how they communicate—Wherever you can, try to reflect the language choices of your community. Don’t just repeat their language back to them—that’s irritating. But if they’re taking a casual tone, then try to do the same. It helps cultivate a common communication space that will help you build rapport

Above all, be genuine. We all have great instincts for when people are playing us. So make sure that what you do is the real thing, or you’ll lose them.


Trefor Munn-Venn is the Co-Founder and COO of Ottawa-based Rhapsody Strategies. The company is focused on building leaders, transforming organizations and engaging markets. Trefor is one of handful of Webby Award winners in Canada. He’s a sought-after speaker and advisor and has literally spoken and worked with companies around the world from Moscow to Vienna to Peru to Algiers and across North America.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Makes Content Marketing More Important

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Our speakers are sharing great content with us leading up to the conference. Today’s post is from Joseph Thornley who will be presenting a session called Content Marketing Step-by-Step. SoCap is coming up fast – get your tickets soon!


Canada’s Anti-Spam Law has been in effect since July 1. And in its first several weeks of implementation, it’s created quite a stir among Canadian businesses and marketers.

Typical of the business reaction these comments from a Toronto-based business owner being interviewed for an episode of CBCs The Current:

“When we first heard about the legislation, it looked like it was just for flyers and I thought: Well, we really don’t do that. Our communication is one-on-one …  We don’t spam our clients. And then I realized that we actually do send out a monthly newsletter. It’s not even very newsy. It’s an image of a carpet that we might have done within the past six months that might be of interest to a company. And then I got a little further into it and I got much more concerned about what this might mean for a small company like mine. … we have customers that are 25 years old and we may not have worked with them in the past five years. But I still consider them a customer. My understanding is that after July 1, I can only email them once and without their absolute consent I can’t email them again. … I think it will dramatically affect how we can work because this is how we all work through email. We communicate that way. … We have customers in Vancouver and Calgary specifically and how we stay in touch is through email… I might think they do hospitality. They do a lot of hotel work. Maybe I’ll send them this image that we did just because they might be interested in what we’ve been doing lately.”

Look closely at what she said. “We don’t spam our clients.” “We have customers that are 25 years old and we may not have worked with for the past five years. But I still consider them a customer.” “Maybe I’ll send them this image that we did just because they might be interested in what we’ve been doing lately.” This business owner is deciding whether her “customer” would be interested in receiving an email with an image of a recent project – even if that customer has not done business with the company in several years. The decision to send the email is in the hands of the sender. The recipient has no voice in the matter. If that’s not Spam then I don’t know what is!

Now, I’m sure that this business owner is not alone in taking this approach. In fact, any discussion around a Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade event will easily turn up many business owners who see this as a legitimate and indeed necessary marketing tactic. Have list will mail.

That era is over.

In the past it was easy for business owners to assemble lists of “prospects”. They could pick up business cards at trade shows. They could offer discounts to people who would register to receive them – and then send them email even if that person did not realize they’d signed up for an email newsletter. There were all sorts of ways to assemble a list of prospects to make a business grow. Most of those avenues are now closed. If you want to email something to a business prospect in Canada, you must either have an existing business relationship with them or obtain their explicit consent.

In the new world of the anti-spam law, consumers must know that they are signing up for a mailing list when they do so and know how you intend to use that list. The anti-spam law puts control of what consumers receive back in their hands and takes it out of the hands of the business owner who may “think” that a “prospect” might be interested in what they have to send. Consumers know what they are interested in and they can control what they receive.

Content marketing to the rescue

So what’s a business owner to do? Quite simply, business owners must give people a reason to receive their email letters. And in order to do that they must draw people to the sign-up form.

Content marketing satisfies both of these requirements.

By creating interesting, informative, entertaining content you can satisfy the curiosity of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. If you do this well, they will find you when they search for a topic. Or others within their community of interest will recommend things you have published in their social feeds. One way or the other, qualified leads will come to you. And then, if you create an ongoing stream of that interesting, informative and entertaining content, they will sign up to receive it and want to keep receiving it.

Content marketing is worth the effort for a business. Even more so now that CASL has made assembling a list of prospects has become much more difficult.

Joseph Thornley is CEO of Thornley Fallis Communications, an integrated communications agency serving a broad range of public, private and not-for-profit organizations with offices in Ottawa, Toronto and Chicago. Thornley is an expert on communications strategies for the “new era of the connected consumer.” 

Social Media and Change

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Our speakers are sharing great content with us leading up to the conference. Today’s post is from Kristen Scheel who will be presenting a session called Farewell to the Penny: A Case Study in Social Media for Government. SoCap is coming up fast – get your tickets soon!


One of the greatest things about social media is that everyone can have their say. Brands can now share their stories directly with fans online, and fans can respond in kind. At the same time, customers can use social media to complain publicly about poor service, and individuals can voice their concerns en masse about policies they disagree with. Now that the channels of communications are open both ways, communicators must be more prepared than ever to listen closely, and respond quickly when issues arise. Government organizations in particular must not only be tuned-in to conversations happening online, but actively participating in a genuine and transparent way, as more and more Canadians turn to social media to gather information and express their opinions about Government policy.

It was with this new reality in mind that the Mint prepared in 2012/2013 to communicate the phase out of the penny. We knew from the outset that the online reaction could go one of two ways: confusion over how and why the penny was being discontinued, or, a national celebration the “life and times” of Canada’s 1-cent coin.

During the month leading up to the phase out of the penny, the Mint shared practical information in creative new ways, monitored public sentiment daily on Twitter and Facebook, identified information gaps, and remained flexible to make changes to the plan and messaging on-the-fly. The result was a truly two-way conversation, and a significant increase in the Mint’s online audience over the course of the campaign. The success of this campaign set the groundwork for future innovative social media activations from the Mint to promote coins celebrating themes as diverse as the 75th anniversary of Superman, the christening of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, and “Canada according to Martin Short”. To learn more about how Government organizations like the Mint are using social media, I’ll hope you’ll join me for my case study presentation, Farewell to the Penny on July 26 at Social Capital!


Kristen Scheel is an Accredited Public Relations professional (APR), with a passion for social media, and more than ten years experience working in Communications. In her current role, she manages social media at the Royal Canadian Mint, overseeing innovative campaigns to promote Canadian circulation and collector coins. Attendees of her presentation will gain a better understanding of how the Government of Canada is using social media to engage in a two-way dialogue with Canadians. They’ll also learn some practical and creative social media tactics that can be used in their own campaigns, whether for Government, non-profit, or private sector.

Become a Thank You Ninja at Social Capital 2014

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Thank you NinjasStudies have shown that a little thanks can go a long way and that is the idea behind Thank You Ninjas, an initiative launched by Sarah Carmichael in April 2014.

The Thank You Ninjas mission is simple: to secretly thank the world by sending anonymous notes of thanks to friends, family – and strangers. The anonymity is key because with it, there is no expectation of response or reciprocity; the moment is all about the recipient.

Sarah started sending anonymous Thank You cards 10 years ago. Initially, she sent them to strangers with generic messages like “Thank you for all the good you offer the world.” Over the years, she started concentrating more on her immediate community, thanking neighbours for shoveling the sidewalk before school, or for tending a beautiful garden. She tried to make a point of acknowledging things that often go unrecognized.

In April, she decided to share her mission and created where people can order branded postcards to secretly send thanks in their communities. To date, Sarah has sent over 1000 postcards throughout Canada and the United States, including to New York City, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Halifax, and a number of places in between. Recently, she even sent postcards to London, England.

Please join us in secretly thanking at the Social Capital Conference 2014! You will receive Thank You Ninjas postcards upon arrival and then, throughout the day, you can express your thanks to others at the conference – anonymously. The process is simple: fill out a postcard (be sure to include the twitter handle of the recipient) and deposit it in the Thank You Ninjas drop box. Sarah will tweet to the recipients that they have a card waiting for them!

Thank you for helping Thank You Ninjas secretly thank the world.

Join us for a #SoCapOtt Tweetup on Friday, July 25th!

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SoCapOtt TweetupAs you may know, the Social Capital Conference is the conference to learn, share insights and become inspired by a community of social media practitioners passionate about community-building in a digital age.

It’s also a great way to meet new people and put a real-life face to the names of the people you’ve been connecting with online pre-conference.

For these reasons we’re organizing a pre-conference #SoCapOtt TweetUp on the eve of the conference on Friday, July 25th!

When: Friday, July 25th  from 6:30 – 9:30 pm

Where: “spin” Kitchen and Bar at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel, 100 Kent Street, Ottawa

Registervia Eventbrite

We hope to see you there!

Registered for SoCapOtt? And don’t forget, there’s still time to purchase your ticket for the conference itself. We have a fabulous lineup of speakers this year. Don’t miss out!

How Selfish is your Communication?

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Our speakers are sharing great content with us leading up to the conference. Today’s post is from Chris Gostling who will be presenting a session called How Selfish is your Communication? SoCap is coming up fast – get your tickets soon!

How Selfish is your Communication?

Chris Gostling is an award winning Creative Director & CEO of Momentum Visual Inc., a Toronto based strategic marketing firm focused on helping brands express themselves. Chris has developed a straight-forward approach to qualifying the language and communication practices we use to avoid these selfish pitfalls, better understand our audiences, and ultimately get what we need to say, said. Following his Social Capital Conference session, attendees will be able to qualify any audience for their communication needs, craft their messaging in a relevant way for this audience, and build confidence in their ability to present an idea to anyone.

Why you should buy your tickets to Social Capital ASAP!

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Last Thursday afternoon, we announced that Friday July 11 would be a one-day early bird encore sale of tickets. Unfortunately, something very unexpected came up and the ticket sale didn’t happen as planned. But, at 12:00pm Monday,  July 14 until Wednesday, July 16 at 12:00pm, we’re going to make the early bird price available for 48 hours!


That means you get $70 off the price of a full conference pass if you buy in those two days. This is the last chance you’ll have to get such a great price for your ticket to Social Capital!

Another reason to buy right away

The Social Capital Conference is the brain-child of Lara Wellman, but I’ve been involved from the minute she asked me if I would help three and a half years ago. The two of us (along with many others who have helped over the years) have put a great deal of work into this conference and it has truly been a labour of love. We believed that Ottawa needed a social media conference. We believed that we had more than enough expertise in the Ottawa area (and Toronto and Montreal) to create a truly great learning experience for attendees. We believed that the Ottawa community would band together and support such an undertaking.

In every way, these beliefs have been proven true over and over. As we prepare for our fourth conference, Lara and I have reached the very difficult decision to make this our final year running the conference. We don’t know if the conference will live on with new owners/organizers yet, but we know that the time is right for us to move on.

Thank you

We want to thank each and every one of you who have been involved in organizing, volunteering, or who have attended since 2011. Your support and encouragement and fandom have meant so much to us. It’s a bittersweet decision because we love #SoCapOtt so much. However, we’re really looking forward to what will come next for Wellman Wilson Consulting as we transition away from running the conference.

If you want to join us for this final year of the conference, make sure you buy your ticket now!

We hope we see you there!

~Karen (& Lara)

Ottawa Marriott Hotel – SoCap Hospitality in Downtown Ottawa

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If you are travelling to the Social Capital Conference from out of town, the Ottawa Marriott Hotel is pleased to offer conference attendees a special group rate of $109 CAD per night! This rate is good for Friday night, Saturday night or for both nights.

Why choose the Ottawa Marriott Hotel?

Ottawa Mariott HotelOther than the fantastic rate the hotel is offering attendees, the Ottawa Marriott Hotel is located in the best possible location – in downtown Ottawa, near Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada and within walking distance of the National Gallery of Canada, the Byward Market and the Rideau Centre, so you can just leave your car parked in the hotel’s convenient underground parking and tour downtown Ottawa on foot.

The Ottawa Marriott Hotel is a leading choice for travellers to the Ottawa area because of the location and because of its amenities – including an indoor pool. A quick online search of reviews of the hotel will tell you that the rooms are spotless and that the staff is always friendly and attentive. All rooms come with complimentary in-room Wi-Fi and many of the rooms are renovated and some of them even offer a picturesque view of the city!

The hotel also has a full service restaurant as well as a Starbucks on-site (so you can stay in your pajamas to grab that early morning latte); and there are plenty of other restaurants and coffee shops within a short walking distance.

The Ottawa Marriott really is the perfect spot to stay while in town, not just because it is a simple cab ride to Social Capital, but because afterward you will be able to tour downtown Ottawa and see all that this great city has to offer – from the Changing of the Guard to the picturesque beauty of the Rideau Canal.

For more information on the Ottawa Marriott Hotel, visit their website and be sure to take advantage of the special Social Capital rate while you can: