Tuesday, July 19, 2011

3 Reasons to Visit Twillingate...In The Next Two Weeks

1. Iceberg Capital of the World!

In the midst of peak iceberg season there's no better time to plan a trip to Twillingate, Newfoundland Labrador.You can witness first hand the wonder of nature through these 10,000 year old giants. You may even catch a glimpse of some of the 22 species of whales feeding in the nearby waters. Twillingate offers 3 iceberg and whale watching boat tours that can enhance your experience and get you up close and personal.
2. Fish Fun and Folk Festival

Happening this July 25th to July 31st, 2011 is Twillingate's annual Fish Fun and Folk Festival. This Festival is one of the largest and longest running folk festivals in the Province. The Fish Fun and Folk festival kicks off its celebration with a parade through town and is followed by traditional Newfoundland music, folk music, adult dances, a street dance, fireworks, bonfire, a craft fair, games, a variety of fish meals, and more! For a detailed schedule of events for the Fish Fun and Folk Festival click here.

3. WickedAltogether

And just when the Fish Fun and Folk Festival has come to an end the party starts up again with WickedAltogether. This August 1st, 2011 at the Anchor Inn Hotel, 8:00 pm, there will be an exclusive concert featuring Snook, Payne and O'Byrne. Jim Payne (Crowd of Bold Sharemen) and Fergus O'Byrne (Ryan's Fancy) are folk and traditional music legends. Add in the comedic stylings of the one and only Snook, and the evening will surely be filled with lively tunes and sharp comedy. Tickets are $25 and available at the Anchor Inn Hotel front desk or 1-709-884-2777.

Well there's 3 great reasons to pencil in Twillingate on your summer schedule. But that's not all Twillingate has to offer. From art galleries and museums, hiking trails and kayaking, to berry picking and beach bonefires, there's something for everyone in Twillingate. Looking for a place to stay? Twillingate has quality accommodations that will give you all the comforts of home away from home. For more information on the community of Twillingate, Newfoundland Labrador visit http://www.twillingate.com/

Friday, July 15, 2011

2011 George Street Festival!

This July 28th - August 2nd will mark the 27th year of the annual George Street Festival in St. John's, NL.  Each year the George Street Festival attracts tens of thousands of patrons including locals, business travelers, and tourists. Even Newfoundlanders living abroad return home during this 6 day celebration. Due to the coordination efforts of the George Street Association and Participating Partners, every year seems to be getting bigger and better!

Located in the center of historic downtown St. John's, George Street is one of the premier entertainment districts in North America. Featuring 25 pubs, clubs and bars, there's truly something for everyone-  Irish, blues, country, dance, rock and roll and traditional music, just to name a few!

"The "Biggest Little Street in North America" parties for six straight days, featuring both big name bands, tribute acts and local favorites alike. GSA’s commitment to big name bands and quality entertainment has continued in 2011 and we look forward to seeing you on the Street."

Playing this year's George Street Festival on opening night, Thursday July 28th, is none other than Newfoundland's favorite and undoubtedly most popular traditional/modern pop band, Great Big Sea. In their 18th year performing together it's no wonder why Great Big Sea never fails to satisfy a crowd hungry for upbeat, foot stomping, modern folk music.

Another big act gracing this year's George Street center stage, Monday August 1st, are the Dropkick Murphys. They have risen from their basic Irish-punk roots to become a rocking & rolling, raging, green-clover machine. The Dropkick Murphys are now one of the best-known rock bands in the world.

For a full list of performers or to get your tickets for the 2011 George Street Festival visit http://www.georgestreetlive.ca/

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How Your Vote Can Help Marguerite's Place

What is Marguerite's Place?

Marguerite’s Place is a new facility located in St. John's, NL which will house the offices and programs of the St. John’s Status of Women Council (SJSWC) and the Women’s Centre. This new facility offers affordable, fully accessible programming and supportive housing for women, by women.

This new facility, is named in memory of a friend and volunteer of the St. John's Women's Centre, Marguerite Dyson, who was murdered while living in unsafe housing.

Marguerite's Place
Marguerite's Place will consist of eight housing units. These supportive housing units on-site will be open to women over the age of thirty who are not accompanied by dependants, and who are experiencing difficulty finding or maintaining housing due to circumstances in their lives or the complexity of their needs. Housing at Marguerite's Place will operate under an independent living philosophy and in a manner that respects the diverse experiences and needs of individual women. Programming at the Women's Centre as well as programs identified by individual assessment of each woman will also be available.

Marguerite's Place is under construction and should be ready for occupancy in August 2011. The capital campaign has been ongoing for the last two years and has been supported by both Federal and Provincial government as well as donations from the business community and individuals.

The Keg 40th Anniversary Thanks a Million Grant Program

In celebration of The Keg's 40th anniversary, they're giving back $1,000,000 to the communities that have contributed to their history. The Keg 40th Anniversary Thanks a Million Grant Program. But in order to decide what programs receive grants you need to vote!

Marguerite's Place is a finalist for this region, sitting in 2nd place. In order to reach 1st place they need your vote! 1st place receives a $25,000 grant that Marguerite's Place plans to direct towards the furnishings required to support the housing and programming in the new facility.

Voting is now open and you can help Marguerite's Place! You can make an impact by voting once a day until June 14th. Voting is quick, simple, and only requires an email address. To vote for Marguerite's Place and aid them in housing and empowering women click here.

The St. John's Women's Centre and Marguerite's Place are projects of the St. John's Status of Women Council. As a forerunner in providing women-centred services, including housing, self-empowerment, and capacity-building initiatives, we have much experience in working with women who have been marginalized, including those at risk of homelessness.

If you'd like to contribute to Marguerite's Place or volunteer at the St. John's Women's Centre visit http://www.margueritesplace.ca/ for more details.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lady Cove Women's Choir & the Pepsi Refresh Project

Lady Cove Women's Choir has recently been chosen to take part in the Pepsi Refresh Project. In an effort to aid them in achieving their goal of placing in the top 3 and receiving $10,000, here's everything you need to know about Lady Cove Women's Choir, the Pepsi Refresh Project, Lady Cove's proposed project and how your vote can help.
Featuring Guest Blogger: Nicole Dawe, of Lady Cove Women's Choir

About Lady Cove Women's Choir
Lady Cove Women's Choir

Lady Cove Women’s Choir has become one of Canada’s leading women’s choral ensembles in a remarkably short period of time. Founded in 2003 and based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Lady Cove Women’s Choir's mission is to reveal the strength, versatility and beauty of women’s choral music. They also believe in giving back to the community and believe in fostering music education among the youth of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Pepsi Refresh Project

In an effort to support those who generate innovative, optimistic ideas, the Pepsi Refresh Project will award more than $1 million to move communities forward over the course of a year. Individuals and organizations can apply for grants to benefit a variety of projects, and Canadians can vote for the best ideas for funding at http://www.refresheverything.ca/ The Pepsi Refresh Project is an evolution of the Joy It Forward initiative that the Pepsi brand launched in 2009, which showed the brand as an optimistic catalyst for idea creation. The Pepsi Refresh Project will fund projects that make a difference in six categories: Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, Neighbourhoods and Education.

Lady Cove's Proposed Project

The collapse of the North Atlantic cod fishery in the 1990s has changed Newfoundland and Labrador forever. We are now exploring and benefiting from other natural resources. In a prosperous society traditional culture is at risk. How can our traditions be translated to remain relevant in the complex social environment of this century? Through folk music and new choral music, and using narration, creative staging, multi-media technology, and a new stage set the Choir will show the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, the ingenuity and creativity of our people and place.

Curious about the traditions of the Inuit people, the Choir is including a new commission in its repertoire, based on the poetry of an Inuit woman and reflecting the traditions of Labrador. The Choir has engaged a young aboriginal artist to coach in Inuktitut.

People from across the globe will see the presentation at the 9th World Symposium on Choral Music, The International Council for Traditional Music World Conference and Festival 500 International Symposium.

How to Vote

Vote For Lady Cove Women's Choir
The choir is competing in the $10,000 category and needs to be in the top three to receive the grant. Visit the Pepsi Refresh Project and vote for Lady Cove by using your Facebook account and/or by creating a Pepsi Refresh account (if you have multiple emails register them all and vote more). If you vote with Facebook and your Pepsi account(s) that is two votes per day and every little bit will help! The voting will take place from May 1 until June 30.

Email Nicole at Lady Cove to receive a daily reminder to vote!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Excellent Cause, Elegant Campaign, & Ecommerce = Huge Success!

The Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation is a shinning example of how a charitable organization and Ecommerce can work together to make a difference.

The foundations ongoing campaign, Sparkles of Hope Braceletshas had tremendous success to date and continues to sell out orders in advance. The idea behind the bracelet campaign is that each colored Swarovski Crystal represents a type of cancer treated here at home, truly allowing for a united fundraising effort for all types of cancer. This holistic approach to fundraising combined with the use of an online ordering/purchasing system has generated great campaign buzz and results.

Give a bracelet in memory, in honour, or in support, there's no wrong reason to give. All proceeds from these bracelets help to further advance the quality of local cancer care, treatment and research. If you'd like to purchase your own Sparkles of Hope Bracelet and support the fight against cancer click here.

The Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation is a registered charity established to raise funds to support the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre (in St. John's) and its affiliate cancer programs throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

All contributions to the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation remain in the province and are used to:

• enhance regional programs close to the patient's home;
• support local education and research projects;
• fund patient support programs and services; and,
• acquire cancer treatment equipment.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

CODNL Launches New Logo

As a part of the UNs International Day for Persons with Disabilities celebrations on December 3, 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador's Coalition for Persons with Disabilities launched its new logo.  Working with Applecore Interactive, COD chose this as the new emblem for the work the organisation does in advocacy, education and support for persons with disabilities in this province.

The new logo is created out of two embracing semi-circles, completing a circle symbolic of two entities holding hands or connecting around a common purpose.  The heads overlap to form a single central core as a single focus and a common goal. 

The colours red and green are symbolic of "stop" and "go" with red representing the barriers faced by persons with disabilities and green representing the work of CODNL - the removal of these barriers.  This abstract representation also represents the abbreviated name for the organisation - COD.
Present to do the unveiling was the new logo was COD founder Nancy Lear, president Michelle Murdoch and assistant deputy minister in the Department Human Resources, Labour and Employment Lynn Vivian Brook.

President Michelle Murdoch spoke about the realities encountered by persons with various disabilities and in particular the role of public transport in the lives of individuals depending on it for their mobility.  Michelle also referred to her fondness of the Internet, a technology that has been a liberating force in the lives of many persons with disabilities.

The team at Applecore has been privileged to work with CODNL, as Applecore partner and co-founder Wilma Hartmann said at the unveiling.  The creative process starts with active listening to develop a deeper understanding.  In this case it has been an education of many misperceptions related to disabilities and the importance of public policies that protect and support the interests of persons with disabilities.

The unveiling of the logo was followed by the official launch of the new website and the cutting of a birthday cake in celebration of the 30th year of CODNLs existence.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Value of a Cute Interface

Are we more likely to forgive technical glitches that ask forgiveness with a cute picture?

As Twitter struggles to deal with the explosion in activity, its "fail whale" frequently has to be the ambassador-peacemaker for overloaded technology.  This beloved whale has achieved near cult status and has appeared on clothing, in cake format, on mugs and carved into Halloween pumpkins.  An image search on Google showed these neat eternalizations of the whale:
It is clear that "cute" trumps "glitch" and more often techno brands use cutesy imagery to build brand support.  Just think about some of these.... can you name them?

Monday, October 4, 2010

How to Get More Comments on Your Posts

Below is a taste of an insightful article written by David Smith on how to get more comments on your Blog posts. The tips in this article can also be applied to FaceBook posts, achieving more retweets and followers, and many other social network tools and marketing efforts. Some of the highlights from the article are listed below, for the full article visit:

18 Types of Posts That Get More Comments

About the Author: David Smith works for Conversion Optimization Company Invesp and enjoys writing on SEO, landing pages, conversion rate optimization and affiliate marketing.

Are you tired of seeing no or very less comments on your blog posts? Do you feel sad when you find out that no one wants to spend his 2 minutes in leaving a comment on the post which took hours of your efforts? If the answer to above questions is Yes, then here is good news for you, on average more than 80% of blogs suffers from “No Comments” disease. And to help you in getting rid of it, we’ve compiled a list of 18 types of posts that always gets lot of comments.

Below are Applecores Favorite Tips From: 18 Types of Posts That Get More Comments

#3. Lists and Useful resources post – No other marking campaign can beat a useful and well researched list relevant to your niche in getting number of comments and links. Such lists can easily go viral and can help you in building a loyal following. Example – 30+ principles to a better landing page design.

 #6. Series of Posts – Series of posts have a great power to keep the readers engaged. Not only they help you in breaking longer posts in to short ones and explaining things in a better way, but also help you to build a loyal following for your blog. Example – Website Traffic Series at DailyBlogTips

#7. How-to Guide posts – Does your target audience is facing a common problem then write a detailed How-to guide on it covering solutions that can help them in solving their problems. Example – How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners

#10. Humorous/Funny posts – Posts that can make your readers laugh can also force (in a good way) them to leave comments. Example – This is why I don’t clap along

#13. Ask a question post – Ask a question to your readers. Asking a question that readers are interested in answering can easily increase the number of comments by 2-3 times. Example – Ask the readers section at GetRichSlowly

#15. Real-time posts – Posts about hot trends and latest happenings that are taking place in the niche. Example – Thoughts on Google Instant (It is also an opinion post)

For the complete list visit The Blog Herald: 18 Types of Posts That Get More Comments

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Uninvited Guest- Igor Pays a Visit to Applecore

The aftermath of Hurricane Igor can be seen across the capital city today, and although St. John's was not one of the hardest hit areas it's a grave reminder of the power of mother nature. The staff and neighbours of Applecore seen her wrath first hand when a large tree in the front of Applecore's parking lot entrance on Quidi Vidi Road in St. John's, came crashing down and brought a few unsuspecting power lines with it.

Uprooted Tree Blocking Applecore Parking Lot Entrance- Parking Lot View

Uprooted Tree and Power Lines Blocking Applecore Parking Lot Entrance- Street View

Applecore was fortunate enough to escape with minimal disruption or damage and is back to business as normal. Unfortunately other businesses and residents in Igor's path didn't fair as well and the clean up continues. For more images of Igor's effects in Newfoundland click here. For YouTube videos of the flooding in St. John's click here.
Uprooted Tree- Applecore Parking Lot Entrance
About Igor

Hurricane Igor Made landfall in the province of Newfoundland late Monday night and lasted through Tuesday bringing strong winds and heavy rain. Rain accumulated up to 239 mm in the area of St. Lawrence, and in the area of Cape pine the winds reached 172 km/h. Just as an example of the magnitude of Igor's strength.

Extensive flooding, wind damage, and power outages were reported from all over the eastern half of Newfoundland Monday night and Tuesday as a result of hurricane Igor. Estimations for damage and suspected recovery times have not yet been determined, but it's for certain that Igor's path of destruction will take weeks if not months to repair.

For more information and unofficial storm totals on Hurricane Igor click here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Make Your Website a Daily Destination

5 simple strategies to keep people coming back

The following article gives some great advice on how to increase and maintain traffic on your website. This article was written by Scott Steinberg, Columnist for Entrepreneur.com

Every small business loves the exposure, empathy and sense of community that having a website that's a daily destination for consumers can generate. But getting people to visit on a regular basis can be a challenge, especially if updates are infrequent or all you have to offer is the occasional monotone press release or product announcement.

Thankfully, building a website that's "sticky" enough to keep users engaged and coming back doesn't have to require investing thousands or reinventing yourself as the next online media empire. All it takes is a little elbow grease and personal touch, as indicated by the simple strategies below, each designed to send your homepage's daily number of visitors soaring:

Connect and Communicate: Make no bones about it: Blogging should be an essential part of any modern website. After all, a few clicks is literally all it takes to post updates in real-time around the clock, creating a steady stream of content that promises something new and exciting with every visit. Better still, professionals at all experience levels have the capability of readily doing it, and the practice also helps put a personal face on your organization, shining the spotlight on the individuals behind it. However, to really captivate an audience enough to keep them returning, take note: You'll also need to provide content that's dynamic, unique and offers measurable informational or entertainment value, plus speak in a language that all can understand. In short, the occasional pre-approved sound bite from the HR guy or gal won't cut it. Rather, you need to address audiences like you're having a normal conversation, and provide content with meaningful substance to the reader. Making-of articles, features detailing how to get more from your products, partner profiles, project diaries, step-by-step how-to guides, interviews with notable personalities or internal stakeholders: All present compelling ways to connect with audiences while also keeping them interested and informed, providing ample incentive to keep coming back.

Use Targeted Demonstrations: While special membership options, premium subscription packages and frequent buyer programs can all prove great incentives, services that you freely give away are often just as important as those that you reserve for more exclusive clients. Whether you're looking at offering complimentary computer virus scans by having users visit your homepage, providing a suite of free continuing education resources or simply hosting an archive of complementary, corporate-branded webinars on software engineering, realize: Providing helpful services or information at no charge that solve pressing, evergreen problems or answer important questions can all serve to generate a steady source of online traffic, and provide a ready supply of leads to upsell on premium services. Sometimes you have to give in order to get. It may seem counterintuitive, but ultimately, the practice makes a ready way to demonstrate your organization's capabilities to a potentially lucrative client base, while also giving them a taste of the benefits to be had by partnering on more advanced or long-term services.

Emphasize Community Building: As social media insiders well know, creating a sense of community around your website is one of the most powerful tools for engaging and ultimately enthralling prospective fans. But doing so doesn't simply mean throwing up a sponsored message board then leaving it to stagnate, or e-mailing customers sporadic newsletter updates that regurgitate existing material easily found elsewhere. Rather, you have to not only encourage discussion and actively take part in conversations by dedicating internal time and resources, but also make customers feel as if they truly have a voice in the discussion by listening to their concerns, responding and sourcing feedback at every opportunity. Implementing programs that recognize and reward valued contributors is also vital, as is creating fan-based initiatives that allow community members to contribute and share ideas, concepts and creations of their own. Even simply giving enthusiasts the chance to submit designs for your next fundraiser's logo or arranging times where they can chat with top execs to provide input on upcoming ventures won't just engender goodwill. They'll also excite and empower a legion of amateur brand ambassadors--an essential source of free ongoing updates and constructive conversations, which will both attract users to and keep them enamored with your site.

Focus on Value: Exclusive specials, contests, promotions and timed discounts can all be powerful drivers of website traffic, especially in these cost-conscious times. By offering direct bargains and rebate programs on both an ongoing and sporadic basis through your online headquarters, you can keep customers' interest piqued, and generate additional sales. These marketing programs become even more valuable when coupled with Facebook, Twitter and other social marketing tools, which have the potential to help news spread like wildfire online. Just make sure that the only place such bargains can be found is on your homepage, and be consistent in terms of the pages to which you drive this traffic, to establish in shoppers' minds the importance of regularly checking a certain destination. Similarly, establishing relationships with key bloggers and members of the media can also help reinforce the message, as can a regular series of e-mail or newsletter updates designed to inform current and prospective buyers. Customers get to save on purchases while you benefit from enhanced publicity and heightened sales, creating a win-win situation for all.

Design for Mass Distribution: Sharing is good--even more so if you've got a message worth spreading and it winds up in front of millions of eyeballs. As such, you should be not only updating your website with unique pieces of content (surveys, research reports, custom editorial clips, guides to solving common problems, unique looks behind-the-scenes, etc.) designed to grab viewers' attention, but also making everything from blog posts to pictures, photos, PDF documents and videos shareable, embeddable and ready to be commented upon or re-tweeted via social media platforms. When it comes to corporate assets, the tendency--especially among hyper-competitive start-ups--is always to tightly hold and control. But often, the more powerful strategy is to design pieces of content with the specific idea in mind of seeding them throughout the user community, as it's a great way to build brand awareness. Beyond heightened exposure and additional media mentions, using your website to disseminate unique, specially branded pieces of content can also lead to improved search engine optimization results through a larger number of incoming links. And, more important still, generate heightened word of mouth surrounding your homepage, letting countless potential readers know exciting things are happening there on a regular basis.

For more business tips and advice visit Entrepreneur.com

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Wonderful Site for a Picnic

When Lighthouse Picnics in Ferryland launched their new website earlier this summer, it was just one more great thing added to the already wonderful experience.

Jill Curran,
'Lighthouse Picnics Keeper'
From Website to Picnic Site
Working with Jill Curran, the charming owner of Lighthouse Picnics, was invigorating and Applecore Interactive could not wait to get out to experience this outdoor delight personally.  The beautiful summer Sunday finally arrived!

A spectacular hour drive from St. John's wound through places like the Goulds, Bay Bulls, Tors Cove - all designed as an appetizer for what was waiting in Ferryland.  The drive meandered along the coast, blue skies above and white caps licking on pebbled shores.

Route 10 continues to Ferryland and at the Colony of Avalon archeological site which is well marked, we turned towards the lighthouse we spotted at the point. After parking the car, the 15 minute hike on a narrow gravel road to the site was rewarded greatly.
Ferryland Lighthouse

Lighthouse Picnics
Lighthouse picnics is housed in a quaint restored building right next to the lighthouse.  One the menu was a choice of 4 delicious sandwiches.  We were given a little naval flag as a marker and asked to wait in the vicinity - our food would find us.  All around the site picnickers with food baskets and blankets dotted the slopes overlooking the ocean.

Our basket arrived and we followed the trails in search of the perfect spot. Seafood salad sandwich with smoked salmon and avocado; curry chicken and mango salad sandwich; chocolate ganache cake; ginger cake and vanilla sauce, orzo salad and a mason jar with home made lemonade.  Drooling yet?

Be Sure to Visit
Was Canadian Living wrong to name this the number one spot to picnic in Canada?  We think not!

And if you plan your picnic on the slopes, start by checking Lighthouse Picnics in Ferryland on the web.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

7 Steps to Measuring Your Brand’s Social Media Health

Written By: Maria Ogneva

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should measure everything. Social media is very easily measured with various indicators like share of voice, reach, retweets, and comments. However, measuring without a clear objective in mind won’t bring you closer to success.

Nowadays, its not enough to have and execute a social media policy. You need to be able to gauge its success, measure it, and see that it remains healthy and vibrant.

Having already written about the differences between “monitoring” and “measuring” and how to properly conduct the former. Now, we turn to some best practices to help you measure your brand’s overall social media health, as well as the effectiveness of your various online initiatives.

Read on for the seven steps to getting the most out of your social media measurements.

1. Have a Goal

In order to properly measure your social media efforts, you need to know why you are engaging in social media in the first place. This objective will dictate not only what you do, but also how you measure what you do. Let’s take a look at some objectives and the corresponding metrics you’ll measure for each.

  • If your goal is driving awareness, you will be looking at metrics like share of voice, reach, readership and engagement with content (measured in action vs. views).
  • If you need to increase satisfaction through better support, you need to look at sentiment, satisfaction rates in surveys, speed of resolution and percent of queries resolved.
  • If creating better products and doing market research is a goal, you need to focus on top market trends and satisfaction with various competitive products.
  • If developing customer advocacy is a goal, you should be looking at who your advocates are, measuring their influence and reach and their engagement with your product and content.

All or none of the above could apply to your particular objective. It’s important to be specific about your purpose and to measure towards that end.

2. Get Your Departments on the Same Page

Social media is not a silo. You need to set up your organization for success by better aligning necessary departments to work as units towards a common goal. Understand what goals are important for each department, and set them up for success with strategies and metrics that make sense.

You will need to establish a process by which your departments can communicate and share the right metrics with the right people on demand. Will you create a dashboard that’s easily visible by every department or simply send email recaps? Will they be customized to match the interests of each department?
Can you export raw data and easily share charts and graphs?

3. Always Consider Context

Metrics without context are meaningless. If you know your share of social media conversation is 35%, what does that mean compared to your competitors’ shares or their change over time? Always look at metrics over time and inside of a competitive landscape.

4. Select Your Platform Wisely

Just like with monitoring, selecting the right tool for the job is the next step after figuring out your strategy. Here are some aspects you should consider when selecting a platform:

  • Data – Which data do you need? Which channels are you going to measure?
  • Reports – Identify how you want to share and present information. If you are going for a premium tool you should definitely be receiving embeddable and emailable charts and downloadable raw data. You can even automate delivery of reports and dashboards via email.
  • Actionable insights – There’s a big difference between data and insights. Don’t forget the importance of an analyst within your organization, even if it’s a part-time effort of your social media specialist.
  • Budget – Do you have a budget or can you only afford a free tool? Keep in mind that cheaper tools can sometimes be harder to use or come with less features. “Free” may cost you more time in the long run.
  • Ease of use – If you have limited resources, your platform must be easy to use and allow you to get your job done quickly. Consider productivity-boosting alerts and workflow modules, automation and advanced analytics.

5. Conduct a Full Social Media Audit

Now that you have selected your platform, start by conducting a full social media “audit” with the specific metrics you are measuring. Note where you and your competitors are today and use this as a baseline against which you will measure at least once a month.

Conducting a social media audit can also help you monitor the current share of conversation of various players and channels. Through this process you can find where to listen for service issues and where you should be building relationships with thought leaders and influencers.

6. Dig Deeper in Your Channels

Start by measuring volume of conversation in aggregate, across all channels. You should also evaluate performance by channel, for yourself and for your competitors, to find which sections are performing well and to help give your numbers specific context.

A surface look at metric like share of voice, buzz and sentiment allows you to understand what’s happening during an identified period of time. However, to get the most out of your social media analysis, you need to dig deeper. If you discover a spike in negative sentiment or a spike in buzz for one of your competitors, you need to dig in and find out what’s driving it.

7. Do A/B testing

Do you have a couple of campaigns out there? Are you curious about the adoption of certain product features or what content is getting the best response? Social media measurement can help you conduct the right analysis to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Similar to how you can test web traffic patterns against website copy changes, you can measure the public’s opinion of things you try.

Remember to measure your general social media health comprehensively at least once a month and track responses to particular programs more frequently. Commit the right resources and choose your platforms wisely. Don’t be afraid to experiment and always measure!

Maria Ogneva is the Director of Social Media at Attensity, a social media engagement and voice-of-customer platform that helps the social enterprise serve and collaborate with the social customer. You can follow her on Twitter at @themaria or @attensity360, or find her musings on her personal blog and her company’s blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

5 Tips for Aspiring Social Media Marketers

Are you a Social Media Master? It takes more than just knowing how to use tools such as Facebook, Twitter, or a Blog to be Social Media Savvy. Social Media Tools are complex, diverse, and can evolve quickly. Mashable has 5 great tips to get you started.

Erica Swallow from Mashable Writes,

Within the past few years, it seems that social media positions are popping up everywhere, in all types of organizations, from The New York Times, to Pizza Hut, and even in the White House. Businesses of all types are identifying the need to stay connected with their communities because they recognize the benefits.

Social media marketing is just a slice of the social media industry, but it’s a very important piece of the story. Businesses see social media as a platform for engaging with consumers and informing them of the latest company news and products. Marketers are blazing trails in the social media marketing sector, creating campaigns that are interactive, shareable and inclusive of the online community. For the most innovative of marketers, the focus isn’t on campaigns, but on letting consumers take the reigns in guiding a brand’s social presence.

For aspiring social media marketers, there are no strict rules for becoming successful. But we’ve gathered eight of the brightest minds in the social media industry to elaborate on five helpful tips for landing a job in social media marketing.

For the Five Tips for Aspiring Social Media Marketers visit: mashable.com

Friday, July 23, 2010

Applecore's Sea Kayak Adventures

(Left to Right) Adventure Tourism Guide Connor, Alicia Fudge, Trent Skanes, Laurie Butler, John Feltham, Curtis Au, Andrew Janes, Deborah Bourden, & Lisa Smart.
On  Wednesday July 21, 2010 Applecore took to the Sea for an Adventure to remember provided by Stan Cook Sea Kayak Adventures. Some of Cape Broyle's most spectacular scenery, creatures, and geological finds were a part of this amazing afternoon on the water. Starfish, 400 million year old rock formations, waterfalls, and stories of buried treasure were just a few of the highlights. This expedition will not be forgotten!

Stan Cook's knowledgeable and humorous Adventure Tourism Guides, Chris and Connor, gave the afternoon on the sea that extra special touch. We'd like to thank Stan Cook and his staff for a fantastic afternoon of adventure and exploration.

Stan Cook Sea Kayak Adventures is a family owned and operated business. Owner and head guide Stan Cook, a recently retired physical education instructor, has been professionally offering wilderness adventures since 1970. His top priority has always been safety and decades of wilderness travel has taught him a lot. For more information about tour packages visit www.wildnfld.ca

This Kayak expedition was a invigorating way to say, not good bye, but best wishes and farewell for now, to one of Applecore's team, Trent Skanes, who is pursuing a career in law.

Sea Urchins, Jelly Fish, Crabs, and More

Venturing Through Sea Crevasses

Stories of Cape Broyle & Buried Treasure
Catching the Mist, Refreshing Waterfalls
Adventure Tourism Guide Chris
Cliff Formations in Smugglers Cove
Crossing the Bay

Team Work, Featuring a Crab