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Three Reasons Why You Should Join Hootsuite University during #HSUchat

If you reside in and around the greater Vancouver area, you most likely have heard of one the leading social media management tools called Hootsuite. The brief company history is that it was founded by CEO, Ryan Holmes, in 2008 in Vancouver, BC. Their tool essentially allows community managers, social media individuals, any companies of any size, manage their social media presence more easily with their easy-to-use dashboard and to leverage their system in more depth, they even have a “University” where anyone can get certified via online courses. At Hootsuite, they definitely have fun with design, check out this nerdy owl:


For the past few months or so, I’ve attended their weekly tweet chat (#HSUchat). They occur every Tuesday from 11 to 12 pm PST and the topic is about anything social media related. Some of the past topics included Facebook content strategy, LinkedIn Network building, ROI strategies for Twitter and more.

First, before I share the three reasons why you should attend, let’s go over the definition of a tweet chat. What is a tweet chat? It’s simple; a tweet chat is a chat session pre-organized by a specific person or group during a specific day and time on a certain topic chosen by the organizer(s). The organizer comes up with a hashtag such as #HSUchat (it stands for "Hootsuite University chat”), so that each participant can search the ongoing conversation happening and use that specific hashtag to jump into the conversation.

Now, why should you care about #HSUchat? I’ll share three main reasons why and how this could apply to you or your organization.

1) Continue Learning about Developments in Social Media including Best Practices. If you'd like to get a sense of the topic that the owls are covering, you can simply view their Storify page but what’s interesting about each chat each week is that they encompass everything from strategy building, ROI strategies, best practices, new social media trends, content creation, tips and tricks across all of the current social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ while covering the latest, up-and-coming platforms too.

2) Meet More Twitter Users from All Across the World. The beauty about these virtual tweet chats is that you get to interact with all sorts of participants from anywhere around the globe. In the past, I’ve conversed with people from France, Denmark, all over the United States, a few locals right here in Vancouver and of course, others across Canada. Now, putting aside geographical diversity, the variety of folks attending work in all types of company sizes (small, medium and large) from various industries including technology like ourselves, retail, consumer products and even higher education to name a few. As proof, I’m putting the spotlight on a Canadian participant to show you that it’s great to meet more tweeps virtually:

HSUchat connection May 2012

3) Connect with a Top Leading Social Media Brand. There is no doubt that it’s insightful to be a part of this tweet chat when you know that it’s run by a company that’s always in-the-know when it comes to social media. Of course, for us as a company, I’ve mentioned this in the past, we like to take some time to support the great, local companies around our area, so here we are. If you’re looking for social media knowledge, this is the hour to spend with them, where you can also get to know their brand while having fun learning with others in the social media space. We think that they’re an awesome tool and they think the same of us. We might just have to organize a second “hootup” with them – the owls at the nest are super friendly.

HootClub awesome May 2012

In conclusion, whether you’re a small or big fish in this social media world, you can each learn something from the weekly #HSUchat and since our customers are so tech savvy, and connected themselves, this is a great way for them to also connect with us more actively than any other times if we happen to be on the tweet chat. I hope that you find this article useful and I invite you to share it with others. If you’re a current attendee, feel free to comment and tell us why you attend. Or, you could tweet us over at @cawebhosting too.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Afternoon Recap: Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp (Part 2 of 2)

Session 1 Workshops

Last week, I enjoyed curating the Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp (part 1 of 2) organized by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (BCPSQC) and since then, they've compiled a few more posts including the panel and keynotes along with six reasons why a doctor should consider social media. Below are some of the sessions' recaps extracted with the use of the speakers' slides:

Social Media & Twitter 101

The "Poetry" of Tweeting

It was nice to see some familiar speakers and to be able to support them by being in attendance: Janet Madsen from the Positive Women's Network and Kemp Edmonds from Hootsuite, who's also the current Social Media Club Vancouver president, both covered the basics of social media.

  • Janet started by asking us if our audience understood our message and to figure out who they were, then to engage with them. The use of hashtags were useful to connect with topics or other chat communities on Twitter. Words matter. She emphasized how important it was to choose the right words and that reading a message out loud could help avoid making mistakes. The language should be concise, precise and engaging. Giving credits to others and thanking others in the social media community shouldn't be underestimated.
  • Kemp started off his presentation by saying that if you're going to be on social media, you should be helpful and create value. The first few tips were related to common sense and included being responsible, being transparent, taking ownership, respect, brand protection, and to not forget your day job [unless your job is social media]. He continued by warning beginners that you must understand the language for each platform. For example, a tweet will come across well on Twitter but most likely not on Facebook and/or LinkedIn. Relating the talk to healthcare, he went on to remind us that as our society starts to spend more time online, we also grow our influence to our family and peers; online reviews are becoming very influential. For health professionals, social media can help connect stakeholders, new apps can be preventative, and can even help manage our own health.

Video: How To + Success Stories

Videos for healthcare professionals can be extremely effective and this session helped us understand the basics, in's and out's on how to leverage this medium, and how to get started. The two speakers included Abisaac Saraga from Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Andrew Nguyen from Lemongrass Media.

  • Abisaac showed us several creative videos made by several health organizations. The first one was on prevention and showed an entire hospital staff washing their hands in different locations. It was playful, entertaining and with the music, the message came across well. Another one was a humourous rap song delivering another health message with several people playing different acting roles. Another way to engage with videos were to create video contests where your audience would be the one submitting entries and the public would be the ones voting on YouTube. Your communities will feel engaged and even get creative in their participation.
  • Andrew started off by having us consider three main questions: 1) What is my story? People remember stories, not facts. Consider the hero, the challenge and the triumph in a story. 2) Who is my audience? There are a primary and secondary audiences. You must find a way to make your story stick. 3) Who can best tell your story? They could be experts, advocates or actors. If you decide to hire a production company, it's important to ensure that they understand what you're trying to convey, so the story comes across clearly on screen and is received correctly by your own audience.

Understanding Web Analytics

For the analytics session, the two speakers were Ben Johnson from Frontier Consulting and Michaela Montaner from the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy.

  • Ben introduced social measurements by saying that your organization must choose its primary goals or purposes. Different digital strategies will lead to different behaviours. One way to track certain behaviours is to look at heatmaps and by running tests and experiments, heatmaps will show you where your users are clicking the most. If you want to test your creativity with search, you can experiment with Google ads by testing new ideas or concepts and by segmenting locations, interests, etc...He went on to go over Google Analytics where you can view advanced segments, visitor flow and multi-channels funnels.
  • Michaela discussed knowledge translation, how one of their stories that they ran got picked up by a Mexican media and how that translated into more hits. Two questions that she brought before even diving into the world of analytics were: 1) What's your goal? 2) Is social media a fit for you and your community? Once you figure those out, then you can talk about what you'd like to measure.

What are your hopes for a better health care system?

This was a full day of learning and you can also view the session highlights put together by BCPSQC or view most of the presentation decks from that day. In the world of healthcare, there is definitely a strong potential with the development and growth of social media and technology. In conclusion, this was a definitely a great way to connect with others in the healthcare industry and share your thoughts and ideas to further the progress of this industry as a whole.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Morning Recap: Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp (Part 1 of 2)

Quality Forum 2012 - Healthcare 2.0: Social Media Camp

Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure to attend the Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp organized by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (BCPSQC) which Canadian Web Hosting proudly supported.

What is Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp all about?

This all day event held at the Four Seasons Vancouver hotel, trended online throughout the social media landscape in Canada, and brought together healthcare communicators, Quality Forum participants and social media experts with a health focus. The discussions surrounded the current state of healthcare, where it was going and the importance and role of social media in our present time and in the future. The BCPSQC team (on Twitter: @BCPSQC) encouraged all of the participants to tweet using the official hashtag #SocialMediaCamp; about half of the room raised their hands when asked if they used Twitter or not. In addition to having a big screen projecting the live tweets (a hit!), they collected all of the tweets for later viewing or for those attendees who missed out. My recap below captures and organizes several key points from the keynote and the panel by using their archived feed to make it easier for you visually to sift through the packed content from this full morning.

Join the #SocialMediaCamp conversation on Twitter

Opening Keynote: Pat Rich (Director & Editor-in-Chief Online Content from the Canadian Medical Association)

Pat noted that this was one of the first conferences in Canada to focus on social media in health care - a great accomplishment for BCPSQC that we applauded! During this talk, he brought up Health Care Social Media Canada (on Twitter: @hcsmca) that hosted a tweet chat every Wednesday at 1 pm EST (2 pm AST, noon CST, 11 am MST, 10 am PST) using the hashtag #hcsmca for anyone who wanted to join a lively discussion. Other hashtags brought up were #cdnhealth for Canadian Health/Health Care and #bchc for BC Health & health care social media Canada. Pat helped launch social media guidelines for physicians and is a great resource for anyone in the healthcare industry. He talked about getting doctors involved in social media and how we needed them on there. Funny enough, Pat claimed that he'd rather be tweeting than talking and that he was also having a hard time not getting distracted by the Twitter Wall. A current lack of information surrounded a lack of comprehensive data on physicians' (and other healthcare providers') use of social media especially in Canada. On the other hand, in the United States, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions found that 6% of physicians reported using social media to interact with patients. Despite this new need, 80% of doctors say social media poses risks especially about preserving the patient-doctor privacy; the current data is not showing benefits yet and the regulatory environment is definitely a current barrier. Social media is effective to communicate with patients, the public and for monitoring public health trends and also for research. Posting videos to YouTube makes a great educational tool and shouldn't be overlooked. Towards the end, he recommended a list of top physicians on social media (Twitter) including @CanadianEMR, @WCBADoctorBrian, and @docmikeevans.

Panel: The Potential of Social Media To Change How We Do Health Care

The panelists included Katherine Dodds (Founder & Creative Director from Hello Cool World), Pat Rich (mentioned above) and David Hume (Executive Director of Citizen Engagement from Government of British Columbia) and moderated by Pamela Fayerman (Medical/Health Issues Reporter from Vancouver Sun)

From left to right: Pat (@cmaer), Katherine (@katatcoolworld), David (@dbhume), & Pamela (@medicinematters), Ajay (@masalapuri)

Social media is conversational and ought to be shared. Aside from the fact that Pat joked about tweeting while on the panel at #SocialMediaCamp (shown above most likely tweeting). He quickly concluded that it would probably not be practical but also impolite, meanwhile, Alissa Sadler (one of the Health Talks participants later that night) responded in a playful manner saying that if there was any conferences to do so, the Healthcare 2.0 Quality Forum would have been it. Even before the panel started, it's easy to see that social media is about having (or jumping into) a conversation - personal, conversational, collaborative, interactive, and it's for people who want to engage with you, or hear from, per one of the popular retweeted tweets. One of the best quotes from Pamela is that "all information is social." She also emphasized the fact that podcasts were essential components to embed in your social media campaigns.

Do's and dont's with blogging, social media best practices and your own audience. When it came to blogging, Pat recommended to not use your blog as a press release and to not use ghostwriters - this comment got the crowd going. Diving further into the blogging conversation, if your own CEO was going to blog, the main tip was to make sure that he or she actually wrote it, not your Public Relations department because it would make the conversation more authentic and successful in the long run. Telling a great story is always important, however, in the world of healthcare, while there is huge value to sharing patients' stories, one could only do so with their blessings and approval. One participant (@researchgirlca) added that no matter which industry you're looking at, this rule applies to all types of media "in response to David's smart comment on expectation of responsibility." David made his own point by saying that "we trust employees to hold info in confidence across the board. So, why should social media be any different?" An interesting point made was that within this space especially, one shouldn't underestimate the power of social media since it is a way to connect for those who might otherwise be alone. Our friends from Ayogo Games that we recently sponsored grabbed an important comment by tweeting that "social media will force doctors to revisit and wrestle with boundaries between personal and professional." The idea of focusing on your own customers applies across any industries and without any surprise, this very important point comes up again with a mention saying that an organization should always focus on what your client needs first! David adds that if social media doesn't work for your audience, then you shouldn't use it! For example, one question to ponder as you decide whether to utilize social media tools is: "do you want to talk to seniors or to the people who support them?" The main points to consider are who you're trying to reach and then the ways that you'll go about that.

Social media and technology challenges and constraints, and monitoring it using champions from your team. As BCPSQC summarized, the panel covered the hidden costs of social media and how tech literacy and the divide affected its usage across borders. A recurring theme was that social media wasn't free and that it needed to be maintained all the time rather than setting it and forgetting about it like a Crock pot per one of the participant's analogies. Embedded videos were another ways to reach your own community and while measuring stats were important, Kat made a great point that qualitative results mattered just as much, since stats didn't always tell the story. One other barrier was that adopting new technologies meant budgetary constraints and concerns about privacy to health authorities. Pat advised health organizations to identify their own social media champions within your organization. In the end, social media must be part of a broader strategy, not a stand alone task which is why it was highly important to identify the hard outcomes that you were after. Regarding Facebook, Pat advised to not start a Facebook account for your organization only because others were doing it.

Pin board: how can social media be better leveraged for your work?

Key takeaways from the panel: audience, participants and strategic goals. The last question asked for one single takeaway that could fit in one tweet. Kat said "audience" first, David said "participants first and Pat said that he would tweet it and proceeded by tweeting "my view - consider your goals and use strategically."

Following the end of the panel, BCPSQC led us to choose one of the breakout sessions to attend, split in three levels, and since BCPSQC's team had some avid skiers, they used entertaining ski run symbols to help us navigate which sessions to attend - quirky and creative. Finally, since this was social, BCPSQC made sure to record the keynotes, the panel, and the Health Talks (in Part 2) to share and distribute later. Please stay tuned by checking out the BCPSQC site and feel free to check out the speakers' short biographies' information for the day including Twitter handles, websites and other social media ways to connect.

Part 2 will cover some of the break out sessions and the Health Talks from that evening, so please check our blog again in a few days. Meanwhile, I invite you to get social with us on Twitter at @cawebhosting or by checking out our full photo gallery on our Facebook Page. Maybe, you'll find yourself in the crowd.

Below are other recaps from around the web:
Hello Cool World Goes to Camp! by Hello Cool World
Taking HIV Connections and Community Online by Positive Women’s Network
Social Media: Why It Matters for Health! by ImmunizeBC

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


What To Expect and Do at the Bunker Project Podcasting Event

Do you follow any podcasts? Have you ever heard of the Bunker Project Podcast? In short, here is what it's all about:

The Bunker Project is a Social Media Meetup in Vancouver, BC. Every second Wednesday, Andrew McGivern and Bob Garlick host the Meetup and record two podcast episodes at the Bunker Bar under the historic Barclay Hotel on Robson Street.

We thought it was an original ideal, doing a Meetup in a bar and recording a podcast so people who couldn’t make the Meetup or those who don’t live in Vancouver can listen take part in the show.

If you're not familiar with podcasting, the Wikipedia definition states that "a podcast is a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of files (either audio or video) subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication. The word is a neologism derived from "broadcast" and "pod" from the success of the iPod, as podcasts are often listened to on portable media players." Whether you're new to podcasting or already familiar with it, the Bunker Project is worth checking out for the the experience and also the fun connections that you will make.

What Should You Expect?
You'll arrive at the Barclay Hotel on Robson Street and you'll most likely find a few folks gathered around the bar socializing first. Or at least, that was the case during the last Social Media Club Pub Night last month. If you plan on participating but are nervous, you might want to grab a cold one to calm your nerves down a bit. You'll then move your way towards the back of the room behind thick, white curtains. The back room will be set up with long tables around in a V-shape with the two main leaders (Andrew & Bob) in the corner. Around the long tables, you'll find several chairs and a few tables tucked in the corners and along the wall. There were also several microphones set up around the room for the participants. When Social Media Club attended, they had their record attendance around 25-30 people or so. The little back room was packed, so you should expect a few less people in general.

What Should You Do?
Before attending, you might want to connect with them and try to figure out what the topics will be but typically, the topics will be surrounding social media, internet marketing, new media and podcasting. If you're more on the shy side, you can sit back and simply listen in while they record the podcasting exchanging ideas and thoughts back and forth between themselves and the attendees. On the other hand, if you feel like you have something to say or add to a certain thought, this is your chance to express yourself and exchange your ideas not only to the people in the room but far wide into the online space as each podcast gets broadcasted shortly after they are recorded. Overall, relax and enjoy the show too!

In conclusion, you should definitely check out The Bunker Project if you're looking for interesting conversations surrounding social media in a very casual, welcoming atmosphere with various folks from different industries and you live around the Vancouver area. You can check out more information and listen to the latest podcast when Social Media Club Vancouver teamed up with them. If you aren't around our area, you can always follow them on Twitter as well. Andrew McGivern is over at @podcasthero and Bob Garlick is over at @BobGarlick.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


How Volunteering at Lunapads Turned Into a Canucks Win

This post isn't exactly about our Canucks winning but please read on, this is about success and community.

Last fall during one of the Social Media Week panels, I had the opportunity to indirectly meet the two co-founders of Lunapads but it wasn’t actually until a few weeks later that we had the chance to bring our initial meetup offline. As previously blogged, meeting offline is important to further relationships with people in our local community. During EastVanLove, one of the two co-founders, Suzanne (on Twitter at @Luna_gal) was able to promote her own fundraiser for their trip to Uganda with a non profit organization called Shanti Uganda (on Twitter at @ShantiUganda). Their offices are next to one another in East Vancouver. Since they needed volunteers and more importantly, since Lunapads reached out directly to me to help the cause, I knew that I could help out. Back in September, they gave their time to share their social media experiences with a room filled with eager individuals from the education to the non profit world, from the finance to the tech industry, and so and so forth. In a way, volunteering for them was a way to say thank you for their own previous contribution that I had the honour to be a part of.


Uganda in Africa: the travel destination

From their story page, “Lunapads [on Twitter: @Lunapads] International is a women-owned and operated social mission-based business based in Vancouver, Canada. Our goal is to help individuals have healthier and more positive experiences of their menstrual cycles, and by extension, their bodies overall. Lunapads' mission is to create more positive and informed relationships between menstruators, their bodies and the Earth. We embrace a global perspective, in terms of well-being and empowerment for women and girls, as well as toward our responsibility with respect to sustainability.” Their mission also include: pad donations, mentoring women entrepreneurs in the community, business community support and volunteerism in action.

The evening was fantastic. Everyone started trickling into the red themed office, and mingled over an extensive food spread including various cheeses, crackers, vegetables, several dips, savory and sweet pastries, chocolate and more. They also had different types of wine being poured throughout the event that had been donated. They had a silent auction in one room in which I even won a pair of Canucks tickets thanks to a kind, anonymous donor - that's the Canucks win I was referring about; talk about highlights! About an hour and a half after the start time, we had the chance to listen to both co-owners along with Shanti Uganda talk about their journey from the beginning until now, their trip expectations and goals. All of the speeches were very touching and heartfelt. They both mentioned and knew ahead that this trip would be life changing when they'd get to see their impact first hand.

Lunapads CoFounders

Lunapads co-founders: Suzanne Siemens (back left) & Madeleine Shaw (front right)

One of the most compelling moments of the night was when Madeleine (On Twitter: @Luna_Diva) spoke to the huddle of volunteers before things kicked off and the message was about being open, friendly, owning a sense of respect and common sense but most importantly, she was conveying her own appreciation towards the group giving back. It was exciting to know that through their trip, they’d be able to meet some of those girls and women that they help through their products. Being there reminded me that as a global internet company, we, too, have to appreciate the fact that our own products can reach and impact anyone in the world. It’s great to be aware that we have strong leaders running terrific social enterprises around us and that makes our city of Vancouver BC that much more vibrant.

As companies like Lunapads continue to grow and expand, we’ll be there watching and supporting some of the various organizations around us, as we remind ourselves that each entity is making its own impact. In the end, we also feel the same way about our customer base. We provide that ongoing support continuously to help everyone around us move forward and we help them be successful.

If you’re interested in following their current trip, you can join them on their Facebook page for photos and latest updates. On a final different note, go Canucks go! I had to throw that in.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru