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:
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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
CTO / SEO Guru
This past September during Social Media Week in Vancouver, one of the most profound comments that I encountered came from Scott Dawson (@sdd), a local mortgage broker, who strives to meet someone from Twitter offline on a weekly basis (I'm not certain if he still does now) and a few weeks ago, his comment indirectly rang true when it came to offline connections. At a recent technology event, the advanced computing & technology divisions from Ingram Micro (@IngramMicroInc) discussed how Cisco and EMC technology can help lead clients with utilizing a converged infrastructure path to create a flexible, scalable IT infrastructure of a next generation data centre. There, I met an IT staff member from the University of British Columbia (@ubcnews) with whom we started discussing startups and technology.
He made me think about our connections within our community here. Once again, the community topic comes up. As a company, we spend our time helping our customers host and build websites that connect their own customers to the virtual world and all of our business and most of their business occur online. Oftentimes, we seldom get to connect offline with people. Locally, there are many events to attend to make those offline connections and build or further relationships with your peers in your industry, prospective clients or other professionals within the area. The opportunities are everywhere.
It's good to leave the internet alone once in a while.
While there are many reasons why you should spend time offline with your own community, here are two main thoughts as to why building offline relationships are important:
1) Connecting with the Human Side
When you interact online with your customers or peers, a lot of time is spent over emails or perhaps, the phone or even texting. For those of us who love social media, that communication occurs over platforms such as Twitter and/or Facebook or many other platforms. While we can interact online and learn more about one another via those mediums, there’s nothing like shaking someone's hand and being able to view their body languages as we interact offline. As most of us know, communication happens visually rather than with vocal words. Online or even over video chat, it's almost impossible to have a sense of the physical energy between you and a person. For example, if you were making small talks and happened to make a joke, there wouldn't be anything like watching that person smile and laugh in front of you. It's important to take the time to make those offline connections and leave technology behind to feel human once in a while.
2) Having a Reason to Unplug
This point is straightforward and says it all. Especially in our world, we spend so much time online for various reasons including reading the news, listening to podcasts, watching all sorts of videos, interacting with friends, families and our customers, calling one another across the world for free, playing online games and the list goes on. In my case, I attend and organize many tweetups and rarely put my smart phone down; I'm also guilty of this situation. When unplugged, even though, you may miss a few things happening online, the action of being unplugged allows you to really take in your surroundings and pay close attention to the live conversations happening around you. If you're on your phone the entire time, you will miss something, in the physical world.
Once in a while, we even have to remind ourselves to unplug as a team which is sometimes a challenge when you think of our webhosting world that goes on 365 days a year, 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. For that, we can feel reassured that thanks to our excellent support staff, we can allow one another to take those breaks offline and connect with one another whether it's over coffee or a team lunch. So think about turning off your electronic devices and leaving the internet alone once in a while and go get some fresh air, say, at English Bay, or if you are on Twitter, you could also ask @downtownvan; they're full of ideas.
We'll see you there.Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru
Last Wednesday evening, I attended the Social Media Club Vancouver Pub Night event, a casual and informal mixer with other local social media enthusiasts from all different industries including software development, business consulting, real estate, internet services (web hosting!), social gaming, health services, graphic design and more. About 20 people showed up and we were able to enjoy great and engaging conversations surrounding anything social media including events nearby, Foursquare, Twitter best practices and of course, we all tweeted live using the hashtag #SMCYVRPub that night.
The event itself was hosted at the New Oxford Pub in Yaletown. A casual, yet chic pub where they serve you one pound of wings for only $4 on Wednesdays - what a deal! They even thanked some of the attendees by tweeting us live during the event.
You can follow both organizations respectively at @SMCYVR and @DonnellyPubs. If you are interested in finding out who runs Social Media Club Vancouver behind the scene, you can get familiar with some friendly faces on their about section. In attendance that night, I had the chance to meet the following leaders: Kemp Edmonds (President), Cathy Browne (Advisor), Stephanie Michelle Scott (Chat Enginneer), Yuri Artibise (Blog Boss) and Gus Fosarolli (Advisor) whom left before I had the chance to say hi to. Stephanie mentioned that if you’re interested in being involved with this club, you can expect an event to happen every third Wednesday of the month.
If you are at all interested in social media and you live around Vancouver, you definitely should check out the upcoming events. It's fun and the people are great. Once again, we emphasize community and this is definitely a community that you should get involved with.Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru
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