How to leverage media to drive business results: FP Reach Notes & Main Takeaways

FPReach featuring Gary V. in Vancouver

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending FP Reach at the Vancouver Convention Centre. FP Reach —  one of the many Social Media Week Vancouver events —  is a three-city tour that connects small and medium businesses, marketing experts, and successful entrepreneurs sharing the latest marketing trends, business strategies, and best practices. The event  brought out some of Vancouver’s (and North America’s)  leading thought leaders in media, both traditional and digital.

The highlight was the energetic keynote delivered by author and social media marketer Gary Varnerchuk.  My notes are below, but here are some high-level key takeaways:

  • Content is still king, and you are probably not creating enough quality content. Bottom line: Create remarkable content, and do it consistently and frequently.
  • While advertising still can play a role in the marketing cycle, earned media and public relations are powerful tools that can help your business get to the next level.
  • Authenticity isn’t just a buzz word — it’s something you need to strive for in your content, in social media, and when talking to journalists.
  • Traditional media isn’t dead, and ignoring them is a short-sighted strategy. While the industry is currently experiencing many changes, they are quickly adapting and experimenting.

Here are some more specific notes from the different FPReach sessions.

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Taking back OUR Vancouver: how to respond to the riots

Vancouver Riots Cleanup

Note: This post first appeared on the ENGAGE blog. On the night of June 15, 2011, a bunch of “anarchists and thugs” started a riot in Vancouver, effectively putting a black mark on what has otherwise been a terrific Vancouver Canucks playoff run.  I wrote this post to let other SFU students know how they can respond to this unfortunate event.

June 15, 2011 will now remain a historical day for Vancouver. And it’s not because our home team played game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals that day; it’s not even because the Vancouver Canucks has failed to clinch the title. It’s because of what happened after.

Unfortunately, while thousands of people chose to do the right thing and leave downtown Vancouver after cheering for the Canucks, many young men and women chose to start a riot, causing millions of dollar in property damage and generating “billion dollars worth of bad publicity“.

For many of us who were glued to our television that night, the images coming out of downtown were devastating. It was mind-boggling how these supposedly hockey fans can damage their own city. At a time like this though, it is important to point out that the majority of Vancouverites did not want the riots. Simply put, true Canucks fans did not wish to cause harm to businesses, individuals, and properties after the game.

In fact, almost immediately after reports of the riots have came out, many Vancouverites started looking for ways to help re-build the city.

One such effort was the Vancouver Post-Riot Clean up. Through the Facebook event, volunteers were mobilized to help clean up downtown Vancouver the day after the riot. The cleanup was so successful that media outlets such as the Globe and Mail have taken notice; the City of Vancouver also released a press release calling the efforts “truly inspiring.”

Downtown Vancouver is relatively back to normal now, but if you’re still looking for ways to help, here are some ideas:

Vancouver Riots Cleanup

By the way, while there is a Facebook page and a Tumblr blog set up where people can upload images and videos of the rioters, I encourage you to think twice before posting there. Alexandra Samuel, in a Harvard Business Review article, made a good argument against citizen surveillance. Personally, the article made me think twice about those Facebook and Tumblr pages. I encourage you to please contact VPD directly instead; it’s safer, and (in my view) more ethical.

June 15, 2011 — this date forever leaves a black mark to our wonderful city. Our city may have been knocked down, but through volunteerism, we’re showing the world what we’re truly made of. This date will be part of our history, but how Vancouverites responded to the riots will be what defines us.

Photo: kris krüg (Flickr)

3 Lessons about Social Media and Multiculturalism from #NetCulture

Net Culture: Stories of Culture and Diversity in Social Media is an event that featured inspiring and culturally diverse speakers.  The night’s topic: how social media has helped various individuals and organizations strengthen their identities, roots and friendships. Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend this sold out, two hour event at the Vancouver Public Library.

#NetCulture: The Speakers and Organizing Team

The night featured 10 speakers, each highlighting rich stories from their culture. Here are three key takeaways about social media and multiculturalism that the speakers talked about:

1. It’s not about your age.

Ashok Puri, retiree and father of one of the event organizers, talked about how social media has helped him travel all over the globe without going broke. Ashok charmingly told the story of how CouchSurfing helped him explore the world and meet new friends in the process. A good story teller, Ashok also talked about the friendships he made and the adventures (and misadventures) that came with his travels.

RT @thenetworkhub: Ashok Puri summarized it well - friends, family, new friends, experience - that is the power of social media #NETCulture
Kelvin KC Claveria

My favourite part of his speech was when he made the point that social media is not about how fast you can type. At its core, social media is about connecting with others, and it’s not just for the young ones anymore. Ashok demonstrated the power of great story-telling –  he  really had the crowd enchanted from the start.

Social media is not about how fast you can type - i.e. You're not too old for it. #netculture
Kelvin KC Claveria

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Vancouver Twestival Raises Over $8K for Beauty Night Society

Note: I originally wrote this blog post for SFU Volunteer Services, where I’m currently employed as a Social Media Specialist. To view the original post, visit the ENGAGE blog.

Last Thursday, March 24,  social media enthusiasts in Vancouver headed to the Vancouver Lookout to socialize and to support a good cause. Twestival is a fundraising event that brings together Twitter users to support a local cause.Now on its fourth year, Vancouver Twestival selected Beauty Night Society as the recipient of this year’s proceeds.

The event raised over $8000, all of which will go towards supporting Beauty Night’s life makeover programs. Beauty Night, a non-profit that we’ve featured in the ENGAGE  blog before, provides programs for marginalized women and youth in the downtown eastside. Recently, the organization celebrated its 10th year anniversary.

As a first time attendee, I was really impressed by this event. We were treated to a stunning view, superb food & drinks, and a super fun photobooth.  Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson also addressed the crowd and praised the organizers for a great event.

Vancouver Twestival 2011

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Patriot Hearts: John Furlong brings back golden memories

Note: This article first appeared in Young Leader, the newsletter of theVancouver Board of Trade‘s Leaders of Tomorrow program. To learn more about this mentorship program, please visit the official website.

On February 11, several LOT mentees  joined over 500 professionals from the Vancouver business community for a  luncheon headlined by John Furlong, former CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Spirit of Vancouver® lunch marked the first-year anniversary of the Games and celebrated the launch of Furlong’s new book Patriot Hearts: Inside An Olympics That Changed A Country.

John Furlong met some lucky mentees from the Leaders of Tomorrow Mentorship Program [Read more…]