Saskatchewan in Keywords – May 2017

May 2017 will go down in history as the month of the fidget spinner.

For any of who don’t know, Google Trends is a wicked cool tool that allows you to view real time search query data by location visualized. You can view the top search keywords in a given industry or generally across the the country or province over the past day, week, quarter, month, or year. Typically the top search terms from month to month are more or less what you’d expect (some iteration of “Google”, “Facebook”, “YouTube”, “weather”, “news”, etc.), but what I find more interesting is the fastest rising keywords in a given month, or those which have experienced the highest increase in search volume. You can view these above by clicking the bottom right-hand arrow and selecting “Rising”. Here are the search terms which will now and forever define May 2017 in Saskatchewan.

 

Cinco De Mama

Topping the list by a wide margin are searches related to the tragic suicide of Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell last week. Everyone’s favourite excuse to drink tequila at 11 in the morning Cinco De Mayo also topped this month’s search queries. Predictably, searches spiked dramatically for Mother’s Day as absent-minded sons and daughters (myself included) scrambled to remember what day it actually was, only to forget and look it up again a few days later. You’ll also notice a fairly significant increase in searches related to the latest craze in boredom-suppression: fidget spinners.

 

Despacito Means “Slowly” in Spanish

In addition to raw web search results, Google Trends also let’s you view to the fastest rising search terms on YouTube specifically. This month Miley Cyrus’s latest hit Malibu drew a great deal of attention and, correspondingly, a considerable amount of search traffic. A tearful performance at this week’s Billboard Music Awards didn’t hurt either. Topping the charts for increased search results on YouTube this month was…Wait a second…Fidget spinners again? What the heck is going on?

Okay, let’s try one more thing. Finally, Google Trends allows you to narrow keyword searches to those used in Google Images. There has to be something interesting there, right?

 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME FIDGET SPINNERS AGAIN. The only discernibly higher search phrase for images in Saskatchewan with an increase of 150% was fidget spinners. Wow.

May 2017 ladies and gents, the official month of fidget spinners in Saskatchewan.

 

PS: For reference, here’s what the trend line for fidget spinners looks like over the past year. Wild, right?

 

Let’s Take a Second to Remember The Basics

So you’re a business looking to dive into social media. What does that even mean? Back in the day when social was just beginning to become the massive snowball it is today, getting involved as a business was messy. It was imperfect. You had to watch and listen to how people were using various platforms. You had to try things and make mistakes. You had to learn in real time as things were changing and growing and evolving.

Nowadays it seems like you can just decide “I want to be on social media”.

And you probably should be. Creating a community and actively engaging with that community has become the new marketing model. Storytelling and relationship building are more important than ever, overtaking “brand-building” or “reach and frequency” as key outcomes for your marketing budget. That being said, businesses seem to be pivoting to social as a silver bullet for their online marketing while fundamentally forgetting basic marketing concepts. Before you even think about creating a page or an account be it SnapChat, Facebook, LinkIn, or the like, check yourself against these basics when it comes to social media

 

  1. Not all platforms are created equal.

    Gone are the days when you could just set up a Facebook and Twitter page, link them to auto-post and call it a day. There is a buffet of options to choose from when it comes to social platforms. It can be overwhelming, which makes it so surprising that most company’s first instinct is to jump into everything at once. Specific, methodic targeting is becoming a lost art. Less is more. Get really good at one thing, not mediocre at five. Take stock of your core function as an organization, the type of content you’ll be posting, and your audience and be selective with the platforms you choose. Which brings us to rule number two…

    never-half-ass-two-things-whole-ass-one-thing

  2. Focus on where your people are (and where they want to see you).

    “We need to be on Snapchat”. Why? Is that really where your target audience is? Is that going to be the best use of your time? Is that where you’re going to make the highest number of meaningful connections? More importantly, is that where your people even want to connect with you? You may have the best concrete company in the world, but I don’t necessarily want to look at concrete on Instagram. Founder of the Social Fresh Conference Jason Keath speaks regularly about the importance of focus when it comes to social media and his message is simple: if you really want to convert you don’t need to be (and probably shouldn’t be) everywhere. Respect your audience, view your business through their eyes, and act accordingly.

  3. Have a freaking purpose.

    This is possibly the most bizarrely broken rule in the book. Organizations and companies seem to think that the equation goes “IF I’m active on social media AND I get lots of likes THEN my business will do better”. What the heck does that mean?! There are so many other steps involved in that equation. I recently caught an episode of the Jelly Marketing Podcast (would highly recommend) featuring writer and speaker Tod Maffin where he hammers the idea of true purpose home and slays the concept of vanity metrics. What are you specifically trying to achieve with the tools you’re using? Are you trying to keep your membership up to date with new information? Are you trying to show how easy your product is to use? Are you trying to showcase the genuine personalities of your team? Have a purpose beyond getting likes and followers. Those will come and arguably don’t matter as long at your working towards a clear goal.

  4. Create value.

    Advertising and selling without value creation does not work. Period. Full stop. I don’t care about your car dealership. I don’t care that you can broker my mortgage. I DO NOT CARE. Do something that makes my life better, even a little. Tell me something interesting I didn’t know before. Better yet, show me it in a cool way. Make me smile, make me laugh, make me think, solve my problem. Do something that goes beyond the basic transaction. It’s not just a nice touch anymore, it’s expected.

Well there you go. None of this is particularly ground-breaking. They’re things we as internet marketers have been shouting about for years, but as the social media space becomes more and more crowded and confusing it’s important to remember the basics. They’ll save you time, money, and a whole lot of headaches.

An Open Letter to Social Media

Dear Social Media,

We’ve been together for a long time. We’ve seen some major highs and some rock-bottom lows. For better or worse, I always knew I could turn to you. Always knew that at the end of the day I had a screen and a community of people I sort of knew who could validate however I was feeling, and if they didn’t screw ‘em, I’d find new ones that did.

I was really your first love. Previous generations never had you and never dreamed they would. Throughout the time that we’ve been together you’ve grown and changed so much. On one hand it’s fascinating to see your relationship with each new generation change. On another, it’s exhausting trying to figure out how to approach you on any given day. Secretly I worry that I don’t really understand you as well as someone much younger does. Are you outgrowing me?

Lately things have been different. I’ve started seeing someone else: the world around me. There’s so much beauty to be seen, so much fun to be had, and so many memories to savour without your constant interruption. As much as I love having instant access to anyone, anytime, anywhere, as much as I like the likes, things are better in 360 full-colour.

You were always best when you made the tangible world brighter and more exciting. You still amaze me with your ability to connect people and tell stories, but lately you’ve been dividing people and shifting their focus inwards.

I think we need to take a break. We’ll still see each other around, but right now we both need to figure out how to actually be social again.

 

Sincerely,

Us

60 Second Instagram Videos are Coming… But That Doesn’t Mean You Should Post Them

If you have kept up with any of the latest content platforms and which ones are making it big lately you’ve probably noticed one major trend: These platforms are supporting shorter and shorter forms of content. First it was Facebook, where you could share statuses as long as your heart desired. Then Twitter, where you had to condense your thoughts into 140 characters or less; and god forbid you put a picture in there and get even that 140 cut down. Then Instagram and Vine, with standalone pictures and short, 6 second videos. And finally everyone’s favourite filter-toting, funny face-inducing, disappearing photo and short video platform Snapchat.

Then something interesting happened…

Instagram brought in 15 second videos. Based on the above pattern, this doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense. But, with their growing user base and the inevitable decline of Vine to a limited number of content creators treated like idols by tweens (can’t believe I just used that word), the move made sense. It was hard to get a brand’s message across in only 6 seconds, so the Instagram update worked, allowing brands to tease at promo videos, events, or whatever they were up to that was worthy of our 15 seconds of attention.

Now something even more interesting is happening…

In a statement released on March 29th, Instagram dropped that in the coming months they are increasing the length of videos that can be posted on the platform BY 4 TIMES. That is a pretty interesting decision given the popularity of Snapchat and the emerging use of it by some brands. It seems like everything is moving towards micro-content, or content that you can consume in the shortest time possible because hey, there might be a funny cat video if you keep scrolling.

As with everything, I think that this update can be used extremely well or very poorly. Just because you can now make 60 second videos, doesn’t mean you should. The golden rule applies as always: make kick-ass content. If you are crushing 15-second videos and getting amazing engagement from your audience (the perfect opportunity to engage back and create relationships) and don’t think you could fill a 60 second video with the same quality then don’t. On the other hand, this longer run time gives you the opportunity to hook in your audience and say, point them to a full vlog or video in your bio. The options are endless, but with content following an ever-shortening trend remember that the amount of time you have to make someone stop and say “Whoa” is growing smaller and smaller everyday. So if you choose to make these longer videos, reel them in with a strong opening, send them to the video or website link in your bio, and watch the traffic poor in. :heart_eyes:

Strategy Lab/Capital Ford Google Analytics Workshop

Thanks to everyone who came out to dive into the deep world of Google Analytics and measurement tools with us. The morning went very well, stimulated some educational conversation, and highlighted some compelling case studies. This workshop was geared toward non-profit organizations and will be followed by workshops open to all companies. See you all at the next one!

Strategy Lab Google Analytics Workshop

twitter-bird

The Top 100 Most Engaging People On Twitter In Regina [Infographic]

Follow me please!Hopefully you’ve seen the 100 Most Influential People on Twitter from Regina infographic we compiled last week. 

This list differs from the 100 Most Influential list because this is a list of the people who actually talk to other people on Twitter. So yeah, this is the list of people you’re going to want to follow.

This list is made up of people who have Regina listed in their bio on Twitter. Then I sorted the list of 16,141 people by percentage of @ mentions in their time line. I think this is one of the most interesting lists because these are the people who will talk to you.  Who want to talk to you. These are the folks who engage the most.

Methodology: 

Searched bios on Twitter for: Regina

Sorted by: % of Tweets containing @ mentions

For the entire list of everyone who came up for the “Regina” bio search (and to find your own score), see the Spreadsheet here: 8,267 people from Regina on Twitter.

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The Debate Continues: How Much Do Colours Affect Your Website’s Performance?

During the creation of a content-driven, engaging, educational, and well-measured website, people often spend a lot of time fretting over design details. While we’ll be the first to stress the website’s function and measurability as it meets your needs as being a much larger part of the website development and marketing strategy, the fact that the colours use have an effect on customers’ propensity to trust your business and make purchases from you can’t be overlooked. This is illustrated in great detail in this awesome infographic from the folks over at KISSmetrics. We’re sure you’ll learn something new. Let us know what you think.

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Operation Alberta Flood Cleanup

groupflood

The call came in the form of a group Facebook message from friend and former hockey coach Barret Kropf from Caronport. Some mutual friends of ours from High River, Alberta had been in one of the hardest hit areas of the recent flood and hadn’t been able to return to their home since their abrupt evacuation and Barret was taking it upon himself to challenge a group of us to hit the road in his family’s motorhome with whatever tools we could find to spend the Canada Day long weekend helping our friends clean up upon returning to their damaged home.

To be frank, as with many calls to action via Facebook, there was some tentativeness in the replies from the group. Notice was short for a weekend that was long and the knee deep water we’d soon find wasn’t the kind we’d expected to spend our weekends in. Regardless, Barret handled the logistics and did everything he could to make it possible for a few of us to make the trip. On the day of departure, when we received the news that residents wouldn’t be allowed to return to High River during the time we were there, we decided to strike out to Calgary anyway — eager to help anyone in need.

Here’s a CTV news clip of us the day before striking out on the open road that highlights the contributions of many Saskatchewan residents.
CTV News Coverage (at 1:00 mark)

Upon finally arriving in Calgary, we met up with our friends Ryan and Genevieve Morrison who directed us to the Bowness area — just a block from their home — where many houses had been severely damaged and the volunteer efforts were underway. With no real plan in mind, we buckled our tool belts, slipped on some gloves, and made our way down to Bowness Crescent. (Despite the hard work that would ensue, if your ideal job is one where you’re offered a burger and a popsicle every three minutes, this is the place for you.) Volunteers swarmed the street in many roles, shapes, and sizes. The rest of the day consisted of checking in at the volunteer tents which were located in the front yard belonging to the first guy we ran into, shovelling muck out of basements, hauling dirt to yards lining the river bank, politely declining burgers number 4 through 35, and enjoying the feelings associated with contributing to a worthwhile cause.

Here’s a taste of our weekend in video form:

The second and final day of our stay was spent in Calgary’s Mission District. The devastation in this area was even more of an eye opener. The volunteer efforts seemed to be more centralized and organized with dispatch tents, barbecues, spare tools, sunscreen, and mosquito spray all located in the Safeway/Shopper’s Drug Mart parking lot at the corner of Elbow Drive and 4th Street SW. From here, we were sent to various locations to move furniture in and out of garages, remove tile from basement floors, and tear down slats and drywall in homes. This was by far the toughest day of work. Homeowners were eager to show us just how severe the flooding had been in their homes. One owner of a beautiful home showed us where the water line had been at the peak of the flood; halfway up his fireplace, about four feet above the floor, on the house’s main level. It was now being completely gutted.

We ended up spending most of our time in a house owned by a twenty-something girl’s family. Over just a couple short days, she had been required to absorb the shock of being chased from her home, come to terms with the damage, see multitudes of people charge in to help clear all of her belongings out to the front lawn, and finally become a project manager for an extremely daunting job being carried out by roughly 100 different volunteers (often 20+ at a time) stopping in for varying lengths of time with sledgehammers. This was a situation common to many homes across the city and I couldn’t help but admire the strength of those dealing with that kind of stress and sleepless nights.

All in all, I took many things away from this edifying weekend. Among them were a restored faith in humankind, a recognition of the need for leadership, management, and humility in volunteer efforts, and the realization that helping fellow Canadians may be the best way to celebrate our country’s birthday — or any day for that matter.

 

 

TCBY – The Country’s Bygone Yogurt

TCBYThe scene was a sultry June evening in Regina’s third favourite frozen yogurt (froyo, or “FROYO” to which my my phone has grown accustomed to autocorrecting it) shop. After making plans to bike to TCBY, which is short for The Country’s (self-proclaimed) Best Yogurt, I’d ditched the idea at the last minute in order to take my car and get there five minutes earlier to avoid the awkward the-entire-staff-hates-me-for-walking-in-right-at-close scenario.

Success. I arrived at exactly 10:50pm.

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5 Ways To Be Awesome Online

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1. Be Remarkable

These days, everyone and their dog has Twitter, Facebook, and a website. The quickest way to get lost in the noise is to do exactly what others are doing and expect a different result. Learn to pivot and don’t be afraid to take a leap to get noticed. People will find it refreshing and maybe actually listen to you and follow you. A good way to do this is to create a social object. A good example of this is GEICO and their gecko. They’ve  taken a dull as dishwater insurance industry that has little or no place on platforms people use to be entertained like Facebook or Twitter and entertained people with their little warm-climate lizard.

2. Solve Problems Simply

Contrary to the popular belief that people go online ‘for no particular reason’, people go online for two main reasons. The first of which is to solve a problem. You’ll see the second reason if you scroll down to the next point. But don’t just yet! Think of the problems your clients might have. Even if they’re not directly related to the kinds of problems you solve for them offline, use your expertise and your platform to become the go to place for solving problems of that kind. The successes of mayoclinic.com, livestrong.com, and webmd.com are no accidents. They’ve tapped into the wealth of health problems that people face on daily basis and have become the front-of-mind destinations for people wanting to get to the root of their symptoms. How can you do something similar?

3. Entertain

Here it is; the second reason people spend hours online. The television spots you remember are the entertaining ones. The reason you’re tired at work is you were up late watching 2012’s worst wipeouts on YouTube. It’s no secret that you scroll through Instagram because it adds some entertainment to your day. In terms of your business’ online content and social interactions, seek to entertain. Try different methods, measure, learn, and pivot until you find something that resonates with your tribe.

4. Be Awesome Offline

Who’s awesome on Twitter? Well, typically it’s people that you’d actually enjoy going for coffee with. You think Kelly Oxford only strings together controversial but oh-so-true observational sentences on Twitter? No, I’m willing to bet my first 100 followers that a coffee with her would be the most entertaining encounter of my week. Don’t view your online personality and interactions as being different from your offline ones. Talk to people as though you’re running into them on the sidewalk, not as though you’re yelling at a crowd through a foghorn. Put as much effort into responding to and wowing friends and customers alike as you would if they were standing at your house’s front door or in your store.

5. Attend Our Workshop 🙂

I wouldn’t be adding this point to this post if I didn’t truly think July 18th will be an extremely valuable, collaborative, and informative day. Instead of us telling you what we’ve done with clients and what we do with our own platforms, we’re bringing people we’ve worked with and people who have influenced us from the community. We’re sure you’ll find them to be remarkable, problem-solving, entertaining, and just plain awesome.

PRESENTING: Strategy Lab’s How To Be Awesome Online Workshop 

 

 

 

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