Blog Archives

Certified for Social Media

You meet a lot of people these days claiming to have knowledge in social media because they use it personally, but photos of your potential employee’s lunch or their outfit probably won’t gel with your clients and customers like it would with his or her friends. How do you make sure the social media person you could be hiring can tweet with the best of them? Should they be certified for social media? Here’s a few ways to gauge their knowledge level:

There are a lot of great programs offered at colleges and universities these days which include social media in the curriculum, and even some whole programs dedicated exclusively to social media. Consider checking the program out online, or speaking to the coordinator of the program to gauge how much social media knowledge they impart in the program. And it doesn’t have to be a social media program. Public Relations, Advertising, Journalism, and even Broadcasting programs typically include social media in the mix.


If you have the knowledge yourself, or you know someone who does (preferably in a professional setting or even your own office if possible), ask your potential hire to draft some posts and tweets and see how they do!

PD Events, Books and Webinars

There are lots of great networking and learning opportunities going on every day for social media users and enthusiasts – find out how much time your prospective employee spends on developing their skills!

Hootsuite University

Hootsuite University is not a terribly difficult certification to earn, and most of the features they cover are either self explanatory or only come in handy in rare circumstances. At best, it demonstrates a familiarity with Hootsuite and a desire to learn more about social media. Visit for more info.

Radian6/Marketing Cloud Training

I’ve always been a fan of the robust training offered by Salesforce, but I admit I haven’t fully checked out their Radian6 training options (details here). My suggestion would be to ask if they have familiarity with enterprise level social media tools, such as Radian6 or Hootsuite, especially if you are using them or intend on bringing them in. Even if you don’t, it is worth asking as it may drive your potential hire crazy to be driven back to the stone ages if they were to lose access to these tools!


The difficulty I find in recommending books on social media is that many are out of date by the time they hit print. I know that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I guess to dive a bit deeper on that I would say the problem is that some social media books are too insistent on being about social media and not just about communications theory and practice in general. The only books which should be exclusively about social media should be case studies and how-to’s.

Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point presents interesting ideas on what is basically virality, before the phrase was coined, so I recommend that. This 2010 paper from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, titled “Social Transmission, Emotion, and the Virality of Online Content”, is another I recommend as a good starting point.


What do you think? Are there good social media books? What other resources do you use to learn about social media? Leave me a comment!

Using the Second Screen Effectively

David Hall called the second screen the trend to watch for 2012. Since then, there has been a lot of talk over how organizations can use ‘the second screen’ – your smart phone, your tablet, or your laptop – to enhance your enjoyment of an event, and I get the feeling there are still many organizations wondering how exactly they go about doing it. Recently, I participated in Huffington Post Canada’s #TrudeauWalkInTheme ‘poll’ of sorts ahead of the Liberal convention, as just one example of how second screen content can be created even if group organizing the event had their own stream going. Campaigns can be limited to an established Twitter hashtags, or they can be more robust with guidelines set in place ahead of time and participation of key event participants. Ultimately, it can be used to shine a spotlight on what you’re doing…but someone else could also use it to capture your audience by beating you on content.

Obviously having your audience hijacked by a rival feed is a missed opportunity for your organization, so you need the tips and tricks to maximize the effectiveness of your content. So, how can you use the second screen to enhance the experience of your audience?


Use a post scheduler to ensure a steady flow of content through the event. Make sure you include a ‘starter’ message to let people know about the ground rules, like which hashtag to use. Also schedule a thank you message. Try to remember to include content for people not able to attend as well, such as a link to a live video stream or to more info about the event. However, you don’t want to solely rely on scheduled content…


If it is all scheduled posts, you can’t adapt to things on the go and it may seem like you aren’t actually at the event! Make it a point to work photos and other live content from the show floor into your social media stream.

Disney has been a big adopter of the second screen.

Disney has been a big adopter of the second screen, offering interactive content, galleries, access notes from the filmmakers, and even more content for the kids such as puzzles!

Bake it in

Your second screen effort has to be a part of the event, not just a neat extra. Using Twitter walls, having your emcees contribute, and even just ensuring there is signage at your event and mentions in your reach out ahead of the event (invitations, reminders, etc.) is a must.

Respect the event

There is nothing worse than trying to speak before a crowd of heads looking into laps. Make sure you are reinforcing the importance of tuning in to the event and participating beyond just tweeting. Save your best content for the ‘commercial breaks’ and you may even want to encourage people to put away the phone for a bit – in a positive way – before key moments. I know some sports teams in particular are leery about tweeting too much during games so fans don’t miss the best moments and forget to cheer! And obviously movie and TV content has to be mindful of keeping the audience engaged so they don’t miss plot points, while also respecting their advertisers. So be mindful of what you are asking your audience to look at instead!

Offer something new

If I am at the event and I’m turning to social media, it is because I expect to get more content that way. That means it is your job to get the behind- the-scenes photos, to encourage the speakers to participate in the live tweeting, to give me facts I am not getting elsewhere, and otherwise prove to me that my decision to pop open my phone was a good one (no pressure!).

Be first, be foremost

To go back to my Huffington Post example from the beginning of the article, if you don’t create a second stream of content for your event someone else will. And even if you do, someone else might do it better. The important thing is to try, and use any advantages you have to promote your stream to your advantage. This could include the previously mentioned invites and signage, though a Twitter wall, etc.

What great examples of second screen content have you seen? And how will you use the second screen to your advantage at your next event?


Talknowledgy Podcast #107: BB10, Ron Swanson’s Movember video, talking trash with athletes on Twitter, and more

Right off the top of the show we discuss BlackBerry 10, Pinterest brand pages, and Facebook’s rumoured job board.

This week’s “Creepy or Awesome?!” is centred on the recent Twitter outrage when big man Pau Gasol from the NBA Lakers missed the last shot of the game handing the historic club yet another early season loss.

Our YouTube Hero this week is Ron Swanson’s pro-Movember video encouraging men to keep growing their “mos” and raise money for men’s health. It also has some guest appearances from cast members from “The Office”.

Finally, a military sex scandal gets our #Hashtag Fail of the Week. That’s right, the sloppy use of email clients may have lead to the infidelity bust in the David Petraeus scandal.

If you liked the show, feel free to subscribe to this blog or our RSS feed to make sure you’re always up-to-date with Talknowledgy.

Talknowledgy Podcast #106: Donald Trump, Microsoft, Instagram, and Shoppers Drug Mart All Earn a #Fail

A lot of #fail being handed out this week! Before we get to that, we start with the social media reaction to President Obama’s win in Seg 1, and also touch on Hurricane Sandy and Halo 4.

In our second segment, NBC allows you to buy stuff you see in television shows using a smart phone app – Creepy or awesome? We also take a look at the decidedly not awesome comments made by the CEO of Instagram this week.

In our third segment, Obama is so happy about his win he’s singing about it. It’s our “YouTube Hero of the Week!”

And finally, in seg four we dish out the pain with fails going to Donald Trump, Microsoft, and Shopper’s Drug Mart. Tune in and find out why!

If you liked the show, feel free to subscribe to this blog or our RSS feed to make sure you’re always up-to-date with Talknowledgy.

Talknowledgy Podcast #105: Hurricane Sandy, Movember, Uncle Drew, Star Wars goes Disney, social gaming, and more

Plenty to chat about in the world of news this week. We kick off the show by discussing the social media and tech implications of  Hurricane Sandy, the most popular Halloween candy on social media, and the launch of Movember.

In our “Creepy of Awesome?!” section we look at a new Facebook rumor – Users may be able to place classified ads to display to their friends on the social media giant. The main difference between this new feature, and the existing marketplace function, is you now have to pay to have your ad seen.

Our “YouTube Hero” this week is Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving. He reprises his role as Uncle Drew in a Pepsi Max commercial posted to YouTube this past Tuesday. The first video he did, posted May 2012, received 16 million views. Adding to the interest, Irving himself, wrote and directed both commercials.

Uncle Drew: Episode 2

And we couldn’t go a full show without touching on the US Presidential Election, so here’s our Bonus YouTube Hero this week, courtesy of The Simpsons:

Our “Hashtag Fail of the Week” is near and dear to Phil’s heart. Disney announces a new Star Wars trilogy. What do you think super-nerd Phil has to say about that? Tune in to find out!

If you liked the show, feel free to subscribe to this blog or our RSS feed to make sure you’re always up-to-date with Talknowledgy.

Talknowledgy Episode #103: Binders full of women, EA gives away free games, a new YouTube record, and more!

This week we keep pace with the US Presidential candidates and look at the online reaction during, and after, Monday’s Town Hall debate. We chat about the new twitter handles (@RomneysBinder), and tumblr blogs (Binders Full of Women), created before the event was even over.

Big news on the viral video front, Gangnam Style was knocked off of YouTube’s top spot after they changed the way they rank videos. Our #fail of the week centres on gaming giant EA giving away unlimited free games due to a coupon mix-up.

And in our final segment we talk about Felix Baumgartner breaking not only the sound barrier, but also the record for the “live stream with the most concurrent views ever on YouTube”.

If you liked the show, feel free to subscribe to this blog or our RSS feed to make sure you’re always up-to-date with Talknowledgy.


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