All posts in “social media group”

Closed for Labour Day

The Social Media Group Toronto office will be closed Monday September 3, 2012 for Labour Day.

The annual holiday is to celebrate the achievements of workers, originating in the labour movement, tracing back to 1872. We’ll be back in the office on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.

Have a safe and happy long weekend!

Innovative Video Platform Qwiki Arrives on Bing

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at
Social Media Group.

I originally became aware of the interactive video platform Qwiki in December 2010 when researching innovative new online platforms for an internal initiative at SMG we call “Innovation Camp”. The original deck I presented to my colleagues is embedded at the end of this blog post.

Qwiki really stood out to me as a rising star because it integrated various media formats, such as images, video, and maps on specific topics into one cohesive and seamless user experience. The added content recommendation algorithm at the end of each Qwiki turns the platform into a gateway for users to visually explore related information with ease. Qwiki is just over two years old, and has raised $10.5 million in funding to date. Their platform is currently accessed by approximately 1 million people per month.

Bing was apparently on the same wave length as me; as they have been in talks with Qwiki for over a year to tightly integrate Qwiki functionality into Bing search results. Now when you search for certain topics on Bing that contain a Wikipedia entry, a Qwiki link is also visible and easily playable in line with search results. Brilliant!

Qwiki on BING

Doug Imbruce, the CEO of Qwiki, recently stated that “We’re finally completing the vision … of a 360-degree publishing platform … the embedding-side of Bing proves that we can create the kind of massive scale and distribution that can help us change, and forever improve, the way the world gets information.”

Bing has been focusing on creating a seamless user experience for their visitors, and I think they have done a great job of integrating an external platform into their search eco system. One surprising tidbit of information is that no money has been exchanged during this deal yet, as the value of integrating the platforms was high enough to make both parties extremely happy to proceed.

Whats Next For Qwiki?

This integration should really help Qwiki expand awareness, raise additional funds, and continue to grow into the ultimate interactive publishing platform.

Qwiki has been quiet over the last year as they developed the second iteration of their platform. They recently released a Qwiki Creator tool that allows users to make their own interactive qwikis by uploading specific types of content. A full developer API will also be available which will allow content creators to mass produce qwikis at scale from their own content.

Closed for Victoria Day

The Social Media Group Toronto office will be closed Monday May 21, 2012 for Victoria Day (or ‘May 2-4 Long Weekend’ depending on who you ask.)

For the non-Canadians who read our blog, Victoria Day (or Fête de la Reine En français) is a federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday before May 25, in honour of Queen Victoria‘s birthday. This long weekend is sometimes informally considered as marking the beginning of the summer season in Canada.

We’re back in the office on Tuesday May 22, 2012.

Image: BiblioArchives

Have a safe and happy long weekend and Happy beginning of Summer Canada!


How Content Marketing is Changing Everything – SMG Webinar Recording

Recently, SMG’s Leona Hobbs hosted a webinar, How Content is Changing Everything. Drawing on SMG’s experiences and expertise, she explored how content marketing is emerging as a major challenge (and opportunity) for marketers, how progressive programs and partnerships are changing the way branded content moves across the web, and how it can effectively be used to earn attention and shift marketing from push to pull in a billion-channel universe.

For all the details and to watch the recording, check it out here.

If you’d like to be the first to hear about upcoming webinars from SMG, pre-register now!

New Free SMG Whitepaper: Unleash the Power of Content Marketing Part 1

SMG Content Marketing Logo

Today, we’re thrilled to release part one of our latest whitepaper: Unleash the Power of Content Marketing: Strategy and Considerations for Operations.


Truly a labor of love, when we sat down to write this whitepaper (it is jointly authored by Leona Hobbs, Michelle McCudden and myself), our vision was to provide a guidebook for marketers looking to execute content marketing programs inside their organizations.  Drawing on the expertise we’ve gleaned working with our clients on content marketing programs, we quickly realized that we had enough for two (or more) whitepapers.

So, we’ve split them up. Part one covers Strategy and Considerations for Operations – this is our best counsel and advice for leaders and executives about how they can set their teams up for success in the execution of content marketing programs. Part one of Unleash the Power of Content Marketing covers:

  • How to define your program
  • Building the case for change
  • How to structure operations
  • Content marketing and the sales funnel

Please take a look at an excerpt from Part 1 of Unleash the Power of Content Marketing and if you like what you see, download the entire thing. We’re always interested in conversation, so we look forward to hearing back from you. How does this whitepaper match your experiences as you plan strategy and operations for content marketing?

Oh, and Part 2 of Unleash the Power of Content Marketing covers concrete steps for achieving excellence in execution of content marketing tactics. Its scheduled for release in a couple of weeks.

How Content Marketing is Changing Everything – Free SMG Webinar March 22

SMG Content Marketing

Content Marketing is the latest buzzword – but what does it mean for marketers?

On March 22nd at 12pm ET, explore How Content is Changing Everything during a live webinar hosted by Leona Hobbs, VP of Social Media Group.


Webinar Overview – How Content is Changing Everything

Disruption. It’s one of the most common buzzwords used to describe the social web. But when we use it, we have largely been referring to technology and platforms – broadband web access, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook. But what about content? In some places, there’s too much, in others, not enough – causing major problems for established business models. In this presentation we’ll explore how content is emerging as a major challenge (and opportunity) for marketers, how progressive programs and partnerships are changing the way branded content moves across the web, and how it can effectively be used to earn attention and shift marketing from push to pull in a billion-channel universe.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • What is Content Marketing?
  • Why should I care?
  • What can I do with it?
  • How do I find my target audiences?
  • What kinds of results can I expect?
  • What do I need to get started?


About the Presenter

Leona Hobbs

Leona Hobbs, Vice President & Partner. With over a decade of experience in communications and marketing, Leona leads the SMG account teams and provides social media and digital communications counsel to SMG clients. A specialist in digital communications and social media marketing, Leona frequently speaks about Internet-powered communications to students and at conferences. She is an advisor to the Public Relations Program at Loyalist College and a volunteer organizer of the Toronto Girl Geek Dinners and PodCamp Toronto. In 2010, Leona received The International Alliance for Women World of Difference 100 award in the Community category. / @flackadelic



Final Peek at SMG's SMWTO event happening tomorrow!

The Ignite-inspired Social Media Group Spark event for Social Media Week Toronto is happening tomorrow morning!

Here is a little preview from our final two speakers:

Lindsay’s talk is called “Inspire and Ignite: The New Wave of Visual Content Curation”. With less time and more content to sift through, new emerging visual curation platforms have taken off in a big way. Tapping into our desire for authentic and personal inspiration, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest have changed the way we explore and share content. Find out how brands get on board and ride the wave.

James will explore the emerging trend of transmedia storytelling, which is storytelling across multiple platforms and formats using digital technologies. This talk will illustrate how, more than ever, brands have an opportunity to create a continuous content narrative that engages an audience through multiple media formats.

In case you missed yesterday’s and Tuesday’s blog posts, I shared details from our four other SMG speakers.

This event sold out almost immediately, but we’ve opened up a few extra spots! Visit here to register.  We also know we’ve got lots of fans who don’t live in Toronto. But we want everyone to be able to participate, so we’re offering live streaming during the event! Visit to find out more about tomorrow’s event and check back on Friday morning at 9am EDT to watch live!

P.S. Don’t forget to Tweet using our event hashtag: #smwtoSMGspark.

A Sneak Peek at SMG's SMWTO event this Friday!

If you didn’t catch my post yesterday, this Friday Social Media Group is holding an Ignite-inspired event, Spark for Social Media Week Toronto. At Spark, SMG presenters will share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes for each presentation.

Here is another sneak peak from two more of our speakers:

Patrick will talk about the democratization of data.  The new online world and communication landscape has made consumer and market data ubiquitous. Marketers of all stripes have unprecedented access to consumer information and are looking to action that data in almost real time. The reality is that clients and agencies have always had access to data, but the real target is insights, not anecdotes.

Cam will discuss data mining & social good. Big Data has quickly becme an industry buzz term and with it promises of exciting opportunities for consumer intelligence. However, increasing privacy concerns and the logistics associated with data refinement bring their own unique set of challenges for marketers. In his session, Cam will outline some emerging solutions to address these concerns as well as innovative opportunities for social good through real-time data analysis.

Incase you missed it, in yesterday’s blog post I shared details from two of our other SMG speakers.

The event sold out in no time but we are offering live streaming during the event! Visit to read more about Friday’s event and check back on Friday morning at 9am EDT to register and watch live!

And don’t forget to Tweet using our event hashtag: #smwtoSMGspark.

SMG's Ignite-inspired SMWTO event this Friday!


Inspired by Ignite, which is a geek event in over 100 cities worldwide, Social Media Group presents Spark for Social Media Week Toronto. This Friday the 17th at 9 am EDT, members of the SMG team will talk about their passions, experience and expertise in business, innovation, collaboration, community and content. With only five minutes per session, this event is perfect for short attention spans. You’ll be inspired in no time!

Here is a little sneak peak from two of our speakers:

Michelle will address a popular, but misguided request in social media marketing: making a piece of content “go viral.” This session will cover why “viral” isn’t a useful term, what executives really mean when they ask for content to go viral, and how we can design content so that users are likely to spread it throughout their networks.

Brandon will discuss the barrier to entry for anyone to create content has dissolved in the age of affordable technology. How can your content make an impact when it’s competing with nearly  everyone on the planet? Brandon talks about Pop Culture and the importance of taking the road less traveled to make an impact in the digital age.

This event sold out almost immediately, and we know we’ve got lots of fans who don’t live in Toronto. But we want everyone to be able to participate, so we’re offering live streaming during the event! Visit to read more about Friday’s event and check back on Friday morning at 9am EDT to register and watch live!

P.S. Don’t forget to Tweet using our event hashtag: #smwtoSMGspark.

The Connected Evolution

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at Social Media Group.

Smart Washing Machine

Historically, connecting to the Internet has always been on computers, but over the last five years connectivity is no longer confined to a desktop or laptop – all thanks to the evolution of “smart devices”. Smart, or connected devices are changing how people create, consume, share, and control the content in their life.

Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January provided preview of the new direction of major electronics manufacturers, and how they plan to design devices that not only provide value by leveraging smart capabilities, but also solve problems in an intuitive way. According to the GSMA and a post at RedWriteWeb, 90% of TVs at CES, 70% of automotive devices, 44% of health devices, and 30% of cameras were Internet connected.

Of all connected devices at CES, 30% were from the “home lifestyle” category, which includes TVs, refrigerators, and even washing machines!

GSMA Stats

What it means for the living room

The potential benefits of having so many connected home devices are mind boggling, but this post covers how these changes could affect the current family living room.

Smart phones changed the way we use our mobile devices. They provided easier and more efficient access to music, games, social media, and communication tools like instant messaging and the almighty email. Most people I know, even the highly skeptical, never looked back after upgrading to a smart phone (be it Android, iPhone, or Blackberry).

A similar principal applies to the connected TVs showcased at CES – picture many of the benefits that a smart phone brings, and apply it to your living room on a screen 10 times bigger. Older TV owners can still rejoice that set top boxes like ROKU, Boxee, or AppleTV, and game consoles such as Xbox can be used to turn any TV into some form of Connected TV.

1. Social TV

People love to talk about TV with friends, which make social elements an integral feature for all connected devices. Social components should be integrated seamlessly when possible. One main problem is that unlike smart phones, TVs are “shared screens” – making it even more important to utilize social privacy elements. Michelle, a colleague here at Social Media Group recently shared her thoughts on The Rise of SocialTV here.

2. Apps

Apps have been integral part of making smart phones the awesome devices they are today. They provide a never-ending supply of new content to learn from or play with. The same is true for TV. Having access to apps will let users control what additional features, games or widgets they want to use, ultimately leading to a more controllable, and enjoyable viewing experience.

3. Custom Streaming

Continuing on the DVR trend, connected TVs will also allow viewers to choose what they want to watch, and when. As content producers continue to align their service offerings to support a streaming model, more people will continue to cut or cancel their cable/satellite bills. Netflix and Hulu have also helped push the streaming model to the mainstream. This is one of the largest game changing features of Connected TV – user control.

Internet Connectivity is no longer a feature that is limited to the top of the line TV models – it’s now a requirement. TV manufacturers have to rethink what a TV is, which includes how to leverage Internet capabilities, but more importantly the overall user experience that allows TVs to interact with traditional computers, smart phones, and tablets.

The Ecosystem Approach

Many major TV manufacturers lost money last year, Sony included. Samsung was fortunate to only incur reduced profit margins. The root causes were eroding retail prices, and sluggish consumer demand. The time has come where device manufacturers have to become content suppliers in order to maintain profitability and survive, which essentially means more ecosystems.

Molly Wood from CNET recently wrote her thoughts on what a connected device ecosystem really means:

A perfectly constructed ecosystem turns a smart phone, a tablet, or even a TV into a symphony of interoperable, always-on, one-stop-shopping gadget glory. No device is just a device, anymore. Now, every device is a platform, and everything works together perfectly

Love it or hate it, Apple pioneered the closed ecosystem with iTunes and iDevices. The closed ecosystem means more consumers are locked in – essentially raising the costs to switch to a different platform. Their strategy is paying off too, which is evident in their recent first-quarter record profit announcement.  Rumors also suggest that Apple is making a big play into the TV market, a move that will definitely shake things up.

Samsung and Microsoft also have the right idea. Samsung has made major moves this year to create an ecosystem that will compete head on with Apple. Their TVs will work seamlessly with both their Tablets and popular (record breaking) smart phones. Microsoft’s new Metro UI will ensure Windows 8 devices, Windows Phones, and Xbox will all share a universal user experience and content repositories. Let’s not forget about Microsoft Kinect, which could bring a Minority Report type experience to your living room!

We’re moving into an all out clash of the TV titans for 2012. Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung will likely continue to fight over patents and designs, while advancing product capabilities, and refining their service offerings.

Clash of Titans - Apple vs Smasung

To Sum it Up

A huge influx in the variety and quantity of connected products are coming directly to consumers, but the true benefit of these changes really comes down to implementation.

Only time will tell if these products solve more problems than they make, but the awesome part is that this is one of the few circumstances where you can literally sit on the couch and enjoy the changes!