Beginner’s Guide : Emojis

July 17 was World Emoji Day (because that’s the date that appears on the iOS calendar emoji). In observance of this we decided that this week we’d give the low-down on what emojis are and why we use them.



For starters, emojis should be pretty easy to use. On iOS and Android they’re baked right into the main keyboards, but on your computer it’s almost just as easy. Here’s a handy guide on how to use them on Mac and Windows.


History ?

Emojis were originally invented by Japanese phone manufacturers in the 1999, then gained popularity in the west when Apple integrated them into the iPhone’s operating system.

Emojis evolved from “emoticons” which originally appeared in 1986. The apparent resemblance to the English words “emotion” and “emoticon” (emotion + icon) is purely coincidental. The word emoji comes from Japanese e (“picture”) + moji (“character”).

You might be surprised to learn that there is a group of people who have been tasked with determining what set of standard characters get included in every computer and mobile device in the world. This means that there is a consistency to what people can read and send between their devices, but these gatekeepers can also be restricting.

Listen to this interview about the Unicode Consortium on CBC Radio Q:


Everyday Use ?

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I don’t know if an emoji is worth that many, but they definitely offer the opportunity to say more with less. One emoji can speak volumes, which can be handy in cases where you need to imply subtext or an alternate meaning through just text.

For example, people often use ? or ? to lighten the mood in a message that might be open to interpretation. In life, we have the ability to infer emotion and opinion from tone, but tone is a very difficult thing to convey through text. Emojis make that easier, they aid in our communication with each other.

There is even some debate about whether emoji is becoming its own language. In fact, look at what made Oxford English Dictionary’s 2015 “Word of the Year”


Wherever you come down on whether emoji is its own language, there is no denying that it has become integral into our everyday communication, no matter what language we speak.

Check out this CBC Spark interview where they discuss this even further:


Miscommunication ?

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 11.55.14 AMA few months ago a friend of mine tweeted something to the effect of “Such-and-such restaurant is closing! ??? ” I asked why he was laughing, and he was confused. This conversation explains why:

But this is only one example. We all use emoji wrong, and the Unicode Consortium is working on changes to correct the most common mistakes among emoji users.

Unfortunately, there’s still the issue that individual devices and operating systems carry lines of emojis that are stylized differently. This means that an emoji you send from an Android phone to your friend’s iPhone could look, and be interpreted, completely differently.


For now this is just something that we need to be mindful of sending emojis, because I doubt we can get all the different phone manufacturers and app developers to make their icons look exactly the same. They want to express their own creativity through these symbols.

Use emojis in your marketing ?

Emojis are incredibly fun, and they can also help increase the reach of your social media posts and boost engagement. Not only are they playful and friendly, they’re eye-catching and memorable. If you can find a way to express the message of your tweet, Facebook update, or ad into a couple of emojis, it could really help the engagement of that content with readers.

For example, internet marketer Larry Kim ran a quick experiment where he split-tested the same promoted post with and without emojis to the same targeting group at the same time. The results of this experiment were pretty impressive. The emoji version had 25.4% higher engagement (11.06 percent vs. 8.82 percent) and a 22.2 percent lower cost per engagement ($0.18 vs. $0.14)


Use it as a response

There’s a reason why Facebook reactions are emojis, and why they’ve been working incredibly well on Facebook since their release in February. Emojis can be a great way to respond to people on social media. Instead of simply liking or favouriting a post, an emoji can be a great way to give better feedback. For example, if something made you laugh, the?  emoji could be a great one to react with.

Use it set a theme for your content

No matter the topic, there’s probably an emoji you can use to represent it. For example, if you’re sharing a video on social media you could use the video emoji to highlight that fact ?.

To summarize your content

As I mentioned before, emojis are enhancing our language. A thought that used to take a few sentences to convey can now be summed up using a few icons. In our social media updates, we regularly use emojis at the end of sentences to summarize the topic we’re talking about. Think of it like punctuation that drives home the point you just made.

We’ve been peppering our Instagram posts especially with emojis that relate to the content we’re posting.

?  for a computer repair business.
?  for a pet groomer.
??  for a nail salon.
?  for a jewellery store.
?  for an optometrist.
☕️  for a coffee shop.
?  for a restaurant.
?  for a music shop.
?  for a taxi stand.
?  for a photographer.
?  for a construction company.
?  for an artist.

I could go on… there are an exorbitant number of possibilities with the emojis that we have available at our fingertips.

So what’s your favourite emoji? Do you use them in social media, texts, emails…?

Have a little fun with emojis this weekend and play Guess the Emoji on iPhone or Android.

How to find the best Facebook link for sharing on other social networks

A cautionary tale: test your links on multiple devices.

Today I’d like to talk about a problem that I recently encountered when distributing Facebook links, and my clumsy solution around it.

Last week I started posting content (that I’ve been working on a for a while) to a client’s Facebook page. I’m writing the business profiles that you see posted there over the past few weeks. Facebook is where they will collect and live, and I’ve been using Instagram and Twitter for distribution.

Once each post ended up on Facebook (like this one), I copied the link from within the mobile app and posted it to Twitter and Instagram with the photo.

I’ve since deleted any “bad tweets” from the account, but if you had clicked any link that were in them while on mobile it would launch the post in the Facebook app. If you clicked on it while on a computer, you got a “Page not found” error.

I had tested all links before posting, but only on mobile, so I was thankful to the person who informed me that they were broken on desktop. I’m glad I found out only five days into a 200-day project!

I also tried to get the link from desktop instead, and it would work fine if opened on desktop, but on my phone it would only launch the mobile version of the Facebook site. Everyone knows that mobile sites can be quite limiting compared to their app counterparts.

What I was hoping to find was a way to post a link, and whatever device you were on I wanted it to open “natively.” Unfortunately, none of the links I found would do this across all devices, and this was such a long-winded problem that I had trouble Googling a solution.

After a little playing around, I found a somewhat convoluted option that you may find helpful as well:

  1. On the Facebook desktop site, go to the post you want to share
  2. Depending on how you’re looking at the post there will be different ways to do this, but click on the “dropdown arrow” or Options
  3. Find Embed
  4. Click Advanced Settings
  5. On that page there is a box that says “URL of post” … the link in that box will open the post natively anywhere.

This method does take a little more work; you do have to be at a computer, it takes several clicks, and it can’t be automated, but doing it will ensure that your followers, visitors, and customers have a more seamless experience. Now they play nicely together.


I compared all the links I found to each other, and they’re  all structured completely differently. I hope that the developers at Facebook will make the “cross-platform friendly” link more accessible in the future.

I haven’t found this solution anywhere else, but if you did please let me know. Also let me know if you found this helpful, or if you know a more elegant solution to my problem.

Thanks for reading!

The What and Why of Content Marketing

I want you to think about anyone who you give your time and attention to on a regular basis, online or off. Radio personalities, YouTube stars, celebrities, writers, musicians, etc. These people have hundreds, thousands, or millions of fans and followers, but how and why?

They use(d) content marketing, which is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.

They created content to get attention, and you can, too.

To quote George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air

Anyone who ever built an empire or changed the world sat where you are right now.

Anyone who has a following started somewhere, and it was the attention of one piece of content that started them on the path to where they are today. No one knocked on their doors and handed them an audience, nor will someone for you. You have to create something that is a taste of who you are and what you can do.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Fortune 500 company or a carpet cleaner, there is content that you can create that will get you noticed and improve your business.


So why would you even want to?

There are two ways in which creating content can generate revenue; directly and indirectly.


Once you spend a few months or years creating content, the expectation is that you will develop a bit of a following. People will come back to your time and time again for the value you provide, because you taught them something, gave them advice, or entertained them. You can leverage that audience, that attention, to get advertisers to pay you to put ads on your site, or pay you as an influencer.


No, all of that writing, recording, or snapping isn’t directly generating any revenue (in fact it may actually cost you time and money). However, one of the side effects of creating content is that it helps to establish you as an expert in your field. When people see you as an expert, they will pay you for you knowledge and expertise.

  • Would you rather pick a new hairdresser at random, or the one whose work you can see on Instagram?
  • If you’re looking for a personal trainer do you pick the one down the road, or the one you can reach on Snapchat and puts out regular advice on video?
  • Is it better to watch consistently good video content, or every once in a while?
  • If you wanted to hire a digital media manager, would you hire the person who says they know what they’re talking about, or someone with a blog to prove it? 😉


Where do you start?

If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t worry. It’s actually pretty simple… Whatever you love, talk about that. Even if one person is listening and finds it interesting, you’ve got something. Remember, that even the most successful people in business started off as nobodies. Whatever it is that you love, talk to the world about it.

There’s more to consider than just where to start, though. You also have to consider where you’re going. It’s not just one piece of content, it’s a numbers game. Not everything you create will be a hit, and it takes consistency to build up a following. Whatever it is that you can talk about not just once, but could talk about 500 times, that’s what you focus on. Because when you’re talking about something that you’re passionate about, other people will pick up on that passion through your words, photos, or videos.

Here’s the best part… You don’t have to be an expert to start. Why not create content as you learn? Every time you learn something new about [insert hobby here], you can share that newfound knowledge, and how it relates to the rest of the industry. Sure, you may not be a seasoned veteran who knows every angle, but you have a fresh perspective. Share it with others!


pexels-photo (1)

It has to be good

Whether you’re a musician, writer, photographer, or even a retailer, one great piece of content has the potential to change your business, or your life.

As long as it’s good.

That’s the caveat, you can’t just create something, anything, and expect it to gain traction and go viral, it also has to be good.

Unfortunately, most people aren’t good at creating content that people want to see. But the ones who are don’t just randomly get “discovered,” they crawl their way to the top because they’re good enough to be there. One piece of content at a time.

Medium is a blogging platform that will handpick and feature good content from anyone, regardless of their follower count. The post just needs to be good. This makes it possible to transform writers from nobodies into somebodies overnight. The same can be true for YouTube and videographers. Or Instagram and photographers & artists.

Play to your strengths

The reason most people aren’t good at creating content that people want to see is because they try to use a medium that isn’t their forte. Some people don’t have a natural talent for shooting video, or writing, or photography, and that’s okay. Pick a medium that works for you, that plays to your strengths and talents, and you’ll have a much greater chance of creating quality content.

If you’re great in front of the camera, start a YouTube show.
Are you a great writer? Start a blog.
Can you talk? Maybe a podcast or random ramblings on Soundcloud.
If photography is your thing, setup a niche Instagram account.
If you can tell a joke, jump on Vine.

The internet is an amazing tool, because not only does it give us these amazing options that anyone can take advantage of, but also it allows for a single piece of content (if it’s that good) the ability to go viral. If the one person who’s consuming shares it, others might too, and it can spread like wildfire. That’s how you get discovered.


But What if People Don’t Like Your Content?

Your content needs to deliver value and resonate with a specific audience. Don’t pander to the masses. It’s about depth, not width. The way you get depth is by paying attention and actively sharing your point of view on things that are happening in your field.

Something to keep in mind is that you’re not going to hit a home run every time you’re up at bat. It’s a numbers game, and it’s important to keep pumping out that content anyway. Not only will every piece of content hit different people differently, everything you create will be a new opportunity to be discovered.

Not to mention, the more you create the better you will get. Some people may not like your early YouTube videos or Instagram photos because they’re bad, but as you continue to create, you will get better and they will get better. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself at the next level.

Please recognize that you have the opportunity to win with content. Focus on your strengths, the quality of what you produce, how you produce it, and where you’re sharing it. Know your strengths and keep swinging.

“How to Snapchat” from Professional Snapchatters!

We live in a Snapchat world. 150,000,000 people are actively using the app every month. It’s getting to the point now where a lot of those people are consuming more Snapchat content than television programming.

Taylor Nikolai and Sarah Peretz are Snapchat influencers who have made a name for themselves on that platform. As such, they’ve encountered a lot of bad practices from other Snapchat users, and have devised a few “commandments” for better quality snaps to help you grow engagement instead of deterring people from following you.

The following testimony appeared on Sarah’s Snapchat on the evening of April 30, and she was nice enough to send it over and let us dissect some their rules for Snapchat conduct.

Watched it? Good. Let’s break it down…

Don’t over-share

Quality over quantity. People will sit through a 3-hour movie if it’s good, but those same people will skip a 10-second snap if it sucks. Don’t suck. Make sure that what you’re snapping provides value to your audience.

But what is value? Value is subjective. Some people get the impression that providing value means “doing something to help someone,” but it can be broader than that. You provide value by your content being important or beneficial, which can be through helping, teaching, or entertaining. But how much value do you think you’re bringing people by “brushing your teeth” or “drinking your coffee”?

There’s a time and place for these things, but 800 snaps of it every day isn’t doing anyone any good.

Shoot from a different angle

Okay, so you probably don’t really have eight chins, but snapping from that angle is still not the most flattering.

In December, model Tess Holliday made a video with BuzzFeed where she coached women to take better selfies. I think we could all learn a thing or two on how to put our best face forward…

Mass-Snaps are a no-no!

This one really is the most important, because they’re the most destructive to your Snapchat credibility. Put simply, mass-snapping is when you take a snap and add it to your story… and send it directly to a number of other users.

Now, I think that there’s a difference between mass-snapping and multiple-snapping, and the latter is sometimes acceptable. For example, when I snap something that I know a specific friend or friends will be interested in, I include them, but I’m very selective in this process.

If I want to send someone a direct snap, one of two things will be inferred:

  1. Either I had them specifically in mind.
  2. They received the same snap as everybody else.

I ensure that any snap I send directly to someone will be the former, because people’s BS meter is sensitive and they’ll know if it’s the latter.

Tell a story

Patti Digh wrote

The shortest point between two people is a story.

This is as true in life as it is in the world of Snapchat. You don’t grow an audience on small talk. Be real, open, and honest with people by telling them your story.

When people hear “story” they think characters and plot (and maybe even symbolism if they paid attention in high school English class), but again it doesn’t have to be. A story is just an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something. That’s something that anyone can do, but as I mentioned before, make sure it’s valuable. Make sure it helps, teaches, or entertains.

Be engaging

“Engagement” refers to all the various ways that a customer reacts or interacts with content you post online. The level engagement is much higher when customers feel involved, which can be achieved through interaction. Ask people for their opinions, share your opinions with others, collaborate with other Snapchat users, reply to snaps and messages people send you, follow others, etc.

Be yourself

Seriously, be authentic. Like Sarah says, it’s okay to play a character sometimes, but the people following you want to get to know the real you. Your north star has to be truth, because I already mentioned that people’s BS meter is very sensitive. People want to get to know the real you, especially if they’re going to be following you for a while.

I know it can be hard to get your life story across in 10-second snaps, but it’ll happen over time. As long as each one is authentic, they will help you build trust with your audience over time.

Never, ever, ever, ever upload. Ever.

In case you are not aware, yes there are third-party applications for both iPhone and Android that allow you to upload photos and videos from your phone to you Snapchat story. This allows people to shoot and edit snaps elsewhere, and then upload them to Snapchat in an effort to be cooler and more structured. These people are going against Snapchat’s terms of service and could be banned from the network.

First, why doesn’t Snapchat allow uploads? I suspect for two reasons:

  1. They want to keep things authentic, and when you have the ability to edit and touch-up your content, you’re not being truly authentic.
  2. They want things to be as close to live as possible, and if you can upload content after-the-fact then your audience can’t follow along.

There’s a raw-ness to Snapchat that allows people to follow you as you go on your adventures. It also doesn’t allow me to lie by using fake or altered content. What you see is who I am and exactly what I’m doing. If you want to edit a string a complex shots together to make a little movie, there’s a place for that: YouTube.

Why should you stay within these guidelines? Because limitations foster creativity. Follow some really talented people on Snapchat, and you’ll see what’s possible by bending the rules, but not breaking them. Seriously, some people get mad creative!

Don’t send pictures of your d***

Just don’t. I don’t need to explain why.

So how do you accomplish any of this? How do you do it right? You try, you experiment, you listen, you adapt, and you try again. You see what works, what your audience likes, what they don’t, and what your strengths are. You’ll get better, just try to keep these rules of thumb in mind as you do.

How many of these commandments have you broken? Repent, and your snaps will be forgiven!

Social Spotlight : Rénelle Latour

Social Spotlight is a feature where we highlight and analyze social media campaigns and/or accounts that are doing things right.

When you’re marketing online, you have so many options for types of content; short-form or long-form text, photo, video, audio, infographics, etc. Not only do you have to pick the right medium that works for you, you have to pick the right platform, and deliver value as you grow your audience. Lastly, it’s important to not bite off more than you can chew.

Rénelle Latour is doing all of this and then some.

Rénelle is a hairdresser at Chatters Hair Salon in Corner Brook, and since January has been posting before & after photos of her clients on Instagram with tremendous results so far. She currently has a 140 Instagram followers, and 40 likes on her Facebook page, which are great numbers for this stage of the game.

We’ve all seen those beauty, makeup, and hairstyling videos on YouTube… Rénelle always wanted to do something similar, but knew that it would be best to start off small. She knew it wouldn’t happen overnight, and that putting photos on Instagram would be a great stepping stone between her and YouTube. Just this week she started posting videos to the platform as well, which is another step closer!

She watched a lot of her posts get very few likes, but she kept at it because she knew what it could lead to. She knew that her photos wouldn’t be widely received right away. Over the last four months her photography has improved with each new post, she’s constantly learning new tools and techniques within Instagram, and using those to improve her following as she adapts her strategy, hashtags, photo style, etc.

A photo posted by Renelle latour (@rlatour_hair) on

A photo posted by Renelle latour (@rlatour_hair) on

A lot of people get down on the ROI (return on investment) of social media. It is often regarded as a waste of time and money, since businesses won’t have something to point to and say “That’s what we paid for.” What people aren’t seeing, though, is the return on developing an audience who are actually interested in what you offer, and will buy from you over ‘the next guy’ because you connected with them in the place where they play.

While there isn’t always a set formula for the ROI of social media, there will be a return if you provide value, and Rénelle definitely is. Not only have her follower counts been going up, but so are the number of clients she has. Typically a new hairdresser at Chatters is a ‘junior’ for three to twelve months until they build up their client base. Rénelle has gotten such an influx of new clients that she was bumped up as soon as she could be.

The value that she’s providing is simple… She’s showing people what’s possible, and that there are no rules when it comes to personal style. Whether people come to her looking for just a touch of one colour, or a whole head of different hues, you can tell from her Instagram account that there are no limits in expressing yourself.

A photo posted by Renelle latour (@rlatour_hair) on

A photo posted by Renelle latour (@rlatour_hair) on

It’s amazing that we live in a world where Rénelle Latour can show you her work instead of just telling you about it. In her own words…

Social media can help you make things known.

Couldn’t have tweeted it better myself!

Make sure that you follow her on Instagram and Facebook, because you never know when she’ll have another giveaway!

Facebook Reactions : What They Mean for Your Business

Facebook made five huge steps forward yesterday when they officially launched Reactions, a new feature that allows you to better express how you feel about others’ posts. Included in the new feature are the standard Like, but also Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry.

While some people are commenting that this new feature offers “too much choice,” and that a simple “dislike” button would have sufficed, I feel like Facebook simply skipped a step… If they had introduced a dislike button, it would have done well for a few years, but we would have ended up here eventually.

If you’re interested, there are a ton of sources that give a lot of information about the feature, from the original rumours, to the official release, and even a great exposé on the feature’s development from Geoff Teehan, the Product Design Director at Facebook.

The only thing on my mind, though, is how this new feature will revolutionize engagement between brands and their followers. Every social platform currently has some sort of Like, Comment, and Share, so adding something different is a unique tool to take advantage of on Facebook.

Marketing, above all else, is about communication between a business and its customers. It’s not just advertising, it’s two-way communication. Businesses relay information about their products and services to their (potential) customers, customers provide feedback, then the business either continues or adapts. In a world where brands can interact directly with their customers, there is no way that a new method of express opinions is a bad thing.

The various ways that a customer reacts or interacts with content you post online is called “engagement.” The level engagement is much higher when customers feel involved, which can be achieved through actions like Liking, Sharing, Commenting on posts. The new Reactions feature will have people even more involved, and therefore more engaged with your content and your brand.


Don’t forget, businesses can use these reactions with customers, as well. Too many brands wait for a customer to start a conversation with them, when what they should be doing is being the ones who start the conversation. You now have more ways to express yourselves to you customers!

One of the reasons marketers love Facebook is because of the data it has as its disposal. Geography, age, sex, likes, shares, activities… all data that can be used to better market a product or service to customers. Reactions is another data point, that businesses and brands can use to gauge how people are reacting to their messages, and help guide them to make more appropriate content decisions in the future.

Facebook Reactions is an amazing new feature, available now online and on mobile. Check it out, and share your own reactions in the comments!

Beginner’s Guide : Snapchat

Snapchat has gotten a bit of a reputation for being a social network for young people to send salacious photos to one another, but like all social networks, your experience varies based on the people you choose to follow and interact with. Snapchat is so much more than how it’s been perceived, and as the fastest-growing mobile app, with more than 200 million monthly active users, it is a great tool for increasing your business’ or your personal brand. So, you should learn how to use it.

At its core, Snapchat is a photo/video sharing app that is a cross between livestreaming and texting. The content you distribute can be as public or as private as you want, which means that you can either broadcast to the world, or communicate one-on-one with people. You can also do both on your own time, no need to be available at the same time someone else is.

It’s also worth noting that “snaps” expire. Anything you add to your “Snap Story” is automatically removed within 24hrs, and anything you send specifically to one person is removed immediately after they’ve viewed it.

As you might begin to see, the Snapchat’s simplistic appearance is hiding some powerful features that command attention and allow you to reach your audience in a totally new and interesting way.

Snapchat Basics

In a world where all other social networks and other websites have top-to-bottom navigation, Snapchat breaks the mold by not only having left-to-right navigation, but also by encouraging snapping by opening your camera before showing you any other screens. It makes perfect sense for you to be thrown the first time you use it.

Upon opening Snapchat for the first time, you can be forgiven for not knowing how to get started. The interface is very minimal bringing you straight to your camera so that you can take a snap.

Let’s look at some basic navigation…


  1. Flash on/off
  2. Your account, where you see your friends, profile information, etc.
  3. Front/Back-facing camera
  4. Private conversations with friends
  5. Snapchat Stories, yours and the people you follow
  6. Shutter button, tap for picture or hold for video

A little-known fact that I haven’t seen anyone else mention is that you can use the ‘volume up’ button on your phone instead of the shutter button. Tap for picture, hold for video. (If you’ve seen anyone else mention this, please let me know.)

From this initial screen, you have the option to either tap the buttons in the bottom corners to navigate the app, or swipe left, right, or down to do the same.


  1. Cancel current snap and go back to the camera
  2. Add an emoji “sticker”
  3. Add text, or change the way the text appears
  4. Draw on your snap
  5. How long the snap should appear one someone’s screen
  6. Download snap (emojis, text, and all) to your phone
  7. Add snap to your Story
  8. “Next”

An unseen feature is that after taking a photo or video, you can swipe left or right to activate certain filters. There are a couple of colour filters (like other notable photo sharing apps), but the more interesting ones include slow-mo, speed up, current time, temperature, traveling speed, and geo-tags (only in certain locations).

On the next screen you will see a list of everyone you follow, and you can select to whom you will send your snap. Snapchat takes a look at who you’ve interacted with in the past and creates curated lists of friends; Best Friends, Recents, Needs Love, and Everyone Else. This makes it easier to snap the people you interact with often, and reminds you about friends you haven’t snapped to in a while.

Profile Screen

When on the camera screen, tapping on the ghost icon brings you to your personal profile. You can also swipe down instead.


  1. Help
  2. Trophies
  3. Settings/Support/Profile information
  4. Snapcode
  5. Name, username, Score
  6. People who have added you
  7. Various ways to add friends
  8. Friends you’ve already added

In a recent update Snapchat added the Trophies section as a way to gamify your experience. There are awards for taking your first snap, using filters on snaps, reaching a certain Score, etc.

Your Snapcode is a unique image (basically a QR Code) that other people can use to add you as a friend. You can add by Snapcode either by loading an image of the code from your phone’s memory. Another little-talked-about tip is that when another person’s Snapcode is visible on your camera screen, you can hold your finger on the screen and your app will scan and add them.

Your name is as it appears to other users. The fields will accept standard characters, and emojis. Your username is your unique identifier that people can use to add you, and is restricted to letters, numbers, dots, and underscores. your Snapchat score is a tally of how many snaps you’ve sent or received.

“Added Me” is a list of people who are following your Snapchat Story but you have not added them. When someone new ads you this section will be highlighted.

“Add Friends” brings you to a screen where you can add people by entering their username, from your phone’s contact list, using a Snapcode saved in your phone, detecting other users nearby, or there is an option to share your own information.

“My Friends” is a list of all people you follow, and has options for adding people from your phone’s contacts.


Snapchat Stories are the cornerstone of the entire app, and they are essentially public snaps. They’re a way to share snaps with anyone who follows you. Snaps that appear in your stories follow the same rules and time limits as private snaps, except that someone can go back and view your story as many times as they want within a 24 hour period, then they disappear.

Unlike other social networks’ ability to view statistics and data on who your posts reach and where, there is no such data available for your Snapchat stories. You can, however, tell how many people have seen each snap in your story and also a list of who those people are.

Private MessagingScreenshot_20160210-220114

In addition to sending people private snaps, you can also send them simple text-based messages and emojis. This screen is to the left (swipe right) of the camera screen, and contains all ongoing conversations. A button in the top-right corner allows you to start a new conversation with someone, and there is also a search button to quickly find a specific person or conversation you’re looking for.

Solid icons are unread, hollow are unread. Purple are picture/video snaps, blue are text. Grey are people who have not added you as friends and will therefore not receive your messages. It’s also worth noting that you can send the person a text message by swiping the conversation, or double-tap as shortcut to send a snap.

The privacy of private snaps that we mentioned earlier… if you go into any of these conversations they will be empty because the messages disappear after the receiver has opened the conversation.

One cool feature is that if both people are in the conversation window at the same time, a button therein will change from yellow to blue and if both people hold that button it will initiate a live video chat.

It’s s Snap!

Love it or hate it, Snapchat has one thing that the other social networks just can’t match: attention. Your attention. When you play a persons snap story, you aren’t looking at anything else or just scrolling by, you are watching. Every view that I get (even thought they’re only low numbers) is a real view. Someone actually took ten seconds to peek into my day, not just scroll past my content and be recorded as a view anyway.

Snapchat is used by over 60% of 13 to 34-year-olds in the United States, and it’s not wonder. But just because that’s the age of most of Snapchat’s users, doesn’t mean that those are the only people who can use it or get a benefit from it. Some people dole out sage business advice, others offer fitness advice, and others create mini-movies by using each snap in their story as a different shot. It can get pretty creative in there.

It is extremely important to market where people’s attention is, and so many people’s attention is on Snapchat. Granted, your snaps will not be the same content as the kind you would distribute on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but that’s why you play to the strengths of the platform that you’re using.

If you would like to see the power of Snapchat first-hand, check out this video from the talented filmmaker Casey Neistat, published back in 2014.


If you have any follow-up questions, or are curious about how to implement Snapchat into your marketing strategy, leave a comment! Or snap me 😉

Social Spotlight : RNC

Social Spotlight is a feature where we highlight and analyze social media campaigns and/or accounts that are doing things right.

With the evolution of communication technology, people and organizations who interface with the public are forced to evolve as well, in order to keep up and keep in touch with them. Some adapt better than others, and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary‘s team of Social Media Officers are some of the best.

At the time of this writing, the RNC’s Twitter account sits at over 25,500 followers, and over 20,000 people like their Facebook page. That’s a lot of reach for the long arm of the law.

The RNC’s focus with their social media presence is to bolster community engagement, and to humanize the police force that we trust to protect us every day. As civilians we often see police officers as just a badge and a gun, but following them (pun intended) gives the public a peek into their daily duties, responsibilities, and efforts toward keeping us safe.

The constabulary began their foray into social media by posting traffic advisories, but have since grown to include moose sightings, road conditions, local interest stories, profiles of officers, news, advice on remaining safe, occasional hijinks, and much more.

Some of their updates have caught the attention of news outlets in the US, and even @Disneyland on Twitter.

And so far, it’s working. According to Cst. Geoffrey Higdon

… approximately 95 per cent of crimes posted to the RNC’s Facebook page have been solved, thanks in part to the 16,000 people who like and share content from the page.

As the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is a province-wide police force, there are Social Media Officers covering the island and the mainland. In the communities where there is not dedicated social media personnel, the RNC works with other law enforcement agencies to obtain accurate news, information, and photos, and which they then share online.

There have always been other systems in place to serve a similar purpose, such as the public’s ability to call Crime Stoppers to report suspected criminal activity, but as I mentioned, with the evolution of communication, so too must we evolve. Allowing people to report crimes and criminal sightings via social media dramatically increases the chances of criminals being apprehended. You could say that the new way of the public being able to assist the police is the same, but different.


As one might expect, the antics of the RNC are not as well received by some people as they are by others. Some people have become quite vocal on the internet about taxpayer dollars being wasted on tomfoolery. The police force have done things like arresting local meteorologists for inclement weather conditions, and issuing arrest reports for Doc Brown and Marty McFly on Back to the Future Day. The people behind these social media accounts know that they won’t be able to please everybody, but they do their best to keep the public’s best interest in mind, and improve their strategies online as best they can based on feedback.

Companies and organizations really need to develop a good personality online. Doing so humanizes the people involved, and gives the organization a voice with which they can speak to their constituents.

In my opinion, as a civilian and as a social media expert, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is doing a fantastic job with their social media campaigns, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.


Thanks so much to Cst. Cody Dunphy for sitting down with us to discuss their efforts online, and to the rest of the force from St. John’s to Corner Brook to Labrador City for protecting us every day.

I Did This One Weird Trick, and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

Don’t get your hopes up. Nothing happened. The title of this post is an example of clickbait.

While the term “clickbait” is relatively new, the tactics it employs have roots in traditional media and yellow journalism. Clickbait uses over-hyped and over-sensationalized headlines to try and ‘bait’ people to ‘click’ on their content. The video or article or page on the other end typically don’t have the information that one expects, or at least the quality that one hopes to find.

Here’s one that annoyed me recently…

The problem with this article is that the author over-promised and under-delivered. Anyone in business knows that this is not good business.

When can I download Android 6.0 Marshmallow? All release dates REVEALED

In case you didn’t read the article, let me tell you why this title is very misleading…

  • The author leaves out some major Android manufacturers, so this article does not outline them  “All”.
  • They didn’t report a single “release date” but instead gave very vague periods of time, such as “a mere few months after the official release”.
  • Their use of the word “revealed”, and especially their capitalization of it, suggest that the information is a massive secret that was uncovered.

The article in question still does have some valuable information, such as using past company behaviours to predict future outcomes, but to use a misleading headline in order to get more readers is sloppy journalism and such practices should be discouraged.

A much, much better headline would be something like:

Expected releases of Android Marshmallow 6.0 for major manufacturers

Would the original get more clickthroughs? Absolutely. Would readers leave happy and informed? Unlikely. I didn’t.

I’d like to be clear and say that the people who use clickbait to get you to click on their content aren’t necessarily trying to trick you or be deceitful, they’re just not using the best words to describe what they have.

They can’t always be blamed for over-playing their hand, though. The more people who visit their page, the more money they make. In a lot of cases this isn’t out of greed, it’s just about keeping the lights on. Writing a compelling headline is a great way have the numbers that show that your site is doing well.

It should also be noted that images and/or thumbnails can be examples of clickbait as well. Look at the featured image for this post… It has nothing to do with the content, but it would likely draw attention.

Whatever kind of content you release, whether online or in traditional media, try to be accurate and forthcoming to your consumers. They’ll find what they’re looking for on the other side of your links, and they will be happier for it.

Let me leave you with something fun…

Proper Grammar and Common Mistakes

Being in the middle of the information age, computers and software are getting very good at catching and/or correcting our mistakes when it comes to language. Google especially is famous for “Did you mean…” or “Showing results for…”, because we often misspell or misuse words so much that Google is getting to know us better than we know ourselves.

Unfortunately, for every mistake that our softwares catch, many make it through the cracks. This often isn’t because of typos or misspellings; the words that we’re typing are correct, but are being used in the wrong context.

This is extremely important for several reasons…

  • It’s good to take pride in your craft, whatever that may be. How we write about it shows that we put care and attention into our communications with the outside world.
  • Using proper grammar and language gives credibility to your brand.
  • With the overuse of “internet abbreviations”, proper writing helps people and brands stick out online.

I see common and easily avoidable mistakes every day, in every medium available; radio shows, news reports, newspaper articles, signage, and even important corporate memos ALL have grammar, spelling, and diction errors every single day.


The following is not a comprehensive list of do’s and don’t’s of grammar. These are the little, easily fixable things that I read or hear every day and make my skin crawl.

is / was • are / were

This is the most common grammatical issue that I hear or read in every spoken or printed medium. Not only personal conversation with people who couldn’t care less, but even professionals who should know and care about the difference.

I don’t think I need to explain what these words mean, but just point out how most people are using them wrong. Put simply, if the subject or object of a sentence is plural, you use “are” instead of “is”.

“There is a lot of things…”
    “There are a lot of things…”
“Was there any people…”    “Were there any people…”

there • they’re • their

There is used to reference something specific.
Ex: I’ll meet you there.

They’re is a contraction meaning “they are” and is also plural.
Ex: They’re always traveling.

Their conveys ownership or possession and is also plural.
Ex: Their car is new.

its • it’s / whose • who’s

I’ll admit that these two are actually a little complicated, but not impossibly so.

For years in school we were told that apostrophe-s (or ‘s) shows ownership. In the case of It and Who, it’s the opposite. When these words are followed by ‘s, it’s a contraction of “it is” or “who is”, whereas the words that show ownership are actually “its” and “whose”.

“Whose book is this?”
“It’s Michael’s book.”
“Its pages are torn.”
“Who’s responsible?”

every day • everyday

This is one that particularly annoys me, simply because these words are used incorrectly on a decorative sign that I see in my kitchen every day.

Every (day) is a determiner that proceeds a singular noun and refers to all without exception. Everyday, while having a similar meaning, is an adjective.

“I go to the gym every day.”
“Going to the gym is an everyday thing for me.”

who • whom

For anyone who is not aware, a sentence includes three elements; a subject, a verb, and an object. The subject does the verb action, which somehow affects the object.

Simple, right? (Just FYI, anything without those three elements is a phrase.)

Words like who and whom are used to make it very clear what is the subject (who) and what is the object (whom).

“Who is coming tonight?” Here, who is the subject that is completing the action.
“John is giving that to whom?” Here, whom is the object that is reacting to the action.

literally • figuratively

I’m sure that at one time or another you have said, or heard someone say, the word literally without truly meaning what was said (such as “I am literally going to kill you”). Did you know that this word is not supposed to be used for emphasis in this way?

A few years ago I was watching a TV show called The Newsroom, wherein a character mentions that the definition of the word has been expanded to include the way it’s commonly used.



I honestly couldn’t believe my ears, and had to research it immediately. Turns out that it was true, and I was heartbroken.

New words are invented and added to the dictionary every day, but that is not what happened here. I am of the firm belief that a dictionary should not cow-tow to society’s misuse of a common word. Let’s hold ourselves to a higher standard.

less • fewer

Back in 2009 I came across the following image. I forget the source, but I liked it so I kept it. It perfectly sums up the difference between these two words:


good • well

Similar to the previous example, these two words are not interchangeable. “Good” is an adjective (meaning that it describes a noun) and “well” is an adverb (meaning that it described a verb). If you’re describing that something was/is favourable, you use the former, but if an action turned out favourably, you use the latter.

“The event went really well. I’m glad the food was good.”

Social media and SEO experts are constantly asked “How do I stand out on the internet?” The answer can sometimes be complicated, there’s a lot of noise out there, but the answer can also be simple:

Do something that other people aren’t doing.

Every single day I hear and see so many people making simple, common grammatical mistakes. Set yourself out from the crowd by speaking or writing correctly. Anything that you post online on behalf of your business should undergo a lot of scrutiny.

Perhaps writing isn’t your strong suit. That’s okay, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. You can of course call us to help, but at the very least have a friend or partner review any content you’re about to release.

Furthermore, I implore you to please use words properly. Doing so will give you more credibility, increase the value of your content, and make you smarter. I promise.