Blab Attends Digital Summit Detroit 2017

Detroit Digital Summit Marketing Event

Another year, another Summit event! In 2016 Blab attended Digital Summit Detroit for the first time and had a blast. There was so much information to be absorbed, so many networking opportunities and an awesome lineup of talented guests speaking on a variety of digital/tech topics. I even got to meet Ann Handley from Marketing Profs and listen to the real life Siri chat with the crowd on stage. This year may not have had me feeling as star struck, but it was just as valuable in terms of content and experiences.

The event was two full days of learning from 7:30am to 5:30pm at Cobo Centre downtown. Sharing my referral link online got me a free book, t-shirt and even VIP lounge access so I was looking forward to experiencing the event in style. Day one started with a four hour pre-conference workshop where I learned everything there is to know about email marketing. What a valuable workshop! It was packed with internet research, industry knowledge and even actionable takeaways. The rest of the day was spent  attending a 6 other sessions covering topics such finding success with Facebook Live posts, creating shareable content, marketing to millennials and how artificial intelligence can help your business. We even got to hear from Jonah Peretti, co-founder of Buzzfeed and Huffpost. What an awesome experience!

Day two started with networking over coffee and was followed by 12 other informative sessions on social ads, online reviews, storytelling, going mobile, UX design, harnessing the power of content and more. I learned about new software, gadgets and best practices that will ultimately make Blab a stronger and smarter local competitor. Another successful year and I haven’t even had time to go through all my notes yet!

Proud Sponsor Of WEtech’s 2017 Nerd Olympics

Nerd Olympics Logo

Super excited to be a sponsor for WEtech Alliance’s 2nd annual Nerd Olympics. The event brings together the Windsor-Essex tech community in a fun, team-building competition to challenge the mind & body. It kicks off with the official Opening Ceremonies and Nerd Torch lighting ceremony before the first event on Tuesday September 5th.

Sixteen Tech Company teams will compete in a series of events spread out over the course of three months and just like the real Olympics, they’ll be able to win Gold, Silver & Bronze 3D printed “medals” for each event. The whole event will culminate with the Closing Ceremonies happening at the Tech Awards on Friday November 17th with a presentation of the coveted Nerd Cup.

As a social media challenge sponsor, Blab will be providing all teams with a unique social media challenge that they’ll need to complete for points. The best part? Blab will be at the closing ceremonies to present the challenge award to the team who did the best job. Stay tuned to Blab and WEtech Alliance’s social channels for updates and announcements as the event progresses and don’t forget to follow along during Blab’s challenge week from September 25 – October 1st to see the entries submitted in real time online. Let’s go nerds, you got this!

Blab Launches Business Babes Windsor

Business Babes Windsor

Entrepreneurship can be incredibly difficult. It can be stressful, tiring, exhausting, scary and often times, it can isolate you from friends and family who just don’t understand what you’re going through. It’s for this reason that I decided to start a small Facebook community where female entrepreneurs in the Windsor area can connect, network, educate and inspire each other on a regular basis. Members can share their entrepreneurship story, reach out for insight, promote events/promotions, ask questions, share inspiration, motivate others and just enjoy connecting with other women who understand their mindset and goals.

Business Babes Windsor is in its infancy right now, but it would be great to see more female entrepreneurs join up. Being a mentor is such a valuable experience and I’m a big advocate of helping others succeed. In my opinion, we rise by lifting others and this group makes that possible. Whether you’ve been an entrepreneur for years, you just started a business or you’re curious about what it all entails, this group offers the perfect casual backdrop for conversation and education at any level.

Supporting local is incredibly important to me so encouraging others to explore entrepreneurship by providing them with the tools, network and support they need is the best way to give back to Windsor. Small, independent businesses are what make every city unique and vibrant. Plus, at the end of the day, the world could use more dreamers and doers!

More Windsor Aims To Bring More Americans To YQG

More Windsor Campaign Launch

Super excited to be part of the More Windsor campaign launch today at Imaginative Group in Pillette Village. The campaign has multiple neighbourhoods collaborating in order to entice Americans to explore all that Windsor-Essex has to offer. The Downtown Windsor BIA, Wyandotte Town Centre BIA, Via Italia, Walkerville, Olde Riverside BIA, Pillette Village BIA, Belle River On The Lake BIA, Harrow BIA, Essex BIA and Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island are all on board to spread the Windsor love.

More Windsor will be rolling out a multi-medium marketing campaign including magazine ads, newspaper ads and social media marketing that will have these BIAs working together to promote everything they offer to our friends across the border. From incredible restaurants to award-winning events, there is so much to see and do in Windsor so why not share that with Detroit? Organizers are excited to have BIA’s and tourism organizations collaborating and working towards a unified goal that helps the whole community.

If you’re interested in learning about More Windsor, check out the website and be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for cool local updates and promotions.

Facebook Launches Messenger Day To Compete With Snapchat

Big news from Facebook this week but it seems like we’ve heard it all before. Surprise! Yet another Snapchat clone has entered the social realm and so far, it’s exactly what I expected. While it offers stickers, the ability to doodle and other similar Snapchat features, the prospect of opening the “dark social” door and inviting in the Facebook world is not something I’m ready to do and I think many other people agree. Not only that, but it’s no secret that each platform has its own function/value so adding these Snapchat copycat features comes across as slightly desperate. There’s nothing wrong with trying to attract a valuable digital audience but loosing sight of your brand identity and straying away from your core offerings for the sake of keeping up with competitors is a whole other story.

Have you used Facebook’s Messenger Day yet?
Do you plan on incorporating it into your daily social itinerary?

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Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week!

During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions in 160 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Global Entrepreneurship Week is about celebrating the entrepreneurs who make our economy and our cities better. It’s about encouraging everyone to explore the opportunities entrepreneurship presents while connecting people with success stories and peers from around the world who share a similar mindset.

Although I may not be attending any big events or competitions this week, I’m happy to be reflecting on my decisions and my personal entrepreneurial journey. When I first dove into the world of entrepreneurship six years ago and began jotting down name ideas for what would become Blab Media, I had no idea what the future would hold. I started my business as a way to find a job within a market that didn’t offer me enough options. At the time, it was a difficult decision and I was honestly quite scared. Fast forward to 2016 and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Ironically enough, I still have my ups and downs but that’s just how entrepreneurship works. Some days you celebrate and others you struggle but when you close your laptop at the end of the day, when you walk away from your desk and turn off the lights in your office, there’s this sense of accomplishment thats beyond compare. It’s knowing that even if you do fail, you’ve done something that most wouldn’t dare try. You’ve survived without a steady/constant income, you’ve worked ridiculous hours, you’ve sacrificed and you’ve had to pave the way for your own success. There is truly nothing comparable to the feelings that entrepreneurship evokes. It’s a fire in your soul that can’t be put out and I’d have it no other way.

 

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week to my fellow entrepreneurs and to all the inspired minds of the future #GEW2016

Blab Delivers Free Windsor Goodies To Deserving Windsorites

Last week Blab was out and about around Windsor with Rose City Sport & Social Club giving out lots of free goodies and smiles to complete strangers. We’d been working together on this campaign for over a month and from May 2nd-6th we were finally ready to hit the streets! Myself and two RCSSC team members set out to a variety of locations each day to surprise an unsuspecting individual with a Play Pack full of Windsor goodies that were provided by generous local businesses. The Play Packs included coffee from March 21st Bean & Leaf Cafe downtown, tickets to the Windsor Spits home opener game, passes for Urban Surf, a fresh rose from The Bourbon Rose Florist, tickets to see a MasterWorks performance from The Capitol Theatre, a John Max gift card, a cupcake from Sweet Revenge Bake Shop, EPIC Winery Passes from Tourism Windsor-Essex, Steam Whistle swag and a voucher for a free sign-up with Rose City Sport & Social Club all stuffed into a branded bag and tied up with balloons. How amazing is that?!

We called ourselves the Day Makers and I can honestly say, we did a fantastic job of making people’s days a little brighter. Seeing people surprised, smiling and happy made all the hard work worth while. CBC even joined us to surprise a teacher who was nominated at Sandwich West Public School! Although the whole experience was amazing, the highlight for me was when the team and I were walking down the street and spotted a young girl giving her Subway lunch to a homeless man. We just had to pass on the kindness so we caught her at the street light and made sure she knew that what she did for that man did not go unnoticed. She was on top of the world!

In a city that can be so full of uncertainty and negativity, it was nice to go out and spread some happiness. After five full days of adventure, photos, smiles, excitement and genuine happiness, I can honestly say the campaign was a success but we couldn’t have done it without all the donations from our amazing business sponsors so thank you very much for your kindness. A big thank you also goes out to Rose City Sport & Social Club for spreading the love. I’m a firm believer that together we can lift up this city one surprise/smile/good deed at a time!

-Katie

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Will Facebook's New Reactions Feature Help Or Hinder Social Communication?

This morning as I scrolled through my seemingly endless Facebook News Feed, I had a chance to check out the new Reactions feature that is now available when you hover over the “Like” button anywhere on the website. Reminiscent of Buzz Feed’s Reactions, the new option lets you express how you feel about a friend’s update with a pre-selected emoji that is assigned to a specific response (Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry). While the selection is small to start, I’m sure the options will continue to grow once Facebook has a chance to test it out and see how users respond.

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan. I find that real, genuine interaction on Facebook is already so difficult to come by and that giving people another way to opt out of actual conversation isn’t exactly a step in the right direction. There seems to be a delicate balance between simply “Liking” a status and becoming a legit internet troll these days and I don’t think these reactions are going to help. You know when you post something and in your mind it’s the funniest, smartest, happiest, most insightful thing you’ve ever said? You start imagining all the interaction, engagement and conversation it’s going to generate and in the end it falls flat with 25 “likes” and one comment from your Grandma that consists of three poorly selected emojis. That entire situation seems all too common these days, especially on Facebook where people confuse interaction/engagement with a hollow “like” on your status or photo. It seems that as time passes, these networks are becoming less about genuine action and more about social image. Or maybe I’m just too much of an emoji-snob? Who knows!

What do you think of this new feature? Do you think it will add value to your every day interactions on Facebook or will it only make communication on the platform worse?

 

Facebook Reactions Fetaure

McDonald's Launches Social Media Site To Answer Customer's Food Questions

If you’ve ever wanted to ask McDonald’s a question about their food, now is your chance! The fast-food giant has just launched a social media based site that allows people to connect through Facebook or Twitter and post their question publicly on the site. Each question shows details including the person’s photo, their location and once the question has been responded to by McDonald’s, the answer is easily accessible. If the question has yet to be answered, you have the option to “follow” it so you can be notified when the answer is provided.

McDonalds social media food questions

There have been a lot of questions about the quality and cut of beef they use for their burgers, some questions about their eggs, size portions etc. Some questions are answered with videos or photos and others with just a simple paragraph of text that, fortunately, doesn’t read like an automated bot.

So far we’re really impressed with the speedy response time and the overall look and feel of this new site. Seeing a big brand like McDonald’s integrate social media into a project like this is exciting. It’s always great to see companies using social media to help solve different problems or gaps in their marketing campaign. This is an instance where other mediums simply could not offer what social media brings to the table. Check it out if you get a chance and let us know what you think. Would you like to see more companies using a social media based Q&A service?

Open Up Your World With Social Discovery Apps

We are surrounded by people we don’t know on a daily basis, but what if those ‘strangers’ really aren’t as unfamiliar as we thought? A new breed of apps, categorized as “social discovery’ or ‘ambient awareness’ apps, has been generating a lot of interest. These apps enable you to connect with people based on your current location, relationships and/or common interests.

Apps such as Highlight, Sonar, Glancee, Banjo and Kismet work across social networks by combining check-ins and geotracking with social media platforms like Facebook to provide profile information of people within a close proximity. Keeping in mind that all apps work slightly different than one another, their main objective is to connect you with people based on location, relationships and similarities. Depending on the app used, locations are tracked either by the app itself (using gps tracking) or through check-ins and status updates. When a connection and/or friend is close by or within a set perimeter, your app will notify you with a ping or alert. You are then able to view their profile and connect with them through the app.

Let’s say I stop at my local coffee shop and check-in. My app will notify me if a friend, connection or someone with similar interests is at the same coffee shop or within the area. Let’s just say a classmate of mine is at that same coffee shop, my app will ping me with a notification that they are at the same location as me. This information is retrieved based on their check-in (Ex: Foursquare) and their profile relation to me (Ex: Facebook friends). I can then choose to engage in conversation with them via the app or find them and strike up a conversation in person.
What are the benefits for users?
1. Tells you what your relationship is with someone at the same location, event or check-in spot (ex: you follow them on Twitter, you have a mutual Facebook friend, etc)

2. Helps you find like-minded people to connect with at the same location, event or check-in spot (ex: you both like a certain band, or both share the same religious beliefs, etc)

3. It’s a virtual venue to meet and engage with people similar to you

The current debate is whether or not these apps will catch on or become accepted by social media and smart phone users. Some people may not be ready to accept this new form of locating, meeting and engaging with strangers. The other factor to consider is the issue with safety or security. Is an app of this nature safe for people to opt-in to and is it invading your privacy? We assume only time will tell as the app grows in use and popularity. Will you be checking out social discovery apps?