Tim Hortons To Roll Up More Winners After Social Media Frenzy

This past Monday marked a milestone for Tim Hortons as they started yet another Roll Up The Rim event. This year was different though, the company was determined to change things and this sudden reaction came from a serious backlash through social media platforms in 2010. There were blogs simply dedicated to keeping track of how many coffees were winners, there were angry social media status updates and countdowns which undermined the company by stating that the odds were horrible and the contest simply wasn’t worth it anymore. With people all over the country getting fed up with Tim Hortons, the company knew they had to make changes fast for the next Roll Up The Rim event; and that’s exactly what they did.

As of 2010, Tim Hortons claimed that the odds of winning a prize were 1-in-9 and that these odds are audited daily when producing new cups for the contest. The number of available food prizes are part of the changes Tim Hortons made to the Roll Up The Rim contest this year. Last year there were 31 million food prizes and this year that number has been bumped up to 47 million to increase the overall odds to 1-in-6 and boost the number of winning cups by about 50%.

Tim Hortons has also decided to offer social media users something extra in hopes of drowning out the complaints. They created a photo builder on their Roll Up The Rim page that allows users to upload a photo of their choice with a frame and multiple statement options such as “I ♥ RRRoll Up!” They’ve even added a RRRoll up the Rim Roulette game on their website that gives registered users an extra chance to win every day by spinning the wheel for a $25 Tims card or the grand prize of free coffee for a year. If you’re a big fan, don’t forget to enter into the Longest Rolling RRR contest. All you have to do is record your longest rolling RRR right on the Time Hortons website and upload it with a photo. Your entry is automatically entered and posted to Facebook for fans to view. Who knew coffee could be so interactive?

It seems like the coffee giant has really taken a lot of things into consideration. I’d like to congratulate them on being so proactive by taking the time to listen to their customer complaints, researching their online brand reputation and using this information to move their business forward. This is a great case study for businesses of all sizes! Sometimes it’s difficult to research all the negative comments and feedback, but in the end, the more you know the more changes you can make to improve customer experiences and repair any damages your brand may have encountered online and offline.

Social Media Makes Breaking Up Hard To Do

It’s that time of year again and as usual, Valentines Day has created a stir of emotions online. It seems that people either love it or hate it, there’s no in between. With social media becoming a stronger presence in our lives, holding together a solid relationship is getting complicated. Before Twitter and Facebook breaking up was a simple task involving a phone call or face to face chat, packing up all of your ex’s items into a box and leaving it on their porch. If they tried to make contact afterwards you just didn’t answer their calls. But now, with breakups becoming extremely public and relationship status’ stirring up drama online, it’s difficult to hold things together for yourself and not let curiosity get the best of you.

In a world so consumed by technology where every detail of our lives is available for the world to see (or at least a large list of approved friends), it’s awkward to announce a breakup of any kind and then endure the questions and concern that come flooding in from people you forgot you knew. While these social networks get a bad rap for hindering communication in the real world, they are still excellent communication tools when used properly. After all, you can’t rely on Facebook alone to have a mature discussion with your partner. There comes a time when a good phone call or meeting up over coffee is the most appropriate thing to do.

Unfortunately this new technology makes snooping and spying a lot easier and as a result it becomes difficult to move on, even though we know it’s over. Let’s face it, we’ve all visited an ex’s page on Facebook, creeped their photos, and checked their status’ on Twitter. With all this information available at our fingertips it’s hard not to re-visit the past when it’s one click away. YourTango.com, a love and relationship advice hub, released a series of survey results that shed some light on how social networks have affected relationships. Seventy-four percent of people look up their ex on the Internet, 86 percent admit to clicking through photos of them (14 percent of those people are married) and 50 percent called, texted, emailed or IMed an ex when that probably wasn’t the most advisable move. Arguably because of all of this mess, 71 percent say that they think about their ex too much.

As a result of these responses YourTango created a “Break Up With Your Ex Day” yesterday, February 13th. They encouraged people to unfriend, unfollow, block and basically stop stalking their ex’s online. They even created an online badge that users can post publicly once they complete the required steps to cleanse themselves of their ex. For those of you who aren’t sure how obsessed you are with your ex, you can take the quiz and find out if you need help or not. YourTango’s website also has a good amount of pro-valentines day articles that will help you choose a date idea or a movie for the special occasion but they also have a fair amount of anti-valentines day articles that any sceptic would find entertaining.

Whether you’re dating, in a serious relationship, married, divorced or enjoying the single life, keep in mind that your past is never more than a click away and only you have the power to move on with your life and put a stop to the social media stalking. This Valentines Day, take the pledge and free yourself for good!

Facebook Profile Pic Hack Becomes The Next Big Internet Meme

Facebook is no stranger to Internet memes and with the introduction of the new Facebook profile, some users welcomed the change with open arms. Alexandre Oudin, a French artist, has been credited for starting the next big craze that has more and more people participating as each day passes. Since the creation of Facebook, users have always experimented with photos but the new profile redesign allows for seriously clever animations, typography and photographic magic.

By now there are tutorial videos floating around that teach users how to create some magic of their own and it seems like a Facebook banner application is also cashing in on the trend so it may only be a matter of time before this really catches on. In the meantime, we’ve searched the web and found the top 10 Facebook profile pic hacks. If you’ve been getting creative with your profile, we want to see it!

5 Ways To Get Linkedin Working For Your Business

Create a company profile
Take the time to set up a profile for your business on Linkedin. It’s a simple process that will give you a presence on the social network. When users search your company name or make generic searches within your industry, your page will be available. In addition, you can add your company name to your page as a current job and it will link back to the profile so if any of your connections are interested in learning more, they don’t need to leave the website. As long as you already have a personal page on Linked in, you qualify to create a company profile.

Get Your Employees Involved
Chances are at least some of your employees have a presence on Linkedin. Encourage them to add the company name to their current job title and they’ll show up on the company profile as an employee. This can help your business gain credibility and gives your employees’ connections a chance to learn more.

Include the Linkedin Widget on Your Website
Take advantage of your presence across multiple platforms and use the Linkedin widget on your company blog or webpage. The widget allows visitors to interact with your content and re-post something they like to their own Linkedin connections therefore spreading the word about your business. The more people share your content, the more likely you are to attract new visitors.

Join Groups
Linkedin is more than just a profile page; it’s all about interaction with your connections and learning to network on a new platform. Groups are designed to attract niche users who enjoy discussing certain topics. For example, as a graphic designer, there are many groups you can join with other established graphic designers that act as a forum for questions and niche networking. You can also join groups based on your location or groups designated for a specific event. Participation in groups is a great way to generate leads without seeming pushy and it can help you establish a solid base of potential connections for the future. As a group member you can participate in any discussions as well as start your own so if you have a question you’ve been dying to get another experts opinion on, this is the perfect platform. You can also submit articles, search for jobs or even post your own job adds if you’re looking for new employees.

Say Active by Asking and Answering Questions
Linkedin Answers allows users to ask questions to other members or answer questions that have already been asked. Participating in an activity like this can really show others your expertise and knowledge on a certain subject which can help provide solid business leads from members who require your services. This area of the site also presents a great opportunity to learn more about your industry and stay up to date on the latest trends by gathering knowledge and insights from other members. If you answer enough questions where your answer is selected as the best, you will eventually earn the title of expert and an expert star will be added to your Linkedin profile. This can increase your exposure on the site and lets your connections know just how credible you are.

Tweets, Beats and Eats

If you’re a local Windsor business or entrepreneur Tweets Beats and Eats is a great way to get out and show your support for a local event while in turn networking and seeing how important and useful Twitter really is! This Wednesday, January 19th at 8:00pm, Windsoreats will be hosting Tweets, Beats and Eats at Motorburger on Erie Street. The annual event encourages guests to use Twitter during their meal to express their thoughts. The tweets are then shown live on screens that are placed around the restaurant so everyone can see what’s being said. Check out the video of last year’s event documented by Windsor Eats.

It’s easy to think that Windsor is falling behind and that no one really grasps the concept of social media but thankfully, that’s no longer true. This event is unique because it’s based on pure entertainment and I think Windsor needs more of that in the future. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about a solid business strategy and a serious networking event, but sometimes people just want to have fun. I think enabling people to interact with these social media platforms in a fun and relaxed environment is the best way for them to learn and really experience using the tools that can help improve their business.

If awesome social media events can happen in big cities like Toronto, why can’t they happen here? Hopefully 2011 will bring a change of attitude for everyone and a new outlook on the possibilities in Windsor. I see an amazing amount of opportunity in a small city where people are eager to learn, adapt and keep up with the big cities. Just because we’re small doesn’t mean we can’t be creative and explore social media in new ways! I think it’s time that people start to set higher goals for Windsor and put their faith in its entrepreneurs and small businesses to set the city apart from all others. There is so much potential here but a lot of it remains untapped and we hope that the New Year will bring about courage in the citizens of Windsor, courage to think outside the box and push the boundaries so we can show this country what we’re made of!

How Information Insurance Can Help You Bridge Mortality

What if you died tomorrow with a secret or confidential information and passwords locked away inside your head? What if your loved ones can’t find your bank accounts or your coworkers can’t access hidden files? Deathswitch.com offers a solution to bridging mortality with its information insurance plan. A deathswitch is an automated system that prompts users for a password ( at a frequency of your choice) to make sure you’re still alive and well. When you fail to enter your password for a certain amount of time, the system continues to prompt you again several times. If there is still no reply, the computer presumes you’re dead or severely disabled, and your pre-written messages are automatically emailed to those named by you. You can create email messages, attach files and specify recipients and your messages are automatically sent after your switch is triggered.

The free account offers 1 email recipient and no attachments. With the premium account ($19.95/year) you get 30 messages with up to 10 recipients each and the ability to attach files such as videos, photos and documents. Some users have found a deathswitch to be very convenient for funeral instructions, bank account information, computer passwords etc. The company even boasts a free trial so any interested users can set up a fake message to another email account, stop responding to the prompts and see how it all works. Luckily, if your recipients change their email addresses, you have the ability to edit your information every time you answer a prompt.

The company boasts encryption technologies and high security measures to protect your messages from hackers but you help but wonder, how safe is this process? Most importantly, how necessary is this process? It’s interesting to see how companies are beginning to use technology in innovative ways and in this case, capturing the attention of the password/secret junkie who is constantly worrying about the information they carry around in their head on a daily basis. There is no doubt that as society progresses towards a technological takeover, information insurance and services like the deathswitch are becoming more feasible.

Mac App Store Unveiled

If you’re a Mac user, yesterday was a big day and chances are you’ve already spent a few hours exploring the new software update that included the App Store feature. Basically this means that you can now download Angry Birds on your computer as well as your smart phone…oh and there’s other apps available for download too. The store is very well organized and the concept is exciting because it means the world of apps is progressing even further, stretching from smart phones to personal computers. If I didn’t already have a Macbook, I’d want one now, and that’s exactly what Apple was hoping for, increasing consumer demand for their product and keeping current users happy with the ability to extend game play and app usage to another platform.

You can find programs like iPhoto and Keynote as well as apps that appeal to musicians, graphic designers, fashionistas, serious gamers and everyone in between. Apple has now pinpointed a very specific sector of the market that they, for the longest time, did not have control over. Why would I go to Best Buy and purchase a computer game for anywhere from $20-$40 when I can purchase something very similar (if not exactly the same) right from my house and pay $5-$10? Once again Apple dominance has exerted itself but it seems to be a serious benefit to the consumer. It’s always nice to have a choice and now I do.

After exploring for a while I’ve come up with a few recommended apps. First off, Twitter is a must-have and not having to log in online makes me very happy! I’ve never been a fan of tweetdeck or hootsuite, I found they gave me nothing but problems in terms of functionality so this is a breath of fresh air! Second, I love the simplicity and effectiveness of Caffeine. Anyone who frequently gives presentations or watches videos on their computer will understand how convenient it is to have a switch in one spot to disable the screen from fading or the computer from sleeping/turning off. Lastly, Booxter looks like an excellent way to keep track of your books, movies, music and comics. Any collector can appreciate the simplicity and the organization this app offers.

Will the app store translate well to personal computers? Will users participate? Is this just the beginning? There’s no way to know for sure what the future holds but there’s also no denying the power of the app! I for one am very excited to see what possibilities lie ahead and exactly how much computer memory I can consume with download apps.

Five Social Media Resolutions For 2011

Be Real
Sometimes it’s difficult to draw the line between business and fun but when you’re interacting through Social Media, people don’t want to talk with a robot or a brand, they want to talk with a real person! Drop the act online and just be yourself, no bells and whistles! People will still respect you but chances are they’ll find it much easier to interact and find you much more approachable. Inject some personality into your tweets and updates for the New Year and see first hand why hiding behind a brand is much less rewarding than letting people know who you actually are.

Give Your Social Networks a Sense of Unity
It’s easy to see that everyone uses multiple social network to communicate with different people across the web, but users shouldn’t have to guess if they’re interacting with the same brand on a different network. Take the time to do some personal branding and ensure that your usernames match (as close as possible) across all platforms. This is basic Marketing and will help your brand stay cohesive across the web which in turn makes it easier for people to interact and find you on different networks. Don’t be afraid to add some pizazz to that generic background with some branding or make a custom avatar. It’s the small things that help you establish a unified presence where you need it most.

Never Stop Learning
Social media changes every single day with new platforms, updates and tools. Sometimes it can be frustrating to stay on top of what’s current and how best to reach your target market but the most important part when it comes to social media is to never stop exploring and never stop learning. Every day you can learn something new and one day you may come across something that could drastically improve your business online. Try to be patient when researching and always keep your goals in mind so when you’re sifting through webpages and blogs, you know what you’re looking for. Keeping an open mind is one of the best things you can do, it allows you to stay one step ahead of the competition and will give you the confidence to make important decisions for the future of your business.

Don’t be Afraid of Analytics
Creating social media pages may seem simple, but it’s tracking the analytics that really separates the small players from the big kahunas. After all, what’s the purpose of having a presence online if you can’t research where people are coming from, how they’re interacting and what they’re saying? It’s high time that the fear and denial surrounding user comments and brand perception were actually taken into account. It’s hard to accept criticism and as a business, you can’t look at it as a negative but rather a positive, that will help you address your users’ concern and ultimately improve your business!

Plan Your Social Campaigns
One mistake that many businesses make is failing to plan their campaigns. “Set it and forget it” is a bad state of mind when it comes to social media. If you expect your audience to do the hard work, you are sadly mistaken. Take some pride in your campaigns and set aside time to plan the launch of a viral video or Facebook campaign so when all is said and done, the stepping stones are in place for success. Marketing through social media is no different than marketing through traditional advertising mediums. Would you create a global television campaign and just sit back and see how it goes? Many people see social media as a low risk alternative that require less effort and less money when realistically, it’s a platform that requires serious dedication of time and effort. Take the time to plan out your actions and soon you’ll see that the ROI for social media is no joke.

Blab's 12 Days of Social Media Christmas!

Tis the season for Christmas carols and holiday spirit. At Blab! Media we really wanted to get involved and record our own version of the 12 days of Christmas celebrating social media, even though we were slightly out of breath after singing the entire song. From us to you, happy holidays and all the best for 2011!

Feel free to sing along!

Blab’s 12 Days of Social Media Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a branded QR code.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two Youtube videos, and a branded QR code.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four bloggers blogging, three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five friendly Skype calls, four bloggers blogging, three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six Foursquare mayorships, five friendly Skype calls, four bloggers blogging, three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven instant messages, six Foursquare mayorships, five friendly Skype calls, four bloggers blogging, three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight social bookmarks, seven instant messages, six Foursquare mayorships, five friendly Skype calls, four bloggers blogging, three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine Linkedin connections, eight social bookmarks, seven instant messages, six Foursquare mayorships, five friendly Skype calls, four bloggers blogging, three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten RSS feeds, nine Linkedin connections, eight social bookmarks, seven instant messages, six Foursquare mayorships, five friendly Skype calls, four bloggers blogging, three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven Flickr albums, ten RSS feeds, nine Linkedin connections, eight social bookmarks, seven instant messages, six Foursquare mayorships, five friendly Skype calls, four bloggers blogging, three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve tweeters tweeting, eleven Flickr albums, ten RSS feeds, nine Linkedin connections, eight social bookmarks, seven instant messages, six Foursquare mayorships, five friendly Skype calls, four bloggers blogging, three Facebook friends, two Youtube videos and a branded QR code.