“Monittering” North Face

With the dreary winter weather looming upon us, it’s time to get out the winter gear and get suited up for all your outdoor activities whether it be skiing, snowboarding, hiking or running.  Let’s face it, even if you are just running errands around town, you definitely need to be bundled up and The North Face gear is great for keeping you warm and dry.

I used the Monitter tracking tool to get an idea of what people are saying through Twitter about The North Face. Here are 10 random conversations:

1. The North Face Women’s Insulated Grace Jacket – Warm, stylish, waterproof, women’s jacket. http://t.co/1qfJT79e

2. @Keela_Anisahh   girllll I need to get me some north face gear, otherwise I won’t make it through the winter !!!

3. North Face Products – Find the North Face Gear You Want. Apparel, Backpacks, Footwear and More! http://t.co/TnotqHDh

4. @Victoriarunner put our running gear to the test, see her thoughts on it here: http://t.co/hJ67HpT3

5. Vonster 12:02TweetDeck Avalanche airbag safety gear. Seems like the balloons would pop? I want to see it work in context. http://t.co/Ea2LAGBy

6. RT @ComplexMag: The North Face debuts insane avalanche-proof gear. http://t.co/5s92wFdr

7. BedRockBastard 10:59Twidroyd for Android – Got my north face gear on to combat this rain

8. Pennstatefan207 10:25web – At the end of time I am going to go hide in a bundle of all my North Face Gear so I am cozy and warm during my last seconds of life.

9. @thenorthface Your gear is the warmest and most comfortable around I will always buy The North Face Gear! RT   Pennstatefan207

10. Fav fall running gear:  north face flight series jacket. Super breathable and great for wind, cool, cold or wet weather. mrlee1  22:08Mobile

The recurring sentiment from these North Face fans indicate the products are superior and reliable in cold weather.  I would give this company an “A” based on this review and for delivering a supreme product which holds up over time through rain, hail, sleet or snow.  They have an excellent reputation for not only providing stylish and quality apparel but are also seen as innovators in the industry by delivering the latest in cutting edge technology, such as their newly launched avalanche-proof gear.

What is your favourite brand for warm winter gear? Are you a fan of The North Face products?

Haunted Halloween!

It’s that time of year again where the ghosts and goblins of Halloween’s past come alive to scare us all to death! Why not discover some of the local haunted houses and displays of monsters and zombies in your area. Here are a few I unearthed in my neighbourhood:

868 East 17th Avenue, North Vancouver – A monster mash of zombies!

871 East 17th Avenue, North Vancouver  – Encounter some horrific heads just hanging around here!

1006 Belmont Avenue, North Vancouver – Check out this video of a Ghastly Haunted House!

Happy Halloween!

10 great places to visit..

With the fall season upon us, I thought it was a great time to think about a quick getaway or perhaps just explore some of our local hotspots. Here is a few of my favourite places around the lower mainland and B.C (ok 1 of them isn’t but who’s counting). The first 5 are mostly day trips which are great to bring the tots along and the final 5 are more adult oriented so you may want to leave the kids with granny for the weekend. 🙂

1. Stanley Park 

How many people can say they have one of the most infamous and majestic parks in their very own backyard. What a beautiful place to spend the day exploring the beach, biking or walking on the seawall, playing at the many playgrounds or taking in a show at the Aquarium.  Soak up the spectacular views of the mountains and ocean and thank your lucky stars that you call Vancouver home!

2. Grouse Mountain

This mountain is fantastic with year round activities for adults and kids alike. Whether you enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, logging shows, checking out Cooler and Grinder (the resident bears in the picture) or trying out the zipline, this is the place for outdoor adventure. Take the tram up the mountain or if you are up to it, do the “grouse grind” (similar to one hour on a stair climber) and check out the sites once you hit the top of the mountain. Nothing is better than skiing down the mountain as you take in the magnificent views of the city.

3. Steveston Village

Discover this quaint fishing village in Richmond on the south arm of the Fraser River. This town is bustling with antique stores, shops and some of the best seafood around town.  The architecture here is some of the oldest in the Lower Mainland dating back to the late 1800’s. Walk along the dyke, watch herons and eagles, nosh down some Fish n Chips (Pajo’s on the dock is my favourite) and buy some seafood from Fisherman’s Wharf before you head home.

4. Pumpkin Patch

Ok, what childhood wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Pumpkin Patch every October. There are many to choose from around town. I like the one off the Steveston  Highway called Richmond Country Farms.  Hop on a hayride wagon, listen to a farmer at the helm strumming his guitar and off to the patch you go to pick out your own pumpkins. There is also a corn maze, pony rides and entertainment to keep the kids going all day.

5. Victoria

You can enjoy beautiful Victoria any time of the year. There is so much to do and see within walking distance of the dowtown core. One place that is a must see if you have young children is the Bug Zoo. Seriously, where else could you tickle a tarantula? I did and I am petrified of spiders!! 

6. Okanagan

The Okanagan is packed with some of the best wineries in Canada and has several wine festivals throughout the year.  This year the fall wine festival is held  October 1-23rd. If you can’t make it, then you can always look forward to the winter wine festival in January 2012.

7. Tofino

Storm Watch season is upon us and usually runs from November to March with the peak season being between December to February. This is the perfect time to curl up with a good book (or a companion) in front of a fireplace and enjoy the beautiful West Coast scenery. Tofino and Ucluelet are both quaint towns that are home to some of the best surfing on the West Coast. Visitors can partake in whale watching, kayaking, hiking or surfing in the summer time or head there in the winter to experience the storms in all their glory.

8. Whistler 

Starting November 10th through the 13th, Cornucopia; celebration of Wine and Food will be underway. Whistler is only a short drive from Vancouver (approximately 2 hours) and is Canada’s premier year round destination. It is named the No. 1 mountain resort in North America. The village is bustling with restaurants, bars, shops and tourists from all over the globe. During the day you can ski, snowboard, hike, bike, golf and shop and come night time you have a huge selection of top notch restaurants and bars to choose from.

9.Salt Spring Island

The largest of the Gulf Islands situated between the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. Salt Spring is known for their Saturday morning markets where you can browse and purchase art, jewellery, canned goods, fresh produce, etc. It is home to many artisans, musicians, merchants and farmers. They are also famous for their blackberry port wine which sells out every year.

10.Las Vegas (even though it’s not in BC, I thought I could slip this one in for fun!)

Where else can you jet off for three or four days and take in world class entertainment, shop till you drop, gamble non-stop and take in some sun and relax by the pool in October?

Hope you are able to enjoy one of these destinations soon! What is your favourite weekend getaway? Do tell…

Sinner or Winner?

Being a self-confessed “newbie” in the blogging world, I thought it might be a good idea to find out what (and if any) rules apply to avoid making too many social media faux paus. So it got me thinking about the social media etiquette surrounding the different forums.  How do you weed out the “sinners” from the “winners”?

I came across this great article outlining the Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media. If you have any knowledge in Social Media Optimization (SMO), you will recognize that these sins are closely intertwined with the SMO rules. See if you are guilty of committing any of these sins!

Try not to pump out mass tweets which just end up annoying and/or alienating the consumer in the process. Many company’s are guilty of not “knowing their target audience” and are fueled by GREED.

Be authentic and genuine in your interactions with your audience and you will be trusted and known as “Being Real”. Scammers and Spammers are pretty easy to identify nowadays to the seasoned professional and are easily identified for their blatant GLUTTONY.

Active “participation” is key in building the long term relationships that will help you succeed in your business, bearing in mind that participation should be two-way communication. This means actively listening so you can provide something of value to the consumer. Avoid taking your customer for granted and becoming a SLOTH.

Remember to maintain and foster genuine relationships by being a “resource to others, even if it doesn’t help you” and you will be the ENVY of your competitors by becoming an expert in your industry.

If you keep regurgitating other people’s posts or retweeting then you are not “creating content” that is fresh and insightful. Bring something new and interesting to the mix if you want people to stand up and take notice. Dare to be different and “Don’t be afraid to try new things” even if it means getting the WRATH of others.

It is also important to be humble, “don’t forget your roots” and to thank all the people that have helped you along the way. “Reward inbound links as well as helpful and valuable users” and don’t let PRIDE get in the way of your success.

By “developing a solid strategic Social Media Optimization” strategy and by “increasing your linkability” you will be the LUST of other’s who will be eating your dust.

So, would you consider yourself a sinner or a winner?

Putting Twitter to the Test

To get an idea of the power of Social Media ‘s reach, I will examine a similar lifestyle blog called CreatureComforts and test it’s existing social media platform.

CreatureComforts main goal is to provide inspiration by finding beauty in the simple things in daily life. Some lifestyle blogs have a component that involves self promotion such as interior design services, photography services, or perhaps art or jewellery for sale. For other bloggers like this particular one, they blog simply for enjoyment and generate passive income from subscribers and followers who click through to advertising sponsors on the site.

To attract more subscribers to the site and increase the potential for more income through advertising, I would test the effectiveness and reach of their Twitter site. Since they do not have a Facebook site, the focus will be on their Twitter presence. Currently, the blog has 3,324 subscribers and the Twitter handle has 11,983 followers. A giveaway contest would be posted on the website as well as Twitter with the prize being a piece of jewellery from a current sponsor  valued at $200. The follower would have to “Retweet” the contest details to be entered in the draw. If you were not a current subscriber, you would have to “subscribe” to the blog to be entered in the draw and “Retweet” the contest details.

The target audience would be women aged 25-45, using a sample size of the first 250 entries (retweets).  The contest would run for two weeks. After the two week period, I would review the percentage of increased subscribers and Twitter followers. This test would allow the blogger to identify if regular giveaways through the Twitter channel would increase the level of subscriptions and thus generate more advertising income. If successful, it would be a very cost effective way to not only generate more awareness for the blog, but also more exposure for the sponsor.

Is there anything else you would do differently to increase the number of subscribers and Twitter followers?

Fresh and Flavourful

I like the idea of having a Social Media Personality to define my blog. It gives the reader a snapshot of the person behind the words and breathes life into the blog. If we are to progress with this platform as a way of connecting with others, it definitely helps us decide pretty quickly if we want to read further from the style and tone of it. I guess you could call it on-line chemistry; do our personalities click?

So if you were to ask me to describe my blog’s personality…it would be Fresh and Flavourful. My goal is to deliver Fresh content with a Flavourful style. Your time is valuable, so I want this blog to be your “go to” place to escape from the chaos of everyday, to find inspiration, or whet your appetite to try a new restaurant. From beautiful interior design ideas to wonderful travel getaways to mouthwatering recipes…this is your source for all things good in life. Nothing too serious, rigid or political..there is enough bad news out there. Simply put, this blog is designed to inspire and entertain.

Another fantastic lifestyle blog with a similar personality is A cup of Jo.  It is jam packed with juicy information and the format is clean and crisp. She lets her readers in on her life; she is fun, genuine and approachable. She provides vibrant visual images of food, travel, art and design which captures your attention and gets you reading more. She makes you feel like you are having a coffee and chatting with a friend; sharing travel tips or design ideas making it time well spent.

Thoughts on Transparency in Social Media

We have all been hearing a great deal about “transparency” in Social Media..and I wonder to myself have our expectations changed now that we are interacting with each other more online. Were the rules any different prior to this Social Media revolution?

  • We still only want to patronize businesses that are upfront and forthright with timely information that matters to us as a consumer. (ie: unbiased opinions, advised if being paid to promote a product or given any compensation for providing a review).
  • We still want to be advised of issues that relate to our decisions in continuing to do business with a company such as the ability to communicate important matters (ie: such as a product defect or recall – for example the 3.8 million Toyota vehicle recall in 2009 ) and the timeliness and style in which they resolve these issues. How well are they keeping us updated with developments or are they unorganized and unprofessional in their approach.
  • We still will not tolerate companies that try to misguide us and be unethical in their dealings.  Once the truth is revealed, we no longer have trust in the company and all credibility is lost.
  • We will tell our network of friends, family and colleagues about our experience. However, now these comments have a far reaching effect in today’s world as negative comments have the ability to go viral and spread quickly.

Again, credibility is the key to gain and keep our trust.   What a company says or doesn’t say will have a lasting effect on their image. With the ability to research any person and any company, what they decide to do today could have a negative impact on their organization for years to come. Therefore, I don’t really see that the goalposts have changed much with our expectations. As before, all businesses had a reputation to uphold and a certain image to convey to the public, so how they manage and share that image now in the online arena should still be in line with their core objectives and mission statement.

Perhaps, what it boils down to are the following questions:

  1. “Will this change our customers (and potential customers) view of us as a company if we do not share this information?
  2. Are we being genuine, ethical and responsible in our interactions with the public”?
  3. What are the ramifications if we sidestep, alter or avoid telling the truth?

What are your thoughts and perspective on this subject? I would love to hear about it.

 

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