On the whole, Canadian companies are sluggish on social media, says Jameson Berkow, tech reporter for the Financial Post. In a recent article from the FP Tech Desk, Berkow says that “Canadian companies are failing to engage with their customers through social media.” Berkow draws his conclusions from a report that was released by SAS Canada, a leading Canadian business analytics software. The report found that “Only 17% of 1,000 executives surveyed […] said their company regularly posts to websites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn while also monitoring them to gauge how the online community views their business.” The report doesn’t come as a surprise; in general, Canadian business culture is conservative. “Canadians are thorough in their evaluation, but slower to take things up” says Lori Bieda, executive lead of customer intelligence for SAS.
So Canadians are slow, eh?
The article made me wonder: are any Canadian businesses executing social media effectively? This post focuses on three Canadian companies doing social media right…
1. Porter Airlines: “Flying Refined”
Founded in 2006, Porter Airlines entered the market at a difficult time: fewer people were flying because of the recession, and even fewer people were willing to take a chance on a new airline. Porter positioned themselves as a new, affordable, and convenient kind of airline, captured in their slogan, “flying refined.” The company uses Twitter as a way of engaging consumers, reaching out to Toronto audiences to encourage them to #flyporter.
Porter tweets about discounted flights, promotions to encourage new business and even uses the microblogging service to keep customers up to date with schedule changes and delays. Porter also uses LinkedIn to showcase their services and target their business-class audience.
2. Smoke’s Poitinerie: “How do YOU like YOUR poutine?”
Ryan Smolkin, founder of Canadian franchise Smoke’s Poutinerie, was looking for alternative ways to promote his new business and his unique product—a Montreal-style poutine. Smoke’s developed a consistent, “all-Canadian” theme across a variety of marketing materials and extended that design to online venues including Facebook, Twitter, Flicker and YouTube.
On Twitter and Facebook, Smoke’s keeps their friends and followers informed about new menu items, brand-sponsored events, and in-store discounts. On YouTube, Smoke’s produces and promotes their own video content to help tell the Smoke’s brand story.
As communications specialist Mia Pearson reports, for the Smoke’s brand, “traditional media relations and social media [are] the marketing tools of choice.” Customers can tweet @poutinerie to talk about poutine, back to school, or any other trending topic that the brand’s more than 3,500 followers want to talk about. On Facebook, Smoke’s has more than 4,700 “likes,” and they encourage users to participate by posting on their wall or “checking in” to the Social network’s location sharer.
Smoke’s Facebook presence also includes a custom-designed landing page, which announces Smoke’s second annual poutine eating contest, a brand-sponsored event that gathers thousands of poutine-lovers in more than three provinces across Canada. Users are encouraged to “like” the brand, and in return they receive a free ticket to the event and free poutine.
Smoke’s Poutinerie is one of the fastest growing franchises in Canada, with ten locations opening since its inception in 2006 and plans to go global.
3. The Toronto Transit Commission: “Getting There” Goes Social
I never thought I’d be praising the Toronto Transit Commission—for anything— but I have to say, when it comes to social media, these guys are doing something right. After talks of transit going private in Toronto, it seems that the Commission has stepped up their game, making efforts to communicate with customers and to effectively disseminate transit information. The TTC website is completely social, inviting users to connect with the organization across social media platforms. On Twitter and Facebook, the TTC keeps commuters informed, tweeting about delays and cancellations. The Commission has also added a text message feature to their stops: commuters can text their stop to a designated TTC number and be notified as to when the next train is scheduled to arrive.