Michelle Sullivan Communications

Social media impact: Us Now and an hour well spent

One of the roles I’m really enjoying as I dive into my new position as HKDP‘s (a.k.a. Hill & Knowlton/Ducharme, Perron) Director, Social Media and Digital Communications is going out to meet the firm’s clients and introducing them to the fascinating world of social media. Thanks to coverage by traditional media, they’ve all heard of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but they’re not always sure of how social media can be applied to business … and to their business in particular.

Part of my presentation focusses on tools, and on case studies that show how platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are being leveraged by brands. But, in my mind, the most important part of my presentation is an attempt to communicate the power and potential of social media. An attempt to communicate its sociological significance. I believe that an understanding of these concepts will lead to an effective .. and, yes, hopefully  ethical … application of social media by big business.

This 60 minute video does a really good job of that :

Should you choose to invest an hour of your time to watch this video .. and I obviously encourage you to do so .. you’ll hear Clay Shirky and other thought leaders speak about the impact of social media. You’ll hear about truly intriguing case studies like Couchsurfing, Mumsnet, Directionless, Ebsfleet United, Linux, Zopa, SliceThePie, ThePoint .. and even Canada’s Green Party. You’ll hear fundamental truths about society … any society … that come to the fore with social media. Concepts like the fact that people trust people like them. They trust them more than any governmental body, health organisation or faceless bureaucracy or business. Concepts like crowdsourcing and the wisdom of crowds. Concepts like the trust economy.

I really connect with what Clay Shirky says about the 20th century being an anomaly (at 14:00) in that, as a society, we’re now reverting to a ‘common and deep human pattern’ of mutual assistance for any one of a number of reasons: because we like one another, respect one another, or because we’re interested in building our reputational capital. Being more than just a number. The era of passive consumerism is waning, if it isn’t already over.

So sit back for an hour, enjoy the documentary and don’t forget to listen for Ride of the Valkyries.

Hat tip to Karine Vezeau, who in turn hat tips Baptiste Roynette.  One of the great things about discovering a new (for you) blog (through a #FF mention on Twitter, no less) is when it leads you to gems like this. Karine’s blog is full of them. Pull your French-English dictionary off the shelf and check it out.

Étude à consulter: Global 100 Social Media Study de Burson-Marsteller

Burson-Marsteller vient de dévoiler son Global100 Social Media Study, une analyse de l’utilisation des médias sociaux par les entreprises du ‘Fortune 100’ . Un grand merci à l’ami Marc Snyder, qui a eu la gentillesse de nous en faire part par le biais de son blogue.

A recent Burson-Marsteller study found that 79 percent of the largest 100 companies in the Fortune Global 500 index are using at least one of the most popular social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or corporate blogs.

Pas de statistiques canadiennes, malheureusement.

3e mardi | Third Tuesday Montréal : Tara Hunt

English follows

Soyez des notres demain soir, mardi, au Daylight Factory, car la série 3e mardi | Third Tuesday Montréal est de retour. Nous recevons la très charmante et archi-branchée Tara Hunt, auteur du livre The Whuffie Factor.

Tous les détails sur notre blogue, sur Facebook et sur LinkedIn.

Si vous ne pouvez pas vous déplacer, sachez que cette présentation sera diffusée en direct sur le web  par Christian Aubry, grâce à la commandite de HKDP.

Au plaisir!


Come back to Third Tuesdays at the Daylight Factory tomorrow evening, when our guest will be Tara Hunt, author of The Whuffie Factor.

Details on our blog, on Facebook and on LinkedIn.

If you can’t be with us in person, be with us in spirit, at least. Christian Aubry will be live streaming this event, thanks to a sponsorship by HKDP.

Brian Solis – the future of agencies and of our industry

As I delve back into agency life, as HKDP‘s (Hill & Knowlton Montreal) new (and first) Director of Social Media and Digital Communications, and begin conversations with my new colleagues about the rich potential of social media, I can’t help but think that the timing of this Ductape Marketing interview with Brian Solis is absolutely perfect.

Episode show notes:

There’s plenty of doom and gloom surrounding the practice of public relations in the social web world, but Solis suggests, and I totally agree, that there’s a tremendous opportunity if firms and departments understand how to evolve and grab it.


Social media has evolved to the point where it impacts every department, whether they choose to participate or not. The new PR agency and department must embrace the social web as an umbrella that links HR, Interactive, Marketing, Management and Finance. The role of the PR agency should expand in this new model.

The new PR firm has the awesome responsibility of helping every department realize that real people exist on the other end of every interaction and message.

Like Solis says, the industry is only dying if it doesn’t evolve. Recent hires by Montreal agencies (Marc Snyder by Octane, myself at HKDP, and others in the works) are proof positive that Quebec’s PR industry is certainly waking up to what Brian Solis refers to as the ‘renaissance’ of public relations. My sense is that client demand has now caught up with agencies, who are scrambling to secure those few professionals with social media experience.

If you’re a PR consultant comfortable in the social media space, it’s a great time to to test your value on the market.

Great insight by Brian Solis at 4:30 minutes for those who are still grappling with the concept of social media as an opportunity:

Once you realize that you never had control in the first place, you realize that you now have the opportunity to take control.

Generations of PR consultants have lived by the mantra that the message is something to be controlled. Solis shows us how, on the contrary, we’ve always lost control of the content we create at the point of distribution (ex: a press release). He believes that access to social media represents a fantastic opportunity which allows us not only monitor perceptions, but, with real time access to the information, also help shape how it travels.

He also talks about the role of PR firms in the new social media space, believing that companies need a team of experts who can carry information to influencers, as well as finding trust agents with whom to make direct connections and genuine connections. Solis addresses how agencies need to adapt to the one-to-one approach, which is obviously time intensive. However, he qualifies the result as more ‘profound’, stating that this is clearly documented evidence to support this claim. I would go even further in the ways in which PR can help their clients navigate the social media space. Dave Fleet made an excellent argument for this in a recent blog post.

As Solis states, social media allows us to connect with people we don’t necessarily know, but respect and perhaps wish to know. It links us to people that we connect with intellectually or emotionally. Communities are building around ideas, rather than the places of traditional networking (ex: church steps, chamber of commerce cocktails etc).

Putting the public back in public relations, the book Solis coauthored with Deirdre Breakenridge, was an excellent read. I’d recommend it to any PR professional interested in the social media space. Looking forward to Solis’ next book, Engage, which is due out in March (and is available on pre-order through outlets like Amazon).