Michelle Sullivan Communications

McGill certificate course in social media and digital communication … taught by MOI!

Business owners, managers and communications professionals looking to boost their team’s social media skills will be interested to learn that McGill University’s School of Continuing Studies is offering a new certificate program called Digital content and community management. And guessed who helped design it? (hint: MOI!). And guess who will be launching it on September 18th? (hint: see hint #1). I’m thrilled to be teaching the program’s kickoff course, Current Trends in Digital Communication. It’ll feature dynamic industry speakers and great discussions that’ll be of interest to social media beginners and seasoned professionals alike.

I have some fantastic speakers like CT Moore, Adele McAlear and Ligia Pena lined up to talk about everything from digital marketing and SEO, to community management, to social media for non-profits … with a few surprises up my sleeve …

Having followed the evolution of a similar course offered by friends like Martin Waxman, Eden Spodek and Donna Papacosta at UofT, I’m expecting a mix of communications professionals with limited social media experience, with more than a few experienced community managers thrown in (because sometimes a little piece of paper called an attestation or a certificate helps with HR and pay raises). Because of this, I’ve designed a course that will be of interest to communications professionals at any level. And since this is a continuing ed. course, we’ll be able to pull from real-world experiences. Should make for a fantastic laboratory! I’m looking forward to the conversations we’ll have.

The class provides an overview of current uses of internet-based media (websites, blogs, social networks) in public relations, direct marketing, internal communications, fundraising, consumer relations and reputation management. Participants will leave the course with a firm grasp of best practices, and will be able to implement social media tactics based on strategic considerations.

Registration for this 10-class, 6-week course is now open.
Information: 514-398-5454

McGill Digital content and community mgmt flyer

Social Media: Getting away with the minimum

Social media is like your exercise routine: the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Hitting the gym for a few hours a day and working with a personal trainer may get you the abs that are the envy of all your friends, but sometimes all you have time for (or even desire for) is a quick walk after dinner to get the blood pumping a little at least. As much as I encourage my clients to invest fully in their social media initiatives, I also want to be sure that if they’re not willing to do as much work as I’d like, that they’re still covering the basics.

What do you do in the social media space when all you want to do is the very minimum?


Make your web content visible. As attractive as that flash website may be, it won’t win you many points with most search engines. Your existing clients already know how great you are … your prospects are the ones that need convincing. But first they have to find you. Great website content is dynamic, relevant, informative, easy to digest and, most definitely, optimized for search. Keep keywords in mind when you review your content. And if you must use flash, be sure to be aware of its limitations.


Make your web content shareable. Even if you’re not willing to step up your social media game by investing in a blog, you should be making what web content you do have shareable. Visitors to your site will be able to spread the good word on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or any one of a number of social networks with one easy click. Plugins like ShareThis, AddThis, Digg Digg and Sociable are just some of the options available to you and your web developer. Give your website visitors the tools they need to become effective brand ambassadors.


EgoSurf. Social media is just as much about listening as it is about engaging with communities. Not all companies are willing or even able to put the time and effort into really getting the most out of social media, but no company can afford to neglect its online reputation. Ignoring client comments will not make them go away. You may not want or be able to engage with your customers online, but just hearing what they have to say about your company, its products and services and the quality of your customer service will provide you with valuable insight. In Mad Men days, agencies used to run focus groups. They occasionally still do. But more and more they’re showing their clients that in the age of social media, the real focus group is already out there and just begging to be listened to. So be sure to monitor what’s being said about your company and brands online. A number of free and premium tools are available to you, from something as basic as Google Alerts, to Social Mention, to platforms like Radian6, Sysomos and Nexalogy.


Squat. You may not want to tweet just yet, but you should consider staking your claim. Most social networks allow you to open accounts with your company or brand name. Pepsi’s Twitter account is @pepsi. Nike’s is @nike. Simple, clear and most of all obvious to anyone searching for the Pepsi or Nike presence on Twitter. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you. You also want to prevent anyone else from hijacking your company or brand name. If Pepsi hadn’t staked their claim early, soft drink detractors could easily have opened a Twitter account using the brand name. As the obvious go-to Twitter identifier for anyone searching for Pepsi’s account, the detractors’ account would have been in a position to do some real damage to the brand. Just ask BP. You’ve invested time, money and energy into building your brand’s reputation. Now’s not the time to neglect it. Better an unused Twitter account reserved in your name than your brand’s social media presence in the hands of someone else. Protect your reputation and stake your company or brand’s social media claim before someone else does.

These four tips cover only the absolute basics. Effective social media requires an investment of time and energy. If you’re not willing to put much effort into social media, you can’t expect it to do miracles for you. But do the minimum, if nothing else. Doctor’s orders.

Photographes 2.0: les médias sociaux, CAPIC et la loi C-32

Œuvrant habituellement dans un monde axé sur le visuel, ils sont de plus en plus nombreux à se soucier de ce que Google et les médias sociaux peuvent faire pour eux. Une cinquantaine de photographes professionnels (et Kevin Parent! bonjour Kevin!) ont participé mardi soir à ma conférence traitant les médias sociaux pour le développement des affaires.  Présentée par l’Association Canadienne des Photographes et des Illustrateurs en Communication (CAPIC) l’activité visait à (continuer à) sensibiliser les photographes aux nouvelles réalités promotionnelles et à faire le survol de ce qui est déjà fait et de ce qui est possible pour les photographes en matière de développement des affaires 2.0.

La discussion s’est enflammée, avec raison, autour de la question des droits d’image/d’auteur. Comment naviguer la vague 2.0 sans donner tout son contenu gratuitement?

Le gouvernement du Canada vient d’annoncer l’illégalité du piratage de musique, de films, d’émissions de télé, de logiciels, de jeux vidéo. Qu’en est-il, donc, des photos de ceux qui ont participé l’autre soir à ma conférence?

Je ne suis pas spécialiste des droits d’auteur, mais j’ai mon idée là dessus. Selon moi, les photographes doivent voir toute publication de matériel sur le web comme ‘teaser’ promotionnel. Tout comme mon blogue sert de carte de visite de mes compétences en matière de relations publiques et de communications numériques, le partage de photos, libre de droits, permet à un photographe de faire preuve de compétence et de donner à des clients éventuels le goût d’avoir accès à l’étendue de ses talents et ce pour leurs propres projets. Ceci suppose, bien sur, que ceux qui utilisent les images des photographes — je pense ici surtout aux journaux — ont la décence de citer leurs sources.

Qu’en pensez-vous?
MAJ: Je vous invite à écouter l’entrevue d’Isabelle Maréchal avec Michelle Blanc sur la loi C-32

Twitter imposters: when it’s better to laugh than to cry

The Montreal twitterverse is all a-buzz this morning. It would seem that Michelle Blanc‘s better half, ‘Bibitte’ as she is nicknamed, has had her identity usurped on Twitter. Which is a little odd, given that she is a discreet person, who, granted, shows up on occasion as a mention in Michelle’s blog, Facebook page and twitter stream. I guess that a mythical aura is developing around her, which must be odd, to say the least.  She has responded by parking her identity on her own Twitter account, and, thanks to validation by Michelle, already has more followers than the fake ‘Bibitte’.

Which reminds me of a hilarious Wire Tap I heard recently. Jonathan Goldstein hunts down and confronts his Twitter imposter.

So I dedicate this blog post to the charming (and real) Bibitte. Enjoy the listen.

Last week on WireTap: My Imposter.

Backlinks exchange: fail

Email received today. I’m sorry, but this is so not cool.

The characters in this blog post are real. Their names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent (and to not give them the satisfaction of a backlink).

How lazy .. and clueless .. can you get?

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