Get Filthy Clean #5KFoamFest

5K Foam Fest Moving Across Canada

July 11th, 2016

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Believe me – It is FUN !

Ok, I must admit, when I first got the call from Jesse Fulton at 365Sports “an enthusiast for adventure and action sports” asking me to chat with him about public relations and social media for their 5K Foam Fest; I was lacking a little on knowledge of this particular “race scene”. But…after spending some time with the team and taking in the event first hand at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia, I am a believer. And my gosh, is it fun.

Yes, after a few months of working with the team at 365Sports, I have come to have a great deal of respect and admiration for what they are executing in 14 stops from the west coast to Atlantic this summer in Canada. People are hopping off their couches, leaving their “devices” at the “gear check” and experiencing one heck of a fun event.

The event is also partnered with Habitat for Humanity and all proceeds from the Gear Check go to the local chapeter of @Habitat

The 5K Foam Fest is a fun-filled day of “participation” that puts fun seekers of all ages in a challenge against 20+ obstacles, a lot of foam, and some personal challenges. It is not a competition. It is all about completing the course. And…complete it as you see fit. If you don’t like the obstacle, go around it ! The minimum age is 8 years old, and teams are made up of all ages, families, workers, colleagues, fitness enthusiasts and some who are just simply seeking to accomplish a personal challenge set out by the 5K Foam Fest course.

I had the pleasure of visiting the festival event at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia near Kamloops British Columbia. I also had the opportunity to walk the course and witness the fun and frolic of participants as they faced their obstacles, mud, foam, hurdles and water! Walk Ferg ? Well yes, I had work to do…smiles.

The obstacles are plentiful as you leave from the starting gate moving your way cautiously through the foam that surrounds you. Here is a quick photo collage of  “the course” during the Sun Peaks 5K Foam Fest in British Columbia in June 2016. I have also included a couple of shots from the Winnipeg event.

The Course

The starting gate is quite a remarkable experience to witness as participants queue up behind the foam ready to lunge forward into the engulfing light white foam that awaits them.

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A chamber of foam awaits participants after a quick run out of the starting gate.

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There are several obstacles set up to test the crawling ability of participants. Many choose to crawl under, but some choose to be more cautious and step over the awaiting web.

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Several water stations re-hydrate participants along the course.

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Many are in awe by the awaiting “mud” obstacles. The Mocha pit and Mud Crawl were two beauties !

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The tube crossing looks easy…but a mud bath can easily consume the fun seekers.

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Several “run and dives” welcome participants with a slope into foam and wetness.

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A log roll like foam filled obstacle is unnerving as folks try to slip and slide over the rounded logs covered in foam.

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Mud pits abound…this one was particularly interesting with snow piled on each side of the obstacle.

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The Lily Pads look so easy to cross but have been known to snag participants at the ankles dragging them into the water below.

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Monkey business seems pretty standard but can be quite the challenge at this stage of the #5KFoamFest experience.

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Foam brings smiles to faces along the way in at various obstacle stops.

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Up and over never seemed like so much fun.

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At the 3/4 mark, the body washer is a welcoming refresher for participants.

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A large version of a standard hurdle makes for a quick climb.

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The “Death Drop” has them screaming down the slide on this “world largest” inflatable slide.

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Naturally, there is still “more foam” as participants near the finish line.

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Much joy of accomplishment is seen on the faces of those completing the course and being awarded their towels and medals.

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Each course is fully equipped with showers to freshen up at the end of a wonderful #5KFoamFest experience.

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And…if you have not had enough of a thrill through the course, you can always experience “Sky Fall” on site !

All in all the #5KFoamFest produced by the team @365Sports is an experience worth taking in this summer. Be sure to check and see which stop you might experience as the team travels coast to coast this summer in Canada. Check it all out at www.5KFoamFest.ca

Be sure to tweet all about your experience @FoamFestCanada. We’ll be waiting to hear about your experience. Or join the over one hundred and fifty thousand fans now following the team on Facebook.

Have an awesome summer !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Sunnybrook Field of Dandilions

I Walk for Bladder Cancer

May 4th, 2016

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We all have our causes, our not for profits, our charities, our volunteer involvements and our community engagement initiatives. One of my priorities is Bladder Cancer Canada. In early 2014 I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. Thanks to an attentive general practitioner, whom I had seen for years, and a wiseacupuncturistt, whom I had also seen for years – I was referred to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Urology. I had two high grade non-muscle invasive tumours removed from my Bladder in March of 2014. Bladder Cancer is known to have a high incidence of recurrence, thus I have maintained regular three month check ups and a series of “BCG Treatments” since surgery.

I am a survivor of Bladder Cancer. I was also well informed and supported along my journey by the fine work of the Bladder Cancer Canada organization. They had strong and accessible resources, and people who had gone through this before me. For patients, that peer support and understanding ear and person to turn to is a wonderful opportunity to seize.

As a patient facing Bladder Cancer, and I’m sure any cancer or disease – one can feel quite alone in the battle. Bladder Cancer Canada certainly helped eliminate any risk of feeling alone through their tremendous support network.

In September of 2014 I organized a walk for Bladder Cancer Canada in Kenora, where we have our summer home. I joined the board of Bladder Cancer Canada in the spring of 2015, staged the second walk in Kenora in September of 2015 and then accepted the challenge of becoming National Walk Lead for Bladder Cancer’s September 2016 effort.

I walk because I know that the funds that I raise with you will make a difference. It will make a difference in supporting patients and caregivers. It will make a difference in raising awareness to help others get help early. It will make a difference by generating funds to channel for bladder cancer research.

I walk because bladder cancer is the fourth most prevalent cancer amongst men, twelfth amongst women but funded below twentieth in research funding.

I am walking because I know that my efforts, with you – will make a difference.

Please join with me in supporting the Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness Walk in 2016. You can register, volunteer and or donate at bccwalk.ca .

Thanks !  @FergDevins

PHOTO CREDIT – Clark Devins Photography

#ShowYellow

Bladder Cancer Month of May

May 1st, 2016

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It is #BadderCancer Month in Canada. The Board of Directors of Bladder Cancer Canada have declared the month of May as Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness month. Although things are kicking off in a rather modest way this year, we are calling upon our volunteers, patients, families, urologists, oncologists, nurses, general practitioners and the public at large to join with us to bring attention and awareness to this fifth most prevalent cancer in Canada.

Some of the milestones this month will include a May 6th lighting of Niagara Falls in yellow, with a touch of red. On May 14th the CN Tower in Toronto will be lit yellow, with a touch of red. BC Place will also be lighting up yellow, with a touch of red at some point during the month.

I am personally proud to shout out the #BladderCancer awareness activity as a bladder cancer survivor myself. I had two non-muscle invasive tumours removed in March of 2014 and have been diligently carrying out my follow up cystoscopies and BCG treatments, since surgery. I’m now at a “six month” check in protocol and so far “all clear”. I’ve taken the active step of getting involved with Bladder Cancer Canada as a board member and in a new role this year as National Walk Lead

YOU can help us this month by wearing yellow as part of our #ShowYellow effort to raise awareness coast to coast to coast in Canada for #BladderCancer. Feel free to retweet @BladderCancerCA or post on Facebook. We also have local Facebook pages in the twenty walk communities across the country. You can also gain more information about Bladder Cancer in Canada at www.bladdercancercanada.org.

Thanks for helping us gain great awareness for Bladder Cancer. And for wellness sake, if you See Red – See Your Doctor !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork 

PHOTO CREDIT: Special Thanks to Cory McCrindle for his Photograph of Jamieson Fregeau during the 2014 Walk in Kenora Ontario

Natural Network

Get Your Network Working

April 23rd, 2016

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A Network

This visual from the Sunnybrook Trails in Toronto reminded me of our structure of social networks. Roots that sink deeply into the forest bed, paths that wind in different directions. Branches that spread out in many directions with various twigs and buds emerging. Some branches overlapping, interchanging, seemingly collaborating. In the distance, blue skies of opportunity. All held together in its own eco system and community networks.

Have Purpose

The social networking world can seem to some to be very ominous. I’m also convinced that, regardless of age or stage of life, everyone can benefit from the right social network designed for the individual with a purpose in mind.

If you think of your current role and how you might benefit from a stronger use of social network, you might be pleasantly surprised at what nuggets of opportunity arise. Even if there is not a “role” for you in a formal context. Think of your interests, your passions, your dreams, your travel, former friends and colleagues, the old home town.

Let’s think of a few examples of purposeful social networking

Possibilities of Purpose

Professionals, Business Folks, Not for Profit Leaders, Students seeking a new job opportunity in the work force, Mid-Career changing Individuals, Community Leaders; the one sure place that you need to be networking is LinkedIN. LinkedIN offers a world of connectivity and an opportunity to lay your profile out in a very professional setting. You have the ability to join groups, search conversations and interests and even take a peek at their constantly updated job boards. A sure bet for professional networking.

If you travel, TripAdvisor is just such a wonderfully rich catch of information, reviews, suggestions, photos and interesting insights from those who have gone before you. Once you’ve seen the power of TripAdvisor you might like to add your own reviews to help others in the pursuit of travel insights.

Quilters may find great opportunities to connect via Pinterest or Instagram as they share the joys of the various works of art. Extend that to any number of artists and their communities.

Artists may also find the outlet of blogging a wonderful way to express their works of art and bring attention to their creative genius and works. I use WordPress but there are many platforms to assess for blogging. There are also a lot of web design tools. Frankly, I’m just not that technically suited so I had the folks at JIB create my website.

Those in public service or community influence are likely to find that the news feed benefit and keyword search and #hashtags on Twitter is an easy wasy to keep an eye on what’s new. It’s no surprise that just about every news cast and newscaster has resorted to profiling their Twitter handles, when reporting the day’s news.

I would suggest that anyone can find a purposeful advantage on Facebook. Facebook is just so large and far reaching. Who can deny that there might be a place with a number of different purposes to engage. Whether you create your own group, with specific interests and privacy – a page for a specific cause or undertaking – an event in your community where you can create a special event and invitation page – or perhaps a page for your business or cause. Facebook also provides a very reasonable “boost” to pay for advertising and targeting those within the Facebook world that you might like to reach.

Google+ is terrific for building a following and community and grouping within specific interests. Google has a wonderful set of applications and suite of business tools including a special drive, google alerts, YouTube etc. Google Apps for work is a great place to check out tools for your business.

Speaking of YouTube, you might well have your own collection of moments; or your own special stories to tell via video and collect them on your own YouTube channel. YouTube is also such a huge resource to find out how to do just about anything. From learning to play your favourite tune on the piano, to building something of interest for your home or cottage – you’ll find it all on YouTube – get in there and search something out!

If you are just looking to “listen”, you might find Blab or Periscope or Vine applications of interest to you on a given subject matter. You can participate, or just watch and listen. Video is just simply a powerful way to communicate. The one “caution” is not to make it too long. In my humble opinion, you’ll lose the viewer after a few minutes max (if recorded, different if live streaming of course).

One more network that you will find is more youth oriented, for the time being that is. Until the parental units catch on to how much is being communicated via this platform (smiles)  SnapChat. SnapChat offers a quick, casual, easy way to keep in touch and share photos, collections or quick videos with friends “in the moment”. There are also a number of ongoing features and newsfeeds through SnapChat.

In closing, don’t forget that your email and contact list continues to serve as a critical foundation of your social network. Keep those contacts neat and tidy. Keep them updated with today’s relevant information. Attempt to include social networks along with phone and address. You’ll find fax numbers less important and Twitter Profiles more use today. Along with your email service there are a number of email tools to utilise for list outreach and campaigns. Mail Chimp and Constant Contact are just two of many services available.

Get Your NetworkWorking

All in this is just a nudge for you to get that network working.

Whatever your interest, passion, cause or focus – there is bound to be information, people and learning that you can find and network with, across the social channels.

Have fun engaging. If you need more direction or support, I’d be happy to chat further on some ideas best suited to you and your business or cause.  Ciao for now !  FERG @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Orkney Beef

Calling All Farmers To Social Network

March 21st, 2016

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Farmers ? Yes you bet !

I had the privilege of speaking at the Central Ontario Agricultural Conference a few weeks back and was very intrigued by the opportunity that exists for the farming sector in social media.

In a room of close to 40 people, I was first struck by how people were reluctant to see themselves as being engaged in “social media”. I was quick to remind them that prior to the formal channels of social media, they were likely some of the pioneers and drivers of what social was all about. Let’s face it, the traditional weekend “farmers’ market” is a pretty long-standing weekend “social” event for their business.

Farmers’ Market – It’s Social

If you take the concept of farmers’ market to the web – you have a wonderful platform for Farmers in Social Media.

I was also intrigued by the number of people in the audience (farmers as well as a collection of other small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs) who fully embraced the need for a website – but had not necessarily considered multiple channels in their social networks. It seemed to me like people felt that the website got their story out there. Where I see opportunity is telling the story through the utilization of social networking.

Start with Purpose

Naturally my first two premises for engaging in social media are:

A – Have a purpose for getting into social media and

B – ensure that you are going to commit to what resources you will need to do it well.
Please don’t do it because you read this prompt, and certainly don’t do it because someone said you should be on Twitter. YOU need to truly feel that building social networking into your marketing and word of mouth plan is done with purpose and outcome identified.

Some Examples

So Farmers? If you consider that many farms today rely on a mix of wholesale and consumer direct sales, there is a wonderful opportunity through social networks to get closer to and engaged with their audience. Depending on the farm product, there are quite possibly many audiences that already exist in farming. This article from BEEF back in 2012 was clearly pointing to the opportunity for cattle ranchers. Here is another great article from Australia that talks about livestock opporutnities in social media. It does speak a little bit about social media taking over traditional channels. I’m not going to get into that debate. What I will say is that social media can serve a role, within your overall integrated communications strategy. Another article compares how articles of the past in a specific trade magazine related to corn can be applied to how you converse through social media. The point being made here is about developing “trust”. “Agriculture More Than Ever” has some terrific resources for telling the agricultural story.

Find Your Conversation

One real advantage of social media is that you are actually engaging in a conversation. Let me re-phrase that. One of the opportunities of social media is that you can actually start to engage in a conversation. Through conversation, you can get to know your customer, supplier or associates. Through conversation, you will understand each others’ needs better. Through conversation, you will start to build trust and understanding. Isn’t it true that we tend to buy from those we trust? This is an advantage of social media for the farm community.

Accept the Nudge

So, I am calling all farmers to social media. Take a look at your online presence. See how you are performing in your particular category. How are your competitors showing up in this social media space? What are your customers saying about your business in this space? What conversations are taking place now on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram or through video posts on YouTube that you should consider being part of.

Here to Help

If you’d like a little coaching on these questions, I’m ready willing and able to help you out. Cheers to the next conversation that you find yourself in and I hope that it moves you towards new growth in your business. @FergDevins  @DevinsNetwork

possible

Conversation for Transformation

February 9th, 2016

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Transformation

One often hears people speaking about transforming their business. However, I find that in many situations, when people speak about transformation, they are really only looking at incremental change. Big ideas are conjured up at the start, however – “a little more of this, a little more of that, another one of these” are the results. In my mind, transformation is more about bold and remarkable shifts for a business, cause, team or entity. In transformation, teams can truly embrace what they currently feel is impossible. They can make what seemed impossible – possible.

Create New Ways

If I visualize this concept, I can see something that is beyond one’s reach. The reach is because it is defined by how things are currently done, what knowledge is available, what restrictions that business or leadership has placed on themselves. Reach is determined by a number of limiting variables. We often hear that Albert Einstein referred to insanity as, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Leaders in business refer to expectations being insane, because the goals and expectations are layered on top of “more of the same” in strategic approach and execution.

Many businesses work tirelessly in devising their annual or long range plans. The work diligently to create compelling visions and determination of reaching new heights and goals. BUT, they set those new targets and lofty goals with the foundation of their business activity being more of the same. Great new advances can’t possibly be achieved, if something is not transformed at the base.

Transformation takes hard work. Transformation takes alignment, commitment and a shift in thinking. Transformation requires a fresh future outlook, not caught in the past practice or thinking. New ways of strategizing, approaching, thinking and doing need to be created. It is not for those who cling on to the past. It is about a bright new future and embracing that future.

Let’s Have A Conversation

If I have peaked your interest, I have a team that you should consider speaking with in meeting your needs. I’m working with an innovative team that is developing their business in Canada. Their business is all about transformation. I have seen their work in action. I have experienced and wintessed the impact that they have delivered for various businesses. They’ve got an intensive interactive workshop model that can be delivered in the board room, at any level in an organization, or at the street. We need to have a conversation; whether you are a large corporation, medium sized business, entrepreneur looking to land that big idea OR a not for profit, cause, team or enterprise that seems stuck in the mud.

I promise that they will make a difference in delivering truly transformational opportunities and possibilities for your business. If you would like to learn more about this team, I would like to engage with you in that conversation. Let’s set some time aside to talk about truly transforming your business, department, team or cause – and taking you to a new height of accomplishment.

Please contact me

Please send an email to ferg@thedevinsentwork.com to start this conversation. Or, follow me below and send a direct message.

2016 could be your most amazing year yet. Let’s get that started with a conversation between us now. I look forward to hearing from you.

FERG DEVINS @FergDevins  @DevinsNetwork

#BellLetsTalk

Today #BellLetsTalk

January 27th, 2016

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Today is the magnificent day dedicated to #BellLetsTalk – January 27th, 2016. It is one day where we are encouraged  to think about Mental Health and to “talk the talk” when it comes to being open to learning more and being supportive of those who may have a need.

Fundamental to “talk” is listening. If we listen with an open ear and open mind to family, friends, neighbours, co-workers – or even a passer by, who may appear to be in need; WE can truly make a difference. Their appearance may not be what triggers you. They may “look fine”. It is in their words or their body language where you will pick up a sense of need through your listening.

By listening for that mental health need, we may offer support to someone who may be reluctant to reach out. By listening and being open to hear and understand that someone is in need – we help remove the stigma. You help get them through the discomfort of raising their issue with you.

Someone facing a mental health issue hasn’t done anything wrong. Only through listening and then being open to supporting them can we help that person in need understand that it is ok to speak up and be supported. Give them comfort to open up and express themselves.

Being open to listening for someone struggling with something in their mind, can and will make a difference. By pretending that everything is ok, and it’s “not my issue” is not helping. If you felt that they were in despair, would you not want to help out? Check in with them, listen for their need.

On this #BellLetsTalk day, be open to listen for that opportunity to help someone in your circle or community. It may be someone close to you. It may be someone you pass on the street. It may be someone posting something on line in a network looking for support. By listening for these conversations in need of support…we can truly make a difference.

Thanks for listening, and being a pillar of support in your community. Thanks for supporting more openess in Mental Health. Let’s take the “I” out of illness and replace it with a “WE” for wellness !

@FergDevins  @DevinsNetwork

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Call To Action by 365 Sports Inc

January 7th, 2016

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Words come to mind…slip, slide, run, mud, jump, skip, crawl, roll, dive, climb, dodge, stretch, lift, manoeuver, fun, foam…

It is all part of the action packed agenda of 365 Sports. If you’re following their vision and efforts, you know that they are delivering action packed events coast to coast for all ages to enjoy. The details, on how to literally jump into this action are on their web site at the 365 Group.

I will declare up front that 365 Sports is a client, and one that we are delighted to be supporting in corporate storytelling and promoting a number of their upcoming 2016 events. These folks mean business and their business is fun through action sports in a community near you. What a great way to get all ages of Canadians moving.

They are a rather interesting collection of characters too! Former head of marketing and communications at Sony Canada, Tony Smith (Big T) moved to the shores of Georgian Bay after leaving the corporate world. In an unconventional pairing, he went into business with his polar opposite, Jesse Fulton (Fultron), a young former professional snowboarder and Olympic coach. Together they have a passion to get Canadians active through a series of action-packed events.

When you visit Tony and Jesse at their headquarters in Meaford Ontario, it is an explosion of energy in their personalities and in what they have created. Their team matches their business outlook and is just as dedicated to getting you off the couch to have a good time. Just look at their office with table tennis and a motorcycle to blow off steam or to get creative juices flowing.

TonySmith Anncouncement

Along with some truly exciting events in 2016, including 5K FOAMFEST and THE URBAN SLIDE CANADA, 365 Sports has secured the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships to be hosted and run (literally) at the Blue Mountain Resort in October of 2016. It’s a great weekend to host this world class event with over 5000 athletes from more than 30 countries descending on the Blue Mountains. Being held on the weekend following Canadian Thanksgiving, the colours of the Bruce-Grey-Simcoe region are surely to be a welcome hue for participants from around the globe.

So, choose your event! Get active and join the movement! At 365 Sports they live it, they love it, and they want you to join them. We’ll be shouting their story from the hilltops and trenches coast to coast to coast. @FergDevins  @DevinsNetwork

 

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Employees On Social Media Networks

January 2nd, 2016

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I’m often asked about how companies and employees work together in “social networks”. There is a wide range from restrictive, to total trust. Some companies may still feel that social networks are not a place for their employees to be a voice for their business. I actually think that this approach is one that misses real opportunity for business. Employees can be ambassadors, envoys, supporters, promoters of business through their social networks. Moving from a constrained and restrictive policy driven approach, one moves to the other end of the scale where the business expectation is that employees will just “be smart”. By being smart they converse and participate in social networks by being polite, factual, friendly, neighbourly and helpful. An employee speaking about their employer, business, brand or not for profit in this context; can only help build a positive reputation for the business. I know that the folks at Molson Coors (former employer) have also adopted the use of Post Beyond . It is a wonderful platform that is based on encouraging employee advocacy for one’s business. A series of social posts are created to amplify through employee social networks. Employees are also encouraged to create their own posts. Now that’s progressive !

As employees and employers consider collaborating through social networks, I offer up these ten tips to help you generate corporate and community goodwill through these emerging channels.

Top 10 Social Media Tips for Employees

Transparency

  1. Be aware of your association with your company in social networks. Is it evident ? Are you actually using your business in your profile…@AndyorAmyBusiness ?

State your role

  1. Identify yourself—if you and your employer have agreed that you are going to be an ambassador in social media, let people know your real relationship to the business. This will help establish what information you can share, within your knowledge and scope of your role in the business.

Content Context

  1. If you are posting something that is not in the voice of, or on behalf of the company, let people know. It may not be necessary to state “opinions here are my own and not representative of my employer”…but that is essentially the context that you will want to establish. Remember, you may be seen as speaking for the company. Setting the record straight is important.

Fact Based

  1. Use good judgment and strive for accuracy and fact based information. Social networks often turn up the noise on debate and opinion. You are best to engage from a place of fact, rather than subjectivity and personal opinion. Detractors can shoot holes in opinion but it is difficult to dispute the facts.

Legal

  1. Obey the law. Don’t post any information or conduct any online activity that may violate applicable provincial or federal laws or regulations, including copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws. Make sure your brand folks or internal counsel are ok with the way you represent images or assets.

Confidentiality

  1. Be sure that what you are posting is not commercially sensitive material. That new brand launch or organizational announcement in a few weeks is likely something that your communications team should lead. Hey…when it is public…they’d likely love to have you share it for them…when it is public.

Be respectful

  1. Respect your audience. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in your workplace. You should also show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as politics and religion. If you show respect, you will likely be shown respect in return.

Inform, Don’t attack

  1. Avoid personal attacks, online fights, and hostile personalities – there is simply nothing to be gained by entrenching with “trolls” on issues. Social ping pong has little added value on an issue, for either party.

Interesting Stuff

  1. Add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective in your social posts. No doubt your business, community cause, or not for profit has some interesting news or information to share that is of value to your audience. Share it !

When to call support

  1. If your social engagement turns to something more “official”, involving members of the media, competition or industry affairs – you are likely best to quickly engage the official spokesperson in your business for a response. Keep your social networking light and lively and relevant to what you are truly confident and authorized to speak about.

I hope this helps ease the way for you and your employer to be more active in social networks. If you’d like to chat further about tips and thoughts feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @FergDevins or @DevinsNetwork. Cheers !

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays and a Year in Review

December 19th, 2015

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#Happy Holidays

Wishing you and yours the very best for happy holidays this festive season. 2015 was quite a fascinating year for the Devins Network. Thanks to our “associates” for a great year of accomplishment. Your efforts are truly appreciated ! Merci tous. We are also mindful that many are experiencing difficulties, at this time of year. Let’s make an effort to comfort those in need, both physically and mentally.

Thanking Our Clients 

Molson Coors remains central to our business as we support the oldest continuously operating brewery in the America’s with a number of initiatives. It was also a milestone year for the founding Molson Family as seventh generation family member Geoff Molson assumed the gavel for the next two years as Chairman of the company. We wrapped up our coast to coast to coast National Tour #CenturyTour with Hockey Canada. It was truly an awesome experience and such an honour and pleasure to work with this magnetically powerful brand in our country. The team at Hockey Canada headquarters, the grassroots organization and those players that play for the @HockeyCanada brand are to be toasted for the wonderful past time they perpetuate as Canada’s Game. Into the summer months it was terrific to lend a hand to the folks at Casey’s in Kenora with their news of sale and new horizons. Wishing everyone there a terrific holiday season full of fine food and responsible drinking. Our friends at Trespass Canada continue to build their brand across Canada at retail. We were delighted to assist with their voice and profile in social networks through 2015. It was a pleasure continuing to work with the fine folks at InMarket on a number of initiatives throughout the year. No doubt their plans for NBA hospitality in the new year with MLSE will be a much talked about venue. @HealthHarmonies continues to grow at a frenetic pace as they provide care to those in need of pain relief and quick recovery. Jackie and Kim have a terrific studio happening in Newmarket and are building quite a following. It was a unique opportunity in Fort Frances to work with the Economic Development team in engaging conversation about all things “social networks” for Main Street and small town businesses. Main street businesses across this great land have great opportunities for their businesses by embracing what might be possible, through social network deployment. We worked with a few political campaigns through various elections this year. There are certainly a lot of untapped possibilities for elected officials to pursue through truly engaging in harvesting their social networks.

Supporting our Community

On the philanthropic front I had some wonderful conversations with young aspiring professionals through Ten Thousand Coffees. I enjoyed these mentoring conversations in assisting youth in pursuing their dreams. It was a pleasure to have served on the Vimy Foundation dinner committee – particularly as we get closer to the major celebrations at Vimy in 2017. Karen and Jerry at KIM continue to have a winning fundraising model – congrats ! I have been proud to continue to serve on the Greenwood College School Board of Directors. The new building under construction will be transformational for the school as they continue to build character through their staff and students. I led the Bladder Cancer Awareness Walk in Kenora again this year, with thanks to my  network coast to coast to coast raising almost $100,000 through the Kenora Walk cumulatively the past two years – supporting an overall accomplishment of over $505,000 nationally this year. As a member of the Board of Directors of Bladder Cancer Canada – I have accepted the task of National Walk Lead heading into 2016. I look forward to keeping up the momentum established by previous Lead Ken Bagshaw.I also have the pleasure of serving on the Communications Committee for Bladder Cancer Canada and appreciate the fine work carried out by suppliers at Raisin for the Walk site, Re-Shift Media for Facebook tools, Volterra for ongoing community management and LMA Communications for website oversight and development. I’m also fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful volunteers at Bladder Cancer Canada. A team that I am proud to be part of.

The Seventh “Maybe Annual” Coney Island Music Festival was another smashing hit. Bill and Deb Wallace, Michael and Cheryl O’Flaherty and our team of volunteers look forward to the eighth “Maybe Annual” Sunday July 24th, 2016. I had the pleasure of presenting at Kenora Rotary in September acknowledging what it takes to create and sustain a volunteer based free event that draws 1600 people to Coney Island on Lake of the Woods each summer.

Coaching, Counsel and Giving

I enjoyed meeting with the leadership at Food for the Poor and lending a few hours of counsel as they build their board for the future. Apathy Is Boring can take a bow for helping to get the youth vote out in 2015. They’ve got a terrific proposition and no doubt they will continue with great momentum with elections to follow. I enjoyed speaking with Ottawa U Alumni on “social networking” in autumn 2015. As an “alumni parent” it was a pleasure to engage with the Dean of the Telfer School and guests. Jack.org continues to ply an important path in engaging youth and raising awareness for those facing mental health issues. Hats off to Eric Windeler – Sandra Hanington and team for your efforts, in memory of Jack. It is also a pleasure to lend support to the Making Waves Ottawa team. Helena Devins continues her volunteerism with this organization and we are proud to support these efforts in helping challenged youth learn how to swim.

Supporting Social Cast of Characters

I so appreciate the work of Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch and all that they do through their work at Owner Media. I also enjoy keeping updated on all things “communications” through the inspiring works of Jay Baer, Christopher Penn, Ryan Deiss, Ian Cleary, Tod Maffin, Jamie Turner, Josh Turner, John Nemo, Amber Ludwig-Vilhauer and James Altucher. Some good reading amongst that crew ! Lou Clements, a true friend and a pro at career counselling. If you’re at that stage, be sure to check his services out. Thanks also to David and Cornelius at JIB for our site re-design this year…simpler – better…smiles. Last, not least – Rob Campbell and his SEO expertise.

Towards 2016

What will 2016 bring !? We can all work hard to play a part for greater #peace in our world. We are so fortunate to live in Canada, with our tolerance for differences and acceptance of such magnificent diversity. The Devins Network looks forward to working with our existing clients and on new opportunities that will come our way in the new year. We will continue to foster goodwill and strong sense of community. Wishing you and yours the very best. Happy Holidays ! @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork