A summer vacation

So it seems I inadvertently took a summer vacation from most things social media! Inadvertently because I didn’t necessarily intend to stop posting on many of my channels over the last couple of months, but I’ll tell you – it was a good thing! Everyone needs to “unplug” once in awhile – it’s good for your heart, soul, marriage, health and, ultimately, even your passion and business.

I’ve still been busy though, but in that long-days-of-summer kind of way! Some highlights:

  • I’ve still been blogging for Destination BC, and if you follow my other blog, Live Love North, you’ll have seen the latest posts there!

    Beer at Three Ranges Brewery in Valemount

    Beer from Three Ranges Brewery in Valemount. I wrote a blog post about this trip for Destination BC’s blog in June. Visit livelovenorth.com to read it!

  • I travelled to Banff for the Canadian Public Relations Society National Conference to accept two awards for a social media campaign I ran at work last year (the highlight, other than the awards, being meeting Scott Stratten!); also travelled to Toronto for the International Association of Business Communicators World Conference to accept a Gold Quill Award in social media for the same campaign!

  • I did a lot of camping around northern BC and down south, where I attended Pemberton Music Festival! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen some great pics from these trips!

  • And finally, I announced the big news… I’m having a baby! Which really explains my absence further, as I suffered made it through the first trimester. But now I’m feeling better and am ready to move forward!

In its typical fashion, September has arrived in a flurry of activity, deadlines and new projects! I’m working on some new projects with new clients, am dedicated to amping up my blogging and am very excited to have been invited to the CPRS Prairie Mini-Conference in Regina on October 3 to present my case study of the award-winning campaign I worked on!

Let’s get back to work, shall we?!

Reflections on the National Summit

Jessica Quinn:

I recently attended the Canadian Public Relations Society National Summit in Banff, AB. Being a new president for my local chapter, I took a lot away from it… here are my reflections, originally posted on the CPRSnorthernlights.com blog.

Originally posted on CPRS Northern Lights:

Now that we’ve all had some time to get home from last week’s CPRS National Summit 2014 in beautiful Banff and settle back into “reality,” I wanted to offer my reflections on the conference and what it means to be the new President of the best little chapter that everyone knows (and loves), Northern Lights.

Banff Springs

The gorgeous setting for our conference, the Fairmont Banff Springs.

This was my third national conference and they keep getting better. The sessions and opportunities to learn are always good of course, but the conference is so much more than that. It occurs to me now that the greatest value in these conferences is the networking, as cliche as that may sound (and I don’t just mean the socializing, of which there was a little, I’ll admit). Our now past national president, Richard Truscott, put it nicely when he referred to the conference as his…

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Upcoming Social Media for Business Workshop

I am so excited to announce that I’ll be teaching a one-day course, “Social Media for Business,” next month! It is a personal goal of mine to get into teaching and more workshop facilitation in the future, and I can’t wait to share some tips with people in Prince George on April 25, and help businesses unlock some of the power of social media. And, I’m so proud to be teaching this at my (first) alma mater, UNBC!

Social media for business | jessicaquinn.ca

My course is through UNBC Continuing Studies and will be a packed day full of social media marketing goodness! I hope that participants will come out of the day with a good grasp on what tools are right for them, and the beginnings of a social media marketing strategy for their own business.

Here’s what participants will learn:

  • What social media platforms and tools are available and right for your business
  • The importance of pre-planning (policies, guidelines and risk assessments)
  • How to develop a social media strategy that aligns with your business goals
  • How to develop content and tell your story
  • Ideas to connect with customers and create online conversations
  • The importance of monitoring and measuring social media efforts
  • How to create social media marketing campaigns
  • Best practices, online etiquette and other considerations

Join me! And please help spread the word about this course. Prince George is a fantastic city and it’s so important that we help our local businesses thrive as best as they can!

Register for the course on the UNBC Continuing Studies site. And if you have things you’d love to see in this course, let me know in the comments below!

Pinterest ‘Pin It’ tip: Clear descriptions every time

A real quick little Pinterest tip for you today! If you’re anything like me, you use the Pinterest “Pin It” browser button like mad when you’re surfing the web. I use it constantly when looking up recipes and reading social media related articles. But it drives me crazy when I hit “Pin It” and the descriptions under all of the photo options that you can pin make no sense or are just gobbledygook (likely the tag or name of the photo when it was uploaded).

Pinterest Pin It tip! jessicaquinn.ca

Some blogs and websites consistently don’t rename their photos as they upload them to a proper name that would appear as a tag, even though it’s a benefit to them as well if they do (I’ll tell you why in a bit).

Pinterest Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

An example of an automatic description that appears with this photo. Obviously we don’t want to pin it as it is!

In the example from Hootsuite’s blog above, they have changed it for two of the photos, but not the one most obvious to pin (ed. note: I do love Hootsuite and their blog; this was just the first one I found when looking for an example!). I’ve seen some that don’t have decent descriptions on any.

If the description is something like pictured above, we obviously don’t want to pin it as is, and I don’t want to have to type in the article title myself (it takes precious seconds, you know!). But there is a solution! And I found this completely randomly one day when I went to copy the title so I could paste it in the description box. If you highlight the title of the article (or whatever you want the description to be if it’s on the page), then click “Pin It”, whatever you highlighted will be the text description in every single photo option to pin. Voila!

Pinterest Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

Highlight the text that you want to be the description of the picture you’re going to pin…

Pinterest Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

…and then hit Pin It!

Doesn’t that look nicer? And will save you time from having to change the description yourself!

Now, on the flip side, if you’re a blogger who wants to make sure your photos come up with a good description when someone pins them, now you’re thinking! You can set it to be whatever you want!

When you upload your photo, make sure you add an alt + tag (see what it looks like in WordPress below). This also helps with SEO for your blog post. If you don’t add your alt text, it defaults to the picture name which is usually not something descriptive enough. You can even go so far as to put your blog title or address in it (like I did), so if people don’t change the Pinterest description (and many don’t) it’ll carry your blog name through.

Pinterest Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

Changing the alt text will change the description of the photo when someone tries to pin it.

My favourite lifestyle/cooking blog, The Londoner (pictured below), does a great job – I didn’t have to highlight or change anything when I tried to pin this article.

Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

The Londoner does a great job tagging their photos with good descriptions.

There. Now if everyone would do this, I’d be a happy gal!

Google+: Adding a Custom URL

As you’ll remember from my 2014 social media resolutions, I plan on putting a lot more effort into Google+ this year. I’ve watched it for a couple years now, but like many people, have never really gotten into the thick of it. It just didn’t offer me what other social media sites were. But I’m determined to “get it” this year, and after spending more time there this last month, I have actually already made some great new connections. So that’s promising.

I’m positive there are others in the same boat as me, so I’d like to share with you what I learn about G+ as I go, no matter how big or small. This post is a little late perhaps, as G+ custom URLs became available last October, but it’s still an important action to take in order to claim your name.

G+ custom URLs are available to people who have had an account for more than 30 days, have more than 10 followers, and have a profile photo. When I was eligible, I received an email, and noticed an alert at the top of my screen when I signed in that said, like this:

Google+ custom URLI clicked “Get URL” and from there the process was simple. Just follow the instructions!

Unfortunately, there was one snag that irritated me. Apparently there are too many “Jessica Quinns” (even though there is no G+ address with just that name) so I was forced to add some extra letters to the end. I couldn’t even insert my middle name between my first and last to match it up with my Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin accounts. And so, my address became https://plus.google.com/+JessicaQuinnBC/ (throwing the “BC” at the end).

Google+ custom URLI settled (only slightly crankily) on the name and moved on.

Google+ custom URLIf you’d like more detailed instructions on how to get your Google+ custom URL, there’s a great step-by-step article on Social Media Today. Give it a shot!

And if we’re not connected yet, find me at https://plus.google.com/+JessicaQuinnBC/ and let’s get exploring Google+ together! Stay tuned for more G+ articles in the future as I learn my way around better! (And if you have great tips, please do share!)