Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, June 5, 2017

"From big corporate to small business"/ "What to do with 'zombie' social media accounts"

Dec. 14, 2016 "From big corporate to small business": Today I found this article by Jessica Leeder in the Globe and Mail:

Having just earned her MBA while working as a financial-services consultant for a large firm in Toronto, Aneta Filiciak did something unexpected.
She turned her back on big corporate.

Despite years of experience with large companies – PwC Canada, Capco and the Bank of Montreal – Ms. Filiciak had her sights set on working for a small business she could have a big impact on and feel passionate about. A hobbyist photographer, she was delighted when she landed a position with 500px, a small online photography community and marketplace. The 65-person company created a new position to land her.

“When I joined, I had years of experience in the industry I had been in. I felt pretty confident that I was knowledgeable,” she said, adding that one of her first lessons was just how much she didn’t know about her new environment.

“There were so many things I had to learn. … I get challenged here every single day,” she said, adding: “There is the sense that if you don’t perform, that failure will impact the company dramatically. You are really essential and you feel that in a small organization.”

Employees who have left large corporations say working for a small business is drastically different from their previous workplace experiences. While every small business is unique, they tend to have more elastic roles and less support, which can result in both stresses and opportunities for employees.

“When I was on the corporate side, I didn’t find that it allowed people to succeed based on the results they’d produce,” Ms. Filiciak said. “They needed to stay on the clear, linear path that was traditional for a specific role. It was quite limiting … and very difficult to make the jump into a different role,” she said, adding: “I certainly appreciate the opportunity to do that here.”

After six months in her original project-management role with 500px, Ms. Filiciak helped create a new product and revenue stream. She ultimately shifted into a new – and unexpected – role to oversee its development.

For Alexis Scott, director of strategic partnerships for Digital AdLab, a 10-person company that provides digital advertising training, the opportunities to stretch across roles is integral to her sense of fulfilment. “Working for a small business, you advance in your knowledge and your career so much faster than someone who works on one single job or task at a bigger place. You don’t really have a choice,” said Ms. Scott, whose background includes a stint at the advertising giant Ogilvy.

“You have to be someone who wants to think outside the box. You want to be able to expand and grow. You don’t want to have one role and just that role,” she said.

That dynamic isn’t the right fit for everyone, though. One young worker in Eastern Ontario found he became incredibly stressed after leaving a corporate job to join a small company with about a dozen employees. The worker – who didn’t want to reveal his name as he is currently employed with the company – has had to juggle several roles during periods of employee turnover. As a result, he says he’s suffering from depression that he directly links to the new job.

“Sometimes I couldn’t meet the expectations of filling those shoes and to go through that was really crippling to my confidence,” the worker said. “It became a vicious circle: I needed confidence to perform well but my boss was giving me negative feedback on a constant basis. It just made me perform worse.”

He says he regrets not asking questions about how to handle conflict with the company’s owner before he signed on. “I never really thought to ask. I was so focused on the vibe. But there’s no HR in place, no board of directors. There is just one boss,” he said.

Lisa Taylor, president of Challenge Factory, a Toronto-based career-management firm, said employees considering a jump to small business need to understand what they hope to get out of it.

“Being clear about what career criteria is important to you and where you are willing to make compromises will help guide you,” she said. “Small business moves at a fast pace. Owners, especially if there is a single owner, can change direction or make quick decisions and you need to be able to participate in that type of environment,” she said.

The nimbleness of MacPhie & Company, a boutique consulting firm with six employees, is what attracted Christi Mertens, who had spent most of her career at large companies.

“What I’ve found refreshing is that if someone has a good idea, it happens here. You can effect change in a small organization,” she said. “If I tried to do that [in a larger organization] it would take months to get a committee together, get buy-in, and even then you’d have to tempt them with a free pizza lunch.”

Ms. Mertens also said she appreciates working with like minds. “There are bell curves in large companies – not everybody can be at the top and not everyone fits the bill. In small organizations, you don’t survive long if you don’t fit. Here, you roll up your sleeves to get things done. You can’t call the IT guy, you can’t call HR,” she said. “You’re rewarded for how resourceful you are.”

Jan. 4, 2017 "What to do with ‘zombie’ social media accounts": Today I found this Avery Swartz in the Globe and Mail:

If your small business has been in operation for a number of years, you’ve likely seen a few social media channels rise (and fall) in popularity. As each one is unveiled, it brings the promise of being “the hot new thing” and you might be tempted to sign up for an account so you don’t miss out. Small businesses feel pressure to be everywhere online, and staying active on multiple platforms with limited resources can be exhausting and overwhelming. Many inevitably fall behind and are left with social media accounts that are digital zombies – they’re not dead, but they’re certainly not alive.

Elena Yunusov, founder and head marketer at Communicable Inc., says that “when I work with clients I usually do an audit of their digital presence, and I see this a lot. When you dabble in everything, sooner or later you’ll see some [social media] channels giving more return on investment than others, and then it becomes about basic measurement.

How much energy and time are you putting into it, and how much revenue are you generating (or gaining returns in some other way, like community or awareness, that matters to your business)? Then you kill everything else, because when you’re a small business, you just can’t afford fat.”

If you’re thinking about killing off a social media channel, here are some things to consider:

Is it a good fit for your brand?

In their 2016 Canadian Social Media Monitor study, Insights West published key trends in Canada’s social media landscape. Each of the major social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Tumblr) are unique, often attracting a distinct demographic of users and offering different ways to communicate.

Yunusov encourages her clients to study each channel, focusing on the platforms that are the best fit for them and the customers or clients they’re trying to reach. “Some [social media channels] make more sense than others, depending on the business. You really need to just know where your people hang out. You go where the fish are,” she explains.

Tally your investment

Social media can be a time suck, and small businesses spend hours maintaining their different channels. Track your time to see where your efforts are being invested. Measure that investment against the returns that each platform offers you in order to identify inefficiencies and make informed decisions about whether to continue with a social media channel or not.

Gather (and measure) the data

Study the analytics that each social media platform offers, but beware of too much information. “There is such a thing as too much data, especially for small business,” Yunusov says. “In a sea of data, it’s very easy to drown. You over-track, over-think and over-analyze, taking you away from measuring what really matters.”

Yunusov encourages organizations to focus on two or three key indicators of effectiveness and ignore the rest. How do you determine which metrics matter to your business? “It depends how you measure success. If your success metric is traffic to your site, for example, then that’s what you look at. Maybe it’s revenue, maybe you only care about conversions. Other things may not matter at all,” she says.

Beware of “vanity metrics” like number of followers or potential reach. Yunusov explains, “I measure for relevance more than scale. You can buy scale, you can buy followers. You need depth more than you need scale. The number of people you can potentially reach doesn’t really give me the metrics I need.”

Prepare for the kill

It’s not easy to pull the trigger and kill a social media channel, especially if you’ve gathered some followers on the platform. But if it truly isn’t achieving your goals and hitting your targets, it needs to go, and the approaching year-end is a great time to clean house. There’s no right or wrong way to quit a social media channel. You can just shut it down, or if the platform allows you to message your followers, you could tell them to connect with you on another channel or direct them to your website and e-mail address. If they really want to find you, they will.

Ultimately, being disciplined is the most important. Yunusov stresses, “You’ve gotta have blinders on and focus is key. Because your energy is not unlimited. At the end of the day, what people need is a really good product or a really good service, and an open channel so they can find you and engage with you in an easy way. We know people are overwhelmed by information anyway, so you being on every channel, you’re adding to that environment. Which is not a healthy environment.”

Avery Swartz is a tech expert and founder of Camp Tech, which offers short tech workshops for non-technical people.


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