7 Social Media Takeaways from Vancouver Executives

Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting our second #YVRSocial Executive Challenge with executives from Vancity, Purdy’s Chocolates, and the City of Vancouver. The event (which sold out again!) gathered over 120 marketers, educators, business owners, and social media enthusiasts.

#YVRSocial Event

#YVRSocial Event

I moderated a panel with Darwin Sauer, VP of Digital at Vancity, Jhenifer Pabillano, Social Media Strategist at City of Vancouver, and Michelle Harper, National Marketing Manager at Purdy’s Chocolatier. There were lots of conversations off and online (in fact, 3M+ Twitter impressions, which caused the event to trend throughout the night!)

Here are my key takeaways: 


1. Content Creation & Resource Allocations Remain a Key Challenge for Social Media Teams

It’s important to develop content which is attractive, engaging, and on-brand. This takes time and valuable resources. Your boss may want to create the perfect image, but is it all worth it? We scroll through our Instagram feeds so quickly and we spend only a few seconds on each image.


2. Content Planning Is A Journey

It was interesting to hear each organization’s answer to “What does your content calendar look like?” Purdy’s seemed to have a pretty detailed calendar encompassing key brand messages and promotions. However, City of Vancouver, given the nature of its communications, had a more ‘ad hoc’ approach. Vancity seemed to have a balanced approach encompassing pre-planned campaigns, and ad hoc messaging.

In a 2017 survey from Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers revealed they planned to develop more content this year than in 2016. With all of this competition for attention, we should think more strategically about planning and be realistic. What good is interesting content if it’s not relevant when it’s published?

3. Integration Is Key

As stated by Darwin Sauer, Vancity’s VP of Digital, integration was a guiding principle when developing Vancity’s social media strategy. According to Simpy Measured’s 2016 Social Media Report, this remains a key challenge for social media marketers, but education is key.


4. There Is No Perfect Attribution Model

While each one of these organizations recognize the importance of social (in fact, Purdy’s and City of Vancouver ranked social as 12/10 in importance, and Vancity as a 7/8), they do not have a “perfect” model or equation for attributing social media efforts to revenue. However, attributing revenue to social media efforts is possible when the journey is fully digital.  For instance, Purdy’s will track its revenue from online sales generated through social media traffic. The thing to remember here is that while social (organic or paid) is an undeniable part of the journey, the digital age journey is so complex (multiple channels, multiple devices) that you need to take a look at it holistically (i.e. many touch points and or tactics will contribute to one conversion or transaction)

Speaking of measurement and attribution, here’s what we know from our event campaign (Thanks to Melissa Lachica for compiling this data!). Data collected from the event questionnaire, tracking links, and tracking pixels were reviewed and the sources responsible for revenue are illustrated above, using the last interaction attribution model.

5. Your Measurement Framework Needs Quantitative and Qualitative Data

I’m a strong believer in using both quantitative and qualitative data to tell the right story. Combined, these can contribute to our understanding of a campaign’s results and add credibility to our conclusions. It was refreshing to hear Michelle’s insights speak to this:

6. Social Customer Service is King

Each organization is heavily reliant on using social as a key customer service channel, whether it is to respond to citizen’s recycling requests or product inquiries.


According to a Nielsen report, more than one-third of customers prefer to contact businesses for customer support questions through social media. Therefore, having improved listening, monitoring and processes in place to respond in a timely, omnichannel and useful manner is essential to any organization. If you work with an agency, ensure you have established social customer service workflows. There is nothing worse than being re-directed to an “800” # from Twitter (note: there is a reason I am tweeting you…)

7. Strategic Analysts are the Future of Social Media Jobs

Each organization, especially Vancity, stressed the importance of a data-driven approach to social. Understanding social analytics and turning them quickly into actionable insights will be a key skill for social media teams.


Want to know when the next event is? Add your email below to keep up to date:


Photo Highlights

Many thanks to Rummana Z. (Twitter/Instagram) for taking photos!


Top Twitter Moments

The event trended throughout the night. Below are some top Twitter moments. Thank you again to our amazing sponsors including Unbounce, Blenz Coffee, Daily Hive and Mobi By Shaw Go, and our hard working volunteers for helping us make this a regular gathering!