Social Media Week 2016

Social Media Week 2016

I had the opportunity to attend the social media week conference ( #smwiTO ) in Toronto last week and at the risk of revealing my age, I was pessimistic.

I was expecting self-congratulating, “too cool for school” Trust-fund babies who have moved on from their parent’s wealth to the VC teat.

Spoiler alert… I did find a few, BUT what really impressed me, was this community of obsessed and driven individuals that recognize that they are in a special moment of time where they are literally re-writing the marketing playbook. They do understand that it will have to be re-written again in 5 years (once again showing my age.. prob 2 years). These people knew and know that there is so much up for grabs.

I have been in sales and marketing for 15 years and the same things that hold true Today, or the early 2000s , and all the way back to the Don Draper 1960s:

  • You always have to be looking for new ways to communicate your message
  • Feelings are so much stronger than we know
  • People love to consume, but hate to be sold
  • Sincerity wins… Always

First off… I Gotta take a second and be self-promoting, ……. my boss and CEO Jeffery Potvin did an amazing chat about how content is king at the great co-working space @brightlaninc . The conversation afterward was inspired and it was a great lead into the Hardboot hosted SMWiTo after party at You can also check out some pics and what he talked about on our twitter @hardbootinc … it was a ton of fun


I went to a bunch of breakout sessions. My favorite being hearing the Shopify social media people talk about a Marketing Campaign they did using their own platform to build a small business. Once it was up and running and making dough, they then “Raffled off” the business to the people who best helped them spread the word

They added 7000 new followers (with all their buying tendency analytics) in three weeks! After seeing this success, they then made it a department competition to see who could beat that 7000 follower number.

My gut said that there is something remarkable here.


The Father figure voice in my head (a combination of: my Glaswegian Father, my Grampa Mick and Murry Goldberg), said “what the hell do twitter followers have to do with revenue???”

It was with that attitude that I went into the next session with the heads of Social Media and Marketing of The Hamilton Tiger Cats, MLSE and TSN.

I don’t have enough space here to go through the amazing points that came out of this… here is a quick summary…

  • The more we know about the buyer, the better we can tailor their experience (TLSE)
  • When we give our viewers the content they like, the advertisers will follow (TSN)
  • We are really just fans first, marketers second… you couldn’t do this job if you weren’t a fan (HTC)

They then showed how their followers… engagement levels…. the analytics… all translated into increased ticket sales, increased merchandise sales and a happier customer. The Holy Grail of a Marketing Budget.

My main takeaway was,

Social Media when done right, leads the right buyers to your door. They are being “sold”, just how Don Draper envisioned it… but it was done in a much more civilized way of course. People are telling you how they want to buy, now it’s time to start listening. Social media is the perfect medium to get it done.

To many of you, these insights are not new or surprising. But, to the average company (the 55,000 or so family owned companies) with a Matriarch or Patriarch at the helm and spending their money on print/radio ads…this is the way to get them to invest their budgets to this new medium.

Business are just waiting on someone to please show them a better way to do it, but in their language: ROI, Revenue and (the all-important”) Pain in the Ass” meter.

The group that succeeds, will win in this new age Wild West…

Too finish with a great quote from @tuckerschrieber … the Marketing dude @shopify

“We want to be the entertainment, not the interruption”

We at Hardboot agree!

Check out some more, learn how content rules!

Kyle Thomas


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