Let’s End Youth Homelessness [BlueBird Podcast Minisode]

Welcome to the first Minisode of the BlueBird Podcast.

Did you know that at any given night over 6000 young Canadians have no place to sleep?

Earlier this year we observed first hand how easily young people can slip into homelessness and how little the Ministry of Children & Families can do to prevent this. We also had the opportunity to witness the wonderful work our local Boys and Girls Club does to fill this gap.

We were very impressed by how this organization helps fill the gap between struggling families and government services.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada rely on donations from the public to finance all the work they do. For the month of June, The Home Depot is organizing the “Orange Door Project” where customers can make a donation at the checkout and 100% of these donations go to local Boys & Girls Clubs.

Frithjof Orange Door

I have decided to support this initiative by donating $10 of any consulting hour booked in June to our local Orange Door Project.

To launch this program I have created new service packages I call  “pick my brain” sessions designed to help you improve your social media and content marketing efforts.

Over the last seven years, I have helped many small business owners, organizations, and individuals to be more effective with their social media and content marketing efforts.

I help create social media strategies, provide outsourced community management services and coach groups and individuals to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, their blog and other tools effectively.

Often I get asked to meet people for coffee or to set up a one-off session to discuss the overall strategy or help a business improve a particular area of their online marketing.

To make it easier to do this I have set up a simple booking tool that you can find on my website.

You can simply pick a time that works for you and I will send you a link. We then meet face to face using our computers and I will send you a recording of our call afterward.

Topics we could discuss are for example:

  • Strategies on how to connect with your customers online
  • Facebook pages
  • Facebook Ads
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Email Marketing
  • Using WordPress
  • Blogging
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Creating videos or effective images

To kick this off I will donate $10 from every pick my brain session booked in June to fight youth homelessness.

I’m looking forward to helping you!

Oh hey, one more thing – if you are signed up to my email list you can get one of my short sessions for free!

I invite you to listen to the podcast and tell me what you think in the comments or by email: [email protected] .

Listen Now

Links Mentioned

There are three ways for you to get involved:

  1. Book a consulting or training session with me. Simply go to the “Pick My Brain” page on my website and find a time that works with your schedule. I will donate $10 from every hour booked to the Orange Door Project
  2. Donate directly to the campaign at Canada Helps https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/30658 (please select the Kelowna store)
  3. Go to your local Home Depot and buy an Orange Door at the checkout

Thank you for helping me to give young people a safe place!


Ignite Your Blog Content - Hugh Culver Introduces SOS [BlueBird Podcast EP8]

Welcome to Episode 8 of the BlueBird Podcast.

My special Guest today is Hugh Culver

Hugh Culver’s business enterprises have included creating the world’s most exclusive adventure tours, operating a private airline in Southern Chile, pioneering eco-whale watching, and teaching as a university professor.
His adventure exploits have taken him from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from mountain peaks to whitewater rapids and even included golfing at the North Pole.
Hugh is the author of Give me a Break-the art of making time work for you.
His insights and writings on personal leadership are sought after
by leading organizations, including Imperial Oil, Shoppers Drug
Mart, Royal Bank of Canada, Investors Group, Western Union,
Suncor, Telus, United Way, and the Red Cross.

In this podcast episode, Hugh Introduces “Get SOS” to us. The SOS team reads your blog posts and creates a series of social media updates to promote your blog. It doesn’t replace the need to be active in your social media efforts (otherwise I wouldn’t post this 🙂 ) but it takes care of a lot of the work involved in the content promotion.

Because Hugh and his team are so involved in the blogging world, he also shares helpful blogging tips in general.

I invite you to listen to the podcast and tell me what you think in the comments or by email: [email protected] .

Listen Now

Links Mentioned

Hugh’s personal website: hughculver.com

Get SOS: getsos.net


Vicki McLeod #Untrending [BlueBird Podcast EP7]

Welcome to Episode 7 of the BlueBird Podcast.

My special Guest today is Vicki McLeod

Vicki and I talk about her recent book #Untrending. It is a small book filled with wisdom. Vicki caused me to think about our obsession of being “always on” and she is challenging the notion that everybody has to hustle more all the time to survive in today’s online world.

“Vicki is a writer, coach consultant, and award-winning entrepreneur. You can find her online at vickimcleod.com and offline in the beautiful Fraser Valley, in pajamas, making something” (From the book cover)

Vicki’s book #Untrending caused me to think about my own FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). We talk about this as well as the challenge of coaching others to produce an amount of content that is effective without losing their privacy and peacefulness.

I invite you to listen to the podcast and tell me what you think in the comments or by email: [email protected] .

Listen Now

Yesterday, when I drafted these show notes I tested the tweets and the image. It created a nice little conversation. Check it out on Twitter!

I don’t crush things. I don’t #hustle @vicki_mcleod #untrending pic.twitter.com/UTuFWWrZA3

— BlueBird Consulting (@BlueBirdBC) May 23, 2017

Voices from Social Media Camp 2017 [BlueBird Podcast]

Show Notes

Episode 6

I went to the Social Media Camp conference in Victoria BC last week and I loved the whole experience! This conference has the right mix of being big enough to feature interesting content and small enough so you don’t get lost and you have an opportunity to hang out with the incredible speakers and other professionals. (check out last podcast episode of the BlueBird Podcast for more information on the agenda)

I was inspired by what I experienced and I am determined to let you take part in this newfound inspiration by creating content around what I learned and the people I met. I am planning to bring you podcast interviews with some of the new and old friends I met at the conference.

But at first, I am taking you with me to Social Media Camp. I managed to capture some soundbites from the conference.

In this short episode, you will hear from

Ms Candy Blog
Renee Green
Bobbie Malo
Derrek Four Frames Photo Booth
Kim Plumley
Matt Stewart

I would love to hear what you think about the podcast or if you have questions about Social Media Camp. please send me an email at [email protected].

Digital Hallway - Teaching Social Media in Schools [BlueBird Podcast]

Show Notes

Special Guest

Sean Smith

Sean is a Professional Social Media Educator with a focus on helping parents, teachers, and teens understand how to use their Social Media effectively. He is a passionate advocate for Cyber Safety and fighting Cyber-Bullying and is working towards getting Social Media Education added to the school curriculum in BC. He also speaks to professional organizations and at conferences about effective use of Social Media.

Sean lives in Campbell River BC with his wife and two teenage boys.

When Sean Smith realized that businesses were struggling to find employees that were able to handle their Social Media tools he realized that we were dealing with a whole generation that has grown up teaching themselves how to use these new tools but had never been taught. Schools and teachers aren’t equipped to fill this gap yet so Sean started developing the Digital Hallway project, an online resource for parents, teachers, and teens. That is the topic of today’s episode.

Do you have any questions or comments? Please email me at [email protected]

How To Avoid Spreading Fake News Like A Pro

“Fake News” will certainly be a hot contender for “Word of The Year 2017”. But don’t worry, despite the fact that the term “Fake News” is a favourite expression of the 45th president of the United States this is not a post about politics.

Ever since working on the student newsletter in high school I’ve been keenly aware of the responsibility of those that create publications for others. I feel that we have a responsibility to create and distribute content that is either based on fact or clearly marked as fiction.

Forrest Strout of Webopedia.com defines fake news this way:

Sadly I have had to remove a few Facebook friends recently because they lacked the skills to check the sources of their information. In our discussions, these friends cited sources that were obviously biased and unreliable. I realized then that I wanted to help to educate my readers about how to spot and stop the spread of fake news.

These skills also help to spot the scams, hoaxes, and misinformation that we come across in Social Media on a daily basis.

With this article I want to:

Why we should be careful about sharing the fake news.

Fake news is nothing new. The power to put a different twist to a story while reporting it to someone else is older than the written word. Later on, the word “propaganda” was invented to describe the creation of news pieces to influence opinion and elicit the desired response.

What is new is that anybody can now set up a new site and publish stories without even the pretense of them being based on facts. In some cases, even the facts themselves are made up and research is quoted that doesn’t even exist. By copying this misinformation and quoting fake sources in follow-up articles the trail of the fake news gets more and more difficult to trace.

Social Media is changing the way we discover, filter, interpret and share information. Considering how recently we acquired the digital tools to report and share information, it is no surprise that some of the growing pains have a dramatic effect. The digital media revolution has a bigger impact on our lives than the industrial revolution or the invention of print ever had.

More than ever before “trust” and “reputation” are essential for all that want to be taken seriously in this connected world. Once you lose credibility it can be next to impossible to gain it back. Whether you realize it or not, every like on a post, every share of a Facebook post influences those that you are connected with. We spend more time on social media than ever and other news media become harder and harder to filter and follow. As we spend more time on Social Media and less on the places that used to bring us the “news”, our Facebook feed, curated by our friends and an algorithm influenced by trending topics, needs to be reliable.

In creating content and sharing that of others, it is important to make sure it’s true. Otherwise, you lose trust and the reputation of what you say will be tarnished.

How to spot unreliable sources on the internet:

In the bizarre 2016 US election, we saw a rise of websites that were created for the sole purpose of spreading false information. Similar to phishing emails that want to spy out your credit card information, there are some tell-tale signs to check:

Here is a helpful video I found on the Channel 4 Fact Check Facebook Page:

  1. Check the website address (URL). Does it seem legit?
  2. Does the website have a disclaimer admitting that the stories are made up?
  3. Are the articles anonymous or can you verify the author?
  4. Google statements that seem suspicious
  5. Do a reverse search on the images

Here are two more tips from me:

There are perfectly legitimate websites that report news items that are biased or blown out of proportion, similar to tabloid newspapers or magazine covers at the grocery store check out. In these cases, sales figures or the political agenda of the owners are more important than the truth.

You can simply do a google search for these: In this case, I entered the query: “How reliable is the daily mail?” because this source was often cited in the discussions I mentioned earlier.

Naturally, you don’t want to discredit a site just because someone wrote a bad review. But if many others are reporting trouble with the site it is quite obviously not a source you should trust.

Stay away from sharing links from these sites even as a joke. You never know how your followers interpret your post.

Check the sources!

One of the sharpest tools against believing fake news is your common sense. Before you believe a news report it is a good idea to ask a few questions. This is similar to the process the journalist Adrian describes later in this article.

Trust but verify - trust your source but see where they got their information from. Sometimes it takes a little time to discover the path of deception. I have checked articles where the writer claimed to have the information from a study. The link to the study led to another blogger that linked to the same study quoted on another blog. At the end, the quote was from a study that came to a totally different conclusion than the article I researched drew.

Sorting out what information is correct is getting harder. I believe that the time we are in requires us to develop and hone fact checking skills.

What does Facebook do to prevent fake news?

In a post after the US election Mark Zuckerberg said:

That said, we don’t want any hoaxes on Facebook. Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news. We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here. We have made progress, and we will continue to work on this to improve further.

Gizmodo reports on March 15, 2017 that Facebook is starting to put “Disputed” tags on posts that were reported as being fake.

The system is far from being perfect yet. Rather than building its own system of fact-checking stories, Facebook relies on sites like Snopes and Politifacts for verification of the dispute.

Helpful sites to check for hoaxes, scams and fake news:

You know that story on Facebook that sounded too good to be true because it was fake? We can all remember Facebook scams that we or our friends have fallen for.

Here are two sites that you can use to debunk or verify most popular stories:

Snopes.com even has a special section for Fake News. The site has researchers that fact-check all kinds of reports from all over the internet.

Hoaxslayer.com has saved me many times from posting sensational fake stories on Facebook.

Especially for checking stories with a more (US) political background, PolitiFact is a really good site. Their Truth-O-Meter is a quick way to verify if a story is based on real facts or “alternative facts”.

It takes only seconds to run a claim you find on the internet through their search to find out if it’s true or not.

How do the pros check facts?

The pressure on journalists to produce the most popular (not the most important) content fast is incredible. In 2011 I wrote about a podium discussion about the impact of Social Media on journalism and now in 2017, my observations have been surpassed. While before the professional media would use information found on Twitter, today it seems like the preferred strategy is to publish news content according to “Trending Topics” on Facebook and Twitter.

In my latest Podcast episode, I asked Adrian Nieoczym about these pressures on journalists like him.

Adrian talks about how he makes sure his stories are based on facts rather than opinions. He has some great tips for this and I encourage you to listen to the short, 20-minute show.

Every time Adrian hears about a story he goes through a simple checklist before he publishes:

  1. Evaluate the source - “Why would this person know? How did they get their information”
  2. Do what you can to verify what the source is telling you
  3. For balance, get another perspective

The pressure on Journalists to produce content fast is much bigger today. Like Adrian says: “People are consuming more media than ever before while newsrooms are at their lowest historic staffing levels.”

We are all becoming content creators and the concern is that by getting our news from a few selected sources we are in danger of being in an echo-chamber where we miss hearing the opinion of others.


The impact of digital media and mobile computing on our lives is bigger than the invention of print or the industrial revolution. To deal with this change we have to develop skills that people before us did not need. A higher level of fact checking and verifying our sources is an essential skill to have if we don’t want to fall prey to those forces that want to pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

Never before have we had access to so many sources of information and it has never been easier to access this information. But the decline of professional, independent journalism paired with the beginning impact of artificial intelligence (AI) are working against us in the attempt to be well informed.

We will struggle with this new quality of “Fake News” for a while. Unfortunately, some people may be hurt or even die based on the conclusions drawn from these reports. Bad decisions are inevitable.

But if we all stop believing and spreading fake news, we can have a positive impact on the lives of our friends and the world at large.

How do you make sure the information you share is accurate? Please let us know in the comments below!

Please let me know in the comments below!

Practical Ways To Spot Fake News Like A Journalist [BlueBird Podcast]

Show Notes

Special Guest: Adrian Nieoczim

Adrian is currently a freelance journalist for CBC radio. He has a 10-year history in journalism, from working for a newspaper, an online news magazine and freelance journalist for major national publications like the Globe & Mail as well as other radio and digital publications.

Welcome to Episode 3 of the BlueBird Podcast!

While I was researching for a blog post about how to avoid spreading fake news I realized that while all of us are becoming curators and editors of news in our lives, there are those that are consciously working on this every day – journalists.

Journalists have long helped us discover news and interpreted it for us. But the success of this big task is not something I would like to discuss today. The Internet, Social Media and mobile devices have enabled us to take part in reporting and sharing news close to us. Generally this is a very good thing, in my opinion.

But there is a dark side to this new opportunity. Without getting too political here, the 2016 US election has shown us the ugly side of social media. The term “Fake News” is everywhere these days. It’s prominently over-used by the US president and his administration. The number of fake stories reported by different sources is so large that fact checking seems next to impossible (which is part of the problem).

I decided to ask my friend Adrian Nieoczym to tell us how a journalist makes sure not to spread false information. Adrian is one of the journalists I trust and his answers in the interview illustrate why this trust is justified. I know from personal experience that he doesn’t just take anyone’s word as truth without being able to back up the story.

As a content creator, I have enormous respect for journalists that cultivate the craft of fact checking their sources. I am thrilled to talk to one of these heroes of mine Adrian Nieoczim, today. He will tell us how he goes about fact checking stories he finds and hears. This will help us learn and apply best practices for sharing and interpreting news we find on social media and other Internet resources.

Please let me know in the comments how you liked this episode!


Links I mentioned in the episode

Adrian’s Website: https://nieoview.com/

Here is a post I wrote in 2011 about the future of Social Media and Journalism: Is Social Media a News Network?

Post: How to Avoid Spreading Fake News Like a Pro

The Quality of Your Headline is Essential [BlueBird Podcast]

Show Notes

Special Guest: Larry Arrance

My friend Larry Arrance of Cornerstone Consultants is a professional “Wordsmith”, a copywriter with a wealth of experience in all kinds of copywriting areas. He has published several books and regularly teaches writing workshops. Larry helps business owners and professionals to get their message across with more clarity and power.

He is a published author of several books and has delivered over 2400 workshops on personal and professional development. Larry’s “Unleash the Author Within” writing workshops and coaching have helped many people become better writers and a number of them have published successful books.

Welcome to Episode 2 of the BlueBird Podcast!

Headlines, email subject lines, tweets and other social media updates are an essential element of content marketing. It doesn’t matter how great your content is or how much time you spent producing that great video. If the headline doesn’t draw us in, few people will choose to spend their time with it.
Think about a magazine or newspaper….. ummm sorry you might not remember. Think about your last google search. After you enter the search and see the results on page one you scan down the results and choose, by the headline which link to click on.
At the same time, many of us treat headlines as an afterthought. Larry Arrance, my guest on today’s podcast, has some great hands-on tips about how to create better headlines. He also agreed to send out a very valuable swipe file filled with proven headline templates.

Here are some tips Larry gave us:

Larry’s formula for promotional content:

I - Interrupt
E - Engage
E - Educate
O - Offer

The headline comes first before the actual email or blog. That doesn’t mean you are stuck with it. But the headline also guides what you are putting into the blog.
WIIFM > What’s in it for me. Whatever you are writing has to be relevant to what your audience is doing.
Stay away from headlines that promise something when your content is about something else. People feel duped and won’t trust you anymore.
Email subject lines will follow the same pattern but with email, you will have to be much shorter. A lot of people use the preview window that also shows the first line of the email. So the beginning line of your email is very important for the open rate.
Keep your email subject lines tight - 7 words max. That’s why that first line is so important.
If you can spare ten minutes a day you can write two books a year!
Give yourself two or three headlines that best match up with the content.

Please let me know in the comments how you liked this episode!


Links I mentioned in the episode

You can get Larry’s document “350 of the Best  Headlines Ever Written” by connecting with him on LinkedIn or sending him an email.

Larry Arrance at Cornerstone Consultants

Win The Content Game With The Most Amazing Headlines

How Social Media Gives Wings To Word Of Mouth [BlueBird Podcast]

Show Notes

Special Guest: Roy Prevost

Roy Prevost is an entrepreneur, international speaker, futurist and a best-selling author who forecasts trends in leadership, customer service and management in the 21st Century. He is unique in North America in the area of preparing small business for the upcoming generation of millennials and the Z generation.

With over 25 years of experience in all facets of management and leadership, Roy is a seasoned professional who has delivered more than 350 workshops on customer service and how to create an environment of trust, openness, and contribution within your organization.

Roy delivers real stories from the real world with real solutions.

Welcome to Episode 1 of the BlueBird Podcast!

Word of mouth is one of the biggest drivers for almost any business and it is at the core of and social media.

In my interview with Roy Prevost we learn about the importance of word of mouth and, I explain why Social Media is an important amplifier for these messages.


Social Media Gives Wings To Word of Mouth

Please let me know in the comments how you liked this episode!


Links I mentioned in the episode

Roy Prevost

How to Handle Negative Comments on Social Media

One of the biggest fears of many small businesses when beginning to use Social Media tools is that of negative reviews. I talk a lot about the benefits of an active online presence but there is a dark side to this publicity.

  1. In this article I talk about what happens if you are NOT present in the online space.
  2. I interview the renown customer service expert Roy Prevost about what to do about customer complaints.
  3. And finally, I will show you how to handle complaints on Facebook. With a special appearance by the brilliant and funny Tara Hunt.

This post was first published on the Socialmediacamp.ca blog.

Social Media Camp 2017 takes place on May 3-4 2017 in Victoria BC.
One of the most valuable features of this conference is the option to partner up with a coach. I am honoured to be selected as one of the coaches for this conference.

When I first started talking to people about bringing their business online the use of social media tools for customer service was still very new and the understanding of the impact for small businesses was limited. Today many of us know of stories of customer complaints gone wrong.

We now know how beneficial and how damaging reviews on Social Media sites can be. If you don’t have direct access to these online conversations you can’t defend yourself in case you are unfairly attacked, you can’t explain misunderstandings and you can’t thank your fans when they say nice things about you and your business.

And they will say all of these things about you and your business. By being present online and claiming the assets of your business not only will you be found, you can be part of the conversation. The relevant places are different for each type of business. Here are the most important places you should claim:

  1. Google My Business
  2. Facebook Places (can be combined with your Facebook page)
  3. Trip Advisor if you have a Restaurant or offer accommodations
  4. Yelp if you have a brick and mortar store

[clickToTweet tweet=”Failing to claim your #business listings opens the door to others controlling the conversation.” quote=”Failing to claim your business listings opens the door to others controlling the conversation.”]

Before I begin to answer the question of how to handle negative comments on Social Media I would like you to listen to what my friend and customer service coach Roy Prevost has to say.

How to deal with customer complaints left on Facebook or other Social Media sites?

As mentioned above, it is crucial you have direct access to your social media channels so you can react swiftly and directly.

Often we are upset by negative comments and want to delete them right away. In my experience, this is not a good idea. Often complainers get upset by this and start posting more and angrier comments. Instead it is wiser to see if you can resolve the conflict using a similar approach as described in my interview above.

I recommend a 3 step approach:

  1. Acknowledge the complaint and offer an explanation publicly
  2. If that doesn’t work, contact the person or invite them to get in touch with you. Message them if you can
  3. If the comments are very rude and unreasonable, delete them and consider blocking the person from your page

There can be gold in answering concerns publicly!

A) Your visitors see that you take complaints seriously and you care about how your customers feel.

B) In many cases, you prevent answering the same concern over and over because visitors can see how you handled it before.

This way of managing the conversation is often called “Reputation Management”

My three top tips for handling comments and reviews on Facebook:

  1. Jump on it ASAP! Set notifications and react as quickly as you can - ideally before the customer leaves the restaurant or store.
    1. Like every positive comment and review and thank people for their comment
  2. Deleting a comment is your last resort - use it only for rude comments if no resolution can be reached
  3. Make it right! 

Tara Hunt from Truly Social has some great tips on the topic too:

Over to you!