We have passed the tipping point for social media in corporate Canada

I believe that we have reached passed a tipping point for social media in corporate Canada. Social media has gone from being something about which a small group of evangelists proselytized to something which a broad range of companies are incorporating in their communication, marketing, stakeholder relations and community outreach programs.

Canadian Institute  Conference on Social MediaThis really came home to me when I chaired the Canadian Institute’s Social Media Conference in Toronto earlier this week. The presentations at this year’s event were different from the presentations at last year’s event in one important way. Last year, the conference program was dominated by speakers who were making the case for why corporations and organizations should embrace social media. This year, every speaker on the program talked about case studies of programs that they had run.

We heard from representatives of ScotiaBank, Cognos, Dell, BMW Canada, BMO Financial Group, IBM Canada, Microsoft Canada, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Yahoo!, Iotum, Tucows and the Art Gallery of Ontario. All have used social media in the past year. All have successes with real results that have been measured against clearly stated goals.

Canada is not alone in this. The Society for New Communications Research‘s Symposium and Awards Gala, held in Boston, the day after the Canadian Institute’s conference, handed out dozens of awards for social media programs that had demonstrated excellence in the past year. And the symposium attendees heard a lineup of companies like Coca-Cola, Dell and GM present their social media successes.

Real examples of real successes in social media by corporations, organizations, not for profits and even government.

Truly, in one year, we went from social media as something of unrealized potential to social media as an essential element of any corporate communication, marketing and community outreach program.

  • David Brodie

    Are any of the presentations from the conference available online?

  • It’s particularly encouraging to see the growing number of businesses starting to adopt social media tactics. Were there any specific examples among the organizations you cited that were particularly innovative or memorable? (translation: who has a great case study to share with PR students)

    You’re right. A lot has happened in one year. Tipping point? I’m not sure we’ve actually reached that, yet. But then, who can easily point to a time or event as Gladwell’s tipping point.

  • David and Gary,
    The SNCR sessions were widely twittered. You should be able to find a history of the feed under the twitter identity “sncr.” There were also several good posts. You will find them tagged “sncr” in del.icio.us.

    The Canadian Institute Conference was not blogged to my knowledge. Because I was the chair, I was focused on making things run smoothly. So I didn’t have a chance to twitter.

    There were a number of bloggers on panels or in the audience: Michael Seaton, Colin McKay, RichardatDell, Danielle Donders, Alec Saunders. I believe that each of them made reference in posts to the conference.

  • Annalie Killian

    Hi Joseph, I found your blog via Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Strategy blog. I have been championing (a very lonesome struggle) the uptake of social media in my company (Financial Services) in Australia for some YEARS now, and we are YET to have the first breakthrough but I am optimistic that its gotta give soon.

    I have bought a copy of the Journal of New Communications Research and will be accessing that for case studies…but I am sad to say in Corporate Australia we have seen very little corporate engagement with social media and we are nowhere near the tipping point.

    I hope to travel to Canada next year…maybe there are a few good reference sites you could suggest I visit?

  • Annalie, Other online destinations that will give you a sense of what is happening in Canada include include the “OneDegree” blog and the “Inside PR” and “Six Pixels of Separation” podcasts.

    Also, if you are coming to Canada, we have monthly “Third Tuesday” events in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal (starting January 2008). You can check for dates and speakers for these events on meetup.com. If you are here, please feel free to attend one of these events. It’s a great way to meet Canada’s social media movers and shakers.

  • Hi Joe,

    Thank you for doing a superb job as chair of the Social Media conference. The delegates also thought you did a great job and I quote one delegate: “Gracious, engaged, professional and very warm. He set a good tone for the conference.”

    If anyone is interested in more information about the Canadian Institute’s Social Media conference next year, please contact me at [email protected]