Connect 2 Canada Day Parties with Connect2Canada

Today is Canada’s 142nd. birthday. And if you’re in the United States and would like to celebrate with us, you can find Canada Day parties coast to coast, thanks to the Connect2Canada Website.

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The social-media savvy folks at the Canadian Embassy in Washington have prepared a special Canada Day Across America page that includes lots of social content – a Google Maps mashup showing where over 188 Canada Day parties will be taking place in the U.S., videos created and posted by people telling you how they are celebrating Canada Day, and a Twitter feed for the hashtag #CanadaDayUSA.

So, if you’re in the U.S.A., why not join your neighbour to the north in celebrating our national birthday. Happy birthday to us!

More About Connect2Canada:

Connect2Canada: A peek behind the curtain

Connect2Canada: Creating a community with Canadians in the United States

Connect2Canada: Using social media to create a community of Canadians in the United States

c2cYesterday, I introduced Connect2Canada as a case study of government making effective use of social media. Today, I’m taking a deeper look at Connect2Canada, what’s going on and the results that are being achieved.

What is it?

Connect2Canada is a network of Canadians and Friends of Canada in the United States. Its goal is to reach out to these people and make them quasi-Ambassadors for Canada.

Conect2Canada was started as a Website on July 1, 2005. The Facebook page was added in late 2008. The Twitter stream, Flickr photos and YouTube videos were added at the time of the inauguration of President Obama (Canada’s Embassy has a primo location in Washington, a great place to take videos and pictures of the inaugural parade.)

What are they achieving?

Connect2Canada’s community is growing constantly in several dimensions:

New members are signing up for email newsletters on the Connect2Canada Website.


Today, members span the United States.


The Connect2Canada Facebook page continues to attract new fan.


Connect2Canada is attracting new followers every week.


Community and Engagement

Making the flow of information two-way is a high priority for Connect2Canada. They respond to Twitter comments and email. But they also work to enable conversations among members, linking to groups around the US and promoting real life events and other networks of Canadians in the U.S.

The Connect2Canada community is highly engaged with C2C. One indicator of this: An email to C2C members from Ambassador Wilson had an open rate in excess of 50%. That’s one out of every two people who received the email opened it. I think that’s a very high rate for a broadcast email.

Resources and Champions

Connect2Canada is run by one full time staffer in the Canadian Embassy in Washington supported by part-time contributions from a few others. They rely on the Canadian Consulates throughout the United States to provide local content.

Connect2Canada had senior level champions. The social media activities were approved and supported by both the Ambassador in Washington and the Assistant Deputy Minister (North America) in Ottawa.

The importance of relevant content

The biggest lesson learned by Connect2Canada? The importance of good content. Says Eric Portelance, the Advocacy Officer at the Canadian Embassy in Washington in charge of who works on Connect2Canada, “You can have the best ideals, but if the content isn’t interesting to your target audience, they won’t come back or they won’t come at all.”

Connect2Canada asks new members to indicate their interests when they register. The people behind Connect2Canada then use this information to tailor content to the interests of members, sending them only the streams of content that match those interests.

Source material

Eric Portelance recorded a video interview with me on May 12 when he spoke at the Advanced Learning Institute‘s Conference on Social Media for Government in Ottawa. I’ve also drawn on his presentation slides as well as my Twitter notes from the conference.

You can watch my video interview with Eric Portelance on YouTube or in the player embedded below.

Connect2Canada: a community for Canadian ExPats in the United States


Here’s an example of how to use social media effectively. The Canadian Embassy in Washington is using social media to reach out to and bring together the community of Canadians in the United States.

Under the banner of Connect2Canada, the Embassy has established a Website hub, a Twitter stream, a Facebook page, podcasts, a presence on YouTube, and, of course, a traditional mailing list. They also publish stories submitted by Canadians living in the United States. And they offer a comprehensive list of Canadian Expat groups and Canada-US groups along with a calendar of upcoming events relating to Canada in the United States.

c2cConnect2Canada has drawn in more than 43,000 people who have registered, subscribed, followed or friended Connect2Canada in it’s various social media manifestations. The Website alone receives more than 7,000 unique visitors and in excess of 16,000 page views per month. That’s pretty good for an initiative that has never been advertised or promoted in mainstream media. Connect2Canada has been promoted primarily online and at face to face events.

And Connect2Canada doesn’t just broadcast information. The Embassy staff responds to comments and questions on Twitter and Facebook. In fact, the stats on unique visitors and page views were drawn from DM responses to questions I put to Connect2Canada on Twitter.

Connect2Canada. A good case study of the effective use of social media by government.