The Power of IRL: #usguysEH Makes it REAL in Toronto

I’ve been swimming in the #usguys stream since it first appeared in the Twitterverse in the fall of 2010. A 24/7, non-stop twitter chat focused on marketing, social media and tech, #usguys has attracted a diverse and brilliant international community of tweeps who share info, opinion and virtual friendship around the clock.

With more than 1,000 participants, including many leading-edge social marketers around the globe and a constantly shifting conversation ranging from the hottest social media trends, tools and techniques to who’s doing, drinking, eating what — #usguys has become an incubator of fresh ideas and a popular hang-out for the socially obsessed.

The idea of creating #usguysEH, Canada’s first ever IRL meet-up in Toronto on April 8, 2011, started small, in the form of a tweet I received from @Josepf, an exuberant, hyper-active marketer and poet from Philly, who was planning a spring trip to Toronto to visit family.

“Great,” I replied, “let’s do a Meet Up!” including @samfiorella, a mutual friend and #usguy I’d met IRL at #ungeeked Toronto last November and absolutely adore, in my tweet. Our convo was, of course, live in the stream and the die was cast from that night. #usguys around the world wanted in!

The who, what, when, where and how much it would cost to stage a meet-up were questions yet to be answered. But the why was very clear. We would create a unique, sleek and chic Toronto destination event starring some of the finest minds in the twitterverse to have fun, meet, greet and make connections that would optimize both our personal and professional lives.

Our original cadré instantly expanded to include @jackineccity from San Francisco, @mentormarketing from NYC, @rubymarcom from Buffalo, @KarimaCatherine, @Smartel and @exoporier from Montreal and @PeterfromOttawa. We had an international happening on our hands.

My co-host in #usguysEH @samfiorella created an awesome website to promote the event and sell tickets; my colleagues at Strategic Objectives, our Toronto-based PR agency, kicked in with sponsorship dollars and impeccable event organizing from logo development through nametags, programs and event-photography and videography.

#usguysEH was everything we’d hoped for. Starring 30 fabulous social media adventurers from the US and Canada, it was an exceptionally elegant and uber-social evening in Toronto’s celebrity hang-out, Bistro 990.

An evening of fine food, drink and a fire hose full of lively, trendy conversation, there’s little doubt that the round of tequila shots, interspersed amongst our one minute elevator-pitch #intros, helped loosen our tongues. A highlight of the evening included a prezo by Mike Yavonditte (@mikeyavo), CEO of #hashable who flew up from NYC with his senior VP Jane Kim, @Jinner13, to share his latest news. It didn’t take long before everyone was hashtag happy with #justmet and #nicetomeetyou.

An oasis of discovery, exploration and fine friendship set to flourish, #usguysEH was a unique opportunity to make it real in the social world and a stunning example of the power of Twitter to attract like-minded tweeps to form meaningful communities.

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We are SO grateful to our @SO_pr PR pros @AndrewFStewart, @smichm, @mjovanoski, Stephenie Peters, @Sadiethefoodie and @judyslewis, Jim Colbourne and Tom Peterson in Production for their contribution to what was a truly memorable meet-up.

Deborah Weinstein.

Welcome to the Brave New World of Social PR: Ten Ways to Stay on Top

Public Relations has awesome power to reach into the hearts, minds and wallets of targeted consumers.

Never has this been more true than now, in the social era, when everyone has the right to be their own publisher and to spread info they/we believe is important, relevant and engaging for our audiences.

My work in Marketing Public Relations began back in the 80’s when I co-founded our national, Toronto-based full-service PR firm, Strategic Objectives, with my sister and partner Judy Lewis. Both former TV and radio producers with CBC, CTV and Global TV networks, we’d been on the receiving end of copious off-target PR communications for many years. We knew there had to be a better way to share and spread brand information and to harness the value of credible third party endorsements from key influencers, the media, stakeholders and consumers.

Looking back now, more than 25 years hence, I am reminded of the French saying “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” – the more things change, the more they remain the same!

Yes the world has become much, much smaller with the advent of the fax machine, PC, cell phone, camcorder, digital camera, laptop, smart-phone, tablet and social networks – all devices and platforms that allow us to communicate instantly. But the basics of results-driven communication and the practice of PR remain the same as when we started Strategic Objectives back in 1983.

  • Craft a solid, reliable, relevant story
  • Tell it to the right audiences that need/want to hear it
  • Be honest and real; show integrity with everything you do
  • Be innovative, integrated, inspired and inspiring
  • Be proactive, reactive and follow-up meticulously
  • Be prepared for issues/crisis management
  • Be consistent and true to your brand –
  • Be cautious, the internet forms a permanent record –
  • Be nimble, seize the day and every opportunity –
  • And most importantly, love what you do!

At #SOSlam we’ll discuss the brave new world of social sharing and networking; and the profound impact it has on the way we see, do things and conduct business. But it’s important, at the same time, to remember that social media is a tactic, a tool and sometimes a weapon. What it is not, is a strategy, a foolproof path that will take us directly to the fulfillment of our personal and professional goals.

Social media is an awesome new avenue that, like most technology, allows us to do more for ourselves, faster, easier and more independently. It is also uncharted territory, an ever-evolving landscape that challenges, titillates and provokes us with the thrill of the unknown, not-yet-mastered and still unconquered.

I look forward to learning more about social media with you at #SOSlam and to meeting the awesome tweeps who will converge on Knoxville from 12 States and Canada (pick me), on Wednesday, April 13. See you there. Can’t wait!

For more information about SOSlam please check out:

Deborah Weinstein, @DebWeinstein, is president of Strategic Objectives, @SO_pr, Canada’s most award-winning PR agency

PR Agency Boot Camp

The Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms is hosting the first ever agency boot camp on Friday, January 28, 2011 in Toronto at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library.

This one-day conference is a must attend for mid- to senior-level PR professionals wanting to sharpen their management and selling skills. The curriculum has been developed with agency professionals in mind but is open to all PR practitioners. Sessions, led by the leaders of Canada’s top PR firms, will include topics such as:

  • Motivating and Managing Your Team
  • Pitching To Win
  • Social Media in the PR Mix
  • Creativity: Generating the Big Idea

To view the current agenda:

Space is limited so register today:

Questions:  contact me at

A Social Media Measurement Conference for Canadian PR practitioners

“Are we there yet?” “How much longer before we arrive?” Every vacationing parent recognizes these words as the first expression of our need to know where we are and what progress we’re making.

Measurement matters. It’s how we know whether our efforts are having any impact. It’s how we know whether we’re making progress toward a goal or whether we’re stalled.

We measure what’s important to us. We measure to understand what is going on. We measure to provide insight into what works and what doesn’t.

Measurement really matters in emerging and fast changing fields. And social media is a field that is evolving rapidly. Evolving in participation, as it transforms from something for early adopters to a part of mainstream life. Evolving as new tools and platforms proliferate. Evolving as people adopt it and find new uses for it.

A stellar roster of speakers

The Third Tuesday Measurement Matters conference in Toronto on September 28 will be a full day conference focusing on the most important issues and best practices in social media monitoring and measurement.

Attendees at Third Tuesday Measurement Matters will meet, hear from and participate in discussions with social media measurement experts, including Katie Paine, Carol Leaman, Ilya Grigorik, Charles Funk, Marcel LeBrun and David Alston (tentative), Sheldon Levine, Josh Hallett, Claude Théoret, Pragya Dubey, Scott Lake, Leona Hobbs, Darren Barefoot, Rob Clark, Brian Cugelman, Christopher Berry,  and Patrick Gladney.

A Conference by communicators for communicators

Anyone who uses social media for their work or is serious about it must understand what we can and should measure and how we can do it. Public relations practitioners have been among the first to realize and explore the potential of social media. So the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters conference should be of real interest to you.

Registration is open for the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters #TTMM conference, to be held in Toronto on September 28. I hope to see you there.

Inside PR: Martin Waxman talks about merging his firm into Energi PR

In this week’s episode of Inside PR, Martin Waxman talks with co-hosts Joseph Thornley and Gini Dietrich about the merger of Palette PR with Communications MECA to form Energi PR. Martin provides some insight into what motivated him to make the change, the use of outside advisers and lessons he learned through the process.

You can listen to the complete Inside PR podcast at or by subscribing through iTunes.

CCPRF Member Firms Merge

The news broke on Twitter that two Canadian PR agencies, Montreal-based Communications MECA and Toronto-based Palette PR, have sealed a deal to merge in a new firm, EnergiPR.

I had the good luck to be at a CCPRF meeting with Esther Buchsbaum and Carol Levine, the principals of MECA. They agreed to step out of the room for an interview about the merger, their motivation in doing it and how they made it happen.

Listen to the Inside PR podcast to hear my interview with Carol and Esther.

Carol Levine, APR, Fellow CPRS, is new Chair of the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms


The Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms recently named Carol Levine as its new Chair. Carol who succeeds  Joe Thornley, Chairman and CEO of Thornley Fallis Communications & 76 Design is Co-Founder and Partner of Communications MECA, a national agency specializing in consumer and healthcare public relations.

Carol is a veteran PR practitioner whose career spans forty years, primarily as an agency owner. Communications MECA was a founding member of the CCPRF.

“The CCPRF is a relatively young organization that has quickly become an important voice for the public relations industry in Canada. Considering the braintrust of our members, as well as the growing recognition of PR as a valuable and distinct marketing discipline, I am confident that the CCPRF will continue to have a significant impact in shaping the future of public relations,” said Carol Levine.

The CCPRF is a national organization comprised of 23 member firms representing the majority of Canada’s leading public relations consulting firms. Founded in 2005, the Council is dedicated to promoting the role of public relations in business strategy and organizational performance. Governed by common principles, the goal of the CCPRF is to promote the professionalism and development of public relations consulting and provide leaderhip in areas that influence industry growth.

The CCPRF also aims to advance the business of public relations by building its value as a strategic business tool, by helping member firms manage successful and profitable businesses, by promoting the benefits of a career in public relations and by providing professional development.

Monitoring RFP Update

On November 30, the CCPRF issued an RFP for media monitoring and measurement services. Several suppliers submitted proposals by the December 17 deadline.

Thank you to everyone who showed interest in this process and, especially, to the bidders.

The CCPRF is striking a subcommittee of members who will meet in early January to review the proposals in detail and then lead a discussion at our full CCPRF January meeting.

If the initial review of proposals yields a clear winner, we will contact the winning bidder and the unsuccessful bidders to inform them of the outcome. On the other hand, if there’s no clear winner, we may ask a subset of the bidders to meet with us via teleconference to discuss their proposals prior to determining a preferred supplier.

Bottom line: Our selection process may be wrapped up in mid-January or it could take a few weeks longer.

Look here for further news about this process.

CCPRF solicits proposals to provide media monitoring services to Canadian PR firms

The Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for media monitoring services. This RFP covers both traditional and online media.

Download the Monitoring RFP if you are interested in submitting a proposal to provide these services.

CCPRF breakfast panel to discuss the changing PR landscape

On Tuesday, June 23, 2009, the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms will host a panel of industry leaders to share their insights and perspectives on how cutbacks to mainstream media and new social media practices are redefining the PR landscape.

Panelists include:

Dr. Terry Flynn, PhD, assistant professor, DeGroote School of Business and national president of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

Mathew Ingram, online communities editor, Globe and Mail.

Keith McArthur, senior director, digital communications, Rogers.

The panel will be moderated by Trevor Campbell, president, Porter Novelli Canada.

You can follow the event on Twitter, hashtag #CCPRF, or watch this website for a recap of the discussion.