Guinevere Orvis

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About Guinevere Orvis

8 She also works on several blogs at cbc, the most common one would be for the show Dragons' Den

The Social Media Interview of Guinevere Orvis

Who are you, and who do you work for? Share a bit of your background.


Guinevere Orvis is an Interactive Producer working in the broadcast industry in Toronto, Canada. She is in charge of mobile and interactive strategy & production for several prime time television shows at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Previously, she lead the team and helped launch their social media site Show Me Yours. Prior to working in the broadcast industry, Guinevere was an entrepreneur who ran a design agency for eight years.

What is your favorite part about what you do?

The variety. The tasks that I'm called upon to do from day to day can be very different which means I'm always learning something new and facing new challenges. I've touched upon the spectrum of my job in this post

Where or from whom do you pull inspiration?

I read the blogs of a lot of industry experts from standards advocates to blog and social media pros. I also try and attend conferences and participate at local unconferences to and get inspired from what people are discussing.

What is new and exciting that your working on (can talk about) and want to plug?

Projects that break traditional models are exciting. This year we are releasing episodes of one of CBC's most popular shows (Dragons' Den) online before they air on TV. The Hockey Anthem Challenge is interesting — how often does a show with that much history and legacy use social media to rebrand? And if all goes according to plan, Canada's Next Great Prime Minister (the show that made headlines last year for releasing over BitTorrent) will do one better this year.

I'm also working on several side projects outside of my day job. I'll announce them on my blog when ready.

There is a NEW fad tool coming out every day, but reality is it's just building conversations with your customers. It's not a big new secret, remember 5 years ago email was scary. How do you see these tools transforming and helping you and your industry in the future?

There's not enough adoption of new media tools in the broadcast industry where I work now. I hope that we're on the track to do far more, otherwise we're going to suffer the same fate as the music labels. Projects like Hulu are promising.

How can social media boost your marketing and pr?

People most value recommendations from their friends/family and social media empowers our fans to spread the word about the products we create to their network.

What mistakes should people avoid in social media?

Don't just be a salesperson, be a person first and foremost. If your message is always about buying your product and you're not adding any value, people will not follow or subscribe.

What are some issues to consider when someone embarks on a social media marketing initiative?

This is by no means a complete list, but a few that come to mind right now.

  • Rights: are the people contributing legally allowed to distribute what they are publishing on your site? If not, is it their liability or yours when someone decides to sue?
  • Discussion: do not start a community if you are not comfortable with public discussion of your product/service potentially in a negative way.
  • Involvement: if you are going to build a community, engage in it. Don't build it and abandon it. Consider staffing required to maintain a steady relationship with your clients.
  • Communication: generally the more closed doors you are, the more negative feedback your social media initiative will receive.
  • Moderation: what are your rules for your community? Communicate them clearly to your staff and users upfront.
  • Infrastructure: can you handle a runaway success? Will your servers crash? Can you fulfill orders?
  • Rolling tumbleweed: what if you build it and nobody comes? Have a plan B and plan C, then finally an exit strategy.

Define 'Social Media' in 500 words or less.

Social Media is a site, online application or mobile project where your users can contribute content for the consumption of other users of that community.

We know each other from twitter, so obviously you use social media, but does your company also use social media?

Yep. CBC uses Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and we have our own social tools on several of our microsites.

How are you/they using it to connect to your customers and leverage social networks to expand your brand's recognition and build a positive reputation?

A good example at CBC would be The Hour's YouTube Channel (I do not work on this) which is hugely popular with people who do not normally watch CBC. A very large amount of people go to the official site after watching clips on YouTube and become regular viewers of the show.

Do you track your name and your companies name? What are some of your favorite reputation management tools and why? If you do not track social media, why? (this includes search twitter-formerly Summize, radian6, etc.)

  • I use Twitter Summarize, RSS feeds and Google Alerts. Twitter conversations are difficult to follow without additional tools. I recommend Google Alerts as the basic tracking tool to anyone. If you're not tracking your projects at all, sign up for Google Alerts at the minimum.

What do you consider "must-have" sites/profiles to establish and why? (this includes micro-blogs, e-vite, schedule organizers, apis, build your own network)

It depends entirely on your goals for building that specific network. There's no single to-do list to check off that works for every project, you need to be flexible enough to use the tools that are most appropriate for the goals. If you're looking for a job, be on LinkedIn. If you're a music band looking for fans in the U.S., focus on MySpace and don't assume this is where you have to be forever. Keep track of how the sites are being used several months down the road and re-focus your efforts if necessary.

What companies do you think are doing a great job with social media, or horrible? Tell us one story or a very successful client or your own story that you feel makes online networking worth while. (case study)

Freshbooks has developed an excellent reputation for customer service from their blog, community involvement in new media gatherings and large industry events like SXSW. Their social media outreach feels like it comes out of a truly customer focused attitude and no doubt they've gained clients by seeming like such approachable, smart people. No, they're not paying me to say this :)

How can I write viral content around boring products? For example, if I was a sink company, how would I drive massive traffic and build authority around it?

Absolutely. How interesting is a blender? Enter

How has social media impacted you and your company?

I personally believe it's an important tool for CBC to fulfill its mandate to actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression and have personally benefited from increased knowledge about what my audience/collaborators want because of it. In terms of basic metrics, using social media on our own sites increase time spent and engaging in it on other sites increases the traffic back to our official sites.

What is your favorite networking event that you would recommend to others

I would recommend attending an unconference of some kind to anybody. Participate in a conference where everybody is the audience and everybody is a speaker and you'll never look at networking events the same again.

What game plan would you recommend to someone just starting with social media?

Simply, I recommend reading the book Now is Gone by Geoff Livingstone.

What do you consider social media ROI? How do you recommend tracking it?

I generally track several things including hard numbers (ie. # of comments, # of downloads, # of subscribers or # of contributions depending on the project and referrers back to the main site from social media initiatives). I also track the quality of the contributions and comments in terms of customer satisfaction and track user advocates within the community. I look for star users and try and recognize/reward them in some way. I track numbers formally in fancy spreadsheets and graphs and I save quality user contributions offline as well. I recommend saving the best stuff offline as your users can pull it down anytime.

What do you consider a good community manager?

  • Someone who: 1) loves online and understands internet culture.
  • 2) is level headed and not heavy handed when it comes to moderation
  • 3) great with people
  • 4) balances communication rules/objectives with open dialogue

How can people contact you or your company?



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