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#SMWTO – Providing LEGS for Real Time Community Influencer Moments

Earlier this month, the ruckus team had an opportunity to attend Social Media Week Toronto, which brought several leading social media marketers, influencers and social media platforms together to outline what’s new and upcoming for social media marketing. We live-tweeted, laughed, cried, and learned from the best.

This piece highlights our key takeaways from the conference and what inspired us the most:

1. A Moment Like This

FOMO and inclusion are the two main drivers in why individuals join social media. There is a large fear of missing out with an equally large drive to be included and feel part of a movement. Various speakers touched on the fact that to understand social media is to understand your audience. Challenges such as the ice bucket challenge, planking, and the kiki challenge give your audience the ability to be “cool” by partaking in a trending topic. They can then share their “entry” and be part of something bigger— a specific moment in time.

2. Community is King

We’ve all heard that content is king, but during the course of the week, it was all about community reigning supreme. Posting content for content sake is not going to earn you much engagement or clout with your followers. A few speakers hypothesized that the best method of creating content comes from seeking out your community and asking what they want to see. Conduct searches to see what accounts are saying about your brand, not just those who tag you, but the individuals who hashtag your organization or just write it out. By engaging with your community, you give them a voice, make them feel heard, and increase the chances of them sharing. Word of mouth is just as important online as in person.

3. Does your content have LEGS?

Yes, you read that right, but no, we don’t mean will it walk away. Creating content for the ad-averse is a real day challenge, and in order to grab those eyeballs, content should include at least one of the following elements:

Laugh Out Loud – If your content incorporates humour, individuals are willing to overlook the fact that it’s an ad for the reward of a good laugh.
Edgy – Pushing boundaries sparks conversation.
Gripping – Does it grab and hold your attention?
Sexy – make it visually appealing.

If your content doesn’t have legs, it needs to offer personal value in the forms of being inspirational, educational, or thought-provoking.

4. Real-Time

The theme of time and trends was woven through presentations on Twitter, 5G, Pinterest, and TikTok. Audience users expect immediate results and interactions. Whether it be in conversing online or partaking in a TikTok trend (which on average lasts about a week), they expect immediate response and reaction. With the development of 5G phone networks, we’ll be able to download and process information in 3-second increments. With Pinterest’s new lens, you can point your phone at an object and find out exactly where it’s from and purchase it on the spot. This is going to mean content creators (and everyday individuals) will have to work quickly to produce timely content while the idea is still fresh. On the flip side, this also means we’ll need to pay closer attention to real-time analytics in order to pivot in the moment.

5. Nano Influencers

In the era of fake news and bots, a lot of brands and agencies are shying away from influencers with large followings for nano influencers with more authentic reach. Much like brands, audiences don’t like the feeling of being duped when a piece of content gets thousands of likes and thousands of the same comment within moments of a post going live. Nano influencers offer more niche targeting with a higher likelihood of your branded content resonating with audiences leading to engagement.

Abby Radovski is an Account Director at ruckus Digital. Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line.

Employee Spotlight: Emily Rivas on Her Journey to Senior Strategist

Emily Rivas is ruckus’ newest team member, joining our team as senior content and development strategist. Rivas joins us after spending over two years with Rogers Media. Get to know Emily below!

1. How has your past work or volunteer experience helped you in your current position?

In my previous position as Editor, Branded Content at St. Joseph Communications Heritage Group (formerly Rogers Media), I dealt with many clients from a variety of sectors (consumer, food and beverage, retail and more). In this role, I created branded content on behalf of magazines like Chatelaine, FLARE and Today’s Parent in response to RFPs. My role also required me to execute projects from beginning to end; including ideation, project management, content production and social media. It was a fast-paced, client-centric role that required me to think outside the box and deliver top-notch content to clients, just like at APEX and ruckus.

2. What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?

Whether it’s through video, social, articles or an infographic, I’m passionate about making ideas come to life in the digital space! On a personal level, I’m passionate about staying creative and making time for the things I enjoy doing such as watching films, playing music, cooking, spending time with family and friends, or hitting up a yoga or spin class.

3. What moment or accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

I can think of two, actually. One of them is a video series that I produced for Today’s Parent in partnership with First Response. In the series, eight women shared their personal stories on getting pregnant. The stories were very emotional and highlighted the fact that no two pregnancies are the same, and that it’s important to talk about touchy subject matters, too.

The second is a feature I produced for Chatelaine in partnership with Dove that showcased seven gorgeous women—from various walks of life and with different body types—in a variety of swimsuits. Our goal was to show that every body is a beach body. The women featured also shared brilliant advice on body positivity that we used in the story as well.   

Having these women open up and share their stories with me meant a lot, as did having the opportunity to create content that would make other women feel seen, understood and empowered.

4. How do you stay up to date on industry trends and best practices?

Of course, the daily use of social media in my job keeps me updated. But otherwise, reading various digital marketing websites and consuming content from a mix of outlets keeps me up to date on industry trends and best practices.

5. Three interesting facts about yourself.

  • I climbed Mt. Fuji three years ago. It was tough but so worth it.
  • I played bass in a band throughout high school and university.
  • My first language is Spanish. I was born in Toronto but didn’t learn English until I was four years old!

Let’s talk about how ruckus Digital can help you reach your business goals

Dear Abby, Tell Us About Yourself…

Abby Radovski joins ruckus as an account director, digital integration. Abby’s role will focus on senior client counsel and leadership on all digital aspects, and she will also support new business growth. Abby brings more than seven years of experience from numerous multi-national agencies, with a robust background in social media management, content creation and influencer relations.

1. How has your past work or volunteer experience helped you in your current position?

“I’ve been a member of Girl Guides of Canada for more than 20 years.  For the past decade, I’ve been a leader within the organization, mentoring girls of all ages to try new things, communicate effectively and believe in themselves.  My experiences as a guider have helped me hone my skills of group work, team leadership and exploring the unknown. The Girl Guides motto is to Be Prepared, and as a communicator, I can’t think of a better motto to apply to the PR world. While the media and digital landscapes constantly evolve, we research, anticipate, and prepare ourselves for the future. It also means I always have an extra phone charger, pen, paper, and band-aids in my purse.”

2. What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?

“I’m a social butterfly by nature and this translates into my passion for all things social. If there is an event, festival or new social platform, I’m there! This passion is what drove me into becoming a dog and cider influencer. Managing two accounts, Instagram offered me the opportunity to flex my creativity, share photos and be part of an online community where I can be an over-enthusiastic dog mom and cider drinker. From a professional perspective, it also keeps me up to date on new features and what types of analytics are offered to influencers.”

3. What moment or accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

“There are many milestones that I look back upon proudly. The first time I landed a media hit, introducing social media into a workplace and winning my first Silverleaf award all come to mind. That being said, it’s the relationships I’ve built over the past decade that I’m most proud of. From my classmates at Seneca’s corporate communications program, to individuals I interned with when I first entered the public relations world. Relationships are a key aspect of public relations both traditionally and digitally and I’m very proud to have maintained mine with people from all over the world.”

4. How do you stay up to date on industry trends and best practices?

“There are a variety of ways to stay up to date on industry trends. I subscribe to newsletters, attend conferences and conduct social media audits for my clients on a regular basis. However, I think the best way to keep your finger on the pulse is to actively use the tools and platforms and try the updates as they happen.”

5. Three interesting facts about yourself.

  • “I previously lived in Madrid, Spain for three years. During my time there I partook in all Spanish festivals from La Tomatina to Carnaval.
  • I initially studied criminology in university before switching to a double major in anthropology and sociology in my third year.
  • I’m a dog mom to a large Cane Corso rescue named Knight who I frequently dress up for holidays.”

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Tales from a Digital Intern: Aaron

Aaron Short is ruckus Digital’s newest intern, joining the digital marketing and creative team. Aaron attended Durham College, completing an advanced diploma in public relations and then a postgraduate sports business management program. Before joining ruckus, he most recently spent six months as a communications and marketing intern for the Ontario Basketball Association.

Ever wonder what it’s like to intern at a public relations or marketing agency? Our intern Aaron answered some questions about his time here at ruckus!

1. What got you into PR?

“In high school I really enjoyed writing a sports column in my local newspaper about my school’s sports teams. That passion for writing guided me in the direction of media but I wasn’t 100% sure that journalism was the best for me. I saw PR as an interesting profession because it was so diverse and full of opportunity compared to traditional journalism. Thus, I decided to enroll in the Public Relations program at Durham College which opened the door for me to pursue a career in PR. ”

2. What do you think is the best quality to have in PR?

“I think the best quality to have in PR is a great personality. There is a large amount of relationship building that takes place in the PR industry and if you’re not someone who can easily connect with others it makes life more difficult. The relationships you need to build go past your coworkers and management. You have clients, third party partners, vendors and many more. You never know how people can be able to help you and your organization so being able to quickly and effectively connect with people is a major key to a successful PR career. .”

3. How do you keep up with ongoing projects?

“With this being my first agency experience I was shocked to say the least on how fast-paced it really is. I quickly learned that trying to remember everything that’s going on by only writing down the bare details wasn’t going to keep me as organized as I needed to be. So, I’ve gotten in the habit of keeping fairly detailed notes about ongoing and future projects. From there I organize my priorities and set a timeline. I like to add things into my calendar, so I’m reminded to stay on track or even just so I’m sure I have time on a certain day to get a project done. Of course, things pop up all the time that can mess with your priorities and timelines and that’s why it’s vital to have an open line of communication with your team. People are really understanding and accommodating when they know what’s going on and where you’re coming from.”

4. Being so new to PR, how do you think things are going to change?

“I honestly have no clue how things are going to change. Obviously, technology is continuously taking over and digital has never been more important. Video and AI are rising and important to Marketers and PR professionals alike. But I’m not sure what role AI will play in the future or if more emerging technologies will steal the spotlight. With the shrinking media landscape, Influencers are integral to marketing strategies going forward. However, I personally see public trust in influencers will dip in the near future. As people become more aware of the influencer industry i feel they will become better at detecting those who are in it solely for the money and those who are genuine. Watch for a rise in micro-influencer utilization because of this.”

5. What has been your biggest take away from your current internship?

“Coming into this internship I had a couple of misconceptions about agencies. First of all, I thought of agencies as being mostly consumer-based with a focus on fashion and beauty. I assumed If you’re not well-versed in either of these (which I’m not) you won’t fit in or excel in an agency. I found out quickly that certain agencies are like this but not all. ruckus and Apex have a wide variety of clients and thus a wide variety of personalities which creates a really interesting and inviting culture. As well I expected agencies to be very demanding and serious. Of course, agencies are still fast-paced and can get somewhat intense, but there is a lot more time to talk, laugh and have fun than I would have imagined. We take our work seriously but at the same time, we try to have as much fun on the job as we can. Because at the end of the day, if you enjoy where you work, you’re more likely to want to work hard and stay for a while.”

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5Q’s: Comedic Artist AManLikeJoseph

Find him on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Aaron from ruckus Digital chatted with @AManLikeJoseph about his beginnings in comedy and music as well as ways he has cultivated his loyal and engaged following.

1. What first attracted you to the comedy industry?

“What first attracted me to comedy was Vine and then later on Instagram grabbed my attention. Seeing other people creating six seconds to a minute videos that were entertaining or comedic was something I thought I could do. Especially because I was always the class clown at school, and you know the tings love comedy. But really @renny was the first person to inspire me to actually do skits.”

2. What are some ways that you’ve grown your following and how have you kept them engaged? 

“When I would make videos, I would really attack the Toronto audience. So, I’d basically make fun of the Toronto culture through comedy but also base my content on real life experiences. People love videos they can relate to so I slowly transitioned to more global skits. While doing that, I started getting into music which was my first passion. This transition caught everyone off guard, but I feel like making videos can get redundant so it’s always good to switch it up.”

3. How will advancements in technology affect your work? 

“Everything is always changing so as a creator/artist, it’s important to adapt and follow the latest trends. I don’t think technology will ever be able to replace creators so with that being said I don’t personally believe it will affect my work.”

4. Who are some of your favourite individuals to follow?

All of these guys are different in their own way, some are artists and some are creators, but I enjoy their content the most right now.

5. Do you think it’s important to align yourself with organizations that represent you and your values? Why or why not? 

“Yeah for sure it’s important to align with like-minded brands. I feel like it would be a lot easier to get your vision across working with an organization that suits you.”

Aaron Short is a Digital Marketing Intern at ruckus Digital.

Read more 5 questions of people we find interesting.

5Qs: Lifestyle blogger Maca Atencio

Maca Atencio (HeyMaca)
Find HeyMaca on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and at heymaca.ca

Emily Rivas from ruckus Digital recently chatted with influencer and lifestyle blogger Maca Atencio on how she started HeyMaca and what it is about her content that keeps her audience so engaged.

1. What first attracted you to the industry?

“I think it was natural step for me to start a blog and get into content creation. I graduated in marketing and sales, worked as a marketing and advertising manager at an agency in Venezuela, then ended up working as a digital strategist in Montreal, planning sponsored content for different media outlets. Along the way, I got into interior design, too. What I love most about this industry is how I can be on the “other” side as a creator and help brands produce beautiful imagery, videos and fun content to promote product launches.”

2. What are some ways that you’ve grown your following and how have you kept them engaged? 

“I think the unique style that HeyMaca has across all platforms has helped me a lot. I started the blog during my first mat leave about seven years ago. That’s when I began growing the readership, followers and community I have now (and all with no Instagram around!) I keep them engaged by creating fun content. From real stories on Instagram, to useful tips on the blog, and fun recipes they can cook with their loved ones–keeping my audience inspired is my number one goal as a creator. We also just expanded our business a month ago by launching an online shop. One of my dreams has always been to get our community wearing and loving our products.”

 3. How will advancements in technology affect your work? 

“I don’t think it will affect my work negatively. On the contrary, I’ve seen how digital media has evolved and how it can benefit us. Smarter tracking and planning in the industry are coming and that makes me so excited!” 

4. Who are some of your favourite individuals to follow?

I have so many favourites! But here are a few specific ones I love:

5. Do you think it’s important to align yourself with organizations that represent you and your values? Why or why not? 

“Absolutely! At HeyMaca, we partner with brands and products that we use, love and believe in. Our mantra is to show our genuine selves across all platforms and in real life–for example, I love hugs and hug anyone upon meeting them the first time.”

Emily Rivas is a senior strategist at ruckus Digital.

Read more 5 questions of people we find interesting.

#DailyDive: My go-to sources for inspiration as a visual communicator

Curiosity and ongoing learning are a key requirement at our agency.  Studies show that people who continue to learn as professionals are better problem-solvers, more creative and tend to enjoy their jobs more so that’s a bonus.  This month we are sharing what are our go-to for professional resources for each of us at APEX PR and ruckus Digital.

Being a creative, I can understand the importance behind visual communication and the effectiveness it can have on an audience. I also know how important it is for a creative to be inspired. But I don’t necessarily scroll through blogs, read magazines or anything of that sort on a regular basis, looking for inspiration. And I find that I come across my inspiration from the places that any other person can find themselves looking through. So here are some places I get inspiration from:

  • Instagram | Probably my #1 most used social media platform and the app that drains my data the most. But in all seriousness, I find that Instagram is a great resource in finding creative inspiration, if you follow the right people. The Instagram accounts I follow, outside of friends and that sort, include fashion influencers, music artists and mood boards. And because I follow these kinds of accounts, my explore page is filled with posts from accounts that offer the same kind of content. So, it’s pretty normal for me to come across visually pleasing and creative posts that I can get inspiration from.
  • YouTube| YouTube can be more than just a platform to entertain you. By just getting lost into the YouTube algorithm, I’ve come across countless videos and artists that caught my interest and eventually led me into some inspiration.
  • The Outdoors | When I say the outdoors I mean anything outside of your home or the office. Whether that be walking in the city, in nature or even your own neighbourhood. There’s a lot more to draw inspiration from outdoors that you may not be able to come across on the internet or through print publications than you think. Such as OOH advertising, storefronts, the architectural design of a building, or even just the landscape.

Trebor Palomo is a creative design intern at ruckus Digital. Need help with your social media approach? Drop us a line.

#DailyDive: Real estate, health, payments & business go-to sources

Curiosity and ongoing learning are key requirements at our agency. Studies show that people who continue to learn as professionals are better problem-solvers, more creative and tend to enjoy their jobs more ̶ so that’s a bonus. This month we are sharing our go-to professional resources at APEX PR and ruckus Digital.

For me, many of my go-to sources for information are related to topics that interest me on a personal level as well as professionally, as they relate to client work that I’m fortunate to be a part of in the health, payments and real estate spaces.

My top ones (in no particular order) would be as follows:

The Globe and Mail Real Estate | The weekly newsletter that comes out on the weekend always has a good recap of insights about the national real estate market.

CBC Second Opinion | While it’s on hiatus right now, the newsletter also captures what’s what when it comes to health on a national scale.

In payments today (daily) | Payments impact a number of our clients, so I find the best way to keep up on what’s happening in the payments space in Canada and internationally, is through this daily recap.

strategy + business | This resource just offers great timely research and thoughts on topics such as ‘Survival skills for the digital age,’ ‘Keep your CSR programs on track’ and ‘Crisis Preparedness as the next competitive advantage.’

Diane Bégin is a VP at APEX Public Relations and ruckus Digital. Check out more of our #DailyDive and see what other APEXers are looking at for professional inspiration.

#DailyDive: Streaming podcasts and collaborating on LinkedIn

Curiosity and ongoing learning are key requirements at our agency. Studies show that people who continue to learn as professionals are better problem-solvers, more creative and tend to enjoy their jobs more ̶ so that’s a bonus. This month we are sharing our go-to professional resources at APEX PR and ruckus Digital.

When you work in social and digital media, learning is never-ending. Every day, Facebook or Google are making changes to their platforms that impact customer behaviours or programming for our clients. Keeping up can be a challenge – especially as our own attention spans decline. However, daily I’m either streaming a marketing podcast or collaborating with colleagues on LinkedIn.

Podcast addict:

As someone always on-the-go and a frequent podcast binger, I love a good podcast to learn about new trends from credible marketing experts. Consuming content through audio let’s me multitask on my commute to work or while burning calories at the gym. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Social Media Marketing Talkshow with Michael Stelzner – Leveraging interviews with platform and marketing experts this podcast focuses on new platform features (such as the TikTok self-service ads) or updates to existing platforms (like the recent LinkedIn Updates Pages and algorithm).
  • Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly digs into the history and evolution of advertising and marketing by exploring industries and marketing tactics. Although, the podcast has been re-releasing archived episodes I just listened to the history of lawsuit advertising and it was very interesting to see how the industry evolved over time.
  • Smart Agency Masterclass – Host Jason Swenk interviews marketing agency leaders from across North America to chat through strategies they’ve undertook to grow or evolve their business. Episodes are roughly 30 mins – perfect for my commute to work!


I’ve become obsessed with LinkedIn. I’ve curated a strong list of professionals, old colleagues and experts who I admire that I can learn from and share my perspective with. The platform has expanded their capabilities and algorithm so I can share links, videos or full blog posts. Below are some of my go-to professionals or hashtags to follow:

  • Jed Schneiderman – After visiting our office for a presentation about EQ Works, I was impressed by Jed and how he approached data and the marketing opportunities. Jed is always sharing interesting articles and providing innovative perspectives on the industry.
  • #marketing – It’s a simple hashtag, but it helps me discover trending articles within the industry to keep myself updated on the latest news or trends that I need to be aware of.
  • Sherrilynne Starkie – As a grad of the Algonquin PR program, you learn a lot about the grads that came before you. I’ve followed Sherri online for many years throughout her PR and marketing journey and look forward to seeing her posts.

Katie Boland is an account director at APEX Public Relations and ruckus Digital. Check out more of our #DailyDive and see what others are looking at for professional inspiration.

#DailyDive: My mobile go-to sources for information on the go

Curiosity and ongoing learning are key requirements at our agency. Studies show that people who continue to learn as professionals are better problem-solvers, more creative and tend to enjoy their jobs more ̶ so that’s a bonus. This month we are sharing our go-to professional resources at APEX PR and ruckus Digital.

As a content developer in the social media space, you’d almost never find me picking up a newspaper or watching the morning/evening news, however you will find me with my phone constantly in hand, scrolling, listening, viewing, and taking in the latest news – like a true millennial.

Here are my some of my favourite sources of daily info:

  • The Adweek App (iOS & Google Play) – Talk about inspiration. I kill two birds with one stone reading Adweek. I get the latest industry news, and I get to see what the best of the best brands and agencies are doing globally and getting a little inspiration for my day-to-day working life.
  • Strategy Magazine – Okay, okay, I know I said you’ll only find me collecting news on my phone, but Strategy is the one exception I’ll make. Fresh out of university, knowing I wanted to go into marketing, but not necessarily knowing an exact direction, flipping through the pages of Strategy Magazine was one of the first times I can remember feeling truly inspired to go the direction I ended up going in the industry. All these year later, Strategy Magazine still inspires me.
  • Philip DeFranco – I’ll admit, some days are so hectic that I genuinely wouldn’t know what was happening in the world unless someone tells me. However, no matter how busy the day is, I still manage to find time to scroll through Instagram at least 3 times a day. Enter Philip DeFranco, my one-stop shop for global news and a hint of celebrity gossip – thanks Phil!

Amanda Carreiro is a senior digital content manager at ruckus Digital. Check out more of #DailyDive and see what others are looking at for professional inspiration. (Incidentally, Amanda and colleagues were recently mentioned in Strategy Magazine.)