Sodium Campaign “Give Your Head a Shake” does not cut the Mustard

A  recent article in the  Ottawa Citizen indicates that an ad blitz to get people to reduce the salt in their diets may not have had much impact.

The study could not tell whether the “Give Your Head a Shake” campaign changed any eating habits in a test case in Eastern Ontario.

According to the sponsor of the campaign The “Give Your Head a Shake” health communication campaign (note not a social marketing campaign unfortunately)  is designed to provide Champlain area residents with simple, practical tips to help them reduce the high amount of sodium they consume every day. Although the campaign calls attention to the reasons why residents need to reduce sodium, the main focus is on how residents can easily reduce their sodium.

Local health centres in the Champlain region kicked off a campaign in August 2009 to try to persuade people in the area to consume less sodium. The federal government spent $194,000 to evaluate the results of that campaign. (Nearly 200 K to evaluate a local campaign is a heck of a pile of dough, probably as much as they spent on running the campaign?)

According to the article in the Citizen, the study looked at two groups of adults between the ages of 35 and 50. The Champlain group was exposed to the sodium campaign and a control group in a different town was not.

The “Give Your Head a Shake” campaign consisted of newspaper, television and radio ads. Registered dietitians also came up with dozens of “quick and easy” tips to reduce sodium, such as mixing olive oil, lemon juice and herbs instead of using bottled marinades, or adding your own seasoning to chicken.

Too bad they did not include the other key tactics of a comprehensive campaign (see my social marketing workbook for details on low cost tactics that work in social marketing)

At one point, researchers checked with the groups to see whether they had changed their diets in the last 30 days. They wanted to know if people had been sprinkling less salt on their food or if they had even gone a step further and cut some sodium from their diets. The people in the Champlain group reported adding less salt to their food in the previous month, while the control group did not. But when it came to actually reducing sodium, neither group changed their eating habits in a meaningful way.“There were no significant differences documented for participants reporting they reduced the amount of sodium they ate in the past 30 days,” the study says.

A summary of the first year of the campaign found the Champlain study group seemed to be eating less salt. But it suggests people in Champlain who were not part of the study, but who were nonetheless exposed to the same ad blitz, did not change their eating habits.

“At the community level, there are no differences between the intervention and control community,” the study concludes. “Given campaign awareness is reported among 30 per cent of survey respondents, it is possible that additional exposure to campaign messages would lead to community-level changes. “It is not however possible to say with certainty that the observed differences in the Champlain region are a result of the campaign versus other factors.” “It should also be noted that the findings from this study are preliminary given the study’s small geographic area and volunteer participants,”

By the way in Canada the government has not regulated sodium levels in consumer products but calls on manufacturers and restaurants to voluntarily cut sodium levels in their products.

The average Canadian consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, a figure the federal government would like to see lowered to 2,300 milligrams by 2016.

Let’s hope they succeed, but I would not be too optimistic. Canadians love their salt , check out the packaging of most package good products or watch TV chefs add lots of salt in their preparation of food , especially Kosher salt ( why Kosher salt have no idea , I guess its cleaner). And yes go to a restaurant and just watch Canadians furiously adding salt to their meals before tasting it.

One more thing, if the health organizations want to  run campaigns to change peoples behaviour  I suggest they take a social marketing approach to their campaigns. To learn how to develop social marketing campaigns come join us at our social marketing workshop at the  MARCOM  learning fourm or check out our social marketing workbook .

Jim Mintz is the Managing Partner of the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing where he presently works with a number of public sector and nonprofit clients. He is also Program Director of the “Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing” at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. Jim was formerly the Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Health Canada where for many years he directed social marketing campaigns in the health area.



Compilation of Social Media Stats (USA and Canada) for Marketers 2011

 On her social-media and PR blog, Commentz, Sarah Evans and her staff compile a lot of stats. Each quarter, she cherry-picks the most relevant for marketers.

1. eMarketer estimates there will be nearly 21 million Twitter users in the U.S. by the end of this year, and a sizable minority of those will use the service at least in part to follow brands. (eMarketer)

2. Forty percent of bloggers consider themselves professionals. (MediaBistro/State of the Blogosphere 2011)

3. There are now more than 800 million active Facebook users, with more than 200 million added in 2011. (Social Media Examiner)

4. B2C Facebook results are 30% above average on Sundays. (Convince & Convert)

5. Tweets last up to 67 times longer for users with higher Klout scores. (Mashable)

6. Nearly every large charity and university in America is on Facebook. Less than 60% of the Fortune 500 is. (Grow)

7. B2B marketers are spending millions of dollars annually on social-marketing programs, though nearly 30% are not tracking the impact of social-media programs on lead generation and sales. (TechJournal/Pardot)

8. Thirty-four percent of marketers have generated leads using Twitter, and 20% have closed deals using Twitter (AllTwitter)

9. Roughly two-thirds of social-media users say that staying in touch with current friends and family members is a major reason they use these sites, while half say that connecting with old friends they’ve lost touch with is a major reason behind their use of these technologies. (PEW Research)

10. The vast majority (95%) of the parents of 10-year-olds on Facebook were aware when their child signed up for the site, and 78% of those parents helped create the child’s account [despite rules that prohibit children under 13 from joining the social-networking site]. (CNN Tech)

11. One in three respondents (33%) said that they would prioritize social-media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer. (GigaOm)

12. One in three texters would rather text than talk. (NYTimes: Bits)

13. Seventy-seven percent of consumers said they interact with brands on Facebook primarily through reading posts and updates from the brands [….] 17% of respondents said they interact with brands by sharing experiences and news stories with others about the brand, and only 13% of respondents said they post updates about brands that they like. (Mashable)

14. The average Facebook user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 pages, events and groups. (Social Media Examiner)

15. Seventy-three percent of people think employees overshare on social-media. (Marketing Pilgrim)

16. Forty-three percent of all online consumers are social media fans or followers. (HubSpot)

17. Netflix’s price hike caused 805,000 paid subscribers to jump ship in the most-recent quarter. (Mashable)

18. Sixty-four percent of Americans stream mobile video at work. (Tubefilter)

19. The Mobile Marketing Association of Asia stated that out of the 6 billion people on the planet, 4.8 billion have a mobile phone while only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. (60 Second Marketer)

20. According to ThreatMetrix survey of 722 active internet using consumers, 37% intend to make a purchase using their smartphone, nearly three times as many as those who plan to use their tablet. (Get Elastic)

21. A 2011 study by the National Restaurant Association confirms that consumers who use social media, including apps, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, UrbanSpoon and more, not only dine out more, but are more likely to become return customers. (ReadWriteWeb)

22. Ninety-five percent of Facebook Wall posts are not answered by brands. (All Facebook)

43. Twenty percent of searches on Google each day have never been searched for before. (HubSpot)

24. Tablet owners tend to consume a greater variety and volume of news on their devices, and tablets’ visual, interactive features encourage in-depth exploration, according to a joint study from Starcom MediaVest and the online division of the BBC. (Mashable)

25. Auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%. (Inside Facebook)

26. LinkedIn has 64 million users in North America alone. (All Twitter)

27. Twitter updates that include verbs have a 2% higher shareability than the average tweet. (HubSpot)

28. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are now considered cornerstones of most social-media strategies in larger companies. Ninety-four percent of respondents said Facebook is one of their top three social media platform priorities. Twitter was second with 77%, and YouTube trailed with 42%. (Search Engine Watch)

29. SEO still dominates for marketers, with both B2B (57%) and B2C (41%) businesses stating it makes the biggest impact on their lead generation goals. (AllTwitter)

30. Overall, 57% of comments about U.S. airlines on social media in the past year were negative. But American Airlines — the world’s fourth-largest airline — stood out with only 12% of social-media opinions about the airline being positive. (The Realtime Report)

31. Fifty-six percent of consumers said they are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan on Facebook. (Mashable)

32. Fifty-six percent of college students said that if they encountered a company that banned access to social media, they would either not accept a job offer or would join and find a way to circumvent corporate policy. (GigaOm)

33. Johns Hopkins, Facebook’s birthplace Harvard, and Notre Dame are the top schools for social media. (

34. Only 15% of the average local business’s fans are in the city where the business is located. (WSJ)

35. More smartphone and tablet owners are researching products than purchasing them — 80.8% compared to 41.4%, according to BIGresearch — but attitudes vary quite a bit among different age groups. (eMarketer)

36. When you’re cruising around the internet, how much of your time is spent on a social network or blog? According to a new study published by Nielsen, those two categories eat up 23% of internet usage overall. This is double online gaming, which comes in at number two and after that, it takes 75 different categories to account for the remaining 35% of time spent. (Marketing Pilgrim)

37, When it comes to liking brands on Facebook, the reasons are varied, but for the most part, respondents said they “Like” a brand on Facebook because they are a customer (58%) or because they want to receive discounts and promotions (57%). (Mashable)

38. There are 245 million internet users in the US, according to Internet World Statistics. Nielsen estimates that social media sites and blogs reach 80% of all active U.S. internet users. (PR Week)

39. IT professionals see serious risks associated with enterprise social network use — and only 29% say they have adequate protection. (InformationWeek: The BrainYard)

40. There are now 100 million active [Twitter] users — users who log in at least once a month — with half of those users signing in at least once a day. Fifty-five percent of them access Twitter via mobile; 40% actually don’t Tweet but simply dip into their Timelines to keep tabs on what people are saying. (CNN/Fortune)

41. Fully 65% of adult internet users now say they use a social-networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago. This marks the first time in Pew Internet surveys that 50% of all adults use social-networking sites. (Wired PR Works)

42. The mean half life of a link on Twitter is 2.8 hours, on Facebook it’s 3.2 hours and via “direct” sources (like email or IM clients) it’s 3.4 hours. So you can expect, on average, an extra 24 minutes of attention if you post on Facebook than if you post on Twitter. (bitly blog)

43. Social media is responsible for one-third the web traffic in Malaysia. (ReadWriteWeb)

44. There are more than 3.5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.) shared each week on Facebook. (HubSpot)

45. According to a survey of 1,897 senior executives conducted by Weber Shandwick in partnership with Forbes Insights, 84% of the execs believe their brand’s sociability is not up to world-class standards. (Mashable)

46. Beyonce’s pregnancy news at MTV’s VMAs birthed a new Twitter record of 8,868 Tweets per second. (TechCrunch)

47. Forty-four percent of companies track employees’ social-media use in andout of the office (TheNextWeb).

48. What makes people retweet? 92% interesting content. 84% humor. 66% personal connection. 21% celebrity status. 32% offered incentive (tangible or virtual). 26% “Please RT!” (WhiteFireSEO)

49. Among college students and young professionals, 24% experience three to five interruptions in a given hour, while 84% get interrupted at least once while trying to complete a project. (GigaOm)

50. All but 7% of social-media campaigns used Facebook. (All Facebook)

Social Media Use in Canada

Half of Canadians are on Social Networks – and 60% of all Canadians online are there as well. To put that in perspective, that’s over 17 million people across our great nation. While the number of Canadians on Social Networks has only grown by 4% since 2009, the frequency of Social Media use amongst Canadians is on the rise – big time. In 2010, 35% of online Canadians visited a Social Media site at least once a week – that number has now grown to 50%. Furthermore, in 2011 35% of online Canadians visited a Social Networking site everyday; a number that was only 19% a year ago. While 15% of Canadians stated that they use Social Media less than they did a year ago, 35% say that the time spent has increased.

There is a stereotype out there that Social Media is only for male teenagers and young adults. It’s no surprise that the 18-34 year old demographic is by far the heaviest users of Social Media in Canada, with 86% of that age range active on Social Networks. But older age ranges have significantly increased their Social Networking activity in recent years. Almost 2/3 of 35-54 year olds and over 40% of those over the age of 55 in Canada are now actively using Social Media. This isn’t to say that Social Media in Canada is getting “older”, but it is expanding its reach among the entire population.

And sorry guys, but the women take the cake on this one. 37% of online Canadian women say that they visit a Social Media site at least once a day, compared to only 24% of online Canadian men.

Who is the Canadian Social Media King?

There’s no surprise here – for years Facebook has dominated the Social Media game not only in Canada, but all over the world. With over 750 million users worldwide, Facebook continues to be king. In fact, 86% of all Canadians using Social Media are on Facebook. But they are not the only player in the game – we can’t forget about Twitter and LinkedIn, both of which have gained ground on the Social Networking giant. In 2009, less than 1% of Canadians used Twitter. Today that number has grown to almost 20%. Similarly, LinkedIn users in Canada have more than doubled to 14% from 6% in 2009.

And let’s not forget about the newest player in the game, Google+. Only a few weeks old, Google+ has made some serious noise by amassing over 10 million users worldwide. While it is still too early to tell the long term impact of Google+ on the Canadian Social Media landscape, it will definitely be interesting to watch unfold.

We are social media

53% Canadians see the Internet as an important part of their social life.

51% Canadians have visited online social network or community.

16% Canadians spend more time on social networking sites than on any website.

35% Canadians visit a social networking site at least once a week, 19% on a daily basis.

90% Canadian socializers are on Facebook, 10% on Twitter, 9% on LinkedIn.

• Canadians visit YouTube more frequently than any other nationals. In 2010, they spent an average of 4.4 hours a month watching videos on YouTube.

5% have shared their current location with members of an online community

Sources: The Ipsos Canadian inter@ctive Reid Report 2011 Fact Guide; The Globe and Mail What makes Canadians spend more time online?, 2010

Facebook is still on the lead

16,9 million active Canadian users a month, 9 million users a day

• Average of over 400 minutes on Facebook per month, 20 minutes a day

• Average of 190 friends per user

60% of Facebook users who become a fan of a brand (or cause) are more likely to recommend it to a friend

For more Canadian stats see this super you tube video

Hope you find this useful


Amateur Hour is over! It is time to get Serious about Social Media

 For those who read my blogs you know that I feel very strongly that those organizations that are in the marketing and communications business and have not developed a social media and digital engagement strategy will be “left out in the cold”

A recent article in the Globe and mail suggests that it is time to adapt to social media – or face the consequences.

These days, having a social media presence – and knowing how to properly use it is becoming an important part of marketing and communications in both the private and public sector.

Yet many organizations have no idea where to begin and what steps they should take to get the most out of social media. Some organizations continue to doubt the need for engaging with their audience/client online and put up barriers to developing a strong social media presence.

But social networking is here to stay, and in the future it will play an increasingly important role to those who are in the marketing and communications field. Many public sector and non-profit organizations have not reaped the benefits of social media and change their corporate culture enough to accommodate this shift.

One of the most important elements of success in the area also sounds like the simplest: Create a social media strategy that spells out your organizations goals and how to achieve them.

One of the big challenges organizations are facing is what part of the organization should be responsible for social media and digital engagement, Marketing or Communications. My response is it depends on the organizations structure. Obviously I would prefer it to be in the marketing department but whatever your organization decides, make sure that someone is in charge and coordinating all of the social media and digital engagement activities.

Organizations that are effective in the use social media effectively have decided who is responsible for the social media plan, and the governance model used to oversee it. But even the best-laid plans will result in failure if there’s no willingness to be innovative, (especially in government), and allow staff to embrace creativity in the world of social media.

Organizations are always looking for quick fixes but with social media “It’s not something you can just flip a switch on,” says Jason Falls, CEO of Social Media Explorer, a platform that focuses on information and educational products related to social media and digital marketing. “It takes time to cultivate those relationships.” Source

So get with the program, the new era of social media is having a major impact on what and how organizations communicate with key audiences — both external and internal. The world of one-way communication, of one source to many readers, viewers or listeners — is rapidly changing into a multi-facetted communications universe, where mass customization and increased relevancy are made possible.

To take advantage of the opportunities and deal with the challenges presented by this new universe, public sector and non-profit organizations need to employ a strategic approach to enhancing and opening up communication channels with target audiences through the use of contextually relevant social media tools and applications.

The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) have specifically tailored social media and digital marketing training for government and non-profit sectors . To check out our workshops and training go to our web site. Also you should subscribe Mike Kujawski’s blog /