Since Paul Revere created a media frenzy with his famous ride through the streets of Boston, media in Canada has lagged behind our neighbours to the south.

I mean, how can you compete with a guy who is still famous 200 years later? He was a marketing/pr maverick the likes of which have not been seen since. Hell, even his initials were PR!

There’s no question that the American’s have lead the charge toward social media engagement. Sites like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter were all created in the American PR frenzy and we have ridden on their coat-tails, happily, for years.

Canadians and Canadian companies have long had to sit back and watch as their larger, US counterparts have pulled ahead through the use of marketing tools only available in the States.

Consider, for example, the pull of a Super Bowl commercial as recently as 2 years ago. A 30 second spot during the biggest game on TV cost a bundle but was worth a fortune in media exposure.

The Canadian dollar made such an expenditure a gamble and the commercials didn’t even play on the Canadian stations that carried the games. (unless you were lucky enough to watch a game in a pub that paid to have the US commercials aired)

Examples like this tipped the scales of marketing to the target toward American companies with little recourse for us up here, north of the 49th.

But then something amazing happened! Something that levelled that same playing field practically overnight!

Social Media.

Anyone could join a social media site. Anyone could market to the people who were part of such a site. It was a wonderful meeting of target market meets marketing strategy.

And what did Canadian companies do? They waited.

In fact, by 2008 an estimated 42% of American companies were already engaged in social media as a mainstay of their marketing strategy. Whereas Canadian companies…well I can’t even find a statistic stating how many Canadian companies were using social media in 2008 but it’s a telling sign that in 2010 an estimated 34% had finally begun to see the benefits of a social media campaign.

The American’s have hit 73% as of 2010. More than twice that of their Canadian counterparts.

The news isn’t all bad for Canada though. We’re making a run for it now, albeit a bit late. And to be perfectly honest, it’s likely a good thing that more Canadian companies did not run willy-nilly into the social media scene when it first appeared.

In fact, it’s very “Canadian” to sit back and watch everyone else make mistakes before signing on.

(let’s go with that as an overall Canadian strategy shall we?)

There is a lot more to this article but I’m going to publish it in another post because I don’t like to hit 500 words. So, you’ll just have to wait! (ha! 464 words!)

Written by jax