Andrea Karpala_Discover Digital Marketing Interview Series

Discover Digital Marketing Interview Series Featuring Andrea Karpala

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I was hot on the trail of my career in marketing communications in 2006; I was working for an advertising agency that specialized in event promotions and marketing, namely managing marketing and onsite sponsorships for Ford Motor Company’s racing segment, Ford Racing. This was not only my first deep dive into digital marketing, it was also my first meeting with Andrea Karpala.

During our time marketing for Ford Racing, Andrea shared her passion for social media with company executives and one key accomplishment was converting colleagues and Ford employees into understanding the benefits of social media and its role within the communications mix.

Meet Andrea (@AndreaKarpala)

In the 10 years since we met, Andrea’s built a public relations (PR) firm’s social media following and was responsible for several national PR campaigns that were awarded with top honors from the Canadian Public Relations Society. She has transformed her career in communications because of the knowledge she’s gained along the way for how to intertwine communications and digital marketing tactics and tools together to reach the right people.

Andrea Karpala is a self-described cyborg, and she’ll be the first one to tell you that when she says she’s savvy in digital marketing, that doesn’t mean that if your computer breaks she can fix it, what she means is she’ll definitely figure out how to leverage digital channels to share your message. Her always connected mentality and her self-drive to get familiar and experiment with the latest social media trends is in part what’s gotten her to where she is today, the Communications Manager at McLaughlin Library for the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

My interview with Andrea focuses on strategies for establishing a new social media platform, copyright terms you need to be aware of when marketing online, and Andrea’s copyright tips and list of resources to find free images, presentations, videos, and more online.

Note: In this article, all of the words below in italics are attributed to Andrea Karpala.

4 Strategies for Establishing a New Social Media Platform

In 2012, the McLaughlin Library didn’t have a social media presence and Andrea saw this as a critically important way to reach students so she turned this into an opportunity to introduce a new platform to her bosses.

Andrea Karpala shares four strategies she used to get buy-in from colleagues and bosses to use and support a new social platform, and her strategy for building a presence on Snapchat from the ground up.

1. Know Where Your Audience Hangs Out Online

“After returning from maternity leave in December 2015 (In Canada we get an entire year off….lucky...I know) I felt like a dinosaur because it was the first time in my life that I wasn’t the most knowledgeable about the latest social media platforms. So I turned to my target audience, students, to learn what they were using. I also looked to other campus departments who are having success reaching students. It was clear that students were not engaging on Twitter or Instagram the way they once had - it was really important that we use a platform that reaches students.

I quickly learned Snapchat was where the students were spending their time…so that’s where we needed to be.

I admit, at first I didn’t understand how Snapchat could help from a marketing perspective, and it took a few months, a few tutorials from friends and a few of Sunny Lenarduzzi’s YouTube tutorials, but I finally see the value in Snapchat and now I feel like the Snapchat cheerleader.”

2. Get Clear on the Content You Want to Share and What Content Works

“We knew that we wanted to use this channel to let students know what free services are available to them.

We know from our current social media platforms that content that is created by students (that aligns to our messaging) is the most successful. So we’re creating a new Snapchat strategy-- getting students to create the “stories” (we have over 100 students who work at the library in various capacities). We’ve created a google doc of all the frequently asked questions and we’re asking our student staff to work with us to create the stories to answer these questions.  Students are excited to curate content on behalf of an organization and we’re excited to reach students in a meaningful way.”

3. Create a Plan to Manage Your Social Media Account

“Back in 2012, I created a social media committee that shared the responsibility for posting content on Facebook. We literally started having the committee pre-approve all posts and when the trust grew (and management understood the impact) we started creating an editorial calendar of themes but allowed content managers to write their own posts.  Not surprisingly, this was a much more successful approach.

Now that we are an established committee, when we had the idea of launching a Snapchat account, I shared the idea with my boss, our associate chief librarian, who is a digital native herself, and she was on board.  We did more research by talking to students and the two departments on campus who were already using Snapchat.

For us, the solution to managing Snapchat was to use Google Docs (a free service that allows you to create, edit, and store documents and spreadsheets online with groups of people at a time) to create an editorial calendar that listed out the “themes” of our Snapchat stories. We also bought an iPad that would be shared among our social media committee and shared with any student who creates a Snapchat story.  We made sure to follow a ton of University Snapchat accounts to see how Snapchat is being used in academia.  We’re just at the start of our Snapchat adventure but everyone who is involved is excited...especially the students!"

4. Set Measurements Early on to Review Progress

“We are going to try to capture our metrics by taking a screenshot of all the views at the end of the 24 hour period and we’ll monitor the Snapchat views over the fall semester. It’s all about trying new things and learning and adjusting as needed!”

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Digital Copyright and What You Need to Know

The idea of using social media to market and build relationships is so intriguing and the opposite is true for the legalities of it. Which is why some people tend to overlook the most important component to marketing online and using social media. And that’s learning about digital copyright.

This past July, Andrea Karpala and Heather Martin (@heat13her), the University of Guelph’s copyright officer, gave a talk at the #PSEWEB Conference to share top-level copyright tips. Below, Andrea outlines a few of those tips for you and focuses on what digital copyright is, what you need to be aware of, and resources to help you stay out of hot water and in compliance when using assets for social media.

A little disclaimer: Andrea is not an attorney or a total digital copyright expert. Use this information as reference only.

3 Copyright Terms to Get Familiar With Before Diving into Social Media

1. Digital Copyright

“Copyright is a form of protecting intellectual property but contrary to popular belief both content creators and users have rights. To me, digital copyright is critically important to communications professionals because we are usually those responsible for posting to public digital platforms; websites, social media, YouTube and more.  It’s important you are aware of the source of the photos, videos etc. you post on these sites as you are responsible for ensuring you aren’t ripping someone’s work without giving them proper credit or paying the appropriate usage fees.

The laws are designed to not only protect works, they are also designed to protect users.  The one thing that surprised me is that copyright doesn’t protect thoughts or ideas--only their expression.  Also you don’t have to “register” a work for it to be copyrighted--it just is after you create it.

So what does this mean for marketers? It means you need to educate yourself."

2. Fair Use/ Fair Dealing

“Know about the concept of Fair Use in the U.S. or Fair Dealing in Canada which details a user’s rights to a copyrighted work too.”

While researching to find an example of Fair Use for you, I found a simple description via Stanford University to help you get more clarity – “fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner.” Even more, I dove deeper into this article by Rich Stim, an attorney and writer of content on Stanford University’s website, and I found this nugget of gold - “In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an illegal infringement.”

3. Creative Commons

When thinking about Creative Commons, you may not be familiar with the term, but I bet you’re familiar with the businesses that support this concept.

A Creative Commons (CC) license is described by Wikipedia as “one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created.”

7 Free Creative Commons Resources & Digital Copyright Tips

*No, You Can’t Use Any Image from Google Search

“You can’t just use a google image and think its ok!!!!!! If you are managing social media for an organization you need to understand the basic principles of copyright infringement and ensure you and your team are only using images/ content that is allowed to be used...or else you are putting the organization at risk of being sued! Just google copyright lawsuit.”

*When in Doubt, Create Your Own Material

“I’ll say that creating your own content is always best. If time and budget are not on your side, use Creative Commons assets. Here are some of my favorites (many which I learned about from @heat13her): Check out for Creative Commons open licensed-images that don’t need attribution (but give where create is due, ok?!), the app Typorama, Creative Commons resources via Flickr, use the movie-making site or the presentation slide website  

And don’t forget, your best bet is to read the terms of service on websites. And when in doubt-- don’t use it. Create something awesome!”

Here are seven resources to help you find Creative Commons assets: This one deserves to be #1 on this list because all images and videos on this site are free of copyrights and are under Creative Commons.

Typorama: A free app for iPhone or iPad that gives you the flexibility to use default images with your text or you have the ability to search for different typographic designs and images.

Powtoon: Create animated videos and presentations with this tool. They even have ready-made templates to help get you started and come with free tunes and styles. Plans range from free to enterprise monthly rates, or you can go with a per download fee.

Slideshare: Search and share presentations, documents, infographics, or videos alongside 70 million professionals. This platform is owned by LinkedIn and is quickly becoming a top destination for professional content. Note some content is Creative Commons and others is not; read carefully as each piece of content can be marked separately by each user. Search: This sites allows you to search for legally available content to use for free by connecting you to searches on, Flickr, Google, and more.

Google Advanced Search: The advanced search option in Google allows you to search usage rights and you can restrict it to free to use or share items and more.

Flickr Creative Commons Search: A specialized search inside of Flickr. Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license and this tools allows you to search for it.

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Be sure to leave a comment to let Andrea Karpala and I know what actions you’re going to take this week and check back next week for interview #4.

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