In the heyday of the fur trade, communication between the Company’s leaders in London and their post managers in North America was a once a year event. Consequently, it was focused and invaluable. Post managers kept daily journals of events which they sent, along with the year’s accounts, back to London with the outgoing furs. In return London sent detailed directives to its managers, as well as news of results, strategic goals, promotions, and transfers.
Fast forward to today and communications between the Company and its associates, shareholders, and customers is nearly instantaneous. Thanks to email, websites, and social media there are diverse ways to get in touch and keep in touch.
Social media is the new kid on the block, and one which provides a different experience for participants. It allows for the creation of fluid, ad hoc communities of interest and spontaneous interaction between community members. The conversations that ensue are often engaging, vibrant, and thought-provoking. And the best of them lead to other types of contact that can be surprisingly powerful.
HBC Heritage launched our Twitter and Instagram accounts (@HBCHeritage) in February, 2015. Since then our followers have grown steadily. We post items directly related to HBC heritage, such as interesting facts, #DidYouKnow, #OnThisDay, amazing historical photos, quirky vintage products, and highlights of our art and artifact collections. Once a week followers can also find out what we’re up to in our collections room with our regular feature, “What is HBC accessioning?”
In April our Twitter account spawned a close encounter of another kind. We were contacted by a teacher from St. Patrick Elementary School in Grande Prairie, AB, one of our Twitter followers. Teacher Stu MacNeil was interested in arranging a live web chat with us and a few grade 4 classes. We eagerly accepted. We talked about the fur trade in Alberta and shared a few items from our artifact collection. Best of all was the live Q&A that ended the session and allowed students to ask us their questions in real time. There’s nothing quite like unscripted Q&A for sharpening your presentation skills! It was a positive experience that has got us thinking about other ways we can engage our audience.
We invite everyone to join us on social media. We’re committed to engaging you, surprising you, provoking your interest, and answering your questions. Let’s get together for some enlightening conversation soon.