Casie Stewart: Canada's Social Media Cool Kid

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The Wall Street Journal has called her one of the social media cool kids, and Inc. magazine has dubbed her one of the social media elites. Canadian lifestyle blogger Casie Stewart is one of Canada's most well-known online personalities and in the last year she has been a spokesperson in social campaigns for Pepsi Canada, Puma Social, Virgin America, and Arm Yourself_with GSK. She's also a co-founder of #GenYTO and regularly does speaking engagements on branding, goals, and social media.

So what does it take for brands and blogs to get noticed in social media – especially in Canada? We caught up with Casie to find out.

Your blog is called Casie Stewart: This Is My Life – in 140 characters or less, what is your life? Lots of hard work & dedication turning my dreams a reality. Celebrating life's moments and making the most of each day. Awesome!

You're a social media expert in Canada – what are some of your social media secrets for the rest of us? Life is about building relationships and so is social media. If you want to grow your audience, have conversations about other things than ‘just’ your business. You’ll make more friends that way.

Start a blog! A blog is the home for everything you do online. Use Disqus commenting so that Twitter & Facebook are integrated within your commenting system.

You're also a self-described branding expert. What's your best brand advice of the moment for anybody? Be consistent with your name across all platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube). Create content that is interesting and do it on the regular. There’s nothing worse that checking a brands blog or Twitter and seeing the last update was six months ago. Once you put something on the Internet it is there forever. FOR EVER. It’s your job to make sure people have a good impression of your brand.

How does your Canadian-ness express itself in your blogging? I reckon there’s a few things that show my Canadian-ness! I spell colour with a ‘u’. We have four seasons so my fashion changes every couple months. I wore flannel before hipsterism. I don’t complain about the cold winters. I love poutine. I live right beside the CN Tower. I also have a strong New Zealand influence as I have dual citizenship, both parents are Kiwi and my family life there. I blog about New Zealand fashion & share links to NZ stuff all the time. People think it’s funny when I say ‘reckon’.

What other independent Canadian style bloggers do you admire? Who's doing it right? Marcus Troy is doing really great with his lifestyle brand. He’s a blogger based in Montreal who I hosted a gifting lounge with this past year. Jay Strut is an awesome, young fashion blogger based in Toronto.

You have a passionate community of readers and experts – what do they bring to the table? I’ve built a lot of friendships the last couple years that all started out on Twitter. That is by far the greatest gift. As far as what they bring to the table, I learn from the them quite often, everything from good restaurants to tech talk to fashion. They bring opportunity in all kinds of forms. I’ve gotten to experience some really great things like international travel, television appearances, and lots of great products that have all come from the relationship I have with my community.

I’ve also learned lots of little things here and there like a memory card dropped in water will still work if you let it dry out but overall, I’ve learned how kind people are. Once I tweeted I needed a car to get to an interview and two hours later I borrowed one from a Twitter follower. Once in a while I get an email from someone I’ve never met who says they’ve been reading my blog for XX months/years and they I’ve positively impacted their life. I love those ones.

What are the opportunities for brands working with independent voices like you? In the last year I’ve done some really neat things including the ads with SAY and a couple TV commercials. A few of the brand partnerships that really stand out from the last year are:

Pepsi Thowback: I hosted an 90’s themed event in Toronto for Pepsi with Canadian popstar Keshia Chanté.

Puma Social - After Hours Athlete: I worked with the Puma Canada team to record a promo for the Puma Social party in Toronto and then hosted a totally awesome last night Puma party in an old loft building.

Air New Zealand & New Zealand Fashion Week: Air NZ send a few international bloggers to Auckland for Fashion Week. I build heaps of great relationships on that trip and hope we can do it again.

Virgin America Provocateur: As a brand Ambassador for the worlds loudest & sexiest airline, I hosted contests in Toronto for free flights on Virgin America and blogged about my travels to LA, San Francisco and launching service in Dallas, TX.

Mark’s: Marks Work Warehouse is a Canadian retail brand that has gotten a lot more stylish the last couple years. I’ve worked with them on a few occasions to do sponsored posts and blog contests.

What do you like about working with SAY? I was really impressed with SAY right from the beginning when we met early 2011. As I read over the website I was thinking “these guys really get it”. I’ve been approached by lots of different people about advertising over the years and SAY ads are the first to appear on my site. I like they way they talk about ‘voices’… they clearly get how the web is changing the way media is consumed. I’m proud to be one of their voices.

What are your all-time most popular posts? What are the most popular topics for you community? Some popular posts are:

The closing party for Social Media Week 2010 where I gave away Virgin America flights.

I recently won a brand new Sonic from Chevrolet Canada live on YouTube.ca.

The post where I announced I was finally getting a Macbook Air.

Molson Canadian and I played an April Fools joke last year where I asked my readers about a new product.

Popular topics for me are fashion, biking, travel, contests, social media, Twitter and Zombie!

Casie is a SAY Media partner. Follow her on Twitter @casiestewart