Sooke Housing and the Power to Be (social)

Sooke New Home community and Power to Play

As far as social media goes, it’s safe to say I’m a newbie – and I’m OK with that. When Dad first started Totangi Properties more than 40 years ago, he operated under the motto of “take your time, but do it right.”

(This is something he also instilled in me at an early age: first, in my teens when I did a sloppy job of washing the car in order to get an allowance advance; later, when he turned his family land management and development company over to my brother Warren and I).

So when it came to social media, Warren and I took our sweet time really learning the lay of the land and understanding why so many housing development businesses like ours fall short in this area.

(Here’s something to try: enter a party packed with strangers and start yelling messages about why Woodland Creek, Sooke , #istheMOSTawesomedevelopmentinSooke. Then call me and let me know how it goes. I’ll give bonus points if you refer to yourself solely in third person.)

As I found out more about social media, I really got a sense of its purpose as a community builder ¬– some awesome things (and conversations) were happening on Twitter and Facebook. Warren and I decided we should be a part of it.

One day a few months ago, we bit the bullet and created a Woodland Creek Facebook page, and got started on Twitter. Coincidentally, this was also around the time when the Power to Be adventure therapy organization, first contacted me, asking Woodland Creek to be part of their annual Power to Play event.

How Woodland Creek Used Social Media to Raise Money for Power to Be

Then the light bulb went off: why not use the true strength of social media, community, to leverage our fundraising efforts? A few weeks later, our “ask” was up and running: for every unique “like” our Woodland Creek Facebook page received, Woodland Creek would donate $2 to Power to Play. At the start, I figured we’d be lucky if we hit 100 likes. You know how much money was raised by the end?

A whopping $2,400!

Holy Toledo. What an introduction to the awesomeness that is social media. Not only were we exposed to an amazing bunch of like minded people who really care about our community and Power to Be, but I also got to get my hands dirty (really dirty) during the wet, May event. Our team, Up the Creek (where’s the paddle?), included me, my wife Nancy and another couple Jenn and Brent. We had a great time competing in the adventure race, battling the mud (and hypothermia) and ended up placing 13 out of 28. We’ll be back for round two next year!

Sooke new housing community Woodland Creek, Power to Play team 2011

Through the Power to Play event, I learned more about the cool work Power to Be does for youth in our community and so we ran a follow-up radio promo with Ocean and Jack FM, asking for more Facebook likes/$2 donations. That earned an additional $1,250, bringing our total Power to Be community give to $3,650.

I’m looking forward to meeting more tweeps and friends over the next few months and learning more about the power of Sooke’s online community. And who knows ¬– maybe over time I’ll show that development and real estate companies can do social media right?

All the best,
Blair and Warren Robertson are the creators of Woodland Creek – a community of affordable new homes in Sooke, BC – real estate development that uses geo-thermal energy heating. They are unabashed Sooke supporter, tweeting as @woodland_creek with the hashtag, #ysookerox and updating fans with Sooke offers and deals at

Woodland Creek grabbed the Power to Play and got into the mud to support the Power to Be’s efforts to empower disadvantaged people to discover their own ability though kayaking, camping, rock climbing and other outdoor activities – and hope others will too.

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