Archive for 'event'

Louisville Social Media Club Meeting 4 Review

Due to some personal family issues and scheduling conflicts, I was not able to attend the Louisville Social Media Club event last night which really is a bummer for me because I enjoy sharing the experiences at these events. Due to that, I can’t provide a similar review to last time or the time before that. Based on what I have read from Jason Falls, the meeting was very similar in nature to the breakfast I attended in Cincinnati.  There were even some visitors from out of town which is very encouraging because it means we’re expanding our reach to those that are genuinely interested in what’s going on in social media and Louisville in particular. Barring unforeseen events, I fully intend to attend and participate in the next gathering here in town.

Educate Others

The key takeaway that Jason mentions in his review of the meeting last evening is social media education, and that is a worthy endeavor that I support completely.  There are a lot of social media “phobes” out there that either fear social media because they believe it’s just “kids’ play” or they simply don’t understand how to leverage social media from a business perspective.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentioned social media as a potential marketing vehicle to decision makers and the response is something along the lines of “social media can’t provide any ROI” or “isn’t it a bunch of 20 somethings on there wasting time talking about nonsense?”  That would be “wrong answer” and “narrow minded view” on those two statements, but I digress.

Doing Our Part?

On the Zing blog, there several educational videos to introduce people to sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and there are plans to provide several more videos like this.  There is also a video entitled “10 Ways to Increase Revenue through Social Media” that may pique your interest if you’re interested in learning more about social media and how it fits into the business marketing landscape. If you have a social media site you’d like to learn how to leverage better for your business, drop me a line at roger [at] zing-solutions dot com.

Anyone Wish to Join the Cause?

Furthermore, I would enjoy working with others to provide resources such as videos and overview tutorials so if you’re in the Louisville area and want to collaborate on a few things, please get a hold of me. If you don’t live in Louisville yet want to contribute to educating others on social media, I would be happy to work with you, too.  I’m equal opportunity although I would prefer to work with someone local for the sake of speed and ongoing development.

I (Roger) have been involved with social media for awhile now in various forms (MySpace, Facebook, blogging, LinkedIn, etc.), but I didn’t get consistently involved with Twitter until a month ago or so. Now I’d consider myself a Twitter-holic.

Rough Beginnings

At first, I just didn’t get Twitter. 140 characters to tell people “what I’m doing right now?” My first reaction was “who cares?” which gave way to “stalkers ought to love this thing!” that finally gave way to “open your mind Roger, and give it a legitimate try; there has to be a way to leverage this thing as a business tool.” So that became my self imposed initiative.

Opening My Mind

I attended my first Louisville Social Media Club event and noticed how everybody referenced their Twitter ID on the sign-in sheet. So, armed with that information I set out on my second Twitter voyage (the first one failed because I had no followers, and I wasn’t following anyone) by adding a lot of the SMC Louisville attendees to my “following.” I also added some of the people they were following to my list (the social networking aspect in play here), and a lot of those folks reciprocated which began to open my eyes on how powerful the service could be. I have since grown my list to over 100 followers and am following 175 or so on there now. Anyway, the point of this post is to show how Twitter is generating quite a bit of traffic to our blog, and that would have been impossible without sharing my “following” so the background info is relevant.

Expanding Reach

Earlier this week, I attended the Cincinnati Social Media Breakfast and met more wonderful people to add to my Twitter list. I reviewed the event and have been amazed at how much traffic that one post has generated. Other sites have referenced the review, and that was all made possible through Twitter. Nobody would have even known who I was if it weren’t for the service, and nobody would have known I wrote a review of the social media events I have attended if it weren’t for Twitter. In the “old days,” I would have had to send each attendee an e-mail with a link to the blog post then hoped they visited the site and took it upon themselves to link to it somewhere.

Traffic Results

Roughly 30% of our blog traffic has been Twitter based. In looking at the web analytics just now, the other sites that have directed traffic to our blog are a direct result of “tweets” on Twitter letting others know about the various blog posts that they now reference on their blogs. They took the “tweet” to the next level, and it’s possible to trace 75% of our existing blog traffic back to Twitter. It’s the real-time information share that makes Twitter so powerful, and it makes it so much easier for those connected to cross promote one another in multiple media. The service provides tremendous benefit if viewed from that perspective.

Bottom Line

Twitter is something to seriously consider if your business is looking for additional web traffic sources. It can provide a tremendous benefit to your business if the people you put in place to utilize Twitter handle it properly. It’s like anything else in the social media or SEO universe–time and consistency are keys to success. It’s not a light switch technology that will pay immediate dividends so keep that in mind before embarking on a Twitter journey.

Share Your Story

Got a Twitter business success story of your own? Please share it with us.

Want More Information?

Here are some interesting posts to read that touch upon the concept of Twitter as a traffic generation tool:

I’m in the process of working out an outline for an Internet Marketing Teleseminar Series that I’d appreciate getting some feedback.  Included with this particular entry today is a 3 minute podcast that goes over the program.  If you don’t have three minutes to listen in on the podcast, here’s an overview of some of the topics we’re kicking around:

  1. Article writing / content generation
  2. PPC advertising
  3. Affiliate programs
  4. Blogging / Podcasting
  5. Search Engine Optimization
  6. Social Media Optimization
  7. E-mail marketing
  8. Direct / personalized marketing
  9. List building
  10. Live event marketing
  11. Co-registration techniques
  12. Researching and segmenting your market

If you can, listen in on the podcast as it goes into a little more.  It’s quicker to speak than to type. 😉

I’d really appreciate your feedback and input on this – is it a good idea?  What would you pay for something like this?  Have any guests you’d recommend to include in the mix?  Let me hear from you.

Cincinnati Social Media Breakfast Review

This morning (April 29, 2008), I (Roger) attended a social media breakfast in Cincinnati at the Holiday Inn in Newport that was “headlined” or “emceed” (whatever term you’d prefer to toss in here works for me) by Albert Maruggi. One of the primary reasons I decided to attend was that I’ve listened to Albert’s podcast, The Marketing Edge, for quite some time and have enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s always nice to meet the human behind all of it in person versus text in an e-mail, blog posting, or Twitter exchange. Additionally, there are a few people that I’ve interacted with on-line that I thought would be nice to meet in person so this was a great opportunity to do that although early mornings are extremely rough on me and always have been.

Early morning whining aside, here’s a rundown from my perspective of the event:

Attendees in Cincinnati:

The group that made it out for the event wasn’t large in numbers, but it was obvious that there were a lot of talented folks that had opinions about social media and its place within business. WIth apologies ahead of time to anyone I neglect to mention, here is a list of people in attendance along with links to their business , primary content outlet (such as a blog or podcast site) or Twitter profile (in case you wish to follow them).

Twitter Implications for Business

The conversation began with Jason Falls sharing his experience about Twittering about Robby Gordon for Jim Beam for the Baja 1000 and how this took Jim Beam to a new level of marketing and created a unique following. Other drivers’ crews got wind of what Jason was doing and sent him updates to Twitter about them as well. This spurred on further conversation about Twitter and how it can be used for business in addition to getting to know someone better.

The recent earthquake in the Ohio Valley that shook Louisville and the Ohio Valley a bit was discussed. It was mostly agreed that all of the information the media, local and national, was begging for was readily available on Twitter if anyone elected to look there, but they seemed to request information and personal stories through more traditional mechanisms such as the telephone and e-mail. Jason estimated that it took something like 37 minutes from the time he first noticed something on Twitter about the earthquake to when a media outlet reported something.

Albert offered up the Next Newsroom initiative and how that may impact journalism as we know it today which sparked a good portion of our friendly debates this morning.

Citizen Journalism – The Future?

There was a lengthier debate about citizen journalism and how that can be effectively managed and embraced by traditional media. The suggestion was made that print media HAS to get their story right the first time whereas on-line media (blogs in particular) can go back and edit their story should there be inaccuracies. In print, this can be very damaging so traditional media errs heavily on the side of caution and verifiable sources before running with a story. Things will likely remain this way for print because of the ramifications of erroneous reporting.

It was also suggested that it’s nearly impossible for traditional media to open up the publication gates to allow herds of citizen journalists into the fray because the average reader won’t automatically get the fact that it’s not a trained writer and that the facts may not be 100% verified versus someone expressing their thoughts and opinions like they can with blogs and social media.

Albert stated that the Next Newsroom Project is offering training for citizen journalists so that they are more responsible with their reporting and can become a valued resource to the community they aim to serve. Something to keep an eye on.

Some random thoughts and out-takes:

  • Newsvine is good at weeding out quality content
  • Digg is not so good for community based stuff yet is good for articles and content discovery
  • Cinplify.com was mentioned as a local (Cincinnati) resource that is similar to Digg
  • Albert mentioned how StumbleUpon is driving a lot of traffic to his sites while others mentioned how Twitter is doing the same for theirs (personal note: I’ve seen about 1/4 of our recent referral traffic from Twitter to Zing’s main site)
  • Archive.org keeps track of the history of sites and its content
  • Think about how you’re going to brand yourself before you enter into the social media sphere; if you’re to use your full name, consider the implications down the road should you wish to “re-invent” yourself–that history isn’t going to disappear quickly
  • Any site based on an algorithm can be gamed because it generally takes just one element of the algorithm to exploit it; once that element is figured out, the game is on!

Overall, this was a top notch meeting and a lot of healthy debate took place. I’m glad I made the trek and met more interesting people that I can socialize with on and off-line. I am looking forward to interacting more with those in attendance this morning and learning various perspectives on social media as they pertain to business. Thanks to all of you!

If you were in attendance, what was your take? Did I miss something major? Did I spell your name wrong? 😉 Please let me hear from you.

Zing Social Media Overview Seminar Review

Yesterday (April 23, 2008), we hosted a very small group to discuss “10 Ways to Increase Sales from Social Media” at Zing’s offices in Louisville. For those that didn’t get the opportunity to attend, here’s a summarization of what all was discussed.

We started off the discussion with a quick round robin to see who all used various social media sites in some of the different categories. Included in the mix were sites such as LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Scribd, HubPages, Squidoo, EzineArticles, and WordPress (blogs). Our small group had mixed reactions to the sites mentioned whether they had heard of them or not. A lot of the sites were unheard of before our chat today so it’s fair to say that those sites aren’t being utilized yet by all of our attendees.

We had interesting debates throughout, but one thing stuck out to me that is both encouraging and puzzling all at once–a lot of people are very unaware of what is out there from a new media, web 2.0, on-line social aspect, but they realize it’s becoming more of a necessity for businesses to get involved. It’s no longer a novelty or kids’ playground anymore. Once you see large corporations investing major dollars on internet marketing and new media interests, the rules of the game change quickly. Usually new technologies in business follow a progression like this:

  1. Younger generations test out something because it has that “cool” factor and it’s new
  2. Solo entrepreneurs start to dabble thinking it might give them an edge and allow them to compete with larger competitors
  3. Small and medium businesses begin to realize that the solo entrepreneurs are onto something and begin to jump into the pool
  4. Finally, corporations see this wave of activity and understand the technology has matured enough to begin to invest substantial resources

Once the corporations are involved, it’s no longer a phenomenon or cool technology–it’s a full fledged strategy and set of tactics to make money. They may not have it mastered when they first enter the fray, but it won’t take them long to figure out how to capitalize.

So why is all of this happening so fast these days that some companies feel as though they’re getting left behind unless they act soon? Today’s consumer is tuned out to traditional advertising and media so it’s forcing the marketplace to become more creative in their approach, and that’s where social media comes into play. Believe it or not, there are still quite a few business executives out there that are reluctant to enter the social media space, and their reasonings vary greatly. Some of it is a generation gap, and some of it is a mindset that isn’t quite as “inclusive” by nature as a lot of us that are more comfortable with social media and sharing our lives publicly. I’m personally old enough to understand the apprehension from the “traditionalists” yet young enough to get the fascination with so many avenues for self expression.

All of that being said, there is no magic bullet where social media is concerned, but there are business applications for just about every sect of social media that need to be understood before making a decision to implement a strategy for one’s company. My recommendations for social media success, from a business perspective, to the group today were:

  1. Commit to a social media strategy or don’t bother
  2. Be yourself (hiding behind a pseudo-name isn’t going to win you points over the long haul)
  3. Transparency rules because people can sense a phony very quickly
  4. Be consistent
  5. Understand the time involvement–this isn’t like traditional advertising where you pay for a block of time or space and the returns are predictable. It may take a year for a social media strategy to begin to pay dividends, but those dividends could be huge. Can you afford to a) wait that long? or b) miss out on a great opportunity by passing on social media?
  6. Don’t try to sell–as mentioned above, people are tuned out to traditional advertising methods so showing up on a social media site trying to pitch your product or service isn’t going to be well received. It’s just like walking into a party where you know a couple of people–you wouldn’t barge into the middle of a group you didn’t know and immediately start trying to sell them something would you? I’d hope not. If you would, please skip my parties. 😉
  7. Follow the golden rule–give to receive and remember, it’s not about you first.
  8. Add value–become a resource or educate somehow if at all possible. Eventually people will notice and take action accordingly.

Finally, I’d summarize the overall message I was trying to convey to the group today as it’s all about an inclusive vs. an exclusive mindset. Traditional ways and methodologies versus new age and progressive strategies. We’ve gone from a business model of doing things FOR our clients to doing things WITH our clients. The firms which view things in that legacy view of “for” instead of “with” might find things a little rocky one day as we travel further down the path.

The rules of marketing have definitely changed, but have you changed with them? Either way, I’d like to hear your take.

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