On the off chance you missed my announcement earlier this week:
For the last few years I have been wanting to attend a NASA Social event, but my schedule never quite meshed with the available opportunties. Well, this time I was in luck. Not only was the State of NASA event close to home (a short 3 1/2 hour drive), but I also had nothing else scheduled for that day. The bonus was the chance to head to the Houston area early to spend the weekend with my family.
In preparation for the big day, I am totally space geeking out and loving every minute of it. I have 10 days to plan out my social media reporter strategy and I’m going to take you along on the journey. How? Keep an eye out for more blog posts as well as audio and live video segments.
Woohoo Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription. If it hasn't shown up yet, then go grab another cup of brew to allow it time to travel to your neck of the woods. Oh, you're back already? Is the confirmation email still not there? Hmmmm.....better check your spam messages. Please do add this email address to your "safe sender" list. It's a cozy place and we rather like cozy places. Cheers!
As you all know, I am in Huntsville, AL at Rhea Perry’s Educating for Success Home Business Conference. While I am one of the speakers, I wanted to do more to show the attendees how easy and fun audio and video can be at events. So, I am hosting a Social Media Lounge and interviewing the speakers during the lunch and dinner breaks.
Speaker Interviews: Friday
The goal of my speaker interviews is to find out more about the vision behind their talks as well as a bit more about them personally. Joel Salatin who shares the concept of Entrepreneurial Farming as a profitable business model where ownership is not in the land or the equipment but in knowledge. He shares with me the concept of thinking of the animals and plants as partners in your successful farming enterprise.
My next interview was with Drew Perry who I have known since he was 18 when I attended my first Rhea Perry conference 10 years ago. We talk about his philosophy behind entrepreneurship and life. He encourages all of us to explore the world, follow your interests and find things that interest you to create business opportunities.
Drew is always fun loving and it is fantastic see that his curiosity of the world and love of entrepreneurship has grown with his young family.
I never know what I am going to learn when I interview folks. It’s always something different and interesting. I sat down with Dan Celia who shared his vision behind what the real deficit is in America. It isn’t what you think. The discussion is one that is considered a hot button issue for many, but the heart of it is the lack of true understanding behind the economics that govern our day to day lives.
Teresa Bell sat with me in the evening to talk about her online greeting card business which she has been successfully running for the last 2 1/2 years. She talked about the ease of use for both personal and business outreach. It was easy to see that Teresa enjoys what she does for a living and is excited to share the message with others.
The web can be a daunting space for business to navigate. Frank Deardurff will be helping to demystify the web with simple and easy strategies anyone can use to build, manage and maintain a business site. When I asked him why he wanted to share this message with attendees of the Educating for Success Home Business Conference, he told me about the horror stories he had heard form clients about their web experiences in the past. Frank will actually walk everyone through a basic setup of a site while offering tips and lessons learned along the way.
Day 1 Recap
As you can see, the Social Media Lounge has been quite busy on the first official day of interviews. Look for more updates on Saturday with a whole new set of speakers who will be put in the hot seat. Thanks for all you comments on Twitter and Facebook. As always, let me hear what you think.
UPDATE: To follow what is happening at the Educating for Success Home Business Conference use #efshbc. To keep updated on all of my Social Media Powered Business Trip travels follow #smpbt
Today was the start of my journey. But before I could log one mile of the 1, 929 miles, I had to talk to the woman who is the founder and visionary behind Educating For Success. For the last 13 years Rhea Perry has used her online community and annual events to help homeschooling families and others learn how to build their own businesses to gain their financial freedom.
Rhea talks about her upcoming home business conference in Huntsville, AL happening the weekend of August 9-11, 2013. The topics being discussed range from Internet Entrepreneurs to Real Estate Investing to Entrepreneurial Farming and more. You can probably guess that I will be sharing my knowledge about the practical application of social media for entrepreneurs, non-profits and small business.
My connectivity use has changed in the last two years since I conducted a Social Media Powered Business Trip. Two years ago I decided to go completely web based with my communications. I got rid of the cell phone plan and went with Skype and a wifi-hotspot. What started out as an experiment has become the only way I do business and stay connected with clients, friends and family.
For the most part it works out well and I love being connected without having to deal with cell companies who I feel overcharge for their services. However, there are times when the hotspot is unable to deliver a strong signal and today was one of those days. In all fairness, in the past I have also experienced the same type of interrupted service from the traditional mobile carriers. When I look at an overview I feel I am still winning the connectivity battle. Overall, I was able to work with clients while traveling from San Antonio to New Orleans and count today as a #smpbt success.
One of the things I really like to do with social media is to highlight fun and creative ways it can be used for business. I think it helps to drive home how easy it really is to use the social platforms and their mobile tools to share your messaging regardless of where you are or what you are doing. In other words, there is no excuse not to make social media a seamless part of your business.
What made the experience even better was that I stopped in several cities to interview folks who were using social media successfully for their business, projects or clients. I knew none of the people I interviewed. I was connected to them through recommendations of my fellow social media peeps. It truly was a social media powered trip. You can read all about it and listen or watch the interviews from that trip here.
You might wonder why I am telling you the story of that event. Or perhaps you have already guessed based on the title of my post that I am embarking on another Social Media Powered Business Trip. I will once again be speaking at Rhea Perry’s Entrepreneur Conference. This time I am making the journey to Huntsville, AL. Based on the options provided to me by the all powerful Google, I have divided my trip into two separate routes. On the way there I will travel to New Orleans for an overnight stop. Then continue my journey to Huntsville, AL. The route back will be entirely different with a stop in Memphis to visit Graceland before overnighting in Little Rock, Arkansas. Then I will head back to my beloved San Antonio with a quick stop in Dallas.
Who will I be stopping to interview along the way? Well, now that all depends on you. Got someone along the way you would like me to stop and visit? Send me their contact information and they too can become part of the Social Media Powered Business Trip.
As you all know, I am what I call a Social Media Gal. What that means for me is I get to work and play in this space for a living. What I enjoy most is sharing my knowledge with others through both community events and client interaction. Seeing those light bulb moments happen when an audience or a client recognizes the value social media could have on their business or cause is what I enjoy the most.
My philosophy when it comes to social media is that the folks with the boots on the ground should be the ones telling the story. We all know social media is not a “set it and forget it” tool. It is more like a newborn infant which needs to be watched and fed often. This “boots on the ground” philosophy does require the entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations I work with to invest in what I call the Three T’s: Time | Team | Tools.
Discoverability meetings, staff training and education, profile optimization, design, page creation, social media guidelines, response flowcharts et al., all take time to explain, understand and implement. Anyone who is delving into this social media needs to understand which platforms will work best for their needs, the use and languaging for each platform and how to participate in the space effectively.
One of the decisions a company will have to make is who will be responsible for monitoring, posting and responding on their social channels. I stress the importance of this position so that they understand that every tweet, post and comment is a direct representation of their brand. This is not something that should be taken lightly nor maintained long term by an intern or someone who “will get to it when they have time”. So, making sure they have the person or team who can actively participate is key to the ongoing success of a company’s social media outreach.
The tools are fairly simple: computer, smartphone, tablet and of course internet access. Make sure your team members are equipped to represent and respond. You do not need all three to succeed, but removing barriers to access is important. You can post, audio record, live video stream, photograph and more all from a smartphone. I know some folks run their entire business from their phones. We are truly living in the Age of the Jetsons.
Not everyone I speak to is ready for this kind of commitment That’s ok. There are plenty of companies that provide social media services who will do all the heavy lifting for you. They create, post and engage with your followers and fans on your behalf as if they were your brand. When I come across folks who want to hire me to “do it for them”, I smile politely and tell them, “I’m not your gal.”
Each company has what I call a unique flavor. In my mind the customers who frequent your company know how your receptionist answers the phone and how your team talks, walks and interacts with them on a daily basis. If your online presence doesn’t also reflect that same flavor then there can be some disconnect.
So, it should be no surprise that when I work with a client they are someone who subscribes to my “boots on the ground” philosophy and have put the Three T’s into action. In my line of work, I am fortunate in that I can be selective and choose the clients I enjoy spending time with and projects which interest me. One of the clients I have been working with for the last few months is Linda Elliott of Elliott Connection, LLC.
Linda contacted me when she made the decision to delve into the world of social media after she saw me speak at a local event last year. We had seen each other at events throughout the year so I already knew we got along. However, it wasn’t until we sat down to have our discoverability meeting I knew we would be a perfect fit. Linda is a Connections Expert and has a unique talent for finding the perfect partnerships for her clients. Personally, I would describe what she does as an elegant introduction. To experience it is to understand it. Once you have, you will never forget it. I know I never will (more about this in a future post).
As with all projects, you spend months building the platforms and training the team and then there is the moment when they are ready to go live. It is a true pleasure to share the news that today Linda Elliott is launching her Power of Connections blog. Wander over there, take a look and let her know what you think. As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.
We all know that testimonials can be powerful tools for our business. So what are you doing with them after the first excitement wears off? One of the techniques I encourage folks to use when creating their Editorial Calendar is to share testimonials from satisfied clients. Your clients who have taken the time to let you know they appreciate your service can become part of your brand ambassador team.
Testimonials are easy to share when they are in the form of an email or letter. However, with all of today’s tools at our fingertips why limit the variety of your reach? With smartphones and apps it is also very easy to do this through audio and video.Â Think about asking your happy client to share an audio or video testimonial about the service or products your business provides. Hearing the energy and excitement of someone who is “in the moment” can really drive home the point of how well your business does it’s job.
Of course, there is more than one way to capture customer testimonials. Thanks to a recent Twitter update, we can embed some of those testimonials into our website. Here is an example of some kudos that Susan Price and myself received from one of our workshop attendees:
Be creative with the different platforms you can use to capture those testimonials. You might be surprised to discover exactly how many folks have said great things about your business. Your employees, existing and potential clients will be happy to hear about all the wonderful things your company is doing when seen through the eyes of a happy client testimonial.
One of the things I enjoy about all of our connectivity is the ability to be anywhere on the globe……virtually. Many of you know I am a big fan of the LeWeb conferences that Loic Le Meur puts on in ParisÂ every year. I may not make it to Paris, but thanks to live video streaming I can be part of each event live or catch all the recorded action later. For the first time in it’s history LeWeb was also held in London this year.
There are always plenty of big announcements from web/tech/social network companies. There are also many big ideas being shared. This year the one session I was surprised by was by Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation, Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. What really took me was his statement that, “The 21st Century is a terrible time to be a control freak.” The fact that he works for government and had this understanding of just how much the world has changed was refreshing to say the least.
Please note this is not a pro or con political post. I am private when it comes to polarizing topics like politics and as such tend to keep my views to myself.
I do hope you will watch and share your thoughts on the drastic change “control freaks” in the workplace and government are undergoing in the 21st Century.
Being a space that is not limited to 4 walls, city limits, state or country boundaries makes for lots of fun and interesting opportunities. From speaking engagements, to local trade shows to incredible travel opportunities where I have the added bonus of meeting people far and wide.
Recently I have traveled on a Social Media Powered Business Trip to showcase the power of a smartphone to do every single bit of business and multimedia while on the go. My travels took me from my home base in San Antonio, TX to Destin, FL where I was a speaker at the Educating For Success Home Business Conference. This coincided with the launch of a new company that my partner, Jackie Adame and I launched called Media Fuse. It is a company focused on Modern Marketing Practices, Mobile Tools and Social Media. Here is a sneak peek of what happened during the trip: I was able to visit with the online and social media team behind the highly successful Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau campaigns.Â I also met with prolific foodie video blogger Daniel Delaney of What’s This Food at a neighborhood coffee shop in New Orleans. An interview with Tom Martin and Kami Huyse on my return trip helped to complete the adventure. A full synopsis of the trip which allowed me to interview folks I had never met before who were doing some amazing things in the social space can be found on Media Fuse. If you’ve been wondering how hard it is to use mobile tools for your business, let me give you a hint: It wasn’t.
For the last couple of years I have successfully hosted “Social Media Lounges” at trade shows. The main goal being to show business folks just how easy it is to use the social and mobile tools for their business. From live video stream interviews to audio interviews via a smartphone. The tools are simple but extremely effective. Interviews for my most recent shows at Innotech San Antonio and the San Antonio Manufacturer Association’s Trade Show can be found here and here.
There are some more exciting projectsÂ in the works which I will be sharing with you soon. Things that are in the early stages but exciting none the less. If you have some fun things you are doing in the social space let me hear from you. I enjoy hearing success stories and the unique ways folks are using all the tools at our fingertips.
One of the cool things about being so active in this space are the opportunities that come my way. In a recent interview with George and Paula Roberts about Fitness and Social Media, the idea for a Fitness Tweetup was born. We all know that spending an inordinate amount of time on sedentary tasks leads to aÂ phenomenonÂ called “Blogger Butt”. Sheila Scarborough coined this term a few years back when she began to notice that as her online persona was becoming more widely known her behind followed suit. She is not alone in the observation. Many of us who spend most of our lives online have noticed our own “widening and expanding” presence.
There have been all kinds of tweetups around various topics: Networking, Drinking, Cupcakes, Movies, Entertainment, Comedy, Sneak Peeks, etc… However, I had never heard or seen a Fitness Tweetup. I RSVP’d for my first ever Fitness Tweetup with a little bit of trepidation. I’ve done a few 1/2 Marathon’s (13.1 miles) and can run on a treadmill for anywhere from 2-5 miles, but I am not in what I would consider “fighting shape”. Would I show up to a room of hard bodies? Would the instructors take a look at me and go into drillÂ sergeant mode? I imagined Gunny yelling in my face demanding, “Drop and give me 20!” and any other number ofÂ scenarios in which I was likely to fail.
I wasÂ pleasantlyÂ surprised to discover that although the 30 minute workout at the Fitness Tweetup was challenging, it was something a newbie like myself could do. By no means was I graceful, but by the end of 30 minutes I was sweaty and felt a sense of accomplishment. The workout was comprised of simple but effective moves and changed up so much andÂ so often that before I had time to realize it, we were done.Â For me the hardest part of the entire workout was the Yoga Warmup.
Over the next couple of days I pondered the effectiveness of a Fitness Tweetup. Could this be something the geek and social media community could benefit from? The answer for me was a resounding, “Yes!” Even my husband who does weekly bike rides of 17-20 miles with the Otra Vez Biking and Adventure Club felt the soreness over the next couple of days. It really gave me food for thought when someone who I consider physically fit says, “Man, that was a workout”.
I admire this new andÂ innovativeÂ approach to fitness and the online social community which George and Paula Roberts have embarked on. Â I encourage folks to join them for their next Fitness Tweetup. It’s the kind of event we can all benefit from both physically and mentally which has a long-tail impact for the years to come.
Here is an interview I did with George, Paula and John post workout:
Want to know what is going on in Jen’s World? Let start with MobiCamp San Antonio on Saturday, February 26, 2011.
You may be wondering exactly what MobiCamp San Antonio is all about. Well here in a nutshell is an explanation:
“MobiCamp San Antonio is an UnConference being held to focus conversation around the use of mobile technology from smartphones to tablet devices to apps and beyond as it relates to business, nonprofits and our daily lives. Itâ€™s an â€œUnConferenceâ€, meaning that itâ€™s a conference organized in an ad-hoc manner for everyone to attend and participate in.
The mantra of every camp is “Learn, Share, Grow” We hope that folks will come ready to do all three.
There are no keynote speakers or rigidly defined schedules. Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join. Want to learn more about the business use of smartphones, mobile apps, fund-raising on the go, live video and audio streaming and how it can happen all from your mobile devices? Always wanted to know more about the staying connected and productive while on the go? Then MobiCamp San Antonio is the place to be. We are planning for a crowd of the most plugged-in, most active mobile, business, education, social media and connected folks from all around Texas.”
On March 3rd my company, Brewing Media,Â will host another Social Media Lounge at Innotech San Antonio which is being held at the Norris Conference Center. Swing on by to learn how social media can be a part of your communication strategy and marketing campaigns. There will be a live streaming video interviews and audio podcasts being recorded throughout the day long event. By using these tools on the trade show floor we show folks just how easy it is to implement these tools into their existing campaigns.
I am also hosting a session in the afternoon titled, “Social Media Mobile Strategies: There’s An App For That” If you’re curious to learn how your phone could be your business partner then you might want to consider attending my session. Here is a brief description of what you can expect,
“The business world is in a fast paced transition. It has never been easier to stay productive and connected. Mobile tools and apps are leading the way.
The word mobile has gone beyond the word phone. In today’s world mobile = customers on the move. It means, staying productive regardless of location. It means business doesn’t stop just because you stepped out of the office.
The new generation of smartphones like iPhones, Androids, Windows 7 coupled with the explosion of tablet devices like iPad, Galaxy, Streak have changed the way business gets done.
Smart business uses all of the available smartphone apps, online and social tools at their disposal to get things done. Need to submit purchase orders? Process payments? Share contact information? There’s an app for that.
Learn the innovative ways that business, nonprofits and groups are using these tools to run their organizations. Specific social media strategies and productivity apps will be revealed.
Discover the true power of these tools to make business happen on the go.”
On March 9th I will be headed to Austin, TX for RISE Austin. RISE is a weeklong city-wide event focused on entrepreneurship.
“What is special about RISE? Unlike traditional conferences, RISE is about entrepreneurship FOR the people. Because our sessions are free, RISE attracts incredibly diverse participants, reflecting all ages, stages and industries.
The RISE conference is hands-on and creative, just like our participants. Anyone can organize and host a RISE session on the topic of his/her choice. Sessions are limited to 25 to promote a highly collaborative experience. Join us for RISE 2011: March 7-11, 2011.”
This is my 3rd year to present a session at RISE. It is such an amazing and unique event that I would love to see replicated in cities around the globe. You can find me presenting “Business On The Go: Smartphones, iPads and Apps, OH MY!” at the Bob Bullock Museum on Wednesday, March 9th from 12:00-1:30pm.
“Modern business is done on the go. We take our smartphones with us everywhere. Apps are the latest tools that have helped turn our phones into a powerhouse business tool. With the introduction of the iPad and other tablet devices, business have never been more mobile. In this session we will discover the ways that smart business, nonprofits and groups are using these tools to run their organizations. We will discuss specific productivity and social media apps, dissect a “Day In The Life” case study and have a hands-on session. Get ready to roll your sleeves up to experience the power of these tools to make business happen on the go. From mobile platforms to apps to audio and video streaming to Facebook and FourSquare check ins, the ability to be productive while staying connected has never been easier.”
There are lots of fun places you can fine me at but the easiest way to keep up is to connect with me online. Twitter and Facebook are the two main locations where my conversations tend to happen. Feel free to join me. The best way to start a relationship with me online is to introduce yourself. I recommend drinking a cup of coffee before diving into the chattiness.