Social Media Powered Business Trip Part Deux

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.

A couple of years ago I did this through something I called the “Social Media Powered Business Trip.” The idea behind this was to use only my iPhone to post audio, video, tweets, Facebook updates and photos to document the journey from San Antonio, TX to Destin, FL where I was scheduled to speak at Rhea Perry’s Educating For Success Entrepreneur Conference.

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.

Social Media Powered Business Trip Part Deux MapYou 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.

Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

The fun kicks off on Tuesday, August 6th and I expect to be back in San Antonio on Tuesday, August 13th. I am looking forward to having you join me on this latest social media adventure.

Social Media, Clients and My Philosophy

photo credit: Darren Lewis
photo credit: Darren Lewis

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.

Time

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.

Team

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.

Tools

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 Elliott, Connections Expert
LInda Elliott, Connections Expert

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.

 

Twitter Testimonial Tip

Image by Bruna Pires

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.  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.

Want to know the other creative ways Twitter embed posts can be used in your business? Then head over to HubSpot to discover 7 Epic Uses of Twitter’s New Embeddable Tweets Feature.

The Latest Bright and Shiny Social Network: Google+

It’s only been out for a few weeks, but already Google+ has taken the tech and social media community by storm. Bold statements like, “I Have Moved” and “I’m Leaving Facebook” have been touted from many an early adopter geek. I’ll admit my foray into the Google+ or G+ as we now refer to it has been very exciting. It is a clean and simple network. Yet in that simplicity is something quite refreshing and complex.

The ability to further define who is in your network via Circles is the first piece that grabs your attention. Most social networks categorize the people you are connected to as friends. Some of them allow you create lists and groups for some separation but it has been clunky and cumbersome to navigate in networks like Facebook. One cool feature is the ability to put your connections in multiple circles. For example my husband and sister are in a family circle but they are also in a friend circle. Making it easy to share things that are family specific with them only and also share more general posts that are for friends.

G+ comes with a 10 person video chat feature called Hang Out built right into the web interface. Nothing to download or pay for. You can create public hang outs or have a private hang out for family, friends or dare I even say it, clients. Features like this are not new, but are typically found in higher end paid premium products. In Google+ it is free. One thing I found even more exciting was that the person speaking is highlighted within the group video chat. It is really quite the nice touch.

The mobile app (which was just released on the iPhone this week) has an additional feature which is sure to make your next event a richer experience. Huddle is group text-like messaging very similar to the way GroupMe works. I have used GroupMe with much success at events like SXSW. It makes communication between your friends who may be dispersed over many panels and buildings a simple group conversation experience. We were able to meet during breaks and lunch using GroupMe. Huddle works much in the same manner except without having to worry about text charges which unless you have an unlimited plan (like me) could be a problem.

At this stage of the Google+ project limited field test, there are only personal profiles available which leaves business on the outside looking in. There were several businesses who took the leap into G+ setting up their companies using the personal profile accounts. Google has stated there is a corporate profile version in the works with an anticipated release later this year. They have begun suspending accounts that were created for business with a promise to launch the corporate version soon. In a recnet TechCrunch interview, Google continues to say they are in a limited release with access to Google+ being by existing member invite only. Although with a 10 Million+ existing user base within just a few weeks into it’s limited release, they said they were surprised at how successful the network has been achieving a faster than expected audience.

Google+ is not open to the general public at this time, but if the early adopters raving reviews are any indication, this looks it could be the next big social network. What does this mean for giant behemoth Facebook? I wouldn’t sing a swan song for Mark Zuckerberg and his crew just yet.  With close to 700 million folks on Facebook, Google’s 10 million is a long way from taking down the giant in the social networking world. Given that there is currently not a way for business and enterprise to participate in the space and being closed to the public leaves Google+ still the social playground of the early adopter geeks.

I for one am glad to be part of the “kick the tires” Google+ crowd. It is reminiscent of the early days of social media ‘ala 2007 Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, how does the ‘little network that could’ fare against the fickle shiny object crowd? Twitter is facing some internal challenges as they expand and grow. There have been more than one Google+ user state that their use of Twitter has diminished considerable with their increased use of Google+. Twitter does offer something no other network does, Chats. With over 400 Twitter chats listed, there is no shortage of folks who engage on twitter en masse. Personally, I am a big fan of the 140 character network and hope that it continues to be a relavent space for meaningful connections.

Are you using Google+? If so, share your thoughts and reactions to the newest network to take the social community by storm.

 

The Journey Continues

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.

Media Fuse's Social Media Powered Business Trip sponsored by Rhea Perry's Educating For Success Conference

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.  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.

 

Social Media Lounge at the San Antonio Manufacturing Association Trade Show. Photo courtesy of Larry Lentz aka @CRMLarry

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 projects  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.

Using Cinch For Quick Audio

Most of you know that first and formost I am a podcaster. I love the audio medium. Back in the day (2005) I used a computer, mixer, mic and various software to share my message on the web. Fast forward a few years and now I am doing almost the same thing with an app on my iPhone. Recording a podcast or interview is as easy as pushing a button on my phone and so is posting. I can upload a photo, show notes and cross post to Twitter and Facebook. Talk about making things easier.

Granted, I am giving up editing, intro and outro music and all manner of possibilities when I forego post production. However, the ease of having my show audio up quickly and easily has made me a believer. For folks who are still sitting on the sideline when it comes to podcasting, I challenge you to give Cinch a try. You’ll become a fan of audio with a few taps on your screen.

Here are some of audio posts I did while I was at South by Southwest #SXSW last month. None of these audio posts were planned. They were all serendipitous. I was able to take advantage of the opportunities as they presented themselves. Imagine being able to do something like this at events or with your clients? The possibilities are endless.