Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Closet Full of Great Ideas

I ran two great workshops on the basics of social media today at the Plato's Closet Convention in Las Vegas, and I tweeted pics of the groups during the sessions. Here's a shot of one of the groups.

One of the great things about these events is that even though I am teaching a class, I also end up learning a lot. One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses, and franchises like this, is that the level of social media knowledge varies greatly from person to person. And all of these people, no mater their social media savvy, are all busy. So the objective today was to help them understand the social media landscape, rules of the road and the tools at their disposal. No small task.

One of the things I encouraged the group to do, especially the newbies, was to not jump head first into the deep-end of the social media pool. Start slow... get your toes wet. Start to surf the various sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs. See what's being said and done. Get an idea of how it works. Get the lay of the land. Once you've done that, you'll have a better idea of where you want to start in social media.

Getting Started In Social Media

I'm writing today from Las Vegas, and what happens this time in Vegas is not staying here. I'm presenting to the franchisees from Plato's Closet about the basics of social media and leading a discussion about how to get your feet wet, what to think about and toss around a few ideas on what to do as your first few steps.

I can't wait to get started. The folks at Plato's Closet are a nice bunch of people, smart and raring to go.

More to come.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Purple Goldfsh Podcast Season 2 Begins

Season two of the Purple Goldfish Podcast is underway. Episode 36 is a quick recap of where we have been and a preview of what's next. Join Stan Phelps and I as we continue our quest for 1001 examples of Marketing Lagniappe... companies that do that little something extra, generate word of mouth and build a legion of rabid fans.

We are up to 800! Help us get to 1001. (Click the link or pic to jump to the site.)

Twitter Does't Bite

As a person immersed in social media, one thing I encounter on a regular basis are people who are unfamiliar with Twitter. There are usually two kinds:

The Twitter Virgin: These are people who have never been on Twitter. They've heard about it, maybe they have looked at the site, but they don’t have an account nor a clue about what it’s all about. They may be a little technophobic or they may just have not gotten around to it yet. A common phrase from a “TV” is “Why would anyone care if I’m on line at Starbucks or going to the gym. And what do I care if other people are?”

The Twitter Quitter: This person has actually set up an account, tweeted a couple of times, and then dropped off the map. They didn’t have much to say and they didn’t get much back to make it worth their while. So they simply stopped tweeting or paying attention.

Both of these types can be people who either use Twitter for business or personal use. Regardless of their potential motivations for Twitter, they just don’t get it. But often, these people continue to hear about Twitter and many of them want to get on the bandwagon… or back on the bandwagon, in some cases.

It’s not always easy to describe Twitter to someone unfamiliar with it. Ever try explaining a hashtag to someone? It usually starts out something like… “It’s a word with a number sign or the pound symbol in front of it… with no spaces.”

I usually try to start with the benefits of Twitter, like the wealth of information and news that is available on Twitter. Whether it’s news about world events like an earthquake or an election or maybe just the latest celebrity gossip or breaking sports news.

Or perhaps I’ll focus on the marketing and networking opportunities. There are countless amounts of people just waiting to be engaged. These can be potential customers, fans, employers, employees or new friends. I’ll also touch on the advantages of monitoring the Twitterverse for mentions of significant keywords, like your name or brand name

But this article is not meant as a Twitter tutorial. I just wanted to give you a little advice if you are curious about Twitter. To borrow a famous catch phrase: JUST DO IT!

No, this is not a sneaker commercial, but the fact remains that the only real way to learn about Twitter is to do Twitter. You don’t have to start off as a content generating machine. Just get on there. Start by signing up, surfing around and following some people. Follow your friends, favorite bands and celebrities and your favorite companies. If you have a smart phone, install a Twitter app.

Send some tweets and do some retweets. It can be as simple as commenting on your favorite show, a 140-character review of a movie or restaurant. (Maybe tweet from the line in Starbucks, just to see what it’s like.) Over the next few weeks, read a couple of articles on Twitter basics. Ask your “social media” friends about it. Learn how to search Twitter and set saved searches on your phone app.

I guarantee that after a while, you’ll start to get it. You’ll start to sift through the noise and find the value. You’ll even start to understand hashtags.

So what are you waiting for? It’s free, it’s not rocket science and Twitter doesn't bite. Twitter may or may not be the right tool for you in the grand scheme of social media, but you’ll never know until you try.

(This article first appeared on the Social Media Workbench blog.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Top 5 on Cinco de Mayo

Here 's a link to my latest post over at the Purple Goldfish Project. We are up to 800 entries in our quest for 1001 examples of companies that go above and beyond.

Click here to check it out.
A Few Good Fish

MRA Hot Seat Ep. 5

The new episode of the MRA Hot Seat has been posted. This time Simon Chadwick of Cambiar Consulting. Presented by the Greater NY Chapter of the MRA, the Hot Seat video podcast is a spotlight for it's members, who are some of the brightest starts in the market research industry. The MRA Hot Seat is hosted and produced by Paul Kirch and Jack Campisi.