Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Art of the Corporate Blog

Corporate blogs take on many shapes and play many roles like the executive blog (to staff or public-facing); the "how to" blog; sharing news; offering promotions; building the brand or acting as the entire corporate website.

In essence a corporate blog is an opportunity to connect with a reader community or customers and strengthen their relationship with the brand - PR at the click of a mouse.

A recent article by Likeable Media called Corporate Blogs Done Right, highlights these elements as keys to blogging success:

  1. Have multiple writers like Kodak to bring many different perspectives to your blog.
  2. Be true to your brand through the blog design, language and style and by reaching out to readers with useful tips and information like Southwest Airlines.
  3. Collate the helpful voices of a user community such as Wordpress does in its blog, thereby giving users a forum.
  4. Create a community by sharing not only information about products but also about a company's values and those things it holds dear like Wholefoods.
  5. Open the doors of your company to the world by showcasing your unique culture and employees at work like Zappos do in their "Family Blog".
Read the full article here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When You Love Your Tims..


...and your Tims loves you back!

This is the story of Tims, TA and Velma the Vanilla Dip.

When Everest climber and Tims fanatic TA Loeffler decided to take her ownership of the Tim Horton's brand to new heights, Tims was there to support. To TA a Vanilla Dip doughnut (eaten in moderation) is akin to a "religious experience". In fact, it came to her as no surprise when she noticed one day that budhist prayer flags such as the ones that provide protection to climbers on Mount Everest are indeed in the colours of the sprinkles that decorate her beloved Vanilla Dip.

Being so close to her Tims brand, made Tim Hortons an obvious choice when she was seeking sponsorship for her attempt on Everest. In her own words, the fund-raising effort for an expedition of this proportion, tops the challenge of the actual climb.

Tim Hortons, like all other big brands, is no doubt inundated with requests of this kind and their subsequent $10 gift certificate was probably quite generous, all considered.

It is not until TA's second attempt to summit Mount Everest two years later and another sponsorship request that the story started to unfold in the most interesting way.

It is important to mention that TA summited Mount Elbrus in Russia in the mean time and an important lesson was learnt here. The Vanilla Dip doughnut (Velma I) that went along as expedition mascot did not do too well at altitude and emerged a shadow of its former self.

Not keen to repeat this mascot disaster, TA approached Tims again. If monetary sponsorship was not on the cards, what about a preserved version of Velma for the 2009 attempt on Everest? This is when Tim Hortons came to the table: with a specially preserved vanilla dip doughnut that was to be collected last minutes at a Tim Hortons coffee shop en route to Nepal.

Velma the Vanilla Dip II returned well traveled, very experienced and having reached amazing new heights.

The love between TA and Tims continues - wonderful photographs of Velma's adventures have been posted to the Tim Hortons Facebook Page. This page is seen as the most successful Facebook brand story in Canada with more than 1.2 million people liking it at the time of writing. It is stories such as this one; photos such as TAs and a technology that allow us to share, that build the essence of Canada's beloved brand. It is about more than coffee - and also about a "religious experience" to some.
Follow the story of Velma, Tim's vanilla dip doughnut, and her and TAs extreme adventures on Tim's Facebook album.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mark the Spot: Location Based Marketing

The Social Web and the Destination Web
Barely getting acquainted with Web 2.0 and what it means and now there is talk of the "Social Web" - as opposed to the "Destination Web" - phrases coined to distinguish brochure-style static websites from websites with interactive "social" characteristics such as feeds, posts, comments and ratings.

Location-based Marketing
And in comes location-based marketing.... The newest in the social media family, this technology aims to get to know as much about you as it can, then get your GPS location from your mobile phone with the aim to offer you a deal that is tailored to your needs.

A block away from the nearest Starbucks, your phone sends you a message that you can have a special discount on a tall skinny cafe latte - your favourite drink.  (this is only an example). This is what location-based marketing aims to do.  Location-based services are growing - there are FourSquare (that let's you become the mayor of your favourite spot), Facebook Places and Facebook Deals (watch video), and Gowalla to keep your eye on.

Location-based Contesting to Create Brand Awareness
Check our this fascinating video of a recent Mini Campaign in Stockholm that used GPS locator technology for this contest game.  Participants aim to obtain a virtual Mini and keep it for a week to win a real Mini Countryman:



Location-based Marketing and Your Business
If you find this mind-blowing, come and join 99% of us.  However, early adopters often reaps the awards - so think about how you can apply this to your business.  Ideas are no doubt starting to flow.  Here's a suggestion (it is new to me too, so I will be trying it along with you):

  1. Claim your business on the map in Facebook Places, Google Places, FourSquare and any other similar space you can find.
  2. Set up accounts where you don't have them and check out what is happening.
  3. Watch for examples where others are successful.
  4. And who knows... perhaps at that point you're ready to become more than a spectator.
Which Location-Based marketing site do you like best?  Did you get any useful deals?  Any interesting experiences?  I know a downtown Toronto shoe store peeved my new friend Ryan - refused to give a refund that was due- he posted his dismay on FourSquare... and there it sits for the world to see.  Don't buy there!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Business Tips from the Dragons' Den

A privilege and honour to be nominated for the Mount Pearl Chamber of Commerce's annual Best in Business Innovation Award last night, it was an equal pleasure to listen to Dianne Buckner of Dragons' Den fame share her Top 10 Tips - those characteristics that successful entrepreneurs share - straight from the Den!  I paraphrase as I summarise them here.  The list should be read in reverse for order of priority.

  1. Successful entrepreneurs know how to get to YES.  They seek to understand where their "target" is coming from, what would be important to him/her and how to make a pitch that will get an ultimate yes.

  2. When pitching a solution, successful entrepreneurs remain open and flexible.  By being agreeable they negotiate until a deal emerges that is good for all the parties involved.

  3. Tough times are not necessarily bad times. Most successful people have the ability to deal with circumstances that present themselves at the moment and many success stories such as Home Depot started in times of recession. Tough times can spur great creativity.

  4. Successful people stay abreast of trends.  In this age of fast paced innovation there is no shortage of new trends.  While eco-friendly economics and social media are currently hot trends, Dianne also cited the example of a company who came up with temporary phone numbers - used like a disposable phone number that could be useful for online dating etc.)

  5. Successful entrepreneurs are brief.

  6. A comfort level with their own weaknesses - successful entrepreneurs understand that they cannot be great at everything and they have a plan for dealing with them.  They understand that there is always something to compensate for.

  7. Contrary to popular belief, successful people proceed with caution.  They go out on a limb with caution.

  8. Hard work.  No surprise here and no way of avoiding it.  Successful entrepreneurs work exceptionally hard.

  9. Success also requires not to work too hard. Successful people define success by something broader than money.  Working too hard always takes a toll - health and relationships being first in line.

  10. Persistence.  Successful entrepreneurs learn and get better continuously.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Which Side Are You On?


I have been reading numerous books on Business and Internet Marketing lately, and frankly, it leaves me somewhat confused. 

Let's start with "Profits Aren't Everything.  They're the Only Thing."

Self-proclaimed contrarian small business guru George Cloutier says:
"You must micromanage and then micromanage some more.  With a small business you have to know everything that is going on at all times." 
"It's OK to be a control freak". 
"Fire and hire faster. Don't tolerate mediocrity.
"I want my employees to do what I say, not what they think." 
You are starting to get the picture, right?


On the other end of the scale Josh Bernoff's latest book "Empowered" says the opposite:
"Your company is not and cannot be nimble enough to serve them. With our established processes and departmental boundaries, you move too slowly."
"To succeed with empowered customers, you must empower your employees to solve customer problems."
The ideas don't come from management:  management's new job is to support and empower employees."

Both books were published during the past year.  How can both modern business books punt two opposing points of view and both be right?

On moral grounds the principles of empowering employees and unleashing collective creativity for the greater corporate good sound like a good idea.  

From my small business experience I tend to understand the authoritarian stance.  Even if there are cheques in the cheque book, you cannot write them if there is no money in the bank.

So, like so often the case, is the truth not somewhere in the middle?  Experience has taught me:
  1. Train and mentor employees to deliver great service, BUT stay close to your valued client.  Staff come and go and as business owner, the client remains YOUR customer.

  2. Empower, but do not abdicate. Once a clearly defined task has been delegated, check in to gauge progress. Follow up afterwards to measure success and to give feedback, thanks or rewards. My business associate Cathy is a proponent of checklists. I am a fan of our internal project management system. The secret lies in clear instructions.

  3. A small business has less leeway than a larger organization.  Each employee in a small business sits directly on the profit line and the business can ill afford the luxury of learning from mistakes. Social media and social networks expose our businesses daily, and everyone has a direct line to almost everyone except the most untouchable deity.

    While this connected world offers vast business potential that HAS to be harnessed within a clear policy, agreed use and measurable outcomes,  social media is an emerging technology that requires time to mature. A small business does not have the flexibility of allocating staff to research trial and error in a new media world.  Hire an expert and pay for results.
Although I do not particularly subscribe to the authoritarian language in Cloutier's book, he is very clear in what he believes.  Simply put, if we are not in business to generate profit, our energies are best utilized in a different environment than the world of hard commerce.

On the other hand, although I do not believe that Bernhoff's book was born from the school of hard business knocks, we have to acknowledge that this millennium is giving birth to a generation of Internet-connected employees and customers who are changing the world - one click at a time. Ignoring this emerging force is business suicide.

What do you think?  Share your comments here and let's continue the discussion...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why Are Loyal Customers Leaving?

You hired the smartest people.  You offer the best product. Your prices are competitive. Why are your customers leaving?

People Do Business With The Nice Guys
In "Fierce Leadership" author Susan Scott makes the point that when you land yourself in a competitive situation with all the above being true, customers choose the "nice guys".  People want to do business with people that they have a connection with.  People that they can talk to and people who listen.  People who make them feel good about what they buy.  And that is just too bad for the smart guys.

Experience Economy
Joseph Pine ("The Experience Economy") wrote that today's economy is an "experience economy", indicating that customers are seeking more than a good product or good service.  Using the product or service has to be an enjoyable experience which begins with the very first encounter a customer has with your business.

Deepen the Experience with Web 2.0
In a global economy that first experience often starts on the Internet and relationships are deepened through the tools of web 2.0 - social networks, comments, reviews, ratings and sharing.  The customer experience is created not only through your messages but also through what others say about you.  The media relations and advertising departments no longer control your brand.  Your customers and staff do and they are a part of your brand conversations.

Engagement - The Glue In Your Brand
In the latest of the well-known "Did You Know" videos (also known as Shift Happens) Eric Qualmann's version says:  "What happens in Vegas, stays in... Facebook, Bebo, MySpace..."  Keeping loyal customers will require rallying the troops -  and those troops are staff and past clients.  Engagement and meaningful deep conversation create loyalty which becomes the glue in your brand.


Employees who feel engaged and who are a part of meaningful conversation at work, become empowered brand ambassadors. Engaged employees contribute to the customer experience (some airlines get this right - see Southwest Airlines and WestJet or just think about the Fish vendors at Pike's market in Seattle).

Also rally current customers - they are guaranteed to talk about a great experience.  Help them along by providing the forum on your website, your social network page, or your blog.

Where to Start?
It starts with buy-in at the top. As the leader of an organization the buck starts and stops with you - setting the example, creating the tone. Scott tells the story where a top notch consulting firm with the smartest employees and managers who are referred to as "partners" could not sew up a billion dollar contract - only to discover that the competition won the contract because they were the "nice guys".

If customers are walking away, competitors stealing your staff, or getting the job done is like pulling teeth - check the level of engagement with your staff and your customers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Facebook Places

Facebook is entering the world of location-based marketing, similar to Gowalla, FourSquare, and Yelp, with Facebook Places.  Facebook Places was recently launched in the US and is being deployed world wide.


Location Based Marketing, including services such as Four Square and Facebook Places is a fairly new addition to the Internet Marketing toolkit and has enormous potential for businesses, in particular businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars and other "social" businesses where the general public gather.


A service like FourSquare is a fun web and mobile application that allows registered users to connect with friends and update their location. Points are awarded for "checking in" at venues. 


Facebook Places, similarly, will allow users to let others know where they are.  This video that was published on the Social Media Examiner page explains what Facebook Places is all about.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Get Organized this Fall

As we leave summer behind, we get into work and school mode with being organized on of the top items on the list.  Here are a few tips to make it easier...


Get it out of your head and onto paper.
Many competing ideas in your head will drive you crazy.  Paper is tangible, so get it out of your head and onto paper.  From there you can underline, colour code, connect certain items, stick it on the wall or share.

Set up space in the clouds to store information.
Upload documents to space on the Internet where they are accessible and secure such as Microsoft's  Skydrive, Apple’s Mobileme iDisk, Dropbox.  Store your client contact information online in Google Contacts (need a Gmail account or in Apple's Mobileme.)

Flag your to-do items for follow up.  
Often emails contain a reminder to do something or to follow up on something.  In Microsoft Outlook, use the Flag feature to flag those emails for follow up or in Google Mail, use the Star feature.

Online collaboration saves time.
Use Google Docs to take minutes in meetings.  Save, format and share with others.  It saves paper and time. Zoho is a service that rivals what Google has to offer and Zoho Docs is worth looking into.

Search, not File.
As a time saver, use a mail program that lets you search for information in stead of organizing information into folders.  Google Apps is a must for your small to medium sized business.

Keep track with an online calendar.
Google Calendar lets you store multiple calendars in one, it syncs with other calendars (Microsoft Outlook, iCal, iPhone) and it can send you a reminder by SMS or email.  Your Google Calendar can also easily be shared with others.  And above all, you can access it from wherever you are.

Get an iReader.
Carry multiple books with you, save paper, add notes and bookmarks electronically and see what other readers highlighted in a book. My favourite is the Kindle app on my iPad.  iBooks on the iPad is equally as nice. The Kindle app will also let you read books on your PC or Mac.


So you have any time saving organizing tips to share?  Let us know.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

13 Things to Do at the End of the Tourism Season

For Tourism Operators:

Labour Day Weekend in North America signals the end of summer for many and with it, the end of family vacations, visits and travel.  June, July and August is peak tourism season in the northern hemisphere and tourism operators work like bees to create a good time, comfort, memories and great experiences.

With the end of this busy season in sight, the list of work continues as things are getting wrapped up.  Here are a few marketing ideas to consider:

Manage Contact Information
  • Organize your list of names and addresses of guests and customers that you collected during this past season.
  • Segment your contact lists (couples, families, boomers... whatever is suitable for your business).  
Follow Up
  • Send a follow-up e-newsletter with photos from the summer and a bit of news to encourage happy memories to linger a bit longer. If it makes sense in your business, create different version of your e-newsletter for different segments of your list, i.e. outdoor enthusiasts; theatre-lovers; families, honeymooners etc.
  • Send a sincere thank-you note or card - make sure your business gets a fond spot in the email box, on the fridge, album or notice board.
Continue the Relationship on Social Media
  • Invite guests to become a part of your social community on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.  Continue conversations with your guests on these social channels.
  • Search for photos, tweets, blogs or videos that were posted by guests or visitors to your region, establishment or town and comment, link, "friend" or "like" the content.
Freshen up your Website
  • Update your website with photographs and images for the new season to encourage a few more weeks of travel during the shoulder season.
  • Post photos to your website and invite your guests to provide their favourite pictures for your site. 
Create Packages

  • Plan travel packages with other tourism operators in your area or a location along the route for the new season.
Testimonials
  • Update testimonials on your site and invite your list to submit testimonials to sites like Canada Select and Tripadvisor.
Learn and Network
  • Plan for your own professional development and register to attend one of our workshops! You may learn a few new things but also network with like-minded people.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where do I start with my website?

"Where to start planning a new website?" is a question I am asked quite often. This is a broad question and many resources already exist that help getting to the right answers.

Here is a link to a comprehensive blog post on the topic "Preparing to work with a designer: What to bring to the plate when you are planning your website?" It is well worth the read.

Or perhaps you prefer to get advice from a Rapper - see this SEO Rapper tell the story of web development.

Digital Daisy's blog also has a few articles that answers this same question:
Planning
Like all planned journeys, the web development process starts with a destination in mind. There are two questions that are important before embarking on the web development journey:
1. Why the heck am I doing this?
2. What do I want from my site?

Elements
A website has 4 basic elements that require planning:
  1. Design
  2. Content
  3. Navigation and
  4. Functionality
Developing content will most likely be your responsibility and the earlier in the process you get this done, the easier it will be on the rest of the process. A small business owner knows best who he/she is talking to, and what to say.

Navigation
Planning a site's navigation is like planning a journey with its main route, detours and excursions. Think of how content in the site has to connect to each other. Two sites I like for planning, are GoMockingbird (great for mocking up a page that shows where all the elements of the page should be) and Slickplan (for creating flow charts). Microsoft Excel is useful for this as well.

Functionality
The functionality you'd like your site to have depends on the site's purpose and could be an events calendar, a form, a photo gallery, social media widgets, a shopping cart or more. One piece of functionality that is almost a given nowadays is having a content management system (CMS) for your site. This allows you as the owner to add, delete and edit pages on your site in a user-friendly way.

Popular CMS's are Django, Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. Even Blogger which was originally a blogging site, now allows for easy addition of pages to the blog page. In the list of questions to ask a Web Developer - ask to have a CMS and ask to see an example of how it works.

Other benefits of a CMS: CMS's like the above are used by many developers across the globe who collaborate to write functionality for sites (also called plug-ins). These are often available for download by other developers (free). This means that you are able to "plug in" new functionality into your site as you need it at low or now cost very quickly, like a registration form or a calendar.

Content
The most important point about content is that is should be written for the user and from the user's perspective. What is your reader looking for?
Other web writing tips are on this blog post 11 Tips for Techknowledgeable Writing.

The Hidden Bits
  1. Ensure that you get the domain name of your choice, that it is registered in the name of your company, using an email address/es that will always reach you.
  2. Make note of your registrar, its web address and passwords to your domain registration account.
  3. Make sure upfront that the web host you select can host the files your developer will create.
  4. Make a note of your web host's web url and password to your account.
  5. Meta content (page titles, tags, key words, alt-tags) are not always visible on first glance at the site. Make sure that they are there, that they are unique for each page and that they are search engine optimized.
  6. Plan for links: Link the content of your pages together. Hyperlinks is another form of site navigation and search engines like it. Also plan for other sites you want to link to or want to request a link from - good for users, good for search engines!
  7. Add analytics to your site - Google Analytics is a popular choice and ask your web developer to set it up on your site and to show you how to use it.
  8. Plan for Social Media - which of your social media would you like to integrate on your site and where? Widgets are available from most social media sites (Linkedin, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and more). This can help to keep your site fresh and interesting. Also plan for sharing options to add to the page such as RSS feeds, Email This, Tweet This, Like, comments and ratings options. One quick way to add this is by adding something like AddThis.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What are Canadians Doing Online?

Stats Canada published the following information on May 10 2010 with regard to how Canadians use the Internet at home.

Interesting that a popular use, Travel Planning, remained at the same level as two years prior, while the use for health & medical research; watching TV & Video online increased significantly as did contributing to social media activities (blogs etc.). Internet telephony increased - a trend worth watching.

The largest relative increase (2007 - 2009) in Internet usage was in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick respectively (both up by 15%).

Online activities of home Internet users
2007 2009

%
E-mail9293
General browsing for fun or leisure7678
Obtain weather or road conditions7075
Research other matters (family history, parenting)7073
Search for medical or health related information5970
View news or sports6468
Electronic banking or bill payment6367
Travel information or making travel arrangements6666
Window shopping6065
Search for information about governments5157
Education, training or school work5050
Research community events4450
Order personal goods or services4550
Obtain or save music (free or paid downloads)4547
Use an instant messenger5045
Play games3942
Obtain or save software (free or paid downloads)3335
Job search3235
Listen to the radio over the Internet2832
Download or watch TV or a movie over the Internet2031
Research investments2527
Communicate with governments2627
Contribute content (blogs, photos, discussion groups)2027
Make telephone calls914
Sell goods or services (auction sites)913

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Haul Videos more Powerful than Like buttons?

ABC News recently reported on a new trend on YouTube called Haul Videos. Teenage girls, predominantly, use one of their favourite things, their web cam, to video blog (vlog) about one of their other favourite things: shopping.

Girls show off their purchases online, become YouTube stars and even attract sponsorship. The power of these "consumer reviews" by a group with tremendous retail purchasing power and influence is undeniable.

ABC News reported there to be about 110,000 haul videos currently on YouTube. Originally displaying predominantly cosmetic purchases, this has expanded to include anything from bags to shoes to clothing for their favourite pet - commenting on the quality or the purchase as they vlog along.

Even more powerful than peer reviews and like buttons, it is anticipated that marketers will be hot on the trail of this technique, canvassing user-promoters that are happy to promote their products - a second-cousin technique to mystery shopping.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

8 Tips: Listening as a Marketing Strategy

What a scramble to get on the social media bus - we tweet, update statuses, blog, comment and create. However, it is generally accepted that listening is the most effective social media marketing strategy. Here are some ideas for keeping your ear to the ground...

1. Eavesdropping on Twitter - Twitter Search

Twitter Search is ideal for finding out what is being said. No Twitter account is needed - just enter the search term in the search window on twitter.com to find out what others are saying about your topic.

2. Follow #Hash Tags & Monitor Search Terms

The so-called “hash-tag” that prefaces certain terms clusters conversations that include this tag on Twitter as belonging together. At conferences hash-tagged phrases often spring up spontaneously (such as #TedX) to cluster anything being said about this event.

A recent fun example was #doyletweets and #doylequotes, used to tweet about the Republic of Doyle. Doyle fans would tweet comments out about the episode while watching - a search of #doyletweets lets you in on the conversation.

Find a community that talks about topics you are interested in. Twitter Search will point you in the right direction. If you use a tool such as TweetDeck, set up columns for your favourite search terms or hash tags. One of mine is the town of Twillingate - every time there is a Tweet about "Twillingate", it is picked up in my "Search: Twillingate" column. This morning I was saved a speeding fine by a kind tweeter alerting me to a speed trap along the way #Twillingate. Catch negative comments about your business quickly and respond, or pick up on a business opportunity and follow the lead.

3. Follow Industry Leaders

Another technique for listening in on my favourite topics, is to search for authors of my favourite business books on Twitter. A few of my favourite Tweeps are authors @shelisrael (Twitterville), @tompeters (Thriving on Chaos), @anthonyrobbins (Unlimited Power) and @charleneli (Groundswell). Add a comment to share yours...

4. Plug into the Local Community

In our local tourism industry you may want to eavesdrop on what @nltweets (Dpt. of Tourism), @centralNL (Central Destination Marketing Organization) or @DestinationSJ (Destination St. John’s) are saying. Visit their pages (twitter.com/nltweets etc.) if you do not have a Twitter account, or follow them once you are logged in.

Follow @ryansnoddon to get the local weather report even before the weather office does! Each community has its tweet elite.

5. Follow the buzz on Facebook, YouTube or Linkedin

You have a Facebook page for your business? Great! So, what is more important… what you are saying or what “they” are posting? Comments and contributions from others become gold in your research. Why spend millions on research if you could merely eavesdrop on the conversation in your community. Here are some ways to engage your audience...

Have you ever searched for topics of interest on Facebook or Linkedin? Pages and groups reveal much through the conversation that is happening. Outsider comments on your own blog posts or photos are equally useful. While creating content is a good start, engagement and conversation are invaluable. It takes good fuel to start a fire - ask open-ended questions or throw out a provocative statement.

6. Get Google Alerts

Heard of Google Alerts? Let Google do the listening for you... Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. It is as simple as going to Google Alerts once you have logged into your Gmail account and entering the words or phrases you wish to monitor. A regular report will be delivered into your email account. Want to be alerted when something is said about your business or product? Set up an alert - Google sends be a daily email about where the phrase Digital Daisy is used on the Internet.

7. Keep Your Eye on Your Web Stats

A place with much hidden treasure is often overlooked. If a web site has stats such as Google Analytics, you can most likely see from those stats, which words were typed into search engines to bring them to your site. This provides an indication of what potential customers are looking for.

8. Listening to the gurus

Even though I facilitate online marketing workshops and develop strategies for clients, I never fail to learn something new when attending someone else’s workshops. Listening to others in your field of business – a workshop, a conference, a mastermind group or simply a phone call can provide great market research. "Two ears, one yapper" someone recently tweeted... for good reason.

7 Essential Social Media Instincts for Small Businesses

Small business owners see both the opportunity in social media and at the same time grapple with a successful strategy for using it. I found this useful article by Rohit Bhargava that captures solutions well.

Rohit says "being good with social media has very little to do with your technical ability." (big relief eh!) Essentially he makes these points - please read his full post for the entire picture...
  1. Be conversational
  2. Listen and respond
  3. Proactively comment and share
  4. Use questions in stead of statements
  5. Find groups and participate with those who share your passion
  6. Complement social media by meeting people - there is no substitute for knowing people in person
  7. Invoke good karma by genuinely helping, supporting and sharing with others
To this I would add: Find your topic and style and stick to it. This is a way to create followers that are loyal because they know what to expect from you - just like a good friend would.

I recommend Rohit's Influential Marketing blog for information about online marketing that is actually useful to business owners.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bookmark this: Social Media Workshop June 1

It is exciting to announce our first mini conference on Social Media. Sarah Stoodley agreed to do a presentation on Twitter - sharing strategies learned as the official Tweeter for Memorial University (@memorialu).
Sarah is such a vivacious presenter and has a host of real life examples that she draws from.

John Feltham will present a few of the exciting case studies that he has worked on. John played a significant role in creating an initial Social Media plan for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, did it again last year for Targa Newfoundland and more recently for Ruckus on the Edge - the week long music fest that accompanied the 2010 Juno Awards.

I am pleased to be co-presenting with these two leading edge social media marketers and will draw on my experience in business to make sure the content is focused on entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses.

Check out more information about the One-day Social Media Intensive and register online to ensure you get your seat. We are keeping the groups small so that there are lots of opportunities to share information.

And I'll be amiss not to mention the lovely venue - Myx Meeting Centre - and chef Denise's amazing cooking! (Yes, breakfast, lunch and refreshments!)

Register for One-Day Social Media Intensive in St. John's Newfoundland & Labrador,   on Eventbrite

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Juno Awards' Melanie Berry's Top 10 for 2010

In a recent presentation to the members of NLOWE at a breakfast session, CARAS CEO Melanie Berry shared her top ten entrepreneurial priorities for 2010 while in St. John's for final arrangements for the 2010 Juno Music Awards.


Expressing the value of mentorship in her career, Ms. Berry cited these as her important entrepreneurship and life lessons:
  1. Always treat others as you would like to be treated.
  2. Do what is RIGHT, not what is EASIEST.
  3. Pick your battles - don't waste time with unimportant issues
  4. Think about the big picture and do not be distracted by the little issues
  5. Value your friends
  6. It is what it is - realize what you can change and what you cannot
  7. Take time to learn from your mistakes
  8. Celebrate successes
  9. Always admit when you're wrong
  10. Love what you do - you have to love your job.
Melanie also emphasized the importance of having a strong support system you can rely on - and cited her parents as playing this important role in her success. This video that was taken at the event, lets you share in her positivity and enthusiasm for what she does.