June 21, 2009

9 pound lobster at VT Hannaford

So I was shopping in the North End Hannaford in Burlington VT for my Sunday dinner and when I passed the Seafood department I saw a crowd of people looking at this 9lb lobster that was for sale.

Can you say yum!

There looked to be two large lobsters about the same size.

Can you imagine the amount of butter you would need :)

June 17, 2009

It's Everybody's Business with Jack and Suzy Welch

This morning I was reading through some of my daily IT email newsletters and came across a Microsoft ad highlighting a new business show called "It's Everybody's Business with Jack and Suzy Welch."

Being the curious person that I am, I decided to click on the ad to see what content would be served up. First off, as an ad buyer this type of ad is a great idea for many businesses to adopt.

Secondly, I have to say that this online business show sponsored by Microsoft is filled with a ton of information for business and IT managers. The way Jack and Suzy Welch facilitate problem solving is very cool to watch. I encourage everyone to check it out.

The episode about Connect by Hertz reminded me of a nonprofit organization here in Vermont called CarShare Vermont. Over the past few months CarShare VT has begun providing a car sharing program with vehicles parked around Burlington. They also have a website where members can sign up to use a car. It seems like a really a great program for both car owners and non-car owners alike.

About two weeks ago I remember participating in an online survey that was posted on Front Porch Forum by CarShare Vermont seeing if members and potential new members would be interested if a truck was added to their fleet. I think that adding a truck to their fleet would give the nonprofit an opportunity to reach new customers. Furthermore, it would provide a vehicle for people who own a car, but need a truck from time-to-time to deal with chores around the house or the occasional moving of larger items around from one location to another.

I wonder if CarShare VT had similar problems to solve during the development of their business model.

June 16, 2009

twtvite :: BTV Tweetup! (via @pmgnicole)

Join fellow Vermont Twitter'ers for the Tweetup event at Breakwaters on Burlington's beautiful waterfront tonight June 16, 2009 from 5pm to 7pm...

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June 3, 2009

The Third Act

The Newfronts 2009 from The Thrid Act by Digitas.... Live discussion!

June 2, 2009

Reflections and Observations from the Burlington Vermont Social Media Breakfast

The below two posts titled, “What I Learned from CC Chapman at the BVT SMB” and “What I Learned from Todd Defren at the BVT SMB” are my notes of the key talking points that were presented to the group of communicators at Burlington’s first Social Media Breakfast.

There was a ton of great information about how social media can be used to help businesses communicate, build a brand community and provide a tool for two way communication.

Social media has become a hot topic in Vermont over the past few months. Click here for a PDF presentation about the changing landscape of online public relations that was developed by myself and Pat Heffernan and was presented on May 15, 2009 at the Women Business Owners Network annual conference (WBON). This presentation gives a good explanation about what is going on in the world of public relations and how online news distribution is changing. It goes nicely with the notes provided in earlier posts from the Burlington VT Social Media Breakfast.

Amongst all the discussions of how and why to use social media there are two important topics that are not being mentioned in conjunction with social media.

The first is ethical behavior that should be followed when engaging in social media and the second, my personal favorite, is the innovation that social media has the potential to create.

1.) Social Media Ethics:
When we get right to the point of what social media offers, it is quite simple – word of mouth marketing (communication). Over the last few years, companies like Kmart and Wal-Mart have been paying for bloggers and other social media players to sing their praise within the social media lexicon.

This may indicate that social media experts, agencies and practitioners are not following ethical guidelines. It may also indicate that clear guideline are not developed. Addisiojntlly, it also tells us that everyone is confused about the ethical standards that should be followed when engaging in social media.

Since social media is a tool to help facilitate word of mouth marketing (communication) it is clear that practitioners should be following a code of ethics. One such Code of Ethics has been set fourth by WOMMA.

Finally, anyone engaging in social media communication should be transparent and genuine in what they are say online. If they are being paid, there should be a disclaimer on each post. As stated by Todd Defren at the Burlington Social Media Breakfast, “authenticity and reputation is everything” in the world of social media communication.

Paid posts should be treated the same way an advertorial is treated. END OF STORY!

2.) Innovation:
Another aspect that I am not hearing much about is the fact that social media creates a community of "brand lovers" and "brand haters." Both are good and neither should be ignored. For the first time in the history of communication we have the ability to literally record every conversation about our product of service. As CC Chapman says, “people love to talk online.”

The online technology and tools behind social media allow for every conversation to be monitored, wharehoused and analyzed.

For a moment, let’s step out of our mind set of the corporate communications officer. Yes social media creates innovative ways to communicate, but beyond that it creates digital focus groups that are filled with product and service INNOVATION.

What, did he say INNOVATION? Yes that is correct. Can you say product development, quality control and engineering?

For many companies that engage in social media, the information that is gathered is mainly used to help shape their communication, marketing and public relations strategy. However, there is loads of data about specific products or services that those social communicators (a.k.a customers and clients) are talking about. If you are savvy, you are also simultaneously paying attention and gathering data (conversations) about what is being said about your competitors.

This information is extremely valuable to product designers, engineers, quality control officers and service providers. Part of every social media campaign should have a section that explains what to do with all the data once collected. It should include what other departments need access to that data and who is responsible for analyzing that data.

After the conference, I briefly chatted with Todd Defren about how product or service innovation is incorporated into their client’s social media strategy. Todd mentioned that they mainly focus on how to innovate the way a client communicates, but he left me with the following example of how one client used the data to create product innovation:

Todd spoke of a client that he had worked with in the past to build a social media campaign. This client was a manufacturer of receipt scanners. Aside from using the data to improve their communication efforts, they took it upon themselves to analyze the data that they collected about their receipt scanner and used it to enhance their current product through incremental product innovation.

Can you say brilliant!

The above example highlights how smart companies can create product or service innovation by using the data collected when engaging in social media.

June 1, 2009

What I Learned From CC Chapman At The BVT SMB

- Dont focus on the tools first!
- Have a solid, down to earth good business.
- It's all about who you know. Social medie is all about the people.
- People love to talk online.
- Bad conversation is ok. It gives you a chance to step in.
- Online you repretation is everything!
- You buy where you know.
New Book = "Trust Agent"
- Social Media is not a push technology.
- Give reasons to gather.
- Social media takes a lot of hard work & planning.
- Have real conversations.
- Think long term.
- Good consultants work with clients and teach them how to use the technology.
-Google "The third act" to check out Wednesday event
Facebook ads is a great demographic research tool.

Question = CC mentioned that businesses should bypass legal and pr. How do highly regulated corporations engage in social media when they have to go through legal and pr to meet FTC regulations?

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What I Learned From Todd Defren @ BVT SMB

Social media = worlds biggest potluck
Don't be a wallflower
Don't be a Blowhard? He thinks he knows what hes doing wout ever listening
-Content marketing = what you bring to the party.
- Newspapers are dying
- Death of television is happening.
- Public relations death = death of media relations.
- The social media marketers job is to make sure a client is found.
- "Findability" is cheap
- Tactics = dont wait for the traditional news release.
- Content audit!
- Content marketing = repurposing content

- Know thy customers and what competitors are doing.
- Engage before the creation of content.
- Follow the rules of Active engagement.

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