Word of Mouth & Social Media

November 2, 2011 | Comments Off on Word of Mouth & Social Media | Engaging Events, Social Media & Marketing

I had the opportunity this evening to speak briefly on the topic of social media at a workshop hosted by Our Local Food in the context of promoting local restaurants and growers. If you’re one of the people who attended, I’m so glad you stopped by my website! Please feel free to comment below or drop me an email with any questions or comments!

A recurring theme at the event was the need to establish and maintain connections between growers, chefs, and end consumers. Social media is an excellent tool for this. Local and/or organic eaters tend to be passionate people who are happy to talk up a good cause or eaterie when they find one! You still have the challenge of making the first connection in real life, but if you have a quality product at a reasonable price, word does spread. It spreads even faster if you have the tools in place to facilitate interaction and spotlighting/sharing your treasures.

I spoke just after my client, Lance, owner of Chautauqua Hills Farm – a blueberry grower. He shared about Chautauqua’s voice and message – how they/we try to focus on positive, educational, relevant content. We’re not touting CHF as a poster child for excellent social media use…both of us are busy, and right now since blueberries aren’t in season there’s less pressure to be active on the website or other social networks like Facebook. BUT we do have those platforms ready to swing back into action when the berries are in season again, and as we have time, we continue to work on content in the meantime for less frequent, but still-happening posts. It comes down to knowing what you want to say, managing your links and resources so you have them ready when you need them, and then taking advantage of tools to organize your time and thoughts and share both with others.

Several great users of social media were in attendance…Our Local Food, Food for Thought, Tanya Tandoc of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, and Tim Tuckerbee of Tuckerbee’s Honey and the American Beekeeping Federation as well as others. If you have any interest in local foods or growing, I encourage you to check out their social media presence (and websites) too. Doing so will give you some different ideas for how to approach your audience and what kind of content might work for your message. In addition, connecting with them by “liking” their Facebook Pages or following on Twitter helps you stay in the loop with their updates, subtly emphasize your support of local food to your friends, and make those all-powerful connections between chef and consumer, consumer and grower, etc…

I’m not about to tell you social media work is a piece of cake…so simple you could do it in your sleep. To do it well does take time and energy, both of which can be lacking for a busy grower. But if you treat it like an investment or even like planting seeds…the benefits you reap can be extensive. Aim for consistency, authenticity, and at the same time – have fun!

And if you’d kind of like to try out some ideas with social media, but don’t want to jump in all the way, let us help you get the word out. A little cross-promotion will do both you and us (speaking for Chautauqua Hills Farm) good! If you have the time and feel you can write well and have something to say, write up a guest blog post for us! If you’re looking for something that will take less time, we’d be glad to send you some questions for an email interview that we can also post on our blog (and you can share with your friends and customers). Drop me a line if you’re interested.



Digital Wichita: May 18, 2011

May 19, 2011 | Comments Off on Digital Wichita: May 18, 2011 | Engaging Events

For me, part of the joy of social media is that through it I have deepened my existing friendships in many cases, and made many new acquaintances that I later met and connected with in person.

One bridge from the online world to the “real life” one (funny how that’s what we put in quotes these days) in my community is called Digital Wichita, a group that meets once a month at a local coffee shop to discuss the latest happenings in social media, marketing, and technology, as well as share ideas, mention upcoming events of interest, and of course, enjoy coffee and a light breakfast since it starts at 7:30 in the morning!

I might be starting to sound like a broken record, but because of my busy college schedule this past semester, on most occasions I was unable to join the group for their informal meetings. So it was a welcome treat to rejoin them now that the semester is over, and chat with the 16 people in attendance (great turnout) today. In case you’re curious, those who came included:

  • @jdpatton
  • @superdumb
  • @jennyboyd77
  • @Cox_Jessica
  • @jdecesaro
  • @kdecesaro
  • @teamup22
  • @ted3davis
  • @JenniferLKeller/@redcrossks
  • @RevCindyLee
  • @klohrenz
  • @StephanieHuff77
  • @susandyer
  • @socialfocusbyCG
  • @toddramsey
  • @journeyscript/@NumanaInc (me)
  • one more, whose Twitter handle I didn’t catch…

We got off to a late start, at five till 8 a.m., with introductions around the table (always fun to welcome a few new faces), and then got started talking about community service-type events that Digital Wichita members had participated in since last time or are planning to soon, such as a #bleedup with the Red Cross, and a build with Habitat for Humanity.

The Digital Wichita website domain has lapsed, and discussion took place on whether to keep the name or to associate ourselves more obviously with the Social Media Breakfast Club (we’re already a sub-chapter/affiliate, but weren’t sure if the “Breakfast” label would limit us). We talked about how it could help bring new traveling visitors or speakers to the group.

Conversation then shifted to upcoming events in the social media world. A quick list follows, and you can find more info on the Facebook Group page, or by searching the Twitter hashtag #digitalICT. You can also find a Twitter list of group members here. (We do have a website, but are currently in transition – link to be added later.)

Last, but not least, we discussed ways to improve productivity online, as well as the impacts of gamification on business and social media. One tool that was shared by Katie Lohrenz, for helping get through one’s email inbox faster was The Email Game, while Todd Ramsey mentioned both Obtract, an app that makes you complete a maze if you spend too long on a distracting site, and RescueTime, which helps you rank sites according to level of distraction and block them out when you need to focus for a period of time.

With that, we broke for a few last minute individual conversations before people had to get to the office, and as they say, a good time was had by all.




Live Blog – Explore & Engage Event – Jan. 19, 2011

January 19, 2011 | Comments Off on Live Blog – Explore & Engage Event – Jan. 19, 2011 | Engaging Events

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll be tweeting (@journeyscript) and posting comments/notes from Explore and Engage event (hashtag: #EEICT) below. – Olivia Fletcher


1:00 p.m. Seats are filling up! I’ve seen several people I know already. Everyone’s still chatting, getting ready for the opening remarks from our hosts and speakers. Had lunch with @BeckyMcCray and @cortdanderson.

Klout scores of attendees are up on the board (yes, I know – some of you don’t care – just reporting here). ;)

1:10 p.m. – Brian Solis is now up at the podium…things are quieting down. Or…not…(chatting started up again).

1:15 p.m.  Ben Smith (of @SocialIRL, one of our hosts – great English accent), is thanking our sponsors – Mashable, SocialIRL, Klout, Spiral16, Wichita Area Technical College, Start Thinking, etc…

1:20 p.m. Ben is introducing Brian Solis, author of Engage – notes that after dinner @KenMiner made a slight typo last night and posted a Tweet referencing him as @BrainSolis, but commented that he almost Tweeted back how appropriate that was…he always learns something when he reads Brian’s and Jason’s posts (and has read his book twice, highlighter in hand). Brian’s PowerPoint is up on the screen.

1:25 p.m. Brian just shared this video/commercial at the opening of his talk: http://ow.ly/3GGi1 He’s talking about how we’re no longer just competing for the future, we’re also competing for relevance. Explained about how original title of Engage was going to be The Social Media Manifesto, but he pointed out how the real theme and need of the hour is engaging…not just via social media.

1:30 p.m. Businesses run top-down but we’re introducing a bottom-up, grassroots mentality. He’s more involved now in change management than specifically social media per se, since many businesses aren’t equipped to handle many of these tools (even if they have the basic technological know-how). For instance, what do you do about a frustrated customer that has found a Facebook page to vent on and before was only getting an automated voice message via a phone call?

1:38 p.m.

  • Five I’s of Social Marketing:
    • Intelligence
    • Insight
    • Ideation
    • Interaction
    • Influence
  • 37Signals as an example of an expert in thought leadership, influence
  • Just monitoring alone (not really listening) mentions and other metrics, can lead to ambivalence
  • It’s not just about finding influencers to spread a message for you…but about being influencers
  • Web 1.0 was about content, Web 2.0 was about people, the “Next Web” is about context.
  • Used example of swimming teacher that used to be a bartender at a gay bar, and didn’t delineate between her posts on Facebook, so 10-year-olds were commenting on the pics and statuses that she “liked” from her friends at the bar – we can all be guilty of keeping the one-to-many publishing approach that social media was in part designed to counter (think about it: will everyone like you on Facebook for the same reason?)

2:08 p.m. Took a break to catch up on tweets…lots of Tweetable comments up on the screen (by design). Themes in the last several minutes have included more lists and acronyms.  On certain sites like Twitter, many posts don’t even really get seen. You’re competing for the moment on the “slot machine of attention”…even Old Spice mentions (esp. related to the commercials, popular as they were), took a big dive in views when new videos weren’t being created.

Noted the “superlogoff”some teens and others take advantage of…temporarily deactivating their accounts when they log off of Facebook so that no one can say anything negative while they’re not there…another trend is “whitewalling” – kids don’t want people to see the negative things they post, so they go ahead and post it and then delete it after about three days.

Social media didn’t invent conversations – that surprises a lot of people  – but it does allow you to see and organize conversations.

Influencers aren’t those who just talk a lot…so much as those who consistently create compelling and helpful content.

2:30 p.m. – Going on break, more to come…(I’ll fill in more notes and links from @BrianSolis later)

3:14 p.m. Jason Falls is talking about bringing application to the theory/science aspects that Brian addressed.

We want to engage, but we must know our audience, have goals, build a content strategy, choose the right tools, and implement & activate (choose tools last).

A lot of companies are playing in the sandbox of social media and experimenting…fine, but at some point you do need a plan.

A lot of clients in the past wanted blogs, Facebook brand pages…’cause everybody else had one.

In the second half of Jason’s talk we’ll discuss doing more than engaging…how we can be measuring and reporting. PowerPoint slide says we’ll be talking about how to plan success strategically, what tools exist, what metrics are important, and how to understand how & what to report and to whom.

3:22 p.m. Starting out with a discussion of social CRM (customer relationship management) solutions including Flowtown, JitterJam, Surveys. People track information so that they can better market to you. There’s a lot of robust (publicly available) data, but not many know how to use it well yet.

3:35 p.m. Google Alerts as a baseline for monitoring mentions. Other free options include Twitter Search, Social Mention, PeopleBrowsr, Icerocket, uberVu (freemium version), and BoardTracker.

Jason’s giving demonstrations and further explanations about the above tools and some paid monitoring tools (e.g. Sysomos, Radian6, Visible Technologies, etc…).

He also covered some market research tools in depth, such as Spiral16 (a sponsor of this event), Consumer Base, Listen Logic, Crimson Hexagon, Collective Intellect, Social Reader, Nielsen, etc… These tools tend to be more expensive, but also more in-depth…not just mentions, but also underlying trends, needs, and opinions around topics and brands.

Answering a few questions on Twitter a week saves many companies money, because it takes fewer call center costs/resources ($7-11 per hour on average).

Social insights vs. consumer insights…looking to solve problems and answer the questions/needs people have.

Gave an example of how Fiskars (the scissors company) noticed that there were scrapbooking forums where members were posting their creations and getting nasty/mean comments about their design or skills. They realized that an unspoken need for these individuals was a safe place to share their ideas and creations, and started their own blog/forum/community with rules that helped to keep a positive environment…and ended up surpassing their 6 month goal for members in 24 hours!

Influencer tools mentioned include Alltop, Listorious, Postrank, Twitalyzer, Klout, mBlast, Blog Dash, and Traackr.

4:41 p.m. Taking a short break…

4:58 p.m. Folks going back to Lawrence/KC/Topeka can follow Ben Smith on Twitter and keep an eye on the weather. Several people from the conference are planning on hanging out at a local restaurant for a while (location TBD).

Kris Schindler spoke briefly about Start Thinking, a sponsor of today’s event, and introduced @Cox_Jessica of Cox Communications, another sponsor, who talked about Cox’s efforts to engage in social media.

Jason has been discussing monitoring and measuring and what that means for individual businesses and organizations. He shared several funny stories, including a Twitter exchange between a woman who was debating whether to eat the sub she had on her desk and tweeted, “To eat the Quiznos sub or not to eat it…that is the question,” to which Quiznos tweeted back, “Eat me.”

All kinds of different approaches to tools like Twitter – some say you should have a lot of interaction, but it depends on purpose/stated goal/needs (e.g. George Stephanopoulos has over 1.6 million followers on Twitter, but the account is not used for engaging…it’s a broadcast tool for ABC).

Jason commented that measurement and monitoring is not hard, or put another way, “it’s not rocket surgery.” He admitted it can be complex, but it’s really not hard.

Delving in more to the different kinds of charts and reports that are necessary for different audiences…

He’ll share link to slides later (and I’ll be sure to post here).

6:12 p.m. – Q & A time…

6:37 p.m. Signing off – many people heading to Bella Luna (21st & Rock) at Bradley Fair for after-event meetup…drive safe, ICT roads are slick.