Tag Archives: Business

Social Media: Now What?

This NeXT Computer was used by Sir Tim Berners...
Image via Wikipedia

First allow me to tell you a little bit about what brings me here, to this place and time.

In January 2010, I was doing marketing for a small business in Fort Smith, Arkansas that had a shoe-string budget and wanted to reach as many of their target audience as possible with little to no investment.  I knew where there was a will there was a way, but there was only so much time in the day.  Conventional means just were not cutting it.  So for the sake of my job, my client’s reputation and to produce results I began to look into Social Media marketing.  In that month, I did the market research, formed a plan and launched.  I started with a Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter account, began blogging here on WordPress and eventually took a column with Examiner.com.

Not only did I discover that Social Media was just another set of tools like the world wide web, email, websites,  and cell phones, but I discovered a passion! So I began taking on other clients in the Greater Fort Smith Region.  I discovered yet another passion!

Of course I, like other Social Media pessimists, at first thought that it was a waste of time and unnatural way of communicating. But I had clients that expressed needs and I had discovered a wonderful way to increase their exposure and help them meet their goals to solve their problems.
So with my doubts, my reservations, all the necessary time investment and the world-wide transparency and the nay saying of my friends and family, why did I continue?  Why did I bother? I love to connect with people.  I value honesty and equality. Social Media networking and marketing were the perfect fit.  I got to do the things I enjoyed, met tons of awesome people from all walks of life, and was learning a new tool set, wherein I could write, share, and help others. Little did I know that in 2010 SM networking would be the most significant business development of the year.  I saw the value.

I am excited!  Tomorrow afternoon, May 19th, 2001, just 16 short months after taking the plunge I have the opportunity to stand before 50 of my friends and colleagues from across the state and share my passions with them.  Don’t you wish you could be there?

Running water, toilets, electricity, frozen ice cream, tillers, jeeps and Social Media

Do you now or would you like to own a small business? Have you ever worked for a small business? I can answer these questions with conviction and odds are that you can also. In my opinion, small businesses are where it’s at and they are the back-bone of America. (Non-profits aren’t too bad either.) Seriously, home based businesses, small businesses and entrepreneurs are the United  States’ greatest source of innovation.

I make no bones about my passion for my home, the Greater Fort Smith Region, or about my passion for entrepreneurship.  So why would someone like me utilize much of my free time studying, getting to know and interacting with small businesses, their employers and entrepreneurs? Why would I advocate the use of social media and/or teach others how to utilize these tools for their own personal use and/or for their businesses.

Let’s look at this from a different view.

Have you ever drawn your water from a well? Or had it gravity feed from a pond, stream or lake? Have you ever used a chamber pot or an outhouse?  Have you ever gone without electricity and used candles, lanterns, and/or fire?  Have you ever made hand crank ice cream?  Have you ever tilled a garden by pulling a plow and/or by hand with a hoe?  Have you ever ridden a bicycle to school or work?

I have done each of these things and would do them again tomorrow if I had to.  But now I have running water and electricity in my home.  I also have  two toilets and I like ice cream that is already made that I can scoop, spoon, and swallow.  I also like tilling with a tiller and I really love driving my jeep.

There is always more than one way to skin an animal  and there are always many different ways to get to our destinations in life and in business. I do not advocate the use of Social Media because it is some magic bullet.  I advocate the use of social media because anyone that is willing to learn new things, utilize new tools, put themself out there and to possibly fail can and will benefit from it.

We all have to generate exposure for our products, services and businesses.

We all want to generate more traffic, because then odds are in our favor instead of against us.

If we are online, we all want to increase our search rankings.  People look for things online and they find them.  Whether they find them from you or someone else is within your control.

We are always in the market for new colleagues and new business opportunities and increasing the likelihood of these is in our favor.

We are all in the lead generating business and anything that helps in that department is a step in the right direction.

We all want to get the most bang for our buck and there isn’t any better way to do that than to decrease our marketing expenses.

Improving sales is the name of the game.

So with the benefits who needs a magic bullet? I don’t. I have running water, toilets, electricity, frozen ice cream, tillers, jeeps and Social Media.

Connect: Touch the Worlds and Lives of Others

An advocate by definition has nothing to gain from the advancement of a cause, practice and/or belief. However, when your job and/or lively-hood and reputation is on the line then it is not as easy to be a consultant, coach, thought leader and/or innovator. Or is it?

I assert that indeed one is no different than the other, because we never know for sure how one action will lead to another or cause a demand. Never mind the fact that when you are passionate about something, it drives you and you want to share it with anyone and everyone that might listen. Some may call you crazy, tell you it’s a bunch of fanciful ideas and some will never understand. But do you allow that to stop you?

No.

Today, May 4, 2011 I sat in on the SKC Webinar: AVAYA Social Media Manager. Molly Denton, mollydenton@avaya.com and Jeff Holton, jeff.holton@skccom.com where the co-hosts and the information that they offered was both accurate and useful. They talked about Social Media and Customer Service, Supporting Customers using Social Media, Creating the Business Case, gave Reporting and Administrative Examples and offered a Social Media Management Demo. They addressed the questions of which channels of social media to utilize, how to measure social media success, how to leverage social media, how to integrate contacts and how to improve outbound performance.

Of course, the ultimate objective is to Engage Continuously. But the real question is HOW?

We all know that you have to Listen, Share and Engage, but HOW?

The answer that Molly and Jeff offered is to determine your reach and interaction within the framework of a strategy.

But again HOW?

Let me get back to that.

Molly and Jeff talked about blogs, microblogs, media sharing, video streaming, social networks, forums, virtual worlds and multi-player games as the different types of social media. Molly said that if Facebook where a country it would be the fourth largest in the world. She went on to compare traditional media to social media.

Then Molly and Jeff got to the HOW: Do a social assessment, form a social strategy, construct your social roadmap and then adopt and collaborate.

Molly and Jeff, I enjoyed your presentation and the information that you shared. The AVAYA Social Media Manager seems like it would be a GREAT product for a medium-to-large company that seeks to have someone else manage their social media.

All that being said I, Annie Sells, am going to continue to do what I am passionate about and that is to teach the little ladies and gentlemen (small business owners and individuals alike) how to utilize social media tools and applications to connect authentically with the people within their world. Because once we know where we are, know where we want to go, form a plan for how to get there, begin the work and work together authentically connected, we may fail, but we might just get there.

Either way we will touch the worlds and lives of others and that is what it is all about!

Practice Makes Perfect – So (Re)Write, (Re)Connect & Share!

Recycle, Reuse and Reduce (Waste)

Recycle, Reuse (Content) and Reduce

Practice Makes Perfect – So Write, Connect & Share!.

Have you ever written an article, a review, a story or a blog and realized later that you didn’t do all that you could  to show it in it’s best light or didn’t share it with the right audience?

PowerPonit Presentations are (more) often (than not) recycled, reused and (time waste) is reduce(d). If in our middle school, high school, college and office jobs we don’t think twice about reusing content, then why is reusing content online, in our marketing and even our networking so uncommon?

I do believe there is nothing new under the sun.  But marketing and branding are about recycling and reusing the same old things from under the sun in a new way, with a different ray of light upon them to convey a different meaning or to get a different point across.

I challenge you to take out your old files, your old stories, you old content, you old blog posts, your anything and re-tool it!

You might not!  But if you do…

Cheers,

Ms. Annie Sells

A Special Thanks to @IngridElfver

I had to stop myself twice today, because people that I hardly know put forth the effort and took the time out of their day to compliment me and I am embarrassed to admit that both times instead of stopping, looking the person in the eye, smiling and sincerely thanking them for their kindness,

(head hung low)

1) I said a quick thanks and went on about my day and 2) I asked them why they were generous with their compliments toward me.

I wasn’t born yesterday.

I was taught good manners.

I don’t tolerate similar behavior out of my son, my adopted children or even guests in my home.

So why did I spend all day being respectful and thankful to my colleagues and then behave so poorly in my personal life?

Perhaps it is the same reason that we sleep in the day of our big interview, schedule appointments with other professionals and stand them up, or forget about important family holidays until the very last minute, or cower out of attending that funeral.

Do you know the reason?

Have you guessed?

We are all human.

All we have are the days of our lives and the people that we share them with. But we cannot be in more than one place at a time (even with social media and other marvelous forms of technology) and we cannot be everything we want to everyone we desire. However, we can stop and take inventory from time-to-time and attempt to make right the things we have done wrong, insincere thanks among them.

Therefore, unnamed day-care lady who comes to work daily and deals with mine and dozens of other children without thanks, thank you very much! Thank you for taking care of mine and others’ children and thank you for saying that you like my shirt and like the colors!

Also, a special thank you to @IngridElfver! Back at you: You are SIMPLY AMAZING! WOW!!

Who would question the Coach's Coach?

“Entrepreneurship at the Next Level” on April 7th – 8th, 2011

Map of Arkansas highlighting Greene County
Image via Wikipedia

Press Release

Paragould, AR: Entrepreneurs, economic development leaders, and entrepreneurship educators from across  the state of Arkansas will have the opportunity to hear from experts at a two day conference on April 7th and 8th, 2011.

“Entrepreneurship at the Next Level,” hosted by the Arkansas Association of Two-Year College’s Entrepreneurship Training Consortium and Black River Technical College, Paragould Campus in partnership with Winrock International and Innovate Arkansas, will be held at the Greene County Industrial Training Center located on Black River Technical College’s campus in Paragould.

This two-day entrepreneurship conference features Sherese Duncan, President and CEO of Effició Inc., an accomplished entrepreneur who received a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. She is involved in a variety of industry-related organizations including becoming a SCORE Counselor in 2006, implementing Training Programs for Community Colleges and Universities, and is active in various associations, groups, and trade organizations.  Duncan’s signature company programs include SWIFT™, GROWTH™, and the proven system Getting to the CORE of Business®, which provides the tools small businesses need to create perpetual profitable businesses. Duncan will present a sampling of Effició Inc.’s modular Non-Credit or For-Credit curriculum in an effort to allow colleges, chambers of commerce,  and area economic development leaders to consider offering the program(s) to local small businesses ready to take their business to the next level.

Other guest speakers include Matt Hampton of MH Marketing in Little Rock, a successful serial entrepreneur since his youth, who will speak on youth entrepreneurship and innovation programs, Dr. Tim Cornelius of NorthWest Arkansas Community College, who will share his Denmark Entrepreneurship benchmarking tour, Michael Marshall who will present a Delta Regional Authority Grant opportunity, Steve Sparks and Pat Nunn Brown of the AEDC Small and Minority Business Development Division, Dr. Ed Franklin, Executive Director of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges, Charles Fullen of alt.Consulting and Vicki Malpass of Innovate Arkansas and Winrock International.

The  Speaker of the House, the Honorable Robert Moore, has also been invited to speak on Thursday April 7th, 2011, about his support for rural and statewide entrepreneurial development.

The AATYC Entrepreneurship Training Consortium combines the efforts of two-year colleges to foster economic development through entrepreneurship education.  Ten of the AATYC Entrepreneurship Consortium colleges have collaborated to deliver the same seven courses with common curriculum, textbooks and faculty over the past 2.5 years. Each course counts towards a Technical Certificate in Business and/or a two-year Business AA Degree.  The 10 partnered two-year colleges are Arkansas State University-Beebe, East Arkansas Community College, North Arkansas College, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, Ouachita Technical College, Pulaski Technical College, Southern Arkansas University Tech, South Arkansas Community College, Southeast Arkansas College, and the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. At least 4-6 other colleges including BRTC offer Non-Credit training, Cossatot CC of the UA has embedded entrepreneurship skills into all of the technical skills Career Pathways programs, and others at this event will all report-out on their current status and needs to progress. We predict that members of the AATYC/Arkansas Chamber of Commerce/AIA statewide Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee will also be in attendance to participate.

The registration fee for this two day event is $60.00 and includes donuts, fruit and coffee for breakfast, beverages, with hot buffet lunches both days and many networking opportunities. Registration for this event is required by March 25th , 2011 . Please email annie.aatyc@cox-internet.com for a registration form. For more information please call (479) 424-0071.

Hollywood Stars Pizza

Hollywood Stars Pizza, if you haven’t been there yet, you simply must go check it out!

October 7, 2010 Annie Sells went to Hollywood Stars Pizza for lunch to discuss TeamRVBN and it’s next monthly meeting and to visit the handsome and kind owner James Hood.

Now if you follow my work, then you know one of the articles that I wrote for Examiner.com was about an unfortunate incident at Hollywood Stars Pizza, where James locked his keys to everything away and was unable to get into his restaurant or car.  He gave me the full scope and agreed to offer a discount to anyone that came in and called him an idiot!

James has people coming in calling him an idiot.  See writing is an honorable way to help your friends.  Never-the-less he treated me to a one hour viewing of Iron Man 2 and free all I could eat pizza and salad bar.  Now that is service!

Check out his website.  I really like the Chicken Alfredo pizza and one-of-a-kind chocolate pizza for desert.

Thanks James!