My friend Tim (who introduced me to Twitter 2 years ago) jokingly commented that my last posting on my social media competition was way more than 140 characters and thus it was entirely too long for our overworked minds to read.
“Great link, but now you’re making me read more than 140 characters… grrrr.”
I decided to try to see if I could shorten the post enough to still be able to prove my point, but just in a shorter format.
Should you trust Social Media “Experts” who has only been on FB/TW for a few months? No! (88 characters)
Social Media is about adapting quickly, being honest and most importantly – about COMMITMENT and PASSION. Newbies may not know this yet. (137 characters)
Social Media is a tool that takes time, so why trust those jumping on the Social Media Marketing bandwagon & claiming to be “experts” (135 characters)
I just stumbled upon a great social media white paper. The 26 page pdf SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING INDUSTRY REPORT: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow is written by Michael A. Stelzer of Writing White Papers. The report surveyed over 700 social media marketers, asking them open ended questions about the industry. If you don’t want to read the entire thing, go here to watch a video that explains some of the highlights. After reading all 26 pages, I do have to say that I am concerned.
I have been told time and time again that the niche service I provide is a much needed one in Sonoma County (and the marketing industry as a whole) and that I need to help bring the Wine Country into the Web 2.0 world. With so many “Social Media Consultants, Guru’s and Marketers” that follow me online, I figured that maybe some of them might actually have some experience with the subject matter that they claim to be an expert on. According to the report, I may be wrong.
The report justified my own personal commitment to social media and gave me a better understanding of what I should expect (or not expect) from my competition (aka those social media marketers that claim to know it all). I have been using social media for years and my time spent on my iphone or on my laptop is almost embarrassingly high. Honestly, ask my friends and they all will tell you I need to have my iphone within an arm’s length at all time. A debate on if this is healthy or not is another subject. Apparently (a positive and a negative for me), my competition isn’t as dedicated and knowledgeable on the subject as I am. Here, I do want to state, that I know not all new social media people can be put into this stereotype and I am sure their are many respectable social media newbies out there. Right now it seems like social media marketing is the hottest trend and everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon.
Some highlights of the report include:
“When asked to rate their experience using social media marketing for their businesses, a significant 72% of marketers have either just started or have been using social media for only a few months. ” What?? I know the industry is relatively new, but a few months, come on!
“There is a direct relationship between how long marketers have been using social media and their weekly time commitment. For people just beginning with social media, the median weekly time commitment was two hours per week. However, for folks who have been doing this for a few months, the median jumped to 10 hours a week. And for people who have been doing this for years, their median is 20+ hours each week.” The longer you have been involved with social media, the more you understand that it does take a lot of time… You also know it pays off.
“The longer you invest, the greater return you are gonna get”
- Michael Stelzer
So, to conclude, I will never claim to know all the answers. That isn’t what social media is about. It is about trial and error…. It is about being able to adapt and react quickly, it is about being honest with your consumers and most important it is about COMMITMENT and PASSION . I am happy to report that I can proudly say I am capable of all of this…. Can a social media guru who just started truly say that?
Thursday, April 2nd is Wine 2.0‘s latest San Fransisco event held at the Crushpad. After months of hearing amazing tweets about happenings at this venue, I finally get to go! If you haven’t heard about Wine 2.0, it is a wine social network/event planning company that is looking to bring the wine world into the 2.0 world….
In an interview done by Winterviews, Cornelius Geary, Wine 2.0′s CEO sums up what many of us wine bloggers already know:
“That direct connection with the consumer and the potential sale it holds, I believe, is the number one priority for wine brands in the U.S.”
This article from Media Post News says it all:
Earlier this month, Denny’s gave away more than 2 million Grand Slam Breakfasts in one day with the help of a Super Bowl commercial and online chatter.
This week, Quiznos gave away a million subs in three days after using only banner ads, Facebook and Twitter presence and some free local radio exposure.
Denny’s may have been investing in brand awareness, but as the Quiznos promotion demonstrated, with consumers looking to save every penny they can, you probably don’t need the Super Bowl part to drive a freebie.
Another current example of using a giveaway and online chatter to drive restaurant traffic: International House of Pancakes just completed its third annual National Pancake Day on Tuesday, in which it gives away a small stack of pancakes and in return asks customers to consider donating to the Children’s Miracle Network or a local charity.
IHOP, which has raised nearly $2 million for charities since starting the day in 2006, relied on a dedicated Web site with a “tell a friend” pass-along application, its normal presence on key social networks and some PR to drive awareness and traffic.
The result? IHOP has not finished tallying, but the chain was shooting for $1 million and believes that this year was its best in terms of awareness, traffic and donations, according to spokesperson Patrick Lenow. “The word-of-mouth generated through social networks was just incredible,” he says.
And that’s just this month’s roster of freebie-based promotions designed to draw in new diners, get existing customers to visit more frequently and pick up some revenue from the beverages and other purchases that usually accompany the freebie.
“Social networking and restaurants are a logical match,” says Reggie Bradford, CEO of social media marketing consultancy Vitrue. “Food is naturally social,” he points out. “Where do you want to eat? Do you want to grab something here? This is translating to online conversations around restaurant brands. We’ve seen tremendous adoption of social media strategies among QSRs and fast-casual restaurants.”
Combine social media with freebies, and you’ve got marketing dynamite. “Giving away food in these uncertain economic times obviously resonates strongly with consumers,” Bradford says. “Huge gains are being made by brands who are reaching out to consumers with something tangible. IHOP deserves kudos for taking it important steps further by giving back to the community and forging loyalty along the way.”
The lift in online buzz has been significant for all of these promotions, based on Vitrue’s Social Media Index, which measures online conversations about a brand in social networks, blogs and Twitter.
Denny’s SMI score more than doubled (from 22 to 45.6) after its commercial and meal giveaway. Quiznos’ jumped from 12.4 on the first day of the promotion to 16.1 three days later, or by 30%. IHOP’s score was 36.9 on Jan. 1 and 73.9 on Feb. 25, the day after Pancake Day–a 99% gain.
IHOP and other brands could benefit from more compelling Facebook pages, perhaps incorporating surveys, polling and a restaurant locator, Bradford says. Providing franchisees with the tools to tap their online social circles to market local events is another opportunity, as is capturing event RSVPs to go back to individuals with coupons and other loyalty-building offers, he adds.
March 2, 2009 | Categories: "customer service", "Sonoma County", Internet Marketing, Social Networking, Websites | Tags: "Sonoma County", Internet Marketing, online strategy, Restaurant, Social Media | Leave A Comment »
Some great quotes from the one person I can truly call a Marketing Guru, Seth Godin.
“Social Networking that matters is helping people archive their goals. Doing it reliably and repeatability so that over time people have an interest in helping you achieve your goals” (You can do it both online and office).
“What I don’t like online is the superficial networking. It doesn’t count for anything” (I can say the same thing for real world networking, sitting in a room of people who are just waiting for their turn to speak without really listening or caring what you have to say).
February 24, 2009 | Categories: "Sonoma County", Internet Marketing, Social Networking, Video, Viral | Tags: goals, quotes, Real world Marketing, seth godin, Social Marketing, Social Media, web 2.0 | Leave A Comment »
Do: listen, be transparent about your intentions, “Give to Get” and have a plan.
Don’t: Be fake, interruptive and focus only on short term sales.
More great tips on Social Media on Online Marketing Blog.
I was just recently asked by a winemaker friend of mine if I have any marketing agency recommendations for him. After he told me he was looking for an agency to create a print ad, my first question to him was why he wanted an agency to do this for him when it would be much cheaper and faster to hire a freelance graphic artist to create an amazing print ad for him.
His reaction to my question was that he hadn’t thought about that and he wasn’t sure how to go about finding the right person to help him out.
This comment got me thinking about local photographer/creative director/social elite Todd Brilliant’s new project the Creative Job Agency and the large number of freelance creative people I know around the area.
The CREATIVE JOB AGENCY will position itself as “LinkedIn for Creatives,” only with a real-world social element that will help form and cement critical professional relationships.
What is great about this “agency” is that it allows like-minded creative people to network, online and offline to discuss work opportunities and possible collaborations. It is a great opportunity to meet freelancers and build up your list of recommended graphic artists, website developers, pr people, etc. What it doesn’t do is get the word out to other, non-creative businesses and people who might be looking for our services. That is up to us.
My current side business (still in initial start up phase) is social media and public relations focused, which is not a discipline that local businesses usually think to use when budgeting their marketing dollars. This means it is up to me to get out into the community to let them know that I am available to help them cheaply market their brands online. I currently am doing this by networking with business owners and other creative people, linking businesses that might not need my services with other freelance people that can currently help them.
Other reasons a freelance PR/Marketing/Website person might be the best answer for you*
- Price - Freelancers do not have the same overhead as agencies, which means it costs less for them to create
- Attention – More personal attention because they have less clients
- Localized services – Help keep freelancers in business and they will continue to live in Sonoma County and help out the economy instead of moving away to work at agencies in the big cities
- Talent -The lack of work in agencies means that talented people (like me) are doing more side work
So before you go looking for a Sonoma County agency, ask yourself if you know anyone who might know a freelancer that could help you out.
*Sorry to agencies I have previously had worked for or will work for in the future. I am not discounting the work that any Agency does, but during economic hardships, I think that freelance work is the better choice, especially for smaller businesses.
February 20, 2009 | Categories: "Sonoma County", Branding, me, Social Networking, Viral | Tags: "Santa Rosa", "Sonoma County", Creative Job Agency, Freelance, Internet Marketing, Shana Ray, Social Media | Leave A Comment »
Yesterday two more stories were in the Press Democrat about Sonoma County businesses laying off people and cutting back on production. Agilent Technologies and one of my favorite food brands, Amy’s Kitchen, both have been hit hard by the recession. Both companies say they are cautiously optimistic about the future. This got me thinking that it may be hard to stay optimistic when reading these articles (and the many others), but if you look at this era as an opportunity, then you can be optimistic about the future.
Even though hard working people are being laid off every single day, the downtime allows people to assess their situation and do something about it. As Scott Ginsberg, motivational speaker and business blogger says in a recent article titled How to Dance in the Rain of Our Current Economic Storm:
Take advantage of your downtime to accomplish projects and activities you wouldn’t be able to do if you were booked solid. With this approach, you’ll probably end up accomplishing more than ever…
In tough times, one still has to believe that hard work, dedication, creativity and persistence will (hopefully) prevail. I am lucky to have inspiration from my father who owns a carpet store in Santa Rosa. Many other carpet stores are closing down because of lack of sales, but my dad has managed to not only stay afloat, he is actually still doing relatively well. When this recession ends and consumers start having more confidence to start buying products, he will be the one they will buy carpet from because he will still be around.
Will your business be around at to see the rainbow at the end of the storm? What? Too cheesy? How about will your business stay afloat after the hurricane?
One thing that Sonoma County businesses can do to help make sure that they stay afloat is to invest in Social Media Marketing. An unfortunate trend I am seeing at both the national and local level is that brands are cutting back on most or all of their marketing budgets to save some money. This is fine, if you want your competition to hog the spotlight and take away your business. But, if you want to stay relevant and keep your brand on top of mind when consumers do get their purchasing confidence back, then you need to keep on reminding them that you are still here.
Top Reasons Sonoma County businesses should use Social Media Marketing to publicize their brand online:
- It is cost effective
- It provides national coverage (especially great in such a touristy place such as this)
- It can improve SEO rankings and website traffic
- You can be responsive to negative comments (as well as thank those with positive comments)
- It also provides the opportunity to connect with other members of your community
Chris Brogan, Social Media guru has an awesome post back in October of 2008 on using social media to help you get through the economic downturn.
New Media Type, a Web 2.0 blog explains that Social Media Marketing is sometimes the first to be cut because of the unknown but that it shouldn’t be.
February 19, 2009 | Categories: "Sonoma County", Social Networking, Viral | Tags: "Marketing on a budget", "Santa Rosa", "Sonoma County", CA, Internet Marketing, Local Business, Social Media, Surviving the economy | Leave A Comment »
“Over 275 wineries, 400 wines, countless other food and wine specialists and 10,000 attendees will be participating”
Judging from what I saw from my bird’s eye view of only one half of the event, I believe it. As I was taking my pictures one person noted that this year is one of the ZAP event’s slower years.
No matter the amount of people, I know I was extremely thankful to be there. Being a Sonoma County girl, I know the power that the Zin (especially Dry Creek Valley) has on people. Even though it is still my second favorite varietal, it is still a great wine to drink on it’s own or paired with great hearty food — Great for the Winter time.
The reason I was able to enjoy this grand tasting was because of Lisa of Hahn Wine Estates aka WineDiverGirl who introduced me to the “Bloggers Lounge” organizer, Wine 2.0. An online company and social network dedicated to social media and events in the wine world. Wine 2.0 allowed us bloggers to come to the Grand Tasting and enjoy the free wifi, networking opportunities and to have a place to sit back and gather our thoughts of the event.
The wineries were split up into two different rooms based in alphabetical order. I stayed in the I though Z room for the most part, highly concentrated on the T section.
The reason: Truett Hurst Winery, their three zinfandel’s, one pinot noir, one petite sirah, owner Phil Hurst and General Manager Jim Morris. The Zins were a perfect balance of being bold without over powering the taste buds and the company was one of the most welcoming, friendly and humorous out of all wineries there. It doesn’t hurt that they happened to be the only winery there that was on Twitter (please comment if I am wrong) – and we (Ashley, Ward and I) are all Twitter obsessed.
I sent this image to Twitter of us three with Jim.
An image I sent to Twitter saying that Truett Hurst “gets” Social Media: Truett Hurst is Everywhere.
Without naming names, I will say that some of the wineries that were there were semi to extremely close minded to the thought of social media. Visiting as many wineries as I could, I talked to many of them about what they were doing online to promote their brand. Most of the response to my question was “What is Twitter?” or “I do not know how to start” or “No, we don’t believe in that.” Needless to say, I took all their business cards and have sent an email letting them know I would love to speak to them more about the power of social media for brands.
“Most wineries don’t even blog, let alone do any social networking”
It reminds me of a past wine client and their CEO who thought that the internet was not where their customers where… This was a year ago…. So much has changed, yet so much remains the same.
I am just thankful to be in the presence of innovators such as the folks at Wine 2.0, fellow wine bloggers who I now call my friends and wineries such as Truett Hurst.
February 5, 2009 | Categories: "Sonoma County", Internet Marketing, Social Networking, Twitter, wine | Tags: "Sonoma County", "Truett Hurst", DRXENO, Grand Zinfandel Tasting, Social Media, The Beer Wench, Wine 2.0, Wine Country, ZAP | 5 Comments »
From a PR standpoint, Twitter is great for starting conversations with key influencers in any industry. It is an easy way to make friends and get your message across. But it is also an easy tool to shoot yourself in your own foot if used improperly.
Case in point: A Vice President at one of the largest PR firm’s in the United States was visiting one of their largest clients in Memphis, Tennessee. After landing in Memphis, he tweeted:
“True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say, ‘I would die if I had to live here.”
The large client saw the tweet and, needless to say, was not pleases that this VP was trashing the city that they are headquartered in. For more, please read Former CBS News Correspondent David Henderson’s article on the subject.
This foot in mouth scenario is a great reminder that what happens on the internet, does in fact, stay on the internet. And is available for all to read.
The irony of this is that the VP was headed over to visit the client to discuss Social Media strategy. I think he needs to take a spoonful of his own advice. Using Social Media for a brand is all about creating relationships and building content that will help your brand. He was a part of the brand for his agency and rule #1 in Marketing: Do not bite the hand that feeds you.
I know that not all of my tweets are all about work related issues and I cannot judge anyone for making a comment without thinking. We are all human. But it has definitely got me thinking about my online persona and what I say online.
This past Tuesday I ventured to San Fran to make a stop at social media camp, a conference much like cupcake camp or bar camp and I learned a few things:
1. “Wanna be successful, make people around you successful.” This quote struck a cord deep down in me when I heard it in Erica O’Grady’s opening speech. It is from the book Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz. It is so obvious, yet so powerful. Working in marketing, the first rule is that if your client is not making money then you won’t keep the business for long. In my new position as the social marketing and promotions manager for Healdsburg Magazine, my job is to care about bringing more money to local businesses and the Healdsburg community/economy as a hole. I recently learned that many small family owned wineries in the area are already on the Open Wine Consortium (social network for people in the wine industry). This proves that they know that the web is a great vehicle to get their voice across, now I want to help them get heard through multiple other social media sites, thus making them more successful (and in turn, making me more successful of course).
2. Sex still sells! At the Half Baked activity, the room was split into 3 teams, my team constituted of a few people, including Tilly from Yahoo. The idea of Half Baked is to spilt into teams, pick two “buzz” words from a list that the crowd yelled out and then to create a website (with name, tagline, revenue model and marketing plan) in 10 minutes. Our team chose AtomicPimp.com, a subscription based dating site where people pay to be “pimped” out to find dates. A percentage of the profits go to “pimps”, who set people up on dates. Pimps can promote themselves through various social networking, blah, blah, blah…. Anyways, our team won tickets to the Summer Mash SF party at the Mighty… All because sex sells (oh, yeah, and our idea kicked ass).
3. Twitter is one of the biggest social networks out there, yet it is still only known by other fellow web geeks. In the beginning of the camp, we all went around saying our names, three “tags” (mine: Healdsburg, tourism and live events) and our favorite Social Media site (Hi my name is Shana and I am a Twitter-holic). Almost everyone in the room said Twitter as well. I must say there is definitely something in communicating in 140 characters or less.
4. Geek guys are hot (It is the glasses). That is all.
5. Just be honest and write about what you know, if it is interesting, people will read (just don’t constantly spam your friends with your blog URL *oops).
6. Social Media Marketing takes time. You have to build relationships, as well as maintain them. Old Media talked TO people, not with them.
7. Basic Online necessities:
1. Create a blog— WordPress is my personal favorite
2. Twitter — Start following people and have something to say
3. Facebook — It isn’t just there so you can poke old high school friends, FB has allowed me to connect with business owners, wineries and journalists in the area. It works.
4. Email — If people email you, make sure to follow up!
July 17, 2008 | Categories: "Sonoma County", Healdsburg, Social Networking, Twitter, Viral | Tags: "BarCamp", "Social Media Camp", Business, Healdsburg Magazine, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter | Leave A Comment »
It has been a little over a week since my life was completely changed. Yes, I got laid-off. It has been a huge blow to my money situation as well as my sometimes overly exaggerated ego, but thanks to the support of friends both at Hamilton Partners and around Healdsburg, I have come to terms with my first (and hopefully only) lay-off.
The reasoning is as straightforward yet complex as it sounds. People don’t print as much as they used to, thus they buy less ink. Yes, many more factors are involved, but it is pretty simple. It is cost effective, sustainable and smart to not print as much no matter who you are or what you print. A simple theory…. The complex part is that this trend has been going on for sometime, yet some have been so obsessed with trying to figure out HOW to get people to print more that they never took the time to look or ask WHY?
Thankfully, this set back has made me realize what is important in life and it isn’t sitting at my desk staring at the computer until I can barley see straight anymore.
Part of my new plan: I already promote different Healdsburg events such as parties, concerts, art openings, wine tastings, etc., so why not try to turn event promotions and planning into a career.
For Healdsburg Magazine, I will be contributing content about local events in and around Healdsburg, populating and promoting the What’s Happening calendar and promoting the site via different social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
As my last post described, Healdsburg Magazine is an Online New Media magazine that discusses real life in Healdsburg, including reviews of local restaurants, retail stores and wineries.
Please take a look, and let me know what you think at: