Welcome Message

"Relationship building is the key difference between social media marketing and more traditional marketing forms. Social media is personal."

Chatting Up Social Media #SocialChat 1-24-2010


Posted on : 6:47 PM | By : Michelle Stinson Ross

The inaugural session of #SocialChat was an interesting mix of the fun, thought provoking, and sometimes downright silly.  Even so, when you get minds like these together, nuggets of gold will always be uncovered.  Enjoy the summary of the January 24th session of #SocialChat.

Guest: Alan K’necht – Founding Partner at Digital Always Media Inc., SEO/SEM & Web Analytics Consultant at K'nechtology Inc., Co-author of “The Last Original Idea: A Cynic’s View of Internet Marketing.”

Most active contributors: @SocialMichelleR @aknecht, @pcmguy, @aimclear, @AlanBleiweiss.

Twitter and Social Media are really nothing new.  Actually, Social Media is just a technologically aided social gathering place.

Twitter = going back in time to: AOL discussion groups, Usnet discussion groups, IRC & checkerboard at corner store...

Twitter can even be equated to the campfires of primitive man where they discussed tips on how to use rocks to kill animals.  But any other meeting place will do, the barber shop, beauty parlor anywhere like minded people swap ideas.

So, if Twitter is really nothing new... What about using it for marketing?

Twitter makes it easy for brands to listen in on social conversations.  Smart brands were doing this in the 80s with Usenet groups.

Here’s an example for you:  In the late ‘80s, Snapple monitored a Usenet group on Snapple flavors to see what people thought of new flavors as they were introduced.  If the group discussions revealed that the flavor wasn’t working, Snapple discontinued and tried another one.  This was very cutting-edge for Snapple, but people have always talked about how they like or dislike products and brands.  The difference now is the audience size of any given conversation.

Many companies already have filters running on specific keywords to monitor what people are saying about them.  Thanks to Twitter, there are more conversations between more people to mine.  If you’re not monitoring your brand and your name, our asking for trouble.  That’s why a whole industry has begun to grow up around Reputation Management.

But lurking isn’t the solution.  It’s only by joining the conversation that anyone can get the most value out of Social Media involvement.  Businesses are only now beginning to understand that people are already talking, and it’s in their best interest to be actively involved in the conversation.

The innovation with Social Media is the potential reach and size of audience, and the SPEED at which a message can travel.

Social Media allows us to communicate without regard for time zones and geography.

In the past, you might talk to 12 people around the water cooler at work through the course of the day, now you can talk to the entire company AND all of your personal friends outside of work in seconds.

Personal networks are as old as business itself.  “It’s not what you know, but who you know…”  The difference is, now, keeping in touch is not limited to a face-to-face conversation or a phone call.  Large personal networks facilitated by current technology are worth leveraging.

Social Media has plenty of drawbacks to our personal lives, too.  There will always be a struggle for balance.

We seem to get so hooked on the hot new shiny thing that we forget the other people in the room with us.  Sometimes the lightening fast mobile devices are both bane and blessing.

Many of us had to admit being guilty of not being able to turn off the temptation to check the chiming Smartphone while driving.  Twitter pings and Client Google Alters seemed to be things we could not let wait until later.

Use of Social Media on mobile devices has become so pervasive that ¼ of Americans will actually admit to tweeting while in the loo.  There’s even a percentage that admit they would stop in the middle of lovemaking to check a message.

Current technology has so affected when and where we CAN communicate, that we need to stop and consider whether or not we SHOULD stop what we are doing to tap something into that little device.

Not only does Social Media require some personal responsibility on how and when we use it, but we also need to be responsible communicators within the Social Media sphere.

Number 1 Twitter pet peeve: The auto DM.  Auto Direct Messages thanking someone for a follow are tantamount to a telemarketing call to thank you for looking in the store window.  Not only is it intrusive, but also, the fact that it’s auto generated with zero thought about whom it is being sent to is like kryptonite for engagement.  Alan Bleiweiss got the whole group’s attention when he commented that he blocks all automated DMs.  Just how to do that was of high interest.  So, even as marketers, we don’t want to see useless impersonal spam on our twitter accounts.  It will take a major shift in thinking to get businesses accustomed to broadcasting their marketing messages to start engaging in real one-on-one conversations with the general public, and resist the urge to spam.

On Monday, January 31,  #SocialChat will be an open forum on the general topic of proper Social Media etiquette for business and transparency within social circles.

Michelle Stinson Ross is a Social Media Consultant, Blogger, and Published Author.  Her growing company specializes in Social Media Marketing for small business, and focuses on helping clients to become savvy and self-reliant.

Everything New Is Old Again


This blog post can be found in it's entirety at firestartersocialmedia.com


#BlueGlassFL In Review: Guest Post for aimClear Blog


Posted on : 4:29 PM | By : Michelle Stinson Ross

Excerpt from article in the aimClear Blog
Posted by Michelle Stinson Ross on November 8th 2010

From the moment the first attendees arrived at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, it was plain to see that #BlueGlassFL was a different kind of industry event. The atmosphere was more reminiscent of an ultra-hip class reunion than a button-down business conference… and the distinct sense of an open & welcoming community permeated every session, making the jam-packed two day conference as rewarding as it was memorable.

For the aimClear crew, it was two days of learning, live-tweeting, blogging, presenting & hanging out with industry friends, new and old, under the southern sun of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Our synopsis of #BlueGlassFL, key session takeaways and links to comprehensive coverage can be found at #BlueGlassFL In Review: Hot Conference Takeaways

#BlueGlassFL, Social Media, and Making Connections


Never doubt the power and value of the relationships in life and business. Case in point, thanks in part to a series of serendipitous connections I decided to attend the BlueGlass FL conference.

This strange series of events started quite some time ago. My mother-in-law was visiting us from Oklahoma, and she had never been to Key West. So, we packed up the whole family and went on a little road trip for the day. At dinner time I hopped on my personal Twitter account on my iPhone to comment on how much I enjoyed my afternoon in Key West and hoped to return soon for a longer visit. A few minutes later a response came back from a complete stranger that I should consider staying longer than a weekend. I love a good conversation, so I responded back. That initial contact led to adding a tourist company in Key West as a social media client.

What does this have to do with BlueGlass? Hold on, I’m getting to that.

As part of my service to that particular company, I was tracking tweets mentioning Key West. Anything that looked like someone visiting on vacation, I sent a friendly reply. One person in particular mentioned that he was putting in some work time while in Key West. Well, I HAD to respond to that! It’s Key West, after all. The very nice gentleman on the other end appreciated my comment and asked if I knew of any good places on the island for dinner. I was happy to oblige. By the time I’d sent him and his family on a jet ski tour around the island, we had become friends.

That friend was the President of aimClear, Mr. Marty Weintraub. Just goes to show that when you extend the hand of friendship, you always wind up in a winning situation. Mr. Weintraub started following my various social media accounts and became interested in what was being accomplished.

On Nov. 2 & 3 I will be joining aimClear's Manny Rivas at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to provide live tweet and blog coverage of BlueGlass FL for the aimClear Blog. El Presidente, Marty Weintraub, will also be present to speak on Nov. 3rd in a session titled, "Advanced PPC Tactics : Styling & Profiling!" The conference promises to be a blast with tons of great information and networking opportunities.

This is exactly why I’m so plugged-in to Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, and social media in general. I LOVE what I do. Every day is a new opportunity to reach out and make connections with all kinds of people from around the world. So, live your life with arms wide open and never fail to be a friend.

Life IS a Journey


Posted on : 9:57 PM | By : Michelle Stinson Ross | In :

Sure, I know we've all heard that one.  But I do think it's all about how you take it.  Are you going to be the type to grumble your way through life, impatiently asking, "Are we there yet," until you take your last breath and arrive THERE, the end of the mortal journey? Or, will you slow down long enough to take in all the sights, sounds, and smells along the way, maybe even pause to converse with the people you meet along the way?

Now I'm no different than most people.  I have my days when I really want to blurt out, "Are we there yet??!!!" because for some reason I or someone close to me has yet to learn a simple life lesson.  And, then, I have my days when I really enjoy putting one foot in front of the other just to see where the sidewalk goes.

At this moment in time I have my mom to join me on the journey for a few days.  No matter what the weather, we are going to Key West to see whatever there may be to see.  I intend to take lots of pictures and soak up every experience I can.  I plan to turn the next couple of days into a couple of amazing chapters in the novel I'm currently writing.

Where is the journey taking you over the next few days?  Are you going to blaze through it and hope it's over soon, or are you going to take the moment to really live?

Yes, Life IS a journey.  Let's live it up!