Influencing the Influencers: Webcast w/ Atkins & Author, Jill Griffin

You all know that I love to do webinars. Well, there’s a very cool one coming up next month on Thursday, November 12 (2 PM CT) with one of my friends (and sometimes podcast companion), Jill Griffin. Jill is a local Austinite and a three time author. Her main focus is customer loyalty. We’ll also be joined by client and social savant, Allen Silkin of Atkins Nutritionals.

You can get all the details on the sign up page but essentially, these are the five areas we’ll be covering:
  • Four ways to tell if a customer in your advocate
  • How to climb Advocacy Hierarchy
  • Why complainers must be managed and how to do it
  • 9 ways to minimize detractors and maximize advocates
  • How to get online communities spreading your good name

Three Worthy Causes/Events

As an individual, one of the things that comes with influence and reach is social responsibility. I’ve tried to use mine wisely although I probably could be accused of not doing enough of it. To that end, I’ve got a triple shot of social causes on my plate right now that I’d like you to consider supporting — either monetarily, via your social networks/blogs or through your time.

I know, I know… we get pounded a dozen times a day to support a variety of causes. And please understand that I’m not asking you to support all of these causes (although that wouldn’t suck if you did). Just to think about doing something little or big for any of the three. Here are the details:

Race for the Cure Tweetup (November 1)
This one comes courtesy of Simon Salt who will be participating in the 12th Annual Komen Austin Race for the Cure®. I hope to get down and walk with Simon but if not, you can bet that I’ll be sending some cash his way (and some tweets of support. I hope that you will join me.

To get involved, please consider registering as part of Simon’s team or through a donation. The money raised through the Race will fund vital education, screening and treatment programs for underserved women in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties and support the national search for the cures.

If you prefer, mail your donation today to:
Komen Austin P.O. Box 2164 Austin, TX 78768.
Please make your check payable to:
Susan G. Komen for the Cure and add “Simon Salt” in the memo

Austin Non Profit Camp (November 14)
Austin Non Profit Camp is a free, facilitated and participant driven conference that will be the place in Austin for non profits to learn and troubleshoot their technology problems in a supportive, collaborative setting. The event is being spearheaded by David J. Neff, Jon Lebkowsky, Maggie Duval and Matt Glazer. Their goal is to take the successful Bar Camp model and apply it to expand understanding and awareness of free and Open Source technology within the non-profit community in Central Texas.

How It Works
Non profits and technology folks come together to have conversations about the issues that they face in a no sales, no cost environment. They bring tech experts together with nonprofits in a context that will facilitate mutual understanding.

In addition to scheduled speakers, attendees will have the option to sign up to speak about issues and solutions they know best. [Note from Aaron – my goal is to drop by to run one of the unconference sessions]

Nonprofit attendees collaboratively problem solve issues they face with running and promoting their organizations, workshopping with local technologists about the latest and most effective technologies and methodologies. These conversations will help nonprofits filter what’s useful from what’s not and keep their organizations humming and on track.

Google Apps, Data Exchange/Salesforce, Google Grants, Social Media, Marketing, Cloud Computing, Email Marketing, Fundraising in Social Media, ZERO COST Infrastructure, ROI of The Cloud

Event Details 
Date: November 14th
Time: 10:00 a.m. – :00 p.m.
Location: ACC Eastview Campus
3401 Webberville Road

Register here

Movember (month of November)
What could be better than growing mustaches, a healthy competition and raising money for men’s health (and in particular, prostate/testicular cancer). Check out the Movember home page here. There are three ways you can help us out:

  1. Join our team and help us raise money.
  2. Donate to our team
  3. Pass the good word along about what we’re doing via tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts.

More details will unfold in a separate blog post but I’ll be joining forces with some of my Austin peeps Kyle Flaherty, Tim WalkerTim HaydenDavid Armano, Chris Carter, Doug Wick, Chris Anderson, David Neff, Wesley Faulkner, Tim Schmelter, Heather Strout and Simon Salt. Hopefully we’ll get Bryan Person, William HurleyPeter Kim along with some other Austin studs (and/or studettes) to battle with the boys in Boston.

Weekly Social Marketing Links: Week of 10/28

Cross-posted on Powered’s blog

Yup. It’s been a few week’s since we last posted our team’s weekly social marketing links. As some of you know, I try and do a weekly digest of the links that my team (marketing, sales and product) come up with for our recurring staff meeting. Unfortunately, (work) life just gets in the way sometimes. Here’s what we’ve got for this week:

Beth Lopez (Marketing)

Found How to Do Social Marketing in Heavily Regulated Industries to be an interesting read on how regulated industries such as Financial Services, Healthcare and Pharma should tap into social marketing and how best to do it. The thinking is that since social marketing is a “pull” technique and not a “push” technique (where traditional regulations apply), advertisers and marketers in regulated industries should focus on…wait for it…wait for it…listening to consumers on social networks to gather research and insight (doesn’t everyone say that these days?). The author also goes on to state that for pharma (look in comments), marketers should be thinking about conversations around the disease versus the actual drugs (which is where they can get into trouble). All in all, an interesting perspective.

DP Rabalais (Marketing)

This article from Adweek, The Revolution Will Be Mobile, talks about how the worldwide adoption of mobile phones (61% of the world’s population has access to a mobile phone) is influencing how marketers connect with consumers. Mobile Internet usage in the U.S. has more than doubled in barely two years, and mobile communities are emerging.

According to the article, “For a brand that would like to learn more about what its customers and potential customers want, social networks via mobile are the perfect platform with massive scale. The Japanese mobile community “Mobage Town,” for example, includes 12 million people. Anyone who wants to can listen in or join discussions, and anyone who wants to sell a product or service is enabled to do so.”

Bill Fanning (BizDev)

This week’s post was written by Francois Gossieaux titled, Why Brand Communities Don’t Exist. Notice he refers to “Brand” communities, not “Branded” communities. To be clear, when we say “Branded” communities we are referring to where the community is hosted (on the brands site as opposed to Facebook or other external communities) not to the Brand being the topic of the community.

Francois makes a very important point (one that we at Powered built a business on) that people don’t participate in branded communities simply because they like the brand and enjoy their products. They participate because they are passionate about the lifestyle associated with the brand. The community gives them a place to get valuable information, interact with other people with similar interests and engage with the company. He notes several examples like the communities hosted by Harley, Jeep, Mini Cooper and Fiskars….we could add several others as well.

Good post!

Doug Wick (BizDev)

[Okay, so Doug has been up to his eyeballs with RFP’s, contracts and keeping his blogging hat on. So I’m going to include his most recent post on Powered as his entree of the week…]

Almost anyone who knows anything about interfacing with customers or prospective customers through the Networks (Facebook, Twitter, et al.) will tell you that you should start by listening.

So most marketers’ first step is to set up a monitoring tool (maybe expensive, maybe as simple as a free keyword search on Twitter). Then, the first experience that almost every media marketer (or marketer, period) has after listening to the Networks for a bit is that the brand, product, or company they are representing will be mentioned. When this happens (“just bought a Honda at Carmax, great experience!”), it will make a positive and socially important impression on everyone who views it. This is exciting because it is essentially a free media placement, a nugget of gold dropped into people’s news or Twitter feeds that didn’t cost you anything! This type of mention is often called “earned media,” earned because your company created a great customer experience that made someone tell their friends.

Jay MacIntosh

The Tribalization of Business Study (2009) by Deloitte and Beeline Labs.

Disclaimer: I don’t understand why anyone would refer to a group of people sharing an interest as tribes. I’ve always thought of tribes, similar to the clans of my Scottish background, as having to do with ancestry (i.e. people who came before us like forefathers/mothers). Do we really need to “dress-up” social media to get more people to pay attention to the significance of the online social phenomena? I guess so…

Anyhow, this recently released study from Deloitte paints a broad picture of where companies are at with their adoption of social media. As suspected, backed up by the conversations I’ve had with over 50 such companies the past several months, I’d say they’re at the preadolescent stage. Characterized by – beginning to care somewhat about if/how they fit in, have a rough idea of some goals, more focused on the future, beginning to care about how their appearance, etc.

I won’t go into the details (which you’ll get in the 10 minutes it takes you to look through the 28 slides), but here are a couple of the most interesting findings:

  • It looks like only about 20% of these communities have members in the thousands.
  • Approximately 60% of their company’s oldest community have been in existence for less than 1 year.
  • Stated goals (i.e. what they want to achieve) and metrics (i.e. how they keep score) are out of whack.
  • 45% plan to increase their investment in social media and online communities while only 6% plan to decrease investment.

Don Sedota (Product)

Good perspectives by Jeremiah Owyang
on the Google/Twitter/Bing deal announced earlier last week. Basically Google and Bing will now start incorporating URL tweets/re-tweets and the influence/reach of corresponding tweeters into search rankings (i.e., consumers now have a direct impact on search rankings).

His key takeaways include:

  • Companies must focus even more on listening to make sure PR flare ups and the like on Twitter are quickly extinguished
  • It’s becoming increasingly important for companies offer easy social sharing (e.g., via Twitter) for site content. (Also of note is that Facebook will be offering public status updates to Bing so sharing via FB/FBC becomes more valuable to companies from a search results perspective)
  • Companies must continue to develop in-house influencers on Twitter in order to juice the search rankings of corresponding tweets (URLs)

How about you? Any good articles/posts/research to share? We’re always looking for fresh inspiration.

Quick-n-dirty Podcast Recap 20: With Guest Host, Cathy Brooks

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to try out a guest host on the Quick-n-Dirty podcast show. My usual partner-in-crime, Jennifer Leggio, was originally supposed to be on a plane during our normal Thursday time slot although her plans changed and she ultimately ended up sticking around. This led to some funny podcast-a-trois when we invited Jen to call into the show during the last 10 minutes.

In Jen’s place, Iwas lucky to have the talented and socially adept, Cathy Brooks, as my guest host and fortunately, she did not disappoint. Cathy and I had met a few times before in real life (SXSW and Jeff Pulver’s 140 Character Conference in NYC) so I had a pretty good sense of her style. To that end, Cathy’s wit and charm helped as we stuck to the shows regular format — and in this case, brought on TWO guests versus our normal one.

We kicked off the show with our usual “featured social network.” In this case, it was social travel site, Tripit, a site that I am a big fan of. As a side note, the folks from Tripit were doing a good job “listening” and reached out to me after the fact to ask if I might be interested in interviewing their co-founders. Suffice to say, you’ll be hearing more from the folks at Tripit in the not-to-distant-future.

Our special guestS (yes, two of them) were none other than Gradon Tripp and Meg Fowler, founders of Social Media for Social Change, a great organization that applies the best of the world of social to the non-profit world. Gradon and Meg not only talked about how their organization had raised a decent amount of cash for good causes but how they were also helping other non-profit organizations harness the power of social. If you haven’t checked out one of their events, keep an eye out for their next event in Miami Florida called @sm4scmiami.

The featured “Twitterer” of the week was Allstate’s Ben Foster. As I was talking about the reasons I liked Ben’s Twitter style — great mix of human and business — he chimed in on Twitter with this hilarious quote:

@aaronstrout Sweet! But now I feel pressure to have smart tweets and not things like Wolf Blitzer T-Shirts and Zombie Wedding Cakes :-)

And finally, we wrapped up with our traditional point / counterpoint… this time with a focus on social advertising. Of course Cathy and I couldn’t resist bringing Jennifer in for this portion of the show so we had a fast and furious three way dialogue about whether companies should or shouldn’t be advertising on places like Facebook. If you want to find out who chose which side, I guess you’ll just have to listen into the last 10 minutes of the show.

Check out other recaps of the Quick-n-Dirty podcast show either here on or on Jen’s ZDNet blog. We hope you’ll listen in live next week!