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Posts Tagged ‘online community’

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What?!? I mean really, I knew twitter was just about everywhere…at least in my wine/social media world.  You may even be sick of twitterati:  Bloggers, facebook-ers, and Web 2.0-ers, all tweeting.  Even my real estate agent is on twitter!  But just when I think the slope is leveling off there’s Biz Stone, one of twitter’s founders making an appearance on The Colbert Report and then there’s Dell:

Dell has landed $1 million of sales using Twitter. Even though that’s a fraction of Dell’s $61 billion in annual sales, it costs almost nothing, Binhammer said. Twitter also allows Dell to promote new products and help customers with technical problems, he said. (Article Link Here)

Now that’s some serious ROI.  We also saw the Wine 2.0 Tweet Stream last Thursday.  You can connect your twitter stream to your facebook as well as your blog. You can also connect your 12Seconds.tv to your twitter stream (twitpicing along the way).  And by the way, have you connected your Diggs to twitter (Twiggit) and do you get regular Tweetbeep notices?  Mr. Tweet will recommend new people to follow based on your tweet cloud/interests.  There’s another 20 applications here at TechCrunch with links and a brief description about their use, origin, etc.

So while you’re updating the best new toys for your twitterverse…don’t forget the most important aspect of participating…Tw-etiquette. Good manners.  Remembering that there is always a person at the other end of the tweetdeck, i-phone, Blackberry Storm, computer, whatever.

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So of course, @thebetsy said it better in fewer words…there may be understandable nuances to such guidelines on twitter.  So watch the community and take @thebetsy ‘s advice.  Would love to hear your thoughts, resources and input as well.  The Twitter Blog will keep you current on the rest.  And you can follow me @winedivergirl.

This was a public service announcement.  Our regularly scheduled programming will now resume.

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img00255-20090331-0904Last fall, I attended the New York Web 2.0 Expo.  You can tell from my blog and twitter stream then (September 2008) that that conference was wholly inspirational for me.  On multiple fronts, from the keynote speakers (we enjoyed Gary Vaynerchuk, Arianna Huffington and Ben Huh from ICanHasCheeseburger) to a fantastic series of workshops and sessions …and then there was the networking, and Wine 2.0 tasting, the tweeting, the blogging…you get the idea…value and inspiration.

So yes, from this side of the event, I can identify the value,  inspiration, excitement and content that has changed the way I do business, marketing, blogging and sales.  Now on the early side of a new conference and a full cup of coffee…it isn’t so easy to see the inspiration…all I got is anticipation.  And I’m wondering, though trusting, that the inspiration, excitement, etc. will come.  But that takes time.  And you could also probably say you get out what you put in to it.  Sifting through the details of the first session, Web Monitoring, requires…more coffee, and some critical thinking, focus and application of strategy.  In a snapshot cliche from the 80’s, “No Pain, No Gain.”

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I’m looking forward to all of it.  More coffee first, then content and connection, then cocktails.  This is where ideas gestate, then are able to take on a life of their own.  And you never know where you’ll find inspiration; but I can promise that Web 2.0 is definitely among the most fertile ground in this space.

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You can’t explain social media, twitter, networking or online connecting to someone who has never done it and expect them to get it.  It is an experience,  kinda like a Grateful Dead concert.  (Ok, that was a strange comparison, but still apt).

Fundamentally, these are the basic principals I’ve experienced while connecting online:

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  • Be there
  • Care about your community (an idea from Gary Vaynerchuk)
  • Selling CAN NOT be your priority.
  • Participate as a real, 3-D human.  That must be your priority.
  • Don’t BS or lie: You can be clear about who you represent, but please don’t make that the only reason you are there.

You can’t just show up and tweet or blog about something you have to sell.  Just like commericals on TiVo, we’ll fast forward through those and continue on with our conversations about wine, bacon, NPR, technology, Sonoma County chocolates, …you get the idea.  Join the conversation.

Care. So many options here.  Participate in the conversation, add something interesting, valuable, conversational.  Research your community: what do they care about? What do they talk about? Caveman Wines recently posted an elegantly simple reminder to people pitching to bloggers: know your audience!  That’s caring.  Humanitas Wines cares by giving back to communities where their wine is purchased.  That’s caring.  Forget about selling and invest your time, energy and $ into caring.  That may seem counter-intuitive, but I’m telling you, it is the social business model for the 21st century.

Selling is so out.  But buying is still in…we just don’t trust advertisers any more!  Really, at all!  Reuters posted this article this week about tech companies turning to social media to reach consumers.  It said “These social networking sites harness the age-old power of the word-of-mouth recommendation and can be potent marketing tools. If nothing else, they demand a higher level of consumer engagement than conventional ads.”  Recommendations from people we know and trust is how 78% of us connect with a product we’re looking for. (from What the F**K is Social Media)  No more billboard, shouting, passive audience selling.  That’s so 20th Century.  That’s so over.

Instead, participate, have conversations, engage with groups, connect.  It will take longer, metrics may be more difficult to accumulate and measure, but you will have impact.  You will garner trust.  You will cultivate a groundswell of support for a brand that will then sell itself.  That is of course assuming you have something of high quality for a low price and more to contribute to making the world a better place.

Don’t lie.  You can’t fake this.  The scrutiny of the clan will uncover any disingenuous participants.  And they will talk about you, honestly, ruthlessly to everyone.  Ask Motrin about the internet wildfire it started with a bad idea.  Really, the internet community is savvy, meticulous, and VERY interested in the truth.  The best part is, you’ll get honesty in return.  So I hope you want to know the truth.  Either way, you’ll get it.  You’re better off if you give it.  People appreciate honesty.

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Let’s put it this way, you really aren’t in charge of your message that much any more. Reuters had this to say: “”Historically, companies have been really focused on controlling the information they disseminate … and the fact is that’s dying…“.  What that means to me is that you’d better have a great product at a great price (period)  We LOVE great stuff at great prices…and we’ll tell everyone we’re connected to about it!  And with the help of blogging, twitter, facebook, etc, that is literally hundreds of thousands of people, instantly.  The rewards will be well beyond what you imagined.

Being a fan of simple elegance, I had to offer this video in the post as well.  It is the best tool out there that comes even close to explaining twitter to someone who has no idea what the online social thing is about.  Still, I’d say just do it.

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It’s getting pretty weird out there. Well, it probably has been for awhile. So what are you going to do about it? You have some options: My least favorite and perhaps one of the most popular positions is the fetal position. Either mentally or physically, people may consider adopting a curl-up-until-it’s-over attitude. And maybe that works for some people. However, while I don’t look forward to crisis, I do recognize the opportunity for, leadership, new deals, new connections and being the carrier of light across the darkness.

Marketing, PR and all new e-marketing opportunities are bursting with possibility right now. Twitter has posted their Top 50 Tweeples (are you connected to them?), AND is partnering with Current TV (watch their amazing “Hack-the-Debate” programming of the Presidential debates posting real-time tweets). YouTube is experimenting with click-to-buy placement with Amazon.com. Blogging, Video blogging and many other forms of Social Media are exploding with popularity while corporations race to figure out how to maximize advertising in web’s social-sphere. The video version of Twitter, 12Seconds.TV is about to go public, currently in their alpha testing phase. The Wine Blogger’s Conference is completely sold out in Sonoma County with special guest, Gary Vaynerchuk this month. The list goes on as Facebook upgrades their applications and races to keep up with their users. Google is working on a browser (Chrome) that, when completed, will change the way the average Mom, Senior and student not just uses the web, but interacts with and seamlessly integrates online experiences within their lives. If you think that is dramatic, I haven’t emphasized enough how life changing all of these tools will be.

So what does all this mean to you?

You still have a minute to figure out where you will fit in. But only a minute. When New Media goes super-nova, you could be left unconnected. And thereafter, you’ll be running to catch up. Whatever your business, you must find out how you will thrive online. Meanwhile, the bottom line is still your communication and connection to your customer base. Nurture and nourish that relationship; especially during tough economic times. They will remember that and thus be even more loyal customers. A sense of connection, security and belonging is important anytime within our community; it is invaluable during these times and will go a long way in defining the quality and commitment of your online community. You’ll extend your reach and achieve greater bang for your marketing buck this way, while offering something of value to your client base. And they won’t forget that. You can’t beat being human. It’s way better than being a corporation…even if you are a corporation. (for more details on this perspective, check out this post on the Silicon Alley Insider) Then you become that light in the darkness…and that light is contagious.

I have two thoughts from Bill gates to leave you with.

“There will be two types of businesses by 2010- those that are online and those that are out of business.”

“The Internet will help achieve “friction free capitalism” by putting buyer and seller in direct contact and providing more information to both about each other.”

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The world and the future is in the promise of our creative efforts, dedication to hard work and passion for what we do.  Obviously, but the reminder can re-invigorate and rejuvinate the business psyche as much or better than a massage.  So went Gary Veynerchuk’s message yesterday at Web 2.0…the WIne Guy from Wine Library TV found a convergence of passions that works for him…I mean REALLY works.  He said he grossed “$50 million last year…” but essentially it means nothing if you don’t love what you do.

That’s why we’re here at Web 2.0. Integrated into our DNA is an understanding that the e-movement is changing not just the way we do business, marketing & advertising; but it also is changing the way we live. Social Media, the internet & technology is in the throws of changing everything in every person’s life from social connection, communication & interaction to the way we move, work ,shop, vacation, learn, play & engage in the world around us. Words fall short on how integrated & how thoroughly our world is being impacted. Maybe this is already obvious to the majority…, but the intellectual understanding vs. the understanding embedded in the fabric of who we are and how we operate are 2 very different things. It could mean the difference between success & failure.

Share some wine with a friend & talk about it.  Ask quesions…the world is getting smaller, moving faster &  e-volving now.  You gotta be ready.   RE-position yourselves, engage & hang on…it will be a hell of a ride.

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