Tag Archives: Oklahoma

Mandy Vavrinak @ #SMTulsa

27 Mar

Mandy Vavrinak is a public relations and integrated marketing professional, wife, mother, Apple fan girl, and owner of Crossroads Communications, LLC. She spoke at the 2012 Social Media Tulsa Conference about the Relevance Revolution: How Social Media Functions As Life’s Big Filter. I live plussed her talk on my personal Google+. This is a consolidation of my notes there, Mandy’s slides from Slide Share, and her own writeup on her blog. Even those don’t quite capture the experience as Mandy is an energetic speaker and had a fun interaction with the crowd. All pictures from Captured Charms Photography.

Picture by Captured Charms Photography

In The Beginning…

In the misty past people filtered the information needed to make a decision or choice through the people they knew who were geographically close to them. Some of this was intentional (such as who you decided to ask about a dentist) and some of it was already filtered for you (you wouldn’t inquire about a business two towns over because you wouldn’t know about it and couldn’t use it conveniently.)

And then came the interwebz!

The internet is a firehose of information making filters even more important. Our networks have been digitized and platforms compete for the best algorithim features to make their content most relevant.

Google has just implemented Search Plus Your World designed to make search results more personalized, and what’s that key word? RELEVANT! Facebook filters your stream according to who you interact with most. Pinterest is a little backwards in that its filtering has to be done manually by you choosing which boards to follow. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Twitter just acquired Posterous. Mandy predicts that Twitter will apply the feel and UI of Spaces to Twitter lists, which currently suck in her (and mine) opinion.

Power plugs were hard to come by...

Basically, all of this boils down to the consumners saying “I want relevant information from a trusted source about a topic I care about in a way I can hear it and when I want it.

Websites learn what’s relevant to you as a user by tracking the following.

  • Web history–what did you search for? Which sites did you visit?
  • Actions taken–what did you interact with?
  • Time spent–what held your interest and for how long?

A big lesson for us content creators is don’t create content just to say you posted it. Crappy content is still crap and makes for a crappy king! Create relevant content!

To guide you in creating that relevant content ask yourself The New 5 Ws!

  • Who is going to care about this?
  • Where do those people hangout online?
  • What do they do on that network? What are their goals on that site?
  • When are they looking for it on that network?
  • Why should they choose you?
  • Once you’ve considered all of the above ask how are you going to share this content?

If you do not follow the path of The New 5 Ws and create relevant content you will be a time suck! No one wants to have their time sucked away by having to wade through irrelevant material! If you have your social networks linked together and synced up spewing out the same content at the same time GO HOME AND CHANGE THAT! (didn’t I blog about this once?)

 

Liz Strauss @ #SMTulsa

20 Mar

I had the extreme honor and pleasure of live plussing the 2012 Social Media Tulsa Conference last week! I will be posting the summary of my notes and live plusses here and on my personal Google+ page. First in the series is the opening keynote!

Liz Strauss works with corporations and entrepreneurs to create, identify and leverage unique, real-time opportunity. She is a strategist, the CEO and founder of SOBCon, author of the popular Successful-Blog.com, a keynote speaker, and a storyteller. She was the keynote speaker at Social Media Tulsa 2012 Conference. I live plussed her talk on my personal Google+ account. This is the summary of her talk from those notes. I wasn’t able to find a SlideShare of her talk.

Liz had flown into Tulsa directly from Austin where she spoke at SXSW Interactive. She is obviously a real workhorse because she had lost her voice in Austin and had to give her whole talk in a whisper.

Liz started her talk by asking people in the audience “What is the best thing that ever happened to you personally or to your business?” Answers ranged from being born to good parents, to having a daughter born with a disability that inspired a home business, to rescuing abused animals, to quitting a job. A funny point was when Liz sat in a gentleman’s lap and asked “What is the best thing to ever happen to you, besides me sitting on your lap?” Alas, I did not get a picture of it!

Liz then transitioned to the meat-n-potatoes part of her talk…

7 Elements of Strategy

First, Liz defined strategy as a realistic system to advance achievements over time by leveraging opportunity. She emphasized that it’s a living, changing thing that is being implemented and modified constantly.

The 7 elements are nonlinear, but if we had to put them in a list it would be…

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Position
  • Conditions
  • Decisions
  • Networks
  • Systems

Vision and mission are not the same thing, but it’s easier to talk about them together. You have to have a vision to have a mission. Vision is destination. It’s the answer to questions like “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or “Where do you want to go?” It’s choosing a future so you can make it happen. Your vision is tied up in your identity and values. When you have a clear identity and vision you are easy to remember and share.

Mission is a calling and a commitment to that calling. It’s the answer to questions like “Why?” and “How?” Knowing where you’re going is irresistibly attractive. Work is work, but a quest is valiant and noble. JFK’s vision was a space program better than the Soviet’s. His mission was to put a man on the moon and safely return him back to earth. This was a bigger vision and mission than he could accomplish on his own, but people will naturally follow whoever is moving with vision on a focused mission.

Position is your unique playing field. Every position is a unique opportunity. Opportunities are all around us–we just don’t necessarily see them. You have to know your position so you know how to proceed. Find out if you’re on a mountain or by the river before you buy a boat!

Position is a lot of quantitative information. Everything from property, expertise, packaging, and communication to competence, competition, size, and systems. Don’t say “I know this stuff already.” Make yourself articulate it! Questions that help you understand your position sound like identity questions. Are you an individual or a company, new or experienced, guide or teacher?

Position is also qualitative relationships. It’s your goals, values, dreams, passion, and people who help the business thrive. Values attract ideal partners, customers, employees, and opportunities.

Quantitative and qualitative positions together are the value proposition. Apparently Liz has another talk entitled “Putting the Values Back Into the Value Proposition”.

As a side note to position, Liz states that most people spend too much time thinking about their competition. The truth is that there so many differences between people (and their missions, values, positions) and each difference creates another opportunity. So, there are more than enough opportunities for everyone!

Conditions are changing opportunities. Conditions include things like cycles, trends, the spread of an idea or technology. You can turn those into opportunities by not swinging with the pendulum. Zag when the world zigs! Fill the vacuum!

Decisions is the act of eliminating any other option. It’s a moment of truth. You are now committed completely to this one choice. Sometimes we shy away from committing fully to something because we’re afraid it will be permanent. It’s not. Your path will find you if you just step out decisively.

My notes on Networks and Systems ran together. If it’s confusing, it’s my fault and not Liz’s and you should contact her.

Deeply connected networks attract fiercely loyal fans. Well-thought systems keep people coming back. We think that people that think like us are smart. And people who don’t must be stupid or difficult, right?! Be mission critical to other folks missions. Start with people who love you now. The more you can put your values out and stand by them the more you will draw similar people to you. Be sure to celebrate your heroes–they are the best examples of your values. Narrow niches offer wider opportunities. Liz says that the internet has obliterated geographic niches and there are now only expertise niches.

If you’re a consultant and looking for your first client people tell you not to lower your price. What they’re saying is that people who share your values will value you and your work like you do and pay your price. If not, they ask you to lower your price. They have to be converted. They don’t usually stay converted.

Raise a barn. Don’t build a coliseum. Ask the best to help build what they need. Use systems to make building easier, faster, and more meaningful. If they build it… they will bring their friends.

 

Social Media Tulsa Conference 2012

13 Mar

March 15th and 16th, this Thursday and Friday, is the second annual Social Media Tulsa Conference! I am so excited to get to attend AND live plus it! Here some basic intro information and what sessions I am most excited for!

What is Social Media Tulsa?

Social Media Tulsa (or #SMTulsa) started as a monthly meetup group (which it still is!) and has grown into a website, social media accounts, a support and ideas network, a digital Chamber of Commerce of sorts, AND a conference!

The conference will be at the downtown Tulsa Hyatt and start with registration at 9 am Thursday with the keynote following at 10 am. It’s a nonstop partying classroom all that day and the next! There will be a blogger’s lounge, keynotes, breakout sessions, a showing of Twittamentary, a Tweetup, and as many Google+ Hangouts as I can squeeze in!

What’s exciting?

Mandy Vavrinak

My friend Mandy Vavrinak will be talking about the Relevance Revolution on Thursday right after lunch. We use people’s opinions and experiences as time saving mechanism all the time. Now, that advice is filtered through social media–and it went global! But I’m sure Mandy will have more interesting things to say about it. 🙂

Next on the list is Who Let the Dogs Out? or Social Pets at 1 on Friday. Why? Because I’m a dog person. 🙂

TillmanSkates.com

And then I’m torn because overlapping the amazing rollerblading dog is a Pinterest support group, which just sounds like too much fun! Any ideas on how to do both?

What will you be adding to the event?

I will be live plussing as many sessions as I can attend and type out notes for!

I will be doing as many Google+ Hangouts as time allows. I want to introduce Plussers to Tulsa and Tulsans to Google+!

Circle me on Google+ and let me know you want in the #SMTulsa circle in order to catch all this goodness!

Wow! What should I do now?

You should register for the conference on EventBrite and support the amazing sponsors who make this possible! You should also send karma to Cheryl Lawson who asked me to live plus the conference!

This year’s sponsors include Party Aficionado, Cherry Street Studios, Social Media Examiner, Captured Charms Photography, Tulsa Humane Society, Focus Consulting, Kalvin Kleen Mobile Marketing, MyMedLab, Tulsa Food Guy, Skinny Scoop, Apartment Guide, Other World Computing, Vocus, Summerside Vineyards, Natural Balance Pet Food, and Concord Keystone.

Embrace the Taboo: Pricing

10 Mar

Photo by Soham_Pablo

Money is a taboo in our culture. We’ve all been told, don’t ever be the first to bring up money in the hiring process. We say that there are three things not to be discussed in polite company, but money is possibly the worst. You really shouldn’t talk about money with your date either. So you definitely shouldn’t ask me how much Magic Bottle Marketing’s social media services is going to cost your business, right? WRONG!

I won’t try to explain why people think you shouldn’t talk about money, because I have no idea. I always want to see the figures up front. I can tell you why that is!

  • Money is often the deciding factor. I can either work for that amount or I can’t. I have this much money to spend, so I can either afford it or I can’t. I am already doing two volunteer projects so I simply don’t have the time for a pro bono job. These are cut and dry decisions that rest on number. I would rather know that number sooner rather than later.
  • It tells me a lot about who I am talking to. How much someone is asking for or willing to pay tells me how much they know about the market, the product in question, what type of project they’re doing, how serious and committed they are, etc, etc…
  • It saves me and them a lot of time. If I don’t like what I find out in the above two bullet points I want to know that right away so I don’t waste anyone’s time discussing a project that will never be.

So how much does social media for local businesses from Magic Bottle Marketing cost?

My pricing is similar to a restaurant’s pricing–pick two sides and an entree for $10 set-up. Your choices are…

Sides

  • LinkedIn company page
  • Facebook business page
  • Twitter

Entrees

  • Google+ company page
  • Pinterest

Appetizers

  • FourSquare venue
  • Google Places setup
  • 1 Google Adwords campaign
  • 1 Facebook ad campaign
  • FourSquare special setup

Appetizers are a one-time only fee—$50 for each. Obviously, campaigns and specials can be purchased multiple times. Your first two sides are $100 each per month, but the third is just $50 per month. Entrees are $150 per month. You can get a combo dinner (two sides and an entree) for $300 per month.

What are you paying for?

You are mostly paying for content creation and expert knowledge of how each platform can be customized to your business and its goals. Thus, sites whose content requires more time and effort (Google+ and Pinterest) cost more. Services that are a one-time only creation (campaigns and specials) cost less.

Pricing is something I thought about for months before I even bought the domain magicbottlemarketing.com. After surveying the local industry, I decided that my market niche would be affordable, customized content creation for social media for businesses. That niche was empty. Most businesses right here in Claremore either have no social media presence at all, are struggling to manage it on their own, or are being overcharged for setup only, content poor, non-customized social media accounts. And none of my competitors list their pricing up front.

You have better options! Please drop me a line at anna@magicbottlemarketing.com or give me a ring on my cell at 918-933-2303 and let’s get your business on the path to social success that’s affordable!

Antisocial Type?

7 Mar

Comic by Toothpaste for Dinner

This blog was prompted by three different conversations I had with local business owners today. All together they swirled into this question.

Are there businesses that SHOULDN’T use social media?

Short answer: no! Social media is flexible and can be adopted to any business need!

Personal answer: I personally wouldn’t contract with any company that isn’t safe for children or any doctor’s office. There are too many legal pitfalls in those two industries for them to be worth the risk with my limited legal knowledge.

So why do some business owners think their business wouldn’t benefit from social media? Here’s 5 misconceptions about social media that makes them think this.

1. Social media is only teens.

Where I run into this misconception most is in churches.  I approach them saying “Social media is simply a digitization of what you’re already doing with your members and community. It’s just another communication tool.” and they forward me to the youth pastor. Hello? Did you hear what I just said? Churches aren’t the only ones tainted with this heresy. It’s amusing to me to have people with a question about social media turn to me automatically not knowing that the middle-aged people standing around with me have smarter phones and more experience than I with anything technological or social.

What’s the truth? How about these stats? The average age of a social networker is 37. On Twitter and Facebook, minors are less than 15% of the sites’ users.

2. Social media is only women.

This perception is harder to pick up on. It shows up mor ein conversations and assumptions. I see it when people are surprised when my male marketing colleagues do more than SEO or when an automotive repair businessman tells me that hair saloons would benefit more from social media than his store. I’ve heard the term “chatty Cathy” applied to the social media profession.

How does this assumption hold up? Well, all of the major social networks do have more women than men users, but only slightly. It’s not more than 10% gap on Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn leans more toward men. Pinterest stands out in that it has the largest gender gap, heavily favoring the ladies. However,  not even that site is devoid of men!

3. Social media is only geeks.

So I should only use it if I’m selling comic collectibles or app development, right? Wrong! Who is the most followed person Google+? +Britney Spears. Is that geek behavior? Please, don’t insult us!

4. Social media is only Facebook, which we all hate.

I know I talk about Facebook a lot on this blog. That’s because that’s where most of my clients’ customers are. However, I’m not recommending a Facebook diet to anyone! And I know anytime anything changes the slightest bit on Facebook your stream fills up with wailing and weeping. It’s hard to take it seriously though when no one leaves. They can’t possibly all hate it as much as they say.

Let’s assume for a moment that you just cannot stand the idea of your business being on Facebook or you have been granted the divine insight needed to know that Facebook would not help your business in the slightest. You still have Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, and WordPress to pick from!

5. Social media is only procrastination.

Sounds like a personal problem to me. 😉

If anything this misconception is just another reason to hire Magic Bottle Marketing. If social media is distracting to you and decreases your productivity, let me do it for you!

Get Out and Vote!

5 Mar

Photo by Theresa Thompson

Even if you’re not politically active, you probably have noticed that this election cycle is different from the last presidential cycle. We’re all getting more robocalls and stories about the candidates now include pictures of them ACTUALLY in Oklahoma! Why the change?

1. During the last cycle Oklahoma’s Republican delegates were on a winner-takes-all system. Whoever got the most votes over the whole state got ALL of Oklahoma’s delegates. It has now changed so that our delegates are awarded according to majority of votes per congressional district. So, Republican candidates are paying closer attention to Oklahoma because their chances of winning Okie delegates are much higher.

2. Oklahoma has a lot of delegates to the Republican National Convention this year! We have FORTY-THREE delegates and 40 alternates. I won’t bore you with the intricacies of how those rules are set up, but let’s just say that Oklahoma Republicans’ hard work is paying off on the national party level.

3. Oklahoma’s primary is on Super Tuesday this year. We get to be part of a turning point in the whole cycle! Tomorrow will quite possibly make or break candidates.

Here’s some things you may not know about tomorrow’s election.

There is a DEMOCRAT Presidential primary too! There are at least FOUR other Democrats on the ballot, one of whom is from Oklahoma!

This is one of the first major elections under the new state law that you must show your ID to vote. So, have your passport, driver’s license, or voter card with you!

This is also the first major election to use Oklahoma’s new voting machines. These are state-of-the-art and set Oklahoma at the front of the pack in election technology and security. There are new audio ballots for voters with vision problems. The results are sent instantly at the end of the day to the state election board. At a Claremore Chamber of Commerce event I got to try them out in a mock election. It will not take blank ballots or ballots that have been over voted, despite all my efforts to trick it!

Collinsville, Owasso, and Claremore voters also have a city ballot to be cast tomorrow. I’m not a Claremore resident proper, so I’m not familiar with what is on those ballots. However, sample ballots are available on the county election board site. I strongly encourage you to look over your ballot BEFORE going to the polls. An informed voter is a powerful thing!

I voted early Saturday, so I won’t see you at the polls. However, look for me to be breathlessly watching the results on my personal Google+ and Twitter!

Refining Your Message

16 Feb

Communicating a message effectively is both an art and science. What do art and science have in common? They both take a lot of repetition to perfect and they both progress faster with feedback! Tuesday, I edited my ‘About‘ and ‘Services‘ pages. I’m CCing it here so I can get your feedback through comments.

About

Magic Bottle Marketing provides social media management and consulting services for local Green Country businesses. Social media is like a magic bottle that conveys your message to your customers faster, cheaper, and more effectively than traditional means. It combines three types of sales leads–advertising, returning  customers, and referals—into one powerful medium.

Photo by Joel Chan

Anna Bavido founded Magic Bottle Marketing in 2011 out of a passion for her community and her own social media addictions, errr… experience. She has lived in Claremore since 2001 and graduated from Rogers State University in 2009 with a bachelor’s of science in social sciences. When she’s not teaching businesses to be sociable she is invovled in politics, family, karate, social media, and Jesus–but not necessarily in that order. Her favorite social network is Google+.

Services

Magic Bottle Marketing approaches each client every day with 3 mottos.

  1. Give the client the biggest bang for their buck.
  2. The right tool for the right job.
  3. Track performance.

The first one is an attitude of gratefulness and responsibility for clients. You don’t have to give me business and I take the fact that you did very seriously. For more explanation, see Corporate Gratitude. Second, is a messaging approach that leverages the right social networks in the right way for clients’ goals and targeted customers. This is further explained in Social Media and Angry Birds. Third, I look back as often as I look forward. If I don’t know what I did before and how well it worked, I won’t know what to do next. I blogged about this some in the post Reflections.

With this mindset, I provide tiered contract management services for the following social media platforms–

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Foursquare
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Google Adwords
  • WordPress

Service packages are customized to each client and start as low as $200/month. Discounts are available for churches, charities, and other nonprofits. Call Anna at 918-933-2303 or drop her a line at anna@magicbottlemarketing.com to find out how Magic Bottle Marketing can best help your business!

3 Needs of a Volunteer: Coach

13 Feb

Part 3 of 3: Coach

Volunteering should never be lonely work. Regularly check in with your volunteers. “How’s it coming? Do you need anything? Have we told you what a good job you’re doing?” This is where you communicate the Vision talked about way back at the beginning of this article. This is where you find out if they need any added training or tools, if the workload is realistic and balanced. These conversations are your biggest listening tool and you need to pay careful attention to what you’re hearing.Most accidents are preventable, right? If you’re not listening, you will be the last to find out about the blow up.

Staying in regular contact with your volunteers should double as quality control. When done properly quality control is actually a huge encouragement to both the checker and the volunteer. If you’re checking each completed task you get to see all the awesome things that are being done well and you get to praise the volunteers for it. But, there is another side to quality control that’s not as fun. It’s tempting for organizations to assign the ‘nice work’ of praising to the volunteer coordinator and the control side to someone else in the organisation (usually the coordinator’s boss). This is also known as good cop/bad cop and will be guaranteed to make everyone uncomfortable. Not only do volunteers get the feeling that they’re being sent to the office, it also sends a signal that the volunteer coordinator is incompetent and not trusted by the rest of the organization.

This may sound like a lot of things to make happen at once (“I’m supposed to coach the vision while making sure everything fits?”), but implementing one makes it easier to implement the others. Another tool that helps is a good old-fashioned intake interview (look for that post soon!). Don’t stress yourself out too much because volunteers are the best of your community. Their patience is nigh to boundless, so they get used and abused a lot. They’ll be thrilled to just see you making an effort.

3 Needs of a Volunteer: Fit

10 Feb

Part 2 of 3.

If a volunteer gets burned out it is usually because they were put someplace they weren’t a good fit for. Consider these points to be my burnout prevention plan.

You and the volunteers need to be realistic about what exactly they can accomplish. Too often we get the idea that we should just take the amount of work needed to be done (x), divide it by the number of volunteers (y), and thus conclude that everyone’s workload should be z. x/y=z but it also equals universal unhappiness. You will be unhappy that everything is not getting done and the volunteers will be unhappy because you’ve completely overwhelmed them. It is much better to simply ask a volunteer how much time they can spend helping you out and then following up in a week to ask “Hey, how did that feel? Can you do more or do we need to back off a little?” Most people will say they can do more. Sometimes you can end up with a volunteer doing a workload of z, but they’re happy doing it because you eased them into it by increments that they agreed to.

Have volunteers do what they’re good at. Break out of the mental rut that volunteers can only set up banquet halls, assemble yard signs, and man parking lots. The best way to find out is to ask. “What do you feel you’re good at? What do you enjoy doing?” The volunteer who works as a salesman for his professional job should not be tasked with data entry. If a volunteer is always asking “Do you have these instructions in a spreadsheet format?” take a wild guess at what she could do! I feel like I should start quoting I Corinthians 11. Finally, remember that any task that you might pay someone to do can be done by a volunteer. There can be a big overlap between volunteerism and in-kind donations.

You need to give volunteers the training and tools they need to succeed. Most organizations are pretty good about tools, but training might be the most overlooked tool in volunteerism. In my experience, a lack of training is certainly one of the biggest causes of frustration in volunteers. Nothing is scarier than being asked to do something you don’t know how to go about doing. Don’t put someone in that spot. Volunteers can come to you already very skilled, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show their value by adding to it. A lot of times they come to you very skilled in things totally unrelated to what your needs are. If they’re willing and intelligent, don’t let their inexperience count against them–just train them on what you need them to do.