Tag Archives: Tulsa

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.

Dreaming Social

27 Jan

Three of my family members are looking at some new business ventures. One of them is even under construction as we speak! Being the social media addict that I am, I’m already dreaming up ways that internet technology and social media can be of assistance to their efforts. I very much want this blog to be practical and hands-on. Blogs extolling the virtues of social media are a dime-a-dozen, after all. So, here are some futuristic case studies, if such a phrase is legitimate. 😉

Business Scenario #1: Taco Stand

My uncle, Fred Sutherland, is in the last stages of being released from the Texas State Prison System on parole. It’s a scary economic world for us all right now, but ex-cons have a much worse time of it than the rest of us do. A long story short is that he has a business plan ready to implement for several food wagons (he’s currently looking at tacos and burgers). He wants to target the downtown professional on lunch break, the construction crews that do not have their own transportation while on site. The plan is to be able to hit two or three key locations in a day at their specific lunch/supper rush.

Possible Social Media/Technology for Business Scenario #1

FourSquare: I’m recommending to Fred that he create a FourSquare account for each food wagon. I would like to see original quirky names. Each FourSquare account would build a strong local network of friends for each of its stops. Through push notifications and ‘Nearby’ features a lot of the daily promotional work will be ‘outsourced’ to FourSquare. Bonus: when a new location or stop is added for a wagon Fred can use Forecast (posted about previously) to plan an opening splash.

Text Club: The most obvious use of a texting group is to broadcast specials and locations, but you could do a lot beyond that. Customers could text orders and then receive a text when the order is ready. Which brings us to…

Payment: Square. The vendor pricing is quite competitive with traditional card payment methods. And you can’t beat the wow factor. 😉

It’s going to take my superior communication skills to present this to Fred. Social media wasn’t even thought of when he was last in the business world. I’ll let y’all know how it goes!

Business Scenario #2: Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

My brother’s father-in-law (what do I call him? Father-in-law once removed? 2nd Father-in-law?), Bob Kulp, is a seasoned business owner and entrepreneur (It runs deep in his family) and his latest project is the conversion of traditional gasoline vehicles so that they run off of natural gas, which is significantly cleaner and cheaper than gasoline. He is in the process of building a CNG filling station on his property. He is avidly promoting CNG  and fleet conversion across Wisconsin.

Possible Social Media/Technology for Business Scenario #2

App: the best sales pitch is to show someone the money and I find the easiest way to track money is through an app. A CNG app could track

  • mileage of CNG vehicle and how much less pollution it exhausts
  • how much saved per gas purchase compared to gasoline prices in the area
  • how close you are to paying off conversion cost with lower fuel costs and better gas mileage. Once conversion is paid for this converts to a pure savings number.
  • how close you are to a CNG filling station

Each of these tracking should allow for sharing the positive numbers to social networks. “Aliya has saved $326 so far with Kulp Energy Solutions!” followed by a link.

Bob is already quite active on social networks, both personally and professionally, so just go observe and learn.

Business Scenario #3: Local Sports Scene

My brother Ethan has noticed that there is one sport that gets a lot of attention nationally that has a local scene in the Tulsa area who is ignored by all local media. I can’t tell you which one because you might capitalize on this idea before he gets to. ::glare:: don’t even think about it!

Possible Social Media/Technology for Business Scenario #3

He is first going to build an online reputation of an expert in the sport. Once that is established he wants to leverage it to get radio spots. All of this is a little hazy because some of it requires equipment investments that he does not currently have the money for. Any angel investors out there?

Twitter: He should live-tweet national events in this sport. He should also host a weekly TweetChat (which I described to him as a “twat on Chitter’ just the other day. How embarrassing.) on the sport.

Google+: He should do hangouts from local events and do hangout interviews with the athletes on Google+. He could also broadcast hangouts from the teams’ gyms with multiple interviews.

Blog: Predictions, commentary, reviews, interviews, etc.. of each local event.

Podcast: live broadcasting from local events that are also being broadcasted on television (which might restrict Hangouts). This will be the easiest part to convert to radio.

Many of these require portable wifi or 4G internet, a laptop or tablet with a good web camera, an external mic (maybe 2?), and access to cable television. With that high financial threshold this venture might take some time to happen, but I’m confident Ethan can make it a success!

The Awkward Stage

11 Jan

Downtown Claremore

The awkward stage usually refers to the pimple-riddened years where we’re uncomfortably stuck between being a child and being an adult. Personally, I didn’t find my teen years all that miserable, but I think the phrase still has some merit. It’s hard to be inbetween two spots, neither here nor there. This applies to more than just adolescent development. I would humbly put forth that the city of Claremore is in an awkward stage. We are not a small town anymore, but it’s hard to be big 30 minutes away from Tulsa.

1. Claremore is not a small town anymore.

You can always go look up technical definitions on the U.S. Census website and I’ll throw a number out there: 2010 census has Claremore pegged at 18,581. Let’s talk about how it feels as a citizen and a business owner. Claremore has two high schools, 3 junior highs, and 7 elementary schools. Claremore has 3 grocery stores, 5 hardware stores, and 4 Subways. Small towns don’t even have QuikTrips and we’re getting a 2nd (which will be a QT Kitchen and significantly closer to my house than the current one. I’m excited!) Claremore has been hit by the national economic situation and that shows in our busineses that cater to middle-class luxuries. The bowling alley has shut down. We had 5 coffee shops in 2009 and in 3 years we’ve dwindled to one. However, the population size is still there that those type of businesses need–we’re all just poorer than we were before.

My alternate life that I don’t allow on this blog is politics. I can tell you that Claremore is a major player in the 2nd Congressional District and our state reps and senators are important and in leadership positions in Oklahoma City. We’re not in the political player leagues of Tulsa, Edmond, Bixby, or Oklahoma City, but we are in the top 10.

Think about how it feels living here.  How often do you run into someone you know at the store? Do you have to consider traffic in your driving plans? When you travel in the state do people know where Claremore is? Not often, yes, and yes, respectively.

We need to break out of the small-town way of thinking! Claremore leadership and citizens need to quit fighting change for nostalgia’s sake and let big things happen. Trains causing a traffic standstill might be ok in Chelsea, but the situation in Claremore is unacceptable! The city is pursuing some solutions, but they have been set back by grant rejections and they might even be pursuing the wrong solution to start with. Local businesses like the hospital and Pixley’s have put their own benefit ahead of the town’s progress when competitors like St. John’s and Lowe’s tried to move in and the city council aquiesced to their selfish ideas. Thankfully, St. John’s and Lowe’s found ways around (St. John’s settled outside of town in North Park community and I’ve heard that Lowe’s bought land secretly from the Chevrolet dealership), but how many other businesses are we missing out on because of similar behavior? Also, did you notice that neither Pixley’s or the hospital have suffered terribly since? Their hissy fit was pure fear of competition and had nothing to do with self-survival.

2. Claremore is not yet a big town

Claremore is simply not there yet. We only have one movie theater and it’s small. We only have one coffee shop, as I said earlier. We have no nightlife. We have no music scene. We work in Tulsa and drive to Owasso to shop. It’s rather frightening to be so dependent for livelihood and lifestyle on places where you have no voice in the proceedings. I don’t have a magic plan to grow our city. Decades of brilliant minds have been tossing around concepts like suburbs and bedroom communities and still haven’t come up with a best-practice list. I do believe though that Claremore citizens are the best people to solve Claremore’s problems.

In the world of marketing and social media I find myself saying over and over ‘Claremore is not Tulsa!’ Claremore is unique and the relationships are quite different from a big metro. A marketing agency from Tulsa is not going to understand that. Your customers will feel like you’re trying to shock and awe them with high-falutin’ ways. If they’re the least bit aware they’ll know that it’s better to keep money close and not to keep giving it to Tulsa. On the other hand, Claremore is modern enough that businesses need the technological tools of  social media, mobile advertising, and smart ads,unlike the rural towns around us. Magic Bottle Marketing can help you balance these two and navigate this awkward in-between scene. I’m excited to get to work with you!