Social Media 140Conf Road Trip to make stop over in Dayton, Ohio

DAYTON – Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio will be hosting Jeff Pulver, Internet celebrity and 140 Character Conference organizer this coming Sunday. Dayton was selected early on as one of the stop-over cities by Pulver during his road trip leading up to the Detroit 140conf in October, 2010.

The Meet Up is scheduled for August 22 from 3:00-5:00pm. Attendees work in many fields of interest, including technology, youth sports tournaments, photography, journalism and business. The list of attendees is available on line, in real time at http://140roadaug22l.eventbrite.com/

According to Pulver, he tweeted out a request several weeks ago for places to stop on his road trip. Several dozen local Dayton twitterers replied back with pleas to stop in Dayton. Within minutes, Pulver decided that Dayton, Ohio was on his 140conf Road Trip map.

Dayton is home to a growing community that uses social media for personal communication and business. Social media includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and various other community web sites and Internet tools. Leading the charge in the Dayton Area is a group known as New Media Dayton which hosts regular “tweet ups” at local restaurants.

For more information about the Dayton 140conf Road Trip, including a short welcome video by Blind Bobs, visit http://www.dogwalkblog.com/

ABOUT RIVERSHARK
Rivershark, Inc. is a closely-held Ohio Corporation dedicated to cultivating and building brands that take advantage of technology and satisfy a need for human whimsy. It was formed in 1995 and is headquartered in Englewood, Ohio, with offices in Brooklyn NY, Minneapolis MN and Aalborg Denmark. It also wholly owns http://www.dogwalkblog.com a cultural and political blog. The corporate website is www.rivershark.com

ABOUT JEFF PULVER
Jeff Pulver is the Chairman and Founder of pulver.com, and one of the true pioneers of the VoIP industry and a leader in the emerging TV on the Net industry. Leveraging well over a decade of hands-on experience in Internet/IP communications and innovation, Mr. Pulver is a globally renowned thought leader, author and entrepreneur. He is the organizer for the 140 Character Conference.

CONTACT:
Chris Celek
Celek Media Consulting
937-681-4120
chris.celek@yahoo.com

Gerard McLean
Rivershark Inc
937-836-6255
gmclean@rivershark.com

Jeff Pulver
140 Characters Conference
http://140conf.com
http://140roadaug22l.eventbrite.com/

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The donut hole of social media

It’s Monday and my twitter stream is filing up with tweets from business people just getting into the office and tweeting out news and links that I’ve been seeing all weekend. These folks work for companies that shut down on Friday afternoon and come back into work on Monday. For most who are connected into twitter, these tweets are really, really, really old news.

Social media works 24/7/365. That means nights and weekends. And it is creating a donut hole for small to medium-sized business, making them seem out-of-touch instead of connected. Follow me on this.

For twitter to work well, someone has to be at the switch pretty much 24/7. The old adage, “A lie will make its way half way round the world before the truth even gets out of bed” is fairly accurate. Ask Dominos, Amazon, Target or any other brand that has suffered a twitterstorm (though less in vogue nowadays) if they wished they worked weekends. Amazon does, but their lawyers don’t, at least not for the normal day rate.

For one-man shows like most of the twitter and social media elite, social media is not an issue. They are on 24/7/365 anyway. The cost of their labor is cheap and they are able to monitor their brand whenever, wherever it is being discussed. They are also the ones quick to berate brands for not responding sooner, by not making their brand more human, etc, etc. For the very large brands who have money to staff up 24/7/365, the issue goes away just by making someone a Community Manager and staffing up a department.

But for small to medium-sized companies, we’re out here kinda screwed by the Social Media donut hole. Sure, you can hire someone to be “on call” and mandate they check the social media accounts regularly on evenings, weekends and early mornings and many will gladly do it, relishing their flexible work conditions. But, as anyone who has ever work “flexible hours” knows, it becomes apparent that the flex is all about the flexibility for the company, not the employee. If flex favored employees, then they would have the option of NOT being available to respond.

And resentment builds and somebody somewhere has enough of being taken advantage of and calls in a State labor board who has an entirely different view on what constitutes “working hours.” That flexible position that you created in response to the market need quickly becomes about the most expensive you’ve ever created with lawyer fees, labor board responses, unemployment hearing and eventual back taxes and overtime pay. What you see as flexibility, the State see as indentured servitude.

The current expectations of social media are unsustainable by small to medium-sized companies. In response, most just do nothing as the return is not worth even the labor investment. And labor laws are not flexible enough to make human 24/7/365 social media monitoring a viable option for many. Some resort to automated response which exacerbates the issue in the minds of the social media purists.

I’d love for some of our brands to be more real-time with social media, but until labor laws catches up with the real world realities of the modern workplace, those social media plans are on hold. Monday mornings will just very busy here.

Originally published at GerardMcLean.com

Sponsors and advertisers need belly buttons, not eyeballs

I once heard an old newspaper advertising salesman say, “We’re not in the business of selling ad impressions; we’re in the business of selling belly buttons.” What he meant by that was that it didn’t matter how many people saw or read the ads; it only mattered how many physical customers the ad brought to the merchant buying the ads.

Belly buttons = real people, in real life, living, breathing and buying.

In our always online world, we tend to forget that soccer tournament website visitors, unique pages views and hits mean absolutely nothing to sponsors and advertisers unless there is some action that follows. That action is almost always a trip to the store, restaurant or shop, followed by a purchase. Nothing else really matters.

Our Advice: Don’t just take sponsorship/advertising orders and artwork for your soccer tournament. Help the advertiser collect belly buttons as well. In the TourneyCentral advertising module, there are opportunities to “sell” the goods and services of your sponsors and advertisers through uploaded brochures and coupons, expanded deal copy and video. In addition, any listing can be linked to a Twitter or Facebook account to further push the belly buttons to the advertiser.

When you hook up your soccer tournament twitter account to your website in the Web Site Maint. Module, any news that you post on your front page will automatically be sent to anyone following you. You can also plug the goods and services of your DEALS sponsors and advertisers with every email you send out to your teams.

While you may not want to overdo the selling to the teams, going the extra mile and letting sponsors and advertisers know you are doing it will help sell more ads in the future.

So quit selling ads and eyeballs and start selling belly buttons. It makes the game a lot more profitable and a whole lot sexier.

Originally published at TourneyCentral.com

Quit building websites

I had the opportunity to speak at the 15th annual NARMS Spring Conference last month. It was a workshop on using social media to leverage a membership with the association. Check out the agenda; my slides and workshop recording are linked up there. (Sunday, April 18 1:00pm)

Over a month has passed and I still have one question a participant asked, playing over and over in my head. It went something like;

I don’t have the time to wax philosophically about the retail marketing industry. Why do I need a blog?

I answered his question as I do anytime someone tells me they don’t need a blog or have time to write a blog. The short answer goes something like this: Your blog is your web site and your web site is your blog. Quit making the distinction.

Your primary audience is now a machine
It used to be you marketed your web site to customers and other human beings. Now, you market to search engines (SEM — Search Engine Marketing) as most searches now start on Google or Bing. Your primary audience in the search engine and your end audience is a C-Suite executive. In order to be a visible business, you have to show up first on the search engines and then punch your way out of that to a human being. If your website can’t do that, you just don’t make the short list of vendors.

It turns out that blogging software like WordPressor MovableType is set up to easily work with search engines by being SEO and SEM-friendly. It is also easy to quickly and prolifically add optimized content to your website. In fact, if you go out to the Internet right now, it is hard to tell a “blog” from a “web site” any more as many “blogs” function primarily as CMS (Content Management Systems) ICC/Decision Services (iccds.com) is one such site. My employer’s web site Rivershark Inc (rivershark.com) is another example.

It’s all about the keywords
How do potential clients describe what you do? In plain language, please. For example, a plumber does not “provide a comprehensive whole-house fluid distribution and waste removal solution.” He unclogs drains and toilets, installs faucets and fixes leaks. When determining keywords, think like a potential clients trying to find a solution to their problem in ways they identify the problem.

Everything you write for your website — from press releases to about pages to articles — focuses on those keywords.

Adding content rapidly and frequently is critical
A search engine indexes pages, not web sites. Once your services, about us and contact us page is indexed, that pretty much it. With nothing left to do with your site, the search engine indexing robot moves on to your competitors’ web sites. And the sites that keep adding content and keeping the search engine indexing robots busy by adding new stuff wins. The easiest way to jolt a search engine robot out of dormancy is to add new stuff.

And you don’t have to wax philosophically about your industry. You can share your opinion on a recent news story that affects you. Your can write a news release. You can welcome a new client. Whatever you do, focus on keywords and keep the content flowing. Building your web site on top of blogging software allows you to do that easily, all the while creating content that search engines know how to process quickly. 100-300 words is all you need for most articles.

But stepping away from the defining what is a web site and what is a blog is the first major step.

Originally published at GerardMcLean.com

How social media should be used at a conference. It’s not how you think

really comfy chairs at the NSCAA
Really comfy chairs at the 2010 NSCAA

I have been to several conferences already this year and plan on going to several more. With the exception of one where it was part of my contractual arrangement to tweet and populate the social media spaces, I did not tweet or take photos and send up to twitpic, live-blog any particular workshop or do a video about my experience. Instead, I just attended, met lots of people face-to-face, had conversations, attended the workshops and really engaged myself in the experience around me. And after a few hours, I did not miss myself tweeting and taking photos.

And I have only two observations about conferences.

1. Every conference should have a meeting/networking area with really, really comfortable leather chairs. Really. It is amazing how rich a conversation becomes when each person is able to sit on a throne.

2. Social media should be all over conferences, but not primarily generated by the attendees. The days of hoping the attendees will tweet out about your conference and pithy quotes the speaker just said is about at its end. When attendees are tweeting the last thing they heard, they are missing the next thing that is probably more important.

That does not mean conferences should quit using social media. Far from it. It means the conference should take more ownership in representing themselves in the social media spaces. Send up tweets about the workshops in advance, link up videos of speakers doing interviews before and after their presentations, link their agenda to twitter hashtags to give the attendees “hooks” for feedback, encourage attendees/speakers to write feedback blog posts that you can point back to and send out tweets by the conference staff on main points during the keynote and general sessions (kinda like what E!’s Red Carpet does during the Oscars, Golden Globe, etc.)

But encourage attendees to be present first.

And being present means networking in real life with people around them and listening to and thinking about the material being presented to them in workshops and keynotes. It means freeing up your attendees to participate in the live event, while planning also to satisfy the curiosity of those outside looking in. It should not mean a robotic parroting of quotes during speeches.

And ultimately, it means creating enough excitement that those who are following along on your blog, through twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook are wishing they had gone and will plan to next year.

Social media for conferences is all about increasing participation at your live event.

Originally published at GerardMcLean.com