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Twitter Means Opportunities

September 7, 2009

I am 100 percent convinced that Twitter means opportunities regardless of whether you are an individual, a celebrity, business or a non-profit. I witnessed it recently first hand when attending Shel Israel’s T-Bash (#Tbash) and T-Brunch tweetups (what’s that?) to celebrate the release of his latest book: “Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods.”

Shel’s parties brought together folks with very different backgrounds, jobs and ideas, but all of them had one thing in common – they were taking full advantage of  Twitter opportunities and were quite eager to share their Twitter stories regardless of the fact that only a small number of them could have been captured inside Shel’s book. Both parties gave me a chance to listen to these stories and as it turned out they affected my own usage of Twitter.

Top-down Twitter implementation in a large business

Arie Ball and Shel Israel

Meet Arie Ball (@arie_ball), the founder of @SodexoCareers and a rare example of a senior executive inside a large, Fortune 500 company who successfully implemented a top-down Twitter program. How? She trained 20+ recruiters to use Twitter which resulted in not only a significant increase in the job related conversations Sodexo was having on Twitter, but also doubled traffic to the Sodexo Careers website, which in turn got the attention of other departments within the company. Arie ended up being a great “agent of change” not only for her department, but for the company as a whole. The result: the corporation is now willing to explore Social Media further and is putting money where their mouth is by hiring a Social Media strategists to explore new media usage across all social channels. Arie, you are an inspiration for all of us!

Local reach + global influence = major free PR

Scott Townsend and Aneta Hall

Say hello to Scott Townsend, the Twitterer behind @UnitedLinen and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He works in the greater Oklahome area for a local laundry business  called United Linen and Uniform Services. Even though United Linen’s services have a limited geographical reach Scott realized that their innovative Twitter usage to promote their brand can be a PR gold mine for a small business with a global mindset. It paid off. In addition to being featured in “Twitterville” United Linen has been mentioned in Forbes and Business Week. Way to go, Scott.

Do you need a community director?

Amber Naslund and Aneta Hall

Amber Naslund, tweeting as @ambercadabra works as a community director for Radian 6, the Social Media measuring company. Does Radian 6 need a community director? You bet. I have bumped into Amber at least three times in the past six months. She seems to be everywhere where her clients and prospects are: MarketingProf’s B2B Forum, PodCamp Boston, T-Bash and so on. Every time I meet her I learn more about her business and how passionate she is about Social Media. During T-Brunch we had a chance to spend a good ½ hr talking about the challenges of 24/7 Social Media monitoring and the fact that checking our Twitter feeds is often the last thing we do before we go to bed and the first thing we do when we wake up. I connected with Amber on a very personal level and that positive connection is now associated with her employer’s brand. Do you still have doubts why her job is so important for Radian 6 ?

I want to do what I love!

Erica Ogrady (image curtesy of Flickrs Eschipul)

Erica Ogrady is a Social Media consultant and web designer who tweets as @ericaogrady and blogs at Reinventing Erica. Erica proved her Social Media acumen by surpassing all the other 27 million Ericas out there to become the #1 Erica on Google. How? By using Social Media channels to generate the valuable ” Google juice.”

Erica is a ball of energy. It only took her a few minutes to convince me that she knows what she wants to do with her life and is not afraid to get it. Erica is using her Social Media influences to make every day count. What’s her next adventure? She is getting ready to spend the next year traveling across the US and staying at local Bed and Breakfasts for free in return for teaching their owners how to use Social Media to promote their businesses. If I had a B&B I would be hiring her!

Always Learning

Lionel Menchaca and Aneta Hall

Lionel Menchaca tweeting as @LionelatDell impressed me the most during T-Brunch. Dell’s Chief Blogger and one of the great thinkers behind Dell’s “Direct 2 Dell” blog was quite approachable and eager to learn from our conversation. During that brief exchange it was Lionel who listened more than he talked. What did we discuss? The challenges associated with a corporate cultural shift brought by a successful Social Media program. I did find that Lionel’s tactics of encouraging a company-wide adoption of the “hub and spoke” Social Media model matched what I am trying to accomplish in my position at Pitney Bowes. Even though our brands might be far apart in terms of the customers we serve, it was refreshing to find a “kindred spirit” in a company whose adoption of Social Media occupies a great many pages in “Twiterville.” Lionel, thanks for listening and I hope our paths cross again.

We can do it!

Chrisine Taylor and Stacey J-M Taylor

Christine Taylor @mousewords (the writer) and Stacey J-M Taylor @StacyJMT (the photographer) are the dynamic sister duo behind “Rosewood House,” a book project they started when recovering from a carbon monoxide poisoning accident. They use their “Mistery of Writing” blog to record their novel in progress, gather readers’ comments and develop a loyal group of followers. They plan to publish and market their book independently using Social Media and word of mouth. Good luck girls!

15 minutes of fame = a great opportunity

Janis Krums (2nd left) along with his business partner Eric Frenkels, Shel Israel & Frank Barry

Janis Krums  tweeting as @jkrums happened to be at the right place at the right time when he took the first picture of what was later described as the miracle on the Hudson. Janis is a former athlete  who is taking a full advantage of his 15 minutes of fame. Along with business partner, Eric Frenkiel, they are starting a new business, Tripwi.re,  which can best be  described as having a burglar alarm for your email inbox. Like many others in the Silicon Valley they have a dream, but in addition to that they also have a business plan, a marketing strategy and a great passion for success. If passion was a measure of success you would be featured next to Google.

WOM killer at T-Bash

Sashi Bellamkonda and his Network Solutions team

Shasi Bellamkonda, blogger relations guru at Network Solutions (@netsolcares) has a great smile. In the hustle and bustle of T-Bash and T-Brunch I did not have a chance to sit down with Shasi the way I managed to  with Amber and Lionel, but judging by the great WOM activity his team executed during T-Brunch he is a very savvy marketer who outdid all sponsors with his example of lethal generosity. How? Network Solutions brought all the equipment (including their own ironing board) to make custom “Twitterville” t-shirts for guests at the book party. I know there were many sponsors during the event and because of them there was plenty of great food served, but because Network Solutions went the extra mile to create something memorable they were greatly rewarded by positive Word of Mouth across all Social Media channels. Great idea Sashi!

I am here to help…

Frank Barry (right) with Aneta Hall and Janis Krums

Shel hosted many very accomplished not-for-profit social media champs incl. Beth Kanter (@kanter) and Stacey Monk (@StaceyMonk), but I connected with Frank Barry, @franswaa who describes himself as an online fund-raising student and co-creator of NetWit, a think tank teaching non-profits how to use Social Media to advance their causes. Frank is particularly interested in helping non-profits with using technology to raise money. We talked at length about our common volunteering passions and Frank patiently listened as I described all the intricacies of Pitney Bowes’s  Holiday Mail for Heroes and Fast Break to Reading programs. Frank even offered to help spread the word. Thanx!

I met the SM measuring queen!

Katie Paine with Shel Israel

I still remember my head spinning from the ideas Katie Paine (@kdpaine) shared with participants during the “Measuring  Social Media’s Value” presentation at the MarketingProf’s B2B Forum. After the presentation there were so many people wanting to shake her hand and ask questions that I didn’t even bother. It was a different story at T-Bash and T-Brunch. I got to spend a good amount of time with Katie who not only listened to my Social Media monitoring dilemmas, but offered advice right on the spot. I was so impressed with her that one of the first things I did once I got back home from the trip was to purchase her book, “Measuring Public Relationships.” As it turns out our interest in measuring social media is not the only thing we have in common. Katie lives in Durham, NH, the town I lived in for over five years attending University of New Hampshire. What a coincidence!

The polka dots dress that seemed to be everywhere all the time.

Tatyana Kanzaveli with Shashi Bellamkonda (image curtesy of Flickrs thekenyeung

Boy did I feel foolish asking Tatyana Kanzaveli  ( @glfceo ) whether she was planning to attend T-Bash? She gracefully replied that she was not only planning on being there, but she was organizing the event. Oops. Despite this early faux pas Tatyana and I were best friends and hugging each other by the time T-Brunch was over. I swear this woman was the soul of the party managing to greet everybody, introducing folks to one another, making sure they were all well fed and had enough to drink. She even managed to convince Lionel and Richard from Dell to attend one of the CIO IT Executives Tweetups she organized the day after T-Bash! If I ever need an event coordinator in the Bay Area Tatyana will be my pick. You rock girlfriend.

He is the man!

Shel Israel along Katie Paine (left) & Sumaya Kazi

I traveled across the country to shake  his hand, but it was well worth it.  Because of his mention of Pitney Bowes’ activities in Social Media Shel Israel (@ShelIsrael) drew attention to what I do at Pitney Bowes not only on the outside, but also on the inside. The truth is that the work of many social media strategists in big companies does not only involve spending happy hours on Twitter or Facebook. It includes the difficult task of convincing many skeptics that Social Media is the future of PR and Marketing and what you do in Social Media ultimately shapes your corporate brand. Shel, I love what I do and I thank you again for helping to recognize people like me.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2009 12:14 pm

    Good information on this blog, I will return.

  2. September 8, 2009 4:37 pm

    Thanks Anita, glad you liked our Twitterville t-shirt idea. I am sorry we couldn’t connect this time as you saw the long line for tees @Twitterville. I really appreciate the kind words and do let me know when you are in DC the next time. We absolutely will catchup.

    Shashi Bellamkonda

    BTW.

  3. September 8, 2009 5:28 pm

    What a great post, fabulous summation of a fabulous event. Great to spend time with you, hope we can do more on the East coast.. Would love to see you at the Measurement Summit — right after UNH homecoming..

  4. September 8, 2009 6:48 pm

    Great write up of T-bash and love your photos!

  5. September 22, 2009 9:13 pm

    Aneta,

    Good grief, I’ve had you bookmarked for two weeks to come by and say THANK YOU for all the kind words. I’m so very glad that our mutual travels have given us the opportunity to chat, get to know one another, and share our trials and excitement over the social media world.

    Looking forward to the next time we get to visit and muse some more. :)

    Best,
    Amber

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