Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twitter… Why Should You Bother? What is the Purpose?

I hear often from people that they think Twitter is a dumb form of social networking, how can you really gain anything from typing updates of 140 characters all day long? As my husband has said “why do I care who is eating a sandwich or going to bed?”. He is (obviously) not a twitter user!
I am going to take a moment to explain to you the purpose of twitter… I will write an article later on about the way to effectively use twitter. I hate to overload you with it all at once… so I am focusing on the WHY for now.

For those who do not understand the reason for Twitter (like my husband), I explain it like this…

Twitter is like a radio station. The DJ’s talk and talk and hope that people are listening, following and finding their words useful. With twitter you hope that your 140 character updates will be followed, useful to others and and listened to (or re-tweeted and replied to).

Radio stations differ based on their target audience (Sports, Country Music, News, Oldies ect…), and because of this they attract different listeners. Same with Twitter! Each person on Twitter is speaking to a different target audience and will be followed by those they appeal to. For example, a financial expert is going to tweet about finances and attract followers who find his information useful or interesting.

Now, Twitter allows you to take your 140 characters to post pictures, articles, videos and websites to support or educate your followers. This allows you to be credible, usefull and more interesting! This is like the website that accompanies the radio station. To give more information, elaborate on what is said and give more of a visual.

You can also use twitter as one more way to get your customers to hear from you each day. Stay top of mind! Link your twitter account to your e-mails, Linked-In, Facebook – everything that people see from you or your company! Connecting is key to staying top of mind!!! Just think, your customers will be hearing from you in 140 character bursts every time you post a tweet! That is a great way to keep connected, be seen as a guru in your field and build credibility.  Much as radio stations will use TV commercials, or adds in the paper, billboards, ect... to remind listeners that they are out there!

This is how I explain the reason for using Twitter to those who seem to think it is a waste of time. I hope that it has helped to clarify the purpose for you.

I must admit though that there are some very funny videos on you tube, that do a great job of making fun of us Twitter believers! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN2HAroA12w this is one of my favourites… I hope that you enjoy.

follow me on twitter @rebekahgeldart

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Obama Presidential Campaign … Remembered for more than the obvious

Many will remember President Obama’s campaign for the white house because he is the first black president, one of the youngest Presidents of the United States (5th youngest if you want to be exact), the Obama children will be the youngest to be raised in the white house since Amy Carter in 1976. For me (although all of these are great things to be remembered for), I will remember the Obama Presidential Campaign most because of their use of social media.

As mentioned in my previous post on Zappos and Tony Hsieh, I have learned a lot from studying other social media masters. How can you be the best if you don’t learn from them? The Obama Presidential Campaign is the second Master of social media for business that I am going to focus on.

Regardless of your personal views of Obama as President, his policies, if you voted for him, ect... I urge you to read on. I am Canadian, so I am not a voter or supporter.

Have you heard of or Read the book Barack 2.0 “Barack Obama’s Social Media Lessons for Business”? If not I STRONGLY suggest that you do! (you can buy it here http://www.barack20.com/  ) I have a copy and have read through it multiple times… this was one of the best purchases I have made in my career. (no I am not being paid to endorse this concept… I simply truly believe that it works)

The book is accompanied by an interactive online companion, and will teach you so much! The premise of this book is teach you how to put the tools and strategies to Work for your Business. All based on the tools and strategies that helped the Obama Campaign connect, engage and communicate with millions. It is not a secret that part of the success of Obama’s campaign came from his internet presence. He reached millions of people and allowed them to become engaged in his campaign by allowing them to feel they were important to him and becoming a part of history!

Facts about the campaign:
• He has over 2379102 supporters
• He has over 833161 friends on my space
• His You Tube has over 114559 subscribers and 18,413,100 channel views
• His Twitter has over 2338865 followers
• He sent over 1 billion e-mails during the campaign
• He has 500+ conections on Linked-In (remember Linked-In does not show past that)
• In total Obama has over 5 million supporters on Social Media Networking Sites
• He had over 3 million people donate to his campaign online
• He has over 120 widgets
• His online staff was 10 – 1 against McCain’s
• He started his own social network (http://www.mybarackobama.com/) and over 2 million people have profiles on it

Obama’s Presidential Campaign was the most successful “small business” use of social media that I can find!

I am excited to hear what your thoughts are.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Zappos - The Royalty of Social Media ... long live King Tony!

When I was first assigned the task of becoming a guru in the field of using social media for work, I decided that the best place to start would be to look at the masters. In my research I found that there are 2 main Companies that are absolutely genius in using social media to better their business. Zappos.com and the Obama Presidential Campaign.
In this blog I am going to focus on Zappos.

Here is a quick overview – Zappos.com is an electronic commerce company specializing in footwear and is currently based in Henderson, Nevada, USA. Since its founding in 1999, Zappos has grown to be the biggest online shoe store. Zappos did "almost nothing" in sales for 1999, but grossed over $800 million in merchandise sales in 2007, and is projecting over $1 billion in 2008. * Information directly from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zappos.com).  I would urge everyone to take a look at the company more.  They have amazing core values, culture and the most genuinely happy staff you will ever see.  Not to mention hundreds of BEAUTIFUL shoes!

Zappos is an amazing company that has dared to step full force into the world of SOCIAL MEDIA! A daring move that many are to nervous to make, or simply don’t know how. The mst unbelievable social media move that Zappos has made has to be through Twitter.

If you are on the Zappos website, you will notice that they have a whole page dedicated to “What are Zappos employees doing right now?” (can be found at http://twitter.zappos.com/employee_tweets ). This is amazing, as you will see that over 198 Zappos employees’ twitter messages, are recent and posted while they work! Not only that, but they are all inserting information off the Zappos website through out their posts. That is over 198 times a day that Zappos is being marketed. If you think that each Zappos employee is followed by at least 50 followers (many are followed by thousands!)… that is a lot of Zappos reaching the masses at no cost each day!

Even the CEO Tony Hsieh “tweets” every day multiple times! You can find him at http://twitter.com/zappos. I am a follower of Tony and he follow my twitter. As of today, Tony has 1,398,680 Followers! If you notice his bio is simply links back to his other Zappos sites.  Amazing that every day he is reaching over 1 million people (that want to follow him and know what he has to say) with information about his company?  How much to other companies pay for this when Tony has mastered doing it for FREE!

This is a serious thing for Zappos. They have a leader board in their office that shows who’s on Twitter and how many followers they have. This is so smart to me, as it keeps social media top of mind and breeds a bit of healthy competition between employees. From what I understand, it seems that Tony has 5 times as many followers as any other employee.

I find it amazing how the entire company has embraced this effort.  Although the more I come to know about Zappos, the less suprised I become!  Zappos is a great model for all of you who want to get your company immersed in Social Media in an easy, less time consuming way.

“Remember back when sending SMS text messages on your cell phone was a new thing, and it seemed kind of strange to use your cell phone to do that? And today, you probably wonder how you ever lived without text messaging. Well, Twitter is the same way. It's going to seem a little weird at first, but I promise you if you can talk your friends into joining it and you all use it for 2 weeks, it will change your life. You will wonder how you ever lived without it.” – Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos.com

Zappos uses many forms of Social Media… but Twitter is the main one! I encourage you to read this interview with Tony if you want to know more. http://www.davemadethat.com/2008/07/09/communication-20-zappos-a-social-media-success-story-interview-with-tony-hsieh/

I am also a fan of the Zappos YouTube channels. They are fantastic, well done and very entertaining! Definitely something you should take a look at: http://www.youtube.com/user/zappos and http://www.youtube.com/user/insidezappos

Finally – if you ever get a chance to be in Handerson Nevada, Zappos offers free tours of their facility daily. They pick you up at your hotel and drop you off again! This is a very cool imitative on Zappos part, and something I look forward to doing.

I have been lucky enough to experience Zappos first hand through my fill time job, and am honored to be linked with many Zappos employees on linked-in, twitter, facebook, ect. They are a great group of people and I have enjoyed every interaction with them.

Have a great day,


p.s. I am often asked if I know what is happening with Zappos being bought by Amazon (I got 5 Linked-In requests about this on Saturday alone!) Yes – Zappos was bought by Amazon in June 2009. I do not know anything else and from what we can all read it seems that the transition will be taking place this fall.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Q and A on Linked In

Q and A I have been asked frequently regarding Linked - In:
I know that if I have been asked these questions by others, you may be thinking them.  Well here you go!

1. How do you select a group?

a. Groups that you choose to join are based on what you are trying to achieve in using Linked-In. A great place to start, are on groups dedicated to your sales region or industry you are trying to reach.

b. Groups all have lengthy and detailed descriptions also… so many times searching a group criteria and reading these will help you determine if a group is for you or not.

c. It is easy to join and leave groups… so trial and error (until you find the groups that stick) may be the best option!

d. See what groups your connections are a part of – often if you are connected you will find value and interest in being in the same groups.

2. What is the protocol for referrals?

a. Often referrals are used and abused! This is not a good thing. You need to be sure that the person you are asking for a referral from is someone you know well. You want to be sure that they will not feel like you are “stealing” their connections.

b. Also, you need to be clear in the intent of the referral. I often use the line “Would you be willing to refer me to…because…” This seems to work well. Be honest and open.

c. In the end referrals are a tricky thing. The person you are asking the referral for holds the “power” and may very well say no for good reason or not. I have often turned down referrals because it was not a good fit, because I knew that it would not go over wel, ect… I have also passed many referrals along. It really all depends on the situation, the people involved, ect… so don’t be hurt if youa re turned down.

d. Referrals ARE however a better alternative to connecting with people who don’t know you at all. Don’t be afraid to use them… just be aware.

3. How do you establish a personality / credibility on Linked-In?

a. Your Linked-In personality comes from 2 things; Your profile (think of this like your business card), and your comments and discussions (think of this as your face to face meeting).

b. Every one has their own goals for Linked-In and this will depend on what personality you would like to portray. Only you know the people that you would like to attract or the Industries you want to appeal to. Use this as a guide line for the language you use. How you want to be seen and who you want to see you.

c. Often times the profiles are more straight cut and the discussions and posts are more “business casual”.

I hope this has helped and please feel free to ask me more questions that you have and I have not answered.

- Bek

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to “link into” Linked-In…

I am a member and frequent user of Linked – In. I find it to be a fabulous tool for my job, and a great way to get advise or information quickly (I am huge on being efficient and quick… to much time in a day gets wasted!). But what are the “do’s” and “don’ts” on Linked-In? Is it a successful? How do you “link-into” Linked-In? That is what I am here to let you know. I found out a lot of the don’ts the hard way – trust me not fun!

What Are Some Main “Do’s” and “Don’ts” on Linked-In?


- Add real value to the discussions that you comment on or create. – BE HELPFUL to others!

- Get your linked In Profile 100% complete. I was reading (and have noticed) that many Linked In users will not look at a profile if it is not completed in full.

- Keep your comments and postings relevant to the group you are posting them in. For example; Don’t talk health care on a teacher’s forum… Or look for help with a client issue on a church group.

- Join Groups that are applicable to you and your goals on Linked-In. This will save you time, energy and a lot of potential connections to people that are not relevant in your world.

- Have a thick skin! Many people hide behind their computers and can get pretty nasty! Especially if they feel you are a threat or in competition. Laugh it off and don’t respond. This can make it worse. If you really can’t handle it (yes just like in Kindergarten!) tell the group administrator or the Linked – In staff. Seriously… it is not worth your time or effort!


- Spamming! In discussions or private e-mails spam is not well received and can get you kicked out of groups (and apparently even have your entire account closed).

- Connecting with people that you don’t know or have a reason to connect with. Always remember to customize your invitation to link with others and let them know why they should connect with you. The general note from Linked-In to connect is often deleted immediately! This also helps you to keep your connections relevant.

- Commenting on or starting discussions to frequently. No one likes a discussion “hog”, so leave it a day or 2 before you start a new discussion. This will also keep people from ignoring you on Linked-In. You will also not look like a “know it all”.

- Disagreeing with a discussion topic without providing some ideas. Often members will comment that they disagree or don’t like a discussion but do not add some constructive input, a solution or why they disagree. This is not well liked in Linked-In.

- Sell, Sell, Sell… No one likes to feel like they are being sold to all the time. Vendors often are removed from groups or lose credibility when all they do is sell themselves or their company! Be helpful, and if you can use your company to do that great… but don’t try and sell them your product or service as a solution.

Have I had success using Linked In?

Yes! In the past 4 months that I have been working to use Linked – In more, I have gained 2 sales from it (amounting to $95,000!) with very little effort. I have also gained opportunities for my company to be interviewed and we will be in 2 publications (and there are about 6 more that are still pending).

I am finding the Linked – In is a great tool and is bringing in revenue. I would not say that you could base your year’s sales numbers off of it, or that you could rely on it for your sole form of sales… but it is a help!

What am I doing to make it work? I have a process that I follow. Here it is… obviously it may need to be tweaked to fit your job, personality, lifestyle, ect… This is also after I had a completed Linked-In profile, a “go ahead” from my company and I had joined all the groups applicable to my Linked-In needs.

• I go on linked in Daily to read, add comments or start discussions. This helps other members to know who I am and what I know. It helps create credibility for yourself (and/or your company). In the beginning do not ask for anything, mention your company in a “sales” way or be pushy… just be helpful and a knowledgeable!

• I look for opportunities daily. Weather it be from Discussions, comments, groups or my connections. I am always on the look out for people or companies that would be a good fit for me and/or my company.

• If I am going to contact someone regarding business, I never push myself on them. I send them an In-Mail (remember from the don’t list above… you can’t connect for no reason – In Mail is a great way to start!), letting them know that I think we could be a good connection for each other. I then explain why I think this and I conclude by simply adding for them links to my company site. This is not pushy and allows for them to look at me and decide for themselves if they would like to connect. After that I let it go… I do not stalk them or e-mail them again.

• If they do want to connect I set up a call between myself and them to dive deeper into my company, the potential for partnership, ect… and off it goes!

I will often “stir the pot” when starting a discussion. For example; I started a discussion discussion on “Training Arrogance” and received over 60 replies in less than a week. I started a Discussion asking if “Off Site Meetings and Conferences were Dead?” and received over 50 replies in a week. Not only does this tactic get you noticed, but it is also a HUGE help and a quick way to find out where the market is at on specific topics, ideas, economic climates, ect.

*Just remember that you need to be careful that you know what you are talking about and it is relevant to the group you are asking it of. (If not people on Linked-In can get very ticked off… not good!)

I also link everything back to each other – what I mean is my company web site, our web store, twitter, linked in Group, Facebook group, You Tube page, ect… This gains more exposure and helps with our credibility.

Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you may have on all forms of social media. I am an open book, happy and ready to help. I focused on Linked – In here and will be focusing on other forms of social media as time goes on aswell.


p.s. links to all of my personal social media stuff is on the side bar. Feel free to check it out

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Push back on using social media for work...


As it is a large part of my job, I spend a lot of time researching social media in companies, and equal or more time on social networking sites. I have realized that I am lucky to be in the company I am in, while trying to bring them up to speed on social media. My life could be a lot harder, with such a simple sounding task.

So many people are struggling because they are feeling that they are getting no where when it comes to social media and their company! Many companies have banned social media forms like Facebook, twitter and my space, from being used at work. Thus lies an obvious problem - how can social media for business happen then? Also, there is a generational gap that seems to be hindering a lot of companies from allowing social media to be used for the good of their business. Finally, many companies are worried about keeping the “face” of their company consistent in all forms of social media (this is completely understandable, but it is very easy to overcome. It shouldn’t stop the process all together…) Who would have thought that FREE ADVERTISING/MARKETING would get such push back?! Networking in person is encouraged, but online is not… this baffles me. Please understand that I do not think social media should replace face to face interactions… but it can aid it in such an impactful way!

As I said at the beginning of this post, I feel lucky and here is why…

I work in a company (like any other) that is multi generational. No difference there, many of the “older” (need to be careful how I use that term) generation of our staff are pushing back. The difference is, that I have the support from our VP of Business Development (I want to add that I would lump him into the “older” generation) to push this initiative forward. That is a tremendous help when others do not like the idea of using the internet for as a form of marketing. My company has also never banned the use of social networking sites. We are all expected to use them appropriately, and always with the best interest of the company in mind. Finally, we are working to put into place rules (if you will) that help keep the face of our company consistent to our vision at all times. We are also not forcing this on anyone at the company. It is a tool that we are offering, and I am mastering to be a resource and save everyone time.

Here are some links to a few articles I have been reading on this subject. Also, if you hop onto Linked-In these issues are surfacing everywhere!

I would also love to hear from you. How is your company handling social media? Is it embraced or not? What are you doing about it?

I hope that you are all having a wonderful day!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Intro and the Who, What and Why's answered

Hello Everyone,
Seems like blogs are becoming a HUGE trend these days… With all of the blogs available to read (many on social media I am sure) why would you listen to me? Why would you want to take time out of your day to read what I have to say on Social Media? The truth is that I don’t have a witty reason to convince you to read what I have to say. Continuing to read what I write is something that you will jsut have to decide for yourself. I thought that in my first blog here I would let you know a few things. Who I am, Why I am blogging and What I am blogging on. (Similar to my blog description, only more detailed and hopefully a better read!)

My name is Rebekah (although I tend to go by Bek). I am a young business woman (I will not disclose my age... but I am in my 20's) immersed in the world of meetings, clients and a multi generational workforce. I am trying to bring my company up to speed on Social Media (not always as easy as it sounds). Not to mention working to be the best wife I can be… life definitely is busy! I work for a company called Eagle’s Flight and (for those of you who like to get technical) my title is Business Development Manager / Media Relations.

Why & What?
I decided to start this blog to bring understanding to others. I know that zillions of people are trying to navigate this crazy new phenomenon we all call social media. I am a social media junkie and am excited to share what I know, discover and the “mess ups” I make along the way. I do this for work, so – why not share it with everyone else too?
I want you to understand that I am a very casual person and that this blog will not always sound like a professional business journal. That simply is not me! I can put on the face, pull off the language and sound like I am writing for a business journal … but what fun would that be?  If that is what you are looking for I would bet that you would not be here.
I hope that you enjoy and I look forward to hearing your thoughts, comments and ideas. Feel free to let me know what you would like to hear about.

Have a great day,

Connect with me in other ways too…
Twitter - http://twitter.com/RebekahGeldart

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=501062999&ref=name

Linked In - http://www.linkedin.com/in/rebekahgeldart

You Tube - http://www.youtube.com/user/RebekahGeldart