Foursquare 3.0

Foursquare Campaign WizardJust in time for SXSW, Foursquare has rolled out a new release of features and their focus on multi-location businesses sings to me.

For those of you managing multiple venues in your Foursquare account know well how hard it is to kick off a campaign, deploy specials and aggregate your venue’s check-ins.

Foursquare 3.0 addresses each of those needs and then some.

Benefits to Enterprises

Greg Sterling does a great job of analyzing the release, here are some of his highlights:

  • You can now initiate a campaign once and apply to any or all of your claimed venues.
  • You’ll be able to aggregate your stats across venues to see track demographics as well as campaigns analytics.
  • While not new, it’s key to note that all of this data is real-time.  So you can quickly react, deploy, correct and reward based on what you’re seeing happen.

Imagine deploying a Flash, Swarm or Friends Special across all of your sports bars during the heat of the March Madness.  Are you listening Beef ‘O’ Brady’s?

To me this brings Foursquare to the big kids table by courting the enterprise users.  A single point for management and analysis is key if you’re going to think about having large companies and their extensive reach and deep pockets.

Foursquare Analytics

Deaf Ears

Now if only Facebook and Twitter would take notice and provide an enterprise portal so I can manage over 100 online presence through a single tool.

Next Up

Is you’re listening Foursquare I’d like for your analytics and tracking to better integrate with my web analytics packages.  You don’t have to do this directly for each vendor, but at least allow me to better tag my venues with their website sibling.

This will allow me to roll up Foursquare’s role in my customer relationship and compare it to my other initiatives.

Ty Downing Interview

Ty Downing is one guy who walks the walk when it comes to nearly every aspect of social media.  That’s because he runs a business that manages it all.  With that in his back pocket, his involvement in Social Fresh Tampa will be one of the highlights for me.


Your Background

Ty Dowing
Mark Regan: Tell me a little about your background and how you came into your current role as CEO of SayItSocial.

Ty Downing: Well, I have been involved with internet marketing, and digital advertising going on 8 years now. I cut my teeth on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) obsessing over Google’s algorithms by sitting at the feet of Matt Cutts, and Danny Sullivan (Creator of SMX), thus slowly developing my other company “Perspective Internet Marketing” into a full-service internet marketing agency focusing on SEO, PPC,
local search, analytics & measuring site behaviors.

You could say I was an early adopter of social media in a field that mostly despised, or didn’t believe in social media (SEO’s), but I forged ahead, and in 2009 I co-founded SayItSocial, a social media consulting firm focused on corporate social media education & training, Facebook applications, social media strategy, conversation monitoring, and reputation management.

Early Adopter

Mark Regan: Your time at events/conferences must expose you to ideas and trends long before they hit the mainstream. How have you taken advantage of that?

Ty Downing: I utilize what I gain at these events by implementing them with our clients.  The only way I can keep my clients as well as SayItSocial’s reputation as a leader, we must act fast with implementation. Our field and client needs change rapidly as well as, so we take full advantage of these events.

Additionally, our team are thought leaders in social media, so we also bring new ideas to these events, for example in advance of Social Fresh, we are unveiling version 1.2 of Epicenter, a Facebook marketing CMS designed to create engaging custom Facebook landing pages with contests, lead generation, viral marketing, and loyalty programs. It’s a complete Facebook application with cutting edge technology and simplicity. We want to totally get this into mainstream quickly, it’s such an awesome tool that can help business leverage social media so much better, and measure ROI much easier.

Mark Regan: What new topic has become more frequent over the past 2-3 months?

Ty Downing: Facebook custom applications and Facebook consulting.

Personal Brand

Mark Regan: How has your experience in the business world helped you master your own personal brand marketing?

Ty Downing: That’s a good question. I think for me it’s been opposite? I say this because social media has empowered personal brands exponentially. Because of being an early adopter in social media, I mean one of the first subscribers to Twitter even, I was extremely active in marketing my personal brand with social networks, and personal videos that enabled people to “see the CEO”.

When people think of “Ty Downing” they think of SayItSocial & SEO. Obviously this is my own opinion, but I do feel this has been my personal experience.

Break It Down

Mark Regan: How do respond to clients who are jazzed about setting up their social media presence, but haven’t done some of the basics in online marketing well or at all?

Ty Downing: It’s like a golf swing. I tell them we will be “re-training” their swing, but not let them worry, that’s why they came to us in the first place. I (we) teach them simple basics before a strategy and profile building. Which tools should I use? Do I have staff & resources to have an active social media presence? So basically I ask a lot of questions, and then listen a lot!

Bonus Questions

Mark Regan: What is your favorite online marketing/social media toy of the day?

Ty Downing: Epicenter custom Facebook applications tool!

Mark Regan: Bonus: Any fun plans while you’re here in Tampa?

Ty Downing: Mark, please…please tell me the good places to eat? Any of your readers, please tell me what to see in Tampa!

UPDATE: OK Ty, here you go.

Don’t forget to invite me.

Contact

Mark Regan: Thanks Ty! I’m excited to welcome you to Tampa on February 22nd as part of Social Fresh Tampa. How can people find out more you and connect with you?

Ty Downing: You bet, lets connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!

SchneiderMike Interview

SchneiderMike is one smart guy.  I researched his work before I asked him to be a part of my Social Fresh Tampa interview series and I was impressed.  He is a guy who gets it and shares what he knows.  Can’t wait to hear him speak in a few weeks.


Your Background

SchneidermikeMark Regan: Tell me a little about your background and how you came into your current role as Director Digital Incubator at allen & gerritsen.

SchneiderMike: I started as an application developer. I built giant operational, CRM and analytics database applications for big companies in the pharmaceuticals, shopping, healthcare technology, retail and consumer packaged goods spaces. During that time I got pretty intimate with Oracle, Cognos, Business Objects and also open source technologies. Somehow

I ended up building analytics and web technology groups for a big Boston ad shop. I stayed there for four years and then left to help build the digital group for allen & gerritsen .

Stakeholders

Mark Regan: With a focus being put on location-based and local marketing recently, how do you think a stakeholder should choose where to focus?

SchneiderMike: They should consider their goals and resources first and foremost. Are they looking to acquire new customers or reward loyal customers? Are they looking for more engagement? Do they want to perform spectacle? Its hard to accomplish all three in one tactic. Focus on creatively engaging customers and then choose a platform that fits.

Location-Based

Mark Regan: Your recent blog post about Foursquare’s need for a hierarchy was dead on. How have you been able to manage multi-location businesses with such tools?

SchneiderMike: We don’t let a lack of tools stop us. We know the space is evolving and we are vocal about where we’d like to see it go. In other words, we use people hours now. The people at foursquare have made it easy for us by investing time on their end while tools are evolving.

Mark Regan: How do you think small businesses should take advantage of location-based social networks like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places? How can they gain a competitive edge with them?

SchneiderMike: First they should pay attention to all of the things that are happening to them on these networks. Becoming familiar with the content will give them an opportunity to learn who likes and does not like their product. First and foremost, listen to these people on foursquare, Yelp, Google and Facebook who are talking to them about their products and services.

Next, they should be going big with Groupon-like deals of 50% off or more to attract the attention of a very vocal early adopter set who will pass on the information. They can be creative about how many checkins it takes to unlock the deal and they can cut it off when they want to quit. That’s a good start.

Bonus Questions

Mark Regan: What is your favorite online marketing/social media toy of the day?

SchneiderMike: I really want a Go Pro Camera. Video is the thing I want to do most but seem to make the least time for lately. I’m also into using the iPad as an instrument.

Mark Regan: Any fun plans while you’re here in Tampa?

SchneiderMike: I’ll probably have a couple of beers with Manny and Johnny. Seriously though, I am planning to have dinner and drinks with the attendees of Social Fresh and get a sense for the Tampa social media scene. I’m open to ideas. I do really want to try some famous Cigar City beers.

Contact

Mark Regan: Thanks SchneiderMike! I’m excited to welcome you to Tampa on February 22nd as part of Social Fresh Tampa.  How can people find out more about you and connect with you?

SchneiderMike: The best way for people to reach me is to tweet me on twitter @schneidermike or send an email to schneidermike at a dash g dot com.

If you want to learn more about what I am thinking about, you can read my blog, Digital Before Digital at schneidermike.com although I’ve slowed down a bit on blogging while I’m writing Location-based Marketing For Dummies with Aaron Strout.

Thanks for reaching out to me Mark, I’m excited to come to Tampa.

Chris Penn Interview

Social Fresh Tampa Interview Series Kickoff

Who better to kickoff my Social Fresh Tampa interview series than Chris Penn. You may know him better as Christopher S Penn from reading Chris Brogan’s work. Chris Penn co-founded PodCamp and also made a name for himself as the Chief Technology Officer of the Student Loan Network. He’s now over at Blue Sky Factory doing great work. He’ll be joining many other great speakers on February 22, 2011 at Social Fresh Tampa.


Your Background


Mark Regan: Tell me a little about your background and how you came into your current role as VP of Strategy and Innovation at Blue Sky Factory (BSF).

Chris Penn: It’s a rather funny short story. Fundamentally, there’s a concept that my friend Chris Brogan hammers on constantly: be there before the sale. Provide value, build your network and your platform, be helpful, and establish your foundation, your base. When it comes time for you to draw on that network, people tend to pay you back if you’ve done a good enough job giving first. I managed to be unemployed for exactly 37 minutes because the moment I was out of a job, I asked my network, and Greg Cangialosi, our founder and CEO, grabbed me as quickly as he could.

Marketing and Technology

Mark Regan: You’ve said you live in that uncomfortable world between marketing and IT/technology (a space I personally love!).  How do you exploit your ability to bridge that gap?

Chris Penn: I’m a marketing technologist, a word coined by Scott Brinker and subsequently promoted by Mitch Joel. It’s a highly unusual practice because it requires you to be competent in two different worlds that typically require very different mindsets in order to be successful. I wouldn’t characterize it as uncomfortable as much as I would call it rare. What makes it possible to bridge that gap between worlds is an understanding I get from the martial arts about finding similarities.  A  market segmentation can be expressed as a SQL query, and a sorting algorithm can be turned into a marketing funnel. You have to be able to port concepts back and forth into the language that the world you’re working in speaks.

Personal and Professional Brands

Mark Regan: How do you balance the goals of your personal brand with the goals of your professional personas (VP, professor, host)?  Are they ever in competition?

Chris Penn: There is always strong potential for personal and professional brands to be in conflict. What it takes to make that not happen is to work for a company and a team that recognizes the synergy between personal and professional brand on the corporate front, and the maturity and responsibility of the person to align their brand with the company goals. Blue Sky Factory’s stated mission and goal in the world is to help you become a better marketer, and thus being a professor of Internet marketing and a marketing podcast co-host is perfectly aligned with that. Work I do in one area benefits work in other areas.  Lessons I learn in one area get ported to other areas and all benefit.

For example, I write and send out a monthly personal newsletter. As part of that, I get to use the BSF product, Publicaster, as an end user. I know what its like to be a customer, to have the customer experience on a regular basis, and I can give feedback to the team about what works and what doesn’t. Another example – I blog a lot personally. My personal web site uses the same platform and theme as the BSF one. I test out things on my blog and break it all the time, and the stuff that works well in the end gets pushed to the BSF web site. Some of the stuff I try would be deeply irresponsible to do on the corporate web site, so my personal space benefits the company.

Consistency

Mark Regan: On the social web, you appear in so many places.  How do you manage to maintain a consistent engagement everywhere?

Chris Penn: I’m not everywhere, not by a long shot. I pick very carefully where I can bet use my time, and each place has a defined role. Linked in is all about groups for me. Twitter is about finding new people and staying in touch. Facebook on my fan page is all about tools and ideas I have that I share. I don’t have to be everywhere, and I set expectations carefully about what each place means to me.

Email and Social Media

Mark Regan: Pundits love to say email is dead.  But I continue to see it being better integrated as a marketing tool.  Do you expect the same to happen with social media and its various tools?

Chris Penn: For those that survive, yes. That said, one of the largest flaws in thinking in social media is the assumption that social media tools are public utilities. They are not. Email is, because no one organization
controls email, by design. Facebook? Twitter? Linked in? Quora? These are not public utilities and thus they have the potential to go away overnight.

Bonus Questions

Mark Regan: What is your favorite online marketing/social media toy of the day?

Chris Penn: Toy of the day? My iPad, unquestionably. Greatest productivity tool I have besides the laptop itself.

Mark Regan: Any fun plans while you’re here in Tampa?

Chris Penn: Nope. I am surprisingly unfun in person because I’m such a nerd.

Contact

Mark Regan: Thanks Chris!  I’m excited to welcome you to Tampa on February 22nd as part of Social Fresh Tampa.  How can people find out more about Blue Sky Factory and connect with you?

Chris Penn: You can find out more about Blue Sky Factory and grab our newest eBook here.

You can find out more about me at: http://www.christopherspenn.com

Dr. Nate Interview

Social media in a conservative industry?

In this week’s interview of Online Marketing experts here in the Tampa Bay area, I had the chance to hook up with Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford (Dr. Nate), owner of Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in the Westchase area of Tampa.  He sprang onto the Tampa scene early this year with…

I’ll just let him tell the story.


Your Background

Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford Interview

Mark Regan: Tell me a little about your background and how you came into your current incarnation of optometrist and social media evangelist..

Dr. Nate: I’ve always been a little bit techy when thinking about a career, I considered basic science, but was concerned about not having enough person-to-person interaction. After considering lots of fields that would be science/tech based yet involve daily working with people, I settled on Optometry. I have been extremely happy with my choice.

I have also been interested in “social media” from the early 1990s in the form IRC, usenet, and MUDs and even without video, audio, or graphics beyond ASCII art, I was impressed with how well the internet could unite people independent of geography. I worked for AOL for awhile after college and before optometry school. Once I became a business owner, it was a no-brainer to use these tools to make connections and market my “real” skill of eye and vision care.

Foursquare Day – April 16th

Mark Regan: We came to know each other through your fame in naming April 16th (4/16) as Foursquare Day.  How has this international level of fame changed your Westchase business?  Were there any downsides?

Dr. Nate: Well, Foursquare Day was great. I basically just got lucky – I had a simple idea and ran with it. Lots of other people got excited about it and because of that I was on TV, in the paper, and mentioned in lots of blogs and websites around the world. I met lots of great folks.

People now find out about my practice via foursquare, but even more importantly it opened doors that lead to speaking appearances at national meetings and a paying gig blogging about social media and the eye care industry. The only real downside was that I basically didn’t sleep for three weeks while not cutting back on my day job. Working during the day, blogging at night. It was brutal.

Local Online Marketing

Mark Regan: With respect to local online marketing, what should more owners use to drive their business?  I’m thinking, review sites, directories, SEO, social media, location-based marketing, etc.  But you may have others.

Dr. Nate: Small business owners are busy people and they can’t simply tell “marketing” to do things. I’m not saying they have to do everything themselves, but they should educate themselves enough about social media so that they can intelligently make choices about what to do, what to delegate and what to outsource.

I think we are at the point now where every local business should have a Facebook page, even if it is updated less frequently. A blog really matters, both for the customer education and the SEO value, but it requires more time and attention. Claiming and monitoring review sites are important, but I think that the demographics of Tampa Bay are such that a business should limit the amount of time put in.

Mark Regan: I’m guessing the typical optometrist considers their market potential to be a 25-mile radius around their office.  What would you say to these folks to open their eyes beyond that limitation?

Dr. Nate: I think that the average optometrists actually thinks it is smaller than 25-mile, maybe more like 10. It is interesting, though, because I have patients that come from Gainesville, Bradenton, Sebring, etc. They come because I have special skills such as computer vision syndrome and children’s vision and they find me via the internet.

So when I talk to other eye doctors, I encourage them to think about what sets them apart and then totally own that niche. Claim that area and dominate it. For example, I want to be the THE EYE GUY to the Tampa Bay tech scene. The fact that I just got published in Mashable is huge, even though obviously most readers aren’t in my neighborhood.

Healthcare Industry

Mark Regan: Do you feel businesses in the healthcare space have a disadvantage over others due to legal issues, liability, regulations when it comes to exploiting the latest and greatest in online marketing strategies?

Dr. Nate: I do a podcast called Peripheral Vision with a friend about social media for eye care professionals. We talk about this all the time. Yes, health care does have few disadvantages. Some of these are state and federal laws that limit what can be said and what kind of information can be released.

But that isn’t really the biggest hurdle. Most health care professionals are very conservative and are used to have a lot of control over everything. Social media is new and it feels like giving up control of information and image to others. What many don’t realize is that they’ve already lost control – they just don’t know it yet – and embracing social media is a way to regain control.

Location-Based Social Networks

Mark Regan: Bonus question: What are your thoughts on location-based social networks like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places? How do you see them helping businesses?

Dr. Nate: Well, I remember when I was being interviewed a year ago and was asked what I thought was going to be big in 2010. I said location-based services, but I had no idea how white-hot it was going to get – for me personally or the the concept. However, a very small percentage of people, I think hovering around 5% use these networks.

Facebook has the opportunity to explode that number, but from a business owner perspective they’ve totally botched the roll out in a really disappointing way.

Nevertheless, I think businesses should take advantage of the LBS networks, because even if a small percentage of people use them, it gives businesses one more way generate content and interest. It remains to be seen if LBS ever becomes standard.

Contacting You

Mark Regan: Thanks Dr. Nate!  How can people find out more about how you use social media in your optometry office and connect with you?

Dr. Nate: You are totally welcome. Thanks for being a Patient Spotlight for me. I love to spread the word about social media. First, I host a regular social media chat for the Westchase Area Business Association at my office. People can find out more on the Facebook page. They can also read more on my blog, Bright Eyes News, or find me on Facebook or Twitter.

Get Paid to Drink Beer

31 Days of WOBtoberfestHERE’S AN IDEA!

Create a project where you get to drink beer every day, write it off as a company expense and have everyone think you are some smart internet guy.

Well I did just that.

In mid-September I came up with the idea to embark on a social media experiment during October.

World of Beer - WestchaseUsing a local bar, World of Beer – Westchase, and its annual beer and music festival, WOBtoberfest, as my target I created my version of a flash mob, the 31 Days of WOBtoberfest.

I went to it every day in October, sampling two different beers and blogging about it.

And no I have/had no affiliation with the bar.  I paid full price for everyone one of my beers!

THE EXPERIMENT

But the experiment was more than 2 beer reviews a day.  I extended the website with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Vimeo, allowing me to reach different audiences in whatever manner they preferred.

The highlights were interesting and contrary to what I thought they would have been:

  • Very few people found out about it through organic search.  Those that did, quickly bounced off of the site.
  • Business Cards

    Business Cards

  • It appears the offline activities played the biggest role.  Things like talking it up, leaving business cards everywhere and working the bar and its staff played the biggest role in attracting new visitors.
  • David Meerman Scott Tweet

    David Meerman Scott Tweet

  • Even with mentions by David Meerman Scott [PHOTO] and ads on Facebook, [PHOTO] they provided little in terms of repeat visitors, email subscriptions or RSS subscriptions.
  • 31WOB Facebook Ad

    31WOB Facebook Ad

  • The two online bumps we had were tied directly to WOB’s rabid fan base.  Early on they put out a Facebook status update that spiked visitors and subscribers.  Also there were two articles in their weekly email newsletter that drove new traffic.
  • 31WOB Email Preview

    31WOB Email Preview

  • The repeat visitors were largely due to a daily email update.  With an open rate of over 54% and a click-through rate of over 30%, I would consider that a major success.

They always say “the money’s in the list”.  This was no different.  Email played the most significant role is connecting with the fans of 31 WOB!

WHAT ELSE?

  • What else should I pick apart and expose to you?
  • How do you think I should measure success?
  • Would the results have been different if there was more time in advance to build up anticipation?
  • Was the experiment just too short to achieve anything greater?

Check out some of the hard numbers from the experiments Day 31 post for a more humorous look at its success.