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A year ago today my friend and Tweep Saundra Hadley lost her father. She turned to twitter as a way to express her grief. What she found in return was compassion.

She found that this “social media” was so much more than a broadcast channel. She was able to connect with real people in real time that were showing her compassion and caring, in her time of need. Here is her interview with Josh Breslow: 

When I met her she was using it not only to stay connected with people who reached out to her, but has also found it a great way to do business.

She told me that it was the best peer- to peer networking that she has ever found. 

 Saundra, or @planningforever is the #1 twitter user in Evansville. She has a wide variety of topics that she posts –it is not all business. She is real, honest and funny.  

So today on this #FollowFriday, I am not asking you to just follow her, I am asking a lot more:

  1. Follow @planning forever (No really add her to your twitter stream, but follow how she acts, watch how she engages, see how she uses it and follow her lead.)
  2. Reach out to her. One year ago she turned to twitter, twitter people give her some ❤ today!
  3. Really listen to the people in your stream, reach out to someone else today who needs your encouragement.

Traditional media has definitely taken a turn in a different direction. More and more people are using online resources instead of looking to traditional media for everything in their lives from news to entertainment. So does that mean companies should ditch traditional media altogether?

Scott Wise owner and CEO of Scotty’s Brewhouse did just that:

 “A year and a half ago, when the economy crashed, we were looking for ways to cut costs without laying employees off. At the same time social media was really taking off, so we eliminated every single piece of outside advertising, no print, no radio, no other types of traditional media, and shifted our focus to e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. In the past, we would spend about $250,000 each year in football ads, newspaper, and radio during Christmas time to promote gift cards. We eliminated all of that.”

But is this what’s right for you? Social media is not about a broadcast message. It’s about listening. It’s about communicating with your customers. Scotty does that very well. He mentions in his guest blog post on the Chamber INsider that he does not utilize a secondary company or ghost blogger to do social media for him. It’s really him. After all, you and your employees know your company and brand the best. Why would your customer want to put a comment card in your comment box that a subcontractor is going to read? How would they know that the awesome employee they were praising or the defective widget they were complaining about would get the message?

 Scotty has found a way to utilize social media in several very effective ways.  In addition to using it to broadcast his message about specials and what’s going on in his store, he also uses it to communicate and listen to customers, both good and bad.  Then he takes the bad and makes the necessary changes to make them right (and does it right now!). He’s really listening. He uses it for market research and to vent. It’s really Scotty.

 With that said, I do not believe traditional media is totally dead. Combined with a well-designed social media plan, it can make a large impact on the value of your business.  If you are considering re-allocating your advertising budget, and spending less on traditional media, the phonebook could be the first item to go. Replace the phonebook costs with social media training, updated graphics and logos, and better signage on your brick-and-mortar. Put your advertising and branding where your customer’s eyes are looking, and leave no stone unturned.

 Some of the hottest forms of advertising and corporate branding are vehicle graphics and wraps. If you are going with more new media advertising and want to find a way to get the word out, why not put it on all your delivery vehicles “follow me” and your twitter handle or Facebook URL? Find a way to combine new and old.  

But don’t treat new media like traditional media…  if you do, you will fail.

I recently went to a conference and met a very interesting lady. She had bling on her glasses and bling on her shirt. She was a very energetic person and I liked her instantly. With the large amount of people that I was meeting I was having a difficult time remembering names, so I called her 

  She owns Embroidme Baltimore, and at her shop. They make customized “bling” apparel.

We had several conversations about how that process takes place and I was instantly fascinated. But what I really liked was her ability to be who she was always. She let her character and personality shine even with her choice of clothing, eyewear, footwear, and handbags.

 I encourage people with social media to be who they are.

 Sometimes people tell me they keep two Facebook profiles. One profile for family and friends and one profile for business associates. Often find this is not a good practice, as the person who is truly good at networking and building relationships in the community, and within their businesses find that the line of who is their friend, and who is a business acquaintance is very often blurry. Just have one and be who you are.

 I was very delighted to receive a package in the mail yesterday.

 I opened it, standing next to my mother-in-law. When she saw the contents she instantly said, oh. Is that from Sparkles?

 Her ability to be herself on an off-line carried over into my conversations on and off-line to the point that my mother-in-law knew exactly who my package was from without looking at the name.

 No matter what your business or what you’re selling. The bottom line is you have to sell you first. To do that, you want people to recognize your name in association with a particular character trait, feeling, emotion, product, or ____.  (You fill in the blank. )

 As you make your next status update ask yourself:

  What does this statement picture or link say about me?

 Thank you Allison… Now I don’t have to wait till I am a Billionaire.

“Every time I close my eyes,

 I see my name in shining lights”

Guest Blogger today:

Janet Laane Effron ( @janet_frg )

She is a Managing Principal of the Four Rivers Group where she works to support businesses and educational groups in the selection and implementation of processes & technologies to enable organizational learning and informational management. 

 Company Policy

I was asked, recently, about the advisability of including the Blog function in a Sharepoint implementation.  The answer to that lies in a question, the same primary question that needs to be asked if your business is looking Twitter, Yammer, an in-house wiki, or a host of other Social Media tools.  The question is a simple one:

 Is it your company policy to hire stupid people?

 I’m guessing the answer to that question is “no”; that your HR policy is to hire talented, capable, highly motivated professionals who want to excel in their careers.  Assuming that is the case, then there are some other questions to consider:

 Do you want to leverage the talents of your workforce to achieve the greatest business results?

 Do you want employees to have access to the best in-house knowledge to support their performance?

 Do you want to increase efficiency and productivity?

 In this case, I’m guessing the answer is “yes”. 

 So, if you’ve hired intelligent, motivated adult professionals, maybe you need to let them be just that.  Given the opportunity, it is likely a good portion of them will have expertise and insight that they want to share.  And if that expertise is shared on an in-house blog or wiki, then that means the next time someone needs input or advice they’ll be able to track down the experts in the business instead of taking Hobson’s Choice, merely asking the person at the water cooler or in the office down the hall.  And as questions get asked, it’s good odds that more and more of the most needed information will end up on your blog or wiki so that the experts only have to put it out there once, not in twenty separate conversations.  More efficient for the information seekers; more efficient for the information sources.

 Now, of course it is not that simple.  It’s easy to fritter away time on blog posts, micro-blogging or wikis.  It’s easy to spend too much with social media and not enough time on projects.  But you and the rest of your organization face this already, with phone calls, email, the internet, impromptu conversations in the hallway….  Wasting time is a product of people and the company culture, not of tools. 

 In the same way, success of Social Media tools will also hinge on your business culture.  If you have a culture of information hoarding, or of viewing “failure” as worse than inaction, then the best tools in the world will not be effective in leveraging the knowledge and talents of your employees.   Because, as was said before, your employees aren’t stupid.  They’ll contribute and innovate in direct proportion to what your corporate culture really values.

Guest Blogger today:

Sean Redenbaugh

Sean is 30 years old, moved to Evansville in 2004, Systems Administrator for local company, graduated from Indiana University Kelley School of Business in 2002, owns and operates – Maverick Technologies and Redenbaugh Photography


Hello, my name is Sean Redenbaugh, and I’m part of a small group of local businessmen that have created a new online venture to aid the small local businesses. The venture is called Pros On The Cheap, and the website is

The idea of this website will be to focus solely on the local professionals, dedicated to providing their local community with quality goods and/or services. What we are striving for is to create an online directory for people in the community to find local pros to assist them with whatever project or purchase that they may have. For instance, if someone buys a house and needs drywall, tiling, carpet, windows, etc…, they can simply search our database online for local pros to help them.

Our goal is to start with Evansville, our home town, and to have every single Evansville business or individual who provides a service or good to become listed in our directory, and for the website to become the one-stop place for local Evansville people to search for a professional.

There are many reasons why it is better for the community to shop and serve locally rather than use the large corporate chains. I think the most important reason to choose local is that your money will put wages and capital into the hands of your fellow local citizens rather than being sent out of the area. Plus, a larger portion of the money you spend locally stays local when purchasing from local businesses, not to mention keeping locally owned and operated businesses running provides your town or city with character, uniqueness, flavor, diversity, culture, and friendliness that would not be here if every store was a carbon copy corporate chain with corporate policies and standardized services or products. To assure cannot be overrun with large chains, we have programmed the website in a way to keep the businesses local, and keep out the large multi-state corporate chains. One way we have done this is to require each business that signs up to provide us with a single zip code. Thus, when searching for businesses, users enter their zip code and a search radius, and only those businesses will pop up. Large chains have no way of entering every zip code in the country, or selecting multiple states. This will keep the focus on the local pros.

At the present time, this is a completely FREE service. Local businesses and individuals can sign up for FREE online, create a company profile, and select which services or goods they provide to the community. It ‘s a great way to get their name out there for free into the community, and increase their business and profits at the same time. Don’t hesitate. Sign up today!

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