Monday, December 20, 2010

6 year old schools mom

I was working on my son's birthday invitations last night after a crazy busy weekend. I did old school paper invitations - the kind we used to get. They took awhile but my son's worth all the extra effort...even if it's hectic holiday time.

This morning as he's looking at the invites he says, "Mom, we can do laser tag." And I remind him we can't, we need to do bowling instead because the minimum age for laser tag is six and some of the boys in his class won't be six yet.

He looks at me and starts grinning, "Mom, everyone in my class is six...some are even seven."

I grab an invite. I had written in really cute calligraphy script "Come Celebrate LT's 6th Birthday!" for 15 invitations. Sixth! WTH?! He's turning S E V E N. UGH!!!!! I gave birth to this kid and I have him turning six again...sigh. 

My son says, "Mom, I think you might be seriously losing it." I made a mental note to remind myself not to keep saying to the kids, "You are seriously going to make me lose it." 

We all got a good laugh out of my mistake and I breathed a sigh of relief that I didn't send the invites out. Phew!

Oh and I'm still going with old school invites for 7th birthday laser tag style fun...but I'm nixing the calligraphy, and of course my six year old is proofing each one.


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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Communication Shutdown

Amber Naslund wrote a thought provoking, "get-your-cause-on" post on Brass Tack Thinking about yesterday's autism awareness event called Communication Shutdown that sparked my response below (I changed it a bit from the comment I left)...

Being a mom of an autistic kid and being an autism advocate I completely got the premise of Communication Shutdown. Silence was our life when our son was 2 1/2. We went from a very vocal infant to a barely audible toddle in less then 12 months. For me, this event brought back the diagnosis, the struggle...gosh, it was almost 10 years ago.

Our son is 12 and as I mentioned he has autism. He was diagnosed at 2 1/2. The county early developmental team working with us at the time said that he would never be able to attend a typical school setting because he was mostly non-verbal and had so many delays. They told us to plan for in-home schooling, etc.

Well, our son's story is one of challenging the labels and the "low" expectations. We made our own game plan with the help of many a therapist/teacher and lots of loving repetition and I'm happy to say our 12 yr old is in a typical school setting without para support. We have our challenging moments (mostly social interaction, communication cue missteps) but we are moving forward every day.

He and I discussed yesterday's Communication Shutdown and he was thrilled about the worldwide effort to (as their chater rsays) create "a sense of disconnection and a sense of frustration. By creating a little empathy, we hope to encourage a wider understanding and acceptance of people with autism – an understanding we recognize those in the autism community already have."

He saw me sit down at the laptop and start up tweetdeck (by habit) while he was working through homework last night. I told him, "Oh man, this Communication Shutdown thing is hard for me. Do I ever want to get on Twitter and share this news...but I can't."

His reply, "Now you know how I feel about 87% of the time, Mom." And he smiled adding, "This is good."

Awareness is good. For me, the Communication Shutdown was a one day event to help people walk in my son's autistic shoes. From the blog #shutdown posts and twitter comments of the folks that did it in support of autism (but didn't know anyone directly with autism), I read a lot of "this was helpful". In my mind, it was a learn by doing (or lack of doing) model.

There's so many wonderful autism awareness organizations providing a ton of amazing information, programs, etc. every day including Autism Speaks and The Autism Society of America. There are fantastic autism resource blogs as well. And April is Autism Awareness Month with April 2 being World Autism Day. So there's a lot of resources and discussions going on every day. The Communication Shutdown one day event was one more way to help people understand how complex and how frustrating autism can be.

For me, yesterday was my day to listen and not connect. It was a good reminder for me on how far our son has come and that he still struggles every day. Today and every other day (but yesterday) is my day to share our story and hopefully help some folks along the way.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Please Text A Vote for Our School! Only Two Days Left!

DISCLOSURE: I have kids that go to St. Michael.

The quickest way to vote for our school is by SMS: Text 73774 and enter 103090 (St. Michael's code). You only have two days left to vote, you can vote via text once a day.

St. Michael’s is in the running for $50,000 to buy Smart Boards for classrooms. For all the deets on The Pepsi Refresh Project and all 10 amazing groups St Michael has partnered with and how to cast more votes (through Pepsi's site and Facebook) go to

Thank you!!!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Seven Days and Counting, Have You Voted for My Kids' School Yet?

DISCLOSURE: I have kids that go to St. Michael.

St. Michael the Archangel School and the Kyrie Foundation are two amazing groups that are in this month's Pepsi Refresh Project Challenge. They are asking for our help. The organizations are working not against, but with each other and 8 other phenom groups to help all 10 groups win grant money from Pepsi. They need our votes to win!

The quickest way to vote is by SMS: Text 73774 and enter 103090 for St. Michael’s or 103447 for Kyrie Foundation. You can vote every day through Sunday, October 31.

St. Michael’s is in the running for $50,000 to buy Smart Boards for classrooms; Kyrie Foundation is in the $250,000 division. The foundation will use the money to help fund research to cure pediatric brain cancer. For all the deets on all 10 amazing groups and to cast more votes (through Pepsi's site and Facebook) go to

Thank you!!!

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Monday, October 4, 2010

My Mom's Battle With Cancer is Over

My mom, Maralyne Monsour, died at her home with our family by her side on September 12 just a few days short of her 73rd birthday.

She was an amazing very strong, such a fighter, so beautiful (inside and out)...such an amazing mentor. Yep, I miss her a lot and her death is the reason for my absence from this blog.

When I sit in front of my laptop, it often triggers memories of being with my mom for therapy, surgeries and recovery. Her ten year battle with cancer is inspiring. She's my hero.

It's because of her brain cancer diagnosis in 2007 that I become a heavy user of Twitter for instant information, contact and mass notification on Mom's condition.

Her passing is still really so raw that this post is a short "letting you know why I've been away" update and also a quick thank you to everyone that has helped me through my mom's passing. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Commitment versus One and Done - Relationships

So I talked about how important executive level buy-in was for the social media leader's success in my last post. I know it sounds like a given, but I've worked in both environments. If you have buy-in, you have budget, you have executive sponsorship, you have the green light. Without buy-in, your social media initiative at best is a pilot program that might get traction but most likely won't.

The premise of this series is the CMO's commitment shift to more long-term customer lifetime value versus short-term spikes. Here's the four CMO shifts, I think need to happen for social media initiatives to get legs in the corporate world:

1) Peers/your team buy-in, hire leader
2) Relationships
3) Conversations vs campaigns
4) Long haul sentiment change (YOY) vs buzz spike (quarterly)

On the relationships front, it's the direct marketing lens that we are focusing on in social media...or more appropriately we aren't transaction based, point of sale based - we are looking holistically at the customer's experience with the brand and their life time value. So the shift is from a one and done transaction or get-the-sale-in-for-this-quarter-or-die mantra to a long-term customer relationship mentality. This means a focus on LTV metrics not just quarterly sales objectives.

I promise we'll dive into what that means from a social media metrics standpointin the last post of this series. Back to relationships...

Social media provides you ample opportunities to listen to your customers and potential customers through their journey with your brand and to engage with them through social media channels when it makes sense. Relationships take back and forth dialogue - there needs to be give and take or there's really no connection nor skin in the game.

Take advantage of the social sphere to listen and course correct along the way through conversation pulse analysis. Your customers will take note of your "big ears" and will show their appreciation through brand loyalty.

Next up...conversations vs campaigns.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Commitment versus One and Done

It's been awhile but I'm back. I'd like to say it was a fun break but it wasn't. I've been away from my blog working through some family stuff since my dad passed away at the end of June. Priorities. Sometime they aren't fun but must be done.

Anyway, back to the fun stuff...

“The biggest benefit of open leadership is looking at business through the lens of relationships, rather than that of transactions.”
- Charlene Li, Open Leadership – How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead

I had the pleasure of meeting with The Executive Board's Marketing Leadership Council in mid-June. They asked me to present on enterprise-wide social media initiatives focusing on providing CMOs with strategic direction on building out a social team be it cross functional, central or a hybrid. I started the presentation with Charlene Li's quote above because social media tools really amplify the focus on relationship (commitment) versus transactions (one and done).

The next few posts will be touch on the highlights of the presentation. First off:

Commitment Versus One and Done

CMO Commitment Shift:
1) Peers/your team buy-in, hire leader
2) Relationships
3) Conversations vs campaigns
4) Long haul sentiment change (YOY) vs buzz spike (quarterly)

I'll chuck these four out in to separate posts...let's chat about Peer/your team buy-in and hiring a social media leader.

As the organizational leader that has been tapped to lead social media, you need to be committed to weaving social media through your organization. As part of that commitment, you'll need someone to orchestrate the social media plan. You need to hire an online leader that understands your specific business goals, online marketing and social media nuances.

Set the stage internally for your social media leader's success. As with all change agent roles, you need your peers buy-in for the social media leader's role. For example, my organization's CIO told the VP of IT that my team is the business owner for social media. That directive, which came from our CMO before I started, set the tone for inclusion and organizational backing.

A few more topline commitments to consider before you hire a leader...
1) Are you comfortable moving away from a transactions model and shifting to a relationship model?
2) Social media isn’t just outward facing, you must be committed to educating your associates as they are some of your strongest enthusiasts.
3) Social media isn’t just about Marketing (transactions) or Public Relations (communications)it's about listening, serving, responding, resolving, and engaging.

The core message here is social media initiatives are continuous. As the executive leader of social media, you need to set the tone for an ever-evolving social media strategy intertwined with your organization's goals versus a one and done marketing or PR campaign. The first step in doing this is explaining the shift to your organization including the rationale for hiring a leader; then hiring your leader (that has experience rolling out enterprise-wide social media initiatives); and providing he or she with a foundation to succeed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weist Road Trip Ford Flex Style

This is a sponsored post. Thoroughbred Ford provided my family a Ford Flex over the weekend (no rental fees and no mileage limit.) Here's the story...

Some of you know our van got hit while it was parked at a local shopping center over my lunch hour a few weeks ago. I was meeting George O'Sullivan who runs the Thoroughbred Ford online initiatives including their Twitter presence, @ThoroughbredFRD. After lunch when I went back to my van, I saw a note on my windshield and thought I had gotten a parking ticket. It was a note from the women who hit my back bumper when trying to parallel park. I shouldn't be surprised that she left a note, but I was and I was very thankful.

I sent a tweet to @ThoroughbredFRD as I thought it was ironic I was having lunch with George and my van got hit...seemed a little surreal. George responded that Ford wanted to help however they could. Did I mention our van is a Nissan?

So after all the insurance stuff was finished. I took the van in last week to get repaired at Thoroughbred Ford. Because the back bumper needed replaced, the hitter's insurance covered the rental. George set me up with a comparable Ford replacement crossover wagon - the Ford Flex.

We needed to leave for a family Iowa/Nebraska road trip mid-week and the van wasn't going to be ready for pick up on Thursday so George told me to take the Flex on our road trip - gratis.

I really liked the idea of giving the Flex a go because I wasn't sure how our family would do on a long road trip in a vehicle smaller than a van. We have a 12, 10, 6 and 4 year old - so roomy is good on a long trip. I was thinking this road trip would be a good test to see if we could downsize. So we set off and the kids were loving all the electronic goodies of the Flex.

And now, we're driving back from Omaha. Well, my husband is driving and I'm typing. And we're going over the pluses and minuses of the Flex...
My husband and I loved the smooth ride more than anything else. There are a lot of wonderful, cool bells and whistle to the Flex - don't get me wrong - including SYNC In-Car Connectivity System, but what stood out for us was how quiet and "sedan-like" the ride has been for us. It handles amazingly, and as a mom used to driving a van...that's refreshing.

And the kids weren't on top of each other, they could easily get in and out of the back seats. The third row of seats is very roomy. Our youngest felt propped up and loved it and the older two kids didn't feel squashed in the back. There was no "shot gun" shout-outs this trip (for the second row.)

As far as the negatives, the only thing we can come up with is the gas mileage seems to be a little less than our Nissan Quest. I think the unique design might throw a few people as well, but not us. Most of the people we talked to about the Flex on our road trip commented on its unique outside design. Some loved it, some didn't. I liked the inside roominess and the outside "not so serious" look. Most people described the Flex look as a "Beach Boys, woodie" theme.

We're getting the feeling that our kids are going to be sad to return to our van come Monday. I know I will. Thank you for letting us test drive the Flex for a long Weist road trip, George and Thoroughbred Ford!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Be Social - I Am One of You

Take 1: April 2008 - I Am One of You

So we're munching on our salads and I'm tell Chris what a "true north" moment I'm experiencing: I'm eating lunch with my social media mentor; later that day, I planned to meet some amazing social media rock stars at NewComm - Erin Kotecki Vest, Joe Jaffe, Shel Holtz, Shel Israel, Cathryn Hrudicka (yep, her cat and I share names), Jim Long, etc.; and, how all of this was very surreal for me to take in.

Chris stopped me mid-sentence and said, "You represent a brand doing social are practicing the preach. You bring just as much to the table as everyone you just mentioned...including me. Remember that."

Take 2: May 2010 - I Am One of You
Fast forward to last week, I'm having lunch with my new boss, Jenny Love, VP of Communications at H&R Block. The social media team was shifted under Communications from Marketing with the new re-alignment. Anyway, we're munching on our salads, enjoying eating outdoors on the first nice weather day in Kansas City in a long while, and talking shop.

A woman comes up to us asking if we can spare some cash as she and her family have fallen on hard times and she needs to buy groceries. I only have my debit card was my response. Jenny reaches for her wallet, talking kindly to the woman, making eye contact the whole time and hands the woman some cash. The woman was very thankful. I had skepticism written all over my face.

Jenny says, "Ok, I have no idea what is going to happen with the cash, but when she and I made eye contact...I think she really needed to buy food for her family." She shrugs. "Any regardless, it's a good karma moment."

Later, as we were heading back to our building, we saw the woman heading out of the local grocery store with bags of food. She was telling a passer-by that she had food for her family because of the kindness of a stranger.

I leaned over to Jenny and said, "Thanks for letting me be a part of your good karma moment."

Yep, I know you can't make these "I Am One of You" moments up. They are opportunities to raise each other up and to remind ourselves we are all connected.

I'd love to hear one of your "I Am One of You" moments...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How Can I Help?

I know, I know...I'm a circle girl living in a square peg world. I'm an entreprenuerial spirit with a corporate job. The boxes don't speak much to me when it comes to defining what leadership means. The boxes do mean something to the industry so I get the box rules. At the end of the day, my reputation is what matters and it's based on my performance, my authenticity and my capabilities. To me, leadership is defined by action and action is simply defined by how I can be of help. My personal leadership filter is bouncing projects, objectives, ideas off my friends who are industry peers (regardless if they are in a box or not.) They are my trust tree. And they trust me because of my reputation. They also keep me focused on my path of being helpful. I continually push myself to return the favor.


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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Be Social - What's Your Sawubona Moment?

Last month, Ben Smith (@benasmith) and Whitney Mathews (@whitneymathews from The World Company, successfully hosted the first Free State Social Conference with a bevy of amazing speakers; a local discussion panel (that I was lucky to be a part of); great old school, in real life conversations; and, an interesting mix of local/regional/national attendees made up of online newbies, powerhouse techheads, marketing/PR SMEs, and publishing whizkids.

My next few posts will not be recaps or reviews of the conference. Lots of local bloggers have provided excellent Free State recaps and review posts, Whitney captured most of them here. Remember the "here" link, we'll come back to it in my next post...promise.

Missed the conference? You can take it in via video archive. So no recap for me, I'm going to tap into a vein of thinking that lots of us have discussed before. It was the underlying theme of the conference. It's something that started with Chris Brogan's opening remarks and continued through out the GET social media you need to DO social media, in order to REALLY do social media, you need to BE social.

I See You and I Am One of You

Since I'm talking about what getting, doing and being social mean to me - and I'm chatty - it's going to take a series of posts. I can't wait for you to share what it means to you. With all of us contributing, this series could go on a while. Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) kicked off the Free State Social Conference keynote using his iPad. No talking just words on the screen. The first screen said "I See You" and the second is pictured with Chris above, "I'm One of You." Thanks to Simon Kuo (@simonkuo) of The Westside Studio for the use of the photo.

You Matter To Me, You Are Worth My Time
The first time I met Chris in person was in early 2008, we were both at the SNCR NewComm conference looking (via Twitter) for a late lunch buddy. I had been reading Chris' blog since early 2007, we conversed via email and Facebook. He had helped me develop Embarq's social media road map, got me going on my blog, we talked kid stuff and shared telcom shop talk so when we met in person, we had history. But knowing Chris, he would have had lunch with me whether he knew me online or not. That's just his M.O. He breathes the essence of what makes social media um...well, what makes social media social.

Though Chris shares content freely (some 2500 words of advice a day) via his blog, see Chris really excels as an in-the-moment, get out from behind the (insert whatever face-to-face barrier you use here) ie keyboard, screen, etc. sharer. He knows the secret sauce is in the big share and he knows sharing it will not only help others, but will ultimately propel Chris.

Back to our first in-person meet up, Chris and I sit down for lunch. I take my phone out of my purse-mom-bag-laptop tote and put it on the table in front of me. It's my barrier, well actually for me, it was my crutch. I'm thinking of it as my "cool kid" badge because I'm all smart phone hip, right? Yeah, well no.

Leave it to Chris to school me within 15 seconds of sitting down. At the same time, Chris takes his phone from his trouser pocket, hits a button (I'm thinking mute) and sits it on the table. But no...He says, "This is a distraction, so I'm turning it off."

The dude was not pulling a "this is what I need to do" lame "look at me, I have big ears" pulpit play. No posturing going here. This was early 2008, this is just part of Chris' DNA and it's something we all need reminded of:

Let the person (yep, the one right in front of you) know I see you and you matter to me.

Chris uses the Zulu term Sawubona to describe this common courtesy which is rare in practice and he has written many a post on it. The first post I remember is The Community Ecosystem.

That one gesture of shutting his phone off with the four words after "This is a distraction" is my best Sawubona moment to date. Can't wait to hear your Sawubona moment.

Next post will continue with me getting a lesson on "I am one of you" over salads. Yep, about five minutes into lunch.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Hub is the Hub is the Hub

As brands evaluate budget spend on online marketing initiatives including our social network presences, our own websites are the common sense place for us to focus a majority of on our resources. Though industry buzz might have the focus leaning toward social networking sites, most brands have kept their online marcom compass pointing to their hub.

From Reuters...

Below the surface, another structural change has been taking place, which predates the recession: organizations have been spending an increasing proportion of their marketing budgets on their own websites instead of on external media.


Technology is enabling companies to communicate in ever more sophisticated ways directly with their customers, while social networks like Facebook and Twitter offer ways for users to multiply the effect of corporate messages.


Chuck Richard, lead analyst at information advisory and research firm Outsell, says companies now spend more than half their online marketing budgets on their own sites. "It's been 50 percent or more for the last three years," he says.



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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sprint's Social Story: Customer Care

So I've been off the blog posting grid for awhile...I started with H&R Block in mid-January. My first tax season consumed most of my time and if I wasn't thinking work, I was busy with my family. I'm betting that next year you won't hear from me much from January-April either. Now that it's post April 15th, I have time to dust off my home laptop and share again.

I left off talking about Kansas City's IABC's Business Communicator's Summit. Another social media shining star that I was lucky enough to present with, Jason Gretzen (@jginkc), leads Sprint's social media efforts. In his presentation, Jason shared his team's 2009 focus on: 1) Executive buy-in; 2) Meeting customers where they are online through Twitter (@sprintcare), Facebook, etc.; and, 3) Building internal brand advocates to help share the Sprint story everywhere.

<div style="width:425px" id="__ss_3852743"><strong style="display:block;margin:12px 0 4px">Sprint Social Media Story: Customer Care</strong><div style="padding:5px 0 12px">View more presentations from Zena Weist.</div></div>

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, big sis!

You would have turned 48 today. You passed away too suddenly last November here in St. Louis.

Happy, happy Birthday, Annette. It's so very odd to be in St. Louis without you. I took in a Cards game for ya - yep, the stadium does rock. Had one to many beers at the game for ya as well ;->. Miss ya, hon!

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

360i's take on Twitter's Promoted Tweets Ad Platform

This quick 360i read highlights the how and several Twitter's promoted tweets works (including topline metrics), what the marketing challenges are, what to consider before plunging in and what's next.

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two Posts - Three Bs: Brogan, Buzz and Beer

Here's a quick snippet from Chris Brogan during his keynote at the recent Kansas City IABC's conference and another local company's, Johnny's Tavern's, social story.

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Chris Brogan - Going from Gee Whiz to Oh Crap!

Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) aka "No I Don't Sleep" Brogan spoke at the recent Kansas City IABC's Business Communicator's Summit. Here's two minutes worthy of a listen. Chris talks about moving from toe in the water trying social media out initiatives to the need for a more holistic company wide social media roadmap.

Johnny's Tavern: Keeping the Online Conversation Going Offline - A Local Restaurant's Social Story

Continuing with the IABC's Business Communicators' Summit, this post is focused on a Kansas City smallbiz example of using social media to continue the conversation with customers in between their in-store (in this case "in-restaurant") visits.

Alexis Ceule (@alexisceule) presentation on a small local business @JohnnysTavernPV's social media pilot program.

I think the key to Alexis' social site strategy for Johnny's is the focus on instant “in the moment” conversations. She pushed the organization to meet the customer at the point of need with relevant content and to build relationships.

In fact, 85% of Johnny's social site conversations are not branded. Also, their tie social site promotions with having their friends, fans and customers meet up at Johnny's to shift the online conversation to "live and in person" get togethers. So Johnny's has become the favored place for "social site friends" to gather for catching up face-to-face.

Straying a bit from my re-hash of our panel, next up will be a brief post on Chris Brogan's KC/IABC keynote.

Friday, February 19, 2010

CFCA: Connecting Online - A Non-profit Social Story

Judy-Anne Goldman(@lacajag) is the public relations lead at the Kansas City-based international non-profit Christian Foundation for Family and Aging (@CFCA). I was lucky enough to speak on a panel at the KCIABC Business Communicator's Summit with Judy-Anne, Alexis Ceule (@alexisceule) with @JohnnysTavernPV and Jason Gertzen (@jginkc) with @Sprint.

In this first post of my four part series covering our panel's topics, I'm going to highlight Judy-Anne's presentation.

A little bit of background on CFCA. Simply put, CFCA helps families in developing countries put food on the table and send their children to school. One of CFCA's main initiatives is linking up sponsoring families with families in need. As a sponsor you provide monthly support for your sponsored child and exchange letters with them. CFCA believes in the potential of the poor to effect change in their own lives and in our world.(Full disclosure: Our family has sponsored Angelica, a Guatemalan 14 year old for 12 years through CFCA. Our family has grown up with Angelica and loves keeping in touch with her through letters. - Yep, snail mail - it's wonderful.)

Judy-Anne took us through CFCA's social story which focuses on listening, serving and sharing:
<div style="width:425px;text-align:left" id="__ss_3089118">CFCA:Connecting online<div style="font-size:11px;font-family:tahoma,arial;height:26px;padding-top:2px;">View more presentations from CFCA.</div></div>

The key to CFCA's social success is integrated web messaging. They utilize all their online properties to help connect sponsors with their sponsored children and provide updates on all their non-profit initiatives. The CFCA team posts breaking news on their various twitter accounts @CFCA, @Walk2gether and @Zamboanga. They provide more than 140 character updates on their Facebook fan page. CFCA follows up with an in-depth blog post and continues conversation through twitter and blog comments. CFCA converses, engages and connects with sponsors and prospects where they are online.

Next up is Alexis Ceule's (@alexisceule) presentation on a small local business @JohnnysTavernPV's social media pilot program.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Way Too Final For Me

So this week I can't shake the yearning to call my sister, Annette. I just want to hear her, do I miss her. It's been about 3 months since her death. Since we only talked every now and then via the phone or a quick email, I think it's finally settling in that she's really gone. No more "now and then."

Way too final for me.

Call your siblings and send them some love, won't ya?

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Marketing Stories Podcast with Shelly Kramer

What the heck have I been up to? Well, definitely not writing posts here ;).

A few things have been keeping me busy. I joined H&R Block (@HRBlock) in mid-January. I'll write a post about my new adventure as H&R Block's Social Media Director soon, promise.

My next few posts are going to be focused on social media and engaging customers.

Matthew Ray Scott (@MatthewRayScott) creator of The Strategic Incubator asked me to co-host his Marketing Stories Podcast with Shelly Kramer (@ShellyKramer).

We cover a lot of social web ground in this hour podcast. Good discussions on living out loud on social sites, being helpful, becoming a "threaded connector", what brands are doing right, what to stay away if you have a long commute, download this sucker and get after it.

If you have about 10 minutes, start listening around 17:00 to pick up tips from Shelly and Matthew on evergreen social media "rules". If you have only 5 minutes and want to know how conversational engagement (not shout out monologue selling) works in social media, start around 26:00. If you have 2 minutes and want to hear a few case studies and hear Matthew's Arkansas accent, start at 31:00. If you want a really specific social listening case study and remember to close the loop, begin around 33:30.

I'd love to hear if you give the podcast a thumbs up or down and why.

Next post up, Christian Foundation for Family and Aging's (@CFCA)social web case study.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Social Fresh Nashville - Social Media Conference for Marketers

Social Fresh has created social media conferences tailored to marketers needs. If you are interested in finding out how large, mid and small-size brands have integrated social media into their marketing and communication, Social Fresh is a fantastic conference for you.

<p>What is Social Fresh? from Social Fresh on Vimeo.</p>

Social Fresh is a 1 day conference that is held in multiple cities throughout the United States and here's the 2010 conferences. The next Social Fresh is in Nashville (see full schedule at the bottom) on January 11. Jason Keath (@jakrose), Social Fresh founder, asked me to speak on the ROI in Community panel with Amber Nashlund (@ambercadabra) and DJ Waldow (@djwaldow).

Jason talks more about the variety of speakers (between 30-35 representatives from brands, agencies and vendors that have been blazing the social web trail) at the Social Fresh Nashville conference below including two phenomenal keynotes. One keynote is from my marketing friend that kicks serious social media bootie, Jason Falls (@jasonfalls) and the other brilliant online communications and marketing expert, Geno Church (@genochurch).

<p>Social Fresh Nashville Speakers - Social Media Conference from Social Fresh on Vimeo.</p>

Have you already registered? Please let me know your travel plans so we can meet either the night before, day of or at the January 11 evening gathering. If you haven't registered yet, you can still buy tickets. Hope to see you in the Music City next Monday!





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