10 signs that your company shouldn’t use social media

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Is social media right for you?

Everyone is doing it and you should too! Right? Honestly, social media isn’t a fit for everyone and there are visible signs that should alert you that you may be barking up the wrong tree. Let’s discuss 10 signs that your company shouldn’t use social media.

1. You haven’t explored social media yet.

While it is easy to immediately jump into Twitter or start a blog, you should spend some time exploring the communities. Lurk around and see what people are talking about. How can you make an impact? What can you add to the conversation? Are there people talking about what you want to talk about? Being eager is great, but be prepared before you jump.

2. You don’t have any time.

Everyone is busy, we get it. Social media isn’t a magic cure to all of your ROI needs. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes planning. It takes engagement. If you can’t sacrifice some amount of time daily towards social media, it will be very difficult to have a successfully social media strategy and an engaged community.

3. You are not in tune with your industry.

Once you get to the point where people are talking to you (this is a good thing!), you’ll eventually receive questions. It is fine to run interference and get the best answers from your resident expert, but you have to start absorbing that knowledge. If you can’t have an impromptu conversation with someone in an elevator about your industry, how can you develop a positive image in a community?

4. Your Twitter strategy is to repost blog entries.

Repurposing your content is extremely important and your blogs should be on Twitter. However, this is not a strategy. If all of your tweets are “New blog post: I’m doing this all wrong” or “New post: I don’t engage with my community” – you won’t pass the sniff test and people won’t engage with you.

5. You want immediate results.

What is the ROI of taking a client out to lunch? How many sales did you get from that round of golf with your client? Did revenue increase with the hire of your last employee? Are you even answering these questions? Analytics and measurement are extremely important. You need to have the correct KPIs (key performance indicators) to give you an idea of what is going on. At the same time, expecting to immediately see a return on social media is a bit foolish. In time, you can get there… but expecting to jump right in and sell stuff is not going to happen. Prove yourself, develop your community and add value – this will have an ROI.

6. You are not inquisitive.

Every person that I have ever met that is crushing it in social media has a natural curiosity and likes to learn new things. The idea of connecting with folks with similar interests throughout the world should be exciting. You can build new connections, form new relationships, and even connect with people that will become true friends. If this stresses you out or sounds boring… this probably isn’t for you.

7. You are not a people person.

I’m not saying you have to be an extrovert, but as mentioned above, you should want to connect with others. In order to build a community, you need to connect with people on a personal level. This is extremely evident at social media conferences and events. There is usually a correlation between the folks with large, supportive networks and the people who can carry on a conversation with someone they don’t know.

8. You don’t have management support.

In my opinion, skepticism is okay. This can give you an opportunity to get in there, figure it out, crush it, and make something positive happen. It is a story that is easy to tell and visualize. However, if management is not supportive… this makes it difficult to overcome. A pat on the back isn’t required to make social media work, but there should be an acceptance of trying something new… even if there is an initial lack of full understanding.

9. You don’t have clear goals.

What are you using social media to accomplish? How is social media helping you reach your milestones? How is social media related to your main corporate goals? Do you even have a strategy including social media? I’ll go back to the five Ps: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Plan how you can use social media to reach your goals (and hopefully better and faster).

10. You don’t ask questions.

The fastest way to learn about social media is to ask. Everyone is trying to make their impact on the world and show their expertise. Many of these people are honest, nice and helpful folks. Ask questions. Share your plan with a few influencers you trust. Get a friend to introduce you to someone who “knows social media” and brainstorm. Don’t assume that you have to figure it all out yourself. Reach out and get some feedback.

Don’t be afraid to get started!

Spend some time using social media outlets personally and find what you like and dislike. Not every network will work for you or your business, but there is no reason not to get out there and explore!

Note: @schneidermike pointed out that “you” is referred to as your brand and culture… not necessarily you as an individual. I missed spelling that out. 🙂 Thanks Mike!

Photo credit to melodi2

How to use social media to save customers: a few examples

Are you saving customers with social media like The Hoff?

Does The Hoff save customers by using social media?

If you spend any time around social media, you’ll quickly realize that it is one of the easiest platforms to voice a complaint. Some companies ignore the negative sentiment that may pop up online, but others are finding masterful ways to spin a negative into a positive.

There are a few simple steps we can all take to try to handle issues and save customers online:

1. Accountability – step up and own the issue

As a customer and consumer, I don’t expect perfection. At the same time, there are certain situations where a problem can cripple a business. The absolute, worst thing that you can do is nothing. People have some level of forgiveness by nature, but ignoring, covering up, or lying about an issue only makes things worse. Check out this Google Search for “apple antenna lie” to see how not addressing the issue quickly can have a disastrous effect. Admit the fault, apologize for the inconvenience you caused (not “may have caused” because clearly there is an inconvenience) and follow through towards a resolution to try to make things right.

2. Escalate – get the right person talking

Not every issue requires the CEO having a press conference. However, sometimes the Assistant to the Assistant Manager may not be the person you want on the front-lines. Pull in a superior, explain the issue, and setup a conference call with folks that aren’t satisfied with the explanation offered.  In the examples that I’ll discuss later, in most cases… I was happy by the escalation alone and the end result was a bit irrelevant.

3. The Five Ps – Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

If you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail with a friend, to what extent do you plan your trek? Do you just say “we’ll figure it out” or do you know where you’re sleeping every night? It never ceases to amaze me at the cases I hear of folks not prepared to handle a crisis. Pull in the appropriate parties, discuss previous examples – pros and cons, establish how to handle a worst case scenario, and have your infrastructure established.

I’ve had first-hand experiences with several companies that have knocked this out of the park and saved my business (I’ll also grade them for those of you that don’t read all the text).

GoDaddy – A

A crisis with your hosting company is never a fun experience. It is a great mixture of anger, frustration and disappointment – for you and maybe even for your readers. I ran into an issue with GoDaddy and they handled it smoothly. I even bought more domains by how they resolved the situation (thanks to The Office of the President). I’ve written about this before and you can check out the detailed blog post on how GoDaddy saved my business with social media.

Zagg – B+

My favorite pair of ear buds come from Zagg – they make incredible products. We had just launched Phonebooth Free at SXSW and rocked it. I boarded the flight to head home and my favorite buds shorted out.  I was one month out of warranty and reached out to their team on Twitter. After several emails and DMs, I ended up with a new pair of my favorite listening devices. Unfortunately, their customer support staff wasn’t really on the same page with the outstanding Twitter outreach. Altogether, great work and absolutely awesome products that I stand behind. The Twitter team followed up with me post-transaction to make sure I was still happy. 🙂

DirecTV – A+

I was a few hours away from completely cancelling my DirecTV service. I had a technician show up six hours late for a scheduled appointment, an incomplete upgrade installation that left me with no TV (oh noes!), mud tracked in the house, and the next available appointment was a month away. I was pretty furious and my switching cost was immediately down to zero. I had an unsatisfactory call with customer support and voiced my displeasure on Twitter. DirecTV’s team on Twitter reached out to me, escalated the issue, worked with the cancellation department I had called, and had The Office of the President call me.

I had told the cancellation department that if the issue wasn’t resolved the next day, that I would cancel (not being a jerk, but there were better alternatives than spending more time on the issue). On my way home from work, I received a call from The Office of the President telling me that someone should be at my house before I made it there.  When I arrived, an extremely helpful technician was already there working outside with his supervisor. They changed a ton of things that had been botched by the previous tech and convinced me that I had a single, isolated, bad experience.

I’m back in the extremely happy category with DirecTV and even a reference for other customers… if it wasn’t for their monitoring on Twitter and their outreach… I would be on U-Verse or just watching TV online. The fact that they followed through with other departments and had a qualified person reach out to me over the phone was awesome.

Beggars can’t be choosers

Too often, we only try to elevate the positive sentiment in social media… especially internally.  While this is definitely a good thing and helps with job security, neglecting negative sentiment and failing to try to understand it will doom you.  It can lead to product improvements, happier customers, and even save business… like in my case.

How the incredible Old Spice videos are being made and a few of my favorites

How the Old Spice videos are being madeIf you’ve lived under a rock the last two days… you may have missed that Isaiah Mustafa (the man on a horse) is responding to individual tweets, Facebook and Youtube comments. The videos are hilarious and personal.

ReadWriteWeb just posted some insight into how the videos are being made. Check it out.

The fact that these videos are being made very close to real time is something astonishingly new.  Old Spice is rapidly building a loyal community of followers by using an innovative campaign.

It will be interesting to see how long this continues and what they’ll do to follow it up.

Which video is your favorite?

A few of my favorites are below, including replies to two friends named Jason (Peck and Keath).

Response to @jasonpeck

Response to @jakrose

Response to Alyssa Milano

Response to 12755JDH

How to improve your blog community by being yourself

As we all focus on search engine optimization, blogging, and social media… we tend to forget a very important element – Personality.

People want the real you (if they want you at all).

I’m not implying that we shouldn’t be professional and show subject matter expertise when we write, but is that it? There are millions of people talking about the same topics I talk about and probably yours too. Now that we know we aren’t the only ones talking about social media, how can we improve our blog communities by being ourselves?

1. Write down three important personal interests and put them in your bio.

Cheesy? Yes. Painful? Maybe. Useful? Definitely. If you’ve had a blog for more than six months and the three things you write down can’t be found in a post or in your About page, we’ve got a problem. If people take the time out of their days to read our ramblings, unless we’re THE thought leader in the industry crushing it with every single post… we’ve got to let them get to know us.

chris-moody-three-things

Three “personal” things about me influence a lot of what I write or talk about and have all served as conversation starters online and in person.

2. Write as if you are talking to your friends or colleagues.

I too get the Dictionary.com Word of the Day, but that doesn’t mean I need to use it in each post. The goal is to get people to take the time to read and hopefully follow a call to action (comment, subscribe, buy, download, etc.). Today the word is jnana. Do you know what that means? Do I look smart or intelligent for using that? Be conversational and serve your audience – if your audience knows jnana, you get brownie points.

3. Be passionate about things you believe in or are an advocate for.

Please understand that the tips and tricks to making a blog successful are important, but balance that with the fact that in less than 20 minutes… I can start a new blog talking about whatever I want. There is more noise than ever and to build a community, you must either serve a niche or build relationships – ideally both.

If you are motivated to write a post that evokes emotion, do it before you change your mind. To this date, my post with the most engagement (shares, comments, emails, direct messages, discussions, etc) is my most personal post. One that I debated writing. One that I reread four times before posting. One that I wrote at 3am. Passion and expertise differentiate.

4. Reply to comments and share, share, share.

If you receive a comment, take the time to respond – whether publicly or private. Reading and commenting takes time and to the best of my knowledge, we don’t yet have an infinite supply of that. Showing your community that you’re listening, processing, and thinking about what they say is extremely important.

Also, check out the blogs and tweets from your readers. Chris Brogan suggests that we should share 12 times as much as we self-promote on Twitter. Think about that before posting five tweets with different variations promoting that recent blog post. Reciprocity helps strengthen relationships.

5. Extend your reach and get away from the computer.

Since the beginning of time, human interaction has been extremely important. As we create more and more tools to facilitate this online, we forget that in-person interactions are still extremely beneficial. While I say that somewhat tongue-in-check, it is important to make those face-to-face connections when you can. It could be a customer a few miles away or a commenter attending the next industry conference you’re going to. Take the time to cultivate those relationships and you won’t have to tell them when you publish new blog posts… they’ll know. Be yourself and get out there and network.

The benefit of being yourself…

I’ll be the first to admit that most of these tips are not revolutionary or ground-breaking. Often times, the simple things are the ones we neglect. Personal branding is extremely important, but if your personal brand is simply a professional façade with none of the things that set you apart… you’ll just continue to be an information hub. Think of your favorite blog and I’m confident you’ll know at least three things about the person writing it.

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While this post isn’t about metrics, in my opinion, repeat visitors are more critical than first time visitors. Far too often, we choose to monitor “Visitors” because it is the largest number, but there are far more variables there. Keep a constant eye on your Repeat visitors and try to narrow the gap between your first time and repeat folks. The smaller that gap is, the stronger your community is and the more engagement you’ll see. Being yourself is the fastest way to get there.

Follow Friday: Don’t sleep on these folks

Seagulls Flying

Credit to bertvthul

I’m a big fan of Follow Friday (#ff on Twitter) as it helps to connect you with folks that are hand-picked by others in your network. The only thing I hate about it, is that it can be easy to lose.

With that, I’m starting a series of blog posts that have a bit more permanence to make sure that you don’t miss some of the folks I think are awesome. Most will probably only have a one sentence description, but we are used to 140 characters or less anyway.

This episode is going to cover a few friends that may be flying under your radar, but are definitely leading thinkers and all-around great people.

cord

@cord – Cord is a super nice guy with great thoughts on marketing and social media topics.

emilyhaughey

@emilyhaughey – Emily is an extremely smart and funny young professional working hard to infuse social media into the construction industry.

gwynnemurphy

@gwynnemurphy – Gwynne is a bright marketer with incredible writing skills… this amongst other things led her to be a coworker and a valuable part of the marketing team @bandwidth & @phonebooth.

jaydolan

@jaydolan – Jay is the creative genius behind @TheAntiMedia, a site which mocks plenty of social media users and trends while providing tons of insight that I usually laugh at (and agree with).

qthrul

@qthrul – Jay Cuthrell manages to stay under the radar in many circles… and I’m not sure how. He’s a really cool dude with great thoughts on social media, technology and telecom. Useful Tip: Jay’s last name is pronounced like his Twitter username… Q… Thrul.

summerjoy

@summerjoy – Summer is more passionate about social media than anyone I know… she’s also smart and funny.

SEO is Killing Our Creativity

Hold on one second… did I optimize that title for search engines?

Lemme open a few new tabs here and jot down my top five keywords to use in this post.

Talk amongst yourselves… I need to throw a keyword in this H1 heading I’m about to use.

SEO IS KILLING OUR CREATIVITY.

I am not an SEO expert. This is evidenced by a Google search of Chris Moody that usually puts me in third place behind a DJ and the guy who beat me to chrismoody.com (I’m stuck with a hyphen).

Blogging is starting to feel like when you had to turn in a Bibliography page before there were tools to do that for you. 67% of all plagiarism occurs because creating the Bibliography page is so boring (source: sarcasm).

If blogging starts to feel like a chore… how can we expect to churn out quality content?

Don’t close this yet, but I need to add an H2 or some anchor text now.

Search engines aren’t optimized for storytelling.

It’s all storytelling, you know. That’s what journalism is all about. – Tom Brokaw

Stories are critical.

Job decisions are made based on who tells the best story. Your GPA is better than mine, but I’m talking about Haiti and how it changed my life while you review your transcript.

Friendships are made based on who tells the best story. Think of the best storyteller you know and I bet you people gravitate towards him/her.

SEOMoz has great statistics (seriously… awesome stuff) – here are their top five on-page (keyword-specific) rankings:

  1. Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag – 66% very high importance
  2. Keyword Use as the First Word(s) of the Title Tag – 63% high importance
  3. Keyword Use in the Root Domain Name – 60% high importance
  4. Keyword Use Anywhere in the H1 Headline Tag – 49% moderate importance
  5. Keyword Use in Internal Link Anchor Text – 47% moderate importance

Alright everyone! Let’s huddle up and write a kick-ass blog post and rock the socks off with our SEO!

But… follow all five rules… be engaging… be conversational… be interesting… and let’s publish three times per week! We will rule the Googles and Bings forev3r!

Storytelling beats SEO 11 times out of 10.

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it. – Hannah Arendt

If people read what you write and love it… they will share it. These are your “target customers” that you aim to please. If I followed every SEO trick to optimize this post, it would be like reading binary code (that is only 0s and 1s for my non-geek friends).

I know incredible SEO folks and I love them for what they do. SEO is needed to have a successful blog or website. But, storytelling has to come first. Even my analytically driven friends will agree that if I rank first on Google and my time on site is 10 seconds… that is a failure.

Think back to the writing test in high school.

If you wanted to score a solid 5 on the writing test (I will take luck any day), you have to tell a story. You need a compelling title. You need supporting points. You need a strong conclusion that rounds out the hook you started with. Please continue to write like this.

I understand that the pressures of ranking highly in search results continue to increase, but that shouldn’t be the focus. Tell great stories and find a smart SEO mind to get your stories ranking where you want them to be. Don’t think SEO first.

The universe is made of stories, not atoms. – Muriel Rukeyser

SEO minded friends: what tips do you recommend to combine storytelling with effective SEO?

Hat tip to Todd Barr (@tbarr) for the discussion that led to this post and for the title.

Photo credit: christiem

Everyone Needs A Dumb Guy: The Video

For everyone that remembers, Ignite Raleigh 2 was an awesome event with over 700 people.

I was fortunate enough to be voted up by the community to present my concept, “Everyone Needs A Dumb Guy.”

A few notes before the video:

  • I say “dumb guy” a lot intentionally because it is tongue-in-cheek (is a “dumb guy” really dumb?).
  • I’m a big believer in providing customer focused products.
  • I dig Pragmatic Marketing and much of their framework guides my thoughts around getting market feedback.

SXSWi 2010 & Community Part 3: Rockstars, Ninjas and Gurus are People Too

Why Polaroid pictures? Check out the intro to this project.

Rockstars, Ninjas and Gurus (oh my?)

Featuring: Guy Kawasaki, Tim Ferriss, Pete Cashmore, Barb Dybwad and Scott Stratten

First off, rockstars, ninjas and gurus get a bad rap. All three of these words have a perception problem thanks to the overnight “successes” that are self-proclaimed thought leaders. If you need examples, check out Justin Kownacki’s Marketing Douchebags blog (note: douchebag is a banned word where I work and professionally, I no longer condone its usage…personally however…).

Frankly speaking, there are rockstars, ninjas and gurus in the new marketing industry (meh – whatever term you prefer). You can dodge those words, you can shun/unshun me and you can even ridicule me… but I follow several rockstars, I’ve met a few ninjas and I’ve chatted with a guru or two. So eat it.

Whatever terminology you prefer (or despise), there are innovators. There are people who come up with incredible content. There are blogs that you read and scratch your head thinking “why can’t I bring it this strong with every post.” I won’t name drop (I do that later), but you all know a few even if you don’t want to admit it.

The people you admire are still people.

There I said it! Chris Brogan is human and tells funny jokes. Guy Kawasaki really is passionate about technology. If you are genuine and engage with them, they may even talk back!

I’m not famous and I probably never will be (le sigh), but I’d imagine that if I were… I’d welcome the opportunity to talk to people that treat me like I’m one of the guys. Even though strangers may know that I dig The Office and my friends call me Moody doesn’t mean that I don’t like meeting and engaging with new folks.

Guy-Kawasaki-Chris-Moody

This leads me to several examples of cool (in my opinion) conversations that I had with various rockstars, ninjas and gurus in my small corner of the world.

Guy Kawasaki really does like technology.

During one of the exhibit hall days, I noticed that Guy Kawasaki was chatting with someone from the Phonebooth.com team. I didn’t want to butt in to their conversation, but as soon as they wrapped up, I said “Hey Guy. I’m Chris Moody and I’m a huge fan.” Yes it wasn’t the smoothest intro, but I am a big fan of Guy’s work, I dig Apple and I love Alltop. We chatted for a few minutes and then I had the chance to tell Guy about Phonebooth and the cool things we were doing there (with his approval of course). There was no push, no ask, just a conversation about a cool technology with a really smart technology dude.

Key Takeaway: Guy truly is passionate about technology and cool new products. It is extremely evident and makes me appreciate his work even more. It didn’t hurt that Guy said to Kick butt with Phonebooth.

Chris Moody and Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss cares about his fans.

There is a bit of a back story here, but Marcie Barnes (another awesome person in NC) happens to work with the Four Hour Work Week forum and community. Tim is a cool dude. I can’t begin to serve his bio justice, but essentially… if he sets his mind to something, he does it. Best-selling author, world record holder, Tango champion, Japanese horse archer, etc. The concept of Four Hour Work Week is a perfect fit for the concept of Phonebooth and we talked with Marcie about giving Tim the ability to join the beta program.

There was a huge commotion on the exhibit hall floor and a large line formed. One of my colleagues mentioned that the author of Four Hour Work Week was signing autographs. Small world we live in. I waited in line for over 30 minutes and still hadn’t made it near the front. Tim sent a runner to tell everyone in line that he wouldn’t leave until everyone had a chance to chat with him. I thought that was pretty cool. I made it to the front of the line to find that I couldn’t even pay for the book, Tim was giving them away to fans… awesome. He was engaging with his community and providing value.

Key Takeaway: Tim exemplifies the fact that if you love what you do, it doesn’t really feel like work. He also cares about the people that dig his stuff and was willing to take the time to show everyone that. That resonates with me… and I now have the latest edition of his sweet book.

The Mashable folks are cool people.

Chris Moody and Pete Cashmore Chris Moody and Barb Dybwad

Odds are if you’re into social media, you know Mashable. Even better odds that if you are a female into social media, you know who Pete Cashmore is… yes Emily I am talking about you. Mashable ran a great piece on Phonebooth Free the day we launched and I was looking forward to meeting some of the folks that make them great. We ran into Pete at Tweet House and everyone’s favorite all-around good guy and beer blogger, @SchneiderMike made the intro. We had a very brief chat, but had the time to get a pic together.

@DarrenMurph told me that I had to meet Barb Dybwad at SXSW. Word of mouth is huge in my opinion… so I knew that Barb was cool. We had chatted via Twitter, but as soon as she walked towards the Phonebooth exhibit, I knew it was her (I have a pretty high success rate identifying people by seeing their avatars… I was incorrect once at SXSW though… doh). Barb was even cooler in person than she is online and props to Darren for introducing me. It is always great to meet genuine folks.

Key Takeaway: Mashable is Mashable because of the people. You can find great writers. You can find great content. You can’t always find great people that can put it all together. Everyone I’ve dealt with or talked to at Mashable has been awesome (Pete, Barb, Christina and Josh).

Scott Stratten and Chris Moody

@UnMarketing is the opposite of unfriendly.

Scott Stratten is one of the most authentic people you’ll ever meet. He’s the same sarcastic guy that broke up with a hockey team and he practices what he preaches. I haven’t told Scott this (hello there Scott), but he actually has one of my favorite personal brands. While I do think the bio at un-marketing.com could be revamped to reflect his awesomeness… I believe that Scott is the same Scott everyday, everywhere. That’s powerful to me.

I was introduced to Scott through Summer Joy and our love for sarcasm was evident in the first few seconds. Over the course of SXSW, we hung out at a few venues (including TechKaraoke) and my view on personal branding was further solidified.

You can only be the person you are.

Yes that is simple. Yes that is obvious. But it is often overlooked. Who you are in person must match who you are online. If you aren’t in an industry where you can be yourself at a major networking event… run. Run as fast as you can until you find the place where you fit and where you belong. This is critical to me. If you can’t be yourself, you’ll eventually hit a wall and wonder what the hell you’re doing with whatever it is that you’re doing (read that slowly).

Key Takeaway: Make sure that your personal brand online and in person is a strong match. You can fool people into thinking you’re the best person in the world for a little while, but eventually… the truth will come out. Address that from the beginning and be the wonderful, perfectly imperfect person you are.

In summary: Treat others how they want to be treated. Even if you’re a fanboy, have an engaging conversation. If someone digs what you do, appreciate them. Your company is only as good as the people running it. Be yourself and only yourself. What did I miss?

SXSWi 2010 & Community Part 2: TWSS, Chevy, Gowalla and Cowgirls

Why Polaroid pictures? Check out the intro to this project.

TWSS, Chevy, Gowalla and Cowgirls

Who: Chris Barger, Mike Schneider, Cowgirls

Where: The Tweet House at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop

When: March 12, 2010

Chris Moody and Chris Barger

TWSS

If you watch The Office, odds are you know that TWSS stands for That’s What She Said…

If you’ve hung out with me… you’ve probably heard me say that. It may be a bit overused, maybe cliche, maybe even unoriginal, but saying TWSS is a bit of an addiction (it is even my ringtone at work).

At Social Fresh Tampa, I issued a bit of a challenge by asking if anyone could formulate an intelligent question that included “that’s what she said” and ask it in a panel.  Long story made short, Chris Barger (@cbarger) smashed my challenge by using my favorite phrase while on a panel.

We chatted afterwards and ended up building a relationship over a silly catch-phrase from a popular TV show. At SXSW, Chris invited a group of folks to The Tweet House and even hooked some of us up with VIP passes.

Chris is a great guy and doing incredible things at Chevy, but essentially, our friendship started over something funny.

That’s why I encourage folks to be themselves… you never know what quirk or characteristic you have that may automatically connect you to someone else.

Mike Schneider and Chris Barger

Chevy and Gowalla

Chevy is doing some incredible things in the social media space and made a huge impact at SXSW. As mentioned, knowing Chris led me to The Tweet House (a sweet event that Chevy and Mellow Johnny’s hosted). One of the first few folks that I connected with there was Mike Schneider (@schneidermike).

Mike walked in wearing a sweet Gowalla t-shirt and a group of us were hanging out and chatting. He began to tell an incredible story about how he landed in Austin and checked in on Gowalla at the airport. He was prompted with a special offer to get a free ride to his hotel from Gowalla and Chevy. Mike, as most of us would, immediately accepted the offer.

He was greeted by @jw of Gowalla and one of his SXSW goals (meeting the folks at Gowalla) was achieved as soon as he landed. Chris Barger and Chevy helped to make this happen…

To make sure we’re all still together, TWSS helped form a relationship with Chris and mutual friends led me to meet Mike. Mike and Chris were then introduced through shared connections and were able to chat about a unique experience.

Relationships, networking and being social will always stick around. New tools and technologies don’t detract from those connections, but can actually enhance and strengthen the friendships we can form.

Chevy Cowgirls

Cowgirls

The Tweet House party had lovely and talented hosts that we all affectionately referred to as “cowgirls” (we were in Texas). They were all friendly, served everyone drinks and seemed curious about the strange contraption I had with me (Polaroid style cameras aren’t very chic).

We asked if they’d like a photo together and then told them they could write anything they wanted as their caption. Many folks had a creative brain freeze when handed my fine point Sharpie, but Anita and Tiffany wanted to play off of a previous picture with Sledge, “My Hoodie.” Their choice was “My Boobies.”

We all laughed and eventually convinced them to take the high road, but it was a memory. A shared experience by 5-10 people.

As we build, grow and interact with our communities… are we stopping to smell the proverbial roses? Are you documenting your experiences? Are you reliving memorable moments? If not, you should start! 🙂