I am grateful and awed at the number of interesting people I have met along the way since launching my social media consulting business about two months ago. This post is meant to serve as an example of just how quickly strong networks can form as well as to credit the contributions of individuals and companies mentioned here. My social media network finds local connections crossing paths all over the place, but at the epicenter, I find a few key players–and we frequently seem to cross paths at Evelyn Bay Coffee Company in Valparaiso…
Until last July, I worked as a Realtor. A family health emergency led me to my current path as a Social Media Trainer & Strategist. It seemed reasonable to introduce my services to people who already knew me and trusted me. Roxanne Gottleber at Coldwell Banker in Valparaiso was my first client. Roxanne was a consistent top producers in our office when I worked there and was always on the cutting edge of new marketing ideas. She eagerly signed up for a Twitter account and attended my first Twitter 101 class, along with husband, Jay.
During my first session with Roxanne, I mentioned that I needed a place to conduct my training sessions. She told me about Evelyn Bay Coffee. I noticed it while driving by, but had not yet stopped in. She told me they had a conference room with wi-fi and a plasma screen that would be perfect. Jay Gottleber worked with Evelyn Bay owners, Tia and Rich Hoffman, when they were looking for commercial real estate space. Roxanne, Jay and I met for lunch at Evelyn Bay to check out the conference room. We had a great lunch (may I recommend the Greek wrap?) and worked out an arrangement with Tia and Rich for the conference room. They gave me a break on the room rental ($10 per hour) in exchange for teaching them about social media marketing.
Since that first meeting, I have conducted four ‘Twitter 101’ and one ‘Introduction to Social Media’ classes, ably assisted by my friend, Amanda Thomsen, who volunteered to be the “slide girl” during my presentations. This seemed appropriate since she is also the first person I met on Twitter to become a real life friend. She has been an invaluable sounding board and supporter. Amanda was also the one who told me, “I think we need a Twitter group in Northwest Indiana and I think you need to create it.” Done! Thus the birth of the Northwest Indiana Tweetup (#nwitweetup), a monthly, live meet up for local Twitter users.
On Monday morning of this week, Tia, Amanda and I decided to get together and revisit our individual and collective digital marketing strategies. Tia is keen on the idea of a podcast or radio blog. Amanda and I are intrigued, but unsure what we would talk about on a regular basis. Tia is a gregarious and generous person who wants to connect everyone she knows to everyone who needs to know them! I suggested she do a podcast called “Tias Coffeehouse Connections” and perhaps Amanda and I could drop by periodically as guests to talk about horticulture and social media marketing, respectively. We’ll see what comes of this idea–meanwhile the idea continues to percolate…
One of the things I showed Tia on Monday was the power of Tweetlater and Twuffer (Twitter + buffer, if you’re wondering where the name came from.) Though she enjoys the live interaction with clients on Twitter, things get busy at the shop and she is never sure when she will have time to tweet. I suggested that she come up with a list of events and promotions she knew about in advance, enter them in Tweetlater and schedule the tweets for the appropriate (later) time. At least this way, “live” time on Twitter can be reserved for more fun, personal interaction.
When I saw Tia this morning she told me they were swamped yesterday for St. Patrick’s day. She told me she used Tweetlater to pre-tweet (in Gaelic!) their St. Patrick’s day specials. Evidently, her efforts paid off. While waiting for my spiced chai latte before my class started today, the gentleman in line next to me told Rich, “The corned beef sandwich yesterday was great! Tia was chatting up a storm about it–I had to come in and check it out.” I asked the man if he had seen the posts on Twitter and he confirmed. We made a quick introduction and I followed up with a Twitter follow. Within the hour, he had followed me back…so much easier and convenient than exchanging business cards, emails and/or phone numbers! I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet.
If Twitter hasn’t popped up on your radar yet, but you’re itching to find out more, consider attending one of my Twitter 101 classes (a great value, if you ask me) or coming to the Tweetup next Thursday, March 26th (free–even better value!) at Coladas Pizza from 7:00-10:00 p.m. The last one was great fun and I suspect with better weather and the availability of boat drinks and beer from the Shark Bar, this one should prove to be just as good. I spoke to Katy Hurst from Zao Island/Coladas Pizza yesterday and she said they would be giving away some gift certificates as prizes as well as gift bags for all. Oh yeah, Katy also told me everyone will get a lei. Hmm…
There have been many more interesting people I have met through Twitter and social media, but they will be mentioned in a future blog post. I’ve had too many chai lattes and need to get moving. Happy tweeting!
I am a firm believer that we all benefit when we work together and grow the community of people involved in social media and social marketing. You have no reason to mention me (saw your tweet) you are the one doing all the work right now. But rest assured we are all benefiting.
I think it’s great that you’re getting more and more people in the community “hooked up.” I love meeting the people I know from twitter face to face as well, learning how they use social media to further expand their business and even their personal lives. 😀