I launched a web site this week for my new training and consulting business: http://mysocialmediacoach.com. My mission is to teach small business owners how they can put use the power of social media marketing to grow their businesses.

I have been speaking with some business people one on one, but admittedly, the Valparaiso market is a little behind the curve on social media. I know it will catch on here, but we don’t have what you might call ‘critical mass’ yet for anyone who wants to implement a strategy requiring 100% local participation.

To build awareness about social media, I have initiated the 1st Northwest Indiana Tweetup (maybe not the first–there was a dual Blogger/Twitter event about a month ago, but oh well.) It will be held Thursday, February 26th at Evelyn Bay Coffee (@evelynbaycoffe on Twitter) in Valparaiso at 7:00 p.m. Evelyn Bay’s owners, Tia and Rich Hoffman, are enthusiastic early adopters of social media and wonderful people to boot. I have greatly enjoyed working with them over our brief, but productive past few weeks.

Tia invited me to do a drop-in Twitter information session last Friday. My dear friend Amanda Thomsen (a.k.a. kissmyaster for her Horiculture Magazine blog and Twitter name) ably assisted. Jay and Roxanne Gottleber from Coldwell Banker (@nwirealestate on Twitter) dropped by as did Heather Bradford from Valparaiso’s newest Italian Restaurant, Trio Trattoria (@triotrattoria on Twitter.) Joni from Indiana 105 dropped in to find out what all the fuss was about. A good time was had by all, relationships were formed or deepened and ideas were shared. We’ll be doing this again soon!

Tia and Rich have graciously allowed me to use their beautiful conference room to conduct social media training classes. We have two dates scheduled so far for the first class, Twitter 101. It will be offered Wednesday, February 18th from 6-8 p.m. and again the following Wednesday, February 25th from 7-9 a.m. for early birds. Cost is only $10; free for non-profits, but you must register in advance. Please give me a call at 219-405-9482 to hold your spot or email me: kathy@mysocialmediacoach.com.