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So What Are Your Brussels Sprouts?

The Brussels Sprout

Social Media has become intertwined with the business market of today. This means businesses need to provide products or services that are exciting and unique in order to entice people to share the news. I had a recent dining experience that proved this fact to be true.

Living in the Tri-State area, there is certainly no shortage of restaurants to choose from regardless of  what your preferences or needs may be.  The biggest challenge seems to be trying to create a short list that narrows your selection down to a few places that cater to your food, atmosphere, location and price preferences. Luckily there are tools such as Eater, NY Magazine, Zagat, Foodspotting, Facebook,& Foursquare  that can help a diner create their short list.  Recently I added a wonderful Lebanese place to my final list, by the name of Ilili located in the Gramecy Park/Flatiron section of Manhattan, and I learned about it from someone on Twitter.

Now I will admit that I do follow and know several “foodies” in the NY Metro area, but it was actually a friend of mine who works at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) that first suggested IlIli. The recommendation was seconded by another Twitter follower who chimed in with rave reviews about the Brussels sprouts.  While Brussels sprouts are certainly an acquired taste that may not cause most people to rush into a restaurant, I happen to like them. The chef at Ilili is outstanding at preparing them and in my opinion could change almost anyone’s mind about these little cabbages.

My fellow diners and I really enjoyed the Brussels sprout dish at Ilili which were accompanied by grapes, walnuts, a fig puree, & mint yogurt. It was actually the highlight of my meal, and my inspiration to write this blog post.   I could have easily picked any of a number of 26 rated restaurants in the Zagat listings, but I took a risk and I relied on my network to lead me in the right direction. This time, it certainly paid off in spades.

Amazing food and extremely friendly and attentive staff. I’m definitely coming back. Thank you!…From a patron posted on the Ilili Facebook wall

The restaurant’s core concepts appear to provide excellent service and to offer a great product and allows word of mouth in the social networks to do the rest. This is very transparent when you see how the positive feedback found in the social networks is driving business into the restaurant just like it did with my friends and I.   Ilili is an excellent example of a business that allows its network to do the marketing for it. Ilili has a Facebook page and you can follow them on Twitter to stay connected with their happenings and to see what others are saying. So I ask you this question…What are your Brussels sprouts?

Posted in twitter.

But Certainly You Must Find it … re•mark•a•ble

Jeff Koons Balloon Dogs, a remarkable example by Seth Godin

What comes to mind when you hear the word remarkable? For that matter, how often do you hear the word remarkable being used, and when you do, is it really used in the right context?  How many times do you use the word remarkable? I haven’t given this much thought until I spent some time on the website. Thanks to a recent post by HubSpot, the selection was narrowed down to view what they felt were the 13 Must-Watch Marketing TED Presentations While I agree that the presentations mentioned in the article were all top notch, Seth Godin’s was truly remarkable.

Seth calls it simply: “Best Thing Since Sliced Bread” and I have watched this video for the 6th time this  week.  This is something I have never done with a presentation video before.  How often does this happen to you? I have read several of his books, and heard him speak before, but this video made such an impression on me that it made me want to share it my husband, my friends and with my readers immediately.

Go ahead take some time to check it out. Go on, I’ll wait….

Seth Godin’s TED Presentation

OK you are back and you are exhilarated…yea I get it!

First let’s take a look at the word remarkable. In his presentation, Seth mentions that the definition of the word is “neat”, but also means “worth making a remark about” Leave a remark! This is the concept that lays at the very heart of a company’s strategy on social networking. To anyone who is responsible for blogging, or maintaining Facebook pages and YouTube channels, etc. this is your Holy Grail!

How this plays into the importance of social media

Seth created this video in 2003 and while he doesn’t use the word “viral” he does mention how vital it is that the content you contribute in the social networking space is viewed and passed on by as many people as possible.   Wouldn’t it be great if we could get people to pass along every last video, or  business message with their friends and colleagues?  Or perhaps a special message of hope and awareness such as the one that was started by one person in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. You might have heard of this groundswell where women posted the color of their bra in their Facebook status in support of the cause. This was quite a unique approach to getting people to react which quickly grew into newsworthy status.

They elected to follow you, they want to hear from you on a frequent basis and they look forward to reading your updates about what’s new

With the availability of popular networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it would be detrimental for a brand not to spend time and money on staff to monitor and maintain these mediums.  Likewise it has become necessary to develop an execution plan to work within the social media space as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending an absurd amount of money on an agency to come up with a  celebrity voiced over character for your  brand’s Facebook wall.  Rather it means taking time to listen to your followers and to find out what may engage them. Discover what will ignite their passion for your brand. As Seth says over and over again in the video, “Give the people what they want and maybe they will tell their friends”.  Otaku! What people are obsessed about that may just get them to tell their friends… [Fast Forward to 2011] …on Facebook.

Strategy sustainable?

While being remarkable is a key to viral marketing, I would also argue it’s equally important to develop a sustainable strategy. Will you have interesting content to continually and effectively communicate with your followers once the buzz dies down? Can the networks continue to communicate your message while adhering to your campaigns direction? Was the campaign worth it in the end? Did it give what the followers wanted and was the message delivered in a creative way that made people talk about it and pass it on to others?

Lastly on a personal note, people make a difference

I am training for my first Triathlon this year, so getting in the enjoyable workouts that are required has become important to me. Luckily I find myself fortunate enough to be a current member of the Woodbury NY Equinox Fitness Club with their excellent team of instructors such as Tripp Doherty. Tripp was a stockbroker sometime ago, and as we continue on our journey with him, we learn more and more of how his life back then hit a very dark point. Now as a full time spin instructor, accomplishing things he never imagined back then like completing the Ironman triathlon, he claims he has never been happier.  One liners of passion scream from his lungs such as “Carpe Diem” and “All battles were won before they were fought”.  I am not the only one who writes about Tripp, Jack Briant started a blog dedicated to the “Tripp Experience” and calls it ” Svengali. I just read one of his latest post’s Enthusiasm on how he didn’t know what to make of Tripp at first.  I chuckled at this knowing the feeling all too well. I remembered when I entered the spin room for the first time a year ago as he was jumping up and down and talking the whole time while playing a whole bunch of random music throughout the class that took place at the twilight hours of the morning, I couldn’t help but think… what is this?  Now his remarkable style, and motivational personality continue to drive in a loyal group of spinners that go so far as to sign up for his class at 4am the day before his classes are held to be guaranteed a seat for the show. I like to think of it as a movement, a remarkable movement.

So what or who is your purple cow? What are you obsessed about that makes you get up early or drive far away to get to?  What is your otaku? Tell your friends here and consider this when laying out a social media strategy.

Posted in Twitter Coach Author.

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11/27/10 Is The First Small Business Saturday. Amex Wants You to Join the Movement on Facebook and Shop Small

Small Business Saturday at Penn Station/MSG

Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express/Amex was on the Today show this morning to promote Small Business Saturday.  He appeared passionate about the new movement as he says there is room for everyone; you can shop at the Big Box retailers on Black Friday, online for Cyber Monday and now “Shop Small” on Small Business Saturday.

Taken from their Facebook page, Amex describes the mission of Small Business Saturday as follows:

First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. This year, November 27th is the first ever Small Business Saturday, a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday is a national movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S.

A couple of weeks ago I teamed up with Jeff Namnum and his LITweetup group as we joined forces to help spread the word of Small Business Saturday to the local Long Island, NY community.  Nearby New York City was the first city in the nation to proclaim November 27th “Small Business Saturday” as Mayor Bloomberg and American Express encouraged other cities to participate.  So with very limited time, we reached out to our own networks and helped spread the word and educated those on how they can promote their Long Island small business through Facebook and other Social Media avenues.  I was able to reach out to John Chae at Yummy Sushi Huntington to utilize Small Business Saturday to raise awareness and promote his restaurant gift certificates.  I was also able to get the Small Business Saturday promotions implemented quickly for my husband’s photography e-studios: Furry Paws Pet Portraits and Real Portrait Images.

At that time, Small Business Saturday’s Facebook page only had a mere 100,000 followers.  According to, The Small Business Saturday Facebook page is the fastest growing new page on Facebook. More than 850,000 ‘likes’ in just over two weeks.  With the multichannel advertising support including Facebook Cost Per Click, full page ads in the Wall Street Journal, television ads, on Penn Station/Madison Square Garden’s big board, plus word of mouth from folks like our group, they now have over 1 million.

Throughout the past couple of weeks, they updated their Facebook page wall with interesting statistics and great reasons to shop small such as:

  • For every year over the last decade, 60%-80% of new jobs were generated by small businesses. Another great reason to shop small!
  • For every $100 spent at a local small business, $68 returns to the community.

Amex even offered $100 worth of Facebook advertising support for small businesses that applied before the November 18th deadline and who qualified. We applied to support Furry Paws Pet Portraits/FPPP e-studio and received the acceptance email a couple days later…

“Your ad has been reviewed and approved to run between November 12th and 27th*. Within three weeks after your campaign’s completion you will receive a report via email detailing your ad’s performance.”

Although we will not see ad performance statistics for a while, FPPP is already seeing a significant lift in traffic/daily post views on the Facebook page, with a lift in orders on Thanksgiving and Black Friday from last year. We shall see what happens tomorrow, and the results in a couple of week, if any lift correlates with the Amex/Facebook ad.

As if this campaign wasn’t big enough for a “small” cause, Amex on top of all this is donating $1 up to $1,000,000 for each like on their Small Business Saturday Facebook page to Girls Inc., a charity that helps empower young women to be entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Oh and one more great thing, Amex is offering  a $25 credit to the patron who “shops small” with their pre-registered AMEX card on Small Business Saturday. So these small businesses are able to offer a great incentive to shop with them, while it doesn’t affect their already fragile bottom line.

What do you think of this local community economic support promotion?

Posted in Twitter Coach Author.

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