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  1. The First Social Salsa: How relationships make dreams come true

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    Todd's Salsa

     

    The other day I received an email from [ilink url=”http://twitter.com/audiencemachine”]Todd Tweedy[/ilink] of [ilink url=”http://www.audiencemachine.com”]Audience Machine[/ilink] that really warmed my heart (no I was not eating his salsa at the time, more on that further on). Finally a story about how you leverage personal relationships and the social interwebs to make an idea come to life.

    Todd has been experimenting with perfecting his salsa reciepes and felt he was onto something that people would love to eat.  He brought some to a local [ilink url=”http://www.freshtart.net/”]Minnesota food blogger[/ilink] [ilink url=”https://twitter.com/freshtartsteph”]Stephanie Mayer[/ilink] and she convinced him to go for it.  So Todd did and leveraged every relationship on and offline to get his dream off the ground.  I will let the email speak for itself about how [ilink url=”http://www.wedge.coop/”]Todd got his dream on his first shelf at the Wedge Co-Op in Minneapolis[/ilink]

    You can check out all the latest developments of this story at [ilink url=”https://www.facebook.com/toddssalsa”]Todd’s Salsa over on Facebook[/ilink], because I have a feeling it will be a long one. And speaking of Facebook he was just at their headquarters with his Salsa!

    Happy Thursday!  

    I hope you’re doing well.  I have some news to share…  I’m a Salsa Maker!

    I started making three types of fresh refrigerated salsa that are available exclusively at The Wedge Co-op – www.wedge.coop – in Minneapolis, MN.

    My salsa line is called Todd’s Salsa.  I use nine types of chiles to make a Fresh Roasted Tomatillo Salsa using two 40 pound cases of fresh tomatillos to make 1 case of my roasted tomatillo salsa, a classic red salsa with Roma tomatoes from a dedicated field that just grows premium Romas, and a Hot Roast Chile Salsa that is about 80% chiles.

    Facebook will be my site’s my presence online => http://www.facebook.com/toddssalsa  I hope you’ll give my page some LIKE love and post a message on my wall.

    What makes my salsas The First Social Salsa.  The President Obama hasn’t tried them — yet!!  Besty – little help here!  But, I was on AIM with Len Bilello from USAToday talking about salsa of all things.   And, I shared the story of how I almost missed my launch because my printer came back with a print date that was two-weeks too late while I was playing golf on a Thursday afternoon!  So what did I do?

    I posted on Facebook that I needed help on Friday morning and by early afternoon thanks to Tracy Naghshineh I was introduced to Fern Peterson with Imagine Print Solutions http://www.imagineps.com – who rescued me!  My print job of 18,000 labels was delivered Tuesday thanks to Facebook.

    How did I learn about UPC codes?  Social media of course!  Keith Privette introduced me to Paula Giovannetti the UPC code goddess at Best Buy. Paula saved me from making a huge mistake.

    Cathy Paper of Rock Paper Star http://www.rockpaperstar.com/ turn social media networking via an event she was hosting into an opportunity for me to meet foodies like Donn Kelly who provided great tips and insights.

    Joe Paulini introduced me to Robert Farr a fellow salsa maker.

    My insurance agent Mark Phillips at Dolliff Insurance http://www.dolliff.com made so many introductions.

    I don’t know where to start but Stephanie Meyer – MN Food Blogger – http://www.facebook.com/groups/minnesotafoodbloggers/ was the catalyst.  Her reviews inspired me to go for it.  Check out this Fish Taco recipe – http://www.freshtart.net/Screw–Snow-Fish-Tacos-15173087

    Hat tip to Andrea Vollmer of Feed the Dog http://www.feedthedogcreative.com/ for an amazing label design!

    My salsa company was launched on Facebook!

    Best,

    Todd
    P.S.  No I’m not quitting my day job!
    Todd Tweedy
    Managing Director
    Audience Machine Inc.
    http://www.audiencemachineSo if you have an idea, dream, passion leverage the relationships you have built! You never know where it will lead and who they can potentially introduce you too.  This is a great example how to effectively use on and offline relationships to get ideas from your head out into the wild!  You to can make things happen too. I know I will! Will you?
  2. 12 Most Needed Tips to Stay Sane While Moving the Family Across the Country

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    I first posted this on 12Most.com, which is a great collection of information and contributors!  If interested in doing a 12Most post I highly recommend reaching out and getting involved!  On with the show!

    As you can tell by the title of this post, I have a new place to call home.  Recently my wife Tara Privette received a very nice, scratch that an incredible opportunity for her career.  The only thing this career opportunity was not in Minnesota, it is in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  So we decided as a family to dig up the roots in Minnesota and plant them in Virginia.

    Joey Baci Daisy Jace Keith - #mn2va

    Now what I have come to find out is relocating for a wife’s job is quite unique.  For us it did not seem all that strange because we have always been a two parent working household sharing just about everything.  There are no “man” jobs or “woman” jobs in our house, there are just “jobs”.  So there here are the 12 things we learned to stay sane while moving the family across country.  Now to give some logisitics background on this, my wife started her job in Virginia in early July the kids, the dogs and I did not come down til three weeks later.

    1. Communication

    Yes, communication is number one on this list! There are so many details that need to be worked out that if you are not using all means of communication, you will not survive! You must rely on technology, verbal and nonverbal cues as well as listening. Yes, listening is a key factor in communication. There will be many, many, many lists to write down, so listen, well and write down or you will forget…trust me!

    2. Rely on people you don’t know

    There are many people you will need to rely on for this journey. Many of them you have never met or had a relationship with in the past. There will be relocation companies, Realtors, insurance companies, financial institutions, employers, friends, new acquaintances, hotels, gas stations, and restaurants. That is just a short list. You will in most cases have to trust them, but if your gut tells you “Hey you, ya you with the brain, I just threw a red flag up, want to do something about that?” TRUST what your gut is telling you!

    3. Renegotiate everything

    That is right! Everything is usually an opening offer and this situation calls for counteroffers. You will not be offending anyone, they expect it. The relocation path is a very fluid and changes daily, sometimes even hourly. What I found is most of the people with this path just want everyone fairly treated. After all, what more can anyone ask for?

    4. Pack, unpack, repack, rinse and repeat

    The most valuable lesson I learned was packing for the 1,300 miles trip from Minnesota to Virginia. Non-stop packing for the house, for the kids, for myself, and the car. Yes, I drove it all by myself….oh wait I did have 2 kids an 6 year old and an 8 year old, oh yeah and two 50lb dogs. I did a pretty good job of getting all the clothes necessary for the trip and another week before our whole house arrived before the movers showed up (trust me get this done before they show up, they are fast and it will get packed if not in Safe Zone). The one thing I did not do was pack a smaller bag with just clothes and essentials for the road trip. Lugging two HUGE suitcases in and out of the hotels was not fun. Lesson learned!

    5. Dads know your role, it is not the one you were taught growing up!

    Being that it was a unique situation according to everyone, we were relocating because of a career opportunity for my wife. I got to take on some unique roles for the last 3 months. I essentially became the main caregiver for the last 3 weeks. Which I gladly stepped up and took on and absolutely loved the time the five of us got to spend. I really gained a whole new appreciation for the many roles my wife plays in our children’s life as well as mine. WOW, we have a great mom and wife!

    6. Throw your schedules out the car window while driving!

    The quickest thing I found out was those pesky times society places on you about breakfast, lunch and dinner, yeah they don’t work in this situation. There is just so much going on you do a lot of relying on your stomach to tell you what meal it was. Breakfast exactly at 8am, lunch at Noon, and Dinner at 6pm really is hard to do. Be flexible and make an adventure out of it. Yes, the kids the first night of the trip ate dinner at 9:00pm. They loved it!

    7. Packing your vehicle for access

    As I mentioned before, we took a 1,300 mile road trip! Everything must be with in arms reach with easy access. That goes for the Driver as well as your passengers. Keep in mind little kids have car seats and short arms. Make sure snacks, water, DVD’s, coloring books, books, music, toys, and high fives are within an arms lengthen to keep everyone happy. Oh and for the driver make sure Google Maps, Coffee, Water, Snacks, and Energy Drinks can be found without taking eyes off the road. This can be accomplished by setting up your passenger seat with a little strategy! Sidenote: make sure to find all the chargers you will need and put in your bag as you find them!

    8. The dreaded “I have to go to the bathroom” from the backseat

    There were two things I learned along the way with four passengers with bladders the size of a pea. You have to always, I mean always have them go to the bathroom at every stop you make. Remember to ask! Remember to take them! Secondly, limit the number of times you say “Anyone have to go to the bathroom” you will be stopping everytime you ask. This question some how triggers the “yes I have to go pee” response. It is like the ring bell or something.

    9. Invest and leverage YOUR technology

    The consumer probably has at its disposal better technology hardware and software than the of the companies in which you will work on this journey. If you get a chance, introduce them to these technologies! Without a printer and Box.Net buying a house in another state would not have happened so quickly. The realtor and loan officer absolutely loved these two pieces of technologies for quick responses and properly processed documentation. Being that Mom was back and forth for a few weeks we used Facetime, Skype video and Google chat video. It all depended on which hardware was in front of us at the time. This really helps stay connected. Texting was a lifesaver, so gear up those thumbs. Most of all I really enjoyed using all the technologies on my phone!

    10. Bring your online communities along for the journey

    Let people know what your are doing. Share your experiences with your online communities. For the most part people like helping, seeing photos, and sharing the experience with you. In preparation for our move across the country, I established a hashtag #mn2va on twitter. This allowed people to easily see what tweets were in regards to this transition and travel.

    I also prepared my facebook with an album called A Man his Two Kids Two Dogs and a Vacuum! #mn2va July 2011. This helped centralize all my photos and comments. Leverage Location Based technologies so people know everything is ok. This is also fun to see what badges and pins you can gather along the way. I also used a great new tool called Glympse! This helped Mom know where we were at all times. She also knew right away once getting to Virginia Beach I was going the wrong way to the corporate housing and quickly called!

    11. PATIENCE PATIENCE PATIENCE!

    Everything is not going to work out according to YOUR plan. Things must be taken in stride and adjusted every step through this journey. Going back to number 1 on this list helps a lot. Always state the problem, then the desired outcome, then hear solution and then make a decision. There is no need to get angry, yell, scream, call names, or hang up phones (I did none of these things by the way). These tactics and emotions get you nowhere!

    12. You are doing the right thing!

    There will be bumps in the road, naysayers, confidence reducers and doubts. Just remember many many many folks do this all the time and it works out 9 times out of 10. Especially when it comes to driving across the country with 2 kids and 2 dogs by yourself. I heard “You are a brave brave man” and “Really, you sure you can handle that?” and “Whoa, what are you doing?” have the confidence that with proper planning, using your street smarts, technology, and enjoyment of succeeding, you two can keep your sanity while moving clear across the country.


  3. What Social Media ROI looks like with Warners’ Stellian

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    This story has a little bit of a twist on using the social channels to buy a washer and dryer.  There are several elements of interacting online that brought me to Warners’ Stellian’s for purchasing our new washing and dryer.  This example of social media ROI is based purely only conversing with and observing Julie Warner online.  Julie is the Marketing Assistant at Warners’ Stellian Appliance Co. Inc.  The reason I say “online” is I have never met Julie face to face, which is weird because we have many of the same connections here in Minneapolis.  I started following Julie about two years ago, based on her and I being connected to several of the same people in Minneapolis.  One person I would like to thank for introducing us is Katie Schutrop.

    So I observed very great interactions Julie was having for Warners’ Stellian, colleagues, and friends.  I even saw her steal a sale from a competitor because the competitor’s customer was extremely frustrated with them and Julie was there in the same channel to help! Personally using the social channels to actually steal a customer and  close the deal is quite impressive.  Much should be written about how she did this!  This observation sealed the deal for me that when we were in the market for their products and services Warners’ Stellian was going to be on that list.

    In full disclosure,  I did no researching of prices, models, or customer reviews for these products.  I had a pretty good idea of prices ranges of what we should spend, but that is it!  I just knew where we should buy based on researching and knowing a company based on one of it’s employees.  My wife Tara did a lot of the research on price comparisons, customer reviews and model reviews.  So she was the educated consumer on the product being purchased, I was not.  I do believe she had some ideas on where she wanted to go and buy too, but since I was driving (“he who drives takes you in a direction”, yeah I just made that up), I suggested we swing by Warners’ Stellian to see if they could compete based on Tara’s research.  I also explained Warners’ Stellian was local and we should try this route.

    This was my first ever visit to Warners’ Stellian.  Upon walking in you are greeted by a Warners’ Stellian employee that takes your name down so they know you are there and let’s you know if you have any questions or want to speak to a sales person to just let her know and she can find someone for you.  This allows you to walk around the store and not get bombarded by sales folks asking if you need help.  As we looked at the washers and dryers, I asked Tara “So are the prices in line with your research?” Tara said yes and they have the exact models I was looking for.  So right off the bat my research and her research were lining up.

    The next step was to talk through the models we were looking at with a sales person.  She answered all of our questions about price, feature differences, and product history.  We then sat down with the sales person to discuss purchasing and she was awesome! Very personable, helpful, and informative.  She helped us make the right decision about warrenty choices without being “salesy” about it. She even made a call to the delivery drivers to move up the delivery day by 3 days because when she indicated the date for delivery. Tara and I must’ve had the “Oh really? The laundry is really piling up” look on our faces and without hesitation she picked up the phone and got the delivery date moved up.  You can’t teach that customer service, you can hire for it though!

    Taking it the extra mile is a sure sign of empowered employee!  They value every customer that walks through the door.  The Delivery Technicians were friendly, helpful and returned to the house no questions asked when there was a slight problem with the install. This was a another sign of the overall commitment to the customer.  See it is not just your marketing, twitter feed, facebook fan page updates, or billboards you need to worry about making an “impression” that turns into ROI!

    Overall I was extremely happy with the choice I made to take a chance on observing a social media channel, then base a purchase on it.  Believe me this was not a cheap purchase to take a leap of faith on, but I figured the worse thing that could happen was being disappointed.  So this is an example that businesses have to be aware there are probably a lot more customers watching and observing your business more through the people accounts than the logo’d ones.

    Get these people out there and just as prominent as your logo! Now this adds an element of responsibility by your employees being aware of situations like this, but with some good old fashion media training, you will be pleasantly surprised how much this type of awareness adds to the element of success.

    I probably would not have done the same purchase path with a logo’d account.  So think about this in your strategy, planning, and execution when deciding company accounts vs real people accounts in your social accounts landscape.  You may want to measure and quite possibly incent them differently.  Just a thought!

     

    ps. Sorry about the miss spelling in my Gowalla checkin, it won’t happen again!

     


  4. What Social Media ROI looks like with Walser Auto Group

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    Her is part two of what Social Media ROI looks like from a customer.  This story starts about a year and a half ago when I met Andrea Kopfmann via twitter.  I met Andrea via a couple tweets here and there from other people I know via this channel.  Over this past year I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Andrea both on and offline!  This personal\professional relationship set in motion expanding into doing actual business with Walser.

    I was in need of  new tires for the Excursion and I wanted to apply the Bona Bros model to this business transaction too! In a couple of conversations on twitter (forgot to screen shot those, sorry!) I mentioned I needed to get new tires for my Ford Excursion. Which is not a cheap!

    Right away Andrea mentioned that Walser Auto Group had a deal going on buy 3 tires and get the 4th one free (first thought “hot damn” that is a good deal).  I started making plans to make an appointment to get my new tires.  Now the actual process took about four months to complete, but Andrea stuck with me the whole way.  She DM’d me the information of the nearest dealership to my house, which happened to be Hopkins Walser Dodge Chrysler Jeep at the time I would be scheduling. She also looked up my city (not creepy because Andrea and I know each other!) and gave me a google map including directions. She also gave me the name and number of the Service Manager at the dealership!  Information on a silver platter treatment was awesome!

    When I eventually got the appointment scheduled I was closer to the Walser Buick GMC dealership in Bloomington, MN. This location also happened to be next to where Andrea Kopfmann is the Director of the Walser Foundation.

    Since the Walser Buick GMC is right up the street from my current contract,  Andrea was kind enough to come pick me up and drive me back to the the dealership, because by the time my vehicle was done I was out of their normal curtiousity shuttle service that is provided by Walser (hopefully I did not set a precedent for you Andrea!).  This is where people relationships trump business hours and makes for long lasting impression of the brand based on the person and not the fancy designed logo on the outside of the building.

    I will definitely return to Walser for my tire needs in the future (Customer Retention).  I will also keep them on the radar for other vehicle needs (Customer Development).  So in the course of doing one transaction based on one of their employees reaching out as themselves and getting to know a customer they sold 4 tires and gained a customer for future revenue and it costed a lot less than trying to get new customers through other activities TV, billboards, inserts in newspapers, and banner ads.

    This example is yet another reason to let your employees shine for you where ever and whenever they can and it produces actual social media ROI.  First, you have to have foster a culture of empowerment (trust me 98% will succeed for you).  Second, start looking at the collective power of all your human accounts versus your logo’d accounts. Last, make sure your business is tying these real world social conversations of your people to bottom line business financials where possible.

    Thank You Andrea for everything! Thank you Walser for empowering your employees to allow for these channels to development customers for the long term!

  5. What Social Media ROI looks like with Bona Bros

    6 Comments

    So many folks struggle with the concept of “How do you actually get ROI from all this stuff on the twitters?”  Well I decided to show and explain how this looks like IRL (In Real Life).  So this story starts about a 2 years ago.  I have met many people, yes people not logos or brands, people.  By meeting these people I get the opportunity to be introduced to the companies they work for and with. Through these people I get to know the brands, then decide whether I like the products and or services their company provides.

    So the first story started when starts when I bought my 2004 Ford Excursion last year.  I was looking for a reputable auto mechanic and like I normally do, sent out a tweet asking for recommendations and that is when Adria Richards recommended Bona Bros!  I had known Adria via twitter for a about a year prior to this recommendation and highly respected Adria and her work so I entertained the recommendation.  Adria did disclose she was currently working with Bona Bros with there website and social profiles (she still manages the technical side of their website).  This strengthened the recommendation, because I know Adria is very particular about the Clients she does work for.  So I brought my Excursion there for that complete service overhaul when you buy a new used vehicle.

    I am so glad Adria recommended John, Matt, Jacque, and John Jr. of Bona Bros.  These people are absolutely top notch with the service, repair recommendations, honesty, and all around human touch they apply to their business.  This sold me on them for all my service needs for my Urban Assault Vehicle (#uav – now you know what this hashtag stands for).

    During my 1st visit Matt indicated I may need a new ball joint in another 20-25,000 miles.  This assessment was spot on and why I brought it back to them for the repair.  Once again I was throughly impressed by the staff at Bona Bros about their attention to detail and explanations of some key repairs that will be upcoming.  This latest visit to get the ball joint repaired Matt indicated I may want to have the u-joint repaired on the drive shaft, but it was up to me.  Well let’s just say I did not listen which brings me to the series of tweets that happened while I was there the second time.

    So this is what a simple request for a recommendation can turn into on social media channels.  So I encourage all businesses in the social channels to be on the look out for these small opportunities to make big impressions for the ever coveted return on investment.  Many of your customers are not all that impressed with your BIG marketing campaigns, but your customers do appreciate when your people help them on a small scale!  This is the difference maker social can do for small and medium sized businesses to get above the noise.

    This is the first of three posts I will be doing on what Social Media ROI looks like in the real world.  The next two posts will be about  Walser Auto Group and Warners Stellian. These are all based on real life engagements and purchases.  In full disclosure nothing and I repeat nothing was done by these brands except having good business people and good businesses.

    On a side note this interaction also included me encouraging Jacque Bona of all things to buy the book written by Olivier Blanchard called Social Media ROI, which I have not decided if that is irony or good business through social business channels…..

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