NomX3 and GaryVee: Wining, Dining and Signing Live Feed

There is an outstanding opportunity to meet Gary Vaynerchuk, get a copy of his new book “Crush It” and join Mike Langford and Jeff Cutler for a live taping of NomX3 this Friday from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM at the Estate in Boston.

This is an outstanding opportunity to meet Gary who has one of the greatest social media success stories you’ll ever hear. If you haven’t heard it, in a nutshell, Gary leveraged social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to promote Wine Library TV, his video blog about wine. As his viewership swelled to over 80,000 a day, doors opened to a book deal, several national TV appearances, and a flurry of speaking engagements around the world.

You can attend the event by registering here. If you can’t make it to this event, you’ll be missing out! But you can watch a live event feed and participate live from Facebook. You can also log in through the Facebook panel to comment through Twitter if you prefer. So it’s like you’ll be there…sort of. I’ll be there live and in person and I hope to see you there too!


Metro-West Chamber’s Social Media Panel Discussion


Mike Langford, CEO of Tweetworks, was kind enough to invite me to participate as part of a panel discussion about social media for the Metro-West Chamber of Commerce. I was joined on the panel by Mike and two others; Cappy Popp of Thought Labs and Jeff Cutler of

The title for the panel discussion was “Linked in – How to Increase Sales” however given all of our diverse backgrounds with using social media in all different ways, it quickly evolved into a broader discussion about how we use and recommend using social media for business.

Jeff had some great recommendations for finding the “pulse” of online conversations going on around your company online and using Google Alerts to find those conversations. Mike had a great analogy of how social media is really no different than going to a Chamber networking mixer. Cappy’s reminder that in social media you need to “give” if you want to “receive” to build a brand following falls right in line with Mike’s analogy too. Networking online using social media is virtually the same (other than the technology) as networking in person. It’s all about building relationships.

I’ve shared Mike Langford’s video recording of the panel discussion. Although the still on the video looks like I am about to break into song…I assure you that doesn’t happen. I wouldn’t torture my blog readers with my horrible singing voice. Enjoy!




Response to Nancy Giles about Twitter


Nancy Giles is a regular opinion contributor to CBS Sunday Morning. Normally she has very witty, funny opinionated pieces as part of the show. This past week however I was disappointed. My disappointment was not in that she was taking a jab at Twitter…there are definitely ways to take clever jabs at Twitter and the people who use it, but Nancy Giles didn’t take that route. My disappointment was that she clearly didn’t understand what makes Twitter so powerful and obviously had not used it. Here’s a link to her opinion on YouTube:

Her usual quick and witty opinion piece was about as blunt as a rubber mallet. Here’s the big point you are missing Nancy:

It’s about community

The Monday morning after this aired I went to an event (aka a TweetUp) organized by @AaronStrout in Arlington MA at a little coffee shop called Jam N’ Java at 8AM. I drove an hour in for this event. There were over 75 people who attended this event…all organized through Twitter. Yes Twitter is online but many people in the Twitter community actually like to get together at events as small as this or as large as SXSW. Here’s a picture of @JimStorer @ayemoah @alexa @esangenito and @AaronStrout at the event. photoSome people were networking for their business, some were meeting new people socially, some were continuing conversations they had started online. A few attendees were recently laid off and were there looking for potential employment opportunities or simply just for moral support and great conversation. The conversations were about everything from potential job opportunities in the current economy for a few to my conversation with @srdill about the finer points of vegetarianism.

It’s not about “What you are doing?”

Yes I understand that’s what the Twitter website says but if you actually take a minute to engage the community on Twitter you’d learn it’s less about the mundane “What you are doing?” and more about “What interesting article did you read?” or “Do you think the bailout plan will actually delay economic recovery?” Maybe even helping someone with a flat bicycle tire find a bike shop.

So Nancy Giles while your usual opinion pieces are spot on, this one…frankly was a dud. If you’d learned what Twitter is all about you’d know it’s about making connections, about conversation, it’s about engagement and most of all…it’s about community.



Death to Discussions on LinkedIn


linkedin_logoOne of the things I like to do is go to LinkedIn and answer questions and take part in different discussions that are going on. It’s a great way as a business owner or specialist to show their expertise, take part in interesting conversations and build stronger networking relationships.

I recently was shocked to see people using the discussions on LinkedIn…to give a sales pitch. Some of them were advertising webinars but most were direct sales pitches starting with a question like Do you want to save your marketing dollars and revolutionize your online marketing? which after you clicked on it was a big sales pitch about how awesome this marketing firm is and how they will revolutionize your online marketing.

Out of the 20 “discussions” appearing on the first page, 18 were direct sales pitches either about events or services offered by these companies. The thing I really found disturbing about this was that it was a marketing group on LinkedIn. These are people that are supposed to help other businesses with communication and engaging online if the title from the above “Discussion Topic” is any indication. This may be a news flash but one sided communications are not discussions.

Having a discussion is all about sharing your knowledge, appropriate links and opinion with others. It’s about engaging. However using the discussion area as a personal bulletin board to advertise your services is not only tactless…it’s also destroying the art of conversation within your social media group. This comes down to moderation by the Group Owner to make sure that people are using the discussion area to actually have discussions and not diatribes about how great they are but think about this for a moment – if everyone within your LinkedIn group is shouting BUY FROM ME! YOU NEED ME! in the discussion area…who is left listening?

Instead of shouting how great you are, show it by engaging in meaningful conversations and letting your obvious expertise shine through. People probably aren’t going to hire you because you say you’ll deliver amazing results. They’ll hire you because through conversations and relationship building discussions you clearly show that you know your stuff and have built up the trust so they can rely on your brand.

What are your thought on this? I’d love to hear from others about their experiences and get a discussion started here about your experiences with this, how you’ve dealt with this or how you think this can be fixed.



Welcome to the Jungle: Quick Notes from Jeff Pulver's Social Media Jungle Boston 2009


crowdThere is nothing better to me than getting to meet many of the people I have conversations with online in person. Social Media Jungle event organized by Jeff Pulver was no exception. There were around 120 or so attendees and he was able to assemble some of the areas best social media thought leaders to lead some amazing discussions. Here are a few quick observations of mine from various speakers at the event:

Jeff Pulver – “ Sometimes You need to be Vulnerable”

pulverThe organizer of the event kicked it off and had some great thoughts about connecting with people as people…social media isn’t a numbers game although that is how some people would make it out to be. He also assesses his relationships online regularly and has recently removed around 3,000 “friends” from his Facebook profile. He regularly assesses those that he is connected to – do they engage in conversation? Have they brought something to the relationship in the past year? If the answer is no, then he removes them.This example was to stress his point that it’s all about building relationships and you have a “social” responsibility to define yourself as a person. People don’t interact with brands – they interact with the people behind those brands. Connect with people AS people. So being vulnerable is the secret to success in social media.

Another interesting prediction Jeff brought up – He believes in less than 18 months Twitter will be sold for between 2-4 billion to either Google or Microsoft. We shall see…

C.C. Chapman – “It isn’t a numbers game. The human side of social media”

In C.C. Chapman’s presentation he built upon Jeff’s presentation focus by suggesting that you should disregard quantity of followers, friends, etc. and just focus on building trust. “Don’t forget your human. Be yourself.”

Richard Dale – “Twitter as the universal information stream: What if the Twitter stream told us every time a can of soda is sold?”

Raised some interesting questions about Twitter becoming more than it is. Will it have accounts you have to pay to follow? Will there be automated feeds to tell soft drink distributors to restock a vending machine? Automated traffic updates?

Laura Fitton – “Social Media for Social Good”

Laura talked about getting social media involved with charities such as WellWishes because she was passionate about clean water. She also brought up Twestival which hosted over 200 simultaneous TweetUps to raise money for clean water projects. The main thing she stressed is that the influencer is the idea and not the person behind it.

Justin Levy – “How Small Business can use Inbound Marketing/Social Media to Help Increase Their Business”

Justin talked about how he is part owner of Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse a steak house in Northampton MA and how he has cut their traditional ad revenues by up to 90% and had 12 consecutive months of increasing revenue – all because of social media. He also shared an acronym he made up: HELP which stands for “Hustle, Engagement, Learning and Passion.” He also added “S” for “Strategy” which is how social media “HELPS” his business continue to grow.

Chris Penn – “It IS a numbers game – thinking about what numbers actually matter”

Chris is a stats geek which I love (being one myself). His whole topic was based around “what numbers matter?” and it comes down to basic grammar the verb. Verbs carry the action in a sentence. What measurables in your statistics have verbs? You just need to define what actions are in your statistics to find what your truly valuable statistics are.

Stephen Dill – “Social Media Lessons Learned: From the perspective of a skeptical Online Marketer”

Stephen started by talking about the misconception that people feel they don’t have the time for social media. He then quoted Laura Fitton of Pistachio Consulting (who spoke earlier) as part of his presentation that “Twitter is Google Juice”. He stressed the importance of “benchmarking” on Google to measure the effectiveness of using Twitter. Stephen was competing on Twitter with a famous Confederate General who also had the same name as he did (having a famous horse jockey who won the Kentucky Derby I could empathize with his struggle). He stressed that rather than fall into the misconception that social media was a time waster, you should realize that the real power and reason behind using social media is the technology of search.

Leslie Poston -“Bringing Generations Together For Success In The New Millennium”

Leslie had a great presentation about generational engagement in social media. Her greatest point was the need for real mentoring. For “Gen Yers” to help the “baby boomers” embrace the possibilities of social media and the tools that are available as well as the “baby boomers” to help the “Gen Yers” to understand concepts and strategies they may not have learned growing up completely in a digital world.

Matthew Mamet – “Using online video to strengthen your relationship with your online community.”

Matthew talked about how social media in general is a noisy place to have your discussion but that video helps to change that because people use video to change their mood. He also had stats (again I’m an admitted stats geek) that 86% of people use video to change their emotional state. It just goes to show how an effectively produced video can reach your audience by utilizing emotional triggers.

Thanks also go to Joe Cascio, Doug Levin, Jason Jacobs, Leah Busque, Steve Garfield, Alex Chriss (also the event’s host from Intuit), Maria Thurrell and Mike Langford for sparking some other great conversations not mentioned here and to Jeff Pulver for putting on a great event!

Increased Click-Through Rate Statistics When Using Videos in your Email Marketing

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Getting Started with Twitter

Twitter Press birdWith nearly 10,000 people joining Twitter on a daily basis, people find it useful for connecting with friends, growing their business network and for learning about interesting blog articles, content, websites, applications and tools available online. I joined Twitter almost a year ago and it is an incredibly useful tool. I have developed some great new relationships, expanded my business reach, and discovered great articles and websites that people have shared with me.

I do find that many people who I talk to about Twitter find it confusing to get started or intimidating. So while there are many different blog posts and articles about how to get started on Twitter, I figured I would add my own to the catalog with my own unique perspective and set of tools I use to get the most value out of Twitter. Hopefully at least one person out there will find this helpful and if so…it has served it’s purpose.

Create your account: OK…this may sound ridiculous but the first step is of course to go to When selecting a username, I would recommend you create a user name that is your FirstnameLastname. If that isn’t available do not add any dashes or underscores as many Twitter users utilize mobile devices and you have to do some serious finger gymnastics to get those characters in. In this article where I refer to a generic user name I will use my own Twitter user name of “@EricGuerin” as the example.

COMPLETELY fill out your profile: You’d be surprised how many people don’t include a photo, fill out the bio, etc. This is how you are found so be as complete as possible. Add a photograph of yourself that shows your face – your twitter account is your personal brand. I don’t follow anyone who does not have a photo of themselves. Include a link to your blog or…if you own your own company…include a link to your company website.

Start Tweeting: The reason you want to start posting tweets before you try to follow others is because you want to highlight your interests via these tweets. Share your most recent blog posts, links to your latest video, etc. Even though Twitter asks “What are you doing?” it’s more about “What are you reading?”, “What video did you watch?” or “What did you find online?” I would advise against posting tweets such as “I am so tired”, “I am eating dinner”, etc. – you can do this once in a while, but the only way you will get any value out of Twitter is by fostering conversations with other people.

Look for friends: Have some friends already using Twitter? Great! Connect with them using the Find People On Twitter Tool. This can also be a great way to find people to follow, look at who your friends are following and start by connecting with them.

Start following others: Use and search for people who have posted tweets in areas of your interests. Let’s say you really like talking about the Red Sox…you can do a search for “Red Sox” and the people that are having those conversations will show up for you to connect with them. Click the “Follow” button below their photos. Some of them will follow you back and some of them won’t. Don’t take it personally if some of them don’t.

or don’t follow others: Maybe you aren’t necessarily looking to connect by “following” people at random, maybe you’d rather just hop in and out of conversations that interest you? Fair enough. You’ll want to check out Tweetworks. Tweetworks offers threaded conversations in groups within Twitter…think of it like a chat room on steroids. Best of all it forwards your tweets from Tweetworks into the much larger stream of conversations going on with Twitter so if you want to talk about “Video Blogging” maybe someone will do a search and find you on Tweetworks or will follow you by finding that tweet. Either way Tweetworks is probably one of the easiest and fastest ways to get started with Twitter.

Get the right tools: It’s pretty easy to get a headache trying to stay on top of all your connections tweets and conversations. To make Twitter easier to follow you’ll want to get yourself set up with the right tools. The two best are Tweetdeck and Twhirl. Both run on the Adobe Air platform and are super simple to install. The benefit is they make receiving and replying to direct messages, replies and having conversations much easier than trying to follow on Twitter. There are also apps for the iPhone and Blackberry which make mobile tweeting much easier.

Start the conversation: If someone tweets a question (i.e. What video sharing site gets the most traffic?) and this is a question you want to answer…you want to reply to this person. So you would say:

@EricGuerin YouTube receives the most traffic of all video sharing sites

Again @EricGuerin would be replaced with the name of the person whose tweet you are replying to. In Twhirl you can simply rollover their photo and in the upper left of the photo the “@” symbol will pop up making sending a reply much easier.

Good Karma: Let’s say someone you follow tweeted a really great article or video and you want to share it with others…Retweet them. All you need to do on Twitter is add “RT @EricGuerin and their tweet – where @EricGuerin is replaced with the name of the person whose tweet you are retweeting or in Twhirl, roll over their photo and click on the double arrows in the lower right and Twhirl will automatically load that tweet into your typing area with the RT and user name already added. For example, if you want to retweet one of my posts, it would look like.

RT @EricGuerin Blog post: “Helping E-Commerce with Video” a look at the recent eMarketer article with my thoughts

Most of all have fun: You are new to Twitter don’t take it too seriously. Don’t obsess about how many followers you have, don’t worry if someone stops following you, don’t worry about the significance of your 100th or your 10,000th tweet (believe it or not some people do). It’s all about the quality of the conversations you are having and whether it is worthwhile to you…not anybody else.

Getting started is the most difficult part, but once you have started it’s pretty easy. You’ll learn what you like and don’t like and what works best for you. after that you will learn as you go and figure out how to use Twitter the way it works best for you.

So what do you think? Did I leave anything out? Anything that needs clarification? Let me know in the comments below or ask me on Twitter by replying to @EricGuerin.

5 Question Interview: Ken George of WBUR

kengeorgeKen George, new media production manager for Boston-based public radio station WBUR, 90.9 F.M., (one of the largest NPR-affiliated stations in the country) was bitten by the social media bug early last year.

Prior to 90.9, Ken was production editor for, a regional web portal based in Western Massachusetts.

After reading Ken’s blog, a chronicle of 90.9’s “web 2.0” initiatives, and following his “Tweets,” I got a chance to finally meet him at the station’s first “Tweet-Up” held in July 2008. Since then Ken has taken to organizing and hosting these events on an almost monthly basis.

WBUR is embarking on some really cool experimentation in the social media space, demonstrating a level of engagement and transparency pretty unusual for a major market broadcaster. As Ken is the mover and shaker behind this, I asked him to share his perspectives on what he is trying to accomplish for the station.

Without further ado, here is our conversation:

Eric Guerin: What prompted WBUR to get involved with social media and what websites/applications are you active on?

Ken George: We had been marginally tooling around with various social media sites like Flickr, YouTube for a number of years now. While great channels to port our new media content into, we never used those spaces to “converse” with users or listeners.

My eureka moment is a direct result of my attending one of the social media breakfasts last May. What I heard blew my mind. I left with a steely resolve to engage far more transparently and consistently with listeners via social media tools.

Twitter proved instrumental to this end. Why? I think the way it enabled almost real-time conversations. The more I Tweeted, the more followers I accrued and the more I would Tweet. A real self-reinforcing positive feedback loop.

EG: According to the most recent statistics I heard for public radio, the average age of an NPR listener is 47 and continues to trend older year after year. How does this age demographic of WBUR listeners, affect your approach to social media engagement?

KG: You’ve identified a huge problem with that question. For the most part, the “traditional listeners” are not the ones responding to our social media outreach. And frankly, I am unconvinced there is much I can do to reach those listeners via social media.

I see my efforts as helping the station to reach new markets and position itself for the future characterized by a limitless supply of on-demand content. Community will be the one trump card we can play to distinguish us from all the other guys.

EG: What are the biggest challenges WBUR faces as the way people receive news is changing?

KG: The unparalleled access to information, content, news on demand presents a huge challenge. Public radio operates best in an environment of information scarcity. When locked in your car you choices are 90.9, some innovative college programming or boatloads of crap.

This completely breaks down on the Web, where you can get all kinds of radio programs and other compelling content ad infinitium.

And of course there is the issue of money, specifically the amount advertisers (underwriters in public broadcaster parlance) will fork over to get mentioned over the airwaves. That revenue helps cover the considerable costs associated with radio production. On the web, those analog advertising dollars become digital pennies.

EG: You’ve started a monthly “TweetUp” at your studios where anyone can show up, get a tour and engage in a round table discussion about many different topics. How did you come up with the idea for this and what was the driving force behind it?

KG: The “Tweet-Ups” where a natural outgrowth of our social media experimentation. NPR resident social media evangelist (oh that term again!) It was from Andy Carvin, who among other things is tasked with getting National Public Radio affiliated stations onto the social media bandwagon, that I learned about “Tweet-Ups.”

So I thought “What the hay, let’s give it a go and see what happens.” I was dubious folks would attend, and was very gratified to see my misgivings were unwarranted. And these events have been of tremendous value to the station. The core attendees (yourself included of course) serve as a brain trust of sorts that have in no small way helped guide 90.9’s digital media efforts.

I think my strong feelings about empowering the “public” in “public radio” is what has made me a fanatic about hosting these events monthly. You folks have supported us through thick and thin. It is only fair play that you be invited in to tell us what you think (even if at times it is not necessary something we want to hear). I think that is incredibly empowering for listeners.

Speaking of events, the next WBUR Social Media Meet-Up is February 5th at 7pm and at the end of February we are hosting an “Eat Up at WBUR” – making a concerted effort to reach out to local food bloggers as part of the station’s new community-based “Public Radio Kitchen.

EG: Being public radio you need to do fund-raising to stay on the air, how have you used your social media connections to help promote and donate to your pledge drive?

KG: We are in the embryonic phrase of tying social media to pledging. The end of the year fund drive last December represented the first time we tried using social media to solicit pledges. I would remind folks (mostly via Twitter) that the fund drive was on and direct them to a specific landing page so we can quantify the results. Our overall take via social media was small, but then the initiative was rather last minute and haphazard.

The plan is that the next time we try this we are a little more organized and consistent. We may (“may” being the operative word) even deploy “micro-pledging” applications across the social media space.

EG: Thanks for taking the time Ken!

5 Questions Interview: Mike Langford of Tweetworks

One of the greatest and worst things about Twitter is the constant stream of conversation. It’s constantly changing. Yeah you can search to find posts you are interested in but I always thought there should be an easier way to connect with people who have like-minded interests and to follow a conversation that was threaded rather than searching for hashtags to follow the conversation. Hashtags are so MS-DOS, they’re like the mullet haircut – completely out of style and outdated even while it was popular. Which is why I was SO happy to find Tweetworks. I think Tweetworks will bring Twitter to the mass audience of internet users in a way that they can understand.

This 5 Question Interview is with Mike Langford who is the CEO, Founder and Funder of Tweetworks LLC. Mike is a serial entrepreneur with passion for making a difference in peoples lives. Something many people don’t know about Mike is he LOVES to talk. He claims it’s genetic and that if you meet his Grandmother, parents or his young son you’ll be left with no doubt that he’s a born talker. One on one or in front of a crowd, he thrives on conversation. (Tweetworks seems a natural fit now doesn’t it?)

Eric Guerin: Because Tweetworks is a new user interface for Twitter which uses 140 characters or less per update…can you describe what Tweetworks is in 140 characters or less?

Mike Langford: Tweetworks helps you talk with people who like to talk about the things you like to talk about.

EG: Threaded conversations on Tweetworks really make following conversations much easier. On Twitter you used to have to use a hashtag and then search for the conversation on a separate site which seemed like such an archaic way of having a conversation in this day and age. Can you explain how threaded conversations work on Tweetworks and how you came up with the concept for it?

ML: We capture, store and associate all posts made on Tweetworks in a relational database prior to passing them on to Twitter. What makes Tweetworks different than Twitter is the way we approach conversations. The way posts are presented on Twitter is as if each tweet were an independent and unrelated thought. In reality, a great deal of what is posted on Twitter is a reply to a previous statement. And in many cases you’ll find several different people replying to a single post made by one person.

I noticed early on that people like to crowd source on Twitter. It seems logical, you’ve got hundreds or in some cases thousands of people as a resource pool why not ask them stuff? The problem, as I found out, is that a Twitter user needs to be a social media celebrity like Chris Brogan or Guy Kawasaki to have a reasonable expectation of receiving a significant number of responses. Why? Think of it for a minute, Twitter only displays 20 posts at a time. And while you can click older, or use a desktop app like Tweetdeck or Twhirl which allow for easier scrolling the challenge remains, your followers are only seeing 10 to 20 tweets at a time. What this means for the average Twitter user is that he needs to hope that his followers just happen to be looking at the screen when his tweet hits. And with many people following hundreds of people that list of 20 tweets is refreshing pretty quickly. In short, the odds aren’t in your favor for a robust and inclusive discussion with Twitter’s current format.

So I thought, what if we created a way for people to start a discussion or ask a question and have the stream stay together? Then I thought, what if anyone, not just followers, could participate in the discussion? I mean, the only reason I have this weird follower/following thing going on is so I can have a reasonable prospect of having a conversation when I’m on Twitter right? So, we decided to remove the follower contingency and open it up. On Tweetworks conversation is king.

EG: One of the coolest features you have on Tweetworks are public and private “Groups”. Can you explain what the groups are and how they work?

ML: The randomness of Twitter is fun and super cool but it has it’s limitations. As human beings we tend to group things. Believe it or not it is this tendency that leads most people to follow the people they follow. You go to a conference on a certain topic like say a Pod Camp and you meet a bunch of new friends who like to talk about social media. So, you follow them because you had fun talking about social media. But, now your timeline is filled with tweets from these people on a whole bunch of other crap you have no interest in. At Tweetworks we thought a better approach would be to allow people to talk about what they like to talk about when they want to talk about it with other people who like to talk about the same stuff. To accomplish this we allow users to form or join whatever public group they’d like.

The private groups are a little different in that we add the ability to control the “who” part of the conversations that take place inside the group. Private groups are very useful for businesses, clubs, fantasy sports leagues, and sensitive topics.

EG: Unlike many social media tools I was impressed that you already have a plan & outline for eventual monetization, can you briefly discuss this?

ML: The point of starting a business is to earn money isn’t it? I’m not a software engineer with crazy coding skills that sat down one day and thought Tweetworks would be a cool mashup project. I found myself seeing a real problem that if solved would create real value. If Tweetworks is successful in creating value then we should put in place mechanisms to be compensated so we can continue to provide value to our users. I think it is a shame that people create these amazing tools and they eventually have to shut down because they simply could not afford to support the large number of users that adopted their creation. Look no further that Quotably, it was very popular but it is no more. While Ben Tucker cites Twitter’s pipe access as a reason for the shut down, I assume he would have found a work around if the venture were profitable.

Okay, enough pontificating on the why we have a revenue model let’s get to it. Tweetworks has two revenue sources, Pro Accounts and Group Sponsorship.

Pro Account: We rolled out unlimited private group access as our first Pro Account offering. For $24.95/yr a user will be able to have as many private Tweetworks groups as he would like.
Group Sponsorship: Tweetworks groups are available for sponsorship by businesses or individuals. We use the term sponsor because it carries a different weight and expectation than advertiser. On Tweetworks a sponsor will have its profile, or custom copy, displayed prominently in the Group Information Bar and their tweets will be highlighted when displayed in the group. This allows the sponsor to stand out in the crowd of tweets that are relevant to its business. It is our expectation that sponsors will be active and responsible participants in the community (group) in which they sponsor. For the other participants in the community having an active sponsor should feel much less intrusive than straight advertising. To start Sponsorship packages will be priced at 3 days for $45, 7 days at $84, and $150 for 15 days. The flat package pricing will make it simple and easy for a sponsor to jump in and get started.

EG: I know Tweetworks is only in its initial launch phase, what cool new features can we expect next?

ML: One of our next steps is to create and open up our API so that desktop, mobile and other third party applications can port into Tweetworks. We are walking that weird line of needing to include the early adopters of Twitter and staying true to our value proposition. Some people REALLY want us to bring the all of their followers’ activity into Tweetworks and we aren’t planning to do that. But, if we either partnered with an existing desktop application such as Twhirl or Tweetdeck, or develop our own we could make these people happy and still provide the robust Tweetworks experience. It is important to remember that there are millions of registered user names on Twitter but the majority of the population has no idea what it is and why they should consider using it. In the end, it is these new users that will make up the bulk of our customers.

Some other cool things we are working on are RSS feeds for groups and activity notification. We’ve had several requests from people who would like to post their group’s activity on an external website and we think that is a great idea. We’ve also noticed that some users come to the site, participate in a group and then we don’t see them for a while. The challenge with a new community is that it takes some time for the party to heat up. We need to work hard to get people to come to Tweetworks and revisit frequently enough so we build up momentum. We are getting there, I am very pleased with the success we are having so far.

EG: Thanks Mike!

To those of you reading who have been hesitant to check out Twitter or been intimidated by it, go check out Tweetworks. I highly recommend it.

5 Questions Interview: Danny Brown at Press Release PR

A couple of months ago, I responded to a request on Twitter from Danny Brown asking if anyone would be interested in being interviewed for a discussion on social media. I replied with my answers and became one of the first in a series of posts he did as part of his “Discussing Social Media” blog article series. Knowing what my answers were for why I used social media, I was very interested to hear what Danny’s perspective was on a lot of the same issues, however I changed some of the questions a bit to focus more on PR and how that is changing.

Danny Brown is the owner of Press Release PR, a boutique agency specializing in search engine optimized press releases and social media PR. He is a blog partner of the iEntry and WebProNews business network and a contributor to the Dad-o-Matic project.

Eric Guerin: Why is it important to have a search engine optimized press releases in this Web 2.0 world?

Danny Brown: There are many reasons why a search engine optimized press release still offers value even with social media and Web 2.0 taking such prominence. The key advantage is your prominence in search engines. If a press release is optimized properly then your keywords will see you appear near the top of the major search engines for relevant searches.

This makes it easier for your target audience to find you, as well as bloggers who’re interested in your product. So there’s a definite synergy between SEO press releases and Web 2.0 / social media. And of course there are the backlinks to your site.

EG: How does traditional channel public relations differ from Social Media PR?

DB: Traditional PR will see you approach your promotional campaign from the viewpoint of getting your news on TV, radio or print. You send your news out to your media contacts and relevant outlets and hopefully it’ll be picked up. Social media PR still uses these tools, but it also uses much more. Imagine a Twitter conversation where you can have your client answering questions in an impromptu Twitter meeting, using hashtags to separate from the normal conversation. Or you get to the front page of Digg and all of a sudden your news is viral.

Then you have the social media news release benefits, where you can show videos and a visual tour of you, your company or product. This is far more stimulating and interactive than a traditional PR campaign.
THAT’S the beauty of social media – your client can truly interact from the off, as opposed to hoping for interaction with traditional media outlets. It’s also incredibly cost-effective for the client, compared to often prohibitive traditional PR campaigns.

EG: What social media tools or applications do you use?

DB: There are a few I use for different reasons on a personal level. These are the usual suspects – Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon, Technorati, etc.

However, from a PR side, there are some excellent applications that aren’t being utilized anywhere near enough. For example, I’ve been a big fan of BackType from Day 1 – the ability to view comments on blogs that are discussing your business or brand is invaluable, and offers a great way to offer instant reaction. I’ve already mentioned how Twitter can be used for PR – but its applications are where it’s really at.

For instance, I use Tweetcloud to offer clients a visual overview of why Twitter is invaluable at connecting with their audience. It shows how popular a brand or term is, as well as offering a business an idea of what their competitors are discussing, and with whom. This kind of information is invaluable when extolling the benefits of social media. I also recommend any client to use Google Alerts and Serph to monitor their company’s reputation online.

EG:f you only had access to one social media tool which would you choose and why?

DB: If it was just one, I’d seriously have to say Twitter. This is without a doubt the future of business networking and micro-blogging, as well as brand promotion, and I can’t believe how many businesses haven’t realized this yet.

EG: What is the one thing you know about social media that many people don’t know or don’t understand?

I’d probably say the understanding that social media is a two-way thing. Most companies that enter social media do so for the wrong reasons – they’re either looking for the quick result, or the all-important Return on Investment (ROI). Social media doesn’t work this way – one thing I always make sure my clients are aware of.

It’s all about building the relationships with the people that can make a difference for you – customers, contemporaries, even competitors in some instances. Interact with your audience, build up that mutual trust and respect. Know that you’re in it for the long haul and that you can’t use social media just to broadcast messages about you and you alone.

Gaining that understanding will enable you to place more emphasis on building long-term relationships that will offer sustained results, as opposed to the quick buck ones that never last. You’ll also be in a far stronger position to build brand loyalty than any of your competitors that aren’t using social media – and that’s a powerful enough reason on its own for using it.

EG: Thanks Danny!

Twitter Etiquette 101

OR how following a new person on Twitter should be treated like a first date.

So, I’m a happily married guy and fully admit I’m not up on the latest trends of the dating scene. But somehow I doubt that walking up to someone you’ve never met and saying “Hey babe, what’s your sign?” or “I play the field, and it looks like I just hit a home run with you. ” is a way of charming someone and it probably won’t get you a second chance…maybe a drink in the face though. Don’t be that guy.

With that in mind I’ve recently noticed a really annoying trend occurring on Twitter where I will follow someone and I get a direct message back from them with some lame sales pitch or directing me to a “free gift” for following them. Why on earth would your first personal contact with me on Twitter be a direct sales pitch? Really? I hardly know you. What would ever possess you to think that this would work.

Twitter is all about building relationships and interacting with the community at large. If I follow you on Twitter and like what you have to say, I’ll start seeking out your tweets. If you continue to provide interesting conversation, content and ideas to the flow of Twitter…I’ll check out your profile on my own and if I want to learn more about what you do or the services you offer, I will contact you. OR if I pose a question on Twitter and your business has the solution…that is the perfect opportunity to engage me and tell me how your product or service is the answer to my dreams.

If I send a direct message to someone when they follow me it’s a casual “Hey thanks for following me! I look forward to reading your tweets!” Just something friendly to acknowledge that I do appreciate you following me because…well…I do appreciate everyone that follows me. Everyone uses Twitter differently, but I would have to guess that no one is logging on to Twitter to hear everyone’s “elevator sales pitch”.

So please…don’t be “that guy”. Like all those cheesy bar pick up lines that don’t work and are insulting to peoples intelligence – starting a conversation with someone using a sales pitch is a sure way to turn them off and get a virtual drink in the face in the form of an “unfollow”.