2.25.2010

Social Media...and Breakfast?

One of my favorite things about Austin is how the city unites pairs of unusual partners.

Trailer parks and frozen hot chocolate. At the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery, Holy Cacao brings together a trailer park atmosphere with delicious frozen hot chocolate, cake balls, and s'mores.

Bingo and drinking. At American Bingo on Riverside, players are encouraged to bring their own alcoholic beverages to the bingo games, a partnership which makes the whole bingo experience even more exciting.

Pee Wee Herman and the Alamo Drafthouse. That's right; most of the Alamo Drafthouse locations are inviting movie-goers to attend "Pee Wee's Big Adventure - A Quote-A-Long" where audience members are invited to shout the most notorious lines from the film.

Of all the unusual combinations that "keep Austin weird," I think I've found my favorite: social media and breakfast.

The Austin Social Media Breakfast series brings together social media veterans and even newcomers for a morning of eating, meeting, sharing, and learning. The series is open to anyone interested in social media, public relations, communication, technology, or really anything.

In January, I attended my first Social Media Breakfast at Mandola's Market, an authentic Italian grocery/cafe. Although it had been years since I had woken up before 7:00AM, I was excited to meet new people, talk about social media, and of course eat breakfast (and drink lots of coffee).

Attendees at the event included: marketers, PR pros, entrepreneurs, business communicators, bloggers, podcasters, Twitterers, community managers, recruiters, online social networkers, and although I did not meet any current students, there were several recent graduates.

At the particular breakfast I went to, we heard from two executives at PetRelocation.com, a local pet relocation and transportation service, Rachel Ferris, the Director of Public Relations and New Media, and Kevin O’Brian, the co-founder and CEO.
“Be yourself and keep it simple. That’s what we’ve done. We’re being social and the media are simply our tools,”
 said O’Brian about PetRelocation.com’s success as the eleventh fastest growing company in Austin.

Ferris and O’Brian wove their discussion on social networking with their passion for pets into a presentation on how to get business, retain customers, and simply be social on social networking sites like Twitter.

Ferris emphasized the idea that
"your pet is a social media expert,"
and pointed out some lessons we can all learn from our furry friends about being social on the Internet. I have listed several here and encourage you all to check out the full presentation.
  • Assert yourself as an Alpha dog - look for a pack to lead or create one. For example, you can establish yourself as a leader of a niche interest on Twitter, or create your own group of followers
  • Be friendly at the dog park - you have to sniff and be sniffed. In order to get the most benefits from social networking, you have to not only put out good content (be sniffed), but also seek out content, people, and be responsive to followers (sniff)
  • Be loyal - by remaining active on social networking sites and responsive to followers, you will be able to retain customers and earn repeat clients
  • Don't be a cat - social networking sites are not the place to be introverted or selfish with content or followers
As a pet lover myself, I was impressed with the folks at PetRelocation.com for their ability to tie their two interests together in an outline for best practices in social media for businesses.

Many businesses today have a vast presence in the social web, with profiles on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. These sites allow businesses to connect with their customers and provide a unique way to disseminate information to their audience. However, for businesses, social networking is about more than sending messages to an audience. It is about listening, receiving messages, and responding – if they hope to retain customers and acquire referrals.

So, my fellow students and social media people, I hope to share some cannoli, coffee, and social media tips in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. Quite the experience Ally! I'm impressed with what your carried out from this gathering! I especially enjoyed the quote, “Be yourself and keep it simple. That’s what we’ve done. We’re being social and the media are simply our tools.”

    You are a true leader at St. Edward's and I am honored to have worked with you! Keep up the captivating blog posts!

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