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I struggled with whether to do this post or not.  Those who know me well know that I'm not a troublemaker or rabble-rouser; I cringe at stirring up trouble, especially for others in their jobs. As a business owner, I know how hard it is to get everything right and make the pieces all fit together. Having said that, I had an experience recently that I really do feel has a good lesson in it and have decided to share it in the spirit of learning and improving, not in attacking or flaming.

Usually companies do a better job in their traditional sales and support services than through social media, simply because people are still getting used to it.  This is a case in reverse.  It is not meant to be an indictment of the company I had the experience with, just an example of how one area can be on top of things but another drop the ball, negating gains made by the one doing a good job. [UPDATE: please read to the end for response from Justyn Howard, CEO of Sprout Social.]

Over the past few weeks we've been researching social media monitoring solutions to help us make recommendations to our clients.  In particular, we were looking for solutions that we could white label so we could more easily help clients manage their accounts and activity. 

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Tuesday evening we were honored to have Andy BealAndy Beal, founder of Trackur, renowned online reputation management expert and founder of Trackur, Skype-in to our blogging workshop and speak with the participants, taking questions and sharing his insights.  Thank you, Andy!

We live streamed the workshop and also videotaped it to make available for later viewing. Unfortunately, the next day we found that Murphy's Law took effect during Andy's speaking with us: we didn't realize the camera had accidentally been left on earlier when testing, and the battery died without our being able to video all of his segment. Ok, no problem; we had a backup plan because we were doing a screen capture of the Skype segment. Old Murphy struck again, though, and the quality wasn't good enough for use. Soooo, I apologize and will try to recap some of what went on. I'm sure I'll be leaving out a ton of good information, though, and am so disappointed :(

First of all, Andy was extremely interesting and entertaining! He explained to the class why he decided to create Trackur, why ORM is so important, and that you're mistaken if you think you're not on social media because somebody somewhere is talking about you.  (Example, my mother is 78, has never used the internet, and is all over social media because of photos and postings from family members - all good stuff, of course). You want to be where the conversations are, though, so you can either take advantage of positive remarks or proactively act on negative remarks.

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Radically Transparent book coverTomorrow night marks our fourth workshop in the monthly series of free workshops we're doing for 2012 (the first one was in December, 2011), and we're excited to welcome special guest speaker Andy Beal. Not only will this workshop be recorded for online video, but we'll also be live streaming from the Mechdyne cave at Riverstone Energy Center.

Andy Beal, internet marketing consultant, award-winning blogger, professional speaker and coauthor of the critically-acclaimed book Radically Transparent: Monitoring & Managing Reputations Online will join us via Skype. Andy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC and NPR and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times , Business Week, Inc. Magazine, Forbes and many other publications - and now he'll be appearing in Riverstone Energy Center! He is considered “the Indiana Jones of reputation management.”

In addition to his publications and on-line expertise, Beal is also an entrepreneur and the founder of, a comprehensive and affordable online reputation monitoring and brand tracking tool. Glerin now offers Trackur in it's product lineup and will give all participants attending the workshop a 30-day free trial to test the software out.

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ereader plus lisa doesn't equal love

It's ironic, technophile that I am, I still don't use an e-reader and am digging in my heels to keep my physical books.  I guess eventually I'll have to be dragged kicking and screaming to surrender to the future.  Wonder how long it will be before books as we know (knew?) them will be a thing of the past, left to be whispered about in museums? Mommy, why did people turn down the corners of the paper and write beside the words? What is the paper called again- pages?

To me, there's just nothing like wandering the aisles of the library or the bookstore.  I love the smell of the paper, picking up the books and skimming through them, seeing what catches my eye. Many times I pick out a book just like I shop: swoop in, quick scan, see if something catches my eye, if not it's on to the next one.  How can I do that with an e-reader? It's just not the same, I whine as the violin plays softly in the background.

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Posted by on in Social Media

It's not easy to sit down and convince somebody who is trying to keep their small business afloat in a tumultuous global economy that they shouldn't always be concerned with the sale first when marketing to the modern consumer. Most people who don't have experience in social media just down-right don't take advice like that seriously. It's true, though.

Everyday, internet users are bombarded with people trying to sell them something, to the point where most of this marketing becomes part of their peripheral world. It's not hard to demonstrate this. Most of you probably have a Facebook. I want you to go use Facebook for 20 minutes (seriously, right now, before you make it past this parenthetical aside and spoil the point) and then come back and tell me 10 Facebook ads that stuck out to you. If you're like the vast majority of everyday browsers, you probably can't because you've developed a bit of an immunity to it. 

So how does a business that wants to increase its presence on the web do so without falling into a proverbial haystack? It's surprisingly easy, and even a little after-school-special. Do you remember the drive to make friends when you were still a sprout? And do you remember how many times you heard people telling you to "just be yourself?" That still applies here. If you have what it takes to successfully sell a product, then you have a special expertise, and that's worth sharing with the world.

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