Social Media 101 – Step 1: Define…

shakeO.k., you’re ready to step into the much ballyhooed “Social Media.” You’re pretty sure you want (or need) a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Tumblr blog and a site. Good! Independent Studios can help with all of those – but what the hell do you do with them? What’s the plan of attack? What good will they do?

Well, I’m going to give you the “wisdom” I have in that realm. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be popping up a post or three a week to guide you through the hows and whys of Social Media and Social Marketing. The price? Free. Why? Because I’m awesome and I’m tired of seeing people waste a lot of time, energy and money on Social Media & Social Marketing when, with a little coaching and real thinking, everyone can do this and do it right. Then, we all win.

Now, when I’m doling out these little gems of knowledge, keep in mind that every business is different, so some of it might not be quite as applicable to you as it is to others. But, at the same time, all businesses are very much the same – so I’ll strive for that universality. If you can’t apply one day’s lessons, wait a day…

Now – first and foremost is:

Lesson 1: Define Who and What You Are

Going forward, the one thing that I am going to assume is that you’ve done this. It is, without question, the single most important thing to do in social media and social marketing. Now – read that lesson again – it’s not saying “Define Who and What You Think You Are” or “Define Who and What People Expect From You,” or even “Define Who and What You Ought To Be.” It’s a very finite thing – you need to define what you are as a business (or person, or cause, brand or whatever.)

If you nail down this definition, everything else you do in social marketing and social media becomes a lot easier. Heck – it’ll make everything about your whole business a lot easier.

If you’re a real estate agent – what kind? How do you want people to perceive your business? Are you a single person, offering singular and personalized service, or are you part of a conglomerate that offers 8 zillion different services? Make up your mind – and then stick to it.

Are you part of a business? If so what is the personality of that business? What’s your “brand?” Every business has a personality – just as much as an individual does. Find it – define it.

Are you a “sole proprietor?” What’s your personality? How do you want to do business and what sets you apart? What’s the added value that you bring over Joe Schmoe? Define it.

Really, this is a HUGE question – but it’s so relevant because that definition is going to dictate, in a lot of ways, how you approach the social thing. An individual is going to approach relationships a lot differently than a group – and the “personality” of those interactions must stay consistent in order to build the social marketing empire that you’re looking for.

Now – The Exercise:

Write your business name/your name on a piece of paper (and yes, I’ve done this myself) and start adding adjectives. Are you (your business, product or service) personal, broad, awesome, lame, helpful, funny, cool, hip or useless? (if you’re useless – you might just want to stop reading and go watch some TV.) Write 20. Start with the stuff you KNOW you are. If you need filler, end with stuff you’d LIKE to be. Keep in mind that if you define yourself with these terms, you’re going to use them a lot – and if you’re full of crap, PEOPLE WILL FIND OUT. Be real, be honest – even if it’s not pretty.

Now, narrow it down to 10. Cut the fat.

Then, narrow that down to 5. Trim it a little more.

Now, narrow it to 3.

Now, you have a very quick-to-digest list of what your business/product/service personality is. The other nice thing about this is that you now have an easy “in” to writing a killer tagline for your business/person/brand/product. Keep those 3 things in mind and get ready to step into Step 2: Consistency of Message…


Mountain Java – Loud, Rainy, Quiet, Dry…

wilkinsI’ve always enjoyed the rain. Since I was young and can remember – I have always liked it when the skies gray over and it opens up.

There’s something about the gray sky that makes me feel safe. I like knowing that I have a warm home to go back to. I like that the smell of everything is different. I like that people shuffle around quicker and windows are rolled up. I like the sound of rain on the roofs. I like the clunk of my windshield wipers as I drive without the radio. I like how a good cup of coffee seems to be even warmer in my hands.

Mostly, though, I like not being rained on. I try to find a place to hole up and watch it rain – and so…

I had a client meeting near Merrimon, and I wound up setting up shop in Mountain Java, way down on Merrimon Avenue. The table was a little small (actually, I’m a little big and my laptop is a little giant,) but it was warm and dry and cozy inside. I ordered a cup of the house blend (a large, as is my norm) and the gal behind the counter charged me for a medium and let me know that ordering a medium in-house would get me refills. Already off to a great start. Because, as I’ve mentioned, I’m cheap and I drink a lot of coffee. It was, as I recall, $2.08. Not shabby.

The coffee was good. Fresh and hot and strong. Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary, but that’s cool. It was mellow and roasty – not herbal or fruity. A good, solid cup of coffee with refills – excellent (insert Monty Burns rubbing hands here…)

The decor is simple, the chairs unpadded (which is fine, because I have such a big, soft ass) and the lighting was nice and neutral. Big windows allowed for a great view of Merrimon and the cars whizzing by in the rain, throwing off rooster tails of vapor. Folks came and went, seemingly quite happy with their choices of coffee and related beverages – and with the food, which smelled great. I didn’t partake, but they seem to have some good grub. One day, I’ll break bad and actually PAY for food. That’d be weird, huh?

My one complaint (and it’s pretty minor) is that it’s a little loud – but then again, headphones. I popped in the earbuds and was whisked away to a magical land of marital arsonists, floating yellow eyeballs and insane landlords by David Yow, David Wm. Simms, Mr. Washam & Mr. Bradford. It’s amazing how “quiet” it got. But – if you’re looking to do a lot of phone calling or quiet meditation, you might want to look elsewhere.

Surfin’ was easy – no hoops to jump through, 5mbps down. The upload was a little bit draggy at .36mbps, so uploading a zillion png files to my server was a little on the tedious side, but – you get what you pay for, right? I’ve come to expect very little in the way of upload speed. If you’re doing a lot of development, you probably want to stay at your home base. My home base is dripping with children and tomfoolery, so I have to adjust my expectation and workflow accordingly when I’m living out my absurd gypsy artist fantasies.

There was plenty of juice – at least on the periphery of the room. Every table, it seemed, had a dedicated plug (the one by the bathroom actually had 4 outlets,) and it was all within easy reach. Nice.

The meeting came and went, and I took off, but I found myself back a couple of days later – it’s just a good place to hang and work and drink coffee. The second time I was in, I actually hung out for a good 4 hours. The seating is well away from the bar, so I didn’t feel like the staff was eyeballing me, waiting for me to take my cheap creepiness elsewhere. Sweet! I rate this place pretty high on the campability scale.

This was a great place to get in out of the rain, listen to loud music while enjoying hot coffee and “working.*” I was so pleased, so pleased, so pleased.

Here’s my grades, because I’m such a freaking expert and you WILL LISTEN TO EVERY DAMNED WORD I HAVE TO SAY:

  • Coffee: B+
  • Atmosphere: B
  • Internet: B-
  • Electrical: B+
  • Campability: B+

Website: Can’t find one – Mountain Java people: Call me, we’ll work something out.


Find it on the Map: Google Map Here

Interesting Tidbit: Ike’s Intercontinental Deli used to be in the shopping center behind this place. I have fond memories of Ike’s. They had the most amazing sandwiches, and I still remember the smell of the place. I’ll have to find out if the spirit of incredible sandwich artistry has hovered around like a gauzy apparition in this area – perhaps guiding the hands of the staff at Mountain Java. I’ll let you know. Maybe I should start a new blog about sandwiches. That’d be sweet. Although I can’t really eat bread now. Damn this old age.

* I LOVE my job, and I take it very seriously. Sometimes, I can’t believe how blessed I am to have folks pay me to sit around in coffee shops and play on my laptop. Thank you, clients. Thank you, God.