Archive for May, 2011


  Early in May my friends at tasti D-lite started a  contest to win a CMA music festival package. Since I love social media contests/challenges I asked Lorri Wyndham if she wanted to participate with me.

Our video entry is below.  Our goal was to have fun and help promote the contest. We also love to challenge our corporate video producer, Bryan Kersten. Bryan did the best he could with our lack of talent. Lorri and I had a great time participating but we are not at all surprised we didn’t win!

We congratulate the actual winner of the tasti D-lite contest, Kim Ingle from Indiana. You can find the winning entry on the Tasti Facebook page or here: http://www.tastidlite.com/

I Thought You Were On Vacation

I should count the number of times I receive  “I thought you were on vacation” message. It pops up on Facebook chat, text message, direct message via Twitter and of course via email.

Texting on Vacation

I am on vacation but as everyone knows I belong to the bent-headed technology club. My iPhone is always tethered. It’s ready when I am to take awesome vacation pictures or respond to the text “I know you are on vacation but can you help with … ” from a franchisee.

Not long ago my vacation accrual was maxed out. I was at the use it or lose it stage. I hate to admit this but I actually lost some. I quickly realized this is insane! It was time to take a serious look at my work-life balance. No one is indispensable and with the exceptional team I have in place I am confident they can manage and make decisions without me.

A friend, Terri McCulloch, VP Sales & Marketing at Any Lab Test Now recently tagged me as a “Grandmapreneur”. For a few months I was spending Tuesdays caring for my grandson while my daughter-in-law was finishing her college degree. She could have enrolled him in a local daycare or I could spend the day bonding with him.  I couldn’t think of a better way to use my excess vacation. Technology allowed me to work virtually while performing grandma duties.  There were scheduled calls that I needed to conduct and the franchisees and/or business partners totally understood the noise in the background. In fact, there were several video Skype calls where they were able to meet him face to face!

So “yes, I’m on vacation” and having a great time! I used foursquare and checked into various locations so family,  friends and franchisees could follow my whereabouts. (I’m competing for new foursquare badges with my daughter and co-workers and earned two new ones this vacation!)

Swimmies foursquare badge

By the way, I also sent several emails, listened to a Webinar,  answered a few text messages, tweeted important event reminders, scheduled conference calls for next week, drafted a podcast … while enjoying time with my family and relaxing.

Today’s economy forces leaders to balance work and life. Sometimes it is a juggling act. With a little creativity and technology I am very productive on vacation days! I will return to work refresh and without the stress that I have a pile of work waiting for me.

In prep for the guest appearance of Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media on Social Geek Radio, I purchased his new book Likeable Social Media and received an advanced eBook copy. (You can listen to the broadcast here)

Looking through the chapters listed below you may assume it’s just another social media book. It is but Dave outlines not only the why but the how with a list of action items at the end of each chapter.

  1. Listen First, and Never Stop Listening
  2. Way Beyond “Women 25 – 54” Define Your Target Audience Better Than Ever Before
  3. Think And Act Like Your Customer
  4. Invite Your Customers To Be Your First Fans
  5. Engage: Create True Dialogue with, And Between Your Customers
  6. Respond Quickly To Bad Comments
  7. Respond To The Good Comments, Too
  8. Be Authentic
  9. Be Honest And Transparent
  10. Should You Ask A Lot Of Questions?
  11. Provide Value (Yes, For Free!)
  12. Share Stories (They’re  Your Social Currency!)
  13. Inspire Your Customers To Share Stories
  14. Integrate Social Media into the Entire Customer Experience
  15. Use Social Networks For Greater Impact
  16. Admit When You Screw Up, Then Leverage Your Mistake
  17. Consistently Deliver Excitement, Surprise, And Delight
  18. Don’t Sell! Just Make It Easy And Compiling For Customers To Buy

Dave explains that it’s not about you, it’s about the customer. He lists the top 10 reasons consumers will “like” a Facebook page and where to provide your value proposition to “like” you as many places as possible. He lists 11 places where you can integrate the call to action to your customers.

Likeable Social Media answers these questions and several others that I had: How do I use target marketing in the various social media platforms? What are brand ambassadors and how do I “activate” them? How should I ask discussion generating questions? How do I integrate social media across all your customer-facing departments?

My recommendation is to read the book but if you decide not to then I encourage you to connect with Dave via Twitter, Facebook and/or his blog!

Book: http://www.likeablebook.com/

Twitter @davekerpen or @likeablemedia

Blog: http://www.likeable.com/Blog/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LikeableMedia

It all started a year ago!

In 2009 I immersed myself  in social media seeking ways to build brand awareness for COMPUTER EXPLORERS (CE). As I worked hard exploring the world of social media I became more and more intrigued. Building an on-line community awareness for CE became exciting and an educational experience for myself.  It wasn’t long until I was asked to share my experiences with other franchise leaders at conferences and speaking engagements.

Meet the Geek

BJ Emerson

BJ Emerson was one of my social technology connections. I was invited to be a speaker at the 2010 IFA (International Franchise Association) annual convention. BJ was also attending as a speaker. This was exciting since we had never met IRL (in real life)!

After spending time with BJ I knew he would be someone to expand my knowledge in the social technology world.  I felt there was something I was missing in my use of social media. I asked BJ if he’d like to take a risk and join me in starting a Blog Talk Radio show on social technology. He thought it would be a lot of fun and came up with the clever name of Social Geek Radio. It was his idea to use the last 15 minutes of each show to “Geek It Out.” A segment sharing social technology sites that would be new to our audience. They were always new to me since he never shared with me prior to the show!

Our goals were simple:

  • Provide an educational show for business owners on the best practices of utilizing social technology
  • Empower others who love technology to connect with others
  • To make the cyberspace easier to manage and be heard over all the noise
  • To entertain and have fun doing so

We had a great time in 2010 but starting in the new year of 2011 BJ’s speaking and travel commitments were going to interfere with his availability on Thursdays for the show. Check out his calendar of events here.

I needed a new Geek!

I was connected to AK Stout, Saying It Social and I was very impressed with her social tech skills. Her Twitter profile says, “all you need to know about Online Marketing, SEO, Social Networking, & Social Media Marketing for Franchisees, & Small Businesses.” As a guest on Social Geek Radio she wowed our listeners.

I took a chance and called AK to invite her to be my new co-host. She accepted and has been a great geek! She easily picked up the Geek It Out part of the show and amazes me weekly. Recently she shared a list of some of the best sites that she has shared on the show: GeekItOut: Cool Websites & Tools

Year Two and Beyond

There have been challenges using Blog Talk Radio and it’s a commitment of time to do the show weekly. I don’t know how long this gig will continue but for now I’m having a great time. We have some interesting guests lined up for the next few months and there is still so much to learn and share! I hope you will join us as we continue this adventure.

Happy Anniversary Social Geek Radio and thank you BJ and AK for allowing me to get in touch with my inner geek.

Steve Cunningham

Last week I had the pleasure to speak to one of my Twitter friends Steve Cunningham, CEO at Polar Unlimited. I have followed Steve on Twitter (@stevecunningham) for a few years now. His business book summaries have been very influential in my purchasing decisions and I totally enjoy his Webinars interviewing best selling authors like Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki.

Bill Taylor, Founding Editor, Fast Company Magazine shares this:

“The question for everyone in business is, Are you learning as fast as the world is changing? Well, one way to learn is to read—except that there are so many new books to keep up with. Read it For Me is a powerful way to stay ahead of the idea curve. Its video summaries and audio conversations highlight crucial ideas and hands-on lessons from the most provocative thinkers, in a way that saves you time and is actually fun. If you want to keep learning as fast as the world is changing, join Read it For Me now.”

Steve has extended a special program that I can share with you!  I have 50 free 3-month memberships to give away. Everybody who signs up for the free 3-month membership will get a collection of social media book summaries to keep, forever. This is a $110 value.

Visit the following link to learn more about Polar Unlimited and Read It For Me program –  http://www.polarunlimited.com/deb-evans-gift/

Feel free to share the link with your colleagues and friends.

Thanks Steve!