Archive for July, 2011

Inside Computer Explorers

Inside Computer Explorers Weekly Hosts

Inside Computer Explorers is our new BlogTalkRadio show representing the brand. The show  airs each Thursday, 8am Pacific/10am Central/11am Eastern. It will be hosted by Cyndee Perkins, Curriculum and Program Development Director; Lorri Wyndham, Computer Explorers Operations Manager and Me!

In a recent communication to the Computer Explorers franchisees Lorri explained that Inside Computer Explorers “will not become an extension of Deb’s Social Geek Radio show. As much as I like her show; we need ours to be different. Each week we will discuss current topics and trends in technology education. This show is a natural extension of our newsletters.

If you are interested in becoming a guest please contact us. We are also interested in your feedback and suggestions for topics.

We are very excited to give you a peek  Inside Computer Explorers weekly.  Please connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and now on  Google+.

There is no question that holding contests using social media can be an effective part of a marketing strategy. Social media contests with attractive prizes are very popular to attract new customers. Successful  contests will start with objectives and goals.

The organization and/or franchise offering the contest need to ask:

  1. Who is the target
  2. What incentive or prize will attract the most attention
  3. What will the budget allow

We at Computer Explorers decided to create some buzz with a contest where the winner will receive not one but two iPads. What might surprise you is the contest is not offered to the public. The contest we created is offered to the Computer Explorers franchisees.

We are in need of great marketing videos like this one we received from Malaysia, posted on the Computer Explorers Facebook page:

To create buzz about the contest  we posted our own funny video found here for the franchisees and then outlined the contest rules in our weekly communication.

We hoped to get the attention of the franchisees with the offer of iPads to be used in their programs. We did! We received enthusiastic phone calls and emails from the system indicating they will be  busy filming next week! One franchisee added to the contest and told her staff that if their video is a winner she will give the instructor an iPod Touch.

Creating buzz with contests for your customers is a great marketing strategy. I suggest you also consider creating buzz within your own organization!

Inspire Change

Inspire Change, Engaging your Franchise Company with Social Media is my session at the upcoming FranCamp: Franchising Goes Social event to be held in Nashville, TN.

Here is my session description:

How do you get your entire organization to buy into social media? What is the potential if everyone from the home office to the franchise locations to employees begin to use social media? Amazing things start to happen: better customer relations, better brand awareness.

Deb is a firm believer that to motivate you have to be motivated. The economy and franchise budgets are still hurting.  Everyone has been affected by the downturn of the economy but what franchisors did during the downturn varies. Deb approached social media and yes jumped on that bandwagon looking for innovative and creative ways to leverage social media to position COMPUTER EXPLORERS. Success does not happen overnight and it does not happen alone. It is a team effort starting from the top of the franchise system involving the corporate team and filters through to franchisees and evidentially to the customers.

Social media takes time and sometimes money but first it needs to be understood, by the leader. The small business owner or franchisee with one or two employees is a leader. The multi-unit franchisee is a leader as well as the franchisor. Every leader needs to make the business decision if social media should play a role in their organization marketing plan. Whether the decision is to outsource or use someone in house for social media marketing, the leader needs to be enthusiastic about the use of social technologies. More importantly, the leader needs to make the decision about how and what to leverage. Not all social technology platforms will fit and not all will bring a return.

Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by what you think you know. Successful businesses today require creativity, innovation and the ability to change. Deb will share openly how she approached the use of social media when it was still uncharted waters, the resistance she received from franchisees and the path and tools developed to turn skeptics to enthusiasts.

We have a great line up of speakers, panelists and attendees. I love sharing what I have learned and I hope I can inspire others. To learn more visit:

BJ Emerson was kind enough to invite me to Google+. I have asked myself if I really need one more social media platform and the answer is a resounding YES! It allows me the opportunity to test the newest and shiniest social media tool.

As I did with Facebook and Twitter, I’m listening, reading and learning as much as I can. I’m tackling Google+ as I did with the other platforms by taking one step at a time and experimenting.

Here are a few posts that have helped me on this new venture:

  • Kristi Hines of Social Media Examiner wrote “How to Get Started With Google+, Your Complete Guide” (link here) This was very helpful to me as I set up my profile and circles.
  • Gini Dietrich posted “10 Things to Consider As You Move to Goggle+ (link here). Gini says, ” make sure one of your goals is to build your database. Don’t abuse it. Don’t spam people.” That seems easy enough so it’s now my number one goal with Google+.
  • Chris Brogan’s “The Google Plus 50” (link here) I love that he asks the obvious: “Should I get in early, before anyone’s  there to bother with? If I don’t look at it for a year, will I lose ground?”
  • ReadWriteWeb posted an article written by Audrey Watters, “Google Plus: Is This the Social Tool Schools Have Been Waiting for?” (link here) This is particularly of interest for Computer Explorers as we support the education industry.
  • I’m still undecided if I should build a Google+ business page.  Jay Baer points out that smart businesses will focus on “how to be social and how to do social” in his post: “Why Google Has the Hammer To Make Businesses Use Google Plus” (link here)
Thanks to Jason Falls I now have my Google+ URL shortener,  and you can claim yours:
I will organize my day to explore and discover the possibilities of Google+ and share what I learn along the way. If you are a Google+ user please connect with me. I would love to add you to one of my circles!