Archive for June, 2012


I love technology and I’m always excited when I can share it with the youngest member of our family, my 23 month old grandson Kace!

AJA Digital Media released Farm Joy & Co recently. The app is designed for children ages 3-6 but I just couldn’t resist testing it with our own child prodigy.

Farm & Joy Co app testing

Kace demonstrated that he could follow simple commands –  “show me the horse” and tap the screen to hear what sound the horse makes. He loves to “swipe” the screen to navigate to the next page to explore and discover.

What makes a good educational app?

  • Great visuals (clear and realistic graphics and sounds)
  • Child can launch and navigate easily
  • Child is rewarded
  • Is age and developmentally appropriate
  • Will keep the child occupied, entertained and will educate

The animal puzzles and hidden barn items are a little too difficult for him although he loved clicking and testing it. The matching game was a bit challenging for one his age but he did spend time matching and was excited when he found the cat, dog, apple, etc.  Kace did not move very far up with the levels but I did when I started playing when he was done!

Hidden Pictures

Matching Game

The app is available on iTunes and can be downloaded to your iPad or iPhone. http://bit.ly/MNlgin It is well worth the $1.99 and I can see where Kace will soon be able to use all the features.

Don’t forget to “like” their Facebook page and see what the other testers share and all the new fun facts that are posted.

https://www.facebook.com/AJADigitalMedia

Geeky Weekend

Pinterest helped me Geek out Dad’s Day

Retro handset for Smartphone

I hope all the Geeky Dad’s out there enjoyed their day yesterday! We celebrated here quietly since all of our kids are off on an adventure. I purchased this as a gag but when my husband opened it and discovered that it actually works great  he decided it was one of his best gifts ever. Maybe not the best gift but close to it. It really enhances the clarity of the call, allows access to phone features via a button on the inside of the handset and can be used with a tablet when making Skype calls. It is made of silicone so it is quite comfortable to hold. Here is a link to the product sold by Sharpen Image via my pin on Pinterest

It’s in The Cloud 

I’ve been asked where listeners can download the new Social Geek song that we play for our opening and GeekItOut segment. Skyler Fox did a fantastic job putting together a 30 second intro for us and it is becoming popular. I’m sure it will soon be a favorite ring tone for many! Skyler uploaded the song to SoundCloud for easy download and sharing http://bit.ly/JVqz07  SocialCloud is a great site that allows you to capture audio and upload to their site, making it accessible for others to download. You can connect with Skyler on LinkedIn but he is best known as @BeefyFunk on Twitter.

Digital Identity

You may not want to throw away those paper business cards but you should consider setting up your digital profile. AK Stout shared this link on Social Geek Radio months ago but I finally decided to GeekItOut and set up my own profile. Follr.com allows you to set up one address for all your digital profiles. Are you a LinkedIn member, Pin to Pinterest, Tweet and/or have a blog? If so, you can link them all to your own Follr account! There is also a tab allowing documents to be uploaded. My eBook on Social Technology Marketing Strategies for Franchising uploaded in a few short minutes.

Out with the Old in with the New

I designed a new Website this weekend for Deb Evans Consulting. You will find this post on the site. For now I will continue with this blog and I hope you will  visit the new site www.debevansconsulting.com and consider following. As always, I’m open to suggestions to improve the content and sharing!

Are you a small business owner wanting to build engagement in your community? Do you want to monitor the public opinion of your service or products? Do you use Yelp and all the capabilities as a business owner and/or a Yelper?

If you are not familiar with Yelp, it is a Website that puts people in touch with great local businesses. Whether it’s a boutique, dentist, or a mechanic. Yelp is loaded with reviews from people just like us! By visiting the site shoppers can make informed decisions where to spend their money and time. Yelp was founded in San Francisco in July 2004 and has taken roots across the US and 14 other countries.

Our Social Geek Radio guest last night was Elsa M. who is a Community Manager and Marketing Director for Yelp Baltimore. Elsa is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a former TV reporter and radio host. After 9 years in the news, she searched for a change that was creative, fun and would offer a new challenge. She was introduced to Yelp and became hooked.

Listen to the entire show or download to listen at a later time.

  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/btrplayer.swf


Our interview questions for Elsa and her responses are posted below. She shares some great tips and I now want to become a member of the “Elite Squad”!

What does a Community Manager do?

Answer: Basically, I am the physical embodiment of the Website for Baltimore. I craft a Weekly Yelp highlighting area businesses based on a theme – everything from best burgers in Baltimore to yelpers’ favorite karaoke bars or places to buy perfume. I also include an events calendar, so people know what cool things are going on in the area that week.  I write all of the weeklies based on what yelpers are saying on the site.  I also plan some pretty sweet events each month in an effort to get our more active contributors and Baltimore’s tastemakers out and about.

In addition, I work with business owners and help them use the site and take advantage of the free marketing tools – which are many.  I also develop and execute marketing campaigns to get people out and about more. “Yelp Shops Local,” for instance, was a campaign we did last year encouraging people to shop locally for the holidays.

Who are yelpers and why do they Yelp (i.e. Who writes the reviews on Yelp and how many exist)?

Answer: Yelpers consist of everyday people – well, everyday people 18 and older). They enjoy being in the know and sharing their experiences with local businesses.  By March of this year, Yelp had more than 71 million unique visitors.  Review-wise, there are more than 27 million rich, local reviews, making Yelp the leading local guide for real word-of-mouth.

We’ve seen Yelp mention an “Elite Squad.”  Who are these people and what does it mean?

Answer: Ahh, the Elite Squad!  Glad you asked!  The Elites are really the crème de la crème of yelpers.  Although it’s free to become elite, they actually have to apply to be on the squad.  There’s a national elite council that reviews their application and while there’s no tried and true way to for sure become a part of the squad, they always choose folks who are very thoughtful in their reviews and pride themselves on frequenting local businesses – and of course provide a real name and picture.  I’ve found our elites to be really personable and outgoing, which makes my job easier since I plan special elite parties for them once a month at local businesses.  For the businesses, these parties are a great way to get to their target demo and to show off what makes their business so special.  For the Elites, it’s a great way to discover businesses they may not have previously tried. I’ve had fire-breathing at my events, live bands and DJs, a belly dancer with a sword on her head, a six-foot tall rotating globe, and aerialist… you name it, I’ve done it or plan to do it. The Elites and the businesses both deserve a great time and I’m happy to help facilitate it.

What sets Yelp apart from other review sites?

 Answer:  In a word: integrity. Yelp takes its purpose and its content very seriously, so much in fact that since our launch in 2005, we’ve had something called a review filter in place to weed out fake, shill or malicious reviews. Why? You don’t want some business owner’s entire extended family littering his business page with fake 5-star reviews the same way you wouldn’t want a competing business to have all its employees spam a business listing with negative 1-star reviews.  While we don’t disclose how it works (because that would make it a moot point!) you can think of our filter like the spam filter on your email – every now and again a legitimate email from your mom might get sent to spam, but for the most part it works as intended. Because of that, and the fact that you are getting your reviews from people in the community just like you, makes Yelp a really trusted site… one that 71 million unique visitors turned to on average last quarter: because they trust the site and find it useful.

Q7: And it’s quick, right.  Tell us about the App!

Answer: Yes – Yelp’s mobile app.  Let me tell you: when I get the little alert on my iPhone saying that it’s time to update my Yelp app, I always let out a little squeal because it literally gets better and better.  That’s the truth! We’re on every major device, most notably: iPhone & Android, and also have a great mobile site: m.yelp.com.  It’s not only a great service to use when you know where you’re going so you can get directions, call the business, make reservations via OpenTable, or check out pictures and reviews so you can decide what to order or buy when you get there, but with functions like “Nearby” you can discover businesses in a new city or when in a jam – like a cobbler or a mechanic.

Recently, we also integrated Yelp Deals on mobile – meaning you can search for deals nearby to see what businesses are offering discounts or savings. It’s one of my favorite ways to discover a new business while saving money!

Is Yelp just for customers or can business take advantage of the site as well?

Answer: Businesses can most definitely take advantage of the site.  In fact, Yelp has a whole suite of free marketing tools for them. – biz.yelp,com  All business owners have to do is visit Yelp.com, type in their business name, and click on “edit business info.”  There will be a little button that they can click indicating that the business is theirs.  From there, you’ll get an automated call at the number on your business listing to verify their identity.  Once that’s done, they will be able to respond both publicly and privately to yelpers’ comments on the site.  Not only that, they can add unlimited pictures to their business listing, provide information about themselves or their business, and get in-depth analytic s about their page’s traffic and more.  Again – all of this is free and can really go a long way in building their relationships with consumers in a personal way.  I love when I see business owners taking control of their pages and getting involved on the site.  It’s like all of a sudden the business listing isn’t just a business, but a person. Yelpers and consumers in general love feel connected.  It’s what keeps people coming back no matter what.

What do you tell businesses when they get a negative review?

Answer: All of my Elite Events are reviewed on a separate event page as well, so I totally how some business owners may feel when they read something that isn’t favorable. Negative reviews are always hard to read, especially when you are putting your blood, sweat, and tears into your dream.  That being said, they can also be very helpful.  Some people get upset when they read that a customer has written something unflattering about their business, but more times than not, those negative reviews offer customers real feelings and thus allow a great window and insight that that business owners wouldn’t normally have.  If you notice a theme with the negative reviews, perhaps it’s something you should revisit.  I had one business tell me that they added noodles with a meatball entree that didn’t have it initially just because yelpers mentioned it on Yelp.  The business owner tried added noodles and now that menu item is now one of the most popular.

Sometimes, though, a negative experience deserves a personal response.  That’s when taking advantage of those free business tools really comes into play again.  You can either respond privately or publically under the review depending on the nature of the review and what you seem fit.

That said, it’s also important to note that if anyone believes a review goes against our Terms of Service, they can flag it where it will go to our customer support team. If they determine that review does violate our TOS, they will remove it and notify that user.

Please tell us which websites/social sites you’d like for people follow.

Answer:

www.yelp.com/Baltimore

www.facebook.com/YelpBaltimore

www.twitter.com/YelpBaltimore

www.pinterest.com/YelpBaltimore

Elsa was a great guest and we heard the passion she has for her job at Yelp and living in Baltimore. She told us she is excited about discovering everything she possibly can about her community and Yelp gives her the freedom to do just that.

Personally, I look forward to learning more about my own community via the new Yelp app I downloaded. I’m so excited to share my experiences to help promote local businesses via this social technology platform.

Social Geek Radio Guests and Co-Hosts

Wow, 100 Social Geek Radio shows/podcasts under our belt!

Over the last two years Social Geek Radio has aired every Thursday night 6pm PT/8pm CT/9pm ET. We have interviewed great authors, social media gurus, business experts, educators, franchise leaders and geeks! Our shows have been informative, educational and entertaining. We  plan and lay out objectives for each episode but in the world of social technology we have learned to expect the unexpected and just roll with it.

Our podcast platform is BlogTalkRadio. “BlogTalkRadio allows anyone, anywhere the ability to host a live talk radio show online, simply by using a telephone and a computer. BlogTalkRadio’s unique platform, powered by Cinchcast, empowers citizen broadcasters to create and share their original content, their voices and their opinions in a worldwide public forum”. Our shows are archived on the site to listen later as well as published to iTunes.

Last night we unveiled our new music produced by Skyler Fox. He did an awesome job putting together a short 30 second geeky tune that we can use for our opening and our Geek It Out segment. Listen here

What is the value of podcasting?

Social Geek Radio allows us to share with our audience what is new in social technology in various industries. For example, last week we learned how social media marketing is used in the non-profit industry. Our guest, Ashley Rudolph shared the benefits of a non-profit being active on social media, shared blogs to follow, what type of content to post and a full hour of great information! Authors we have interviewed shared  how to create an irresistible and likable brand, (Dave Kerpen)  how to tap the power of location-based marketing (Aaron Strout) or how to tweet an hour a day (Hollis Thomases).

With each podcast we want to provide valuable takeaways for our audience and it never fails that I walk away with new information and tactics I hadn’t considered before. In the Geek It Out segment at the end, AK Stout shares Websites, apps, and great tips to help us become more efficient with our use of social media or sites just to have some fun with. The links are posted on my Social Geek Radio Pinterest board.

Keep It Fun

One of the best things about Social Geek Radio is interacting with our listeners. Whether we are having silly conversations in the chat room or actually live on the air, I enjoy myself. We have set an environment of fun and it’s exactly why I have made the commitment to Thursday nights week after week. Last night we had as many as 16 in the chat room, several on the phone lines, a few in Google Hangout with BJ Emerson and I’m not sure yet how many were listening live via the internet. Each live listener will be sent our very first Social Geek Radio koozie designed by Dana Lopez of Mango Tree Brands!

Social Geek Radio Koozie

To podcast or not to podcast is a personal decision. In my opinion, if you can commit the time, share your own expertise, be willing to promote the show and your guests, ensure there is something of value for the audience, be willing to deal with technology issues and ultimately work hard to have fun….then go for it!

If you need any help, let me know. I’m not an expert but I do have 100 shows done and I certainly have learned a thing or two that I am willing to share.