why large conferences need to beware of social media

social media for conferences

There once was a time when reaching a highly targeted audience required significant investment. When building credibility within a community required a workforce and proprietary content. There was a high cost of entry to build a conference which minimized options for those seeking relevant education and networking.

There has been a movement for years now towards communities of like-minded individuals organizing, congregating and networking online. As members understand the needs, wants and desires of their community, non-traditional alternatives to conferences have exploded. There has never been a time in history where we’ve had more accessibility to choice than we do now. Webinars, unconferences, e-books, online communities, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, hybrid events, and the list goes on.

Large conferences need to beware of the growing number of alternatives to their event. Conferences are fighting for share of wallet and time – not just with other large conferences, but with the exponentially increasing group of options that fall under networking and education for their target.

What are you doing to stay relevant?

wibiya . a smart social sharing toolbar for your blog

social sharing site

As you may have noticed, here I added a toolbar by Wibiya to my blog. I loved this toolbar because it lets you customize how your viewers can interact with your site – it includes social sharing, allows viewers to translate your site, subscribe to your blog, it shows recent posts and allows users to donate to a cause…all without having to leave your blog. For the blog author it offers basic analytics for each of your customized plugins.

Today, Wibiya announced the launch of their social analytics for all of your social apps. Now in addition to its already useful features, Wibiya lets you:

  • See who has been visiting your site: this includes the user’s name, the date of the last connection, their social network and the total number of users connected to your site
  • Network Segmentation: Find out which networks your users are connected through presented in graph form
  • Daily Connections: See how many people connect through your site on a daily basis

Wibiya is still in Beta testing and as a result is a free plugin. Click to add this social sharing toolbar to your blog.

QR code event case studies, examples & ideas

how to use qr codes for eventsQR codes have been gaining in popularity for a while now…but in 2010 we saw a big upswing in the use of these 2D codes within events. If this Google traffic trends report for QR Codes doesn’t reinforce this point well enough, let me tell you that “QR Codes Events” is the second highest search term for incoming traffic to my blog (only behind “ready2spark”). So, I thought I’d use this trend as an opportunity to share some great resources with you. Below is a mega list including event case studies, tools, ideas and resources. I hope you enjoy!

Case Studies

ESET uses QR Codes at SXSW – “The Benefits & Pitfalls of QR Codes

Chevy uses geolocating + QR Codes to get people interacting


QR Codes as art – The “QR Code Show” at Pink Hobo Gallery

QR Codes in Times Square for Internet Week New York


Dayton ScanVenger Hunt in Miami Valley

Luis Vuitton pairs with designer Murakami to create beautiful QR Codes

London’s Festival of Architecture introduces Tales of the City

Starbucks lets you pay for coffee with QR Codes

Rochester Jazz Festival informs attendees of the daily schedule through QR Codes


QReate & Track lets you create QR Codes with event details

How to brand your own QR Code

Temporary tattoo QR Codes


How not to use QR Codes: “Down the mobile anti-marketing hole

Out of the box

Wine for tech lovers features personalized QR Codes

QR Code sandcastle

Audi makes a giant QR code out of people


To learn more ideas, check out my post on QR Codes for Events.

Have you used QR Codes for you events. If so, what were your learnings and what would you share with others looking to implement them into their events?

when is Groupon right for your business

should i use groupon

Collective buying sites like Groupon are popping up all over the internet. These sites can translate to amazing value to both the buyer and the seller alike. If you’re not familiar with them, in a nutshell they offer a feature product or service at an unbelievable deal to subscribers who have signed up to learn about promotions in their area. The catch is that the offer only becomes valid if a minimum number of people sign up for it. I’ve advised a few of my clients to promote their wares on Groupon with amazing results.

But collective buying sites are not for every business. Here are a few tips to consider before making your products & services available for bidding:

When Groupon could be right for your business

  • You have a local business
  • You’re B2C (business to consumer)
  • You have the potential to upsell other products and services or you cater to repeat customers
  • You can handle a volume of customers
  • Your target demographic feels comfortable shopping online (note: Groupon claims their subscribers are savvy, young urbanite, single females, college graduates, $70K income+, socially connected)
  • You’re prepared to significantly discount your products or services (i.e. at least 50%)
  • You offer something of value to keep customers coming back (after all, your competitor could be offering a great deal a few weeks after yours)

Additional resources

For many small businesses, the thought of significantly discounting their products and services PLUS splitting half of the revenues with Groupon can seem like a losing proposition. This Groupon Sales Calculator can help you determine whether the accounting will work for your business.

For more information on Groupon case studies as well as how specifically it works, visit Grouponworks.com.

my social media life saver . gist

Managing Social Media connections

I have thousands of connections on Twitter, almost a thousand connections on Facebook, hundreds on LinkedIn, hundreds of blog subscribers, thousands of contacts in my address book and hundreds that blog that I follow in my reader. I get dizzy just thinking about the number of connections I have. Many overlap connection points – I have contacts that I’m connected to on LinkedIn that I also am friends with on Facebook, I have others that subscribe to my blog and are in my address book, and others that I tweet with and email from time to time. It’s confusing to track all of these connections. In fact, there are many people that I email and have no idea we’re actually connected on social media sites. This is where many get social media overload. But your contacts are gold…when you know how to manage them.

This is why I love Gist. It’s been in Beta for about a year and as a result it is 100% free…not to mention one of the most useful tools I have in my social media arsenal. In a nutshell, Gist helps you build stronger relationships with your connections by providing critical information about all of them. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re connected with John Doe on Facebook and LinkedIn. By simply inputting John’s email (which he uses for both social media sites), it will pull John’s phone number, address, his social media account names, website, rss feeds, shared connections, the last time you connected with him, etc. You can also sync with your emails so that your latest correspondence is stored with the contact! Essentially it’s a social CRM service.

Here’s a video overview by The Social Networker to give you more in-depth info (please note that the video was created when Gist was released so some of the content has evolved, but it’s a great overview):

Top 6 reasons to love Gist:

1. All of your contacts and all of their details in one place. Enough said.

2. It has a built in Google search feature. This allows you to get the latest news on your contacts and their companies.

3. You can tag your contacts. For example, tag them with ‘prospect’ and you can sort your contacts by tag.

4. You can read your contact’s tweets, facebook status updates and blog posts without leaving Gist. You can also customize what you want to see and what you don’t. Don’t want to see Twitter updates? Uncheck the Twitter box. This feature has virtually replaced my need for my reader since I’m connected to most of the people whose blogs I follow.

5. You can easily share your contact’s rss content by email, facebook or twitter. You can also favorite items that you really enjoyed.

6. If you sync Gist with Google Calendar, you can hone in on the updates from the contacts you plan to meet with.

PS – The iPhone app is available for download. An updated version has been released to fix some bugs. It’s obviously not as easy to navigate as the desktop application, but it’s still a really useful application.