Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: January 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Organizing a Successful TweetUp

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Last week, I had two events, the first was a "TweetUp" and the second was a customer event (which I will talk about in my next post). A TweetUp is a gathering of individuals who talk online (via Twitter). An event where you can meet your online friends IRL (in real life). The second was an event I organized for a client (which I will write about in my next post).

My "followers" on Twitter are mostly marketing, communications, advertising and pr professionals with a smattering of designers/web developers, foodies, lawyers, and finance geeks. The age range is anywhere from 21 to 61 with the average age being about 26 and the median age about 32. Those numbers are guestimates but likely accurate. I have a tendency to pay attention and I know my tweeps well due to my engagement level.

The @chanthana posse

The TweetUP was for Sushi Samba, a former employer of mine, and it was wildly successful. We had about 120 guests throughout the night. We had screens showing our "Tweets" and we had great specials from Sushi Samba including $5.00 mojitos. Sushi Samba donated the proceeds of the twitteROLL, a speciality roll made just for this event, to the Haitian relief efforts.

Our Tweets from #sstwtup

How did the madness of this tweetup start?
This past summer, I organized my first, larger scale tweetup. We had approximately 45 people at that event and it was hosted at Sushi Samba. That evening, I received a message from @sushi_pro, he was interested in hosting a national tweetup and asked if I would be interested in joining forces. I thought it would be a fun idea and I encouraged him to phone the corporate headquarters of Sushi Samba in New York.

SushiSamba was interested in the plan and a few months later, we started the process. In each city (New York, Miami, Chicago & Las Vegas), there was a local person who was in charge of fueling interest for the event in their respective city. Sushi Samba corporate managed the logistics with input from each organizer and handled all of the press for the event through their PR & Marketing team. SushiSamba was also responsible for making sure the venues had the proper equipment and the proper space and staff to host the event.

My roll was easy, well, it was easy for me because I've worked pretty hard for the past year to create a cohesive group of followers on Twitter. I manage my relationship with my Twitter friends on an ongoing and constant basis. Most people would go MENTAL if they were me, but being MENTAL comes quite naturally for me. Actually, I truly enjoy the relationships I've built on Twitter, though it takes hours upon hours, it feels effortless for me.

I look crazy

The key elements leading to success
  • We had the full cooperation of the corporate headquarters and they were the ones spearheading the efforts
  • Multiple cities were involved, creating a greater sense of purpose
  • A great offer(s), there were two drink specials that were actually a deal, additionally, there were special prices for appetizers
  • The restaurant also gave each person in attendance a $10.00 gift certificate for their next purchase at Sushi Samba (creating an incentive for the customer to return)
  • There was a specialty roll created with a catchy name
  • The press the event(s) received surely helped
  • Timing was great. We did not have any major conflicting events and we were just beyond the holidays enough where people were ready to hit the events again.
  • Members of the Sushi Samba staff who were not directly involved became involved. For example, the chef at the Chicago location @chefcdt was a great contributor and motivator, he did a lot to invigorate his follower base.

How I contributed to the success of the TweetUp
Being that this was my third or fourth event, I had already built up an interest level for my "next" event. I also attend various events of other organizers who helped me spread the word about my event. I have a good feel for who attends these events and I know exactly who to reach out to.

I seeded interest level early on. We started planning for this TweetUp about 2+ months prior to "promoting" the event and I contacted some of my key information spreaders and got them on their mark. When we were ready to talk about the event, I had between four and seven people firing off information, posting on their Facebook pages & their LinkedIn profiles regarding the TweetUp.

I posted the TweetUp on all my social networks regardless of the fact that it was a "TweetUp" - as in Twitter. I think the bulk of the attendees were ultimately from Twitter.

Scheduled tweets for high volume times. I already know when the majority of the people are ON Twitter and when I am most likely to get ReTweeted, so I made sure to log into my Hootsuite account and schedule tweets for those times.

Genuine interest. I don't think it hurt that I love sushi, I know and like the space and I have an existing relationship with the venue.

People like me. Not just patting myself on the back here, it is true. They like me because I am an information share-er, I help my fellow small business owners by spreading their message when they have something worth while to share. I am also a "connector", I do my best to hook my friends up with jobs or leads whenever I can and expect NOTHING in return. And, I am generally a nice and funny person, so even if you have nothing to sell or you're not interested in buying anything either, we can still tweet.

I am glad the Sushi Samba event went off as well as it did, it can serve as a great example of what other brands can be doing to connect with their audiences. I hope that I am able to bring more businesses together with their consumers and their potential consumers. Most of all, many of my friends (new and old) thanked me for bringing together such an amazing group of people from various industries where they could make relevant connections.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Favorite Subject - My Dad

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I love my family but my dad is my favorite subject. 

Most of you already know why but let me go on. 

I see my dad at least once a week, usually more like two or three times a week. His sense of humor is fantastic, he is really smart (he was an electrical engineer) and is a pretty well rounded, old dude who people always tend to love. I think my dad would make the best "Reality TV" star - ever.

Since 1991, my dad has owned and operated a travel agency that concentrates on Travel to Turkey. I manage my dad's website, write his blog, manage most of his marketing, some of his new business and I write their newsletter. Once a month, I send out their newsletter which always contains a different travel picture - most of the time that picture is of Turkey. The newsletter I sent out today had a picture of Istanbul, an overcast day with a mosque in the background.

Istanbul on an Overcast Day
Picture of Istanbul I used in the Artun Travel newsletter

The Beautiful Side of My Dad
About an hour after the email was sent, I get a phone call. My dad is on the phone and he has a complaint. "Leyla, did you send an email today?" I answer "Yes dad, I did." My dad goes on to say, "We are receiving many phone calls about the picture you used in that email, which picture did you use? People do not like the picture you used of Istanbul."

I am a little surprised to find that the picture is not well liked, I love that picture. I took the picture years ago and, to me, it is an accurate depiction of Istanbul. I explain this to my father, "Dad, it is a lovely picture, it is the city with a mosque in the background."

My father does not back down, instead, he drives his point home and asks me to remove the picture from the email (clearly, he doesn't understand how email works). I say again, "Dad, this is what Istanbul looks like." And he finally says, "Leyla! Turkish people want to see pictures of the Bosphorus. When you talk about Istanbul, you should always have a picture of the Bosphorus!" I stand MY ground and reiterate, "But dad, I think this picture is accurate."

Finally, my dad explains it to me in this way and it makes sense...
"Leyla, think of Istanbul as a woman. People want to see a woman at her best. Sure, you have the true side but you don't want to show the true side, you want to show the beautiful side. When your mother gets dressed up and puts on her make up, she looks amazing, beautiful. When she wakes up in the morning, you can barely look at her. Which picture do you think she wants the world to see? The real one or the made up one?"

Point taken dad. From now on, no more real depictions of Istanbul when we are trying to sell the city to people who are traveling there. Only the beautiful side.

Related Posts:

  • Thanksgiving With the Arsans

  • The Case of The Common Cold And the Foreign Father

  • Thursday, January 14, 2010

    How I Can Make Money On Twitter

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    I always chuckle at all the people on Twitter who tweet and write blog posts on "How To Make Money on Twitter". In my opinion, the only people who make money on Twitter are the people who try to teach others how to do so. As far as I can tell, it is another "Make Money From Home" scheme that targets those who are either too lazy to get a real job or too stupid to realize it is a scheme.

    I found a more simple approach. If all 55 Million people on Twitter each give me $2.00 (or more if they like), I can make a ton of money on Twitter. It never hurts to ask.

    So, here it goes.

    Last time I asked people to donate to me, I received more criticism than donations (click here and read the comments). I think I raised $8.00 the last time I pulled this stunt. I still find it humorous to flat out ask for money in exchange for nothing.

    If you donate to my cause, I promise to thank you publicly, or not. I would love to actually receive a large sum of money so I can write a fun blog post to follow.

    Do not judge me for asking.

    Related Posts and Other Shenanigans I've Pulled:
  • Mommy Blogger I Am Not

  • Self Promotion Takes Some Getting Used To

  • Leyla is Awesome - Win a Starbucks Gift Card
  • Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    My Review of Rebound Tag

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    Rebound Tag is a product which I received from a third party to review. I loved the idea of the product, a Microchip powered bag tag that tracks lost luggage, so I asked if I could give it a go. Sadly, the product did not reach me before my two week, international trip where I took four legs of international flights. Thankfully, my luggage was not lost on any of those legs so I could not have put Rebound Tag to the test. What would be nice is if Rebound Tag made chips I could have put on my stolen camera.

    rebound tag

    After reading through the materials I received, examining the tag and spending about fifteen minutes reading through their website, here are my initial thoughts:
    • Great concept, a product everyone who travels would want
    • Well priced. $25 gets you the tag and membership for three years
    • The tag itself is well designed and looks sturdy
    • Easy to register

    However, as I read through the site, I was not 100% convinced that this product would work. They talk about the technology but leave out the human error factor. You still have to rely on (potentially careless) airport, baggage handlers to enter your lost tag information into a system.

    That was the other thing, I did not understand exactly how the bags were going to be tracked. I looked through the FAQs 2X and from what I could gather, an airport or airline worker must find the lost bag and then enter the tag information into a system. The RFID technology (yeah, I wondered what that was too - Radio Frequency ID) and a bar code on the Tag gets scanned and goes to the Rebound Tag system which spits out an email and an SMS (text message) to your mobile alerting you of your bags whereabouts.

    The biggest hiccup is that there are only 20 airports who are participating in the program right now. And, of those 20 airports, we still have to count on someone actually caring enough to run your Tag's bar code into their system.

    My bottom line? One thing I did not like about the site, at the bottom they mention the person or company who built the site. I hate when web designers pimp their work on someone else's page. If you're good enough, someone will inquire about your work OR you can use the site in your portfolio. I would never hire a designer who put their name on my site.

    BUT...REGARDING REBOUND TAG THE PRODUCT. I think it is still worth purchasing the product. The tag costs $25 and if the are working to get more airports into the system, eventually, it could be very useful and valuable product. I would like to run a test and lose a piece of cheap luggage at a participating airport (they do not mention which ones are in their system on the site) to see how well their system actually works. Next trip! Who's buying?

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    2000 - 2009: a Decade in Review

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    I totally forgot that we just celebrated a WHOLE decade passing. People kept asking "Where were you ten years ago?" and it dawned on me, a whole decade has passed (sometimes I am slow). I wanted to take some time and think about the past decade. It took me a while...but finally, it is here!

    This was a horrible year for most of us. The economy tanked and everyone's hopes, dreams, retirement and homes went into the toilet. For me, it was a year of reflection and realizing what is important and realizing (once again) that it takes a lot to take me down. Additionally, I was able to travel to Thailand. A trip I've been meaning to take for some time. This was the year I also made a ton of new friends on Twitter! FOLLOW ME! Maybe we can be friends in '10.

    me and elephant

    I started this blog. And, as a result, I finally became the number one "Leyla Arsan" on the Google. (I used to be on page 10 thanks to the other Leyla Arsan who is the CEO of something important I presume). I changed jobs. I lost the job I changed to. My dad was hospitalized after a stress test and then my boyfriend broke up with me via text message. It was awesome.

    It was the year of Dina Lohan - that was what I called myself this particular year. I cleaned out the friend bin, dumped a bunch of old friends. I met Monica (she is 10 years my junior) and we became very close friends. I found myself going out with 24-year-olds and having a great time. It was the first time in years that I was not hanging out with bitter, 30-something-year-old women who were angry because they were single OR angry because their husbands sucked. I, jokingly, re-named myself "Dina Lohan" because of what I just described, hanging out with people much younger than I. It was this year that we also got our dog Friday - he is a blue pit bull.

    leyla monica

    leyla monica too

    Sake Bombs at Sushi Samba

    Winter Friday

    I remodeled my condo. My dad turned 70 and my brothers and I took a family trip to Turkey with our father. I met my friend Traci. Traci was a client who became a very close friend.

    my kitchen 2

    Family at Dinner

    I took a trip to Turkey with my mom and my brothers. I met my good friend Ellen. I was nominated the President of the Junior Board of the Chicago Film Festival. I think no one else wanted the job, so I got stuck with it. I opened a Friendster and a MySpace account. That was when I got hooked on, what is now commonly referred to as, Social Media.

    Leyla and Ellen

    While working for Accenture, I worked the "Accenture Matchplay." I walked the course and watched Tiger Woods golf about six rounds. But this was a particularly difficult year for me. I broke up with the significant other from '02 - '03. I left Accenture and took the job at Sushi Samba. It seemed like a terrible idea at the time but turned out to be a good thing. 2004 was a milestone year in terms of (once again) self-reflection and realizing that sometimes a bad thing can sometimes be a good thing.

    Exs are just that

    I took a trip for 7 1/2 weeks around the world with my then significant other. We returned from the trip, we broke up and got back together. I got a job working for Accenture in their Marketing Communications department. Finally making the switch to the ever-so-coveted "client side" of the business.

    I met the significant person with whom I've ever been linked to romantically (to date). I was laid off from the company I really enjoyed. I started working for DDB (again) almost immediately after my layoff from the previous job. I turned 30. I felt like a princess.

    boyfriend of old

    Another really good year. I started working for a company I really enjoyed. I got to go to the MTV Awards for work. I traveled to London (alone), it was my first trip there, I loved it. The "complicated" relationship I was in that year ended as one would have expected, poorly. I met my friend Jen. I became a homeowner. Closed on my first condo two days after September 11th. After September 11th, I think all of our lives changed. Not because we now lived in a society coded by colors but because we felt so much closer to one another as a country. That all changed a short, few years later.

    Mtv Awards

    jen and leyla

    This was a great year for me... I ran the Chicago Marathon. I lost 20 lbs while training for the marathon and the training put everything into focus and I just got better at life in general. I planned my 10 year reunion from High School. I was working in advertising but took a second job working for Charlie Trotter's restaurant. I enjoyed working at Trotter's more than my day job. This was also the year my friend Dean moved back to NY and my friend Jen got married. Leaving me without a worthy partner in crime.

    Leyla's Butt

    New Year's Eve 2001

    The North Face