Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: March 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

B2B Social Media Made Simple

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One of the most common questions I am asked as of late is... "Have you heard of any successful B2B Social Media campaigns?" I usually answer, "Not off the top of my head but I will look into it." When I think about the two phrases independently - Social Media AND Business to Business they do not seem to gel.

One does not automatically think of Business as being Social but business is social. Professionals have been gaining their experience "socially" for decades in a brick & mortar sense by physically attending trade shows, conferences, product demos and networking events. Today, we can streamline the learning process by doing it online. We need to retrain our brains, "Social Media" does not equal goofing off at work like some would prefer to believe.

Many of my former clients were B2B clients for whom I managed and planned customer events, post trade show events, sales events, incentive dinners, etc. Because I have an existing relationship with B2B clients, I wanted wrap my head around how I could help them make their businesses more social. My initial thoughts were using their events to drive their customers back to their social sites, which is a good idea, but there is more to it than just driving traffic to a Facebook Fan page.

Earlier today, it dawned on me. I use B2B Social Media all the time! In the past year, I've probably taken part in one million seminars, webinars and networking events. I've scoured slideshare. I've read a billion blog posts from industry experts. I've subscribed to this and that - all in the name of B2B Social Media. This is how I keep on top of industry trends, this is how I learn about new products to offer my clients, this is how I stay fresh! This is all B2B Social Media.

Leyla Arsan Sushi Samba TweetUp

Examples of B2B Social Media...
  • I read marketing blog posts from random people who post on various topics - everyone from advertising creatives to freelance writers to Public Relations professionals to online marketing professionals
  • I get my blogs in various ways - some come straight to me by way of an RSS feed, others posts I find randomly via Twitter others live on my iGoogle page and some live on my Yahoo home page
  • I also "fan" some of my favorite blogs on Facebook (such as Mashable & TechCrunch) and their posts are fed straight into my newsfeed via Networked Blogs
  • For a few blogs, I receive email updates when they post but this is rare as my inbox is flooded enough
  • I would say that 65% of my new learnings have come from blog posts written by industry experts
  • I attend webinars as often as possible. These webinars often focus on topics related to marketing (inbound marketing, SEO, email marketing, PR 2.0, etc.) Webinars are hosted mainly by vendors (Vocus, Radian6, Businesswire, HubSpot) who provide services and products related to the topic at hand. What's in it for them? Lead generation. If I am interested in their webinar, it is likely that I would also be interested in the product or service they offer.
  • Whitepapers are another method for companies to market to other companies on their products or services. Earlier today, I downloaded a Whitepaper and saved it straight to a folder labeled "Research". Sometimes I use the information from that "Research" folder for client presentations.
  • LinkedIn forums and groups. Many companies moderate groups where they ask a industry related question or start a conversation on a particular topic and ask other members in the industry for their opinion regarding that topic. In my opinion, LinkedIn (though it is a "business" social media site) has a harder time communicating to the reader or participant in the forum who started the conversation. It is harder to brand the conversation on LinkedIN versus some other platforms.
  • Flickr - I often look for photos to use in my blogs from Flickr. Just today, I grabbed some photos off Flickr from the W Istanbul photostream for a post I am writing for the Artun Travel Blog.
  • Video. "How To" videos are great for B2B Social Media. Whether these videos exist on the company blog or on their Facebook fan page, or YouTube I often watch an instructional video on "how to" do what they're selling.

There you have it. My snapshot on how to utilize Social Media for Business to Business. It is not all that different from how consumer based brands communicate with their customers. They engage their customers where they live online, where they spend the most time online. They captivate potential and existing customers and introduce their products in a way where they are not giving them the hard sell. Since social media is social it is more effectively used to create awareness and generate leads.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Survey of My Social Media Audience

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I recently conducted a survey of my social media "followers" or friends on Facebook and Twitter. I opted to leave out Flickr, MySpace and LinkedIn for two reasons. 1) My greatest influence is on Twitter followed by Facebook. And 2) Many of my LinkedIn, MySpace or Flickr friends have "friended" or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

The survey was a spur of the moment thing. I had an "Ah ha" moment and went with it. I conducted a short, concise, unscientific survey with some random questions. I created the survey in under 10 minutes. Had I known that people would respond so positively, I would have put more time and thought into the questions.

As expected, I did get a lot of -- Why are you doing this? But I also got a lot of Direct Messages that said, Wow! Great idea! And even more messages that said, Be sure to post your results. Which pleased me greatly. I think a lot of people knew exactly why I chose to do this survey.

Why The Survey?

There were a few reasons. The biggest reason, I was simply curious. I have met many of my facebook & twitter friends in person but have not had the opportunity to learn more about them. I also love looking at statistics and insights (even if they are not scientific). The other reason behind my survey is business. I've mentioned that I am a "marketer," and though that has taken many shapes and forms over the past year, it is starting to become more focused.

Knowing my "followers" helps me target various clients. It also helps me reach out on behalf of my clients to my network. I asked some general questions and some specific questions because of clients I represent.

I also conducted the survey to dispel certain negative notions that people may have regarding social media. Non-believers think everyone is unemployed or unimportant otherwise they wouldn't waste their time. I think my survey will prove otherwise.

What Did I Learn?
I was surprised actually. I thought my "followers" and friends would make less money and be less diverse than they are. I was surprised at how many males responded and how young the respondents were and how old the respondents were. I guess, I assumed my followers and friends would be just like me, but they were all over the place. And in my opinion, that is a good thing!

I was really surprised at how many responses I received in just a few short days. A total of 179 responses. I promoted the survey through Twitter (about 20 tweets over 3 or 4 days) and through Facebook. I posted it as a "status update" twice and sent an email to The Leyla Group on Facebook (feel free to join). I have about 1100 Facebook friends and almost 3000 Twitter "followers" so I was very pleased I received 179 responses!


Male or Female

55% of those who responded to the survey were male & 45% were female.


Your job. This was tough because there are so many jobs out there! You will notice a vast majority selected "other" and here were a few of the most popular (and surprising) "other" answers in NO particular order: Mom, Sales, Real Estate, Healthcare/Medical, Music/Arts/Artist, Unemployed, Model, Chef, Small Biz/Entrepreneur, Law Enforcement, Service Industry, Recruiter, Disabled, Student, Finance, Hairstylist, Truck Driver, Magician.


Your Position at Work

Your Income. I was also very surprised at how FEW people skipped this question. Only 7 people skipped it. I have no way of knowing how many people who took the survey were telling the truth - but why would they lie? It was anonymous.


Which Hotel Suits You Best
. This was more curiosity than anything else. I write a travel blog and I wanted to see what people's thoughts were regarding accommodation. Though I think where you elect to stay says a lot about you, if I were to do the survey again, I would re-think this question and likely ask it in a different way.

Question for the Bloggers. I asked what type of blog but didn't give the best category options! I excluded TRAVEL and I write a travel blog. Some of the "other" answers were: Travel, Business, None, Music and Personal. I thought that it was interesting that I had a "My Own" category as a selection yet SO MANY people checked "other" and wrote in Personal. I thought it was clear that "My own" and "personal" were the same - but clearly not.


Retailer that defines you. My followers and friends are individuals, or at least they think they are individuals. That is an important thing for a marketer to know. A brand does not have to be original, it just has to make you feel original. Here were some of the "other" selections from the stores: REI (good one), Vintage, Hobby Lobby, Barney's (got a bunch of votes), Best Buy, and my personal favorite - Tractor Supply.


My people are smart phone savvy. But I already knew this.

I would love to get your thoughts on my survey! Insults, compliments, constructive is all welcomed in the COMMENTS. Please leave a comment below. I hate anonymous comments, but if you must, I understand. I publish all comments that are not blatant attempts at self promotion without any real commentary behind them.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What is a Soliloquy?

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The name of my blog came to me out of thin air. When I was thinking of URLs to buy, this just came to me and, to be honest, I was not 100% sure what a "Soliloquy" was at the time. I have titles for many unwritten books in my head but this one seems to fit me the best.

I knew that a "soliloquy" had something to do with talking and the "sol" part was a nice clue that it meant single because of "solo". But I just liked the way the phrase flowed - Sunday Morning Soliloquy.

Last night at a networking event, I handed someone my blog card and he asked me, "What does that word mean?" I was slightly stumped myself. Not because I didn't know, because I've looked it up 100X since I started this blog, but I could not articulate it in a way that sounded remotely eloquent.

This morning when I woke up, I decided to look the word up again. I surfed through various definitions and finally found one that really defined the word "Soliloquy" best. Here is the definition of Soliloquy...

Soliloquy is an audible oratory or conversation with oneself. It is a term that is typically applied to theatrical characters engaged in a monologue, but can also be a term that is simply descriptive of any occurrence when one talks with oneself. Soliloquy can take the form of a dramatic or comedic monologue that is illusory (or abstractly hallucinagenic or dreamlike) of either a single passage or an entire series of unspoken reflections, and can therefore be a theatrical technique instrumental in advancing several ideas and thoughts in one sequence.

I named my blog without knowing 100% what the word meant but as it turns out, no one word could describe me better. I talk to myself ALL THE TIME. And this vehicle, my blog, is where I am able to publish my "audible oratory or conversation" with myself. This is my soliloquy. That I write more often than just Sunday.

Before I close this post. I want to share with you a few line from a soliloquy from Shakespeare's Hamlet. My favorite line is bold.

Now I am alone.
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beaches Resort - Can't Believe I'm Writing This

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About a month ago, my friend Sheila was looking for an all inclusive, child friendly, beach destination, vacation spot. One might think that is an easy thing to find, well, think again! Sheila phoned me because my family owns a travel agency. I searched high and low and came to the same conclusion over and over again. 1) Great all inclusive resorts that are not kid friendly. 2) Great kid friendly resorts that are not all inclusive. The ONLY place I found that I thought was incredible was BEACHES. In fact, Beaches made me want a family. Looking at the Beaches site, I got lost in a thought...Me sitting poolside sipping on a cocktail while perfect strangers tend to my unruly children.

Beaches has multiple locations in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos. One of the locations, I think it is one in Jamaica has a water park inside the resort! The kids camp is full day and the resorts have an exciting "Game Garage.".

Another thing I was drawn to was the Single Parent package. Like so many others, my friend Sheila is a single parent. Beaches offers a special rate at select times for single parents. Hello? You know what that means? Drop your kids off at the kids camp and meet some hot, single dads! The promotion they're running right now: Get 1 Night Free plus save up to 65% at Beaches Resorts. You can also check on their site for Last Minute Deals.

But the real reason I wrote this post was the "BFF Girls Getaway" promotion that Beaches Resorts were offering. The "BFF Girls Getaway" has an all inclusive price of $1199 (including airport transfers) on a particular weekend. I thought it was a brilliant idea. Well, I like the Single Dad idea better but getting away with your girlfriends is a nice time too. So... Grab your girlfriends and go to Beaches Resorts for the Friends Forever Getaway!

Beaches Friends Forever Getaway

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mozy Online Backup

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I never really thought about backing everything up online, well, I thought about it for like ONE SECOND. It sounds like a good idea but I never did it.

When you start to think about how much money you spend on music, all your photos, and other personal items on your computer it starts to make sense. If you work for yourself AND everything is on your laptop or desktop, it starts to make even more sense. I occasionally back everything up to an external drive but not nearly as often as I should.

Now that I have so many files on my laptop, I am starting to think more seriously about a web based server where all my things live. My brother just quit his job and he is going to be "mobile" for the next year. He is going to live in LA for a month, move to Argentina for four months and then probably NY or back to LA. He needed a place to keep all of his files. If he doesn't have his laptop on him, he can still pull files from his back-up and work from anywhere. This also frees him from having to lug his laptop everywhere he goes.

I was looking into Mozy because some of my Twitter friends were asking about it. Mozy Online Backup is free, automatic and secure. They have a certain amount of storage that is free and the upgraded service starts at $4.95 per month, I believe. Currently, they have a promotion running for the month of MARCH. Act now! Use Code: MARCH for 10% off annual and biennial services

Or you can click here to try Mozy for FREE! I must admit, I haven't tried it yet but I think as soon as I hit "Publish Post" I am going to visit Mozy for the free trial.

Free backup is finally here.  Mozy Remote Backup.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Your Blog Sucks And I'm Here To Tell You Why

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This morning, I was doing the usual, going through my email and my Twitter feed. Each morning before I start my day, I spend about an hour or so cleaning up email, reading my trade publications and then checking out articles & links on Twitter. I came across a blog of a young woman. Her blog was not unlike many other blogs I've come across in the past two years. Blogs of women, mommy bloggers, young professionals, 20-something writers, etc. Now, I am stepping out a limb when I say this but, here I go... YOUR BLOG SUCKS. I don't care if your best friend tells you how awesome it is and how cute the pictures of your puppy or your new baby are - it still SUCKS.


I am going to tell you why your blog sucks.
1. Because you grew up in a small town outside of some metropolitan area and have never ventured more than 300 miles away from your home

2. Because your poodle/maltese/Shizhu is just not that cute and certainly not interesting enough to warrant even ONE blog post

3. Because you more than likely got married in a bland ballroom in some 2nd rate hotel with 200 of your closest friends

4. Because you shop at Crate & Barrel & Pottery Barn

5. Because you own a pair of khaki pants and you think that is acceptable for a woman

6. Because you think Disney Land is an appropriate destination for two adults vacationing without children

7. Because you consider Mexico exotic

8. Because you met your husband in Jr. High

9. Because your child's name was one of the top 10 most popular names the year your child was born
10. Because you eat Hamburger Helper

11. Because your idea of a wild time is a game of Scruples

12. Because you've sold six things on Etsy

13. Because your photos of the oak tree in your front yard are not that great, everyone is just being polite

14. Because your cooking is just like everybody else's cooking and you will never be the next Giada or Rachel Ray

15. Because sixth graders can decorate a holiday table better than you can

My list seems pretty harsh, I know. I've picked on everyone, I know. In fact, I fall into that list multiple times myself. But that is the point. 95% (or more) of the blogs out there are boring and they talk about the same thing. Rarely are these people speaking with authority on anything. Or, what is worse, they ARE speaking as an authority and they are not an authority.

The bottom line is - your blog sucks because you don't take risks. Take a risk people! Say something that might offend someone every once in a while. Do something scary. Go some place that would make your neighbors cringe. Eat something that grosses you out. Talk to someone who doesn't do what you do or dress the way you dress. Get off the beaten path... And then...write about that.

Now, go ahead and make your anonymous comments insulting me. I promise to publish all of your hurtful words.

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  • Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Adventures in Babysitting

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    About a week and a half ago, I received a call from my friend Charles. Charles was in Australia en route to Bali, en route to Singapore, en route to Paris for an annual conference. This time around, Charles was to be on the road for three consecutive weeks; this is not out of the ordinary. What he told me next was out of the ordinary.

    Charles is married to Erica. They've been together for over a decade and they have four children (9, 6, 2.5, 1.5). Unlike Charles, Erica rarely travels, she is a stay at home mom. Charles explained to me that he was to fly Erica out to Paris for a week but they needed someone to help the nanny out with the kids. I said, "Say no more, I am your woman."

    Anyone who has ever met me knows that I do not like children - most children. I often refer to children as mosquitoes. I find children to be horribly annoying, always buzzing in your ear. You swat them away and they come right back.

    I agreed to watch Charles & Erica's lovely kids for a few reasons.
    • I like Charles & Erica and they deserve some time alone (I believe this is their first "real" vacation without the kids)
    • I love Charles & Erica's four kids. I have been close with the oldest since she was born but I don't know the other kids as well.
    • Their nanny is going to be present the WHOLE time, I am just there to help with dinner, homework and bed time.
    • Quite frankly, the last reason is selfish. I do not have children and at times I wonder what it would be like to have babies stuck to my side

    After agreeing to help out Monday through Friday, I get a second phone call, this time from Erica. Erica informs me that Charles' meetings were canceled on Monday and that she is going to fly out a day early to spend the day with him on Monday. What does this mean for Leyla? It means, Leyla's services are required ONE day early.... and, Leyla is to fly solo on Sunday night and take the kids to school Monday morning.

    Is It Friday Yet?
    I arrived at my friends' loft in the west loop at 7p on Sunday night. The nanny was there finishing up with the evening bedtime activities. The kids go to bed between 6:45p and 8:30p. The nanny showed me around a bit and then she took off. I stayed up with the oldest for another hour or so and then I was alone. The house was quiet, it was sort of sad without the cheerful voices which normally guide the household. 10p seemed like 2am.

    Sunday night was filled with paranoia (for me). I was instructed to wake each child between 10p and 11p and make them go to the washroom so no one has an accident. This was tough because waking a sleeping child just seems wrong but I am an extreme follower of the rules so I did exactly as I was instructed. I checked the baby 3X and his diaper was dry, I finally went to sleep as soon as the Oscars were over.

    I woke up several times throughout the night; I thought I heard crying babies. My friends live in nearly a 5000 square foot loft and the kids bedrooms are far from their bedroom (where I was sleeping). I got up at 1am and 2am, walked to the upstairs bedrooms to check on the two older kids and then to the back bedrooms to check on the two younger kids. No crying. It was all in my head. Finally, I fell back asleep.

    600a came very quickly. The oldest insisted that I wake her, she wanted to assist me with breakfast for the kids. We got everyone's breakfast ready, packed their "snacks" into their backpacks and then woke everyone up.


    After breakfast, I cleaned a very poopie diaper. I think I used 72 baby wipes and had poop under my long finger nails (don't worry, I washed my hands THOROUGHLY).

    School time, I had to get the two older kids to school. I put shoes on the 2 year old and grabbed the baby (no socks or shoes, I ran out of time) and headed for the garage. Thank god for the 9 year old, without her, I would've been lost! Literally.

    The kids took me to the car, they told me how to get out of the garage. I almost crashed the car coming out of the garage and I said the "S" word very loudly, multiple times as I tried really hard to steer the car away from a big yellow pole. I suck at driving. I then almost crashed again coming out of the garage - but I made it. I apologized to the kids for using profanity.

    The second nanny showed up at 9a and I was relieved. My responsibilities lighten for the rest of the week as nanny #2 will be there 24 hours a day.

    Highlights of my adventures in babysitting:

    • Homework with the 6 year old where we read for a half hour and then played hangman for 2 hours and then drew pictures of dinosaurs on his chalkboard.
    • On day 2, I was 15 mins late, the 6 year old says to me: "Don't worry, we all make mistakes" when I walk in the door
    • Tonight, after bath time, the 6 year old "shaved". Apparently, he has a platic shave kit in his bathroom with real shaving cream. After his bath, I watched him cover his ENTIRE face with shaving cream and then scrape it off with his fake, plastic razor.
    • The 2.5 year old only wears princess dresses
    • The 1.5 year old is a big chunk of joy
    • Homework is really boring
    • Watching kids is REALLY, REALLY tiring. I slept 10 hours last night!

    Me and the six year old and our dinosaur drawings!


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    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Yes, I Have Been Ignorning You

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    I started this ridiculous 28 Day Blogging Challenge that the infamous @thescottbishop implemented. At first, I was hesitant to join but then I became agreeable and joined his herd of bloggers. That was a mistake and I am here to tell you why.

    I started this blog because I wanted a platform; a place where I could say whatever the BLEEP I wanted to say. I started out without much fear but had to curb that and tame it down a bit because my readership grew and I feared I would be held accountable for my words (which is a real fear). As I started to realize how to grow a base of "readers", I found myself writing less for me and more for them. Now, I go back and forth - sometimes I write for my readers and sometimes I write for me. I write about work-related stuff and I write about me-related stuff. Some of you are here for me and some of you are here for the valuable information I give away.

    When I started the 28 Day Blogging Challenge, I stopped writing for me, I stopped writing for you - I started WRITING FOR SCOTT BISHOP. My blog became work and I stopped writing. I write for work ENOUGH. I write a blog for a client and I am in the process of writing 90% of the content for a website I've developing for forever and a day. The last thing I need is to put a deadline or some sort of a parameter on MY PERSONAL BLOG.

    Here is what happened...
    I started strong. I wanted to meet @thescottbishop's challenge. And, for about 2 days, I did. By day 3, I started to hate Scott Bishop with a burning passion. I found myself saying horrible things about Scott Bishop - loudly and in public. I would forget to blog, realize I had forgotten just as I was falling asleep and get out of bed to write a damn post! The first day I skipped a post, I was riddled with guilt and felt the need to apologize to Scott Bishop.

    By the second time I forgot to blog, I felt guilt, resentment, anger and feelings of failure. All because of a stupid 28 Day Blogging Challenge. When this happens to me, I bury things. So, I buried MY BLOG! THIS PLATFORM OF MINE THAT I LOVE. All because of SCOTT BISHOP!!!! The last straw was last week when I had horrible dreams about Scott. I dreamed that he had kidnapped me and was making me drive the getaway car as he knocked off gas stations and liquor stores. True story. I really did have that dream. That was when I had to quit.

    Clearly, I know that the aggression was mis-directed. Scott didn't do anything wrong! Scott came up with a brilliant idea, a great challenge. The anger was misguided. I was really mad at MYSELF for sucking but my brain is really good at pointing fingers.

    What did the 28 Day Challenge prove to me? What were my results? I will tell you - Look at my last post, it was February 19th! Look at my other posts, I rarely skip more than 2 days. What I learned was... When forced to write, Leyla doesn't write!

    From this point forward, I write what I want, when I want about what I want! Got it Scott Bishop!?! You are not the boss of me!