The 9th Social Fresh social media conference made its way to Tampa last week, and filled the DoubleTree Westshore with hundreds of social media geeks.
In addition to the networking and ideas that come with that many minds in one place, I came away rejuvenated and validated in my practices and approach.
The first session was Social Media Hospitality, presented by Brian Simpson, Director, Digital Media Vikram Chatwal Hotels, NYC. Brian spoke realistically and frankly about why we need to stop building our audience and start trying to engage the people who are already our fans. Stop worrying about the 'Likes' and focus on the conversation.
The lessons that he really hammered home for me included (after the jump):
We are bombarded with choices everywhere we go, and supermarkets are definitely no exception.
Looking for the word non-fat is no longer the single criteria for health-conscious grocery shopping. Today its all about USDA organic, food without GMOs and milk that's free from rBST. It seems impossible for us to keep up with so much science. This was just one of the callings Publix Super Markets, Inc. heard when they developed the new online grocery experience called, Curbside.
Publix has a reputation for always giving customers exactly what they want, said Shannon Patten, Publix spokeswoman.
This past August they rolled out their new online plan in two locations as a trial run for the company. So far the only location for Curbside in Tampa is on Gunn Hwy. The other location opened in Atlanta. Both stores are exceeding the companys expectations.
Patten believes Publix foresaw the changing needs of the community and acted on them by giving people an easier way to shop for groceries.
Its as easy as sitting at home and leisurely scrolling through the companys online website, www.publix.com/curbside. The price of the service is $7.99, but with a little effort it can easily be made up with coupons and the famous Publix BOGO, buy one get one free.
While online, youll be equipped with photos of the items and a virtual note pad to ensure you get exactly what you want. The next step is simply choosing a pickup time and voilayour virtual groceries will be ready for pickup.
The list goes straight to your personal shoppers handheld device at the Publix location and the order begins preparation. According to Patten, the personal shoppers take their job very seriously and strive to connect to their customers on a higher level.
We are used to getting to know our customers, but they (personal shoppers) are getting to know them at such an intimate level and its fabulous, said Patten.
The 10/100/1000 Challenge is not even a day old, but we already have an impressive roster of applicants. Go to cltampa.com/ten100 to read about and perhaps vote for such projects as the following:
A contest to find the most community-minded shopper in Tampa Bay
An art-based employment initiative for people with disabilities
A mentoring program for youth trying to break the cycle of poverty
A non-profit organization to develop organic community gardens for families in need.
Support for a Tampa Bay Cycle Highway
Reaching more than 106 million readers, video viewers, and customers with its social media campaign, Toyota is a perfect case study for other big brands.
Though Ford and GM have also been set aside for their social marketing success, Toyota alone is successful in spite of minor setbacks and brand misconceptions. Toyota has proven it can weather any storm (including the recalls last year), and come out of it with an entire (Prius) family intact and stronger than ever.
Have you ever wanted to have your artwork to show up on a craft beer label? Maybe you fancy yourself the next Randy Mosher or Ralph Steadman. If you were asked to create a label or logo for your favorite beer, what would you do? Well, Cigar City Brewing in Tampa needs your help in designing the label for one of their upcoming beer releases.
In partnership with Hampton Arts Management, Cigar City is holding a design contest for their Tocobaga Red Ale label that is going to be released in bottle form this year. The winner not only gets the honor of having their artwork on the bottles, but they will also receive an award of $500 and a free case of Tocobaga! Not too shabby.
Tocobaga Red Ale is a deep-colored amber ale with hop flavor and aromas dominating and a subtle caramel malt sweetness to balance in the finish. Tocobaga pours a slightly hazy reddish-amber color with an off-white head and great lacing. The aroma is amazing -- hoppy and citrusy, with tropical fruit notes like pineapple and hints of sweet caramel malt. For a red ale, there is a surprising and delicious hop bitterness one would associate more with an IPA, almost West Coast style, but it is balanced. The mouthfeel is excellent and very dry. I am not usually a big fan of red ales in general, but this is one is really, really good. To date, this has only been available on draft, and it comes in at 7.2% ABV. It is quickly becoming a favorite not only of regulars of the tasting room, but of the brewery staff as well.
The social media craze is a hot, trending subject, but also one that constantly changes and updates itself.
It seems like just when you think you've got a pretty good handle on one of the social media platforms, it goes and improves itself. That is, of course, a good thing as the nation and the online community steadily move toward a more social, web-connected lifestyle. Some of the trends that were popular in 2010 will either: greatly improve in 2011, making them better and allowing them to attract a bigger audience; or slightly shift business models, offering better or different services.
Following are the top eight social media trends that are expected to make a significant impact in 2011:
It's the next-to-last day in the Creative Loafing Holiday Auction for the benefit of The Children's Home, and it's a big one. Almost 20 items close today starting at 12 noon and continuing until 7 p.m., ranging from amazing gift certificate packages to concert and theater-ticket offers you won't see anywhere but here. This is the day to bid if someone on your gift list is a music-lover or a film aficionado, a coffee connoisseur or a gourmet foodie; you can even win an appearance on local TV.
Make your bids at cltampa.com/auction. And keep coming back, because the final batch of items closes tomorrow — including such hotly contested items as Lady Gaga tickets, a vacation anywhere in the world, and the cover of CL.
The CL Online Holiday Auction had a very nice Cyber Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. As of this blog post, we've already raised $14,408.24 for The Childrens Home. Thats about $2,300 more than we raised during the 2009 auction and we still have two weeks of bidding left to go. (Items begin closing Dec. 9; the auction ends Dec. 16.)
Of course, our totals will hold up only if the high bidders make good on their bids. Which, of course, they will, since what kind of 21st-century Scrooge would welch on a promise to help abused and neglected kids? Besides, with world trips, gourmet feasts and the cover of CL among the prizes up for grabs, we're pretty confident our bidders will hang in there.
And now were adding three new items to the list. You can find the complete details at cltampa.com/auction, but here's a taste.
Release your inner mixologist with this class and tasting for up to 10 people in one of downtown Tampas most dramatic settings: the rooftop bar at Fly.
I dont care what anybody says.
You dont need to be in the office to get work done.
If youre self-motivated, have the right tools and are good at time management, your iPhone and/or iPad can be an excellent accessory, and help free you from the confines of your cubicle (or office). If youre in your 20s, Im sure youve found plenty of uses for your iPhone already. Angry Birds. Fruit Ninja. Twitter. Facebook. But you might be missing out on the valuable tools that can help you work smarter in your daily life (and dont involve stalking peoples profiles or killing birds).
Here are some of the best iPhone applications that help your mobility, while allowing you to stay on top of client relations, products and services. These apps vary in price some are free, some arent and some require an external service to use.
Politics in Florida are a tricky thing. From hanging chads to the election of questionable candidates, just when we seem to think we are gaining a little respect again in the country, something ridiculous happens. This is true even down to the local governments. Like Tampa, home of Cigar City Brewing.
Cigar City opened a tasting room last year to much success. By being able to extend their hours of operation and sell and serve beer on premises, this local business was able to increase its employee count from 2 to 22. Serving award-winning craft beer in a comfortable and friendly environment, they have operated without incident, which few other establishments can claim. In a short time, Cigar City has achieved national (and international) recognition for its creative and consistently excellent craft beer. In a state that has been often referred to as a "beer wasteland," the fact that their beers are highly sought after is a testament to what owner Joey Redner and head brewer Wayne Wambles have been doing.
Now they are facing a huge problem. Three members of Tampa City Council have voted to not make the wet-zoning (required to allow the serving of alcohol) permanent, which would essentially force the closing of the Tasting Room. As Joey has said, this means "no more special events, no more limited release parties, no beer for sale at all at the Tasting Room."