Social Media Club of Kansas City – A thriving community of more than 2,000 members in the heart of the midwest

Social: IRL is based in the heart of the midwest in Lawrence, Kansas. We are proud of the game-changing innovation and  thriving online communities in our local area. In today’s post we look at the Social Media Club of Kansas City, a dynamic and fast growing group of social media enthusiasts who share Social: IRL’s values of advocacy, education, outreach and of using social media to make a positive impact both online and offline.

From six people getting together in a coffee shop in 2008, to a thriving community of more than 2,000 members today, the Social Media Club of Kansas City  is making an impact.  SMCKC has grown to become one of the largest and most active chapters of the national Social Media Club. To quote Jessica Murray, Community Manager for the national SMC organization, “We’re inspired by the activity and hunger in the Kansas City community around social media and have so much gratitude towards the leadership team.”  But beyond that the group has become a significant resource for the entire Kansas City area.  Not only reaching out and connecting Kansas City’s thriving social media community, but becoming widely recognized as passionate educators and advocates for technology literacy.

Social: IRL chatted with SMCKC President, Joe Cox, to learn more about what’s brought the group to this point, how to connect and get involved with the group, and what we can expect to see new or different from SMCKC in 2012.


Could you share a little on the background of SMCKC – how the group started, the mission of the group, and how that mission has evolved as the group has grown?

 The group was started in June of 2008, by Ed Roberts and Zena Weist through an email to get people together to talk about what was going on with social media.  Beginning with a meeting of six people at a coffee shop, it was totally organic and was started out of curiosity and passion, traits that still give us strength as a group today with over 2,000 members throughout the city.
The mission of the group at first was to facilitate conversations and best practices to help wrap our heads around what was happening with communication through social networks.  We were all having these conversations online, but needed somewhere to go offline to get that personal human interaction that we needed.
Now four years later, we’re transitioning into a group that at it’s core is there to promote, educate & serve as an advocate for technology literacy for Kansas City and it’s communities.  We balance that with giving our community awesome events to attend with great speakers as well as a place where social media professionals can still get the content that they need to continue to learn of best practices and have conversations with peers.
SMCKC currently has over 2,000 members and is one of the largest and most active Social Media Chapters in the nation. To what do you attribute that success?
Growing up in the midwest, I think everyone remembers what it was like before social media.  It took a long time for trends & ideas to come from the coast all the way to the center.  It was months before we were wearing Hammer pants. Social media gave cities like Kansas City a voice and evened the playing field, allowing us to distribute our vision, ideas & messages outward. I think we really like having that voice and it shows through our membership’s interest.
Who typically attends SMCKC meetings?
Just like social media, our group is diverse when it comes to who attends our events.  We have professionals that work inside social media as well as people that just think Facebook is an awesome place to share their blog amongst family & friends.  Entrepreneurs to enterprise, and tech savvy to tech illiterate.  The trick is finding a way to serve everyone and create valuable content & events for all of the different folks out there that are involved.
The foundation of SMCKC is the monthly breakfast meeting. What other opportunities are there to get involved with the group?
As the group grows, there are tons of ways to get involved.  We’re shooting for at least 3 events a month in 2012, and that takes a lot of help coming up with ideas, organizing and helping us manage.  We’re always looking for help and you can get a hold of Aaron Deacon, our Events Chair, with any good ideas or if you’re interested in helping.
We also love content and depend a lot on our community to help us write our blogs, keep the #SMCKC hashtag & Facebook conversation active, and help promote our calendar of events.  We’re always looking for people to help fill content roles and you can reach out to our Community Chair, Katy Schamberger, if you’d like to contribute.

SMCKC breakfast with Ford's Scott Monty. Photo from

SMCKC has seen some great accomplishments over the last year. From your perspective, what do you consider to be the most successful SMCKC projects (or meetings) from 2011?

Bringing Scott Monty into KC to talk about Ford’s strategy in Social Media was huge, but I’d have to say the biggest local impact we made was our GigabitCity event at the Kansas City Library & our continued efforts with the GoogleFiber movement here in KC.  Bringing some of the smartest people in Kansas City together for an all day ideation session on what gigabit speeds will mean to Kansas City’s communities & citizens was a huge win for us and really helped legitimize what we’re trying to do for KC.  A huge thanks to Mike Brown & Brainzooming Group, who facilitated that event.  Couldn’t have done it without them.
As SMCKC continues to grow, how can you most effectively meet the needs of such a diverse membership? Have you considered more niche or targeted events for specific types of members?
Being a social media club, our community is very vocal online and through monitoring our #SMCKC hashtag & other watercoolers around the internet, we can pick up a good amount of what is working, what isn’t & what we should do more of.  As we grow, we absolutely see the need to target more content & events at different parts of our group and just like our focus on our professional membership activation in 2012, we’ll continue to grow to those needs of the community.
What else can we expect to see new or different from SMCKC in 2012? Are there specific goals set for the group you can share with us?
We know how important offline & online communication is, and balancing both.  We’ll be taking a new focus on bringing great influencers, speakers, authors and thought leaders to KC from outside of the city to speak to our group. At the same time we’ll continue to emphasize & build out our online messaging to help reach out, promote, advocate & have better conversations with our membership more effectively.
In 2012 our focus is on uniting and activating our advocates and continuing to provide the best and most valuable content & events to our members.
For someone who hasn’t yet attended an SMCKC meeting, where can they find details of upcoming events and what would you say to encourage them to attend?
We’re a really open & fun group and wherever you are with your knowledge on tech or social media trends, you’ll get something from our speakers, events or networking. Another cool thing about us is that your able to stalk our events and group online to see what we’re all about and make some connections online before you ever set foot into our events.  This way, you never have to worry about not knowing anyone when you walk through the door.
Another thing that I love about our group is it’s networking for people that hate traditional networking. People lead with conversations, not with their business cards.
A good place to join the group and the conversation is by heading to our website at  Once you’ve signed up and checked out our calendar of events, hop on twitter and follow our #SMCKC hashtag to see what’s going on with us in real time.  Somebody is always on and it’s a good place to get questions answered by our members.
A special invitation to SMCKC members:
Social: IRL are proud to be active members of the SMCKC group and have appreciated support from the groups leaders and membership.
On February 9, Social: IRL is hosting a special full-day workshop in Kansas City, “Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer.”   The event features “Conversation Agent” Valeria Maltoni and a diverse group of local, regional and national businesses, organizations and agencies, who will spend the day in an interactive discussion that goes well beyond the typical social marketing dialogue. We are grateful to SMCKC for supporting and participating in the event.
SMCKC members are invited to register for the event using discount code SMCKC and can secure a special registration rate for the day of just $95 ( standard registration rate of $145.)

The seven whiteboard sessions every social strategist needs to have in 2012

We’re excited to be able to share a valuable new resource – “7 Whiteboard Sessions for Every Social Strategist.

Click to Download

This dynamic new whitepaper discusses seven key areas that all social media practitioners and organizations should be thinking about to help businesses continue to grow and thrive their social media programs throughout the year.

The paper was produced by Spredfast, a leading provider of Social CRM software for social media monitoring, engagement, coordination, measurement and integration.  Spredfast is also a  Social: IRL sponsor.

In preparing the paper, Spredfast spent a great deal of time talking with customers, partners and industry leaders from organizations such as Altimeter Group, Edelman Digital, MarketingProfs and Social Media Explorer to identify the biggest areas of opportunity in social media for enterprises and agencies. From those discussions, seven key areas of opportunity emerged:

1. Gaining Insight About Your Social Customer
Your customers are at the heart of everything you do – or should be doing – in social media. How are you learning about their preferences, activity and interactions to help inform your decisions?

2. Adopting Social Media Company-Wide
Social media has moved far beyond just social media marketing.  How are you planning to help roll out social media beyond just Marketing efforts to achieve business goals in departments throughout the business like Sales, R&D, Customer Care, HR or Public Relations?

3. Operationalizing Social Media with Workflows and Processes
Expanding social media throughout the your business is complex. How are you planning to operationalize social media with internal processes, communication standards and workflows to make the activity seamless between teams and people?

4. Getting the Most out of Your Great Content
Content is at the heart of everything you do in social media. But that doesn’t mean it has to be all new content or that it should exist in a vacuum. What content do you have that should be used across you social channels and how can this be used in an engaging way?

5. Delivering Better Customer Experiences
Creating good experiences is the key to successful social media programs. What do your customers want or need to experience to make their interactions positive and unique with your brand?

6. Integration
Social media initiatives are one part of a greater business initiative. And because of that, they need to be integrated into greater systems and reporting dashboards so that they can add context to overall goals.

7. Showing a Return on Social
What are your social media programs yielding in terms of social impressions, activity from your internal teams and engagement from your target audience?

Regardless of where you are in your social planning and strategy efforts, these seven areas are key to hone in on from a social media perspective. They can help make your current social programs richer and also ensure you are planning with an eye toward future social business success.

In preparing this whitepaper, Spredfast took a creative approach in presenting each area of opportunity as a “whiteboard session”, with ideas on how to approach planning and assessment and an action plan to get started. Importantly, the “whiteboard sessions” can be used as the foundation for a series of meetings designed to foster discussion and secure the buy-in needed to make your efforts successful.

For a brief overview of the whitepaper, check out the Executive Summary embedded below.

To access the complete 36 page whitepaper click here. You’ll just need to complete some very basic registration information and will then receive a free PDF download.

Kudos Spredfast. A great resource with a practical, fun and creative approach.

Who owns you? Content and community in an interactive world

On February 9, Social: IRL will host a special interactive workshop in Kansas City, “Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer.”  We’ll be joined by a strong group of both local and national businesses and agencies, including AMC Theatres, Nebraska Furniture Mart, emfluence, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Intouch Solutions, Boulevard Brewing Company, UMB Financial, Sprint, Howerton White, Ameristar Casinos, Bass Pro, Edelman, and H&R Block.

The foundation of the event is a half-day session lead by “Conversation Agent” Valeria Maltoni, who brings a wealth of experience overseeing engagement and executing growth strategies at global Fortune 500 corporations, mid-sized businesses, and small start up companies in five industries.

Jeff Schultz

The event also feature sessions looking at the intersection of social technology and social strategy, including some of the latest developments in social CRM, monitoring, and influencer marketing.  Also a valuable session taking a pro-active look at how to protect your online content and community, with Jeff Schultz, a leading social media lawyer with Armstrong Teasdale joining us to discuss potential legal issues both brands and agencies are facing on an increasing basis.

With these type of legal issues becoming more prevalent, the need for a pro-active approach is critical so we’re especially grateful to Jeff Schultz for joining us in Kansas City, and are taking the opportunity to highlight the valuable content he will be sharing with attendees.

Join us in Kansas City on February 9 to hear from Jeff, Valeria Maltoni and our other speakers, and for a valuable day of learning and networking. For a limited time attendees can register using discount code IRLNEWS and receive a specially discounted registration rate of just $95.

Who Owns You? Content in an Interactive World

Businesses and individuals alike are utilizing social media to develop their “brand” and connect with others. Today, almost everyone has a book, blog, podcast or video format which spews content (and also generates content from third parties). And every day, it seems, new online tools, platforms and advances introduce new opportunities to build your virtual footprint. But while they say that possession is 9/10 of the law, that may not be correct in the social media world. The answer to who “owns” content and community is not clear cut and the law in this area is not well developed. Users often overlook the legal ramifications that could arise. Armstrong Teasdale social media attorneys will discuss the legal aspects of content and contacts, including non-compete and fiduciary duties. Tying the presentation to the most active social media platforms, they will show you how to make sure you know who owns your work and community, and how to avoid potential legal problems.

 Jeff Schultz, Partner and Chair of the Social Media Practice Group, Armstrong Teasdale

Jeff Schultz is a business and commercial litigator and chair of Armstrong Teasdale’s Social Media Practice Group. Much of his practice focuses on counseling individuals and organizations through complex disputes involving the misappropriation of trade secrets, computer tampering, non-disclosure agreements, non-compete agreements, commercial contracts and social networking law. Mindful that one of the primary assets of any business is the proprietary information that makes it unique, Jeff helps clients develop and implement programs to safeguard against employee theft and defection and to minimize risks that arise when hiring employees from competitors. With the explosion of social media, social networking and online sharing, such as the use of blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and texting, Jeff advises companies regarding efforts to protect their brand online. Although social networking can be beneficial to maintain personal and business relationships when used properly, it can quickly become a legal minefield for those who are unprepared.

In social media, going global starts with local – How localization and contextualization increase engagement

Today’s post highlights a valuable webinar opportunity with Brian Solis, principal of Altimeter Group and author of Engage! and The End of Business As Usual.  The webinar is hosted by Expion, a Social: IRL sponsor and leading provider of social media management solutions for enterprise clients.

Brian Solis

When brands effectively communicate at the local level, they reach their target customers with relevant content that resonates. Yet integrating social media into a marketing strategy presents unique challenges for regional, national and global brands. How do today’s top consumer brands manage their social strategy effectively across the globe and throughout their organizations?

Brian Solis from Altimeter Group and Peter Heffring from Expion explore the strategies and implementation tactics the leading global companies use to manage their social presence across different countries and markets.

Brian’s research shows that localizing social content for specific markets and cultures dramatically multiplies the impact in terms of engagement, virality and actual sales.

Peter will detail how technology supports Global Brands and the multiple strategies they use to form communities that retain a unified brand presence on a global scale.

Join Altimeter Group and Expion for this free webinar to explore how the leading consumer companies deploy a variety of strategies to reach customers at a local level.

In Social Media, Going Global Starts With Local

Thursday, January 26

2:30 EST / 1:30 CST

Click for Free Registration


Gentlemint. A Pinterest for men. “Manly men”

Like the concept of Pinterest, but prefer more “manly” content? Gentlemint might be the site for you.

Just launched in beta, Gentlemint is a website that evolved from a personal challenge set by two Lawrence, Kansas, web designers Glen Stansberry and Brian Mckinney. Feeling burned out after another project they had worked on together, they set themselves a challenge to build a new website in just 12 hours. They wanted to create something that not only challenged them technically but that they could also have fun with. 12 intense hours later Gentlemint was live.

What started as a personal challenge has grown quickly in to a website  featured by the likes of Mashable, Time, and The Daily Dot, with a rapid growth in both traffic and registrations.

Social: IRL spent time with Glen Stansberry and Brian McKinney to learn more about Gentlemint and had a great time chatting about the original design and concept, how the site was built as an open source project using Django, the obvious comparisons to Pinterest, and future plans for the site. Check out the video of our conversation below.

Want a beta invitation for the site? No need to wait. We have a limited number of beta invitations we can share for immediate access. Just Tweet us @socialirl or send us a message here.

Companies Continue to Struggle Managing Their Social Media

Today’s post is a guest post from Joe Cox, Marketing Director at SocialVolt, a Social: IRL sponsor offering web-based social media management solutions for companies and agencies that integrate engagement, brand monitoring, campaigns, influencer management, and compliance. 

Join SocialVolt’s Joe Cox and Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang on February 15 to discuss the findings from this report in more depth. Attendees will walk away with a great guide for how to effectively implement a corporate social media strategy. Click here to register for this free webcast.

A new report from Jeremiah Owyang and the brilliant folks over at Altimeter Group warns companies of the real threat of being buried by the proliferation of social media.  The report states, “Beyond coordination challenges, unchecked accounts and disparate customer interactions expose brands to a host of legal, compliance, and fragmented brand-perception risks.”

The study found that global corporations are struggling to manage an average of 178 business-related social media accounts.  No, that is not a typo – I said 178 business-related social media accounts!  To be even more clear, these are not personal accounts, but all accounts opened by the company.

Here’s the breakdown:

Base: 140 global corporate social media program managers at companies with over 1000 employees (Q2 2011) Source: Altimeter Group

At first glance, this stat can be hard to fully grasp or even believe, but with large brands, the accounts can rack up with blinding speed even after only a few years of being active in the social space.

Let me give you a good example:

When I was working as a field marketer at a large beverage company in 2009, my peers and I began creating local Facebook and Twitter accounts for each large city in which we were actively holding events, had sampling teams, had conducted influencer outreach, etc.

Within a year, we had more than 100 disparate accounts with no coordination among each other before corporate decided to combine all of this activity into one single brand account on both Facebook and Twitter.

Within a month, we had abandoned all those local accounts…but what happened to them?  Were they all shut down?  I have a sneaking suspicion that most are still out there, un-manned ghost ships floating about in the social void.  Could those accounts be a risk for the company?  Certainly.

Remember that this example is only one brand, and only in the United States.  You can see how companies with multiple brands and products, multiple locations, and even separately run marketing teams in different countries can start collecting this social dust like a Swiffer.

If you don’t have goals and objectives, you are winging it.

My favorite part of the report is that, on average, 70% of enterprises asked said that their social media efforts were meeting business objectives.  That’s great news, right?  But wait, there’s more.  Only 43% of the same brands asked said that they actually had formalized goals and objectives for their social media teams.

Base: 140 global corporate social media program managers at companies with over 1000 employees (Q2 2011) Source: Altimeter Group

This is critical in understanding why businesses are having such trouble managing their social efforts.  Without putting a stake in the ground, without goals and objectives being set before campaigns and quarterly plans kick-off, there’s no way to determine the success of said campaigns.  It becomes almost laughably clear when the data is compared on Altimeter’s report, but this detachment is incredibly easy for large corporations to fall into when they are managing so many teams, brands, accounts, etc.  This is summed up very clearly in Altimeter’s report:  “This symptom of ‘fire, ready, aim’ will continue as new business units within the corporation continue to adopt social technologies – this is just the start.”  Basically, the problem is only going to get bigger, so put your foot down now and commit to a proper social media infrastructure before it becomes more complicated, more expensive, and potentially brand-damaging.

Time on screen isn’t scalable, but social media management systems (SMMS) are.

Company wide coordination with social media efforts is a challenge for companies and large brands, but it’s the key to success.  The study points out that less than half of all companies have a coordinated approach to company-wide social media deployments.

Base: 140 global corporate social media program managers at companies with over 1000 employees (Q2 2011) Source: Altimeter Group

The problem lies with the breakneck pace adoption rate.  Social media adoption has grown at a disproportional rate compared to the tools to manage it, and that has directly led to companies not keeping pace with their social media accounts.

In the report, Elizabeth Rizzo, director of interactive strategies at SHIFT Communications said, “When publishing through these platforms you often can’t stay on top of all these messages and can’t tell what’s been responded to.”  Because brands can’t be everywhere at once and often don’t have the tools in place to help streamline that process, they quickly become drowned in reactive online behavior and lose the ability to get a grip on the big picture.

With an infrastructure, goals, and objectives in place, enterprises will begin to rely more heavily on social media management systems to untangle and streamline their efforts.

Join SocialVolt and our guest Jeremiah Owyang for a webcast on February 15, to further discuss these and many more of the social media issues facing corporations.  You may register for the webcast here.

Appinions: An opinions-powered platform that makes it easy to identify, analyze, monitor and engage with influencers

As brands focus on building relationships with stakeholders and share content about what they are doing, their ability to discover and enter into targeted conversations with influencers is becoming increasingly important.

As part of this process, an important issue is getting a clear handle on both how many and how loudly these influencers are talking about your brand, products or services, your industry sector, and the competition.

Being able to benchmark this activity and measure it over time can help brands determine the success of their communications, marketing and sales activities, and provide the insight and intelligence to quickly make strategic and tactical changes.

With this in mind, we are excited to welcome Appinions as a new Social: IRL sponsor for 2012.

Appinions is an opinions-powered platform that makes it easy to identify, analyze, monitor and engage with influencers. Not only that, but Appinions enables researchers and publishers to automatically mine, analyze, and summarize opinion to gain insight into what people and organizations are saying, thinking and feeling.

Based on a decade of research at Cornell University, the platform features an extensive database that includes millions of opinions extracted from blogs, Twitter, Facebook, forums, newspaper and magazine articles, and radio and television transcripts.

The platform not only focuses on the influencers creating content but the influencers attracting the most attention. This lets Appinions provide a unique and unmatched view of the influencer landscape.

Services include the Appinions Influencer Exchange that lets public relations agencies and brands quickly and effectively discover influencers based on any topic, brand, issue or person, and the Influencer Gap that helps brands perform topic based analysis in order to effectively establish relationships and engage with these key influencers.

Appinions also meet the needs of online publishers by leveraging the power of opinions and influencers so they can provide readers with more relevant and interesting content that can be sourced from across the Web or specific sources.

We’re excited to see how Appinions are redefining the way we identify and engage with influencers, and the powerful opportunity this presents for brands, agencies and publishers. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook, and check out the Appinions blog for regular posts offering great insights on the ever evolving influencer landscape.

You can also learn more by watching this short video, and will be able to connect with Appinions in-person at our upcoming event in Kansas City “Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer.”

Less of a book and more of a translator between “social media people” and “business people”

Today’s post is a guest post from Joe Cox, Marketing Director at SocialVolt, a Social: IRL sponsor offering web-based social media management solutions for companies and agencies that integrate engagement, brand monitoring, campaigns, influencer management, and compliance.  

The new book by Jason Falls and Erik Deckers, “No Bullsh*t Social Media,” (affiliate link) is really less of a book and more of a translator between “social media people” and “business people”.

It would be a mistake to skip this book just because it’s another book about social media. I’ve read them all too, and at some point you’ve heard it all and it starts to become less about learning and more about preaching to the choir.

However, this book is not a 10,000 feet in the air look down at the world of social media, but instead a boiled down, in the trenches approach to explaining what social media can do and won’t do for a company.  The key to its value is that it does this in an absolute business first approach and backs up everything it says with case studies and comparisons to traditional marketing and business in a language that executives understand.

It’s the Rosetta Stone of social media marketing for business.  Use it as a translation device between you and the decision makers in your company for the best success.

The book reminds us not to get caught up in the hype.  Yes, it’s a different place than it was three years ago, but social media still has a long way to go before it’s used universally as a way to communicate to customers.  There’s also a huge gap between those using it and those using it effectively.  For example, look at Altimeter Group’s new study that found less than half of companies that are using social media are doing so with a strategic plan behind it.  Essentially, people are still flying blind with no clear goals or objectives.

My Favorites Parts of the Book:

The book is written in a colorful way from the title onward and proves that a book doesn’t have to be boring and long winded to have real business worth.

Early in the book they tackle ROI in a great way.  It’s always the big elephant in the room and the first thing that people who don’t understand social media will bring up.

Their explanation is great!  Turns out, ROI isn’t even the right question to begin with.  You can’t ask what the ROI is before you even get started, it’s a backwards approach! ROI is a business metric and that means you’ll need to set business goals that track to your social media strategy.  Yes it can be done, and we currently do exactly this with digital as well as media buying.

It also needs to be said that there is more worth to social media than simply financial.  They bring up a great quote from Meerman Scott asking, “What’s the ROI of your secretary?!”  Meaning that you don’t measure the ROI of the person who answers the phones at the front desk, so how is social media different?

I also particularly enjoyed that towards the end of the book, Jason talks about his hometown of Pikeville, Kentucky and how a small town ecosystem mirrors closely what we see happening in social media today.  Since I come from the small town of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, the comparison really hit home and I could clearly visually and relate to his point.

I greatly enjoyed this book, but not just as a book to teach people what social media is, I enjoyed it because it helps people see how social media has matured into something a business can utilize safely, effectively, and most importantly, strategically.  Yet this book does it in a way that still keeps all the “squishy” parts of social media intact.  I recommend you go out and grab this book and don’t miss Jason as he swings into Wichita, Kansas, for a Social:IRL event on January 31.

Join Social: IRL and Jason Falls in Wichita on January 31.

Limited registrations just $35.  All attendees will receive a free copy of Jason’s “No BS Social Media” book reviewed above.

Register for Jason Falls: No BS Social Media

Garmin, ManageFlitter, and Boulevard Brewing Co giveaways

On February 9, Social: IRL will return to Kansas City with a special full day workshop, “Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer.

The event features “Conversation AgentValeria Maltoni, who brings a wealth of experience overseeing engagement and executing growth strategies at global Fortune 500 corporations, mid-sized businesses, and small start up companies in five industries. We’ll go well beyond the typical social marketing discussion to what Valeria describes as “the conversation we never had about social media and desperately need to have to make sense of what works and what doesn’t. The prequel to the tactical implementations that have followed in the last couple of years.”

The event will also represent a valuable networking opportunity with a diverse group of national, regional and local businesses attending and participating in this highly engaged day of learning. You can view the current attendee list on our registration page.

Thanks to several of our event sponsors and partners, we’ll have some great giveaways for attendees. If you attend, you’ll have the opportunity to win a nüvi 2455LMT GPS unit from Garmin, pro subscriptions to powerful Twitter follower management tool ManageFlitter, and four cases of beer from Boulevard Brewing Co. to pick up for your very own party at home.

You can learn more about the event and who’ll be attending here.


Whether you’re driving through an unfamiliar city or on your daily commute, nüvi 2455LMT makes your trip easier than ever before. It includes free lifetime traffic and map updates, advanced lane guidance and more.

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ManageFlitter is an easy to use web application that provides a set of tools for the Twitter user to assist them in optimising their Twitter experience.  With ManageFlitter you can easily bulk unfollow ”no follow backs”, see who has unfollowed you, search through the bios of the people you are following, remove spam and inactive accounts, and a lot more.  ManageFlitter is used by tens of thousands of people and organisations a day including Fortune 500 brands, social media agencies and Government social media teams.


Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to be one of the largest specialty brewers in the Midwest, and the 10th largest craft brewery in the country. It is dedicated to the craft of producing fresh, flavorful beers using traditional ingredients and the best of both old and new brewing techniques. Boulevard’s portfolio of year-round and seasonal beers is available in thirteen states, primarily in the Midwest, with select offerings distributed in an additional eight states. At Social: IRL, we’ll be giving away four cases of beer from Boulevard Brewing Co. to pick up for your very own party at home.


In with the new, without tossing the old – Don’t just add the newest and neatest media to your marketing mix: integrate it

Today’s post is a guest post from Jessica Best, Community Director at emfluence, a full service interactive marketing company based in Kansas City.

Despite all the talk about emerging media killing the old standbys, they simply aren’t disappearing. It is getting a lot more crowded at the table, though. Email, Web 2.0 and Social Media all joined the party and our customers are ravenous for them.

As marketers have learned, it’s important to have a presence wherever the consumer wants us to be. Maybe that means posting to a blog or maybe that means pinning to boards on the newly popular Pinterest. Maybe it means making our customer service teams available on Twitter and not just via phone numbers. Or hosting our latest promotion at our Facebook page instead of at our website or by mailing in entries. Maybe it means using email to drive traffic to websites and profiles.

As we add more options, the key is not to just add the newest and neatest media to your marketing mix: integrate it. Twitter is the reason TV viewers have started returning to the couch to watch shows in real-time. Viewers can follow live running commentary on Twitter using a television show’s hashtag (i.e. #Glee).

Here are a few ways you can integrate your tried-and-true marketing media with emerging media:

  • Take your best television and radio spots social: add your funniest or most touching commercials to YouTube and spare the chance to share the laugh or smile.
  • Direct your postcard readers to your mobile-optimized website, where they can sign up for more information, subscribe to your email marketing or share content with their social networks.
  • Ask new email subscribers to follow your Tweets or become fans on Facebook, so you can share conversations with them, too.
  • Encourage your social audiences to subscribe to regular email updates, so they don’t miss a message about an exclusive deal or access opportunity.
  • Capture your inbound search traffic on your site with social media asks and an email sign-up form. Stay connected and nurture that lead to increase conversion rates.

Whatever your marketing plan is for 2012, be sure you’re integrating all your powerful marketing channels – traditional and new – so they can help each other out.

What media are in your marketing mix this year? How can you integrate across channels to maximize return on investment?

Turning online data into real business intelligence – Welcome new Social: IRL sponsor, Spiral16

We’re pleased to welcome Kansas City based Spiral16 as a new Social: IRL sponsor for 2012.

A well-rounded view of the web is necessary in order to build any digital strategy. Spiral16 is a powerful web monitoring tool that helps you turn online data into real business intelligence.

Spiral16 searches the publicly-available web, not just social media. You can build searches yourself or get help from their analytics team. Their unique correlation score system allows you to control the relevancy of your data and avoid spam. Assistance with setup and interpreting results is part of their core offering, and a full line of reporting services are also available.

Their philosophy: better data means better decisions.

We’re looking forward to working with Spiral16 over the coming months.  Visit their website to learn more, and connect with them on TwitterFacebook and Google+. You’ll also want to check out their blog – a great resource with frequent posts on topical social media related issues.

Search More Than Social Media

Spiral16 searches the publicly-available web as whole, not just social media. Most social media monitoring systems only cover websites with a social media component, but a more well-rounded view of the web is necessary in order to build any digital strategy. Spiral16 imports RSS feeds directly and uses trusted data partners like other systems do, but they also scour the web like a search engine, indexing the most relevant content for each client’s needs.

Go Beyond Search Strings

First-time users can use Spiral16’s DIY Query Builder with a guided setup wizard to craft search strings that use keywords, operators, and exceptions. Those with more experience can go straight to their Advanced Query Builder and put together highly specific Boolean search strings (over 1,000 clauses) to narrow down topics even more.

On top of that, Spiral16 goes even farther, using natural language processing to analyze the text on every relevant page. In that way, the platform is looking at search strings only as the first qualifying step. Knowing the amount of relevant words on any given page allows you to hone in on stricter key concepts.

Define What is Relevant to You

You know your company better than an algorithm does, but if you train that algorithm to look for the words (beyond the search string) that make a result contextually relevant, you can get better results in all of your web data sets. Spiral16 gives you the ability to train the system to accept or reject material based on the input you have given. Each individual search can be trained separately, and you can create as many searches as there needs to be to build a thorough, well-balanced data set.

What’s more, the platform gives you the freedom to analyze data with a maximum amount of flexibility. You can compare the most strict, limited sets of data to each other or look at a wider, more general perspective.

Automate and Refine

Once you have trained the Spiral16 system, you can set relevancy scores for each specific search and everything is automated going forward. As your results start coming in, the scores can be adjusted to find that best threshold of relevance.

Join us in Wichita for “No BS Social Media Marketing” with Jason Falls

On January 31, Social: IRL will return to Wichita, Kansas, for “No BS Social Media Marketing” with Jason Falls.  Limited registrations are available at just $35.

Jason Falls is a nationally recognized leader in social media, public relations and communications. He is an author, educator, consultant, professional speaker and the name behind Social Media Explorer. He was recently ranked by Forbes as one of the “Top Ten Influencers in Social Media.” You can find him on Twitter @JasonFalls.

For this special event in Wichita, Jason will start the evening with an hour long presentation “No BS Social Media Marketing”  – a powerful presentation with plenty of case studies and practical take aways. Jason will then spend another hour in open Q&A with the audience – a unique and valuable opportunity to put your question to a leading nationally acclaimed expert. We’ll then spend the final hour networking with Jason and fellow attendees and Jason will also sign copies of his highly acclaimed new book, No BS Social Media – The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing. Every attendee will receive a free copy of Jason’s book.

You can learn more and register on our event page.

Some of the businesses and organizations you’ll be able to connect with at the event include:

Cox Communications

Armstrong | Shank

Cessna Aircraft Company

Kansas Humane Society

Sterling College

Hawker Beechcraft

Koch Industries

Colab Digital

Stucky Nolte

Kansas Credit Union Association

American Red Cross Blood Services

Wichita on the Cheap

Koch Creative Group

Pierpoint Technology Group

The Golf Warehouse

Shay Chic Events & Design

West Heights United Methodist Church

Star Lumber & Supply

The Conlee Group

Media Partners, Inc

Kansas Area United Methodist Church

Andy McGinnis Public Relations

Oypx, LLC


Practice Living Joy

The Bombshell Factor™

Social Focus by CG





Purple Wave, Inc.


New World Energetics

Catalyst Creative Services

Cohlmia Marketing

Thank you event sponsors Cox CommunicationsAndy McGinnis Public RelationsColab DigitalJunior LeagueSpredfastSocialVolt, Expion, Spiral16emfluence, and ManageFlitter.

See you in Wichita on January 31. Spaces are limited so early registration is encouraged.