Small Town Rules: How big brands and small businesses can prosper in a connected economy

Becky McCray is someone we at Social: IRL  first got to know through her work with Jeff Pulver in bringing his 140 Conference from New York City to Hutchinson, Kansas. Becky’s passion in promoting the message that small businesses and small towns matter, was pivotal in bringing this first 140 Local to the heart of the Midwest.

From her home base in an Oklahoma community of just 30 people, Becky  has taken her message to a national audience.  She is a recognized expert in rural small business and social media. She has been featured in The New York Times, BusinessWeek, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Her blog, Small Biz Survival, ranks in the top 20 small business blogs worldwide. She is listed among the 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter. Along with Sheila Scarborough, she co-founded Tourism Currents to teach tourism professionals about social media marketing. They are considered highly influential in the tourism industry and organize the Tourism track at BlogWorld Expo each year.

With her new book Small Town Rules, co-authored with Barry Moltz, Becky takes her small town message a stage further.  In the book they show how the business world is like a global small town, and how even the largest companies must compete for customers as if they were small, local businesses. They reveal the seven “rural-style”solutions that have become invaluable to even the largest companies, most dominant brands, and most cosmopolitan businesses.

Small Town Rules was written to help large brands and urban businesses that are struggling with the uncertain economy, radical changes in technology, and seismic shifts in society. Today, brands find themselves trying to compete for local customers, while being bombarded by inbound messages from consumers and fans, while also coping with drastic changes in revenue. Small town businesses have been juggling this set of challenges for decades. Small towns become the learning labs for business today.

Because Barry and Becky are both entrepreneurs, Small Town Rules also addresses the challenges of small businesses, no matter how urban or sophisticated. Special resources in the book address small business, and the Appendix includes small business ideas that were inspired by the Small Town Rules.

Small Town Rules contains some things different from most books.

  • Between chapters, Powerhouse Small Town Brands are profiled, including L.L. Bean, Walmart, Winnebago Industries, and Viking Range.
  • To help readers implement the ideas, an appendix of Resources includes specific tools, references and links for each small town rule.
  • An appendix of Business Ideas Inspired by the Small Town Rules profiles more than 20 different business ideas. Businesses of any size can use these ideas for expansion, innovation or to change the game.

If you want to do business on a human scale, no matter how large (or small) your organization is, this is a book that will serve as a truly valuable resource.

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.

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

 

State of the Media: Social Media Report Q3 2011

Nielsen recently released their updated Social Media Report for Q3 of 2011.

The report presents a snapshot of the current social media landscape and audiences in the U.S. and other major markets.

To quote from the introduction of the report:

In the U.S., social networks and blogs reach nearly 80 percent of active U.S. Internet users and represent the majority of Americans’ time online. The value of the time consumers spend online and on social networks and blogs continues to grow, most visible through the influence on purchase decisions. For instance, 60 percent of people who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a specific brand or retailer from a social networking site. Forty-eight percent of these consumers responded to a retailer’s offer posted on Facebook or Twitter.

As the influence of social media – and those using social media – continues to grow, it’s crucial for traditional media, retailers, brands and advertisers to understand how different consumer segments use and share content.

Some of the key findings from the report:

  • Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet.
  • Social media has grown rapidly – today nearly 4 in 5 active Internet users visit social networks and blogs.
  • Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website.
  • Close to 40 percent of social media users access social media content from their mobile phone.
  • Social networking apps are the third most-used among U.S. smartphone owners.
  • Internet users over the age of 55 are driving the growth of social networking through the Mobile Internet.
  • Although a larger number of women view online video on social networks and blogs, men are the heaviest online video users overall streaming more videos and watching them longer.
  • 70 percent of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12 percent more likely than the average adult Internet user.
  • 53 percent of active adult social networkers follow a brand, while 32 percent follow a celebrity.
  • Across a snapshot of 10 major global markets, social networks and blogs reach over three-quarters of active Internet users.
  • Tumblr is an emerging player in social media, nearly tripling its audience from a year ago.

Make sue to read the full report on Nielsen’s website.

Click thru to full report