“Behind the Brand” with KU Athletics

Last night, Social: IRL joined KU Athletics at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, for our latest “Behind the Brand” event.

Attendees learned how KU Athletics use the web, mobile, and social media to engage with fans. We heard about both challenges faced and opportunities discovered, and learned some of “what’s next” as KU continue to evolve their online and mobile strategies.  We also addressed issues such as pros and cons of student athletes being engaged in social media, the reality of Tweets becoming news stories, and social media implications of NCAA regulations. Attendees then enjoyed a special behind the scenes tour of Allen Fieldhouse and the Wagon Student Athlete Center, not just seeing parts of the complex many attendees had never had access to before, but discovering fun and interesting facts about the Jayhawks along the way.

Thank you KU Athletics, web designer Kevin McCarty, and interactive media manager Annie Werner for making the event possible and for being such gracious hosts. Special thanks to Kevin McCarty for the great presentation and for leading the tour – your passion for communicating the history and tradition of KU Athletics was abundantly clear.

Here’s a Storify recap of the event, made up of attendee tweets and photos.  Click to view.


Peter Shankman “social customer” boot camp – A quick recap

Attendees settling in for their day with Peter Shankman. Peter Shankman recently joined Social: IRL in Lawrence, KS, for a boot camp focused on relationships with customers in the social media age.

Attendees ranged from national brands to locally owned businesses and included marketing, PR and communications pros, banks and credit unions, retail and entertainment, higher education, non profits, media organizations, financial services, real estate, trade organizations, health care, automotive, agriculture, and more. A truly diverse group with all 120 available seats being filled by people anxious to learn from one of the most respected names in social marketing and customer service.
In addition to Peter Shankman, attendees also heard from a panel made of up Jason Gertzen from Sprint, Justin Meyer from Kansas City International Airport, and Matt Hyde from 715 Restaurant.
Jason, Justin and Matt provided valuable insights from national, regional and local perspectives on how social media had impacted relationships with their customers.
Over 2,000 tweets were generated by attendees during the day – a truly engaged audience.
After the event, a number of attendees posted recaps of what they learned:

We appreciated the support from attendees and from our sponsors of the event: Miller MeiersmBLASTManageFlitterKloutThe Lawrence Chamber of CommerceSmall Town #140conf, and Kansas Credit Union Association.

We were also extremely grateful for the on-site tech support provided by Dave Greenbaum of DoctorDave™ Computer Repair. Wifi has always been a real concern to us and can easily become an issue when a large group connect to a venue’s network. It’s something we always talk to venues about very specifically to ensure they are prepared, and sometimes despite the very best preparation the network still proves unable to cope once everyone connects. We’re very grateful to Dave for all his on-site support and for keeping us up and running. We’re also grateful to Knology of Kansas for the extra bandwidth and to Lawrence Freenet for going out of their way to step up and provide an entire backup network.

An unexpected lesson was also learned – at future events we’ll be asking attendees not to create Mifi hotspots. We found that Mifi signals competed with the onsite wifi and actually blocked the signal to the laptop Peter was presenting from. First time we’ve experienced that issue, though apparently it’s becoming more of an issue, even affecting Steve Jobs during his presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Thanks again to everyone who attended and supported the event.  Next for Social: IRL:

Jason Falls, “No BS Social Media”, Kansas City, October 4, 2011

Peter Shankman, “Redefining Relationships in the Social Media Age”, Denver, October 11, 2011

The Jason Falls event in Kansas City is a very special opportunity – an evening event with a presentation, Q&A and networking all for just $35 if you act quickly. Attendees will even get a copy of Jason’s brand new book.

And for the Peter Shankman event in Denver, the first 50 to register get a special early bird $100 discount.

Join Peter Shankman in Lawrence KS, July 19, for a special boot camp event focused on the “social customer”

July 19, Social: IRL will offer a rare opportunity for businesses and organizations to learn from legendary online marketing expert Peter Shankman at a special boot camp event focused on the “social customer.”

Attendees will learn how social media can be used to engage customers and prospects, build relationships, earn trust and credibility, gain referrals, deliver amazing customer service, and create brand advocates.

The unique workshop like environment and limited registrations give attendees the opportunity to go well beyond the typical conference and experience a day of highly engaged and interactive learning.

The event is also very focused on connecting and networking. We actively encourage attendees to connect both online and offline and to stay connected and keep learning from each other well after the boot camp has ended.

The quality of attendees at Social: IRL events has been a key to their success. We’re excited to bring this next event back home to Lawrence KS, and to joined by a mix of both new and returning attendees, local and regional busiensses and national brands. So far, participants include:

  • H&R Block
  • Sprint
  • Children International
  • AMC Theatres
  • The World Company
  • Garmin International
  • 715 Restaurant
  • Kansas Credit Union Association
  • Douglas County Bank
  • Stephens Real Estate
  • Ameristar Casinos
  • UMB Financial Corp
  • Colliers International – Lawrence
  • American Red Cross Blood Services
  • Spiral16
  • Sports Turf Managers Association
  • Kansas City Aviation Department
  • Kuhn & Wittenborn Advertising
  • KU Libraries
  • Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP
  • Lawrence Public Library
  • Mainstreet Credit Union
  • Kauffman Foundation UEP
  • Cerner
  • Shay Chic Events & Design
  • Miller Meiers Communication Arts Boutique
  • Weavers Auto Center
  • 66 Federal Credit Union
  • University of Kansas Information Technology
  • Lawrence Chamber of Commerce
  • Treanor Architects
  • emfluence
  • DoctorDave
  • Lawrence Habitat for Humanity
  • City of Lawrence
  • NIC eGovernment Solutions
  • Kantar Health
  • Landplan Engineering
  • KU School of Business
  • Agenda: USA
  • Kris Schindler, APR
  • Quest Credit Union
  • Tallgrass Studios
  • University of Kansas Center for Auditing Research and Advanced Technology
  • Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association
  • Intouch Solutions
  • Theatre Lawrence
  • Pearson TalentLens
  • SuperJenn.com
  • Mid America Credit Union
  • Purple Wave, Inc
  • A-S-K Associates, Inc
  • MaggieMoo’s Gladstone
  • Small Biz Survival
  • TCK – The Trust Company of Kansas
  • Envista Credit Union
  • Mediaphormedia: Ellington
  • TECU Credit Union
  • BrightEHR
  • K-State Federal Credit Union
  • The Brainzooming Group
  • The Gazette (Colorado Springs)
  • Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center
  • Social Focus by CG
  • The Conlee Group
  • Pawsh Wash and Pet Health Market
  • Aaron Butell, Business Analyst
  • Rejuvene Spa
  • Central Kansas Credit Union
  • Pet DeFence, Inc
  • Kern Marketing Group
  • Educational Credit Union
  • 23rd Street Brewery
  • Drs. Dobbins & Letourneau, O.D
  • Phoenix Gallery
  • Arcademics
  • Midland Farm Store

This list only includes registrations that opted to be part of the public attendee list. Some of the businesses registered multiple attendees.

Current event sponsors include:

  • Miller Meiers Communication Arts Boutique
  • Klout
  • mBlast
  • ManageFlitter
  • Lawrence Chamber of Commerce
  • 140 Characters Conference: Small Town
  • Kansas Credit Union Association
  • DoctorDave Computer Repair (tech support)

There’s still time to be part of this very special event, but registration is limited to just 120 attendees so you’ll need to act quickly!

New Class being offered in Lawrence: Social Media for Small Business & Community Organizations

At Social: IRL we regularly provide in-house training for clients. We also host a nationwide conference series that takes some of the most respected names in social and new media and goes beyond the typical conference experience to provide highly engaged interactive learning in a boot camp type environment.

Educating and empowering is a key focus of what we do. A business should not simply hire a consultant, or contract out management of social media accounts without any real investment on their own part beyond paying fees. There are certainly times when that type of support is needed and properly given, but at a local level it is typically more effective when the business or community organization can handle social media themselves. We believe in an integrated approach, that social media should be part of what you do, not handled as some separate entity.

Ultimately social media is about relationships. This is especially evident at a local community level. It requires authenticity and should present an online personality that accurately reflects the offline personality of the business or individual.

Many business get that social media is important, but are put off simply because they are confused, intimidated, overwhelmed or afraid of time or cost commitments.

That is why we are offering this four part class, Social Media for Small Business & Community Organizations.

The class is designed to help educate and empower small businesses, community organizations, and anyone else interested in using social media as a positive and productive tool.  A goal of the class is to focus on effectively using social media to connect with the local community, reach prospects, build relationships,  provide customer service, and help drive sales.

Each week we’ll progress to a new level, at all times combining teaching with practical hands on assistance to help get you up and running.

We’ll start with the very basics to help you understand what social media is beyond the typical talk about Facebook and Twitter. We’ll look at key social networks, help with account setup and branding, how to use each network. We’ll cover best practices, promoting your new accounts, finding the right people to connect with and what to say. We’ll also look at developing a basic strategy that helps you integrate social media with existing marketing and customer service efforts, and look at creating an effective content plan. We’ll also cover location based service such as Foursquare, listening to conversations and monitoring specific keywords, using video and photo services, blogs, and tools and techniques to help with managing your account in an effective and time efficient manner. We’ll set goals, review progress, and compare results.

We’ll look at why social media is not a “magic solution” or stand-alone solution, but needs to integrate with existing marketing, customer service and outreach efforts. One of the goals of this class is to help you understand and achieve that integration. Another goal is to empower you to feel confident running these efforts on your own, not contracting out and paying someone to run accounts for you.

Each class will include two hours of teaching time plus one hour of Q&A and practical support. We have sought to make the class as affordable and accessible as possible and will be offering a total of 12 hours of class time for a flat rate of $250 per attendee.

Our first class will take place in four parts:

Part One – Friday, June 17, 9:00am to Noon

Part Two – Thursday, June 23, 9:00am to Noon

Part Three – Thursday, June 30, 9:00am to Noon

Part Four – Friday, July 8, 9:00am to Noon

Classes will take place in the Media Room at The Oread Hotel in Lawrence.

For additional information and to sign up visit our event registration page, or contact us with any questions.

Social marketing boot camp with Sarah Evans: Another recap

Another great recap of the September 14 boot camp with Sarah Evans, this time from Dave Greenbaum of DoctorDave Computer Repair.

Thanks Dave for taking the time to write such a great post. The goal for all Social: IRL events is to go beyond the typical conference  – to focus on a more involved learning and networking experience with a very real and practical takeaway you can actually implement to help grow and enhance your business. “IRL” isn’t just part of our business name, but something we believe is key in each and every event we are part of.

You can read Dave’s recap in his blog at calldrdave.com.

Feel free to leave links to any other recaps or to share your own thoughts on the event in the comments section below.

Social marketing boot camp with Sarah Evans: Sarah’s presentation

As promised, here’s a copy of the PowerPoint presentation Sarah used during last week’s boot camp event. I know many of you were wanting copies of specific slides. I hope this helps as you implement what you learned:

I’m also taking the opportunity to share a recap of the event kindly submitted by Katy Ryan, one of the event’s attendees. Any additional thoughts or recaps? Feel free to leave a comment or share links.
Sarah Evans shares expertise, enthusiasm during social media bootcamp

Valerie Shoopman attended the Social:IRL social media bootcamp on behalf of Horizon Academy, a specialized school that seeks to achieve several goals using social media tools. After an intensive session with Sevans Strategy founder Sarah Evans, Valerie says she learned a valuable lesson.

Even though I really want to use social media for fundraising and soliciting, that’s not always the way to go,” she says.

Social media tips, tricks and best practices took center stage during the lively, informative six-hour session that covered everything from “The Big Three” (Facebook, Twitter and blogs) to generating content.

Sarah approached every topic head-on, dispensing information, suggestions and facts—did you know, for example, the average age of a social network user is 37? Sarah didn’t shy away from the sometimes stark reality of social media. When asked by several bootcamp participants about their concerns with social media time management, Sarah replied that sometimes social media isn’t for every company, especially if a business doesn’t have the personnel or resources to effectively initiate a social media strategy.

Another point that resonated with participants concerned using social media for fundraising or soliciting charitable donations.

“Keep in mind that people have a tolerance threshhold,” Sarah says. “Over-solicitation will actually drive people away. You need to focus on building relationships, then offer sporadic requests or offers.”

When in doubt? Use this formula. If you spend one month asking for donations or requests, spend the other 11 months of the year giving, whether you’re retweeting, providing resources or participating in conversations.

When presenting to what Sarah called “the largest classroom-type setting” she’s had yet to encounter, the best way to begin is by defining that elusive, many-headed creature called social media. This Wikipedia definition is commonly used, and in addition, Sarah shared a simple yet fitting analogy. Social media, like a telephone, is a tool. A telephone won’t do the work for you, but when used properly, can be invaluable in facilitating conversations and relationships. The same can be said of social media. Twitter, Facebook or Flickr won’t magically produce connections, but can be an effective part of a communications portfolio.

The bootcamp included a mix of new and advanced social media users, which created a varied range of questions that spanned from personal versus corporate branding to launching a new product. A particularly energized discussion occurred around location-based applications like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places, complete with privacy concerns and Sarah’s preferred app—for now, it’s Foursquare, but she sees Facebook Places as having bigger and better potential.

For those who haven’t yet launched a social media strategy, several action items were outlined during the bootcamp. The most important? Know what you want to accomplish before you begin. Maybe you want to build your business, be an expert or provide a high level of customer service. Regardless of your goal, outlining a simple mission statement will help you identify which social media tools will help you see results. And once you’ve defined your accomplishment, consider creating and implementing a social media strategy that can merge with an existing communications plan.

John Clinger works in the finance industry and says one of his major questions at the start of the bootcamp was “figuring out whether to get into Twitter.” At the end of the day, John says he was “really hit hard” with a broader realization.

I’m not sure I know how to market in social media,” he says. “I’ve got to go back to the basics, back to square one, and learn to market. Social media is just another tool.”

Perhaps one of the most important lessons from the Social:IRL bootcamp is to remember—and prioritize—the “social” part of social media. Whether you’re conversing or connecting, social media is largely about people and bridging the digital divide.

“Follow who you find value from and who finds value from you,” Sarah says. “You want to get people in the door and keep them coming back.”

And just when you think you can’t follow another social media tool, Sarah suggests three priorities: structure, focus and strategy, an approach that she says can help social media users “stay focused and grounded without being overwhelmed by too many tools.”

Social media is an active, two-way street, and the bootcamp agenda reflected that evolving sense of engagement. The presentation was peppered with Q&As and activities designed to encourage discussion and brainstorming, as well as a continual Twitter stream projected on a large screen that displayed a secondary—and rather entertaining—conversation. In addition to leaving with a wealth of social media knowledge, participants took away individual content and strategy ideas that could immediately be applied to their business. That’s what you call a return on investment—or, as Sarah prefers, a return on engagement.

“It’s about reaching people we wouldn’t have normally reached,” she says.

Katy Ryan is a freelance writer and social media addict living in Kansas City. She writes for several local publications and is assistant editor of www.CharlesAndHudson.com. Her first book, a local travel guide called Moon Kansas City, published earlier this year. Connect with Katy on Facebook , @katywrites and follow her Kansas City adventures here.

Social marketing boot camp with Sarah Evans: A quick recap

Thank you to the 127 attendees at Tuesday’s Social: IRL social marketing boot camp with Sarah Evans.

The goal was for a hands-on event, lots of practical experience and learning, and for you to leave with new ideas and tools you could implement in a very real way. Less theory, more action! I hope we achieved this and would welcome any feedback as we get ready to take the event to additional locations.

Thanks to each of the sponsors: Start-Thinking, Codero, The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and Mashable.

A special thanks to the team from Start-Thinking for all their behind the scenes help and support. I’m pleased that future events will be very much in partnership with Start Thinking.

Also thanks to Dave Greenbaum of DoctorDave Computer Repair for helping with the wifi issues Maceli’s experienced Tuesday morning. It seems their network was just overwhelmed with far more devices connecting than there were people present.

It was great to see such a high level of engagement from those at the event, even from those not present but following along on Twitter. We tracked over 850 #socialirl tweets just on Tuesday.

Make sure you go through the attendee list and connect with others you met at the event. If you’re on the list and a link to your Twitter account isn’t included just let me know and I’ll get it added. Feel free to keep using the #socialirl hashtag to keep in contact with attendees, ask questions, share ideas and keep networking. Bringing people together and building new relationships is a key part of every event I am involved with.

Sarah’s presentation will be shared soon here at socialirl.com.

We posted some photos from the event over on our Facebook page.  If you have any other photos or videos you’d be willing to share please send to photos@socialirl.com.

Thanks again for being part of this first Social: IRL event. Don’t forget to join our email list if you’d like advance notice and special discounts for future events.

Here’s a short video interview with Sarah giving her recap of the day.

Thanks Sarah, you were amazing! Looking forward to our next event together.