Sun Country Airlines Promotion Taking the MN Out of LocalMN

August 18, 2010

The title of this post looks negative at first. It’s not. It’s awesome!

Thank you, Sun Country and your Fall Free for All promotion for allowing me to take five straight weekend trips for not a lot of money. This way, I get to visit new destinations, meet people through social media connections, interact with businesses all while being in Minnesota during the work week.

So glad I saw this Twitter message:

When I visit local places, I plan to be social not just in person but online as well. Businesses who treat me well deserve to be mentioned on sites like Google Maps, Citysearch, Yelp, Twitter, Flickr and this blog.

Note – aside from the print yellow pages industry, I almost solely have positive things to say about businesses.

I’ll also be looking for hotels to stay. I’m not too picky. Fancy hotels are great although my needs are basically room Internet access and a bed.

Nonetheless, ten hotel stays in just over a month adds up. I would love it if a hotel chain (or any other business) would help sponsor this experiment in some sort of way. So far, I just followed a few hotels on Twitter, including:

I’ll try to follow a few more, too. Now, most marketing departments in the hospitality field will have some type of online reputation management program, which hopefully means they’ll see this blog post + notice that I follow them on Twitter.

So, wonderful hospitality industry folks. Please consider sponsoring this experiment in some sort of way. We all know that Word-of-Web marketing is like Word-of-Mouth except when online you’re telling everybody. I want to say nice things about you!

I have decided on four weekend places to visit: San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Boston. The other place or two will be decided later.

The plan will be to arrive at my destinations Friday evenings and find an event/attraction/anything blog worthy that night or Saturday. Then, I’ll make sure to use Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, local review sites and this blog to mention what hopes to be fun experiences. Sundays will mostly be returning to Minnesota.

I’m really looking forward to this and hope to showcase many worthy businesses across the country.

Bookmark on Google :: pos</p>

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Twin Cities Human Social Scavenger Hunt is Back!

April 24, 2010

I’m so glad. This is what made me join Twitter in the first place around 3 years ago. Today was the first 2010 Twin Cities human scavenger hunt from the Least Dangerous Game.

This is cool for many reasons. You learn new things about your area, you meet new people, and local businesses get both exposure and revenue!

@ldg left a couple initial Twitter clues which I didn’t quite get, then headed to Calhoun Square once I saw this Tweet:

Dump Updale

Dump Updale

Turns out when Calhoun Square was built, there was a big opposition because they thought it would suburbanize such an urban area. I did not know of this.

Anyway, I found Aric for the initial clue. He gave me a word puzzle which led me to Galactic Pizza to get a picture taken with one of their super-heros:

Galactic Pizza

Galactic Pizza

Another thing I didn’t know – their super-heros are the delivery folks. How did I not know this? This is awesome.

Then, they gave me this clue for the next stop:

What the...

What the...

I met another hunter and together took a 10-minute penalty to get the business name. Turns out if you switch the letters and numbers around, it says 2648 Lyn (short for Lyndale) which takes you to Robot Love.

Robot Love

Robot Love

I’ve driven past this place many times having no idea what was inside. They basically sell designer toys, books, clothing, etc. I’ll be back as a holiday or birthday shopper.

Then, the puzzle.

Nonogram

Nonogram

I was in the store with @MSPdude (Eric) and (I think) @Ry4an (Ryan) with his daughter in stroll. They were both figuring out the final nonogram clue while I was trying to figure out what the hell a nonogram was on my iThing.

Ryan solved it first, and 5 minutes later I conceded with this Tweet:

I Concede

I Concede

Got to my car, and saw Eric walking behind and into the Sauce Spirits and Soundsbar! Turns out my car was parked right at the final destination so I followed him in. I already conceded but it was fun to meet and enjoy food/drink with the participants. This pizza was really tasty, although I’m a spice wuss and just had a few bites.

Pizza at Sauce

Pizza at Sauce

Our server was nice enough to take our picture. I’ll be back. Sauce is a very cool place!

Myself, Aric, Eric

Myself, Aric, Eric

I really hope events like this flourish. Everyone wins including local businesses who take part. It’s also a great example on how to use social media tools like Twitter.

Thanks to Aric and all the local businesses to make this happen.

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NYC Dream Theater Ticket Giveaway – Human Scavenger Hunt Style

April 8, 2010

In July, I’m going to New York City with two tickets to see Dream Theater (DT) and will be giving away the other ticket randomly through a Manhattan human scavenger hunt. Why do such a thing?

A few reasons actually. One, I take Dream Theater for granted. They’re not huge in the US and seem to play select cities. Well, Minneapolis is almost always on their list. I buy tickets online, walk the 7 or 8 blocks to the Orpheum or State Theatre and am home 20 minutes after the show. It’s time for me to man-up and travel to a DT show.

Another reason is simple. I’ve never been to New York and this is a perfect reason to go.

The third is to do good with social media. We’ve all seen tweets about what people are currently eating or what book they’re currently reading and have probably been guilty myself.

I want to meet people, use different tools such as Flickr, YouTube and Twitter to showcase these interactions. So, I’ll be doing a human scavenger hunt in Matthattan either July 10th or 11th giving Twitter clues to my whereabouts. The first to find me wins the extra ticket.

Plus, although DT isn’t huge in the US, we fans are loyal! The lucky winner will hopefully be more than excited to win one of these two tickets: (the other’s for me)

DT and Iron Maiden

DT and Iron Maiden in Madison Square Garden

Yep, the tickets say Iron Maiden. DT is the opening act. Maiden should be fun, too. Haven’t really heard of them since high school.

The seats – Section 331, Row 1. Not bad. 3rd level near stage looking right down at Dream Theater!

Decent Seats

Decent Seats

Hopefully, news can spread and potential sponsors get interested such as NYC radio stations or stores that sell DT merchandise. That would sweeten the pot for the lucky winner. There is an upcoming blog for this, and a YouTube, Flickr and brand, new Twitter account (@DTinNYC) for those who want to follow along. You in the New York area and want a chance for the ticket? Just follow the above DTinNYC Twitter account.

Here’s to NY and here’s to the lucky winner in July!!

Update: There will be a separate blog for this DT scavenger hunt coming and will then be displayed in the Twitter account.

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Giving Away Powerball Love

March 17, 2010

OK,  it’s time for a giveaway. I have ten $10 coupons to redeem for Powerball tickets. Here they are – all $100 worth.

Powerball Coupons

Powerball Coupons

These will be given away to a Minnesotan as the coupon specifically says they can be redeemed wherever Minnesota State Lottery tickets are sold.

I don’t know how the giveaway will be done yet but updates will mostly be given through Twitter and this blog. You do not have to follow me on Twitter to win. I really only want followers who are truly interested in my updates. You will however need to know the Twitter hashtag which will be mentioned here TBD.

How did I get these and why am I giving these away? I was at a Wild game on Singles Awareness Day (Feb. 14). The announcer called our row, and everyone in it won the same prize. Plus, I just want to do something nice for a random local.

So far I’ve received a couple of good recommendations. @JasonDouglas on Twitter suggested a Twitter auction. That does sound like fun and proceeds could go to the winner’s favorite charity.

@JasonDouglas Suggestion

@JasonDouglas Suggestion

@PGSCarol brought some humor and suggested I just give them all away at the office.

@PGSCarol Suggestion

@PGSCarol Suggestion

How about you? Any suggestions you think would work well for a giveaway?

The initial thought I had was actually the reason I joined Twitter 3 years ago. Basically, it was for a human scavenger hunt. Here’s more about that:

Twitter user @ldg has a site called the Least Dangerous Game. The site’s stagnant right now, but he would hide somewhere in the Twin Cities area, give out Twitter Clues to his whereabouts and would give a small prize to the first person who found him. It was a lot of fun actually and I remember learning some cool things about the area I previously didn’t.

Again, that was my initial thought, other suggestions are great and more are indeed welcome! What do you think would be a good idea for a giveaway?

If you’re a local business, would you be interested in teaming up? That would be wonderful and hopefully provide fun exposure.

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Being a Social Media User – Part Deux

March 13, 2010

Last weekend I mentioned that I wanted to be a local search and social media user in Tampa rather than an expert or guru. So far, I have very nice things to say. Tampa rocks.

Flights were delayed, car rental line was long and I got to my hotel hungry and thirsty. Sent a Twitter message:

After the amusing wait at the car rental, the seared Mahi Mahi at Crabby’s was indeed excellent. And, the cheap Hyundai rental turned into a nice Ford Escape. Still 17 bucks a day. Win! A couple Google Maps reviews:

Google Maps Reviews

Google Maps Reviews

Got up early the next day to go to Clearwater. Tried my very best to skimboard, but failed. Nonetheless, kudos to the Nekton staff and resident pooch MJ for giving me guidance. I gave them an honest 5-star Citysearch review which will most likely show up on Google Maps soon.

From there, a local recommended I check out Bahama Breeze at Rocky Point and had the tastiest crab claws ever. Yelp still seems more popular on the west coast but decided to give my first ever Yelp review.

This gave me the option to share the review with Facebook friends. Citysearch does the same thing.

Connect with Facebook

Connect with Facebook

All of this allows people to feel like they know these businesses just a little bit better. Maybe the businesses reviewed will see this and see what a nice job they’re doing and/or give them an opportunity for them to proactively improve how they communicate with people online and achieve prestigious social media guru status. (Yeah, that’s a fun jab)

I may have more opportunities to review places. The reason I came to Tampa was for the Squiggy Inline Classic race. Here is an actual picture of the course. I don’t think skates can go through that. The race is postponed.

Flooded Flatwoods Trail

Flooded Flatwoods Trail

Hopefully more to come.

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Being a Social Media User? Sounds Like Fun

March 6, 2010

It’s no surprise that there is a lot of self promotion when it comes to both search marketing and social media. Go to your favorite press release website and do a search for SEO or social media and you’ll see plenty of examples. With that said, I like to see local businesses achieve success in these channels without any knowledge of self-promotion.

So, next weekend I plan to be a complete local search engine and social media user. Long story short, I need to get in better shape and decided to take my inline skates to Tampa for the upcoming Squiggy Classic Inline event. During my visit, I plan to take notice of cool things local businesses do.

I hope to give honest online input from different places. It could be from the event itself, rental car, cab, restaurant, bar, convenience store or almost any business I visit. Online input could be on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, blog, online user reviews, etc. Aside from the skate, I’ve already received suggestions including a night at Ybor City and a stop at Bahama Breeze. If you’ve been to Tampa and have a suggestion, just let me know.

With the exception of the print YP book and hockey dives, I tend to write positive things online. I’d have to have a pretty bad experience to write something negative. Those things stay on the Interwebz and don’t come down.

I do hope to find a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey tweetup. They host the Penguins about five hours after my last skate and it would be fun to see Crosby do what he does best (see paragraph above).

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B96 Changes Format and People Are Talking (Online)

January 8, 2010

Update: Blogger error (myself) and B96 has not launched a new station site. TwinCities.com has an article reflecting the change.

If you’re in the Twin Cities area, you may already know that the rap/hip hop station B96 switched formats to top-40 and launched WDVD. A lot of people have opinions of this and they’re conversing online.

Someone correct me. It looks like this is a national type station? I really don’t know but it appears to be owned by Citadel Broadcasting and there is another WDVD in Detroit.

Nonetheless, It sounds like B96’s ratings dropped and wants to stay new and fresh by playing music like Nickelback. Yes, this is sarcasm.

Fresh, New Music by  Nickleback

Fresh, New Music by Nickelback?

For those who know me personally, you know I enjoy (what I consider) good, original music. This could be orchestral, top-40, jazz, folk, rap, punk, metal, etc. The music is even better when it’s local.

I admittedly didn’t know much about B96 but am partially aware of Peter Parker and how he plugs local music such as the Minneapolis-based Doomtree label. Here’s a vid of Peter with P.O.S. after his Never Better release.

Here he is letting Doomtree go freestyle.

Now that they switched formats, there are some who aren’t very happy about it. They’re also talking about it online. There’s already a Facebook Page called R.I.P. B96 with (as of this writing) just over 1,000 members and rising quickly. You can do different Twitter searches and here is one for B96 top 40. My favorite Twitter message on this:

B96 = KDWB

New B96 = KDWB

I haven’t seen a social presence yet from WDVD and am sure they’ll have one and a strategy for it at some point. They do have something called TuneGenie and it does look slick.

TuneGenie

TuneGenie

This isn’t the first time a radio station changed formats in a sudden fashion and it certainly won’t be the last. It is the first one I’ve seen where people are conversing so much online because of it. Sign of the times I suppose.

Were you a B96 listener and if so, will this affect you? Will you listen do a different station or just get your music from a different source?

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