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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Domino’s Pizza Turnaround and a Social Media Consumer

December 29, 2009

Remember many months back when two derelicts Domino’s employees from North Carolina got in trouble for violating a pizza and then putting it on YouTube? That’s just gross.

Early this morning I was on Aaron Weiche’s personal blog and noticed a post labeled Dominos is Ringing Your Doorbell With Honesty & Effort. It’s a great effort on their part to bring back a better image.

Check out Domino’s YouTube Channel for their turnaround attempt. You can see they are taking their image seriously and even have an official Domino’s Pizza Turnaround website.

Domino’s has had a YouTube channel for over two years so one could argue that the timing of their usage is coincidental. It would be a good case too if it wasn’t for Domino’s President Patrick Doyle’s apology video right after the snot in pizza incident.

Let’s see what other social media presence they have.

  • They do have a Twitter account named @Dominos and proactively engages in two-way communications with their followers
  • There is a small Flickr Group they have for their employees to show fun things that happen during work. It would be nice to have one for the general public as well
  • I was very surprised to see how much of a Facebook presence they have and how many people are talking about their new pizza. They have five fan pages as well including one for St. Jude Children’s research

The YouTube and Facebook presence alone tells me they’re using social tools in the right way. They’re not just out to be social media gurus/wizards/jedis/rockstars by seeing how many Twitter followers they can get and call it a day.

They’re trying to change their brand’s image.

Since they’re trying to change their image, I decided to be a consumer because of their social media efforts.

On my way home from work, there were a few Domino’s but the one on the UofM campus was the most convenient. It’s next door to Stub & Herb’s and right across the street from the McNamara Alumni Center.

Dominos on Oak Street

Dominos on Oak Street

They have a nice, small area inside to pick up your pizza. A few folks were working, most likely college students and were very pleasant.

My Order

My Order

When I took the pizza home, it did look nicer than the last time I got Domino’s (although it’s been a few years). You could smell the buttery, garlic crust, too.

Full Pizza

Full Pizza

The thickness of the slice was decent. Not a whole lot of toppings, but wasn’t expecting much.

One Slice

One Slice

Was this the best pizza I’ve ever had? Of course not. I imagine it’s impossible for a huge chain to achieve such status. Was this the best Domino’s pizza I’ve ever had? It probably was and I’ll be enjoying leftovers tomorrow.

Nonetheless, thanks to Domino’s by listening to their customers instead of trying to tell them how to think.

BTW, anyone who is really into pizza should check out Aaron Landry’s blog. It not all about pizza, but he really finds some hidden gems.

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Delano, MN – Spirit of Community and City of Social Media

December 19, 2009

Yesterday, a good friend both on and offline @AaronWeiche politely suggested that I blog a little more. As a good gesture, I decided to write a post all for him!… and/or the city of Delano.

Quick background, Aaron is the VP of Five Technology, Web design and Internet marketing firm based in the heart of Delano, Minnesota and his company is designing their new city website. He also grew up in nearby Buffalo (MN) where he again lives with his wife and three young daughters.

Regarding Delano, it’a a really nice smaller town about 15 minutes west of the Twin Cities suburbs. They pride on being The Spirit of Community. They are now also a City of Social Media. To quote:

The city of Delano uses social media to provide two-way communication with the public and the City. The City of Delano communicates via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

This comes from a PDF document on their city social media guidelines for sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. It includes no vulgar language, personal attacks, spam, illegal activity and more. In the social media world, this means use common sense and I think the City of Delano gets this perfectly, especially when I see the words two-way communication as quoted above.

  • They have an active Twitter account which mentions their social media guidelines as well as other new and relevant things in the community. They also mention the award for their new Highway 12 bridge (opens PDF file).
  • Their Facebook Page is pretty active with 847 fans (as of this writing) and more relevant news and events that the community can find interesting.
  • They don’t have much of a YouTube presence, but here’s a quick vid on why to shop locally (not a big surprise that I’m a big fan of that).

Once following Delano on Twitter, I did get a Direct Message back thanking me for following them and their Spirit of Community. In the social media expert/guru/wizard/ninja/master world, this is a no-no. In this case, I think it’s absolutely appropriate as they’re welcoming me into their community. Thank you, Delano.

Anyway, I decided to take the advice given in their YouTube video and purchase items from them locally. Aaron recommended going to Three Crows Cafe and Coffee House for some java. It was so cool to sit, sip and watch a group of musicians chat and play some old songs. There were 3 guitars, a violin and a mandolin. I did check in on Foursquare but immediately put the iThing away to relax and just watch the musicians.

Three Crows

Three Crows

Next I purchased some bacon and summer sausage down the street at Rieder Meat Market. This place was actually recommended to me this morning while visiting a wedding photographer in Minneapolis who’s getting absolutely screwed by a local search company based out of Newark, New Jersey by hijacking his Google Maps listing and map-spamming it with fake addresses to “enhance” his rankings. Dudes, give the guy control over his listing and please quit making the Interwebz cry.

Anyway, Rieder’s summer sausage is really good. Haven’t tried the bacon yet.

My last purchase was at Delano Floral and Gifts. It’s your standard gift store and I had really nice help picking out a few last minute Christmas gifts. Don’t mind the website’s over-SEO. If you’re in the area, check the place out.

Delano Floral and Gifts

Delano Floral and Gifts

Thanks to Aaron from Five Technology for nudging me to do a post. I had a really nice time visiting a new town.

Five Technology Headquarters in Delano

Five Technology Headquarters in Delano

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Bro-Sis + Lew Marketing Update – Minneapolis Workshop Coming Soon for Photographers

August 7, 2009

The last time I gave a bro-sis marketing update was from the great time we had presenting in Madison in May. Well, we’re back and we’ll be doing something different this time, right here in the Minneapolis area.

On Friday, Oct. 9th and Saturday, Oct. 10th we will be giving a two-day workshop on local search and social media, specifically for photographers. Just as in Madison, the extremely talented photographer Lew Everling from the Indianapolis area will be joining us. Stay tuned in for further updates.

Lew-Everling

This workshop will be different. Attendees will have their own laptops in-hand literally ready to go. We’ll be guiding them to create local search and social media profiles on the spot, and truly understand why. We’ll also be providing strategies and tactics for them to use on their own.

Lew, Heather and I will all be in contact to finalize everything. Here’s what we have so far for detailed topics.

  • Google Maps
  • Yahoo Local
  • Bing (MSN) Local
  • Google Alerts (online reputation management)
  • User Ratings and Reviews
  • Facebook (profiles, ads and public pages)
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • LinkedIn

For the venue, it’s looking like a hotel conference center TBD. Considering this is a two-day event, it allows out-of-metro attendees to book a room at a reduced rate. It’s narrowed down to a few, mostly centered by the Mall of America and a Minneapolis LRT stop. This may also include a reduced Saturday night stay for those interested in spending a whole weekend enjoying the MOA or a half hour light-rail ride to downtown Minneapolis.

We haven’t determined an attendee price yet, but it will definitely be in the lower three digits. If you know of any photographers who would be interested, definitely let them know. From experience, we take the BS out of search marketing and social media and go out of our way to help.

More to come soon. 🙂

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Branding Yourself in Social Media

April 15, 2009

An hour ago, I had a quick meet-up with my friend Barb at downtown Grumpys to discuss things like branding yourself, social media and just keeping up with each other.

Some big-brands have done a great job with social media including 3M, Doritos, Kraft (DiGiorno pizzas) and others. How about a sole proprietor who specializes in something other than search marketing or social media?

Barb fits this bill as I do many projects with her. She’s the owner of Snap Communications who specializes in copywriting, Web content and concepts. I’ve always known she’s a great writer yet it didn’t click why until a few days ago.

I’m currently in the middle of a three-part article series for Search Engine Guide. I crafted the first part to what I thought was really good and asked her to edit it. A half hour later, it was basically re-written to where I was simply amazed! She is now my paid editor for all future Search Engine Guide posts.

So, how does a sole proprietor brand themselves on social media? There are probably hundreds of answers, but here’s what we came up with:

LinkedIn – This has been around for a few years but has gained recent popularity due to the economy. Both mainstream media and high-level contract recruiters are on this constantly. It’s a great idea to update your profile, give honest recommendations to people and join groups that are relevant to your interests.

Facebook – Many may disagree. Big brands have great public pages. I normally visit Facebook for its original purpose – keeping in touch with current friends back to high school friends. Outside of having a public profile, do you really want to bug your ol’ high school friends about your company?

Twitter – We joked about this quite a bit. Let’s just say that quality trumps quantity.

MySpace – It’s not normally a means to market yourself in 2009. But, it turns out that Barb also writes and sings music. She’s very good. Check it out for yourself! She has a new CD coming out soon and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

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Facebook Public Profile and Fun Humbleness

March 10, 2009

Today, I was hanging with Clint from Think SEM chatting about Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and blogs. I chuckled when he asked me how the new localmn Facebook Public Profile was doing. Why? It should be fine eventually but I started it up the wrong way!

So, the fun humbleness. I set it up, entered some content, photos and a couple videos including Ed Kohler returning an unrequested Verizon phone book. 19 whopping people became members of the public profile. I then put out a poll for favorite local bars and a giveaway for two Omnitheater tickets at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Guess what? Not one bite. Why?

I didn’t start with an actual plan and committed the social media 101 sin of talking before listening.

I still don’t have a detailed plan actually. There are ideas which includes pimpin’ other local companies out whether they specialize in social media like SpyderTrap or auto repair shops who go out their way to not screw you like Northwestern Tire Co. in Minneapolis. There will soon be a print Yellow Pages contest coming up, but that’s still a tactic and not a strategy. The strategy will hopefully come soon.

Points on this?

  1. Create strategies before tactics
  2. Don’t be afraid to admit to hiccups
  3. Anything you or I write on the Interwebz is open to the public. Embrace it!

More to come…

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Favorite Posts of the Week – All Local, Pretty Social, and Yellow Pages Print Spam

March 3, 2009

Time to put out some favorites for the week. All are written from Minneapolis/St. Paul folks with lots of good nuggets of local search, social media, and Yellow Pages print spam info.

First, @AaronWeiche writes about Best Buy meshing online reviews with offline behavior. I’m huge into the search online-buy offline model so it was especially great to read. Best Buy’s doing a great service by making user ratings and reviews more visible.

Next, @MikeRynchek writes about social media taking over Skittles. It’s already a huge buzz in the social media realm. I actually played the devil’s advocate when commenting, but I hope the devil is wrong.

Last but not least, @EdKohler discusses whether print Yellow Pages should be considered spam. Most of the replies consider print phone books as junk mail rather than spam. I do think calling it spam is appropriate though. They’re fine for people who use them and advertise with them, but having an industry tell me over and over how to think and that I need a print book doesn’t cut it (opt-out methods don’t work).

Currently on iTunes: Minimum Wage is a Gateway Drug – Dillinger Four

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