Are We Getting Left Behind by Social Media? Nope. We’ve Got Handshake 2.0.

All over the United States, local business communities are meeting for workshops on social media.  Company owners say openly, “I’m looking for new opportunities for my company.”  They wonder privately, “What am I missing?  Am I getting left behind?”

In the New River Valley of Virginia, the answer is a resounding “No.”

We have Handshake 2.0.

Our companies aren't interested in just "doing social media," or simply avoiding getting behind.  We want to get ahead as only “It’s still who you know” can work its magic to generate referrals.

What are companies being told at social media workshops?

“Social media is a way to get the word out."

Oh, we get the word out all right on Handshake 2.0 - and the picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words and the video and the graph and the slide presentation – to showcase people and their companies. Here's one way we know the word is out.

“Companies should blog.”

Probably.  But how many CEOs of established local corporations ready to expand to national and global markets via the Internet have time to blog?  How many of our local business start-ups (according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 530,000 people per month started businesses in the United States last year), have the time and expertise to set-up, start, and maintain a blog? 

But for companies to sell their products and services, customers have to know about them.  How do companies get known?  How do they get the word out?

Handshake 2.0 is a blog.  Companies can purchase space for their blog posts on Handshake 2.0.  While others can fret about “Companies should blog,” companies using Handshake 2.0 are already using the power of a blog to get known, get the word out, and further their brand awareness.

“Companies should be on Facebook.”

Maybe.  But setting up a public Facebook business page takes time and know-how, and it certainly takes time to maintain it.

Companies on Handshake 2.0 are on Facebook.  We extend “It’s still who you know” on Handshake 2.0 to Facebook and feature people and companies on our Handshake 2.0 Facebook page.

“Companies should be on Twitter.”

Companies can get on Twitter easily by setting up an account and sending out an update on Twitter – a “tweet.”  The challenge is that people – customers and potential customers – tweet back.  To have a Twitter presence, a presence where a company relates to and interacts personally with its followers – who’s going to do all that tweeting?

Companies on Handshake 2.0 are on Twitter because the founder herself tweets about them.

Local business communities all over the United States are trying to figure out what to do with social media.  We’re not.  We’re not trying, we’re doing. 

We’ve got Handshake 2.0.

How Much Do I Believe in the Value of Social Media for Businesses? This Much.

From Anne Clelland:

Why did I apply for a six-month position to promote a niche industry in another state via social media? 

To do it there. To come back and do it here.

In a brilliant social media marketing campaign that a) brought such traffic to their site that if they weren’t hosted by a cloud computing company, they are now, and b) undoubtedly resulted in national, even international branding of a single, family-owned business, Murphy-Goode Winery offered A Really Goode Job – six months, $10K per month, “…for someone (maybe you) who really knows how to use Web 2.0 and Facebook and blogs and social media and YouTube and all sorts of good stuff like that – to tell the world about our wines and the place where we live: the Sonoma County Wine Country.”

I was one of 925 applicants, the top 50 were announced today, and I am not among them.

I’m good, even goode, with it.  I was born in Virginia, spent most of my childhood and young adulthood in Virginia, then lived in Tampa, Florida for over 20 years.  I returned to Virginia in 2006.  I’ve started a company here to promote niche industries in this state via social media.

You know why else I applied?  To walk the talk.  I believe the use of social media by businesses can result in regional economic development.  By many businesses, social media is considered new, unproven, and risky.  It requires stepping forth as people, not just as a corporate entities, and that can feel uncomfortable.

Okay, fine. I’ve gone first.  The application required a 60-second video.  Think this was easy?  Nope.  Think I think this is important for my company and for yours?

I was willing to bet six months of my life on it.



***

I showed up at the home of Z. Kelly Queijo, got out of my car, and said, “Will you take a video of me?”

“Sure,” she said. 

I treasure ZKQ.

We did 1/2 of one take, then this take.  So the video above is take number two.  Here’s the video on the Murphy-Goode site.

Upon viewing the video, I hope you say, “Gee, look at Anne.  She really put it out there.  And she thinks that’s a good video?  I thought I could never do anything like that but… Hmm…  I think we can do better…  Hey!  You know what we could do is…”

Please do better!  Then, let’s put it on Handshake 2.0!  Let’s “tell the world” about you and “the place where we live.”

***

And when you follow this link to the increase in Murphy-Goode’s site traffic as a result of its social media campaign, I hope you start dreaming up a social media campaign of your own.

***

For more ideas about the use of social media for economic development, we’ve offered Regional Economic Development – A Summary and Synthesis.  You’re invited to scroll through more posts in our Regional Economic Development category as well.

Robert Scoble Talks with VT KnowledgeWorks About B2B Social Media and CEO Blogging

On his visit to Blacksburg, Virginia, Robert Scoble met with technology incubator and business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks member companies and associates.

Seated left to right at the round table discussion:  Anne Clelland, Handshake 2.0, Allan Tsang 88owls, Cameron Nouri, Rackspace Email and Apps, Daryl Scott, Attaain, Robert Scoble, Rackspace, Doug Juanarena, GenTek Ventures, Glenn Skutt, VPT Energy Systems.

The video was taken on June 5, 2009, with the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 on loan from Olympus to blogger Z. Kelly Queijo.

Want to Be Known in Virginia in 2012?

"By 2012, more than 145 million people – or 67% of the US Internet population – will be reading blogs at least once per month."

– eMarketer, The Blogosphere: A Mass Movement from Grass Roots

Now might be a good time to get on Handshake 2.0.

Time to Renegotiate Everything

From Bob Brudzinski, Change Up Management, Inc.:

Bob Brudzinski, Change Up Management, Inc. Small business consultant Bill Bartmann stated recently in the Wall Street Journal, "Most of us grew up knowing that once you agree to something, you don't back out of it."  He continued, "That rule doesn't apply anymore."

If you're a small business owner, your suppliers were rarely concerned about raising their prices to you, often unannounced, to improve their financial performance. Now it's your turn. They really need to keep your business. So, for once, you have the leverage.
 
Work with your suppliers and look for ways to reduce product or service costs, improve payment terms, reduce order quantities and minimums, and reduce shipping costs.

Now is the time to consider consolidating suppliers. Then, you can offer one supplier additional volume and move your company higher on their customer priority list. In exchange, you can get price or terms concessions.

Look at your facility rent. In these economic times, newer, larger and nicer facilities are coming on the market, because they lost their clients. These facilities may now come on the market with more competitive rental rates that may be as good as or better than what you’re currently paying.  Likewise, you may be able to renegotiate your rent with your current landlord to prevent you from moving elsewhere.

Finally, get new pricing/quotes on your health insurance, telephone service, Internet hosting, marketing programs, office supplies, and everything else you buy in some meaningful quantity. An ad agency client, who already runs a tight ship, was able to find $18,000 savings just by renegotiating. 

***

Change Up Management, Inc., located in Roanoke, Virginia, helps business owners, one-on-one, by providing practical advice and support that leads to lasting change, improvement, and long-term success.  President and Owner, Bob Brudzinski, has worked with hundreds of business owners, customers, lenders, suppliers, and employees through the economy’s periodic ups and downs.  He is an accredited Institute for Independent Business, IIB, associate. 

Aneesh Chopra – The Next Millionaire From Our Rural Communities

From Z. Kelly Queijo:

On April 18, 2009, President Obama announced the appointment of Aneesh Chopra as the first federal Chief Technology Officer. Chopra currently holds the position of Secretary of Technology for the state of Virginia.

According to Kevin Hall, Director of Communications for U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner, Virginia is the first in the nation to establish a chief of technology at the state level. Former Governor Jim Gilmore created this cabinet-level position in 1998.

The headline for the Wall Street Journal's article on this topic reads “Tech Industry Cheers as Obama Taps Aneesh Chopra for CTO.”

Cory Donovan, Executive Director for the NewVa Corridor Technology Council (NCTC), is also cheering. “Aneesh Chopra has helped position Virginia as a leader in the technology economy and is a friend of the NCTC. Secretary Chopra is aware of the budding technology community in the NewVa region, the innovative companies we have here, and what those firms will contribute to pulling our economy out of this recession.”

Chopra has attended several NCTC events and is host to COVITS (the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Innovative Technology Symposium) annual technology summit. He is also responsible for the launch of Virginia's Productivity Investment Fund, a funding program designed to encourage development of innovative programs that result in cost-savings and improvements in efficiency that could potentially benefit the Commonwealth.

In an earlier interview for Handshake 2.0, Chopra stated “We're very confident that now that we are connected through a much more robust broadband infrastructure, entrepreneurs anywhere in Virginia can build a Facebook application. We might have the next millionaire coming from our rural communities…” 

“It's hard not to be excited about Chopra's appointment,” says Donovan. “His appointment by President Obama will help improve the link between Washington and the NewVa region to the benefit of both the region and our nation.”

For more information, read the Joint Statement by Governor Kaine, Senator Warner on Appointment of Aneesh Chopra as Nation's First Chief Technology Officer.

***

Z. Kelly Queijo writes about business and technology, people and their passions.  She is a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0.  You can follow her on Twitter, @zkellyq.

STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics

At the reception in Roanoke, Virginia where United States Senator Mark Warner acknowledged the nominees for this year's NewVa Corridor Technology Council, NCTC, we met nominee Georgette Yakman, a Technology Education Teacher at Pulaski County High School, Virginia.

Also an Integrative STEM Education (Integrative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education) Ph.D candidate at Virginia Tech, Yakman has devised STΣ@M, A Framework for Teaching Across the Disciplines. STΣ@M = Science & Technology interpreted through Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical Elements.

Georgette Yakman was kind enough to provide this image of her framework for Handshake 2.0.

ST@ΣM, A Framework for Teaching Across the Disciplines. ST@ΣM = Science & Technology interpreted through Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical Elements.

Georgette Yakman also sent her paper What Is the Point of STEAM? (.pdf).

Handshake 2.0 sends congratulationsn to all the nominees

The awards will be presented at the TechNite Awards Banquet on May 21, 2009 at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center.  Reservations must be made by May 1.  Over 300 of the area's business and technology leaders are expected to be present.

Added 8/25/10:  Georgett Yakman has launched a new site:  STEAM: A Framework for Teaching Across the Disciplines

Connecting People in the RNR – 81 Reasons to Connect

Handshake 2.0 brings you edition #22 of Connecting People in the RNR with Stuart Mease.

Stuart Mease describes 81 Reasons to Connect, an initative of the Roanoke Creative Connectors. Currently, the initiative has begun as a group on Facebook.  If you're a member of Facebook, login, search for "81 Reasons to Connect," and you'll find the group. 

From the Facebook group description:

"81 REASONS TO CONNECT – is a private sector initiative to raise awareness and advocate for the economic and social benefits that will result from a truly 'unified' New River Valley (NRV) and Roanoke Region."

Here's a press release on the Creative Communities Four Initiatives.

To learn more about the Roanoke Creative Community Leadership Project in Virginia, feel free to review the list of Creative Connectors, the press release (.pdf), more on the program from Virginia Tech, a post from Creative Connector Mike Dame, the site, Roanoke, Virginia's Creative Communities Leadership, this article from the Roanoke Times, and to follow the program on Twitter @roanokecreative.

***

"RNR" refers to the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia.

Stuart Mease writes the blog Connecting People.  On Stuart Mease's about page, you can find myriad ways to connect with him online and in person.  You can find out more about Stuart Mease on Handshake 2.0.

Connecting People in the RNR
a video show by Stuart Mease

for Handshake 2.0

 



 
The opinions expressed by Stuart Mease or of those he interviews are solely their own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0 or its clients, sponsors, or advertisers.

TechNite Award Nominees Acknowledged by Senator Mark Warner

At a reception today, April 15, 2009, in Roanoke, Virginia, United States Senator Mark Warner acknowledged the nominees for this year's NewVa Corridor Technology Council, NCTC, TechNite Awards.  Here's the press release from the NCTC and two faraway photos from the event.

The awards will be presented at the TechNite Awards Banquet on May 21, 2009 at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center.  Reservations must be made by May 1.  Over 300 of the area's business and technology leaders are expected to be present. 

Nominations closed on March 31, 2009.

Here are the categories and criteria for the 2009 NCTC TechNite Awards and the category nominees.

Rising Star
This award recognizes a local technology company whose "star is rising."  It may not be a household name yet, but it could soon be another local success story in the NewVA region.

88Owls
Aegisound/Adaptive Technologies
ADMMicro
Design Marketing/Performance Link
FITnoke
Inorganic Ventures
Koofers
Librato
Modea
Prime Photonics
Schultz-Creehan

Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are a different breed. Sometimes it takes nerves of steel to blaze a new path. This award recognizes someone in our community who exemplifies what it means to be a risk-taker in the technology field.

Kevin Bloomfield, NetVentures
Anne Giles Clelland, Handshake 2.0
M. Tyson Daniel, Esq., LimbGear
Jonathan Hagmaier, Interactive Achievement
James Rancourt, Polymer Solutions
Dan Sable, VPT
Tracy Wilkins, TechLab

NewVa Leadership Award
This award recognizes one of our own who not only succeeds in the workplace, but also leads by example by contributing significantly to the community in which we live.

Stanley Breakell, Breakell
Bev Fitzpatrick, Virginia Museum of Transportation
Jim Flowers, VT KnowledgeWorks
Stuart Mease, City of Roanoke
Andre A. Muelenaer, Jr., M.D., Carilion
Dan Smith, Valley Business FRONT
Neil Wilkin, Optical Cable Corporation

Innovation
This award recognizes an individual, a group of individuals, company, or other organization that sets the standard for thought leadership and innovation in their respective fields. By definition, they are doing something new or different, and they are doing it well. Their innovation represents a significant technological breakthrough or addresses a great market opportunity or both.

Attaain
CMR Institute
EnergyWare
ExperiED
Interface AdvantageSystems
Maxtena
Moog Components Group
Pixel Optics
Qualtrax
TORC Technologies
Wireless Medcare
VCOM 

Educator
This award recognizes a K-12 educator in the NewVA region that promotes math, science and/or use of technology in creative ways to transfer knowledge and help develop future technology leaders.

Molly Bullington, Burton Center for Arts and Technology 
Michael Collver, Montgomery County Public Schools 
Dr. Kurt Grosshans, Montgomery County Public Schools
Rebecca Hertling, Montgomery County Public Schools
Cathy Huffman, The Gereau Center for Applied Technology & Career Exploration 
Nancy McCrickard, Science Museum of Western Virginia 
Stuart Rawlings, Cave Spring Middle School 
Kim Williams, Roanoke City Public Schools
Georgette Yakman, Pulaski County High School

Modea Welcomes Mansi Trivedi

From Z. Kelly Queijo:

For Mansi Trivedi, finding a new job was as easy as 2.0.

Mansi Trivedi, associate planner and account executive at Modea A self-proclaimed “Facebook semi-addict,” Trivedi discovered Modea, a digital services agency located in Blacksburg, Virginia, through a Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) alumni group on Facebook. Intrigued by the company's work and clientèle, she contacted Modea and, on April 3, 2009,  became an official associate planner and account executive for the company.

“That's the beauty of Social Media/Web 2.0,” says Trivedi.  You don't only live in a physical zip code; we all travel longitudes of distances every day.”

A native of India, Trivedi's trek from Bombay to Blacksburg included several moves along the way.  After earning her B.A. in mass media/advertising from the University of Mumbai and a master's degree in communication strategy from the VCU Brandcenter in Richmond, Virginia, her work took her to Michigan, New Jersey and, until just recently, New York.

Along the way, her passion for writing and design led her to create many innovative blogs:

2009 in pages:  www.mansitrivedi.com

Everyday observations: www.mansitrivedi.wordpress.com

The idea of being displaced, a collective storytelling experiment: www.dsplaced.com

I'm a design geek: http://dailydoseofdesign.tumblr.com

Mansi Trivedi is also on Twitter:  @media_reveries.

“I would like to think that what I did outside of work did play a big role in helping me find a home at Modea,” she says.

She also attributes to VCU's graduate program help in shaping her growth as a writer and designer. “The VCU Brandcenter truly influenced me in what I am today. The school had a huge effect on me in terms of challenging the easy answers and not making just ads. That's the thing about advertising.  We need to embrace the idea of  'new' and immerse ourselves in popular culture to be able to develop communications that connect well with consumers.”

Before her move from New York, Trivedi wrote about what it was like to stand very still on a sidewalk in Soho and take in all the motion of the city for just one moment, sharing with her readers a small slice of  life in the Big Apple.  She wrote about being real with Modea for Advertising Age

I've warned Mansi that, except on home-football game weekends, the pace here in Blacksburg is a bit slower than city life and comes with a lot less glam and fewer limos. She's okay with it and says she's looking forward to being able to “wrap my head around the town and get to know the Blacksburgers and Hokies!”

***

Z. Kelly Queijo writes about business and technology, people and their passions.  She is a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0.  You can follow her on Twitter, @zkellyq.