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Insights into the Online World


Got Social? Icons from Various Social Networking Media - Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Podcasting, RSS DistributionI recently had the privilege of speaking to a team of mortgage brokers about how to use Social Media to expand their networks and increase their business.  We discussed how LinkedIn, Facebook Professional Pages, and Twitter can compliment what these professionals do in the business community every day.

Whenever I do this presentation, there are two questions that come up.  One is “How much time does it take” and “Why do I care about reaching someone from *insert distant city name here* – I don’t have clients outside of Manitoba”.  These are good questions, and I think I have good answers.

Social media networking does take time, and yes, time is money.

Taking 15 minutes a day to check your Facebook Professional Page, to post a Tweet, and to add your new contacts to LinkedIn is 15 minutes you aren’t calling, emailing, selling to new clients, or working with the clients you already have.

We think nothing of going to “real time” networking events, where we can easily invest a couple “non-billable” hours several times a month, often seeing many of the same people, plus paying a membership or registration fee.  New business comes from these events when we work them consistently with a desire to connect to new people and to learn of opportunities from the people we already know.  Social media networking is similar, and enhances your real time networking by being able to continue the dialogue you have started in person, which is shared with people you haven’t met yet that may need your services.

Many of the people in your social media networks may not be in your geographic area.

They are still potential connections for business.  It’s an old joke that “everyone knows someone from Winnipeg.” If you sit on a plane next to a stranger, they may know someone who is in Winnipeg, so don’t you want to be the “insert profession here” that they know by name – that they can check out online – that they can recommend?  So you introduce yourself. (At least I do – do you?)

This real time experience is mirrored online in the social networks.   If someone is looking for someone where you are, it doesn’t matter where they are from, only that you are findable by everyone online, and have established a strong enough social media presence to be seen as an industry leader, knowledgeable in your field and ultimately approachable for consultation.  The alternative is that they will find a competitor that is using social media networking more effectively than you are.

Social media networking gives you the opportunity to work the four corners of the globe as easily as you work the next Chamber of Commerce After Business Mixer – by extending the reach of your expertise as easily as you extend your physical hand to greet a new prospect.  It is about showing up, working the “room”, and the quality of the conversation you create.

Want to learn how to make social media networking an effective part of your marketing strategy?

We can help – with individual and group training sessions.  We can speak at your conference to educate your team or association members – about social media, online marketing, improving your search engine rankings, how to understand website analytics – any aspect of improving your business’s online presence.  We provide solutions for an online world.>

Call us to talk about how we can help you have a more effective business presence online.

Today I had the pleasure of delivering a presentation to a class in one of Red River College's creative communications programs.

I spoke about trends in online marketing, the power of owning your platform as a business online. It was a great chance to talk about some of the choices businesses can make in how they present themselves, and how those choices can affect the public perception of the business.

Participating directly in the classroom environment is always different from developing online learning material. Modern Earth invests a lot of energy in education - through online learning, and partnerships with organisations such as LERN.

Helping to raise awareness of new trends in the educational setting was a great experience – one I hope to repeat soon!

Today, I had the pleasure of presenting a "state of the union" address to an enthusiastic group at the St. James Chamber of Commerce.

My presentation was focused on the different services available from the web design industry.

I covered several low-cost ways to get an online presense for startup companies, along with key advertising and social media tools which all companies should be using to increase their profits.

Dan Belhassen and Art Alexander - St James CHamber of Commerce

PIctured here with Art Alexander of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

By all accounts, it looks like the LERN Chicago conference was a success.  I was mostly in sessions, while Susan was “manning” the booth.

We met with several happy clients (good work, team!) and many potential client as well.  In particular, we met with Chuck Bingaman from Equipping our Lawyers who said that “Our team is unfailing pleasant, professional, polite people to work with.”

We had the opportunity to meet with one of the keynote speakers, Gareth Mitchell who hosts the BBC’s radio show Digital Planet, and discuss the future of technology.

Plus, on the flight back..  Susan and I sat next to the legendary Eugene Levy.  We didn’t bug him, but we sure wanted to say hi!


The Modern Earth Tweet Team - Manitoba Business Awards 2010 - Manitoba Chambers of CommerceModern Earth was honoured to be able to participate in one of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce’s major events last night, by covering the Manitoba Business Awards on Twitter.

As originally announced by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, a team of Earthlings attended the 27th annual MBAs, to keep up with the crowd, add some fun to the event, and cover the stage action as it happened. It was a first for the Manitoba Chambers – and it was a lot of fun for all involved. By the end of the night, more than 170 tweets had been sent with the event’s hashtag - #mbbizawards – covering everything from stage announcements and quotes from award winners, to comments on the very excellent dinner provided by the Winnipeg Convention Center.

In order to catch all the details and cover the event consistently, we had a number of Earthlings hooked into the @mbchambersofcom twitter account, marking their messages with the hashtag and their initials.

The tweet team consisted of:

  • Susan Hurrell - Coverage strategy, deployment, event management
  • ^DB – Dan Belhassen, President of Modern Earth
  • ^pg – Philip Giles, Senior Account Executive
  • ^CN – Chad Norris, Software Development Manager
  • ^MG – Michel Gauthier, Developer
  • ^RG – Rylaan Gimby, Media Specialist
  • ^IR – Ian M Rountree, Online Marketing Specialist
  • Marnie Grimolfson - Tweet team support

The whole team had a lot of fun – thanks to Susan's thorough planning, and with Marnie acting as support and direction, we got a lot of great quotes, pictures and tips into the twitter stream.

We co-ordinated our efforts to make sure each of the event’s sponsors, the selection committee and jury panel were all recognized during the dinner hour. During the awards themselves, each set of nominees was recognized – as was the winner, complete with quotes from acceptance speeches.

Covering the Manitoba Business Awards was a great experience for the entire Tweet Team – one we hope to repeat soon!

Stats for the hashtag #mbbizawards are available here – What the Hashtag, #mbbizawards
Read the full transcript of the night’s festivities here – What the Hashtag transcript for #mbbizawards, November 3rd and 4th

Thanks again to the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce for the opportunity to cover this event in such a dynamic way!

We were pleased to be exhibiting at the HRMAM Connect 2010 conference last week, at Winnipeg’s premier conference centre.

It was the first time we’d exhibited at the show, but we felt it would be a good fit for our e-learning solutions, with our web design and online marketing businesses hopefully having sale opportunities themselves as well. Setup was easy, and the show administration really went out of their way to make it easy for us. I’ve never had such good service from conference/trade show organizers – every hour or so a volunteer would check in with us, see if there was anything we needed, and ensure that the show was working well for us.

The conference provided many opportunities to talk with interesting people.

We had the opportunity to talk with a wide variety of potential clients, and interested parties about the potential for e-learning, and how, in putting courses online, they might have the opportunity to substantially cut some of their training costs, or provide great value added services to their staff or clients. A great mix of businesses, consultants, school divisions, and some fantastically enthusiastic students from the University of Winnipeg.

Online learning is becoming very important for a variety of businesses - the enthusiasm we saw at the HRMAM conference has reinforced our belief in elearning, and was a great opportunity to connect with clients that otherwise we might never have met!
 I had the pleasure today of presenting a session entitled “Should I be Online” as the first Tech Tuesday seminar put on by our friends and clients over at the Women’s Enterprise Centre.

The seminar was well attended by 25 entrepreneurs who asked some great questions as I covered the various ways a startup business could get a low cost web presence, and maximize value with some tools such as Wordpress, Facebook, and Google Analytics.