It’s Automattic for the People; An Interview with Beau Lebens

beau lebens

Automattic really is for the people and we are fortunate to have code wrangler Beau Lebens as a guest on the episode of The Bella Buzz podcast.  Automattic is the company (and I hesitate to call it a company because that seems to diminish their ethos) behind the content management system called WordPress, as well as many other open source projects. WordPress is used by Desiree’s company, Bella Web Design to create sites for businesses that are more robust and allow clients to update their own content.

Desiree met Beau during her recent visit to the Microsoft campus.

Beau fills us in on the recent WordCamp gatherings including the event in San Francisco where over 1000 participants gathered to hear about the latest updates, share insights with the community, and work with the newest WordPress users to help them understand how to develop a robust online presence.

Watch the WordPress.tv presentation called the State of the Word from founder Matt Mullenweg. It is his annual summary of the development of the platform.

WordPress is a free, open source, platform that has truly become the standard by which all content management systems are judged (The Bella Buzz & Baseballisms both run WordPress). It has grown into such a powerful presence by allowing its users to submit requests and even code to the project. Operating under a GNU General Public License allows users to modify the platform, which in turn provides others with tested enhancements that can be incorporated into the code base for wider distribution.  This has spawned an entire ecosystem of templates and plugins that work on the platform.

There are two communities of  Wordpress users, and Beau is focused on providing some crossover services. WordPress.com is where users can set up a site that is hosted and managed behind the scenes by the team at Automattic. This means that servers are set up, updates are installed, and it is much easier to use. But it comes with limitations.  The WordPress.org camp is for users looking for more customization and are not worried about servers and backup and domain management.

Beau and his team are introducing Jetpack. This plugin allows the self hosted WordPress.org users to benefit from some of the tremendous features that the WordPress.com community has.  Jetpack brings great stats, hovercards, shortlinks, even the great editor called After the Deadline.

If you have any questions about Jetpack or WordPress in general, take advantage of the growing community of users who are willing to share their knowledge.  Reach out to Desiree if you want to talk about developing your web presence with a WordPress foundation.

You can find Beau at his blog Dented Reality or on Twitter, feel free to mention you heard him on The Bella Buzz.  Thanks Beau for your time!

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Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.

You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from iTunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The iTunes Store.

Shopping Gets Easier with Aisle411; An Interview with Founder Nathan Pettyjohn

Aisle411.com Logo | The Bella Buzz podcast

Aisle411.com Logo | The Bella Buzz podcast

On this episode of The Bella Buzz podcast, coming off a chance meeting at the recent Coke Mobility Summit, we catch up with the CEO & Founder of Aisle411.com Nathan Pettyjohn.

Aisle411 is a mobile app that is taking on the challenge of making shopping more efficient.  As shoppers use the app, it helps them find items, it creates and manages shopping lists, and even provides product reviews. Beyond those excellent features, it will even help shoppers plan their shopping route within the store itself! Think about that great time saving experience. As a shopper enters a store with their shopping list planned out, the functionality of the app will direct the user through the store from aisle to aisle.  No more doubling back because of something forgotten or scouring the aisles for an elusive sales clerk to point the way.  It’s available in the Aisle411 app.

Many podcast listeners will be familiar with the gaming and incentives that are getting built into mobile platforms such as Foursquare and Facebook Places and this app is no different.  Social sharing and brand interactions are a key part of the feature set that this personal shopping concierge provides.

Major retailers are also looking to Aisle411 to build out a white label version so that they can maintain the brand equity in their mobile strategy while providing this excellent functionality. If you see your favorite store adding these features to their apps, now you will know that Nathan and his team might be working behind the scenes to help them develop it.

The business started in 2007 as an idea Nathan had while he was at a Lowe’s store.  After a long search trying to locate a surge protector in the big box, he encountered a customer and an associate looking for grommets.  That customer ended up leaving the store after an unsatisfactory experience, but all was not lost as Nathan realized there was an opportunity to connect the store inventory to a mobile shopping app. Aisle 411 can help stop these bad experiences from happening and will help provide a more pleasant buying experience for all. Now, where do we find those grommets?

Visit the iTunes store to get the iOS version of the application, and keep an eye out for version 2.0 on both iPhone and on the Android platform in the near future.  Give them a Like on their Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter to keep up with all of the latest developments.

We would like to thank Nathan for taking the time away from building and funding an exciting new business, to speak with us on The Bella Buzz podcast. We look forward to seeing the future for Aisle411.com.

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Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.

You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from iTunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The iTunes Store.

Going Mobile; The Coke Mobility Summit

GooglePlus

On this week’s episode of The Bella Buzz podcast we discuss a recent event sponsored by Coca-Cola, where they focused on the evolution of mobile services. Desiree was an invited guest of Catherine Tabor of Sparkquest, who has developed a great location based app for retailers and merchants. Presenters included companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Aisle411, Groupon and Scvngr to name just a few.

We also voice some opinion on the recently announced social network from Google called Google+, the schizophrenia of multiple Google profiles, and the pluses and minuses of working from home.

Coke Mobility Summit

Last week, Coca-Cola’s customers including Chick-Fil-A, Subway, Chipotle and many other restaurants and venues were present at a discussion about the future of mobile technology.  A cast of superstars from the internet marketing and development industry were there to present their services and opinions on how Coke’s clients can succeed in this changing environment.  The group presented some very interesting statistics that confirm the shifting importance of mobile devices.

An interesting topic to keep an eye on is the growth of mobile phone payment systems.

Near Field Communications allows the phone to exchange data with a reader. In the context of this presentation it represents a payment process where the phone account replaces the use of currency.  In other contexts, NFC can be used for ID Cards, keycards, QR Code readers and many other functions to come.  Desiree saw a Coke machine that dispensed its product after a simple swipe of an iPhone.

Another player in the space is a company called Square. Founded by Jack Dorsey of Twitter fame, the Square service turns an iPhone into a credit card machine.  Merchants can attach the device to their iPhone, swipe the customer’s credit card and process the payment. Square is even able to eliminate some of the cumbersome processing fees and inter-connected services required to accept credit cards currently. Desiree’s company is already using this mobile application with her customers.

Google+

Will you or someone you know change to a new social network? Even if it rolled out by Google?

This week, we heard from Google that the super stealth project that they claim is not their “Facebook Killer” is now available on an Invite Only basis.  Google+ brings you the ability to connect with your social graph through Circles, connect with them via video on Hangouts and pull all of your interests together across the web through Sparks.

Since we have been exuberant in the past about Google product releases including Wave and Buzz and Latitude, we have to temper our views upon seeing the latest “social” platform.  To identify a truly transformative rollout from Google, you might have to go all the way back to GMail.  However, after having a little more time to dig into Google+, there might be some interesting aspects to keep an eye on.

In particular, the use of video conferencing technology in Hangouts looks amazing.  This allows groups to get together to share in a gathering, and to connect in a real face to face way. Something that has been a missing element distinguishing online and offline socializing.

It is in an Invite Only state, so submit your name via this link. (UPDATE: Before publishing this post, apparently there is “insane demand” for invites!)

Google Profiles

One side effect of using Google as a personal profile on the web that I have a particular problem with, is the distinction between a personal profile and a Google Apps profile.  Many years ago, Google was touting a service for businesses that allowed for sharing of documents on the web, provided a replacement for the Microsoft Office Suite on the desktop, and even provided many free services that would make my life more efficient. I believed it was important to tie together many of the Google services I use into this account.

This also allowed me to port my own domain into the account so that my company email address and domain were integrated.

The distinction that has now been made between personal and App account, some of these services are not available. This includes the increasingly more prominent Google Profiles, which controls the ability to set up Google+ and maintain the Circles of contacts within the social network.  Others, including Peter Shankman are adding their own voices to this issue.

Working from Home

We finish up the conversation with the disclaimer that “there’s no place like home”. We are both fortunate to have working environments that allow us to be successful and efficient from offices within our homes, and realize that there is no need to have any office overhead.

It takes some diligence and persistence to balance the work and family aspects of this, but with today’s technology it is easily accomplished!

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The Bella Buzz is sponsored by Constant Contact. Connect, Inform, Grow.  Constant Contact’s leading email marketingonline survey and event marketing tools help all types of small businesses.

Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.

You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from iTunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The iTunes Store.

A Digital Curation Evolution; An Interview with Shareist Founder Scott Jangro

Shareist Logo | The Bella Buzz

Shareist Logo | The Bella BuzzThis week on The Bella Buzz podcast, we talk with the CEO of Mech Media and Founder of Shareist.com, Scott Jangro. Scott has an outstanding reputation in the Affiliate Marketing industry. In 2010 he was honored with the Affiliate Summit Affiliate Marketing Legend Pinnacle Award.

His current efforts are focused on developing a robust curation platform that provides stellar aggregation functionality with visually appealing content presentation, combined with social features, that advances the evolution of information discovery on the web.

The act of digital content curation is born out of the typical meaning of the word applied to art galleries and museums.  A curator will examine and evaluate numerous items for inclusion into a very specific exhibit presentation. Those that are deemed worthy are included, and those that are not are discarded. As applied to the current state of the web, a curator can provide a valuable service in the face of the growing challenge web users face, the exponential growth of the amount of content published on a daily basis.  A curator will aggregate and maintain a collection of links to relevant, original content on a specific topic.

As the amount of published web content becomes a staggering sum, web users are finding it more and more difficult to locate the content they are seeking through algorithmic search. It also becomes difficult to distinguish the original source content from the scraped, auto-generated, repackaged article designed to simply generate pageviews.  It is an important aspect of the curator’s responsibility to start at the seek and discovery phase, but continue to drill down to the original source of the material.

A well curated presentation of a topic will contain links to original sources of content that have been exposed via a thoughtful and continuous search for relevant information.  It will also contain bits of editorial content that the curator has included in order to put the links into context with the rest of the presentation.  Why was this included? What is the most relevant portion of the content? .. These types of insights from the curator will help the visitor determine the best content for further exploration. In this digital information era, the topic curator will be as valuable as a skilled reference librarian while providing a preservation service to future explorers by compiling a comprehensive resource on a topic.

A less obvious component of curation comes from the additional social elements that are incorporated into the platform.  By allowing user comments and sentiment ratings, the curator can re-examine the inclusion of the content in the topic and use the perpetual feedback loop to improve the quality of the presentation.  A curator can select to include or ignore suggestions from the users, but the overall refinement of the topic improves its relevancy over time. This is an advantage to digital curation that is not quite available in offline scenarios. A participatory community develops.  [Read more...]

Location Based Marketing for Real; SparkQuest CEO Catherine Tabor Explains Why

SparkQuest Logo | The Bella Buzz Podcast

SparkQuest Logo | The Bella Buzz PodcastWe are very excited to have Catherine Tabor as our guest on The Bella Buzz podcast this week.  Catherine is the CEO of Sparkfly and has recently launched her latest venture called SparkQuest.

Desiree and Catherine are working together in an altruistic capacity. Sparkquest is the title sponsor for Chocolate! A Benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  The benefit takes place on Thursday, June 23rd in Atlanta, and features chocolate tastings from the finest pastry chefs in the city.

SparkQuest is a location based application that matches meaningful deals from merchants with customers.  The concept was born out of Catherine’s business of managing the employee discount program for Coca-Cola, which itself connects merchants with customers in a very meaningful way.  This missing component, according to Catherine, was the ability for merchants to track the effectiveness of program redemption while customers/employees were not getting targeted offers based upon behavior.  Catherine went in search of a technology that would integrate with Point Of Sale (P.O.S) providers to capture that data.  After significant effort, integration was able to occur using a swipe card transaction.

Today, with the development of mobile applications, this form of discounting behavior has seen rapid adoption across a much broader customer base, than simply an employee incentive program solution.

Using SparkQuest, the merchants are better able to target offers based upon customers actually conducting transactions rather than the ubiquitous “check-in” incentives.  Data is pointing to some fatigue in this market because of a lack of truly relevant offers to the individual (Groupon) or a lack of incentives and easily recognizable rewards for further patronage (Foursquare).  The SparkQuest model allows the merchant to offer sequentially aligned, targeted offers designed to garner repeat customer traffic in search of better and relevant deals.  Catherine uses the term “Quests.”

The process for redeeming these rewards is very simple.  After downloading the application and registering, a user can search for venues with offers nearby and, upon completing the transaction at the register, generate a four digit code through the application.  This code is entered into the point of sale system generating the discount and filling the databases with great user behavior information to help the company target better offers and provide merchants with real information about the success of their campaign.

The application provides some social functionality to hone in on the offers that a customer is really interested in.  By following a brand within the application, offers will be pushed to the customer as they occur so that they are always aware.

Merchants are becoming big advocates for SparkQuest as they find promoting the program helps them build their own loyalty program. These campaigns are beneficial for generating repeat traffic even after the initial new customer acquisition subsides.  It is not just “tire kickers” with deep discounts flooding the merchant and then moving on to the next offer. This is actually helping them gain new customers. Merchants are currently paying an affordable monthly fee for using the service.

A secondary model that is developing for SparkQuest is a transactional model for consumer packaged goods companies, looking to develop location based incentive programs.  This has been an illusive opportunity for these brands, but by having integration with the POS systems at large retailers, this could be a very significant opportunity for Catherine and her team.

We have a very interesting discussion around the development of mobile platform applications to supersede the current web app access for SparkQuest.  In reality, there is no functionality difference that happens when wrapping a package around the app for download on the device, but Catherine believes that from a discovery and user experience perspective it’s a must.  Also, due to the numerous iterations and launch cycles from a startup application combined with the 3 week approval process for the iTunes store, it simply made sense to release the first versions as a web app.

Catherine personally has a great story as a self described, “27 year old Southern female with no business background.” That didn’t make the best case for seeking out and landing venture capital to launch a business. The early struggles getting things off the ground forced her to bootstrap the business, make it profitable to survive an economic downturn and gain the necessary experience to revisit funding options. With a changing environment and opportunities in the mobile space she was able to close on a $2.5 million dollar round of funding.

For more information about Catherine and what is happening at SparkQuest, please visit the site at SparkQuest.com. You can also see her social networking connections at her About.me page.

We would like to thank Catherine for taking the time from her busy schedule to talk with us on The Bella Buzz, and we look forward to her future successes with this very exciting opportunity!

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The Bella Buzz is sponsored by Constant Contact. Connect, Inform, Grow.  Constant Contact’s leading email marketingonline survey and event marketing tools help all types of small businesses.

Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.

You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from iTunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The iTunes Store.

The New Handshake — Interview with Barbara Giamanco

barb giamanco

Our guest on this episode of The Bella Buzz podcast is Barbara Giamanco. She is a consultant, speaker, coach and the co-author of the book The New Handshake; Sales Meets Social Media. We appreciate the last minute acceptance of our invitation to join us for a great conversation about ways in which business can leverage social media in the sales channel.

Before we begin, we get through a couple of items in the news recently.  Back on our prediction show at the end of 2010, we had projected that 2011 would be a year in which some very large cybercrime activities would take place.  Based upon the recent Sony Playstation hack and the statements from Howard Stringer the Sony CEO, we are now living in a “Bad New World“. If we have one bit of advice to pass along it is to take care of your passwords.  Be diligent in maintaining strong user identification for accessing anything that you do on the web.

Also, as a former “Microsoftie,” we wanted to get Barbara’s take on the announcement that Microsoft had acquired Skype for $8.5 billion dollars.   Skype is a very valuable tool for us on The Bella Buzz as it is the means by which all of our shows are recorded, and it provides a much better audio quality than other voice services.  We will be watching the service very closely for signs of change, but from a big picture perspective for Microsoft, this could really be a smart move in creating the new version of the company for a voice and video connected world.

In the world of social media, Barbara is working with clients who are finding their way to these new conversation channels and likes to use the case studies from the Best Buy Blue Shirts. There are social networks developing around particular niches such as medical services, as well as internal social networks for company training and communication.  In fact Salesforce is focused on providing the tools that large corporations would need for developing internal networks.  As Desiree points out, it might be a great way to train employees before they start connecting with customers externally.

Barbara warns organizations to consider the three P’s before diving into new technologies.  She focuses on Purpose, Plan and People. Why do you want to get involved in social media, what are you going to do when problems arise and who will be responsible?

This New Handshake is certainly an appropriate title for the book as it speaks to the traditional Sales Manager who grew up on the method of cold calls and glad-handing–believing that effort was the most effective way to fill the sales funnel.  When looked at from an efficiency standpoint, the new tools that we have for connecting and communicating eliminate so much of what hindered the former approaches.  At the very least it can save travel and time while expanding the geographic reach, but it also provides new forms of business intelligence and followup.

We finish the conversation by discussing how some organizations are using social media as just a broadcast medium.  Our consensus is that they cannot find the qualified individuals who understand not only the tools involved in social media, but also how to integrate the overall communication strategies and objectives of the company.

Barbara mentioned a software tool that she uses to help manage her customer relationship process and business intelligence called InsideView.

We want to thank Barbara again for her valuable time and insight.  For further information about what she is up to, you can visit her web sites The New Handshake and TalentBuildersInc.com.

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The Bella Buzz is sponsored by Constant Contact. Connect, Inform, Grow.  Constant Contact’s leading email marketingonline survey and event marketing tools help all types of small businesses.

Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.

You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from iTunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The iTunes Store.

 

Social Media Content Platform Roost, An Interview with Derek Overbey

Roost.com Logo | The Bella Buzz

Roost.com Logo | The Bella BuzzThis week on The Bella Buzz podcast, we speak with Derek Overbey, the Senior Director of Community Development at Roost.  Roost is a social marketing platform for Twitter and Facebook, that helps small businesses develop social campaigns by suggesting content and frequency of updates.  They are also in beta on an additional feature for expanding message reach called Circles.

Coming off the recent RETechSouth Conference in Atlanta, Desiree was excited to have Derek introduce the platform to our audience.

In January of 2008, the company was launched as a real estate search engine, competing in a space along with Zillow and Trulia.  They recognized in 2010 a need for a pivot in the business model that redirected focus on providing a cross between a content aggregator and a messaging system. They have not completely abandoned the real estate vertical, but are simply rolling the product out for the small business marketplace, specifically because of feedback directly from that niche.

This is a direct response to two statements from SMB’s, “I don’t have enough time to do social media” and “I don’t know what content to distribute when I do have the time”. The beta portion of the service will allow users to invite others to help mutually spread their content.

Derek credits the VP of Product, Brad Selby, for staying dedicated to building an easy to walk through campaign plan that users can follow in the system. The campaign provides a template with structured and diverse content and provides a foundation that can be built upon with additional original content.

Future iterations of Roost will incorporate high powered statistical evaluations of the content being shared, so that users can pinpoint the most effective material for their specific audience.  Share counts, forwards, re-tweets, any other form of expanding the reach of the content will be analyzed by the system in order to fine tune the suggestions.

Roost operates on a “freemium” model. Currently the service works for Facebook and Twitter and will be adding LinkedIn shortly, and provides 40 posts per month to three channels for free.  In late May or early June, the premium service will provide 200 posts onto 10 distinct channels. Desiree was so impressed by the Roost technology she decided Bella Web Design will be offering their new and current clients free set-up and training with all future web business!

Derek provides an excellent training service via webinars, in particular he enjoys the one on Facebook called “The Things Your Mother Never Told You About Facebook!” Topics in this high level session include the really deep information including privacy settings, edge rank, page analytics, but he also does sessions with varying degrees of complexity.   You can find more information at the Roost Facebook Page under the webinars tab.

For the consultants in the audience, the future iteration of the platform will include the ability to manage multiple accounts and multiple profiles.

For more information about the Roost, all of the contact information is simple .. Roost.com, Twitter.com/Roost and Facebook.com/Roost.

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Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.

You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from ITunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The ITunes Store.

 

 

An Interview with Michelle Riggen-Ransom: Batchbook Social CRM

Webby Award Honoree 2011 |

Webby Award Honoree 2011 | Before we get to our special guest on The Bella Buzz podcast, Desiree has the great fortune of announcing that Bella Web Design is the recipient of a 2011 Webby Award, a prestigious international competition that honors excellence on the Internet.  Yeah Desiree!

The honor was awarded for the work that they did on the Universal Wisky Experience web site. It is a beautiful use of the WordPress platform with custom design.

For more information about the 15th Annual Webby Awards, visit their official web site.

Our conversation today is with the CCO and one of the Co-Founders of BatchBlue Software, Michelle Riggen-Ransom.  We had the great pleasure of speaking with her business partner Pamela O’Hara on a previous edition of the Bella Buzz, and felt it was time for a followup on the great product that they have developed.

Their Batchbook SaaS package is a comprehensive management system that tracks contact information, monitors social networking channels, tracks communications and provides a full Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system geared towards the small business market.

Desiree has recently integrated the service into her site strategies for clients.  She had noticed that her clients were having a disconnect when sales leads were coming in through the web site via email and found a great solution by offering to integrate the BatchBook CRM software as a service offering. Desiree will be able to offer a 90 Day trial for her clients interested in using the service. (Not offered anywhere else but at Bella!)

The iPhone App has been a great addition to the product line and came directly from input from their customer request forums.  One of Michelle’s favorite features is the ability to takes photos at conferences, and then add the contact details right on the spot. This overcomes the fact that 80% of business cards obtained at conferences end up in the trash!

Batchbook was launched around the same time that many social platforms were becoming widely adopted, so by integrating these tool at the very core of the software, it provides a built in benefit for helping small businesses manage their contacts.

The company also has a number of “friends with business benefits” and have integrated many of the other services that a small business owner might use, so that it seamlessly flows together in one efficient dashboard.  To find out more about the alliance and the mission that these companies are devoted to, visit The Small Business Web site and join the community.

A key factor when deciding on any CRM solution is the pain involved with trying it out, but also ramping it up to full usage.  Many SaaS providers find that customers are disabling the service without using it to its full potential.  There is no way to determine if the solution is correct without giving it a full try.  Batchblue provides a 30 day trial and has an extensive onboarding and support system in place to make sure that clients are getting the most out of the product. This includes webinars for specific topics and even industries.

This is a very progressive company that has some exciting things on the horizon, so keep an eye out for future announcements (and hopefully podcasts!) regarding new products.   You should also check out the active forum community that has developed and start networking with people who are willing and able to offer advice to anyone interested in learning how to run a successful business.

The team does get out to various events, so keep an eye out for them.  Recently they attended SXSW, RETechSouth and are very involved in many of the BarCamps around the country, so if you see them say hello, and that you heard about them on The Bella Buzz!

One of Michelle’s favorite ways of defining her company is that they “put the relationship in customer relationship management”.  We believe it.

To connect with Michelle, you can email her at mriggen(at)batchblue(dot)com or on Twitter @batchblue.

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Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.

You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from ITunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The ITunes Store.

 

An Interview with Mark Schmulen: Nutshell Mail Delivers Social to your Inbox

NutshellMail Logo | The Bella Buzz podcast

This week on The Bella Buzz podcast, we begin our series of focusing on emerging technologies entering the marketplace and their application for small and medium sized businesses.  Desiree and Joe are pleased to speak with the Founder of Nutshell Mail, Mark Schmulen.

Before we get to our guest, Desiree catches us up on the session that she presented at RETechSouth called The Art of Engagement in 140 Characters or Less. This was a presentation about the art of writing to be engaging, confined to the space of a Twitter post.

NutshellMail Logo | The Bella Buzz podcast

Consistent with our efforts to introduce guests with interesting backgrounds and an understanding of the changing world of marketing communications, we had a great time talking with Mark.

His company was founded in 2008 with the intention of building a better way of keeping track of all of your social networking activity.  The free service allows you to schedule an email delivery with the important content from the social networks that you participate in, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc.. By having it delivered to your inbox on a consistent basis, you can eliminate the constant distraction of wondering if you missed something in your network.  The company was recently acquired by a sponsor of The Bella Buzz Podcast, Constant Contact and Mark is now the General Manager of Social Media.

One of the principles that Nutshell Mail was built on was “Getting Things Done” or the “GTD” space. Names such as David Allen and Tim Ferriss of The Four Hour Workweek were very influential for the founders when trying to develop a tool that would help manage the social media space. The email Inbox was the place where this could actually happen, “on your time and on your terms.”

A great side effect of using Nutshell Mail to manage the social media marketing efforts is a peace of mind.  Having the knowledge that something will not get missed in this listening station, you can go about your business while still being actively involved.

Constant Contact saw some synergy between the companies as a way to demonstrate that email and social go hand in hand.  They have been very innovative, (and there is more to come!) about providing some tools that will help small businesses find ways to communicate with their engaged customer base.  In both cases, Nutshell Mail and Constant Contact find a common point of connectivity with people through the email Inbox.  A company saying is “email lights the fire, while social media fans the flames!”

To stay in touch with Mark, you can find him on Twitter at the handle @mshmulen, or search for him on Facebook and LinkedIn.  We are also very proud to be have Constant Contact as a sponsor of The Bella Buzz podcast and look forward to new tools that the will be introducing to the over 430,000 small business customers that they serve.

To sign up for the service, you can visit either Nutshell Mail or Constant Contact.

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Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.

You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from ITunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The ITunes Store.

 

LinkedIn, iPad2 and A New Podcast Format

LinkedIn Infographic | 100 Million Users | The Bella Buzz.com

LinkedIn Infographic | 100 Million Users | The Bella Buzz.comThis week on the Bella Buzz podcast we celebrate a milestone for one of the “Big Three” social networks, LinkedIn.  We also talk about the new direction that the podcast will be taking, plus a couple of thoughts prior to Desiree getting her new iPad 2 in the coming days.

LinkedIn gets to 100M

LinkedIn announced this week that they had hit 100 Million members, and as seen on the infographic to the left, that’s a lot of business cards! Desiree and Joe have both taken the time to cultivate a business network on the site and have found it useful for making a different set of connections than the ones obtained through Facebook and Twitter.

We both have the basic level of account, with no purchased upgrades necessary to get deeper analytics on the visitors to our profiles. We also use the subscription tools to follow select topics in the LinkedIn Answers feature.  Contributing to these categories will identify you as an expert in the field with a willingness to contribute to the overall community.  These types of interactions can lead to new business opportunities.

LinkedIn also provide automated ways to keep fresh content from other social networks appearing on a profile page so blog RSS feeds and Twitter feeds can show a profile visitor much more up to date information than a static profile.

New Podcast Focus

We were having a conversation about startups after our recent podcast with Jacqui Chew and we decided to focus our attention on a particular aspect of the Internet economy.  Our attention will focus on startup businesses which are developing the up and coming services, tools, features and sites that will help us in achieving our listeners business objectives.

We have always tried to have topics that benefit the small and medium sized business owner and shine some light on new and different business tactics in the online space.  Now we will seek out conversations with the minds behind the businesses.

Of course, it’s great for them to get their names in front of an audience that might become super users or beta testers for them.  For any new business, it is the feedback from the early adopters that can help steer a proper course.  We hope to become a conduit that allows these startups to introduce their ideas to potential customers and partners.

We hope you enjoy the upcoming conversations, and look forward to your feedback on the shows!

If you or someone that you know would like to appear as a guest on The Bella Buzz podcast, send an email to Desiree.

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Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.

You can subscribe to The Bella Buzz directly from ITunes by following this link, and we would be happy to receive listener feedback and ratings at The ITunes Store.