Driving Social Business, Championing Innovation, & Inspiring Creativity

Check-In & Unlock a New Way To Connect With Customers

Just as I do every year, I wait until the last minute to do my holiday shopping.  Each year I vow to buy everything online, yet for some reason it never seems to work out.  Tonight I found myself all over town trying to make gift selections for those dearest to me. As I fought the crowds I kept myself entertained reading the colorful tweets prior to tonights contraversal football game featuring the typical Brett Favre shenanigans, that seem to be never ending (retire already).  Blazing a trail through the newly fallen snow, I also was certain to check-in via foursquare as I visited various retailers hoping to unlock a great special or a new badge.  Mission accomplished, as I unlocked “the bookworm” badge upon my check-in at Barnes & Noble tonight!

New badge earned and in a better mood now, I carried on with the shopping bonanza and ventured across town to a favorite retailer of mine, REI. Getting out of my car and walking to the door I check-in, nothing to unlock here but at least I know i’ll enjoy the time I spend while in this store. My ten plus years in the outdoor industry has spoiled me when it comes to high end sporting goods. I enter the front door and then I see it. A very large sign encouraging customers to “check-in” on facebook places with their smart phones.  For every check-in REI was going to donate $50 to the Ice Age Trail for maintenance.

I sat there thinking to myself, now in the mobile phone industry and a social media junkie, wow this is awesome! I was so geeked that REI was using location based social media to not only bring more visibility to their business, but also to create a deeper connection with their customers! These donations for simply visiting and checking in truly go a long way in building those all important connections to the communities in which retailers do business. I proudly checked in, and am looking forward to my next hike on the Ice Age Trail, knowing that REI helped to maintain it using social media as a catalyst.

Albeit tiny in scope, this is a great example of the power of social media in action and at its best. You know darn well I tweeted about this right away with the hopes to draw even more people into REI.  It also shows a simple way location based social media applications can be used to drive increased brand awareness, connect with your target customers, increase sales, and lead to brand evangelists.

Tonight was a pretty outstanding evening for me from a social media perspective. New badge unlocked and $50 donated to a local trail, all by simply checking-in.  My passion for customer service and the social media space causes me to stop think about how retailers are doing business and connecting with their customers quite often; tonight was a good night to reflect on that.

For those of you wondering, I still didn’t finish my holiday shopping. Four days left.

Excited to Share How Twitter Has Lifted Sales & Created Customer Advocacy

From a blogging perspective I’ve been pretty quiet lately. The past couple of months has been the final push in training our teams and preparing to “Wake Up” the wireless industry with The Belief Project from U.S. Cellular®.  Although time consuming as a leader responsible for training associates for launch, the preparation was worth it as our company sought to change the way wireless companies do business.  I am extremely proud of my team for their additional commitment to learning and creating an enhanced customer experience.  Additional pride is felt in knowing I work for a company that is focused on creating an environment that gains and retains customers with forward thinking programs, and rewards for loyalty. In today’s corporate world there are not too many people that get as excited about the company they work for as U.S. Cellular® associates do.

Anyways, “shop talk” aside, back to the reason for this post today.  Today I had the day off but for the most part I felt under the weather today, the start of a cold I presume.  Unfortunate, as I would have loved to enjoy the beautiful day outside on a hike or even doing yard work; there is lots to do in the way of yard prep for winter.  Instead I spent the day indoors juggling a fussy baby (we’re sick at the same time) and trying to put together a presentation on leveraging Twitter for business.  I was recently asked to discuss how I have built a large repeat customer base and utilized Twitter to provide a heightened degree of customer service for the WCTC DECA Organization.  I was honored to have been asked, and will be speaking this Wednesday morning.

After giving some thought as to what my discussion will entail, I have decided to pull from a several resources.  For starters I am going to draw from a presentation I gave to my BNI chapter which covers an overview of what Social Media is and how it can be a low cost and highly effective tool for business.  I will also be pulling from a blog post I wrote regarding Three Themes for Success in Social Media. In addition to those items I am going to pull from the successes I have found in building a customer base and creating a high level of customer service via Twitter.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to share what I found has worked in building my personal brand, and creating loyal customers.  There is significant potential in leveraging Social Media to create an impression on people as well as build your business.  Hopefully sharing my journey on how I’ve developed new and repeat business through Twitter will allow others to find their niche as well.

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