SMCSF – March 2009 Meeting

The SMCSF March meeting was a great success! We held it at Joe’s Crab Shack in Lauderhill in Broward county in order to accommodate our more northern members (after all, we are the Social Media Club for all of South Florida!). We already had a great lineup planned with Toby Strebnik of Tilson Communications presenting Truly Nolen’s successful use of social media, and with Denise Sposato of H&R Block giving great tax tips just in time for filing.

We were very pleased when Jay Berkowitz arranged to have David Meerman Scott , renowned speaker and author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and “World Wide Rave”, come and speak to us about his research on how social media is changing the rules of the road.

Senior Account Executive Toby Srebnik (@fsutoby), is pioneering the use of social media as a tool for marketing at Tilson Communications, and he has been almost giddy with the results. Toby himself is a somewhat new to social media, but he has quickly become a convert when he has seen the vast power that it holds to proliferate information through groups and connect people with the information that they need.

One of his first experiences is in trying to find the Social Media Club for New York City. He tweeted that he was looking for it, but couldn’t find them. Shortly thereafter, the president from that SMC group contacted him, and they decided that the SMC New York City should have a Twitter account so people like him could find them easily. Immediately, they created @smcnyc on March 10th, and they now already have 116 followers.

However, his best test case has come from his social media marketing campaign for Truly Nolen. Everybody in South Florida knows the yellow car with the mouse ears, but Toby decided to take that uniqueness and create a persona that people could engage with through social media. First, they created a Facebook presence (The Truly Nolen Mousecar), with a profile that gave the mousecar a personality (everything from likes to favorite songs), and a chance for friends to play “spot the mousecar” by uploading shots of the mousecar out in the wild. The @trulyNolen Twitter presence is a little more serious, professional, and customer service oriented, but they still have fun and post trivia, have contests, and engage with other pest companies on Twitter.

Toby’s takeaways from his experiences were:

  • Use the twitter 140 characters wisely
  • Show some personality and be engaging
  • Be of service or help to users
  • Know your product and key messages you want to get out there
  • Know your audience and know when enough is enough.

Our surprise guest, David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) rocked the meeting with accounts of how the old school approach to marking and PR truly is antiquated and increasingly ineffective. At this point, the “word of mouse” is more powerful than standard print advertising. He shared two examples of the power of using social media for phenomenal results:

  1. Cindy Gordon at Universal Studios, despite having a multimillion dollar budget to do as much advertising as possible, instead told only 7 people about the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Her bosses thought she was crazy, but she took the chance. Cindy invited 7 of the most influential bloggers to an exclusive preview and closed webcast. These 7 people blogged about the new attraction, and within 24 hours, the word had reached over 350,000,000 people!
  2. Dr. Helaine Smith, a dentist in the Boston area, was spending $2k/month on Yellow Page ads and had a revenue of $150k/year, but knew there had to be a better way. She changed her tactics by publishing a free e-book called “Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex”, and soon, her book became a top hit on Google. Now, her business is now worth $140,000,000.

The “World Wide Rave”, as Scott calls it, is using the power of the web, social media and viral marketing to spread the word about yourself. But in order for it to work correctly for you, you have to understand certain things and abide by the rules:

  • Nobody cares about your products (except for you)
  • No coercion required
  • Be willing to lose control
  • Create triggers and encourage people to share
  • Point the world to your virtual doorstep

He closed with these final thoughts:

  • Play nice in the sandbox
  • Stop making excuses – you have nothing to lose!

You can check out David Meerman Scott’s free e-book: “The New Rules of Viral Marketing: How word-of-mouse spreads your ideas” (which has been downloaded more than 250,000 times in six months!)

The H&R Block folks were knowledgeable and gave great information. In case you don’t know, there are hundreds of changes to tax laws as well as new tax laws, so it is in your best interest to check with your accountant to make sure you can take advantage of the potential savings that you may be eligible for. They provided useful tips for business owners and those currently between jobs, and they also explained some of the new tax credits available this year. You can follow H&R Block on Twitter: @hrblock, and get a copy of the useful tax documents that they shared during the presentation.

So, March came in with a bang, as many of our members attended and presented at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, and ended with fireworks with an outstanding and well-attended Social Media Club South Florida!

Coming up for the April meeting in Miami: local social media and advertising heavy-hitter Murray Izenwasser and the Social Media Club’s Alex de Carvalho will share their expertise on Social Media, so be sure to join us!

We’d like to send a shout-out to some of the people using Twitter who attended our meetup!

  • @JayBerkowitz, Jay Berkowitz
  • @ColonelTribune, from the Chicago Tribune
  • @sliss33 and @abtran (Andrew Tran) from the Sun Sentinel
  • @SurfLocal from the Palm Beach Post
  • @voisherb, Herb Tabin from VOIS, who donated their name badges for us, along with @Lapp and @Jesseeka4510

If you were there, let us know and we’ll update this post :)

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Denise Jacobs manages Sponsorship and Marketing and Promotions for Social Media Club South Florida. She is a principal at

4 Responses to “SMCSF – March 2009 Meeting”

  1. Hi,

    I was there and thoroughly enjoyed the meeting, looking forward to attending more in the future!

    Joshua Grossman

  2. @SunJuice says:

    I was there, I’m at the Sun Sentinel too!

  3. That’s right! We’ll update the post with more links.

    Thanks for participating, we look forward to seeing y’all soon again.

  4. Richard Kaminsky (Niteweng) says:

    Great event and I learned alot from you guys. Look forward to the next event. Rich