Archive for the 'Twitter' Category


@FoodDayMA Media Group Recipe for Collaboration

The Mass Innovation Nights annual “Foodie” Product Launch Party is a wildly popular event and I attended a “Food Day MA” planning meeting in May with the intention to offer them free exposure at the event for Food Day on October 24th in the spirit of communal support in the food circles. 

Inspired by the anecdotes of communities’ success in the 2011 inaugural year I raised my hand and started dispensing advice on how the momentum could be captured statewide if someone would only orchestrate the efforts, realizing in the same breath that I was volunteering my services to captain the Food Day MA Media Group.  Here are the steps you might take to glean from the way we cobbled together our efforts with no budget and lots of enthusiasm from many.

  1. Pull together a core team who volunteer to manage a social media tool that they are good at and let them be the lead to post, Tweet, Pin, etc.  We were Twitter-centric, used facebook and dabbled in Pinterest.  I wish we had Pinned more considering that platform’s growth at the time.  New social media channels will crop up in the future, embrace the ones with momentum and critical mass.
  2. Create a gmail account with your group’s affinity name as a master email account that you will use to build a WordPress site and enroll in social media platforms.  If a facebook or Twitter account already exists don’t worry about it – as long as the owner of that account is on your core team.
  3. Create a Dropbox account using your new gmail account where you will keep a Master Schedule of guest bloggers, store logos, photos/images, a contact list and other necessary assets.  You can invite members to join the Dropbox and that’s where they can claim their date to post on the Master Schedule.  I stored the text of a an email that I sent to every new guest blogger with instructions on claiming a date to post along with a heads-up that they’d be receiving two following emails inviting them to the Dropbox and the WordPress site.  This made the recruitment of guest bloggers pretty easy once I set up the system.
  4. Build your social media tools using the gmail account you created – Twitter, facebook, Pinterest.
  5. Build a WordPress site using the gmail account you created.  Add widgets for the social media accounts you created.  When I built the Food Day MA website there was no easy widget to plug in a Pinterest button.  Many thanks to, I found a VERY good post that taught me how to add a Pinterest button.
  6. Write your first post and publish it.  Double check that your post automatically cross-promoted on your social media channels.
  7. Send an email to your core group that explains the guest blogging process. 
  8. [this is what I sent]    First THANK YOU.    You should have received an invitation to with Author status and an invitation to the FoodDayMA Dropbox folder.  If you’re not a current Dropbox user and install it on your desktop we earn more storage space.  You can always uninstall it.  There’s a word document in the Dropbox named “FDMA blogging schedule”.   Add the information on the date you plan to post the blog and the other information and SAVE your changes.  Write and post your blog or schedule it to publish on the date you chose.  Promote your blog on the social media platforms you frequent.  If you Tweet about it please include @FoodDayMA in the Tweet to notify us to call out the birds!  Post it on facebook, pin it on your Pinterest account, etc.  We’re here to help you with anything you need.  If you’re not comfortable with WordPress and can at least provide text and images we can tee it up for you.  Tim Stansky
  9. Use your Dropbox account to build and store your Press/Media Contact list, Media Advisories and Press Releases.  Sending your releases from the gmail account you created allows you to manage your efforts.
  10. Now you have become your organization’s “Tom Sawyer” and it’s time to recruit guest bloggers, showing them how easy it is to be part of your bigger effort and that many hands make for light work.
  11. We’re still tallying the collective tide of exposure that we created through the blogging site and social media.  It’s clear that the WordPress site was a powerful anchor point.
  12. Our highest traffic day for the site was the day The Boston Globe wrote about Food Day.

We had a fantastic team and props to everyone involved.

Good luck and pay it forward.


Crowdfunding Rewards – focus on perks, not equity – for now.

The Entretech Forum hosted an event at the Foley Hoag Emerging Enterprise Center filled with curious people looking to make sense of what this crowdfunding thing is, the JOBS Act, and current conversations about tax, equity, SEC, and other concerns.  David R. Pierson, Chair of Foley Hoag’s Venture Capital/Emerging Companies Practice Group moderated a panel that included Jack Richard, Constituent Services Counsel for US Senator Scott Brown, Jack Kelly, CEO of Adva Mobile, Jed Cohen, Co-Founder and COO of RocketHub, Joseph Schlesinger, Founder of ArcBotics, and Mike Norman, Cofounder and President of Wefunder.

The presentations painted a big picture of two forms of crowdfunding distinguished by backers’ motivation to open their wallet.  One is a group of donors driven by PASSION to contribute for the success of a project rewarded by some form of a perk.  The other is a group of donors to contribute for some form of EQUITY.

Since the equity, SEC regulations, tax conversations and many other financial factors are yet to be finalized, there is no clarity yet on the crowdfunding for equity model.

In the meantime millions are being raised through the rewards/perks for donation model.  This model offers the most to learn in the short term on how a project can launch successfully.  People are making donations in return for a range of perks at staggered levels because they believe in the idea and are satisfied with whatever item or “experience” they receive in consideration.

Jed Cohen of pointed out that the arts have been early adopters of crowdfunding because of its resemblance to the arts’ familiar and historical reliance on patrons to fund works in return for access and enjoyment.  Crowdfunding rewards, simplified, are another way to pass the digital hat to get a donation and that digital hat has the potential to go viral through social media and take on a life of its own.

Going live on a crowdfunding platform starts with an accepted/declined application process.  The real hard work is in the preparation to seed believers, fans and supporters so they are ready to donate to a project online when it launches to create a fast, high-trajectory acceleration of donations to gain momentum, social media, buzz and sharing.  This acceleration creates a good environment for donor nurturing, and turns them into evangelists on Twitter, facebook, blogs and conversations.  It also builds name recognition, a cheer-for-the-home-team factor and enthusiasm that can morph into a talent recruiting tool and a base of customers to upsell or inspire product development.  Joe Schelsinger shared a customer inquiry “does this thing come in a bluetooth option?”.  His team’s concierge spirit quickly produced a bluetoothed product and it eventually became a top-seller.

Jed also offered three pillars that should be demonstrated in the application process to RocketHub to improve the likelihood of being approved:

The Project: Tell them how great the project is and how great the team is.

The Network: Demonstrate its width – how many people have you gotten excited and ready to donate when you go live? – and its depth – how connected are they?  Do you know them well enough to count on them to help your trajectory?

The Rewards: Have exciting rewards that reflect the spirit of the project, sell the story, have milestones for even bigger rewards, and make the donation/perk exchange exciting and fun.

Admittedly, I tweeted the word “buzzkill” from the event when David Pierson took his turn as the final panelist to a room lathered up with stories of six figure and million-plus crowdfunded projects and a grassroots pledges of $14 million dollars to invest.  David’s words reinforced the need for lengthy consideration of consequences on many levels after (and when) the rules and regulations are spelled out.

My takeaway from this event:  The rewards model is an exciting low-donation for a perk that’s available to all of us today.  It allows us to be part of the magical experience of seeing an idea turn into a reality and watching the trajectory hit the mark like a Boston sports team coming back and beating the arch rival.

Hexy the Hexapod – by ArcBotics

Joe Schlesinger had the best line of the night “This stuff is still being invented in your neighbor’s garage…  now you have access to it.”   

I also want to take this opportunity to put Mass Innovation Nights’ upcoming two-part “Crowdfunding Innovation” events on your radar.  Mark your calendar for Wednesday September 19th and Wednesday January 23rd at the Microsoft NERD Center.   Please follow @MassInno on Twitter, details will also be available in mid-July at


Yelp Town Hall and How One Star Increase = 5% to 9% Increase in Revenue

I attended Yelp Boston Town Hall, billed as a forum for the fourth in a series of cities hosted by Yelp offering businesses best practices in how to engage online critics and exchange ideas with other local businesses trying to harness the best in Yelp.  Yelp Boston Community Manager, Damien Smith quarterbacked a panel conversation with two avid local Yelpers, Darnell Holloway, Yelp’s Manager of Local Business Outreach, and two local businesses who are faring quite well with Yelp – Renee Eliah of Saus, a Belgian waffle and pommes frites place near Government Center and Brian Poe, chef of Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake and Beacon Hill newcomer Tip Tap Room.  And though the event was held in a restaurant with two restaurants as the businesses on the panel the folks from Yelp noted that restaurants account for only 23% of the reviews on Yelp.  Note to anyone holding a social media event in a downstairs section of a venue – make sure there’s working wifi to use an event hashtag such as #yelptownhall on social media or to check in on Yelp.  Does that belong in a Yelp review of hosting an event at the Back Bay Social Club?…

Renee shared anecdotes that Yelp worked as a marketing tool for Saus to channel pre-opening anticipation of pommes frites-philes and curiosity to build buzz when the doors finally opened.  Renee also believes that the majority of their business in the beginning was attributable to Yelp and that helped keep the business going.  Yelpers actually came to Saus’ defense from online harsh reviews of growing pains common to lots of new restaurants.

Brian talked about a real-time turnaround when a guest shared the status of a bad experience on social media while it was happening and from afar he and his team were able to figure out who the patron was and made things right for that patron before he left the restaurant.

The Yelping Yentas had earnest intentions in offering frank reviews to business but it’s hard not to feel for the business owner who spoke from the crowd equating bad reviews as graffiti on one’s home or the tattoo studio entrepreneur contending that competitors might be the source of staged reviews or inflating their own reviews manufactured by friends and family.

The event did not offer a magic elixir to remove the digital stains of bad reviews on Yelp, but it did offer some key takeaways:

  • Bad reviews are nothing new.  Attention and resolution of reasonable customer complaints can turn things around.
  • Consistently good customer service and attention will pay off in the long-term.
  • Yelp reviews can be considered focus groups for feedback on your products and services.
  • Higher ratings and great reviews grow organically.  Pushing non-Yelping customers to write a review leads to less-than-raving reviews and fewer stars because people feel obliged and may not even be familiar in how to write a great review in Yelp-ese.

    Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of
    Michael Luca, HBS
    Working Paper

The most delicious part of the night was a serendipitous conversation with Chantelle Karl, Yelp Senior Public Relations Manager when I asked about how much, in dollars, a good Yelp rating is worth when Michael Luca just happened to join us.

Michael is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School and author of  “Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of”.  Mike studied the impact of Yelp reviews on Seattle area restaurants through Washington State Department of Revenue data.  His Working Paper demonstrates that a one star Yelp rating increase can lead to a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue.  Pretty cool to meet someone who can put it into dollars and sense.

Yelp did a good job taking their own advice listening to business owners’ side of their model for feedback.  And for those business owners who obsess over tough criticism, there are many bigger priorities in running a business and plenty of customer marketing options if Yelp is not one’s choice.


#entrepreneurs … no, make that #womentrepreneurs

In the short time I’ve been working at Exhale Lifestyle Magazine for Women I’ve encountered some very impressive groups that foster female leadership in organizations and strive to pave inroads for girls and young women across a number of industries.  Among my favorites so far are The Commonwealth Institute, WEST – Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology, The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, and Mass Innovation Nights.

Yes, Mass Innovation Nights is a woman-led entity and I’m writing this to give Bobbie Carlton her props for building this monthly gathering where products launch to market.  @BobbieCThe companies involved have ranged from major corporations to kitchen-table startups.  Bobbie is a community builder for innovators to connect and promote each other through the power of social media in the stone soup theory of creating a delicious meal with a place for everyone at the table.  For a woman who has built a career in public relations she’s modest about what she does for others.  That’s why I want to give Bobbie her props for being named one of Mass High Tech’s All-Stars of 2011.

If you’ve attended a Mass Innovation Night or launched a product at one of the 30+ Monthly Launch parties here’s your opportunity to give her a shout:


Twitter #Hacked, now QR codes…

Do bad things truly happen in 3’s?  It IS October.  My Twitter account was hacked and I since learned that my fascinating friend the QR code is the next victim.  Maybe it was the foreboding question someone at Mass Innovation Nights #MIN31 (note the number) asked me about the QRCTT project I’ve been shepherding.  “I just got this new smartphone, I want to try this QR scan and Tweet for one of the Innovators.  Are these things safe?….”  Fortunately the wiseguy in me replied “well in tech most anything is possible, so I can’t vouch for that…”.  I’d like to point you to John Paul Titlow’s recent post on ReadWriteWeb.

Mobile Marketer does a good job embedding a Final Take video in articles.  Here’s Chantal Tode’s Final Take on yesterday’s article “Malicious QR code campaigns threaten legitimate marketers”:

I’ll share more as Dag, Bobbie, Jim, Nirmal and I circle back on the QR codes and analytics from the next Mass Innovation Night #MIN32 on November 9th at the Mass Challenge incubator in Boston’s Innovation District.

And the third bad thing happened, not horrible, but it’s over.


My Twitter account was hacked. Here’s what I did.

I’m giving a shout out to Bobbie Carlton for her message sent just after 4am last week suggesting that my account might have been hacked.  I thought I was the early, bright and shiny one at 5am reading email, news and trades.  But she was up and at it before heading to the gym.  I did not know about the secure settings option.

Your friends will tell you in very creative ways that your account might have been hacked.  Some of your Followers will think you’ve lost it. Try these easy steps.  Go to your Settings.!/timstanskyOn the Account tab, scroll down to HTTPS Only, check the box “Always Use HTTPS” and Save changes.!/timstansky

Share this with your followers.  They might eventually need it.

Now I have to ask this question to those of you who have been hacked…..  what’s the funniest thing that came back to you when your followers told you that you might have been hacked?  Please share.


QR Codes for events

Mass Innovation Nights is a monthly Launch gathering where ten new products display to a couple hundred people at various locations around Boston.  The locations rotate including the IBM Innovation Center in Waltham, Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge and last month at SCVNGR‘s headquarters during Boston’s FutureM.

These Launch gatherings are the culmination of a common ballot on which companies, friends, family, fans and customers vote over four weeks for the participating Launch Innovators to win one of four 5 minute presentation slots to the crowd.  There’s a lot of collective social media in the form of Tweets, blogs, emails, newsletters, video and posts in the voting process leading up to the event and a big blast of it on-site.

In early 2011 I cobbled together two products to create a unique QR code for each participating Innovator to have at their display.  The scanned QR code launched unique pre-loaded Tweet with a shout out for that Innovator.  We named it a QR Click To Tweet, QRCTT.  When you do this at your event remind your guests to sign into Twitter on their smartphones before they QRCTT. 

After a couple of beta tests at Launch gatherings I enlisted the help of Nirmal Parikh of Digital Wavefront, Dag Holmboe of Klurig Analytics, Jim Henderson of VizConnect and Bobbie Carlton of Mass Innovation Nights.  In one short conference call we figured a simple refinement of my cobbled project to generate QR codes to produce better analytics.  Few of us knew that was possible.  Props to Nirmal!

Click here to view slides.

The use of QR codes will allow us to analyze the Tweets, measure collective social media and give us a baseline to figure out how else we can optimize social media exposure for all the participating Innovators who launch products at Mass Innovation Nights.

Here are the steps to create your own QRCTT, a one click Tweet through a QR code scan that allows for analytics.

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