Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bowling for Sisters!

Inevitably, brothers (possibly just boys) will try to "bulldog" anyone they can, while sledding.  I watched my 11 yr old son, reach out and grasp at others as he whizzed by them down the hill today.  I wasn't sure if he was just trying to knock them down or trying to pull them on to the sled with him.  I watched his buddies leap from their sled on to another sled as they caught up to it.  It's in their genes I suppose. 

Fortunately, the gaggle of 7 and 8 yr old sisters and their friends liked the attention and there was no whining.  Cheers to 8" of snow and a friendly afternoon of bowling for sisters!

On a side note, the round radial disc flyer stills seems to out perform the latest and greatest sleds.  Go figure.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Wonder What They Had This Year

I just had Christmas Eve dinner.  I thoroughly enjoyed delicious ham, hot cheesey potatoes, green beans with bacon...  you know, the works!  Of course, lots of discussions, loud laughs and some serious and not so serious looks over to the kiddie table where they were kind of minding their manners.  My 80 year old father, Bob Faulkner, left the table saying "speaking of dinner..."  and came back with something rather interesting. 

He had with him, the Thanksgiving Day menu for the troops, while he was serving in the Korean War, November 27, 1952.   What was served at Thanksgiving was also served for Christmas dinner.  After a brief funny story about my father getting ill on 10 year old military apricots in a rations box, burning down his pup tent and spending 3 weeks in the military hospital with pneumonia, on Thanksgiving... we all took a look at the documents.  It was comforting to see the intentional effort made at keeping the meals as down home All American as possible.   I think you'll agree, it's a good looking menu.  Keep in mind, they made this traditional American feast, while based in Korea.

Here are the cooks and Mess Steward for the dinner...

I can't help but wonder what they are having for Christmas this year.  Merry Christmas to our Troops and of course, to you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

What do you do, when one of your clients has a direct competitor moving in within a stone's throw of your client's front door?  
You welcome them to the 'hood, dagnabit! 
Cheers to Johnny's Tavern in Prairie Village, KS  for making the nice folks of BrgrKitchen feel welcome.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Not Just a Watch

I saw this on Twitter today... and you know how I like me a little Steampunk.

@readheadgirl RT: @Canageek: RT @vonslatt: Steampunk has appeal because it taps our desire to return to a time when we knew what our future would be like.

image credits by Boing boing

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Favorite Twitter Tool Right Now!

Can I just tell you how much I am loving Twitter Analyzer.  If you have any kind of brand your trying to raise awareness about... your in-home business, in a small or large company, non profit, an event, a school...  and you're looking for some way to measure your tweets on Twitter... this is it.  The best part is, it's FREE

To start with, it will graph out for you, your tweet frequency on any given day you've had your Twitter account.  It will tell you what the reach was and how many unique visitors went to your Twitter page on that given day too.   I gasped the first time I saw that.  Plus...  it will tell you what your most frequent words have been used when tweeting on your account, as well as any applications you've included, like,, the web.

Now get this...  it can also tell you, of your on-line followers, WHEN they are logged in!  I know!  Every 15 minutes a graph chart refreshes itself, so you can see how many of your followers are on Twitter.. are they abundant enough at a certain time to post something important... or not so important?  AND... it will tell you what days of the week your followers are most active.  I almost cried when I saw this.  What a crucial piece of information for your marketing strategy. In my case, my followers are mostly online Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (in that order) and they are logged in most frequently between 8:30AM  - 1:30PM.   The slowest day for my followers (keep in mind, this is for one of my clients I'm looking at the analyzer right now) are Sundays with Saturdays coming in second.  

Twitter Analyzer will also pie chart out the friends who are mentioning YOU the most in their tweets and in their chats with others!   There's also a representation of occupations and job titles of your followers on a graph. How about a pie chart breaking down the gender of your followers?  Yep, that's there too!  And yes, you can probably hear me squealing with delight from where you are... typing fast and furious...  I've hopped up out of my chair, arms raised in a V!

Why is that important, besides making sure you're making progress for your time and efforts on Twitter? If you're ghost tweeting for other businesses, (like myself) it gives you measurability. It shows what you are talking about, how often and exactly how engaged you are with your followers.  It's the same as if you're tweeting for yourself.  Brilliant.

Please take a peek at this wonderful tool, while it's still free.  I fear some day, this information train of wonderful free online tools is going to come to a screeching halt.  Use it while you can.  Or... pay an ad or marketing agency to give you the same information.  

Better yet, I'll walk you through it.  Let me know how I can help.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Lot Like Hoarding Minus the Flat Dead Cats

I went to The River Market Antique Mall around 5th and Delaware in Kansas City, MO ... again. 

Gads, how I love that place.  It's full of the best crap ever!  If you're a "treasure" hunter like me, you'll know I mean "crap" in the best possible way.  4 Floors packed top to bottom with furniture, Mad Men clothing, 70's decor', an antique snow rescue sled, chandeliers, jars of buttons or marbles, deer heads, a wagon wheel, concrete statuary, metal marquee letters, an ER gurney, old typewriters and as my 11 yr old son pointed out... lots of Coke products.  The entire basement floor is BOOKS!  It seems the big furniture is on the 3rd floor, so heads up. 

Before we go any further, how does this correlate with social media?  I think everyone of these dealers should have a website or a blog.  They should also be on Twitter, tweeting about the new treasures they just found and even post a revealing the enticing little gem.   They could ask followers what they are looking for currently or down the road. Engage in getting to know their fan base.  A fan page on Facebook would be just as easy too letting fans know where they will be doing shows and to display video of their treasure hunts.  Sadly the link on the home page for antique mall has a broken link to submit your email for email updates.  So click HERE to send them an email i fyou want IN on the cool promotions they are having.

Here are a few things I found interesting on this particular treasure hunt...

The dealer, Donnie Volkart (like folk art! LOL!) was very conscious of how he placed these Four Seasons statues. Winter is of course up front and center. Spring and Fall behind Winter and close by.  Summer is off in the distance.  I really appreciate the thought he put behind merchandising it.

Who doesn't love big wooden columns and the blue table with all the white stoneware...

I'm a sucker for apothecary jars. These look filled with residue of something... hmmm?

A deer head as promised.  One of 5 we saw and great pricing!

Donnie Volkart found this historical finial (very heavy) from a steamboat that had it's final dock in St. Louis.  Cool!  And there's TWO!

I love the old fan and the floor lamp in the back, but the hospital gurney as the base of the table is my favorite!

What can I say?  Pee Wee.  On a parachute. Wha?

Trees made of bejeweled pins, pearl earrings, necklaces, etc...  were popular.

The dealer said it's a reindeer... I'm thinking llama.  Cute riding toy though.

A very cool Masonic robe.  Wear it to receive the secret handshake.

need an ornament or what?!

This is a huge wooden work bench recovered from the Kansas City, MO Fired Department!  How strange but how cool. It felt, looked and smelled like it weighed as much as a house!

I have a thousand more images, but you probably haven't even looked this far down.  lol... but if you have and you go to River Market Antiques, let me know what awesome crap you find!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

1 Potato 2 Potato...

Today Advertising Age announced it's Top Power 150 Marketing Blogs in the World.  Wow...  that's quite a feat!  Congrats to all who made the list. As I was perusing the AdAge link... I took note of the blogs I am already subscribing to and where they ranked.   I glanced over the names of the other blogs and several titles caught my eye.  Then I scrolled to the bottom of the page I was reading to see it was only the top 50 on this page.  2 More pages of blogs!!!   I think I literally rubbed my temples trying to absorb the idea of checking out these other blogs in a timely fashion.  But how?  I hardly have enough to time to read the blogs I'm currently getting!  How do we find a blog that appeals to us?

The blogs I currently follow, I loooooove. A few interior design one's, a steampunk one, a local foodie, someone who interviews bands, and a boat load of social media and marketing blogs.  How did I find them?  A few ways.  I found some through social media channels and social network sites.  Several blogs started with me following the blogger on Twitter. They tweeted enough good stuff that people were passing around their messages as Re-Tweets to their followers.  Eventually I had some come my way, and that's where I connected with a few.  May I also say, these power bloggers I follow will engage in conversation with me nearly 100% of the time.  I really, and I mean REALLY, appreciate that about them.  "If someone loves what they do, they will reach out to you." (@CoolCatTeacher said that) and I find this is very true in social media.

Ask like minded friends, co-workers, your book club, fantasy football league and family what blogs they read... or join another social network(s) with the intent to meet more like minded folks.  Post on your status update what kind of blog you're looking for and let the suggestions roll in.  Quickly you'll find what the current buzz is about and where the information came from.  Twitter allows you to search key words to see what is being talked about regarding that subject and that's a very handy tool, especially if you're trying to read the sentiment on something particular.  Reputable influencers have their messages repeated like dominoes.

Finally, each blog I subscribe to has a list of other blogs (names and links) on their page that the blogger also likes!  That's a fantastic way to quickly find other like minded blogs from a blogger you appreciate all ready.

In the mean time, I found some interesting blog titles on the AdAge 150 list and I'm going to check them out, right now ...  #14 AdFreak, #73 If It's Hip, It's Here, #97 Damn I Wish I'd Thought of That!, and finally #133 Make the Logo Bigger. 

Carve an hour in to your day to read up on the blogs with subjects you find interesting.  Some bloggers post daily and some post randomly, so an hour may be too much.  Either way, it'll only do you good.  What's your favorite blog?  Let me know.

Monday, December 7, 2009

They're Watching Them, Watching Me on Twitter

Let's call this an accidental case study, shall we?

So here I am, on a Thursday morning in early Nov, Twittering and briefly chatt'n it up with folks on Twitter when I see one of them RT a message from Ace Hardware.  RT's are re-tweets, meaning they posted up again a comment they saw and it goes out to their own follwers list... great for word of mouth advertising. Ace Hardward's Twitter address is @AceHardware.  Personally, I love hardware stores. The HUGE one's and especially the mom and pop one's.  You never know what you'll find and probably don't need. 

The message read as such:  @AceHardware "25% OFF sack sale this Saturday at participating stores!" 

So I sent Ace this @AlexisCeule "@AceHardware    Sounds great!  How do I know which stores are participating?"  and honestly I wasn't really sure which stores near me were Ace Hardware's.

5 Minutes later, at 8:46AM, @AceHarware replies, "@AlexisCeule Thanks for reaching out!  Our Westlake and Ranchmart stores are participating in your area. Do these work for you?"
Wha?  Awesome!!!!  In that short time they figured out from my rather vague profile that I'm  near Corinth's Westlake Hardware and the one at Ranchmart about 3 miles away!  Brilliant and I greatly appreciate the personal touch and quick response.  That alone earns them my business.

A few minutes later, I send "@AceHardware   Fantastic!  Thank you for the speedy response too. I hope to get to one of them on Saturday."

I get another response from @AceHardware that says "@AlexisCeule sure thing! Glad we could help.  Let us know what you stuff your bag with."

A short time later, I get this tweet from @NutsandBoltsTV which has a store half a  mile from me.  "@AlexisCeule At Nuts and Bolts True Value, 95th n Nall,  this Satruday, you can get 20% off your ENTIRE purchase, you don't even need a bag."

Whoa!!!!!!!  Hold on!  I was literally giddy to have Ace and True Value duke'n it out for my business for a short little blip in time.  A cage match for the mom in Overland Park, Kansas!   Awesome!   And clearly, they are watching eachother and who they are talking to, because they have the same demographics for the most part.   I love that they made the effort to connect with me, because both of them did.   Of course I in turn RT'd @Nutsand Bolts offer because it was good too and my local KC followers would appreciate knowing that information.  

See...?  Do you get it, those of you with a business?  This is doing business on Twitter.  This is marketing, branding , promotions, public relations, customer services... all on Twitter.   Over the course of the month, I have told dozens of people this story. I was actually impressed.

@AceHardware  as of today has 1,867 followers and this location is out of Illinois.  I don't know if this is their HQ, but they are proudly helping out all Ace Hardware stores nationwide!  They are engaging with customers on most tweets and posting specials frequently.  They are moving forward nicely!

@NutsandBoltsTV is up to 85 followers for this particular store down the street from me. Sadly, they haven't tweeted since Nov. 25th.  WHY?   If you go to that Twitter page I am apparently the only person they engaged in conversation with from Aug. 21st to Nov. 25th.  The other tweets were very informative and biz like, but you can't just keep posting info on a wall to no one.  I told one client recently "It's like posting a party invite down a hall where no one goes".  You have to meet people!  What ever possessed the person tweeting for them that day to engage with me is exactly what they need to be doing EVERY day.  They can just as easily find other Kansas City based businesses looking for the same demographics and follow their followers and engage with them.   To me... this is a BLAST!  This is FUN!  This is SELLING DAGNABIT! (shaking my fist in the air!)  and it's easier than EVER!

What do you think about all this?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Researching My First Flat Screen

I wasn't about to read through Consumer Reports or any other techie type of publication to find out what's the most popular flat screen TV.  I simply asked YOU.   One day last week, pre-Thanksgiving hubub, I posted on my Twitter and Facebook pages "I'm looking to purchase my first 40" to 42"  LCD flat screen TV.  Suggestions?  Where?" 

Here's the response in a nutshell:

There were also unsolicited suggestions about warranty and service, which I gratefully took note of.  Surprisingly, Walmart and Target were suggested frequently.  In my vast (not so much) experience in purchasing electronics, those are two places I normally wouldn't have thought of.  However, Best Buy and Nebraska Furniture Mart are... and yet NO ONE suggested those.   Interesting eh?

Ultimately we purchased a 42" LCD flat screen TV from Costco.  WOOT!  While we were playing Ratchet & Clank on our PS3, my husband Matt looked at me and said "What were we waiting for?"   LOL!    We love it.