Born and Brewed in Las Vegas

The Pacific Northwest, known for delighting locals and visitors alike with its endless outdoor activities, foodie culture and temperate climate, has something for everyone. It’s why there’s never a shortage of transplants moving here. For some, including myself, the availability of so many different craft beers and independent breweries tops the list of biggest draws of the PNW. Unfortunately for beer lovers in Las Vegas, instead of craft breweries surrounded by mountains and alpine lakes, it’s usually grabbing a light (or lite) beer to combat the brutal desert heat while watching the creation or demolition of yet another casino.

Enter Bad Beat Brewing, savior to the taste buds of Las Vegas beer geeks.

No, Bad Beat Brewing can’t build mountains covered in alpine trees and lakes or reverse global warming. But, this local brewery is bringing the spirit of the Pacific Northwest to the great state of Nevada by brewing up some great craft beer. Founded in 2014, they have already tripled their initial cellar capacity of 40 beer barrels and now stand at 130 beer barrels. Even with noticeable success over their first four years in business, continued growth still requires focusing on increasing brand recognition, growing their market share and developing a large loyal customer base. How, you ask? Well how does anyone grow their business in the age of the Internet – social media.

Marketing via social media is the easy and relatively cheap way to reach a wide variety of people across a large spectrum.  With just a few posts on different free platforms (you know, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.), the marketing pretty much handles itself. For example, these days you can post on Facebook and have it seen by a college student and an older uncle, both of whom may “like” or “comment” on the post, which will show in their friends’ newsfeed. Maybe they like it so much, they share it themselves. All of the sudden, friends of friends of friends, casual beer drinkers and beer geeks alike, are all looking at a new great beer list at a local company that is a must try.  At the same time, simultaneous posts can be made on Snapchat, Facebook Live and/or Instagram Stories building a full story by showing a real-time behind-the-scenes beer-making by the local brewery.  Simple enough, right? Close.

For social media marketing to be truly effective at increasing a local company’s brand recognition, growing their market share and developing a large loyal customer base, the posts must capture the company’s passion and individuality. So, what do I, a non-brewer, social craft beer drinker, think could help Bad Beat Brewing up its social media marketing game?  Easy – introduce social media to the head brewer, Weston Barkley (someone you could say I know decently well). He is figuratively, and literally, one of the biggest beer geeks out there. His passion is making delicious, quality beer and helping others understand the ins and outs of what they are guzzling down. Showcasing that passion and nerdiness in social media posts targeted to other beer geeks (and beer lovers who haven’t fully geeked yet) is a real opportunity for marketing success. This could include a behind the scenes look at the beer-making process, from barrel to bottle. Or, following in New Belgium’s 2016 footsteps, Bad Beat Brewing could make a targeted campaign on Snapchat for National Beer Day snaps and get enough clicks to land on the main stories page. Of course, to get the marketing ball rolling, here’s a taste of Bad Beat Brewing doing some good by doing what it does best – brewing great beer.

Take a look at this video clip of Bad Beat Brewing taking heed of Sierra Nevada’s call to join 1,000 breweries across the country and brew Sierra Nevada Resilience IPA, to donate 100% of profits to the communities destroyed by devastating fires in California. Then, plan your next trip to Bad Beat Brewing to grab yourself a is Sierra Nevada Resilience IPA and search for Weston’s better-looking, younger brother.

Breweries teaming up nationwide to help fire victims

NBA’s Social Media Game Is On Point

While social media doesn’t always add value to your brand (especially not if you are “President T”), the NBA has used a variety of social media platforms to bolster their brand and ratings. It is clear when it comes to viewership the NFL is king, but the NBA’s strong social media presence is helping to close that gap. Impressively, they are doing this at a time when the competitive balance throughout the league is nearly non-existent.

The NFL viewership on a week to week basis is comparable to the NBA playoff viewership. Comparing the two isn’t necessarily apples to apples (the NBA’s regular season is about 5 times longer than the NFL’s) but with the NFL regular season competing with the NBA’s playoffs, there is a sizeable gap to close. To close this gap, the NBA started their social media domination.

What strategy is the NBA utilizing that the other leagues can’t seem to figure out or duplicate? How do they get their players to participate across various platforms so consistently? How do they get the players to be themselves? To behave like they are on an unscripted reality tv show?

They did something the NFL would never dream of doing…

 

The NBA trusted their product… They trusted in the players they pay millions…

In 2016, the NFL started putting restrictions on the social media usage of their teams and players. NFL teams weren’t allowed to post videos of themselves. Contrary to the NFL’s strategy, official NBA twitter accounts post live action throughout games and fans love it. Ian Karmel, writer of The Late Late Show with James Cordon, is a huge Blazers fan and loves the personality their Instagram and twitter accounts have created, “They tweet like a fan, they tweet the way I tweet.”

The ability for the NBA teams to connect with their fans on such a personal level makes it so the fans want to constantly check in on the team’s social media. They want to be a part of the team and feel the connection. When it isn’t the teams creating this connection, the players are out and about doing it themselves…. And the league loves it. Joel Embid recently posted a picture of him moving bricks as part of the NBA Africa Game promotion with the caption “Laying out these bricks before the season starts so I don’t miss game tying shots in the playoffs.”

While Embid is known for being a great trash talker towards others, he turns the table on himself here and keeps fans interested even in the offseason. You can’t take for granted the comfort level Embid and other players feel to poke fun at themselves due to the freedom the NBA has given them across their platform of choice.

As the NBA has watched their popularity grow in correlation with their player’s social media presence, they have begun giving fans even more access. Teams have recently began posting videos of their players arriving to the arena before the game. Fans have the opportunity to see the player’s cars, clothes, accessories, and personalities shine as they walk in to get ready for work. We all can relate to picking out clothes, grabbing our favorite accessories, and walking into work. So seeing the players, who we generally only know from being high-flying, giant humans, doing everyday things makes them drastically more relatable.

How is this all working? Last Christmas, even with a plethora of injuries, ratings were up 39% from the prior year according to SBNation. Local ratings were up across the league as a whole even with the same finals match up happening for the fourth year in a row. Only one team out of the 8 biggest markets actually made the playoffs and ratings were still up. This season we are slowly starting to see a healthy competitive balance again, which should indicate another year of ratings growth.

 

If the NBA continues to be the innovator they have proven to be, the NFL’s claim to being “America’s Sport” could be running out of time.

Want more social media don’ts? Follow the NFL or check out this article

Are you a Social Media “Dad”?

Simply Connected: Best Business Apps for Online Business Owners (product review)

Running a business requires a lot of work! As busy entrepreneurs fight to stay on top of the ever-growing pile of responsibilities, the growing sea of business apps may just save the day. Here are our thoughts on top rated apps designed for small businesses:

1. Finance: QuickBooks Accounting
RWALKER rating: 4.7/ 5 ****

While the price tag may be a bit steep, QuickBooks stores, organizes, and analyses your small business’ financial data. As a subset of a large, successful corporation, the perks are undeniable, but some users warn that it may be hard to back up data.

2. Scheduling: OMNIFOCUS
RWALKER rating: 4.1/ 5 ****
“Accomplish more everyday”: OMNIFOCUS developers make a big promise, and seek to keep it by allowing users to track tasks, sort by deadline, review completed tasks and sync between devices. Some users feel uneasy by the tiered levels of membership, but regardless, this app seems to provide a very customized level of support.

3. Communication: Pushover Notifications
RWALKER rating: 4.7/ 5 ****

With so many available outlets for social media marketing, busy managers have a hard time syncing notifications across devices and platforms. Pushover is the umbrella solution: offering a sleek interface, reliable service, and integrative features.

4. Point-of-Sale: SQUARE
RWALKER rating: 3.6/ 5 ***

Used by millions of businesses around the world, SQUARE was the original portable point-of-sale system in the USA. Allowing users to accept credit cards without a full brick-and-mortar store setup, this app caters to those just starting out. Like any electronic interface, glitches can happen, but SQUARE has a strong customer support team standing by.

5. Expense Tracker: Expensify
RWALKER rating: 4.5/ 5 ****

Finally, a platform to help make tracking business reimbursements less stressful! Expensify helps users manage expense reports, track receipts, and document tax compliance by providing an interface to photograph receipts, sort expenditures, and provide quick and easy service. While this app can be a huge time saver, be sure to check company reimbursement policy before signing up!

  1. Human Resources: BambooHR
    RWALKER rating: 3.3/ 5 ***

Bamboo HR is the go-to app for tracking applicants, handle administrative tasks, and manage performance reviews and employee schedules from a mobile device. While some feel the device has limited functions, it does allow fast syncing across apps and easy access to company directories.

  1. Social Media Analytics: Sprout Social
    RWALKER rating: 4.4/ 5 ****

Not sure if your social media strategy is solid? Sprout analytics is here to help. This app helps track customer engagement, identify influencers, and all the data that helps develop marketing strategy across platforms. Great for desktop, but also available for mobile devices without sacrificing any functionality.

  1. Employee Tracking: TSheets Time Track
    RWALKER rating: 4.1/ 5 ****

Tsheets brings clocking in and out to mobile devices. Easy to use, this app allows users to clock in and out, even without cell service. Managers can then adjust times, create schedules, track time off, and so much more!

Interested in books? Check out our reading recommendations for online marketing: http://socialmba.org/2018/11/21/net-smarts-a-summary-on-thriving-online-book-review/

NET SMARTS: A SUMMARY ON THRIVING ONLINE (Book Review)

Net Smart: How to Thrive Online

Howard Rheingold, the man who coined the term “virtual communities”, is well known amongst internet scholars and media gurus. His book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, has been flying off the shelves since its first publication in 2012. But what’s the fuss? Are there really tricks to making a business flourish online? RWALKER finds out!:

Claiming to help anyone seeking to “live mindfully in cyberculture”, this Rheingold demonstrates how to use the social media intelligently, humanely, and mindfully while making the best use of online tools. For small businesses the right moves online can make a world of difference, and Rheingold makes suggestions to help participants seem empowered rather than pushy.

Rheingold outlines 5 fundamental digital literacies and focuses on each in turn:

  • Attention
  • Participation
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Consumption of Information (“fake news repellant”)
  • Network Smarts

Throughout the text, he explains the nuances of human attention, and how it can be used to achieve focus through the incoming tsunami of digital information. He defines the quality of content that powers successful bloggers, tweeters, and social media stars. Lastly, Rheingold disassembles ways in which successful online enterprises contribute to the world in new ways, teaching lessons on networks and network building.

RWALKER Says: 4/5 ****

Net Smart is a great read for anyone looking to venture into the world of social media: individual or business. Rheingold proposes theory and action to take your social media activity from amateur to professional. Finally, a conscious inquiry into the power of the digital world to transform the quality and power of our online message!

Rheingold, Howard. Net smart: how to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012. ix, 322 p. ISBN 978-0-262-01745-9.

Personal Connections in the Digital Age

While Rheingold builds technical understanding, Nancy Baym proposes a more sociologic perspective of the blooming social media landscape. Personal Connections in the Digital Age produces a compelling argument for the integration of digital communication into personal and corporate practices. But how are we moving toward a more connected era? RWALKER intends to see!:

A treasure trove of social media scholarship, Personal Connections in the Digital Age offers a comprehensive account of just how rising technologies affect our ability to attract, captivate, and retain audiences. This engaging introduction to online communication sets a strong foundation for anyone interested in attempting to understand online communities, networks, or personalities.

While this book is intended to help readers navigate media accessibility across broad audiences, Baym divides the book into 6 chapters, each focusing on a specific type of media outreach:

  • New Outlets for Connection
  • The Domestication of Technology
  • Digital Communication Fundamentals
  • Online Communities and Networks
  • Forming Online Identity/Branding
  • Building and Maintaining Online Relationships

This book offers a fresh view of online communications research, defining diverse roadmaps to success in the digital universe. A mixture of communication, media studies, science and technology studies, sociology, and human-computer interaction, Baym illustrates the complexities of online marketing.

RWALKER Says: 3.8/5 ***

Accessibility in an academic text? Oh joy! Baym does a marvelous job of keeping readers engaged while exploring the opportunities for connectedness that digital media allows. She carefully disassembles communication aided by technology in order to assess our increased inability to navigate social interactions. Offering advice to contemporary social media marketers, Personal Connections in the Digital Age takes an optimistic look at the future applications of digital media to engage and retain audiences. A must-read for anyone interested  in business applications of new media.

Baym, N. K. (2010). Personal connections in the digital age. Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA: Polity.

The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business

Last on the list, RWALKER takes on Clayton Christensen’s breakthrough text on the relationships between consumers, businesses, and “disruptive” technologies. As the tension between traditional practices and evolving business practices grows, Christensen warns “ignore disruptive technologies at your peril, they are often the standards of the future”. Here are out thoughts:

Focused on change in a business context, Innovator’s Dilemma explores how consumers react to evolving practices, and what happens if companies fail to adapt. Christensen provides a framework for managers dealing with new technologies and cautions against inflexibility in corporate practices.  Innovator’s Dilemma  presents  a case study of electric car technology to communicate how managers should react to threat and opportunity presented by disruptive technologies. Christensen tackles several huge questions in his text:

  • How can great firms fail?
  • Why innovate?
  • How do you manage disruptive technological change?
  • How do you appraise your organization’s capabilities and disabilities?

This book forces managers into thinking strategically about the company’s needs through their responses to new market standards. Through empirical and case studies, this book suggests incremental improvements to better adapt to changing corporate climates.

RWALKER Says: 4/5 ****

This book is quickly finding itself at the top of every technologist and business manager’s reading list, and with good reason. Not your generic business strategy book, Innovator’s Dilemma, builds a greater understanding of the applications and value of technological innovation in any market, and provides suggestion on how to build change into the corporate culture. Christensen has proven that today’s current standards will continue to fade and  be redeveloped, and that markets can be made for quick adoption of disruptive technologies!

Christensen, C. M. (1997). The innovator’s dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

For our take on the best online apps for small businesses, check out our article here: http://socialmba.org/2018/11/21/simply-connected-best-business-apps-for-online-business-owners-product-review/

Politics at Work: Go from Surviving to Triumphing in These 10 Easy Steps

  1. Stop trying to convert your enemy

If you are currently beating your head against a brick wall. STOP!! You are wasting your time, and more importantly, your energy. Just like dealing with trolls online, you will not convince someone with the better argument when it contradicts their entire world view.

  1. Understand power in your office

Think about the actual unspoken power players in your office. Often times these are not the same people as on the organizational chart but they know who to talk to and how to approach them.

  1. Find allies

Find others who think like you do: who sees the same needs, and believes in similar solutions. These may grow into powerful friendships and are essential for building momentum to move ideas forward. Especially focus on informal power brokers- they can take your campaign to the next level!

  1. Build an army- or a coalition

Marching Civil Rights GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

There is power in numbers. If you can persuade a critical mass of people that your idea has merit and should be tried, it is almost impossible for the corporate political structure to stop you. This both easier and harder than it sounds. Given your unique situation it can be like herding cats- but success here can lead to triumph.

  1. Make a case to power

Oprah Winfrey What I Know For Sure Is That Speaking Your Truth Is The Most Powerful Tool We All Have GIF by Golden Globes - Find & Share on GIPHY

So this is the moment you have been dreaming of in cinematic splendor, where you speak your truth, they hear you, and the world changes. Unfortunately, that moment is a myth for movies and books; don’t get caught up in the fantasy. Rather, think strategically how to get the most bang for your buck. You have been building social capital, and now you get to spend it wisely to build the change you want to see.  Some strategies to consider:

  • Use inception

Light That 70S Show GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Do you want the power players to be truly vested in your plan? Help make them feel like it was their idea. Plant the idea without giving them all the answers. This will create a vested partner in leadership who will share responsibility and credit for the idea.

  • A well thought out plan

Or, present a formal plan that has been thought through, reasoned, and analyzed. While this allows you maintain ownership of the idea which can be an advantage, it also makes you the person to blame if it fails.

  1. Anticipate roadblocks and bumps

Once the power players are on board and have given you permission to try, go for it! But anticipate bumps along the way and plan for them. No matter how wonderful your idea and perfect the strategy, there will be problems. Anticipate them when possible and respond gracefully.

  1. Allow others to own the plan

Remember all those allies you found to launch this brilliant plan? Don’t forget them now!! Allow them to help implement action steps, problem solve barriers, and continue to have ownership of the project. If you want something that can outlive you, it has to involve more than just you. It builds sustainability and keep social capital invested with your team/idea.

  1. Celebrate every success

Celebrate, recognize, and acknowledge every success and effort being made towards your idea or project. We all hate working for jerks who only see the problems and point out every flaw or failure. Don’t be that person. Be better: support and celebrate the amazing team you have built, the program you have launched, and the change you are creating!

  1. Keep working – never give up

Ultimately, navigating  office politics is about building a strong team of allies, having good ideas, and creating value for your organization. If you do it right, you will also build value in your own reputation as a leader who is wise to the ways of office politics. It is a cycle that only leads to greater successes.

  1. Take care of yourself

You can’t do anything well if you are not at 100% and no one can be at 100% without taking time to recharge and renew. This is essential to help you have the emotional restraint, quick wit, and diplomatic understanding that turn office politics from turf wars into collaborative problem solving sessions. Never neglect yourself for the greater good- you are the greatest good you’re ever going to get.

For better self-care, try some of our strategies from: http://socialmba.org/2018/11/13/10-fast-steps-for-self-care-you-can-do-today/

10 Fast Steps for Self-Care to Try Today

How many people do you take care of? Do you worry about your co-workers? Family members? Are you a leader in your family/community/ work place? Do you feel like the weight of the world and the future of your loved ones depends on you every day? There is growing research, and good common sense, that of all the people you take care of on a daily basis- you should be one of them!! Here are some ideas that you can do today to take care of your self, reduce your stress and renew your passions:

  1. Take a Bath

This is not about your personal hygiene! I don’t care if you use bubble bath, a bath bomb, baby oil or just warm water. Just take time to sit, recline rest in warm water. Allow yourself to just be for 10 minutes without checking your email, or going through your to do list.

2. Get in Nature

Go for a walk. Sit in a park. Work in your garden. All of us have seen the viral articles around forest bathing- but even if you are not into mindfulness walks, you can find a new perspective that allows you to release some of the worries and stress that you carry.

3. Create

If you have an adult coloring book tucked in the corner of your book shelf, pull it out and start scribbling away. If you don’t have one pull out whatever art supplies you have (crayons, markers, colored pencils, pastels, watercolors, etc.) and just start something. This does not have to be museum quality of work, but tapping into your innate creative drives will help you find sense of peace and joy that is far too easy to lose in the busy go, go, go of our daily lives.

4. Breathe

Sit in your car before your start it to leave from work today, before picking up the kids, going in the house, and just breathe. Force your attention to your breath for 10-20 breathes. Just notice the rhythm of your breath. Recognize that this minute will not actually cost you that much but taking even this little bit of time to connect with yourself can change your attitude for the rest of the day.

5. Eat lunch.

No seriously- take your lunch break and actually eat. This should not have to even be said but way too many people skip lunch and then wonder why they are stressed.

6. Connect with friend

Call a friend you haven’t talked with lately. Plan a lunch date with a friend from another part of town. Skype with a friend from across the country or world. Write a letter to an old friend you haven’t talked with in a while.

7. Go to bed early

Again this is so basic it should have to be said, but most Americans average just 7 hours of sleep a night and we know that we need 8.5 to 10 hours a night to feel rested. Try to go to bed just 30 minutes earlier or set an alarm to remind you to get ready for bed when you planned. Everything can feel a 1000x better with a good night’s sleep.

8. Identify 5 things you are truly grateful for

Stop and think about those things in your life that truly tug at your heart- whatever they may be. Allow yourself to feel that deep tug of gratitude. Research shows that gratitude can counteract symptoms of anxiety and depression. So just relax and be grateful.

9. Indulge an everyday fantasy

Do you dream of having a cup of coffee in the morning on back deck? Do you long to have a cup of tea with a good book? Do you imagine what it would be like to take a break in the middle of the day and just take a walk? Go do it! Whatever it takes to make it happen, give it a try. It may make a rather gray day better.

10. Solve a problem

If you have an identified source of stress in your life, try to fix the problem. Get your car maintenance checked. Take your dog to the veterinarian. Start eating better.

If you are facing bigger problems consider, trying some of our strategies from: http://socialmba.org/2018/11/13/politics-at-work-go-from-surviving-to-triumphing-in-these-10-easy-steps/