Blogger Profiles


Building Relationships on Twitter with Stacy Garcia

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People who think Twitter is nothing more than giant time suck probably don’t know about Twitter chats.

Stacy Garcia, on the other hand, knows that using Twitter chats is a good way to build community and awareness.

Stacy has been hosting KBTribeChat on Twitter since April 2011, bringing together designers, architects, brands and media people for a fast-paced one-hour online chat every Wed. at 2 pm ET/11 am PT.

Although a sales rep recently called her a “pioneer in social media,” the Garcia Cabinetmakers co-owner said she spent nearly a year on Twitter just meeting new people and learning the ropes. “I liked it a lot, so I just kept wondering, ‘How do I make this useful?’”

She was inspired to start the chat after former Hafele social media manager Rob Ainbinder suggested it and told her she should “just do it!”

“At first, it was crickets,” Garcia laughed. “It took a lot of time to get going. The only ones talking were the companies: Hafele, Formica and some of the appliance people.”

Stacy and Michael Garcia of Garcia Cabinetmakers, Huntington Beach, CA. Stacy runs KBTribeChat on Twitter. Michael says he isn’t sure about social media, but after 33 years of marriage, he’ll admit he’s been wrong before.

More recently, KBTribeChat has averaged 35 to 40 participants per week on topics such as The Vision House at Epcot, Lighting Styles and Strategies for Kitchens & Baths, Kitchen Islands, and my own turn at hosting on Steamy Shower Thoughts last week, sponsored by Mr. Steam.

A Return on Relationships AND A Return on Investment

Garcia says of social media, “Sure, it’s mostly about relationships. But you have to think about the bottom line. I think we’re all there to sell something. You put your personality out there and you hope there would be some sales.”

So has Garcia Cabinetmakers landed business from social media?

“Yes, today!” Garcia replied. A custom cabinet contract signed, sealed and delivered from someone who found the Huntington Beach, CA, firm from Stacy’s online activities, which include:

Garcia Cabinetmakers website with a photo gallery of their custom cabinetry craftsmanship.
Garcia Cabinetmakers on Twitter
Stacy_Garcia on Twitter
• The Garcia Cabinetmakers Facebook page
• The KBTribeChat blog
• The KBTribeChat Facebook page

Garcia’s husband and business partner Michael admits he isn’t quite so sure about the whole social media thing.

“To me, business is one-to-one. It’s a handshake. This is…well, I don’t know,” he said, shaking his head.

“But isn’t social media like a digital handshake?” I asked “A one-to-many way to network efficiently?

“Besides,” I added. “Your wife just said you got business from it.”

“OK, so I’m wrong! I’ve been married for 33 years. It’s happened before,” Michael said.

The March 21, 2011, kbtribechat will be hosted by blogger, builder and social media specialist Todd Vendituoli talking about Blogging for Business. Not sure where to start? Learn how to join a Twitter chat on Stacy’s blog.

Blogger Profiles | Social Media Insights | The OR-DP POV


Social Media for Brands and Builders Todd Vendituoli

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Todd VendituoliBuilder and blogger Todd Vendituoli notes that first dates can be hard. Especially between bloggers and brands.

The owner of both Todd Vendituoli Construction L.L.C. based out of West Burke, VT and KV Construction Company Ltd, based out of Eleuthera, Bahamas, has taken a deep dive into social media, blogging for his own company at The Building Blox, and helping builders learn social media through the new blog:  SocialMedia4Builders.

“I’ve heard of some friction between brands and bloggers, and this really should not be the case,” Vendituoli told us. “The reason, it seems, is that some brands want to control the message put out by bloggers and this isn’t how social media works at its best.

Vendituoli notes that a true return on relationships between brands and bloggers works much like any good dialogue.  “The relationship should be a give and take,” he says, and one of mutual benefit. Before the “first date” between bloggers and brands, Vendituoli said brands need to plan for a mutually beneficial relationship. “Remember, if you have a great product or service, it will come out as such, but not by blasting it.”

The Mating Game Between Bloggers and Brands

How does that first date get started and progress beyond the awkward first hello so that everyone is still smiling? Vendituoli’s tips for brands:

1. Send out a promotional kit or letter showing what you have to offer.  What are the benefits of your product or service?

2. Offer to send product samples that can be seen and touched, if that’s applicable.

3. Even better, arrange a factory tour.

4. Set up a meeting or call via Skype to discuss what you are hoping to accomplish.

5. Enable interviews with customers and employees that will offer another glimpse of how you operate towards others.

What criteria does Vendituoli use in deciding what brand information to report on his blogs and through his social network?

1. Is it going to be interesting to my readers? What does the brand offer? How does the brand treat its community and employees? What products/initiatives does the brand have in the pipeline?

2. Will it be informative?

3. Is there potential for a conversation to develop around the topic?

4. Would I want to read this topic?

“Readers want good, clean informative topics that aren’t biased,” Vendituoli says.

“Brands have unique products or services that could be highlighted by bloggers for their mutual benefit. Now I said could because if your brand is 100 percent what you say it is, it will be a wonderful relationship. However if it isn’t, there is a problem right off. I can’t and won’t tell people what I don’t honestly know and believe to be truthful about a brand, product or service. Just not happening, so don’t even ask. No spin.”

Is There a Cost?

At a minimum, brands need to invest time in building a relationship with Vendituoli.  Blasting out useless news has been the bane of journalists since the craft of public relations has existed. Bloggers feel no differently. Get to know them. Read and subscribe to their blog, and react to their posts. Follow them on social media and have discussions.  Focus more on what the blogger—or journalist wants—rather than on what you want in return (That’s relationships 101, right?).

There is a time investment on the blogger’s side to build their social community. Vendituoli is an active engager on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.  “Bloggers’ spend a great amount of time developing content, connecting with contacts and resources, and promoting their work across the various social media platforms to make sure content is read,” Venditouli said. “That has a monetary value in my opinion.”

No publisher or producer would say otherwise. No brand could either, having financially supported content-based communities for years with a tactic called advertising.  This is simply a new model of reaching an audience, but even better in some ways. Bloggers such as Venditouli are forming tight new communities where personal recommendations offer highly sought after credibility and endorsement.

Follow Venditouli on any of these platforms:

On Twitter @TALV58

On Facebook at Todd Vendituoli Construction L.L.C.

On Google+

On his blogs, The Building Blox and SocialMedia4Builders.

Blogger Profiles | Social Media Insights | The OR-DP POV


Blogger Profile: Patty Woodland, Goat Publicist

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Goat publicist Patty Woodland blogs at Broken Teepee and The Maaaaa of Pricilla.

When Jersey girl Patty Woodland left the hustle and bustle of city life and moved out to the open country of Montana, she never expected to become a farmer, much less a goat publicist.  But the change of pace and scenery were both a welcome sight to Woodland and her husband after years of hard work building his law practice in NJ.

As a blogger, Woodland spends hours each day writing about farm life from her perspective on her Broken Teepee blog and from the perspective of her goat Pricilla on The Maaaaa of Pricilla. Yes, you read it correctly: a GOAT.

For this goat farmer, there’s no more honking cars, just the maaaaas of the goats she milks to make her Happy Goats Soap sold through Etsy. With the help of spokesgoat Pricilla’s witty blog, Woodland is able drive interest for her specialty craft product and, therefore, sales of the soap.

Pricilla the Goat on the farm in Maaaaa-ntana

Woodland, a.k.a. “the publicist” as Pricilla the goat calls her, finds one of the strongest traffic generators-and hence sales-is commenting on other blogs. She states that it’s a two-way road in the blogging world and bloggers must be active with their own blogs, as well as others. Helping the matter, her avatar is the face of one of her goats, which is sure to raise curious eyebrows as it stands next to human faces in comment sections.

The same approach is taken with Woodland’s personal blog, Broken Teepee, which is described as a collection of “product reviews, giveaways and life on the farm.” Through her interesting content and interaction on other blogs, Woodland’s Broken Teepee blog typically generates 9,000 page views per month from approximately 4,000 unique visitors.

How to Pitch Brands

Woodland frequently sends letters to brands, requesting to test new products that she needs for her home and farm.  She promises to write honest reviews on everything from books to new toilets or faucets that she offers to install in her energy-efficient yurt. When applicable, she even goes the extra step and snaps pictures of the product in use, as she did in this review for our American Standard client.

In Woodland’s eyes, she is no expert of book or product reviews, however, her remote location means that the majority of her shopping is done online.  Which combined with her influence among loyal readers, makes her fairly valuable to brands.

The days of living in the city are no longer a desire for Woodland.  Green Acres is the place for her and the goats. And for brands who want to reach the best personal blogs.

Blogger Profiles | Social Media Insights | The OR-DP POV