Monday, January 25, 2010

That Didn't Take Long...

A few minutes ago we eclipsed the 2,000 Fan milestone on Facebook. A special thank you to all of our Fans! In the coming weeks and months, we'll be using the Facebook Fan Page to communicate special offers, new features and as always... introduce some of our newest Platinum Members.


In the meantime, feel free to use our Fan Page to promote your business, share ideas and provide us with feedback.


Bill


Network + Market + Learn

A few months ago I wrote about a new project I'm involved with called SOCIAL WEBinars. SOCIAL WEBinars is a group of social media experts (spearheaded by yours truly) whose aim is to provide low-cost, no-nonsense web-based training for professionals interested in learning how to leverage social media for their business. The webinars are priced competiviely at $20 - $40 per person with topics ranging from 'How to Email Market Effectively', to 'Using Social Media to Improve Your SEO', to 'Using Facebook for Business'. The combined nine topics have already attracted nearly 2,500 people to it's first 30 events since August 2009. Not bad...


Today I'm pleased to announce that we're making these webinars even more accessible by offering them for FREE as part of our Platinum Membership within Fast Pitch! What this means is that all of our current and future Platinum Members have the ability to sign-up for every webinar offered by SOCIAL WEBinars for the life of the membership.

Do the math...
  • Sign up for each webinar as a non-Fast Pitch! member = $400. 00
  • Become a Platinum Member and access every webinar = $16.00*

Keep in mind, SOCIAL WEBinars will also continue to add value to the Platinum Membership by adding new, trending topics each month. This ensures our members continue to reap the benefits of the membership and stay current with the latest technology happening in social media. The more educated you are... the more advanced, cool stuff Fast Pitch! can offer.

Platinum Members interested in accessing their free account with SOCIAL WEBinars should visit: http://www.fastpitchnetworking.com/learn_webinars.cfm

I'm excited about bringing this free learning opportunity to Fast Pitch! members. As you know, we position ourselves as a 'one-stop-shop'.

Networking + Marketing + Learning = Fast Pitch!

Good Luck!

Bill

*This also includes all other Platinum Membership features such as: unlimited connections, unlimited use of 3Step Contact email marketing, Post Press, Get Ranked on Google, See Who Visits Your Profile, and more...




Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Can Your Business Come Out And Play?

Today we officially went live with our initial version of location-based networking for businesses using the popular Foursquare API. To my knowledge, Fast Pitch! is the first online business network in the world to integrate a geo-location feature into its platform - allowing professionals the ability to showcase their whereabouts to others within their professional network. Being able to update and display location statuses on the Fast Pitch! profile creates more opportunity for our members to get out from behind their computers and meet-up offline...



As most of you know, I've discussed the idea of location-based networking within a business context as a great way to extend your online network into the 'real' world. However until very recently, the idea of displaying ones location has been limited to early adopters. Many of us still think that the idea of showing our location to the world to be a little 'too' transparent.

However, in recent weeks the geo-location space has really begun to heat up as millions of people have started using GPS technology on their smart phones to reveal to their friends where they are at any moment in time. It's become so popular that Foursquare recently reported that they are now receiving at least one location status update every second. In other words, location has offically become the next extension to Facebook status updates and micro-blogging on Twitter. It truly localizes everything you do.

For now, the Fast Pitch! entrance into this space is fairly simple. For those of you who are already using Foursquare as your location based network, we'll allow you to sync your account to Fast Pitch! - which will reveal your recent 'check-ins' on your profile viewable by members of your professional network. For those of you who are not already Foursquare users, you'll need to create a Foursquare account and download the application to your smart phone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry). All of this takes less than 5 minutes if you know what you're doing.

For many of you, location based networking using your mobile phone will allow you to encourage members of your network to want to meet with you offline when they are nearby. Additionally, by checking into the venues you attend and having them post to your Fast Pitch! profile you'll essentially be making a recommendation about that venue. This is a simple, yet extremely powerful way to create awareness about places you visit and events you attend. In fact, if you're business is a venue, it's imperative that you add your location to Foursquare... now!

For those of you who do not already have a Foursquare account (which is probably most at this point), Setting up an account is simple. After syncing the two accounts, all of your future 'check-ins' will be automatically submitted from Foursquare to your Fast Pitch! profile. In other words, "Set it and forget it!"

For those of you not quite ready to dive into this new technology... it's understandable. But, keep an eye on what we're doing... and be careful not get too far behind the curve. We will undoubedtly continue to add new functionality around this exciting feature in the coming months as more Fast Pitch! members continue to sync up their accounts. As more and more of our members begin using this feature, our ability to create some powerful mash-ups using Fast Pitch! data will bring an entirely new dimension to your networking experience.

Lastly, don't let the 'gaming' element of Foursquare fool you. Foursquare is a serious player in the world of social media with huge upside for business. Combined with data provided by Fast Pitch! the technology has unlimited potential to help many of you get connected in a more proactive manner. Imagine your phone alerting you to a potential business opportunity sitting right next to you at the movie theater... and you reviewing their profile and educating yourself about that person and their business... prior to engaging in conversation. Pretty powerful stuff. We're not that far off.

So, it's no longer a question of whether the world is ready for location based networking, but rather... Are you ready to play?


Bill

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Feel Like Rocky

Since April 2009, we've run Fast Pitch! out of The Hub - a technology and creative incubator located in the Rosemary District in downtown Sarasota, FL. Since opening its doors, The Hub has been the home to about 10 different companies and projects all of which have brought new energy and creativity to the area. The building that houses The Hub is a 5,000 square foot warehouse that now has moveable walls, a cyc wall (green screen video studio), a sound studio, and a number of work stations. On any given day there's about 15 people in The Hub brainstorming ideas, sharing resources and well... making things happen. That is until today.

Despite the heater running for 6 hours, the temperature inside The Hub hasn't cracked 52 degrees - making it feel like a meat locker. You see, The Hub has no insulation. With concrete floors and brick walls, there's little chance for the heat to gain any momentum. Seven hours after arriving this morning, most of us have decided to call it quits and seek out a warmer environment. Keep in mind, The Hub doesn't have this problem 360 days out of the year. Florida rarely gets this cold.


I'll be honest, I'm trying to tough it out. Wrapped in three layers of clothes, with frozen hands and frost coming off my mouth, it's become a personal challenge to see whether I can withstand these conditions. I mean really? Have I become so "soft" over the years that I can't sit in front of a computer for a few hours and type? Sure my hands are frozen, my nose dripping and teeth chattering... but things could be worse. As CEO of the largest company housed here in The Hub, what kind of example am I setting if I get up and leave?

As I take pause to think about the point I'm trying to make with this blog post (I'm not exactly sure yet), I realize that The Hub is empty. I'm the last man standing. The cold conditions have completely thwarted all energy and creativity this place once had. Everyone has left for warmer pastures - namely a local coffee shop down the road with warm coffee and free Wi-Fi.

Fast Forward 15 minutes...

I caved. I'm no Rocky. Sitting here in a warm coffee shop with everyone else is what I should have been doing since 8:00 AM this morning. Which brings me to my point (it just hit me).


Sometimes in business it makes more sense to adapt to the conditions around you rather than trying to fight them. For those of you refusing to embrace social media as a way to market your business... you'll soon find yourself alone in a world full of connected people doing business in warm coffee shops. :)

And come to think of it, didn't Rocky lose that first fight anyway?


Bill