Monday, March 29, 2010

Drop It Like It's Hot

Last week Fast Pitch! was mentioned on both CNN and Bloomberg TV during interviews with Sarasota, FL mayor Dick Clapp. The mayor, who recently swam with sharks in order to get Google's attention to bring their 1 Gigabit fiber network to the city, also referred to Fast Pitch! as one of the reasons why Google should consider Sarasota, FL for its high-speed network.

Many thanks to mayor Clapp for recognizing Fast Pitch! as an asset to the city and dropping our name!


In addition to mayor Clapp's interviews, Fast Pitch!'s own Rich Swier (co-founder) did a media tour of his own with interviews on CNBC, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal and about 100 other media outlets around the world. Although he will never admit it, Rich brought more attention to Sarasota, FL (and indirect attention to Fast Pitch!) in three weeks than has been done in years.

It's not even summertime yet, and Sarasota, FL is hot!


Bill

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ride Our Coattails

Despite very little promotion on our part, Fast Pitch! has already amassed almost 2,500 Facebook Fans and over 6,000 Twitter Followers in less than 9 months. Although this is less than 1% of our total membership base, the fact that we’ve reached these numbers in a short amount of time (with literally no marketing), is intriguing. So much so, that I’m now committed to dedicating additional resources to our Facebook campaign, in the hopes that we will reach 5,000 Facebook Fans by June (I’m less concerned about Twitter – for our purposes, I'm still not a big fan :).



So what does this mean for you? More Visibility. Let me explain.

Unlike most company Fan pages that lock down communication among their Fans, ours is an open forum designed to help our Fans promote their business. We allow you to post information about your business, make comments to others, share videos, photos and more. In other words, rather than us using our Fan Page as a propaganda machine for our own benefit, we view the Fan Page as another place where our members can do business.

Here’s where it gets better… Fast Pitch! not only lets you promote your business, but we will do it for you! Here’s how it works:

Each time we (Fast Pitch!) post something to the Fast Pitch! Fan Page Wall on Facebook, the post is automatically added to the feed of all of our Fans (when you post yourself, it is only added to the Wall, not the feed). By having us do it for you, your content automatically shows up on the homepage of each Fan’s feed when they login. As of now, that’s 2,500 people potentially viewing your profile, reading your press and more. Also, we’ve integrated our Facebook feed to our Twitter account – which sends these updates to our 6,000 Twitter Followers too. This gives you another added ‘boost’ in visibility.

So what type of content will we post on your behalf?
  1. Your Profile. When you become a Platinum Member of Fast Pitch! we automatically post a link to your profile and introduce you to our Facebook Fans. I liken this to being introduced on stage at a very large conference.

  2. Your Press Releases. When you choose our $55 Total Press Package, we will now post a link to the press release on our Facebook Fan Page. This is in addition to the direct distribution to all of our members Fast Pitch! Inboxes, the 20 media outlets you can send to, submission to Google News, Inclusion of photo and video, and more… Don’t expect to find this on PR Web :)

  3. Your Blog Articles. Similar to our press package, with this $45 blog package we will post a link to your blog article on our Facebook Fan Page. Again, this is in addition to all of the other distribution benefits already offered with our Blog Distribution Package.

  4. Your Facebook Fan Page. For $45 we will promote your Facebook Fan Page to our Fans. What makes this a great option is that 100% of the people learning about your Fan Page are obviously already on Facebook – making it real easy for them to become a Fan of yours! In addition to highlighting your Fan Page on our Fan Page, we also distribute a link to your Fan Page directly to Fast Pitch! members.

  5. Your Twitter Page. For $25 we will promote your Twitter Page to our Fans. Again, this is in addition to distributing your Twitter Page internally to our Fast Pitch! members on Fast Pitch!

Join our Fan Page today
Upgrade your content

. . . and come along for the ride!



Bill

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Our Own Minor League Ballpark

In the spirit of Spring Training having just started here along Florida’s Gulf Coast – with small, minor league ballparks buzzing with enthusiasm… I’m excited to announce that Fast Pitch! has opened the doors to its own minor league ballpark (i.e. a new satellite office) in Bradenton, FL!

The new Fast Pitch! office is designed to accommodate a few of our employees who live in north Manatee County (just south of St. Petersburg and Tampa). For these employees, the new office collectively shaves off about 3 hours worth of drive time each day. Our hope is that in addition to making life less hectic for these employees, we can turn these 3 hours into more productivity for Fast Pitch! as well. Do the math… that’s potentially 700 more hours of brainstorming, creativity, customer support, and marketing per year! Not a bad investment.


The new office is different than our larger Sarasota, FL based office located at The Hub. Whereas The Hub is more of a technology ‘commune’ – a warehouse inhabited by 5-10 different companies, sound studios, green screens and more… the new office has more of a corporate feel to it – yet very unique in it’s own right. Located along Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton in Jennings Arcade – the new office is housed in a refurbished retail space couched between a coffee shop and an Italian restaurant (two of my favorite things).

Old Main Street has a poor man’s Ybor City feel to it (for those of you not from Tampa Bay… Ybor City is a lot like Bourbon Street). We’re also sandwiched between a Cigar Bar, an Irish Bar, and a large Pub that is a favorite among the locals. Directly across from us is another coffee shop, a fish market and two cafes. Needless to say, we’ll always be alert (caffeine) and will never go hungry. There’s also something about watching the foot traffic happening outside of our windows that brings a degree of energy into the office.

Although the primary intent of the new space is to house Fast Pitch!, like the Hub, the new space will also be used to grow additional projects (mostly tech-related). In fact, the space is already being used by 2 other aspiring social media companies, and an amateur basketball league. Based on the demand for this type of synergy among entrepreneurs in the region (I’ve already had discussions with other local entrepreneurs about collaborating within the space), my guess is we’ll be leasing a larger office upstairs in the coming months.

To watch the development of our new Minor League office you can watch a live play-by-play on our new office cam (Click Here - then look to the right-hand side of our blog layout)

Bill

Monday, March 08, 2010

Facebook Fans From Fast Pitch!

Say that (Blog Title) 3x...

Facebook Fan Pages are one way in which Facebook can help your business (and brand) have a business related 'conversation' within their social network. For large established brands with huge marketing budgets, Fan Pages can have a real impact on their ability to mobilize people to take action (i.e. purchase, refer, etc...).
However, the current frenzy surrounding Facebook Fan Pages among small businesses reminds me of the early days of blogging... in which everyone spent countless hours creating an account and updating... but failed to pay attention to the most important step along the way - marketing. Just like a blog needs readers... for your Fan Page to have an impact, it needs, well... Fans.

With nearly 400 million members, the opportunity for word of mouth to spread across the platform is obviously intriguing. However, because Facebook is such a 'social' environment, getting people to mobilize around your small business can be difficult unless the Fan base already has a business mindset. Just try getting your old college drinking buddies excited about talking about your insurance business and you will see what I mean.

To help our members attract more professionals to their Fan Page(s) and less 'friends', we've created a new Facebook Inbox Promotion. The service is designed to create awareness among Fast Pitch! members about your Fan Page. To make this happen, we send out a link to your Fan Page to targeted members on your behalf inviting them to view your page. Once they click your Fan Page link, it's up to you to convince them to become a Fan. We can lead a horse to water...

The advantage to having more Fans is obvious... it gives you the ability to communicate your message to more people - which hopefully gets them to take some action with you (i.e. purchase, refer, etc...).

If you're looking to leverage Fast Pitch! to boost your Fan Page, consider the new Facebook Inbox Promo. For a 1x cost of $45, it's a lot less expensive (and more targeted) than running ads on Facebook. To learn more visit: http://www.fastpitchnetworking.com/upgrade_facebook.cfm


Bill