The SXSW Accelerator – You’re Invited to Apply

I’m proud to announce that I’m one of the advisory board members for the 2011 South by SouthWest (SXSW) Accelerator event (along with a great list of industry luminaries!)

From the SXSW Accelerator blog:

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your emerging technology product and/or service at the 2011 SXSW Accelerator Presented by Microsoft BizSpark, which taking place on March 14-16 during the SXSW Interactive Festival. The third annual SXSW Accelerator will enable your company to expand its audience, network with industry leaders, learn about funding options, talk to venture capitalists, bounce ideas off other SXSW Accelerator participants and to finely tune your product and elevator pitch. The deadline to register is less than two months away, so check out the online application process and register early so you don’t miss out on the SXSW Accelerator experience.

So, this is a note out to my network encouraging everyone who’s doing start-ups to apply for this excellent chance to get in front of VCs, Industry Leaders, hone your pitch, and perhaps get the kind of SXSW exposure that PlanCast, Twitter and FourSquare have gotten in previous years.

You need to have rolled out within 1 year of 3/15/2011 or be scheduled to launch within 3 months after that date. There is a fee of $150 to apply.

There are several categories – you can read more about them, they include:

1. Innovative Web Technologies

2. Social Media and Social Networking Technologies

3. Entertainment Technologies

4. Health Technologies

5. News Related Technologies

Apply online by December 10th, and let me know if you need more info.

Social Media for Small Business Review

Today I’m thrilled to be speaking at the NY XPO for Business on a panel entitled “Social Media 1o1: Get Your Business Noticed.” I’m going to be making a lot of points in the discussion on Social Media for Small Businesses based on articles and research I’ve already done.

For those who wanted references for your notes from my talk, here are a few links to articles that are really relevant to small businesses about Social Media. Additionally, I’ve also added a video of a talk from last year’s Social Media Camp about Small Business and Social Media, if you want to share that with friends who missed today’s talk.

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For points from today, one question that always gets asked is “How much time do I need to spend on my Social Media presence?” Here’s the answer: Social Media For Small Business Takes Time – How Much Is Up To You

In two recent discussions with a small business owner and a PR firm about many of the things I’ve recently covered in this column, a big concern that came up was time. “How much time will it take me to create a good social media presence?” Great question. The answer is, of course,”it depends.” Read the Rest:

I always recommend that people consider using blog software as the basis for their business website if they need a quick and easy way to set one up. Here are 8, (count ’em 8!) 8 Options to Quickly Build a Web Presence for your Startup

I constantly see small businesses who are using websites created for the owner in 1999, by his nephew who can’t or won’t update it, with inaccurate and outdated information and offers. There’s no excuse for this. Today, anyone who can use a word processor or send an email can have a functioning website. And you can also have blog functionality, which is something critical for helping you site be found in search. Additionally, it is an easy way to create fresh content that brings users back to your site on a regular basis. The rest is at

Next, Social Media isn’t the only technology your small business can use.  Leverage Virtual Workers for Your Start-Up:

Independent workers make up 30 percent of the nation’s workforce, according to the Freelancers Union. Could you use one to help launch your start-up? The rest is at

Finally, when you’re further along, you might consider Connecting Your E-mail and Social Marketing

Your business has accumulated an e-mail list, but you have no idea how to connect those e-mail subscribers to your Facebook page, your Twitter followers and other social networks. You’re looking for a relationship with those customers, maybe something more than responses to your marketing e-mails. Read more at

Finally, just some advice from the heart about motivation: Motivation Lessons from Summer Camp

If you can tap into what motivates your team, you can have people doing more work than you’ve assigned, gladly and without hesitation. In a start-up, that kind of dedication can be invaluable. I got some special insights into motivation at summer camp. Behind the campfires, muddy shoes and early-morning lake swims are valuable lessons in how to motivate a team. Read the rest at:

If you want to know more about social location based services read .

Finally, here’s video from a previous lecture – though a year old, still valuable.

Howard Greenstein and Chris Heuer on Social Media for Small Business:

Corntroversy in the Mom-Blogosphere

In this post I’m attempting to remain somewhat neutral about the actual controversial parts, and just document a few things going on regarding the recent campaign for High Fructose Corn Syrup (now being rebranded as “Corn Sugar.”) My disclosure – I saw a “Corn Sugar is the same as Sugar” commercial and nearly spit hormone-packed milk out my nose. Poorly done, Corn Refiners Association. So I’m not totally neutral here – I’m not a fan of all this refined sugar stuff in general. But I eat and drink it. My kids do too, in moderation. I’ve been known to down a HFCS sweetened beverage now and then (I’ve been to Pepsi on a blog tour, even.)

Mom Central, an organization that “provide[s] strategic advice and resources to companies who want to reach the powerful Mom market” and “help[s] clients execute targeted marketing campaigns to Moms that build brand recognition and loyalty” was hired by the Corn Refiners association to do a webinar for moms educating them about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Mom Central has been in business for a pretty long time, and I met Stacy Debroff who runs it on several occasions. They are in business to create earned media for clients via blogs and other online activities (my words) and have a legitimate right to do so. They also have a “manifesto” (listed in the “borg post” referenced below) about how they work with moms.

The current situation: After their webinar, a bunch of mom bloggers posted entries about HFC. The first two posts below are somewhat skeptical, and the third post seems to to the Corn Refiner’s party line.

One post on Mom Central talks about the “False Health Halo” presented by brands advertising their products as HFCS free. Which became a bit of a challenge in some of the posts below since this summer, Mom Central also ran a sponsored conversation campaign about Hunts HFCS-Free ketchup. (Evidence: The Mommy Files did a review and notes she was compensated by Mom Central.)

I think the fact that Mom Central has come down on both sides of the good/bad HFCS debate is one of the things that lead to a bit of a backlash by Jessica Gotlieb, Mom101 and others. (full disclosure – I did “like” this post and comment as such – Jessica typically tells it like she sees it and I value that.)

After Mom 101 did her post, Stacy Debroff of Mom Central responded, saying of Mom101 :”So how did we arrive at the point yesterday where Liz derides many of her fellow Mom Bloggers as unintelligent, vulnerable to coercion, and naive in general and specifically when posting about high fructose corn syrup?”

There were apparently a lot of comments on Stacy’s post, but eventually she closed the post and deleted comments.

Mom101 responded with her own post about ethics and integrity, suggesting that she did not call the other moms what Debroff said she did, and calling Debroff out for closing off her discussion.

That’s how things seem to stand, today, at this moment.

I’ve tried to document this mostly so I can share it with my NYU students in my “Social Media and the Brand” class, so they can evaluate how campaigns can turn controversial, and how different tactics are used to promote or defend different sides of an issue.

I am not “blog baiting” or looking for lots of traffic here – just looking to document. If I’ve characterized anyone or anything, let me know via comments or via Twitter – @Howardgr.