One-on-one social media training sessions at VACo annual meeting!

Red Boot Media will be conducting free one-on-one social media training sessions for county officials at the upcoming Virginia Association of Counties’ annual meeting in Bath County this November. Here is our announcement in the most recent issue of County Connections.

You know it’s time to start using social media in your county. But where do you begin? Which tools will work best in your community? How do you manage information while still doing your job as an elected official?

Ask a professional! VACo is pleased to offer consulting services from associate member Red Boot Media, LLC at the upcoming annual conference in Bath County.

To answer your questions about using social media in your county, sign up for a free, private 45-minute session with Founder and Principal Media Consultant Emily Landsman.

Contact Gage Harter at to secure your time.

Sign up for a time slot now.
Sunday hours: 3-5 p.m.
Monday hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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Will QR codes everywhere lead to a tourist boom for Gibraltar? –

Read the full post with all comments here. Originally posted 9/19/12 at 3:51 pm

A colleague who knows of my love of properly used QR codes just sent me this article about the city of Gibraltar. They will be placing QR codes at tourist attractions around the city that link to Wikipedia pages about that location.

Volunteers will be writing articles in several languages about important locations around the city, and officials are considering offering free WiFi for those concerned about roaming costs.

Read the full story here on the BBC web site.

What do you think of this idea? How can Gibraltar’s local government leverage success to benefit city residents?

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The individual approach to social media –

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 9/13/12 at 12:26 pm

Jack Hernandez, Red Boot Media’s Graphic Designer, shared some of his thoughts on designing a social media strategy for a client recently. We weren’t sure if it was his years of work with local government or his partnership with Red Boot Media that helped him craft this advice, but we thought it would be great to share either way!


Each client has a unique approach to social media and how they can use it, not just for the sake of social media but to benefit from it realistically. Here is how I approached a client recently when he asked me how relevant using social media would be for his business. His publicity manager had neglected to utilize Facebook effectively and because of that, he got the impression that Facebook had gone the way of Myspace.

Clients who aren’t social media savvy can easily be misled by others who don’t know quite what they’re doing themselves. My client asked me if Twitter was “good.” At that point I resolved to come up with a list of questions and suggestions that help him consider how Social Media would benefit him and which tools he would specifically find useful.

It’s not enough to come up with a basic list of questions and answers. The question “Who is your audience?” may be important, but it’s vague, and without pointing it out, a client may not realize who can potentially be his/her audience. Explain your suggestions and questions based on your client’s specific goals and product. Don’t be generic.

What do you personally hope to achieve through social media?
Ask yourself this without worrying about the limitations of technology and current social media capabilities. More than likely, there is a solution that will enable you to meet (and excel) those goals. Do you need a Facebook app that is effectively your web site? Do you want to link videos and open up a YouTube account? Really…anything is possible.

Who is your target audience(s)?
Your site is catered to a very niche clientele. Your Facebook page broadens the audience in that it makes your product more visible to others who are on Facebook, not just your friends but friends of those friends. People in the industry who start off on your official site also are drawn to your Facebook page for updates and developments. Through social media, you can update your audience with real-time developments and post images for visual impact. Twitter is a great if you intend to make very frequent real-time updates such as attending a conference or describing your activities throughout a big event.

Maximizing the social media coverage and broadening the target audience:
You have different sub-companies for each of your products. But you may consider having your Facebook business page represent all your products in general. The space available for your main graphic is large enough for to design something snazzy that will incorporate all your logos and a slogan. This will allow you to direct all your site visitors (from all your sites) to a central social media page where you can make more frequent updates.

Differentiating between your personal page and the business page:
It’s up to you to update your posts on the business page. If posts on your personal page highlight you receiving awards or going to conventions should be posting first on the business page, including images. From your business page, you can share your posts on your personal page, and potentially draw more “fans” to your business page.

Updating and maintaining:
In order to keep your Facebook page active, you need to be active. A few posts a week is a good way to update people and keep your product in their minds. More posts and gallery images if you’re attending a conference or receiving recognition for your achievements. Remember to reply to comments and questions that people post on your page. Social media is a dialogue!

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Thanks for the old news, Twitter –

Read the original post with comments here. Originally posted 9/3/12 at 1:57 pm

A few weeks ago I noticed that Twitter kicked up their e-mail notifications. Because I have my “professional” Twitter account (@RedBootMedia….follow me and I’ll follow you back!), a personal account and an account I share with friends in a social group, I didn’t want to receive and e-mail each time I received a mention or direct message. That worked well until recently.

Now I receive not only a message about each new follower, but I have also been getting “@XYZ and 12 others have Tweets for you!” e-mails for all of my accounts. I’m sure they DO have Tweets for me, but most of them are either several days old or they are actually communications those accounts have with other users. I see almost no value to these e-mail round up messages.

Now, I’m a big fan of Twitter, so I’m a little confused by this move. Isn’t the point of this tool to have up-to-the-minute information? If I missed a week old “Top Tweet” what are the chances that information would be of value to me now? Does Twitter just want to send followers more e-mail?

Do you get these new messages from Twitter? Do you think the in-case-you-missed-it idea has value in the Twitter medium?

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Your phone, or mine? –

Read the full post with comments on GovLoop. Originally posted 5/23/12 at 6:08pm

I remember having a conversation with a colleague (well, I was an intern at the time and he was quite senior) about mobile devices in about 2000 or early 2001. He had an early BlackBerry type of device and was showing me how it worked. I was horrified by the idea and declared that I saw no need to have my email with me all the time. “Just wait,” he said.

When my business travel began in 2003, I had no problem carrying around my laptop everywhere I went. Four years later, I had had enough. Between travel and grad school, I was having a hard time keeping up with not having email EVERYWHERE. I bought an iPhone.

Now, of course, I sleep with it next to me. I try to leave it alone in the evening and on the weekends (earlier discussion here) but it doesn’t always work. I also sometimes feel those “phantom vibrations” when I think the phone is vibrating in my bag but it’s really not. I’m starting to rethink my attachment to this device.

Aside from the phone, I’ve been wondering what other gadgets I don’t think I can live without anymore. I have to say my SoniCare toothbrush might be my #1. Or my DSLR camera. Or my awesome Dyson vacuum. Or my… Aside from your smart phone, what’s the one non-computer based gadget you can’t live without anymore?

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