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Sylvatex Interviewed for BBC World’s New Horizons Show!

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Technica Communications is proud to announce that our client Sylvatex Biofuels will be featured on the BBC World News sometime later in 2015.  The flagship science and technology program Horizons is the second-highest rated feature show on this globally respected network, engaging a quantified audience of 185 million people worldwide.

Every year, the BBC’s Horizons show sends a film crew to the United States to cover stories ranging across the scientific spectrum. Before touching down in Berkley to meet with Sylvatex, the Horizons crew met with Bill Gates in Seattle, and Howard Buffet in Arizona.  On his 1,400-acre research farm in southern Arizona, the son of billionaire Warren Buffet is developing systems for better crops and more efficient land use, for both poor subsistence farmers and also for large corporate farmers.

Sylvatex BBCCurrently in its fifth season, Horizon documentaries focus on the biggest challenges facing the planet now and in the future and how mankind will solve them through applying cutting-edge science and technology. The series is broadcast in more than 200 countries and territories around the world, available in more than 300 million homes and have an average weekly audience of 74 million.





4 Steps to Following up After Solar Power International

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You made great connections, deepened relationships, and worked the SunEdison and Shoals parties like pro last week at Solar Power International.  Likely, you returned to the office inspired, exhausted and overwhelmed with work that accumulated while you were gone.  How do you turn that stack of business cards on your desk into cash? With two words; Follow up.

At SPI this year, let’s say you met 15 people who could bring your company serious revenue. While another 15 people are solid connections to future revenue. If you turned only 10% of these people into a client for a year, that would likely more that cover the investment you made going to the conference. But if you don’t follow up with them, there is little chance you will convert them into cash. Would you throw away the chance to increase your revenue with a short 30 minutes of email work?  I think not. So, here is my time-tested system for following up after a conference.

1. Take advantage of other people’s the down time

In my networking workshops, the standard rule is you have 18 to 24 hours to follow up with someone and keep their interest. This is because during the average work day, people are bombarded with emails, tasks, to lists and everything else all day long. The more time you allow to pass before you follow up, the greater likelihood there is that people will either forget who you are, or lose interest in the connection you two made.

However at conferences, the opposite is true. People are not as busy with their email boxes. Instead, they are focused on the conference, staying up late, getting up early, and letting email interaction slide.

If you follow up with someone while they are still at a conference, their is a higher chance they will forget about you, simply because they are so distracted. So, following a conference you have a grace period of 1-5 business days after the conference to follow up.

Regardless, my rule is to follow up the Friday or Saturday after the event. This is because, after an event, people typically will be catching up on work on the weekend, and have a bit more bandwidth to respond to your email, vs the Monday after a show.  If you do have to wait until the week after a conference, do the follow up on Tuesday and not Monday, and no later the Friday after.

2. Divide and conquer

Start your follow up by dividing your business cards, or the people met, into two categories, an A group and a B Group. I typically do this at the end of each night at a conference, so I can keep everyone straight.

The A Group people are those that you know you want to connect with more. They are people of influence and hold the potential to provide you what you are looking for to achieve your goals at the conference, i.e. potential new clients, partners, or job prospects. Write them a “Great meeting you!” email and suggest a time for meeting up within the following seven days to continue the conversation. Ideally, you want to hold these meetings in person, but Skype or phone calls also work. The more influential the person is, the harder they will be to schedule. So be prepared to move that timeline out a few weeks if necessary, or provide some value to them first, before getting that meeting.

Typically, my A Group follow up emails look something like this:

Hi Justin,
It was great meeting you at the [insert event title] this week. I regret that I didn’t get a chance to discuss [insert company] more with you.
It would be helpful to learn more about where you are with the business and which of my connections would be good resources for you.

Would you like to meet up for a quick coffee next week in [insert city]? I’m available [insert dates/times]. What would work for your schedule?

Cheers,
Lisa Ann

Your B Group of people are those whom you had a decent connection, but there is no immediate opportunity for the person to help you meet your current goals. Regardless, you also must send them a “Great meeting you!” email.

Too often people skip following up with their B Group, because short term thinking has them writing these people off. However, networking is like farming. By planting a lot of seeds and making sure they get all the water and sunshine they need, you support the potential for any seed to bare fruit, i.e. resources and connections for you.

Typically, my B Group email goes something like this:

Hi Adam,

It was great meeting you today/this week at the [insert event here]. Let’s stay connected and see how we can support each other!

Cheers,
Lisa Ann

Remember, this system is not about following up just once. People are so busy, you may have to follow up two or three more times, before you get their attention. Think about sending a second email about 5 days after your first one. If you need to send a third, pick a time about 7 days out from the second email. If you still do not receive any response, try a phone call.

Since you will likely have to follow up multiple times, it’s always good to hold back some compelling information in your first email, and use it in your following emails. From my PR experience, replying to your original message and changing the subject line can help to get people’s attention. It also allows your second email to be short and succinct, with a new piece of compelling information added in. All people have to do is read it, and your previous email below to give them full picture. Here’s an example:

Hi Sam,

Hope you’re having a great week back after SPI!

Just wanted to gauge your interest in a quick chat about [insert reason for meeting, or value you can provide]. Shall we schedule a quick call?

I’m available [insert windows of time]. What would work for you?

Meanwhile, attached is a new case study I just put together. You might appreciate the flow chart on the second page.  

Thanks,

Lisa Ann

3. Maximize social media with new connections

Regardless of the A or B group status, everyone also gets a secondary follow up as well. This ensures that we have multiple points of contact directly following the event.

  • LinkedIn – mandatory
  • Twitter- only if you use it
  • FaceBook- only if you feel comfortable mixing business and personal friends

Only using a LinkedIn connection request for your B Group follow up does not count as adequate to fully satisfy the emotional connection one receives from being the recipient of follow up. I repeat, B Group follow up must at least include a personal email and a LinkedIn connection request.

Think about it, you have no way of knowing what the notifications settings a person has on their LinkedIn profile. They could also have notifications going to their personal email, which they may check less frequently than work email. Furthermore, you have no idea how often people check their LinkedIn to accept the connection request. Thus the only way to guarantee that people receive your follow up is to send them a direct email. This as the added benefit of getting your email address into their system. This is why only sending a LinkedIn Connection Request is not effective. It’s also pretty impersonal.

If you are active on Twitter or Facebook, Google + etc, search for these people in those networks as well. Connect up with them in any social media venue you can think of so that as you are active on social media, these new connections have a better opportunity to see your posts and keep you top of mind.

4. Electronically save the business card information

After you’ve done your follow up emails and social media connecting, it’s time to make yourself a copy of their information on your computer. When I started out networking, there was very little in the way of technology to help me efficiently add people’s information to my computer. So I bought a business card scanner to help me quickly import information. The draw back was that I would wait months to scan the cards, and use the fact that I had not added these people to my newsletter list as a reason not to send a newsletter.

Today there are a variety of smart phone apps that allow you to take a photo of a card and upload it to a cloud database. Many people use apps such as Evernote, World Card Mobile, ScanBizCards and Contact Snap, which typically have both free and paid versions.  Each one allows you to take a photo of your card and upload that information into your address book, and some also offer connections with LinkedIn.

Personally, I prefer Full Contact. It is a paid app, but it allows me a wide variety of ways to automatically import people’s information into third-party applications, such as LinkedIn, MailChimp, SalesForce, ZoHo and more.  For $9.99 a month, all I have to do is take a photo of the business card. That’s it. What used to take me 2 hours every few months is done by the time I’m boarding my plane home.

With Full Contact a real person reads the information and imports it into my Full Contact Dashboard list. At the same time, it sends the person a LinkedIn request and adds them to my MailChimp list. Since the Full Contact database also has more information on people than what’s on their business card, the system adds additional information, such as more social media profiles. I can go to may dashboard and click on their Twitter feeds, Google + accounts and many other social media platforms to connect with them that way to.

Full Contact utilizes Zapier to create specific actions you want conducted once a business card if uploaded. This is a highly customizable platform for maintaining your database.  It will take you about 30 minutes to set up and save you hours of time after every networking event.

Wood Allen said 80% of life is just showing up. At conferences, showing up is the easy, (and fun) part. To really make your conference investment turn a lasting ROI, make follow up your primary objective.  For a conference, that’s what it means to show up. Make the time, execute and reward yourself when you are done. Do this over a few conferences and soon you’ll be converting contacts into cash.

Learn more about Lisa Ann Pinkerton’s upcoming networking workshops here.





Top Ten Twitter Tips for an Optimized Solar Power International 2014

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In less than a week, the solar industry will converge on Las Vegas for three jam-packed days of sun worship. Not at the pool, but in the halls and among the exhibits at Solar Power International (SPI) 2014.

Brands big and small routinely lose out on a vast array of opportunities and lucrative connections at large conferences, because they have not yet implemented a strategy that puts them in multiple places at once. You can’t possibly see it all or meet everyone at North America’s largest solar trade show, but with a little help from a scout called Twitter, and a few simple tweeting skills, you can maximize your exposure.

While B2B activities on Twitter might seems like its just 100′s of people talking at each other, it’s conferences where Twitter really becomes invaluable. It’s your best source for latest news, must see sessions and which parties are worth showing up for. Twitter can bring the industry into your hands, put your voice on par with the biggest brands in the business, and dramatically improve your team’s ROI.

As you gear up for SPI 2014, here’s a list of our top 10 Twitter skills you can try out to make the show your most significant trip of your year. I’ve offered up some top examples for each, either from current SPI activity (#SPI2014) or from South By Southwest Eco (#SXSWEco), which I recently attended in Austin.

1. Start with a pre-party

The weeks leading up to SPI are often a whirlwind of preparation and deadlines. Regardless, get yourself into the habit of watching two SPI hashtags, #SPICon and #SPI2014 starting around October 16.  Around this time, you’ll notice companies starting to announce their news for the show. A quick scan every other day will give you a good sense of what the show’s themes may be.

When you see news from a colleague or prospect, it’s a perfect excuse to reach out to them. Inquire if they’ll be attending the show, and see if you can set up a meeting. Even if you don’t know them!

@[handle]: Hi Rich I am at #SPI2014 Booth XXXX. We’ve talked on Twitter but never met – will be under the same roof tomorrow.

Additionally, use this time to retweet (RT) people you want to notice you and start brushing up on your posting power.

@GlennaWiseman: RT @RainaRusso: 4 football fields worth of walking at #SPICon that’s 10,000 steps a day easy! Win a Fitbit via @ibts_solar booth 5309 #SolarChat

2. Live tweet everyday

Once SPI starts, make a commitment to tweet from the show in real time. In social media marketing, we call this “Live Tweeting.”  This activity can take many forms, but should start with your announcement on your feed that you’re traveling to SPI and why you’re excited. This heads-up post, gives your followers and others following the hashtag a chance to know that you’ll be there and connect with you.

@RainaRusso: See you there! RT @ibts_solar: We’re headed to Vegas, baby! Stop by booth 5309 at @SPIConvention Oct. 21-23 #SPIcon pic.twitter.com/hrQakNmklX

@lisapinkerton: There’s something magical about being at a conference the day before it starts. #SXSWEco

In Sessions:

The conventional live tweet from a session usually includes sounds bites from speakers and questions posed by the audience. I often use my session posts as a way of taking notes on the panel. Be careful not to just post the sound bites from speakers, as it’s so common that you’ll notice everyone doing it. You want to be unique and stand out, so that other people with retweet and follow you. So instead, try to build on the commentd given, either by posing a question, a challenge or furthering the idea with your own insights.

@lisapinkerton: PicaSolar could save solar OEMs $140M in reduced silver use alone, + 15% increase in cell efficiency. #sxsweco http://ow.ly/i/78K3W

@AutoblogGreen: Brett Hauser from @greenlots: There have been some “colossal failures” because EV charging companies used proprietary systems. #sxsweco

On the exhibit floor:

As you wander the booths, take photos of things you think are cool, friends you run into or fun happenings. Post them on Twitter with your comment and where it happened, such as the booth number. If you see something you don’t like, there’s also an opportunity to tell the company via a post.

@austinECOdetail: Met Gabriel and his team #earth911 at #sxsweco last week. They had this super cool stool made of cork on display. pic.twitter.com/pi8coPEIbY

Corporate social media feeds are often managed by the marketing and public relations teams. So, done diplomatically, your comment will reach the people in the company who will care most about the company’s brand and reputation.

Regardless of how your posts shape up, always credit the speakers and companies either by adding their name in or their handle. And always remember to add the hashtag #SPI2014.

3. Party with your Tweeps

Networking on social media is a great way to build your brand and reach new people. But in person networking is where the real magic is. At the quarterly networking workshops I teach in San Francisco, I outline how one can seamlessly go from online networking to in person networking, and back to online as a way of extending networking time and opportunities.

Tweetups are sponsored happy hours where people who are active on Twitter meet each other face-to-face.  Instead of meeting a group of strangers, Tweetups provide us with the opportunity to get to know better, people we already feel connected to. At SPI this year, there are two important Tweetups to hit:

4. Get your scan on

You can’t be everywhere are once. But Twitter can! Every morning, instead of looking at your usual news feeds, or playing that game you use to wake up in bed, scan the twitter hashtag. Within five minutes it would take you to review the replays of how your base got raided on Clash of Clans overnight, you’ll quickly get up to speed on the coming day at SPI. Also, at this time take a moment to post something about what you’re looking forward to, as another way of giving the SPI community a chance to meet you and connect with you.

5. Smart follow

Using Twitter at conferences, when the majority of your industry is paying attention, whether or not they are at the show, is a great way to build your audience. As a rule, you should follow everyone that follows you, as long and as much as you want to. When you do get a new follower, thank them for following you.

If people are using the hashtag, there’s a high likelihood they have some influence in solar and following them could add to your overall clout. So, at shows it’s advisable to follow people using the hashtag. They in turn may choose to follow you, and before you know it, you’ll have grown your following by at least 10-20 percent by the end of the conference.

6. Interact

Following those that follow you is just one part of interaction. The next step is to add to the conversation, either by retweeting what they have posted (indicated by RT in the post) or by modifying a person’s tweet and adding MT. You can also reply to a post and add your own insights, questions or comments.

This is where the interaction can take on a life of its own and lead to incredible networking opportunities you might not have had otherwise, both at the event and long after it’s over. You can even invite other people you know would have interest in a topic into the conversation by adding their handles in your posts. Twitter will notify them, depending on their account settings. Do this in compelling way and voilà, you have yourself a bonafide social media networking moment that can be taken off line for more in-depth interaction.

SPI twitter post interaction

7. Review sessions and parties in the moment

Let’s face it, no matter how hard organizers try, some sessions are just boring, and some parties are just a flop. Wouldn’t you like to know that before you get to the location, or warn other before they meet your fate?  Well, Twitter is an excellent vehicle for that.

When you’re in a session that’s dragging on without much substance, use Twitter to see what sessions other people are posting about. You can save yourself valuable session time by leaving ones that aren’t working for ones that are. The same thing goes for parties and happy hours.

You can also use Twitter to bring more people to something good. Don’t be afraid to post that a session is impressive, making sure to share the room number. Additionally, if you find yourself at a bouncing party, spread the love on Twitter. Make sure you credit the sponsors of the event, so that if others can’t get there before it’s over the organizers get your kudos, which is a goodwill gesture that helps to elevate their brand.

AndreaLearned: Fun @triplepundit party last night @CliveBarATX – thanks @nickaster and gang. #sxsweco

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8. Make it visual

Thoughtful insights are critical to building your Twitter brand. However, well-selected photos and videos will often spread the message of your brand further than words can. People love images and videos. We love to look at them and share them.

When people retweet your multi-media, your handle (@yournamehere) gets added to the post and you get the credit. You may find a comment retweeted once or twice, while an image or video gets many more shares. A note of caution, before you share a photo or video, be sure to ask others in the moment if it’s okay. If they say yes, be sure to add their handles as well.

SPI post visual

9. Give credit where credit is due

In the other steps, we touched on how selecting the retweet symbol in your Twitter app will automatically add the handle of the person you are retweeting into your post. Twitter also offers an “edit retweet” function in case you want to modify the tweet. Often we do this to add additional insights or if the original tweet was too long.

However, some people will use the “edit retweet” function to remove the handle of the person who originated the tweet as a way of claiming it as their own. This is not how you build a supportive community and people will notice if you try this too much. They might even call you out on it, publicly; I have. Keep your ego at bay and give credit where credit is due. Sometimes, when a post becomes too long, because of the RT handle(s) at the beginning, it’s advisable to add them to the end with the word “via” indicating where you got the information. This step can save you precious characters.

This also goes to crediting speakers and companies. You can use the search function in Twitter to learn if companies or people have twitter handles already and add them to your post. While you’re at it, you should follow them too. They will get your notification that you mentioned them and it helps you build a positive relationship with them over time.

10. Stay in the moment

One trick about live tweeting is that we pay too much attention to creating our posts, watching the hashtag feed or responding to alerts we get on our phone, because it’s right in front of us. Speakers certainly like to see their names and opinions trending on social media, but they also like an attentive audience. You can miss critical information when you are too busy multi-tasking. Therefore, try to keep your live posts to an average of one per ten minutes. This will help you keep your attention on the session and retaining the most amount of information possible. Additionally, it will keep your feed from dominating the hashtag as people are following it.