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Potawatomi Bingo Casino Bets on Trivera and Concrete5

Potawatomi Bingo Casino is one of the most state-of-the-art gaming facilities in the Midwest. So it would only make sense for their new site to be built on one of the web’s most comprehensive, state-of-the-art development platforms. An all new version of Paysbig.com, the website for Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, built on the Concrete5 development platform, was launched by Trivera Interactive on December 13, 2010.

The project began with the strategic decision by the Casino to empower the managers of the many business units to update their own areas of the site with a tool that could balance power with ease of use. While Trivera has worked with several different content management systems, concrete5 was mutually determined to be the best choice for Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s new site. A relative newcomer to the CMS arena, concrete5’s array of powerful plug-ins, extensions and add-ons, plus an extremely user-friendly administrative interface made it an obvious choice.

The new website is not the first major initiative undertaken by Milwaukee’s Trivera Interactive for Potawatomi Bingo Casino since becoming their primary web and interactive services partner early in 2010. The relationship began with a migration of all of the Casino's web assets to Trivera’s world-class hosting center. Trivera has also migrated and updated other online systems used by the Casino.

While Trivera has developed hundreds of complex web-based applications for clients over their 15 years in business, with dozens built using various content management systems, the new Potawatomi Bingo Casino site was their most ambitious site to date created using concrete5. The wide and varying business units within the Casino include several restaurants,  entertainment venues, bingo hall, off-track betting room, table games and slot machines. Trivera’s decision to use concrete5 to be the platform to bring all those business units to the website proved to be the right one as the project launched, fully functioning on the originally scheduled launch date, on time, on scope and on budget.

Potawatomi’s web administrator Christopher Graham says: “I really am amazed how the Trivera team was able to take my mock-ups and bring them to life. Also, I was thrilled with their feedback, communication and forward thinking."

Trivera President Tom Snyder added: “It’s amazing to see what happens when incredible talent, a proven process, powerful tools, mutual respect and hard work all come together.

About Potawatomi Bingo Casino:

Located at 1721 West Canal Street, Milwaukee, WI, Potawatomi Bingo Casino is the Midwest's number one entertainment destination. With nearly 100 table games, 3,100 slot machines, 1,350-seat Bingo Hall, Poker Room and Off-Track Betting Room, the Casino offers thrilling action 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Casino also has a 500-seat theater that features world-class entertainment and five unique restaurants including, The Buffet, Dream Dance Steak, The Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill, Menomonee Valley Food Court and RuYi. For more information, visit paysbig.com.

About Trivera:

Located in the historic Menomonee Falls Mill building in suburban Milwaukee, WI, Trivera Interactive is one of the region’s oldest and most respected Web development, e-commerce and marketing firms. Since 1996, focusing first on website design and development, and branching out into email marketing, search engine optimization and Social Media, Trivera has been helping businesses and organizations all over the world use its unique combination of smart design and creative technology to leverage the web as a powerful brand reinforcing tool. Trivera clients include General Mitchell International Airport, Usinger’s Famous Sausage, Frabill, RegalWare Worldwide, ZBB Energy and dozens of other local, regional and national businesses and organizations.

Foursquare Marketing E-book by Trivera President Tom Snyder released by Penguin Books

Hot off the virtual presses, Penguin Books has released The Complete Idiot's Mini Guide to Real-Time Marketing by Trivera President Tom Snyder. This e-book is a quick read, and is essential for anyone with a brick and mortar location who wants to capitalize on the segment of Social Media known as Geo-location marketing.

Foursquare is a website that allows members to use their mobile devices and smart phones to "check in" wherever they go, and if they wish, Tweet about it or post it to their Facebook page. While originally a way for people to hook up with their friends, Foursquare's point system and badge awards turned it into a game. It wasn't long before businesses started to figure out how to use it to drive traffic to their locations by offering special prices and other promotions to people who checked in at their locations.

About the new e-book, Penguin says: Social media marketing is here in force and is the wave of the future. Using it wisely can mean big profits -- with little expense. But marketing in real-time on Foursquare.com is unlike other social media, and can be both confusing and daunting. Fear no more! The Complete Idiot's Mini Guide to Real-time Marketing with Foursquare gives you everything you need to know to make marketing on this website popular and profitable. In this invaluable guide, you'll learn about creating and managing your venue, superusers, badges, creating specials, and finding customers -- all the basics for a great Foursquare marketing campaign and so much more!

The Complete Idiot’s Mini Guide to Real-Time Marketing takes you through the steps to get you familiar with the site, make sure your location is "check-in"-ready, helps you create specials, measure and improve upon your success, and even offers a few case studies of several successful businesses who have used Foursquare to make their cash registers ring.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Real-Time Marketing is only $1.99 and is available for the Kindle at Amazon.com or for the Nook at BarnesandNoble.com

The Dilemma of Authenticity, Transparency and Limited Resources

The foundational components of any effective Social Media strategy are authenticity and transparency, especially if blogging and microblogging are part of that strategy.

The power of Social Media comes from the personal brand that is being built by an author, and the benefit a corporate brand derives by having that person engage an audience in the Social Media community.

But what if the real voice and face of your brand is just too busy to participate?

My company has been the online services partner for one of our area's most visible brands for nearly a decade and a half. While they know their brand better than anyone else, we know their brand in the online space as well as, or even better than they do. If they could afford to pay me enough to leave the company I own and be on their payroll, I'm probably the most qualified person to BE them in the Social Media sphere.  But they can't, and so we work with them as a vendor.

For blogging, we  told them that unless it was actually the corporate face of the brand who's doing the blogging, they really shouldn't do it. A ghost-written blog is not a blog... it's really PR and needs to be renamed as such and moved to the appropriate area of the site. And so we used an integrated installation of WordPress on their site to post their press releases, giving them the RSS benefits of a blog, but clearly labeling it as "The News" and not a blog.

However, as an already popular location on Foursquare, not being on Twitter or Facebook wasn't an option for them. That put me in a weird position. Having developed their Social Media strategy, voice, rules and roles, and needing to accommodate their lack of time and internal resources, we decided to make Twitter a co-effort. Initially, I posted each Tweet, but only after their review and sign off. It was a clumsy process with some of them taking several back and forth edits prior to posting. However, that process resulted in an even better understanding for us, and an educational process for them. Eventually they realized it was just easier for them to post themselves, and a year later, we've gotten them to actually be doing all the Tweeting and Facebooking themselves. We still continue to monitor for brand mentions and let them know when they need to respond to something. But we showed them how to monitor, and they usually are finding things to post or Tweet about just as fast as we would have.  We still help them develop Social Media based promotions, and take care of the Web and housekeeping aspects of the strategy, but for the most part, they have become pretty much self sufficient.

It was a difficult path, because initially, it could have been regarded as a violation of the authenticity and transparency that Social Media requires. But the alternative was a brand eroding silence in the Twitter-sphere and on Facebook.

It's a tough decision that many are faced with: outsource or not participate. But because not participating is not an option, this creative approach may be the only solution available.

Twitter Followers for Your Business: From Zero to Hero

I recently tweeted a link to an article about Twitter that advocated a tactic of building a Twitter following by following people and hoping they follow back. A local business owner asked me if the "find, follow, and hope for followback" strategy actually works. It was a great question… one that takes a few more than 140 characters.

First it's a tactic, not a strategy…which I say not to be smart alec, but rather to impress the need to know your overall marketing strategy first, and then choose your tactics. Once you know your goals, objectives and target audience, then you can choose a tactic that will help you achieve those goals and objectives.

If you've just started your Twitter profile and have no followers, before you ask the question "who?" first ask "what?"

Ask yourself what you need to Tweet about that will make your target audience WANT to follow you. Get busy…even if you have no followers, yet…and start posting those tweets. When you follow someone and they wonder who you are, they'll check out your profile. You'll only have one chance to make a good first impression. So make sure that your profile is visually designed to communicate your brand identity, and filled out with a bio that describes your value proposition, and links to your site (or a page in your site that would be a compelling landing page for people coming from Twitter). But even more important, you want them to see a list of your recent Tweets. If there are a bunch and they're authentic, transparent, interesting, compelling and of value, they're more likely to follow you back.

So how do you choose who to follow hoping they'll follow you back?

I always have my clients start first with the media echo chamber. Traditional media hasn't died yet, and still has influence. Getting a local media outlet to follow you increases your chance of getting press coverage. I created a list of local media on Twitter for my clients in Milwaukee, and we look through the list and have them follow those outlets that give them the greatest chance of interest. To find a media list, simply do a search for media outlet you know by name in your community on twitter, and look for the "listed" link on their profile. You'll find a bunch of lists with other media outlets. Pick and choose strategically to follow the ones consistent with your brand and your target demographics.

Next find local influencers. For instance, if you're a Wine Shop, identify and follow the people who tweet about wine and wine tasting events. Don't just follow, REALLY follow. See what they're tweeting about, and who they're engaging in conversations with. Follow those people too. Is there a wine tasting or food event? See who's talking it up in advance. Follow them. The day of the event, if there's a hashtag, see who's tweeting the hashtag. Follow them.

But that still isn't enough to assure that you'll get follow backs. Begin to engage them. You're the expert, right? Ask them their opinions. Share information with them. Make recommendations. The relationship that develops will create its own network. Continue to extend that network by watching the followers of those in that network. Follow them. Engage. Expand. Repeat.

If you think all you need to do is start a Twitter profile, and follow millions of people hoping for follow backs, you'll not only fail to get meaningful results, but you're missing the point of Twitter entirely.

Social Media is about relationships. And that takes more effort than just a click of a "follow" button.

Trivera Chooses Magento for E-commerce

Trivera has been developing e-commerce enabled websites for clients in Milwaukee and the nation since 1996. While Trivera has experience in OSCommerce, X-Cart, ZenCart, Cube Cart, various platform dependent e-commerce plug-ins, and even our own proprietary product TriveraCart, no other e-commerce engine today posesses the power, flexibility and functionality of Magento.

And no other Milwaukee e-commerce developer posseses the breadth and depth of experience that Trivera does!

Trivera chose Magento as their preferred shopping cart solution while it was still in beta. Now after years of use, we're more convinced than ever that, if you need a world class e-commerce solution, there is no better choice than a Trivera configured Magento installation.

Our team of inhouse Magento developers and project managers give you people you can talk to... in your time zone and your language...who can understand and solve your business challenges, personally train you, and even your Milwaukee area brick and morter location for integration into to your P.O.S or accounting software.

Companies like Usinger's Famous Sausage, US PeaceKeepers, Frabill and others will tell you that a Trivera-installed and configured Magento e-commerce site is the smartest thing they've done for their online marketing strategy, and their bottom line.

Whether it's the Enterprise, Professional or Community version, Trivera's expert team is eager to begin fueling your e-commerce success with Magento!

10-4, Social Media – We Got Ourselves a Convoy!

When I started my digital agency back in 1996, I constantly ran into critics who called the Web "The CB radio of the 90?s." Eventually, as the web demonstrated it was more than just a flash in the pan, time has proven those critics wrong. But, I'm wondering where those same critics are today who would claim Social Media is the "CB radio of this decade?"

I ask because, unlike the criticism of the web, this time they could be right!

Friends in the Social Media universe know me as Triveraguy (my profile name on Twitter). But, back in the 70?s, another Social Media "community" knew me as Grouchy Bear.

The medium was CB, or "citizen's band" radio. The radios themselves had both a receive and transmit function, allowing anyone to engage in short blast broadcast conversations with other people who also had one. Originally used almost exclusively by the over-the-road truck driving community, it spread to include just regular folks, some using mobile devices, others using desktop units. The general communication happened on channel 19, where a constant cacophony of messages filled the airwaves… everything from truck drivers warning of speed traps or drunk drivers, stalled motorists asking for assistance, truck stops inviting drivers to their business or regular people just talking about such inane topics as where they were (your "10-20?) and what they were doing. As groups of friends and followers formed, other sideband channels became the gathering places for those communities. "Lower Channel 15? was the hangout for me, Bird Lady, Lannon Rich and at least a dozen others whose handles I've long forgotten.

The CB community used its own nomenclature…an almost secret code language…that longtimers helped create, and caused newbies to have to monitor for awhile before they dared to jump in and actively participate.

Community "leaders" emerged who organized meetups to allow all these people who had never met each other face to face to see the other folks behind the handles. Connections were made, and relationships were built. I even met a great guy I ended up hiring and we are friends to this day.

Non CBers just thought we were all nuts, but we were convinced everyone needed to be using CB radio. And our nearly evangelistic fervor drove our "non-enlightened" friends, neighbors and relatives crazy. But then CB radio started to show up in the consciousness of mainstream America. The movie "Smokey and The Bandit" hit the theaters and was a huge hit. C.W. McCall's song "Convoy" made the top of the charts and produced a movie of the same name. And there were the popular TV shows like "Movin' On" and "The Dukes of Hazzard" that glorified the whole CB lifestyle. We had arrived, and we knew it would only be a matter of time before we took over the world.

If you're one of us who are active in Social Media, I'm sure you see the stunning parallels. The reason I "get" Social Media is because, for me it really is just another stop in a series of subcultures that began with the hippie subculture of the 60?s and early 70?s, and after the CB radio adventure, went on to other religious, business and technological subcultures and has now culminated in Social Media. If you've ever been a part of a large multi-level marketing, religious or hobby-based subculture, you know exactly what I'm talking about when I say every one of them has so many of the same characteristics as Social Media, it's scary.

But all good things come to an end. In rare cases, subcultures grow and become so mainstream that they stop being subcultures and become part of the fabric of the culture at large. Others sink into insignificance and obscurity. Often it's because people move on with their lives. Sometimes, the technology that makes it possible gets trumped by something new. Frequently the whole subculture simultaneously has a "what were we thinking?" epiphany and it dies from mass exodus.

Universal acceptance for the CB subculture never materialized. It ended up being just another fad that exploded for a time, but eventually returned to its roots, still being used to this day, but almost solely by truckers.

So what ultimately happens to the Social Media subculture? Its fans believe Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and all the others will be like the Web and leapfrog into mass acceptance and live happily ever after. But, we've already seen MySpace begin to lose its luster. While nearly half of all Americans have a Facebook profile, Twitter's penetration is still significantly smaller, and according to Forrester Research, only 1% use check-in services regularly. With a business impact that's tinier than its zealots are willing to admit, its insider lingo, club-like characteristics, evangelistic fervor and the fact that in most markets, the Social Media community is only large enough to support the one or two businesses that are trotted out by the media as the "examples of success," the jury may still be out.

You could always tell a CBer by the long antenna on his car, truck or house. One of our clients told us the other day that she could tell us Twitter people because of the antennae that we have growing out of our own heads!

So all irrational exuberance aside, what do you think history predicts is next on the horizon for Social Media? Is Social Media headed for a "10-7" or will the future be "clean and green with the shiny side up and the greasy side down?"

Twitter – New Media, or News Media?

Is Social Media “ready for prime time?" A recent Midwest rainstorm provided the opportunity for Twitter to prove that TV isn’t the only medium that can cover a natural disaster. Will events like these…and how people use the Web…change the dynamic between traditional news media and social media forever?

See Trivera president Tom Snyder's blog for the full story.

Confessions of an Accidental Blogger

BloggingAs an early adopter, I have always been one of the first to jump aboard new technology and new ideas. I've been using PC's since the most basic units cost more than a used Toyota. I have been a High Definition TV zealot since I first saw it at a Las Vegas broadcaster convention 20 years ago and had one in my living when the only thing on TV in HD was the reel of 20 0r 30 nature videos played over and over on Public TV. I had one of the first devices that was called a Smart Phone so long ago that, when compared to today's Droids and iPhones was about as smart as a turtle on a fence post. I was introduced to the Web in 1994 and have been involved in Web development since the only Web creation tool was notepad and an FTP program.

Although Social Media is now a mainstream phenomenon, I've been participating in the "Social" Web since the days when online communities were nothing but DOS text on a black screen over a 14.4 modem. While the land rush is now on to sign up for MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare profiles, I was among the first to participate in all of them.

So, you're probably thinking if I'm such an early adopter, why did it take me so long to create my own blog?

I actually have been blogging since 1996. It just wasn't called that. My monthly email newsletter for my company was called Websight Insight, and every issue had two or three articles on Web marketing best practices. After it was sent to the mailing list, the articles became a part of our Web site. Those have continued all along, and eventually became a part of the WordPress installation for news and articles in a new site we developed a few years ago.

But I still never had my very own blog, at my very own domain name… until now. You'll find my new blog at triveraguy.com

Still not sure that floods of people will be here to read what I have to say. I have approximately 6,000 followers on Twitter who have clicked through 37,000 times on links I've promoted to other people's blogs. So maybe I can drive some folks to my own stuff. While all of my content between 1997 and 2001 got lost due to several site redesigns and migrations, I'm confident that what is here will be of value to people trying to figure out how digital media fits into their business strategy…matter of fact as I'm going through the archives to add all my content to this blog, I'm thinking much of it is actually pretty darn good if I say so myself. Even the really old stuff.

So do with this thing what people in the Social Media world do…Delicious it, Digg It, Reddit it, StumbleUpon it, Bookmark it, Tweet it, Wave it, Buzz it, Fark it, Fave it, comment on it, snag the RSS feed, but most important, I hope you do with the information what some "fans" have been doing for 14 years: read it and use it help your business.

And let me know what else I can do for you or a topic I can cover.

Dogs on Twitter? Really?

I spoke at the BizTimes BizTech Conference and Expo this week. With only 45 minutes to make the case for using Twitter for business and showing a large audience how to set up, configure, grow, and use Twitter.com and all the tools, I was glad I covered as much as I did.  As I was getting my slide show ready to post online after the event, I realized I was going to have to remove the slides I didn't get to in my presentation, because without the context and an explanation, I would look like a total nut case.

Like the slides that talk about my dogs on Twitter.

Yes, my two pups have a Twitter account. They are @kaleytzumuffet2. Even though they're both in the profile, only Kaley tweets. Miss Muffet is too dumb. They tweet about life in our house from a dog's perspective. They post photos of their adventures. As you'd expect, they're incredibly cute, even when they're being naughty. Sometimes they even Tweet about things I say and do, that I wouldn't post on my own Twitter account.  And while, like the writer of a recent AV Club article, you also may be asking: "C'mon! Dogs with their own Twitter page?" let me explain like I would have, had I not run out of time at my seminar.

The first slide in that section shows a photo of a dog. Relevant to a Twitter seminar because the dog is on Twitter. I know he's on Twitter, because MY dogs follow him. I point out the fact that they follow him because his owner runs a local pet treat business. I also point out the fact that among my dogs' follows/followers are the likes of Petco, Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer), Pet Airways, Paw Prints Magazine and dozens of other businesses that cater to pet owners. Also among their many follows/followers are hundreds of other dogs, along with cats, fish, hamsters at at least one turtle.

It all seems crazy until I disclose the secret: It's not really the animals who are Tweeting! It's really a bunch of humans who love their pets so much that they allow them to channel through Social Media. And so when Petco tweets a coupon, or Cesar Millan talks about what's going to be on the next episode of Dog Whisperer, or Doctors Foster and Smith report a missing dog in Rhinelander, it's a safe bet that a real human will see that Tweet, and not just act on the content, but also spread the word by Re-Tweeting to all their furry friends.

The goal of Social Media as a business tool is to put a face on your brand. Usually it's a human face. But creative businesses know that by thinking outside the box, they can often identify and engage specific target markets. In this case, it's pet owners.  They've figured out how to reach their market, and tap into its passion, and leverage its potential to create tremendous word of mouth.

What's your target market? Are members identifying themselves as communities in Social Media? Are you finding creative ways to reach out to that market? I always say that Social Media is all fun and games until it impacts your brand. And while so many brands spend a lot of time finding out where their brand is being eroded, opportunities like this offer marketers a chance to use Social Media  to proactively re-enforce their brand.

Tweeting dogs, Crazy? Crazy like a fox!

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Tom Snyder @triveraguy Tom Snyder is Founder, President and CEO of Trivera Interactive, a Midwest New Media firm. Tom is a Web guy, wine snob, music junkie, Ex-Milwaukee Radio Guy, HDTV expert, and political wonk.

Trivera's Tom Snyder to Speak at BizTimes Tech Expo

The schedule for the 2010 Biz Tech Conference and Expo has been released, and among its speakers, presenters and facilitators is Trivera President and CEO Tom Snyder.  Tom will be presenting "Why NOW is the perfect time to jump on the Twitter Bandwagon" on Thursday, April 29th at 10:45 am.

So why IS it time for your business to start tweeting? With Foursquare still in its infancy, and Facebook only working for certain types of brands, Twitter provides any-sized businesses the best chance for demonstrable and quick ROI. If you haven't yet begun to utilize Twitter, or your existing Twitter effort is failing to realize its potential, this session is for you. Tom will show you why...and HOW...to use Twitter effectively and start growing your business.

Sponsored by BizTimes Media, the Biz Tech Conference and Expo is being held on April 28-29 at at Wisconsin Exposotion Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin. Seminar and Exhibition registration is complimentary till April 26th.