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Posts Tagged ‘SUNY Oswego’

Maria Snyder – Social Media Consultant / Certified Public Accountant

How many people do you know who’d put a potential competitor on their blog? I’ve always said that I don’t have competitors, just other people who do things I do, and that everyone decides who they’d like to hire based on how comfortable they are with that person, and that all of us appeal to someone, often someone different from ourselves.

With that in mind I’m proud to share this interview with Maria Snyder of Maria Snyder Consulting, a social media consultant and certified public accountant (what’s with all these accounting people getting into social media anyway?) in the Syracuse area whom I’ve yet to meet in person, but I hear is pretty nice so it’ll happen one of these days. She went to SUNY Oswego; that’s good enough for me. Enjoy!

1. Tell us a little something about yourself.

I’m a transplanted Syracuse, originally from Amsterdam, NY and simply love this area. My exceptional hard work ethics come from blue collar parents who deserve more credit than me. Fiercely independent, a music lover and scary smart is how many friends would describe me, they give me too much credit. I’m the coolest Certified Public Accountant you’ll ever meet. I’m very social, that person who makes friends and connections easily, got a few minutes?

2. What made you decide to get into social media consulting?

Because I can speak to anyone comfortably, the online transition I made from posting on music forms in 1998 to social media management / consulting seemed natural. I promoted a few events on the pre-Google net back then and received inquiries to help others. Once social networks became popular I started getting paid [people threw money at me] to set up and manage profiles. I took a few courses then turned professional and launched Maria Snyder Consulting in 2010.

3. Are most of your clients local or around the country?

I’ve worked with some non-profits locally, notably the Music Industry Conference however landing a paying local client has been challenging. Internationally I’ve worked with a band based in Sydney, Australia and a restaurant in London, UK. The appearance that I’m based everywhere is easy to pull off since most of my output is online. Call me [maybe*] [hint to the viral video craze] if your interested in my services.

4. I notice you’re in a lot of social media places; do you believe everyone has the time to get into all of these or should they target certain things, and why?

Yes I’m in more than a few places [thanks for noticing] because I need to know how to advise business what network fits their target and marketing. My content is shared across many networks because I want it to reach my audience who could be anywhere. I’m seeking cultivation, bringing together the collection of people who are interested in my topic. I firmly believe you should start small with one network [Google Plus] and build a following, engage that targeted audience, build authority, create value and slowly build into a second network in order to target another audience.

Targeting your audience to see [and read] your posts is the most effective way for business to nurture/create authority and value. The audience comes first. Why start with Google+, it’s Google and integrated into search engines! Studies show that the online demographic of consumers is increasingly online, the yellow pages are just getting dusty.

5. I’m big into the concept of blogging; what’s your take on it for most businesses?

Blogging is the best way to engage customers. Business’s who blog have a higher customer satisfaction rating. A blog [resource hub / knowledge base] can be called anything and is curated on the business website or through a series of posts or on a social network [such as Google+]. What’s important is that the blog is a dialogue based message evolving into customer acquisition in the form of reputation heightening, authority building, and business success.

The blog is your conversation with your customer. The old fashioned monologue is being ignored. A blog should make you think and be about you the customer, not the business. I’m slowly making the “you” transition myself, it’s evolved over time to be somewhat of a social media instructional nature to how to fix [fill in the blank] and advice pieces. What do you think about my blog?

6. The Syracuse area likes to brag about how connected it is but I’m not convinced yet. What’s your take on how well people throughout central New York are integrated with social media?

Great question! When I started my huge push into social media even before my website launched I had no idea how big SU was in social media. I just connected, followed, friend-ed, wrote, liked and built up a substantial following for about a year previous to 2010. At some point I found a social media grading website and was shocked to see how I compared to many in the area. I was a twitter-elite, number 37, just ahead of [WOW] SU’s iSchool.

That revelation happened at some point in 2011. I had no idea there were social media rankings or that SU had the amazing Anthony Rotolo (@rotolo) as a professor [we were featured in a news story together yet separately interviewed on CNY Central in early 2011]! At the #140cuse conference this past April I was convinced that on campus at least a large social media connection exists. As far as the CNY regional perspective, I’m not quite sold there is a large connection outside of SU. I have seen many more business’s promote their social network page on TV and radio and have yet to see quantified statistics of how many active users there are here, I’d guess a lot though. I’m connected with a lot, that is for sure.

7. What would you say to someone who’s worried about messing up on one of the social media platforms, especially when we know it’s happened to some people and companies?

I would advise all to educate themselves and learn from others mistakes and “mess ups” before diving in to any social media platform. Especially for business, a reputation is at stake. Trust and information is an important issue, a well trusted media manager or consultant is the best resource to monitor, engage and observe company mentions, discussions and posts on social media. Criticism should never be ignored and social media business profiles perfected before they go live. Treat social media and your customers active on networks with respect, courtesy and informed decisions as a means to prevent [but not eliminate] damage.

8. What are the top 3 recommendations you’d make to someone just learning about social media marketing?

My top three recommendations are:

1) learn social media from the best [Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith and Chris Brogan] to start, read and absorb everything they write.

2) get formal training [Let’s Get Social, Firepolemarketing, iSchool at SU]

3) learn how to swim before you dive in so that the reputation you build starts small before your big splash!

9. I see you graduated from my alma mater, SUNY Oswego. Did you love the experience, and how many sunset pictures did you take?

SUNY Oswego is near and dear to my heart, it really is a special place. Friendships I made and memories I cherish are ongoing, we visit often. I absolutely loved college and would still be enrolled however I graduated in 1989 and had to start a career eventually. I took and continue to take hundreds of sunset pictures, it’s the #1 best place in the world to see the sunset, get up there soon!

10. Give us a closing statement and, if you have any current promotion going on, let us know.

In closing I’d like to thank you Mitch for allowing me this interview opportunity. If you are a local small to medium sized business and you are not on social media you are missing quite an opportunity because your customers are there. Contact me, read my blog and let’s get started today. Visit my blog to learn more.  

Our Tribute To Kathy

Every once in awhile one has to get a little bit more personal on a blog; this is that post for this blog at this time.

On October 4th of this year my friend Kathy Lawrie Mingolelli passed away from cancer. It seems that these days cancer touches many of us in so many ways that I doubt there’s anyone that doesn’t know someone affected in some way by it. Thing is, she had beaten a different form of cancer years ago, only to have this more aggressive version crop up on her.

Here’s the thing. Until the day of the funeral, many of us who didn’t like where she lived didn’t even know about it. I happened to be out of town both on the day she passed and on the day of the funeral so I wouldn’t have been there anyway, but other friends of ours were stunned to see the news after the fact. We felt cheated out of our right to pay tribute to someone who had been a great friend of ours in college and, to some of us, outside of college.

So, a few of us decided we wanted to get together to pay tribute in our own way. It turned out to be 5 of us that took on the challenge of getting ourselves up to the State University of New York at Oswego, on the shores of Lake Ontario, which I talked about earlier this summer when I went to a portion of Alumni Reunion Weekend. The names, whom I shall name based on the order as shown on the ladder, are Debbie, Leda, Wanda, Chrissie and of course me.

It was a strange mixture of the new and the old. We all met at Cold Stone Creamery, which definitely wasn’t there years ago, because yours truly “needed” a milkshake. Then we went to Canale’s Restaurant, which was there when we were students, and where all of us had been at one time or another. The strange thing is that none of us ordered a traditional Italian meal, although one of the ladies, Chrissie, had an antipasto salad. I had a burger; it’s all I had room for after my milkshake.

by Samantha Decker via Flickr

After we ate it was time to head to the university. We parked in front of the administration building and started walking. We hoped to take a quick trek through the old Student Union but the building is presently closed for asbestos removal. So we headed to the new Campus Center, which is truly an amazing and amazingly large building, which most of the ladies hadn’t seen before. We walked the entire length of that building taking it all in before we reached the end and walked out on the side close to the dorms we used to live in.

We didn’t immediately go to the dorms though. We decided to head to the lake, first stopping at the old wooden fence to take in the changes, which is mainly the growth of the trees, which I got a picture of with the lake being able to be seen beyond. We were lucky to find a couple of students to take pictures of the group of us on all of our phones, then we walked down what I kept calling the rickety metal stairs behind Johnson Hall so that we were on the rocky shore of Lake Ontario. The waves were strong but the waters weren’t overly high, and the sound of those waves brought back memories for all of us.

We endeavored to take a walk to the next set of stairs, probably risking at least serious injury since none of us were wearing the proper shoes, but we got it done safely, and were able to find another student to take the picture of us on the stairs. I got a standard sunset shot, even though the sun wasn’t fully out on the day.

As we got to the top of the stairs the ladies decided they wanted to see the changes to their original dorm. Back then two of the dorms were segregated male and female, and they were joined, so to speak, by a cafeteria in the middle. When I met them I lived in the male dorm, Riggs, and they lived in Johnson Hall; I was a year ahead of them. These days the dorms are truly joined by the cafeteria and are coed. We got lucky in getting someone to allow us to go up to their old floor and I stayed in the hall, winded a bit from the walking, while they went to see their old rooms and the changes to them; after all, it was 30 years, and there were significant changes.

We then tried to get into my dorm, but it was closed off to us. Instead we walked up a couple of dorms to the last one, Scales Hall, where a couple of them had lived years later, and they enjoyed that tour, as I stayed outside and took in the fresh air; there was a steady wind, and I was reliving that wind, as it’s a prominent feature when you live that close to a great lake.

Finally we’d had our fill, and we walked back to the Campus Center via the health center and library route before finally deciding it was time to head back to the Syracuse area. We took a quick drive by the new townhomes on the west side of campus, which is shown behind the picture of the lagoon I shot, and then back to town. We talked at Wanda’s house for awhile, then went out for dinner before I came home and they stayed to listen to a local musician who’s been making music in this town for close to 50 years; I hadn’t realized Todd Hobin was that old!

Sunday morning we met at Julie’s, as I’d told them about the wonderful breakfasts there, and they fully enjoyed themselves. It’s amazing how, at least in my eyes, more than 30 years have gone by and they all look the same. Trust me, I certainly don’t look like I do in that picture at the top, a great shot of me and Kathy that I never knew existed; I was 19 then.

And then it was over. We hugged and promised we’d get together more than once every 30 years from this point on. Since Wanda and I live about 10 minutes from each other, we always had that covered. It’s too bad that the circumstances of our reliving our past were negative, but weekends like this are nothing but positive, and everyone had wonderful memories of Oswego, Lake Ontario, and central New York in general.

That’s what this area is all about.  

My Quasi-Reunion At Oswego State

Two weekends ago it was the 30th anniversary of when I graduated college; well, it was the reunion for it anyway, since graduation was actually in May. The place was the State University of New York at Oswego, also known as SUNY Oswego or SUCO; never liked that last one.

I decided I wasn’t going to pay for all the activities because, frankly, I did that for my 10th reunion and ended up only knowing 3 people there, one being my friend Bob and the other being the Ciotti twins; they won’t see this and they’re both married now so I’m using their names. There was just something about my generation that seems to have brought about a great apathy; my classes high school and college graduations are poorly attended.

What the colleges do now is invite 3 classes to show up; at least they did that this time around. So, along with everyone else who celebrated a deca-reunion of some type, they invited the class before and the class afterwards as well. I know what their thought is, which is to get more people to show up and make it seem like a big success, and I actually think it’s a brilliant idea, except one still might not know anyone.

This time around someone from the class after mine called me and asked if I was going to show up for anything; her name is Christine. We hadn’t seen each other in about 15 years when she had gone up with her husband for some event and my wife and I joined them for dinner. This time around she left her husband at home and my wife was at work, so we decided to go to breakfast instead.

I met her at Hart Hall, which is in the middle of campus, and since she had to wait for her friend to get ready we decided to walk to our old dorms, which she said had been renovated. Man, they were, and they’re super nice! Not only that but the modern dining room was outstanding as well, and the two dorms, which used to be the men’s and women’s dorms separately, Riggs and Johnson, are now both coed, connected, and air conditioned; wow! There’s also major construction projects going on around campus to both class buildings and some of the other dorms.

We got a chance to walk down to the shores of Lake Ontario, which was slightly perilous. The school has let the area around the lake by the dorms overgrow, so you have to find the stairs behind Johnson to walk down; funny, I don’t remember them being so small or the steps being so steep when I was in college. The water was beautiful as always and there were both boats far out and ducks fairly close but it was also higher than normal, probably from all the spring rain, and thus we only had a small patch of slippery rocks to stand on. But I did get a nice picture of the ducks, though none of my other pictures around the lake came out. The very top picture, in case you’re wondering, is of the lagoon on campus.

I got that picture much later. First we decided to go to Wades for breakfast, the famous breakfast place that I had thought was closed and taken over by Byrne Dairy. At least that had been reported a couple of years ago, but it turns out the deal never went through. Anyone in central New York that hasn’t gone to Wades is missing out on one of the classic breakfast events in the area. It’s tiny, which means if you get there too late the lines are long and you’ll have a long wait; ours was 50 minutes. The waitresses remember everything you order, which is pretty neat. And my recommendation is to get an omelet, which comes with real sliced potatoes and onions instead of those hash browns that are dry and cubed, and if you’re smart you’ll also order the cinnamon raisin toast, which they bake on their own. True, at my age now it’s slightly salty, but it’s out of this world.

After breakfast we went to what they’re now calling the west side of campus (we used to call it “new” campus and the side along the like “old” campus) and these new townhomes they’ve put up for upper classmen. We were there maybe 3 minutes before more former students and a guide showed up so we could be part of a tour.

The townhomes fit either 4 or 6 people, and each person gets their own room. They share the living room, and in a 4-person townhome all the rooms are on the second level, in the 6-person townhome there are 3 rooms on the second level and 3 rooms on the third, and each level has its own bathroom. They’re also coed, but so far no issues. And in the overall complex there’s kind of a lodge that contains a game room on the second level, and it looks out onto the lagoon, which is where I took the picture above; told you I’d come back to it.

At that point I took the ladies back to their dorm and I came back home; that is, after chasing Chris down because she’d left stuff in my car, and the people at the dorm wouldn’t open the door and she was on her cell phone for about 15 minutes. Lucky for her, a quick stop at Cold Stone Creamery kept me in town for a little while, as one of the items was her camera.

I love Oswego, and I love Oswego State University as well (oh yeah, another name). And I have to say that if I was 30 years younger, I’d love going there now, especially if I could get one of those townhouses.

Copyright 2011