Help back this Buffalo business: The Creation Station

Only nine days remain to back “The Creation Station” CNC Machine Kickstarter campaign and snag yourself a high-quality, low cost CNC router machine and help fund a new Buffalo business.

CNC stands for “computer numeric control” and is a computer controlled machine router that can cut shapes out of whatever material is placed in it. This technology has been used in manufacturing for years and even though there are consumer level CNC machines out there, they are low quality with small work areas according to Victor Konshin, creator of “The Creation Station” CNC Machine.

Konshin designed the machine with a 24″ x 24″ x 5″ work area and with high torque stepper motors, advanced motor drivers and ball bearing lead screws for high-speed cutting with plenty of torque. It can cut foam, wood, plastic, aluminum, brass, stone, ceramic, tile, glass — anything softer than steel.

In addition to the machine, two different software bundles are being offered. The software allows for the design of items (or import designs from other design applications) and specifies the cutting tool paths that the Creation Station will use to cut the shape.  The software will generate the G-code needed to run the Creation Station.

The Creation Station is being offered to backer who pledge $649 or more with additional perks being offered to those at higher levels. The Kickstarter has already been fully funded, but any additional money raised will go towards adding additional features to the machines.

“After fulfilling the orders I hope to have enough cash left over to make a business out of selling CNC machines and other technology products,” said Konshin, president of Innovation Squared LLC. “I have a list of product ideas that I am want to develop. I also want to expand on and improve the Creation Station product.”

For more information, or to back the project, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1417197574/the-creation-station-open-source-cnc-router or

 

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Job alert! Media & Design Specialist for Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education division

One of my blog’s readers wanted my help in spreading the word that the Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education division is looking to hire a full-time media and design specialist.

 Photo by photologue_np “Jobs Help Wanted”. Used under CC BY 2.0. No changes made.


Photo by photologue_np “Jobs Help Wanted”. Used under CC BY 2.0. No changes made.

The job candidate should have experienced in the following:

  • website and social media management
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • graphic design including Adobe Suite (primarily InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop)

Interested in learning more or applying for this job? Head on over to the listing here: http://buffalo.craigslist.org/mar/4570112032.html

Photo by photologue_npJobs Help Wanted”. Used under CC BY 2.0. No changes made.

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Where to find social media and other networking events in WNY

Photo by David “MG_1703” Buffalo, N.Y. City Hall. Used under CC BY 2.0. No changes made.

Photo by David “MG_1703” Buffalo, N.Y. City Hall. Used under CC BY 2.0. No changes made.

I don’t always update this blog like I should, and I noticed I get a lot of searches for social media and networking events and classes in Buffalo/WNY. So, I thought I would write about where I learn about such events and help out anyone looking to attend a class, seminar or discussion.

Advertising Club of Buffalo – Monthly Ad Lab

Taking place the last Tuesday of each month from September to May, Ad Lab selects a different topic pertaining to marketing each month and invites three (or more) WNY professionals to discuss it.

In my opinion, AdLabs are well-worth attending and are the best ongoing events to hear from professionals in the field today. I like hearing about how other professionals utilize different strategies tools and methods in their businesses. Hors d’oeuvre and a cash bar are provided before each event, which allows for informal networking. A Q-and-A session usually follows each talk.

You can become an Ad Club member and get discounted access to each of these events and more, or you can pay per event. Learn more at http://www.advertisingclubofbuffalo.com/.

Social Media Club of Buffalo besocial

They hold a free monthly meeting called beSOCIAL each month to discuss all things social media related. They also hold discussion panel type events where local professionals working in their respective field talk about a topic related to social media and marketing.

You can also become a member or attend the monthly meet-ups for free or pay per event. Like their Facebook page to hear about the monthly meetup. Learn more at http://socialmediaclub.org/buffalo.

PRSA of Buffalo Niagara Chapter – Sunrise Seminars and other events

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Buffalo Niagara Chapter holds event related to public relations profession, including using social media. In today’s marketing field, there is a lot of overlap between public relations and marketing and the tools and methods they use. PRSA holds networking events, seminars and provide online webinars to members.

You can become a member or pay per event. Learn more at http://www.prsabuffaloniagara.org/

Business First

Sign up for their free e-mails and find out about marketing and social media events as well as their own events like “Social Media Boot Camp” or how to write a press release to get coverage for your small business.

Sign up for free e-mail newsletters: http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/newsletter/

Learn about upcoming events http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/calendar/.

Meet-up.com

Meet-Up is free to use and you can join and attend many meet-ups for free. Interesting in learning about WordPress, or managing your small business? How about if you are a woman and are in tech or want to improve your tech skills? There are meet-up groups for all these things.

Cost: usually free for the meet-up. Outside class prices vary. Sing up for an account and find groups at http://www.meetup.com.

Please comment below to let me know if I left anything out.

First photo by David “MG_1703” Buffalo, N.Y. City Hall. Used under CC BY 2.0. No changes made.

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Girl Develop It Buffalo’s 1st Anniversary Nerd Party

Girl Develop It Buffalo celebrated their first year in existence with a “1st Anniversary Nerd Party” back in March at the WNY Books Arts Center in Buffalo.

Girl Develop It Buffalo 1st Anniversary Nerd Party March 2014 at the WNY Books Arts Center in Buffalo

Elena Moiseeva, founder of the Girl Develop It Buffalo chapter, addresses the crowd.

The party featured short talks and presentations on a variety of topics from how to get media coverage to learning a new programming language.

The group is dedicated to providing affordable and accessible programs to women (and men!) who want to learn software development through mentorship and hands-on instructed classes. The cost for classes varies, but the MeetUp Group and events like Code and Coffee Night are free to join and attend.

The next Code and Coffee is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 19 at dig, 640 Ellicott St. in Buffalo.

Photos from Girl Develop It Buffalo’s 1st Anniversary Nerd Party below:

Audience at Girl Develop It Buffalo 1st Anniversary Nerd Party March 2014 Swag from Girl Develop It Buffalo 1st Anniversary Nerd Party March 2014 Attendees at Girl Develop It Buffalo 1st Anniversary Nerd Party March 2014 at the WNY Books Arts Center in Buffalo Attendees at Girl Develop It Buffalo 1st Anniversary Nerd Party March 2014 at the WNY Books Arts Center in Buffalo Girl Develop It Buffalo 1st Anniversary Nerd Party March 2014 at the WNY Books Arts Center in Buffalo Girl Develop It Buffalo 1st Anniversary Nerd Party March 2014 at the WNY Books Arts Center in Buffalo

Kevin Purdy

Kevin Purdy, a local freelance writer and former editor for Lifehacker.com, talks to the audience on how to get media coverage.

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How social media is like fashion; Crista Botticello, owner of Ooo la la Boutique and Fashion Truck

Before she sends out a tweet or posts something to Facebook, Crista Botticello, owner of Ooo la la Boutique, a clothing store in East Aurora, N.Y. and the Ooo la la Fashion Truck, thinks ‘Why am I posting this? What value does this bring to people’s lives?”

“That’s what I go for on a daily basis,” she said at Social Media Club Buffalo’s “Perfect Pairings” event on March 25. “I really believe in engagement,” she said. “You can have 10,000 followers, but if you don’t get anyone to comment, like or share your post, then it really doesn’t’ matter. “

Botticello, who started using social media for business at the age of 19 and still runs her business’s social media, wanted to use Facebook differently than other businesses. She utilized storytelling in order to do that.

“I started my Facebook page and I really built around it around telling my story,” she said. “I believe entrepreneurs are the best story tellers. I did not post clothing or merchandise; I posted news articles or features I was in or about my business. I really wanted to build a core group of people that knew me, followed me and loved me.”

She then slowly transitioned her Facebook business page to inviting customers to events, posting sales, coupons and photos of outfits. She also held in-store scavenger hunts where she hid a hammer in the store and invited her Facebook fans to come find it in the store for 50% off any item of their choice.

“People would come in and bring their kids and search in the store,” she said. “It was a mess, but it was fun and it got people to really get engaged in the Facebook post. We really try and do different things like that.”

Two years ago, she launched a mobile fashion truck after being inspired by Buffalo’s own growing food truck industry. Launching the truck also helped expand her brand and business gaining her followers who lived outside of East Aurora. She started a Twitter account which she uses to tweet out her truck’s location and events.

She said Twitter acts more like a “networking tool” for her– a way to send her followers to her business’s Instagram feed or Facebook page. She views Twitter as a valuable platform to be on for her business.

“There’s a lot of news on there (Twitter) that you don’t get on Facebook and there are a lot younger people (on Twitter) than Facebook,” she said. “We use it as a networking tool, not a selling platform.”

Instagram is the most active social media platform for her business, especially since Facebook has become so over saturated.

“It’s (Facebook) become what e-mail was, because none of us check our e-mail anymore, it’s become all spam,” she said. “That’s kind of what Facebook is to me now. People are transferring to Twitter or Instagram. It’s that ‘what’s next?’ kind of question we all need to be looking for. “

“It (Instagram) works for us because it’s that younger crowd that I use to get on Facebook,” she said. “They have gone to Instagram now because they don’t want to be sharing photos anymore with their parents.”

She uses Instagram to post outfit photos, photos of her truck out at a location and also for contests.

“Social media is like fashion because it’s about knowing what to wear first; being the first person to set the trend. I think it’s important to keep your customer engaged in every type of business, not just fashion.”

Part three of three parts covering the talks given at the Perfect Pairings Event Tuesday, March 25. Read about the first talk with  Cowork Buffalo founders Kevin Purdy and Brian Fending and the second talk with Katie Buseck of Event Elements.

The event, sponsored by Social Media Club of Buffalo, featured several Western New York area business owners who used social media in order to promote their businesses.

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Event: Social Media Marketing – Beyond Facebook and Twitter, April 29

“Social Media Marketing – Beyond Facebook and Twitter” will be the topic of April’s AdLab event at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 29 at the Saturn Club in Buffalo.

“Social Media Marketing - Beyond Facebook and Twitter”

“Social Media Marketing – Beyond Facebook and Twitter”

Learn about other social media networks and platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Tumblr and how to maximize each site’s usefulness as a marketer.

For more information, or to buy tickets online, visit http://www.advertisingclubofbuffalo.com/adlab/upcomingadlab/.

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Event: BarCamp Buffalo, April 26

The seventh BarCamp Buffalo will be held from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, April 26 at the Foundry, 298 Northampton St. in Buffalo.

BarCamp Buffalo Buffalo's Tech Unconference

BarCamp Buffalo
Buffalo’s Tech Unconference

This year’s format is a little different by featuring four different “tracks” of 30-minute talks occurring simultaneous. Attendees will need to pick which talks they will want to attend.

BarCamp is not just for those interested in technology, but encompasses all manner of topics. Topics for this year’s BarCamp from the website’s online registrations’s page include: “A guide to the first six months of building a startup in Buffalo,” “What It’s Like to Do Investigative Reporting,”  “Papercut, art process of,”  “Let’s play: How to use play to boost creativity in the workplace,” and “Terrariums 101: Sustainable Indoor Environments.”

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, or for more information, visit http://barcampbuffalo.org.

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Event: Building 21st Century Leaders for the Common Good, May 3

The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Greater Buffalo will hold their 2014 summit “Building 21st Century Leaders for the Common Good” 8:30 a.m.to  5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3 at the Canisius College Montante Cultural Center in Buffalo.

Young Nonprofit Professional's Network Greater Buffalo Logo

Young Nonprofit Professional’s Network Greater Buffalo

The full-day program will include such topics as “Fundraising 101” presented by The Association of Fundraising Professionals of Buffalo, “Creating a Marketing Plan” presented by The Advertising Club of Buffalo and “Strategic Planning” presented by Leadership Buffalo.

The summit is designed to provide an opportunity for training, leadership development, and networking for YNPN Greater Bflo members and other young nonprofit leaders.

For a complete schedule of events, more information or to register online for the event, visit http://ynpngreaterbflo.org/.

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Promoting your event using social media; tips from Katie Buseck of Event Elements

Part two of three parts covering the talks given at the Perfect Pairings Event Tuesday, March 25. Find the first talk here. The event, sponsored by Social Media Club of Buffalo, featured several Western New York area business owners who used social media in order to promote their businesses.

Event promotion in the age of social media is not only about creating a buzz before an event, but also during an event, something that Katie Buseck, event director for Event Elements, has done for such high-profile events like the Buffalo Soup-Fest, The National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival and the Music is Art Festival. She gave advice and ideas on how to do this at Social Media Club Buffalo’s Perfect Pairings event on March 25.

Hashtags are huge

When developing your social media strategy to promote your event, create the hashtag first and be consistent in using it across various social media platforms said Buseck. Be sure to place it at the end of posts.

“The hashtag is a big thing that has gotten even bigger now that it’s all integrated between Instagram,  Facebook and Twitter,” said Buseck. “It’s very important that it’s a consistent hashtag, so that somebody on Facebook searching for #soupfest14; they find the same thing; it’s a consistent message. Get your team on the same page with the hashtag.”

“People are so used to seeing them (hashtags) these days that it’s not going to be a weird thing to see anymore.  We are at the point where we are used to seeing it enough on places other than Twitter.”

Facebook

Use Facebook to create an event as a way of keeping all attendees informed about updates to your event, including cancellations and schedule changes.

“As long as you don’t disable it, those postings (for the event) pop up as a notification (to the people attending),” she said.

Use Facebook to create a buzz for your event by posting photos from last year’s event to remind them why this is an event that they should go to. Facebook is also a great platform for frequently asked questions and engaging with attendees.

“It’s a good way of catching your own mistakes,” she said. “If someone asks ‘How much are ticket sales? It’s not on your website.’ you can respond to that and then include it on your website. It also shows you’re a real person and your there to engage with them.”

You can also gather ideas from your fans and attendees on Facebook as well.

“I was involved in the Powder Keg Festival one year and we were stuck for what kind of events that we could do that were easy for us to make happen, but also people are interested in,” she said. “We put it out to the public, ‘What do you want to see at this event?’ and it blew up. I had 30 something comments, I had people private messaging me, I had people giving me website links; it was this crazy thing and we ended up using a few of those resources at the event that I never would have thought of on my own.”

Twitter

Hashtags are very important for promoting events via Twitter, along with live-tweeting your event.

“It’s a way to show people what they are missing and what they could have done and encouraging attendees to return again next year,” she said.

Buseck also uses a live twitter wall; a twitter stream projected onto a wall or screen showing all tweets using the hashtag for the event. This allows anyone to participate by using the hashtag for the event.

“It makes people feel like they are part of it (the event),” she said.

Another way to make people feel like they are part of the event is to show “behind-the-scenes” photos showing the setup for the event like a microphone check for a music event.

“Little stuff like that; people love that,” she said. “With Twitter, you can do in-the-moment, happening-right-now things.”

Instagram

Instagram is another platform that utilizes hashtags and you can use them to search and see what people had to say about your event said Buseck.

Instagram is also another great social media platform to use photos and (15 second) videos of behind-the-scenes footage.

“It’s a way to create buzz and show off your event,” she said.

YouTube.com

For Soup-Fest, her social media team shot short three-minute videos with the founder of Soup-Fest talking to different soup vendors and sampling their soups.  These videos were posted immediately to YoutTube.com, Facebook and other social media platforms without editing or retakes. This got people invested in the event and was another way to show off and get people interested in the event.

“This is a new thing I have used and something I am going to definitely implement further,” she said.

Foursquare

Buseck recommends you contact your event’s venue and make sure that they “own” their location on Foursquare.

Venues that own their location can then add events to their Foursquare locations which people can use to check in at the venue. Information on how to do this can be found on the Foursquare website.

“It’s another way – it pushes to Facebook, it pushes to Twitter and you can say ‘I’m here for this (event) and it gets that awareness out,” she said. “That’s something I feel that people are not familiar with and that would be the one thing for Foursquare.”

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not a platform that most people would think of using for events, but it definitely has its niche for professional events like insurance clubs or a judge’s conference said Buseck.

“If you want to meet or reach out to certain professionals you can create events on LinkedIn and you can invite people to events on LinkedIn,” she said. “You can easily segregate your audience and find out who would be interested in attending. It’s good for people looking for networking opportunities or in specific fields; use it to reach out to those key people.”

Other tips for using social media

Figure out what platforms to use to promote your event based on your target audience.

“I have done an insurance conference before and a lot of them honestly don’t tweet, so I would not really make a Twitter profile for the insurance conference of Buffalo” said Busek. “But we would definitely make a Facebook and use LinkedIn.”

Create contests and giveaway and always give away a pair of admission tickets to your event as a prize.

“The ones I have had the most success with are the ‘like and share’ contests on Facebook where you post a photos or funny joke and have people enter by liking or sharing that photo or post,” she said. “Not only do you get the like, but they share and their entire feed sees it and then someone from that shares it and it creates this crazy train. You randomly pick a winner from the likes and shares.”

Do on-site giveaways like most-creative tweet using the event’s hashtag or “best selfie” at the event.

Create a mobile application for your event. Include venue maps and allow attendees to check in on the app.

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Tips for funding a successful Kickstarter campaign in Buffalo from Cowork Buffalo founders

Part one of three parts covering the talks given at the Perfect Pairings Event Tuesday night. The event, sponsored by Social Media Club of Buffalo, featured several Western New York area business owners who used social media in order to promote their businesses.

For Cowork Buffalo founders Kevin Purdy and Brian Fending, Kickstarter not only helped fund their business (funded at 200% of their original goal), but it also helped market their business.

“The marketing impact of doing a Kickstarter and mailing it in the first week and really getting it out there is huge,” said Fending. “That was probably one of our biggest marketing pushes to date, around this Kickstarter. It got people not just making suggestions, but actually opening up their wallets to make it a place that they would want to work.”

The campaign helped to bring in new members to their coworking space, now located on Main Street. The idea for starting such a space came from similar spaces existing in other cities and from a desire for such space in Buffalo expressed online via social media and in e-mail groups, especially Buffalo Open Coffee.

“One of the things that made it easy for us to –in 20 days—to go from, ‘Hey, let’s do (this)’ to ‘We got it,’ was that we had years of ‘warm leads’,” said Fending. “We had a whole bunch of people who wanted to see this (Cowork Buffalo) happen. We reached out to those warm leads and through e-mails and phone calls they became members of this business.”

They also used social media to “ask for help” in coming up with pricing for their coworking space rates along with feedback on the location of the current space and problems with it such as parking.

“One of the reasons we have such a long-term customer base is because we made people ‘part of the thing’ which really helped out when we did our Kickstarter project,” said Purdy.

“When we put that up (Kickstarter campaign) had a tremendous response in the first few days,” said Fending. “People would find the Kickstarter and tweet at us (@coworkbuffalo), then find the Facebook page, then pledge their support.”

In order to make the campaign a success, Kickstarter gave them the following advice, “Focus on the community, not the product.”

“We really focused on what we were trying to achieve and what you could expect if you helped us out with it,” said Purdy.

They also shot video for their campaign, but in the end, never used it because they felt the video was not true to their company.

“Why are we pretending that we’re this professional brand?” said Purdy “We’re four dudes that wear tech conference t-shirts to work.  We’re more joking than professional; we’re more rough-edged than polished.”

A piece of advice to future Kickstarter campaigners – don’t start your campaign in the middle of December. The campaign “lagged off” after launching, due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and because people’s attention was elsewhere. Plus their cowork offices were closed due to snow and school snow days.

“We did a massive marketing push in the last few days (of the campaign),” said Fending. “We strived for every tweet to include –not just a link to convert —but to give people something to talk about. In every piece of social we put out there; we gave people something to talk about.”

“Consistency (in your marketing campaign) is key,” said Purdy. “The drop-off (in our campaign) was noticeable.”

Purdy also said to have a plan in place for delivering perks if your campaign is successful before your campaign ends.

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