Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Jimmy Fallon Special

Dear Readers,

This week, I met Jimmy Fallon. Now, being a New Yorker, I rarely mention celebrity spottings because, well, it's just not a New York thing to do. But I have been pretty vocal about the fact that I met Jimmy Fallon by posting it on Twitter and Facebook.

So why is Jimmy so special? Well it's because in a way, he's not. I mean he's special. If you meet him, you'll see he's a truly special guy. He's authentic. He's genuine. He's nice...really talented, smart and truly funny.

The reason why I've been less than 'New York' about my meeting Jimmy is because he's become a buddy. Not a "hey can you come over and help me move?" buddy. Not even a "Margaritas tonight? Meet me us at 9" kind of buddy. More like a Social Media Buddy. Jimmy's my buddy on Twitter. Which is more meaningful, frankly, than him being my friend on Facebook.

For a few months, Jimmy's been following me on Twitter, and I've been following him.

In March, Jimmy showed my Tweets on his blackberry on The Today Show. When I Direct Messaged him a "Thank You! Even my stepmom called me Florida to say she saw it," he replied "Awesome!"

It was kinda awesome, Jimmy.

Then my friends from told me they got tickets to see Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and asked me to come along. When I told Jimmy I was coming to the show, he immediately connected me with his team so that I could meet him afterwards. (The team was great, by the way!)

And that's when we met. We shook hands at first. Then a few minutes later, Jimmy hugged me and said... "I feel like we've known each other - like we're buddies!"
He was right. At that moment, I forgot I was hugging the host of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Or the star of Fever Pitch with Drew Barrymore. Or the anchor for Weekend Update on SNL. In that moment, he was the guy I Tweet and DM who I finally met In Real Life. It felt like it does whenever you meet a Social Media Buddy in real life.

I have a lot of respect for Jimmy. He's using social media not only strategically, but authentically. There's no way he can become 'buddies' with 800,000 Followers. But with the people he connects with, he really connects.

I have no idea why Jimmy follows me on Twitter. I'm not even sure Jimmy knows anymore. But I'm glad he does.

Because Jimmy Fallon's a really special guy. IRL.

Auntie Melanie

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon is up for a Webby Award! You can vote in the People's Voice portion of the awards at
Late Night is under > Online Film and Video > Variety is also nominated for a Webby Award for Best Family/Parenting site! Go to: and click on Websites > Living > Family/Parenting.

The Webby's People's Voice voting ends on April 30th, 2009.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Introducing Our Latest Sponsor: Yoplait Kids

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to announce that Yoplait Kids is the latest Savvy Auntie sponsor!

The campaign runs April 22 - May 22 2009.

If I tweet about Yoplait Kids, please note I will add: #YoplaitKidsSA so you know that the Tweet is sponsored.

Thanks as always for your continued support!

Auntie Melanie

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Presenting the "Webby Award Nominated"!

Dear Readers,

On September 12, 2007, I had a kick-off meeting with the Syrup team. Syrup is the agency I chose to develop and the branding, including the logo. It was a stunningly beautiful day in New York City, just on the cusp of fall, and I remember clearly the walk from the Canal Street exit on the 1 train to 12 Vestry Street in Tribeca that afternoon...

The decision to work with Syrup was an easy decision in some ways, difficult in others. It took exactly 2 months from the day I decided to be an auntrepreneur to this day, the kick-off meeting with the creative team. Looking back, perhaps two months is not a long time considering I had only thought of the idea weeks before. But those two months were full of decisions and indecisions. Working with an agency like Syrup meant a big investment. Were there more economical ways of achieving what I envisioned?

I looked...I spoke with a few smaller agencies. And I spoke with some freelancers who do great work. But none had all the skills I needed to develop It took me about a month to realize if I was going to do this, it had to be done right. There's much more to the development of a website than design. Or programming. There's the user-interface. There's architecture. There's functionality. There's usability. And it all has to embody a brand experience that is meaningful, unique and unforgettable.

When I finally came to the right decision to engage a full-on creative agency, there was only one agency I wanted to work with: Syrup.

I had a wonderful history with Syrup. When I worked at L'Oreal USA corporate, responsible for the company's internal and interactive communications, I agreed to meet with Syrup after a cold-call to my office. They showed me their work and I was immediately impressed. I hired them to redesign L' back in 2005. The new site was nominated for a Webby Award for Best Beauty Site. Because it was a corporate website, not a consumer website, it was especially exciting to be nominated in that category.

Syrup also works with GE, Hearst, Nike, Coty, and many fashion brands. I knew that if I wanted a destination for PANKs (Professional Aunts No Kids), that talked to them without talking down to them, I need to work with an agency that understood women.

I needed to work with Syrup.

So I called Rob Holzer, the CEO - and a friend - to ask him to work with me. Of course this was in the summer of 2007 when digital agencies were so busy, they could hardly keep up with the work they had. And that's exactly what Rob told me when he turned me down.

So I called again. Rob and Jakob, his business partner and Chief Creative Officer, were on their way to a summer retreat for the weekend. I was on the deck of a friend's house in San Francisco, pleading my case. I needed to work with Syrup.

And they finally agreed. They love me and they loved my idea. They would make it work. And boy did they make it work.

So on September 12th, 2007, as I walked across Canal Street, ready to kick-off the work for, champagne bottle in hand, I was confident I was making the right decision. The incredibly talented team at Syrup would help make Savvy Auntie the premier destination for aunts.

And it is.

In that meeting, I told Jakob and his team that I wanted to win a Webby Award for best Family site for It had to be that good.

And it is.

I found out earlier this week that and Syrup are nominated for a Webby Award for Best Family/Parenting Website. The other nominees include Disney's, and Just to be nominated among them is no small feat.

The nomination means that is among the best of the best. And there were tens of thousands of entries for the Webby Awards this year.

I'd like to say thank you to Rob, Jakob, Omino, Dana, Paul, Joerg and everyone on the team that made this happen. And since the nomination is also based on content, I'd like to thank all the Savvy Experts and guest Experts who have contributed. And thanks to all the Savvy Auntie members who have posted their own content to the site. And to Dave Finkelstein of Quarksoft which built the site.

And I'd like to thank you, Dear Readers, who have supported me all this time.

While the Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 650-person judging academy whose members include Internet co-inventor Vinton Cerf, R/GA's Chief Bob Greenberg, "Simpson's" creator Matt Groening, Arianna Huffington, and Harvey Weinstein, there's also a way that you can show your support, if you like.

The Webby Awards People's Voice awards let's fans vote for their favorite in each category. To vote, you must register and go to the Living section and choose Family/Parenting here: It's Auntie vs Goliath as I am up against major-league companies for votes. But that's never stopped us, has it?

It IS an honor to be nominated. Truly. And on May 5th, when the winners are announced, hopefully I'll find myself crossing Canal Street, with a bottle of champagne in my hands....

Auntie Melanie

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Three Things You Must Have for A Successful Start Up.

Dear Readers,

I'm fortunate in that in a relatively short period of time, I've managed to gain some great momentum for my company. And more than ever, I've been receiving emails, Twitter direct messages, Facebook messages, texts and IMs from friends and acquaintances, friends of friends, friends of acquaintances, some virtual and some IRL, all asking me how I "did it."

Naturally, it's a challenge for me to respond to everyone the way I'd like to - which is to give them my undivided attention and support - but I just can't. It's becoming more than I can handle. So I thought I would just simply put my secret recipe here. Of course, as with every recipe, the final outcome is in the hands of the chef. Nevertheless, this is my three-pronged approach for success:

Strong Product. Powerful Niche. Social Influence.

As you know from my story, I invested my life savings into - the product. All of our constituents (consumers, advertisers, media, etc) are human, and they all either 'get it' immediately, or they don't. I believe you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Don't blow it with a product that's not great. You may never get a second chance.

It worked for me. Twenty-three minutes after I launched, I received an email from the digital media buyers for Hasbro. They wanted in. An hour later, Sephora contacted me. And so on.

So product, product product. It can't be good. It's got to be great.

There's no point to a great product, if no one wants to experience it. You need a powerful niche. PANKs - Professional Aunts No Kids - is a segment I carved out of the population of American women that I feel are under-served, untapped, and incredibly powerful.

Know who you are talking to, or they won't listen.

Finally, there's social influence. I realized shortly after I launched that people were interested in my voice and any value I might be able to add. With close to 8000 Followers on Twitter, a regular 'gig' on Fox News, representing brands online and on TV, and introducing sponsored conversations people enjoy being a part of, my influence is a great asset to my company.

By the way, social influence was never a part of my original plan. The social media platforms that have really become invaluable to me (Twitter, Facebook, this Blog), enabled me to realize my passion for connecting with people and being part of online communities, was something that could actually help grow my brand reach. Timing is everything. I started my company as these tools we taking off. It's not too late for you. But go build your voice online. Add value. Create influence.

My advice to anyone thinking about starting a company: Make sure you invest in the development and design of your product, identify a niche that people "get" and use your own social influence to leverage greater reach.

Of course, none of this works without a lot of hard work and determination. So be prepared to work harder than you have ever worked in your life. And be prepared to be happier than you've ever been.

Auntie Melanie