I don’t want to brag, but we’re pretty good at what we do. We have been successful with some really big clients for a lot of years now.
So we understand the nuances of marketing and we are very comfortable implementing technology — what purpose do we fulfil going to a Social Media Club meeting? The answer is: to learn just how much we DON’T KNOW.
No matter who you are, social media is likely new to you. The ROI is hard to define. The technology changes all the time and what was working 2 months ago may not be working so great today.
The biggest thing I have learned in conversation with club members, experts and novices is that you might be able to be good at a few tools, even great at one or two, but nobody has time to be an expert at all the things that make up social media.
Social media is a term that describes a huge group of technology applications like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and dozens more. This post isn’t going to discuss them all in detail but I will talk about what we use and how SMC Niagara has impacted my decisions.
The biggest thing that social media does is take away the faceless aspect of a company’s online presence and help them become accessible on a personal level. So, what does that mean? It means that I build up a trusting relationship with someone I interact with on Twitter or Facebook by talking about hockey, comics, or what I am doing in Niagara and if that person is, say, Dave Shaw (@aosdave on Twitter), at Advanced Office Systems and I like what he says and he is sincere and funny and real, then the next time I am looking for a printer solution maybe I call him because I like him and he has earned a chance at my business.
Most businesses don’t have the resources to implement more than a few social media strategies and a small business has to be particularly ruthless about their choices, because as I indicated earlier, the ROI is unclear and the time commitment can be significant.
I have maintained a personal Facebook account for years and have launched a Facebook Page for managing an RPG club and then this year for EmbraceNiagara and Wumpyre. The purpose of these has been to create another place for us to post news and to help with community building as our work reaches more people. Real fans want to LIKE our stuff and this gives them opportunity to reach out to us and a simple way to give us some support.
Twitter is fast becoming my favourite social media choice. I love how fast and succinct it is and find that the group conversations are rich and the opinions are diverse and rarely combative.
Katie has been interested in Pinterest since inception and uses our board to post cool, strange and funny things that don’t really relate to our mission here at EmbraceNiagara but allows our audience to get to see another side of us as people.
The 2 products we need to do more with are Google+ and LinkedIn.
Google+ has all the tools for sharing, community building, communicating and the added advantage of connecting that information to your actual website and online data. One problem is that a social media tool to communicate with none of my friends that are using it means that I am building a profile for a future me who is driving his flying car and engaged in chat over Google+ with his dog-walking-robot-friend.
LinkedIn should serve our business – especially our actual company, High Concept Media – but it seems so dry and dull and doesn’t really meet my criteria for social media. The process of filling out all those details has simply made me look at LinkedIn and then the X-Box, and then LinkedIn and then the X-Box and then play NHL 12 until bedtime. I have to find the will, because people are finding great work as a result of LinkedIn and we also enjoy making money from time to time (so we can buy NHL 13).
So, I have gotten completely off-topic (another advantage to those character limits in Twitter). Sorry. The point of this blog was to talk about what I have gotten out of social media and particularly as it applies to the Social Media Club of Niagara (Twitter @smcniagara).
A lot of that information I just shared comes from opinions I have formed as a result of the conversations and experiences of the people in attendance at SMC meetings.
The group is designed to be informal in nature and as a result there is typically a decent mix of social media experts, average users who post a picture of their dog on Facebook and some novices who are trying to decide if they need to incorporate a social media strategy into their business.
There are Social Media Clubs all over the world, and the local Niagara chapter had their first meeting back in May of 2010.
The founders are local social media experts Janice Arnoldi & Robin McPherson (Arnoldi:McPherson), Adam White (JMR Logics), and Mitch Fanning (Fruition Interactive). The club was formed when they realized they were all putting on presentations and engaged in public awareness in different corners of Niagara and would be more effective (and have more fun) if they worked together as a single group serving the whole region. The first meeting drew more than 30 people and made it clear that Niagara was a region with a considerable interest and curiosity in social media.
SMC Niagara holds free open meetings every month — this past one was at Gord’s Place in St. Catharines. Regardless of your experience, if you are interested in social media or just have some questions, this is the place for you. I learn something every time.
For more information on Social Media Club of Niagara click here. Another great resource to understand the psychology of social media from someone who truly gets it is Scott Stratten (he doesn’t live in Niagara, but is still good Ontario boy).