Image via CrunchBase
An interesting and special event happened in North Devon last night a group of individuals, whom I mainly know through Twitter, came together in the same room and gave a presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of social media. Amongst the presenters were local experts @llamakevin @SarahLEscott, @robertz @TollerBeattie & others!
In the crowd were @paulkclews, @WhispersWW, @Bridaldesigns and taking Twit minutes was @NaomiChapmanSMM.
The presentation was given the hash tag #ndsme and the gathering were actively encouraged to tweet whilst the presentation was in progress.
First up was @robertz who runs a communication company and also wears many hats in North Devon. Robert mentioned that the social networking was about building relationships and not direct sales. Social media was great for creating awareness and he described how he had personally met people through the media and that it created local community. It was good for local enterprise and he described some of the campaigns that he had successfully run on Twitter.
However, on balance, he also mentioned that social media does not replace traditional marketing elements. It still needs planning, a schedule, content and more importantly to maintain interest.
Second up was Sarah Escott @SarahLEscott who owned a marketing company in Barnstaple. Sarah described inbound marketing on Linked In. She advised on personal branding and the five “must do’s” for your Linked In profile. Sarah went onto mention how Linked In could open doors to you, through introductions, and that there was still a social etiquette to observe. There was a question from the floor as to how to deal with unknown “befrienders” and Sarah described various techniques as to how to deal with this sensitive issue.
Next up was @llamakevin whom has two businesses: a holiday cottage, with llamas for company, and an infrared heating company. Kevin has over 3000 followers and his top tips for Twitter included:
- Be professional and polite.
- Don’t stop tweeting just join in.
- Do not be controversial.
- Retweets are good! (RT’s).
- Give balance to your personal/business sides.
Kevin went on to say that he did not use automated Tweets, as they were a bit impersonal. There was a question from the floor as to how to gain more followers. Suggestions included:
- Looking at people’s lists of Twitter and following them
- Use #FF follow Friday for those people you find interesting.
Chris Peyton followed on from Kevin. Chris runs a digital media company in North Devon and described some of his personal experience with Twitter. Chris gave several examples and demonstrated that social networking was a good way to win or lose business! However, he went on to say social media could be part of a greater marketing plan and described some of the valid points to consider before using social media in a larger organisation. They are listed as follows:
- Why are you using or intending to use social media and have you done your research?
- Who in the organisation will undertake the task?
- Training for the individual undertaking the social media task?
- Do you want to outsource the task to an agency?
- What happens to the business when the social media individual leaves, is sick or on holiday?
He summarised by saying before you jump into social media you need to ask yourself what you want out of it and how will it integrate into a larger business structure.
Last on was John Dunkley from @TollerBeattie who gave some amusing and interesting anecdotes regarding social media and some of the precautions one should take for preventing falling foul of the law. More details can be seen on the Barnstaple Chamber of commerce website.