Recently I attended a local E-Business event at the Menzies Hotel (pronounced Ming-iss) in North Ayrshire which focused on social media and how we, as busy business owners, should be participating in what’s being termed a ‘revolution’ in marketing.
The event was organised by North Ayrshire Council.
Opening the morning session after everyone had their fill of coffee and (Menzies) shortbread was TV and Radio Presenter Colin Kelly. He introduced the gathering, of around a hundred people, to the most commonly known and used Social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – and some of what he called “The good, the bad and the downright mad’ aspects of these extremely popular sites.
Colin’s presentation was highly engaging as he proceeded to highlight how social media can work for, and against, a business in just the click of a button; and just how damaging that click can be! He also did a quick show-of- hands poll to see how many in the room used the sites he’d named – almost everyone used Facebook, around 80% Tweet and just a little below that was LinkedIn usage.
Hot on his heels to deliver the ‘Top Ten Takeaway Tips’ for these main networks was Gary Ennis, MD of NSDesign Ltd. Gary focused more on the quality of your engagement, brands, setting up and customisation as well as market positioning using most especially the Facebook pages facility. Even with the wi-fi glitches, it was a high energy presentation which would be pretty difficult to top!
The third speaker was a very softly spoken lady who delivered a very powerful message; Andrea Gardner, MD of Purple Feather Ltd. Andrea’s business is in “Content optimisation, web strategy and SEO copywriting services – Purplefeather are online marketing experts who specialise in SEO content creation.”
In the first five minutes of her taking the platform there was hardly a dry eye in the place as she showed us her Youtube video “The Power of Words”
After watching this Andrea could have said absolutely anything and got away with it – the whole audience was silent as the power of those words hit home.
She wowed the crowd with how, by simply changing what we think and how we choose our words, we can influence many other things around us. Hats off to that lady!
Lunch was delicious and before long we settled into the afternoon session with a talk on ‘The Cloud‘ which I’ve got to admit to switching off to after only a few minutes… my mind wandering back to the visuals of the pre-lunch video showing.
Alistair Livingstone of Eureka Solutions Ltd stepped up to present Business Discovery and Business Intelligence and even although it was all about numbers and spreadsheets his personality came shining through. It’s the first time I’ve listened to and understood the significance of spreadsheets and how Sage can be used.
Last, but by no means least, was Dr. Jim Hamill finishing off the day in his inimitable style as he imparted his knowledge (and passions) on the importance of ‘Social Media Listening’ -emphasising that the basis of a good conversation is to listen first; listen to your customers, listen to who’s talking about your brand or business and of course, what they’re saying.
Jim concluded his slot with questions and answers to enable people to achieve clarity on certain points and to share experiences, as he reiterated the need to engage on a variety of levels with customers and clients.
Me, being me, noted that there was one important thing which hadn’t been mentioned all day; something which I and many others here in my own Social Media circle are passionate about – collaboration. So I had to mention it.
Collaboration is a word that many business people still fear; some see it as a threat and want to keep their own business knowledge or acumen precious to themselves. Perhaps others don’t yet know who to work with or how to go about it…
What many who fall into the ‘fear’ category also miss out on is the fact that working with others has a few empowering side-effects; like reducing isolation for those who work alone or from home by providing a sense of connection and worth in themselves and their new partners.
Sharing experiences can be extremely valuable for those who work together; learning from another’s mistake before falling into the same pit saves time and energy, as well as business face. Real and genuine friendships often develop as we learn to trust others who have previously been unknown to us – some of these relationships are ‘virtually’ consummated through collaborative processes.
I can honestly say I’m now thoroughly enjoying my Social Media state; it’s not as terrifying as I thought and I’m discovering something new about marketing (and myself) nearly every day. I say ‘state’ because like other powerful emotional states, I believe, it’s a zone you have to place yourself in if you want to succeed in business; gone are the days of static websites and it’s move over darling to make way for networking sites and platforms of all descriptions.
The revolution is upon us and altho’ it may not be televised, it will certainly be StumbledUpon, Facebooked and Tweeted!