Organizations of all shapes and sizes are faced with a set of goals that are connected in lockstep: Have a great product/story, create a messaging campaign surrounding it, increase visibility and awareness, generate and capture leads and finally, close the sale / receive the donation. Today’s consumer is more connected than ever, and they use the tools available to them to make choices about how to spend their time and money.
Social media can be used by organizations to inject themselves into that consumer’s decision-making process. As people rely more on their social graphs and less on the billboards they see, or even the results a search engine provides them, social media becomes the difference between making sales and just making ends meet.
Still, many businesses have not embraced these powerful communication tools. Many cite a lack of time and resources, some claim their customers are not on social media, and the entire bailiwick is sometimes even dismissed as something that’s “just for kids.” However, there are also a group of organizations that fall into a different category of nonuse: they have genuine interest in beginning a social media effort and fully grasp its importance and power, but something other than the excuses cited above is stopping them. Confusion over where to start, fear that they’ll say or do something stupid, and a general unwillingness to “open up” online are all typical culprits.
When Dean Benjamin Akande approached us about a Social Media seminar to be held at Webster University, I thought it made perfect sense. It seemed a great way to reach organizations that haven’t yet dipped their toe in the water. Knowing there were still such organizations, we decided that a back-to-basics 101 approach was warranted. We planned out a half-day of speakers covering topics like:
1. Why use social media for your business? (a great way to start the morning)
2. Lead generation
5. The legal concerns
6. Measuring success
We had over 100 people sign up and attend, and it was an amazing discussion. The crowd skewed a bit towards nonprofit, which aligns with my experiences. I have found that, among those that have not yet started using social media for business purposes, nonprofits tend to be a bit more eager to give it a try.
Our goal was to help large and small businesses, nonprofits and for profits – anyone that is new to social media – by giving them as many actionable tips and tricks as we could squeeze into five hours. We also sent each attendee away with a flash drive containing all presentation decks and some additional bonus information.
Thank you to Dean Akande, Charla Lord (the best), and Webster’s Office of Corporate Partnerships for hosting this event and having me be a part of it. Thank you also to Matt Ridings of SideraWorks, Erin Moloney of Perficient Inc., Jeff Schultz of Armstrong Teasdale, Nick Gilham of A Branded You, and Patrick Powers of Webster University for agreeing to present. You guys made it a wonderful seminar.