A Fresh Approach to Media, Part One
Social Media Day was a one-day event organized by Fresh Consulting and GTX Marketing, both Seattle-based companies. Fresh Consulting specializes in strategy, design, and technology services for businesses and GTX Marketing focuses on innovative Web design to strengthen business brands. Last Saturday, hundreds of attendees sat in the southwest corner of the Century Link Events Center to listen to the social media mavens that Fresh Consulting and GTX Marketing had invited to share tips and strategy in this digital age.
Rod Brooks (@NW_Mktg_Guy), senior marketer for Pemco Insurance, acted as emcee for the day and if the Starbucks coffee in the Bassett Furniture sponsored lounge hadn’t woken the morning’s attendees, then Rod’s taxi-yellow suit was sure to do the trick. He shared some statistics about consumers, how to advertise to your intended audience, and parted with the advice: “Know your talkers; give them something to talk about; make it easy to share.”
Mike Whitmore (@mikewhitmore) stepped up to the podium to introduce his friend, Kathy Ireland (@KathyIreland). Mike had been blogging during his late wife’s battle and eventual death from cancer. It was via those blog posts and the Twitter platform that Mike and Kathy formed a friendship and business connection.
Kathy, a former supermodel who exudes femininity and poise, shared her background in modeling and how it prepared her for the thick skin required to succeed in business. She stated that, “all the rejection” was one of the gifts of her modeling career. Though she is one of the most successful women in today’s business world (regularly touted on top Forbes lists) Kathy also experienced nights spent at the airport while traveling for business with her husband and business team because they couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel. “Whatever material things you have to give up is not a sacrifice — it’s a bold investment,” she stated.
She learned the value of investigating reputations and getting to know who you’re really doing business with before starting a partnership or affiliation. Also she knew she had to, “Ask powerful questions to get powerful answers.” Regarding social media, Kathy didn’t like the Twitter term “followers,” rather she prefers to call them “people who walk with me” and states, “You have the information that they need. Give it to them.”
Kathy concluded her talk by opening up the floor to questions. One of the best came from a young girl in the audience who asked Kathy, herself a mother, what she would teach her kids about business. Kathy, clearly charmed like the rest of the audience, offered: “Treat others like you would want to be treated. Be kind. Be a good listener. Give 110%. Give more than what’s expected. Work hard.”
Mike Whitmore once again took the podium and launched into the value of video content in business. Imagery and storytelling create conversation around your product and the product can be and should be a subtle component of your imagery content. Mike told a story about Keith Ferrazzi (author of Never Eat Alone) and how, once again, a personable connection made via Twitter translated to a “real world” chance to meet and engage. Mike said Keith was a “genuinely nice human being” and Mike loves the book and encouraged everyone to pick up a copy.
Mike’s advice: “People are talking about your brand. Know what they’re saying.” Monitor your presence on the Web and make sure it is an accurate reflection of your business. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and now Pinterest are the top sites with which businesses and consumers engage. On a given day, 400K people sign up for Twitter. If you’re a business and don’t have a presence on these sites, you should!
As Mike spoke, I paused to look at the event attendees around me. From the moment the event began, Seattle’s social media savvy in the audience had been tweeting up to the minute accounts from the show to the Twitter hashtag “#nwsocial.” It’s amazing the ability people have to pay attention, or half attention to a speaker while tweeting to their audience. Every speaker mentioned in this article has a Twitter handle after their name. If you’re not on Twitter yet, they’re the people you should follow and begin to watch how they use hashtags to reference a current trend. Here’s a Twitter primer from Mike:
@ symbol : Used before a person’s name or handle, it’s how you tweet to them publicly.
# hashtag: A way to sort data and follow a meme or trend.
bit.ly: A shortened Web address. Makes links friendly to Twitter’s 140-character per tweet limit.
“RT”: A retweet. A way of saying, “I like what you said,” and then sharing it with your followers.
Twitter is microblogging; you need to tweet. Mike also shared his approach to Twitter called being the “GAP.” Genuine. Accurate. Positive. 96% of people ages 18-35 are on a social network. Businesses want to market and engage with that demographic. Twitter can be intimidating to some as you begin to get comfortable with the platform, but if I can do it, you can too!
Stay tuned in the coming days for Part Two of Social Media Saturday where panelists and speakers discussed the value of content and storytelling. Can you tell a robot did not write this piece? This type of content and exchange between people like you and me is something we cannot outsource and something only humans can bring to life.
~Trishann Couvillion (@fire_eyes) Fire Eyes Photography