On Tuesday, I shared the first installment of my article recounting Social Media Day — an event sponsored by the teams at GTX Marketing and Fresh Consulting. I was honored to share the piece not only with my readers, but also folks like Mike Whitmore and Kathy Ireland. I was thrilled to see Part One circulating on Twitter and shared via friends on Facebook. Once again, the themes put forth at Social Media Day were brought home to my front door. If you share it, they will come.
When we re-convened after lunch, Jenny Kuglin (@jenkuglin) content manager and social media maven for Fisher Interactive, shared a story about news anchor, Kathi Goertzen. Kathi’s story highlighted the human connection people associate with a brand. In this case, KOMO News and Fisher Communications. Kathi had been off-air for some time in recent years as she battled (and continues to fight) a brain tumor. Kathi was hesitant to return to a place in front of the camera due to disfigurement from her disease. Jenny knew that people were curious about Kathi so the communications team at Fisher helped Kathi launch a Facebook page, which as of this article, has over 71,600 fans. She can also be found on YouTube, Twitter (@InspireHopeCure), and via her website. Nothing tangible is being exchanged, but Kathi has a story to share and people want to hear it. Content is king.
Though, in the words of Rod Brooks (@NW_Mktg_Guy) “Content is gold. Kings die; gold lives forever.” The theme of the afternoon was story and Jenny, Rod, and Paul Anderson (@ProLango) did a wonderful job of introducing the sociable side of social interaction. Yes, we were all on social media because we run businesses or work for companies where marketing and social presence matter. But few of us participate in social media with the intent to NOT make friends, as many of us enjoy when our interactions move off-screen to the in-person realm.
Rod stated, he is 90% personality, 10% business when it comes to social media. His advice, “Bring yourself to work.” Be genuine. Travel. Engage with the world. Be quirky and interesting. Rod talked about the wild success of the Northwest Profiles series of commercials and cards based on stereotypical Northwest personality types. Pemco realized that people didn’t necessarily want to talk about insurance, but you know what? “People want to talk about the neighbors,” said Rod. That became the key to Pemco’s marketing success and social amiability.
Jen, this time Jen Houston (@JHouston89) of Waggener Edstrom’s dynamic communications team, stepped on stage and delivered another talk relevant to the theme of story. “Content is the currency of influence,” said Jen. People still desire eye contact and human connection. Among her many morsels of social media advice, “Be a content guerrilla.” Pics, travel, drawings on napkins — capture your life and essence of who you are — this is your brand and your story. Know who your audience is and track where those people are. Monitor your brand and be engaging. “Nuance is necessary to engage.” Choose the channel that best allows you to tell your nuanced story and bring value to your audience.
Jeff Dance (@Jeffdance) of Fresh Consulting delivered a talk about creativity and storytelling. Logging ideas is good for our brain. Drawing images is also good for our brain. Basically, we should strive to engage in a dance that complements both hemispheres of our brain. (Think of the “Liger” from the famous movie, Napolean Dynamite.) People are craving meaning and simplification — and people remember stories. Where can we tell our stories, beyond the social media platforms discussed up to this point? In the About Us page on our websites. On WordPress analytics, the About Us page was the #1 most-visited page besides the homepage. Customers want to know who you are and what you bring to the proverbial table. Jeff closed with the sage advice, “Be educational, be useful, be entertaining … or be ignored.”
Heidi Miller (@heidimiller) was the final guest speaker and imparted valuable wisdom about the social media exchange. “Be yourself, share a picture of yourself, and don’t be a jerk,” she advised. Heidi reiterated what Rod had said — there’s no need to be all business. Share your integrated self, ask questions and engage in conversation with others. Don’t delete comments — EVER! As mentioned by Mike and other panelists — you must monitor your brand your social presence constantly. If an issue should arise via your social media network, one to two hours for a response is ideal, but more than twenty-four hours is too long. Heidi illustrated examples of TSA and Domino’s Pizza properly responding to customer feedback via a very public platform. There are polite ways to engage with even the most angry customer and your image depends on your response and handling of a situation.
Social Media Day was a blast to attend and and honor to photograph. I gained so much valuable information that my assistant and I have been working overtime trying to implement all the tidbits, buttons, and tags that we learned that sunny afternoon last weekend. Technology is changing the world we live in and I welcome the opportunity to keep up and engage. Thank you for reading and “walking with me” as Kathy Ireland stated at the event. If content is gold, I am feeling pretty golden right now and I can’t wait to share more stories, photos, and backs of napkins from my upcoming travels and photo shoots. If you’re new to Twitter, remember to follow the people mentioned in this piece (via the links provided or “@” symbol before their name). Of course, you can find me on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Catch you on the social side.
~Trishann Couvillion (@fire_eyes) Fire Eyes Photography