Social media, join the conversation

socialIt was a packed house in Alumni Auditorium at Champlain College on Monday when various social media guru’s spoke on the importance of integrating social media into a marketing plan at Burlington’s Social Media Breakfast. Basically the message was; stop focusing on the tools and start engaging in the conversation.

It was a sold out show which leads me to believe that people are actually beginning to catch on that social media is an integral part in building a brand. But with the plethora of tools out there where does one start? Here are some of the take away points from yesterday’s presentation:

Make a plan – What are your goals with this space and how will you measure success? Think about where your audience is and “fish where the fish are.”

Don’t push, gather – New media is about building a relationship and listening to your customers. “Its not push, its gather,” said C.C. Chapman, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of The Advance Guard. Old media talks at you, new media talks with you.

Start with a good brand – Offer a quality product and give them something to talk about. You can’t control your message online. People are already talking about your product, embrace it. And most importantly, listen to your customers.

Be found – It’s all about findability said Todd Defren, principal at Shift Communications. “Our job is to make sure we are found,” he said, “through content- blogs, SEO, Flikr, YouTube, etc. If social media is a pot luck, content is what you’re bringing to the party.”

Act on user feedback – Social media is digital word of mouth, its your online reputation. Create compelling content and act on user feedback. Give the people what they want.

The most important thing to remember about social media, is that it is all about building relationships with your customers. Be a part of the conversation people are having about your brand. Listen to your customers and give them what they want. This takes time, so be patient and remember to have fun.

Note: the above photo came from the Library of Congress. You can find many other these photos at www.flikr.com/commons.

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