Social Media Baby Steps at SummitUp

question-markI’m a late adapter.
There, I said it … my name is Mary Ann and I’m a late adapter. It’s strangely liberating to admit my dirty little secret. I’ve been in the closet for years. I’m not afraid of technology. I just don’t adapt until I have a true need. How weird is THAT?
I was just behind the curve with my first PC. A little late to get a cell phone. Not the first in line for an iPod. I don’t have a Wii, Xbox, or even a Tickle Me Elmo. I don’t think anyone knew this about me or even cared. Until …  social media. Busted!
I don’t participate in any social media. I’m curious. And I’m concerned. Will the day come when I don’t understand any TV commercials? Would that be a bad thing? Will I suddenly find that I’ve unwittingly chosen to be left behind by family and friends? Will my writing lose its relevance because I’m not up-to-speed with the genre?
Facebook presents me with two big fears: (1) having 650 friends or (2) having no friends. Twitter? Follow me on Twitter? You must be kidding. I can hardly stop laughing. I can’t imagine finding the time to follow anything on Twitter or stay current on Facebook. Am I slow? Am I somehow getting lost in a space/time continuum …  every day? How is everyone else doing it?
The local news media has tainted Facebook and Twitter for me. News anchors regularly report messages that they’ve received on their social media sites. “… Brandy says, ‘I definitely don’t think people should kill other people in drive-by shooting. I think it’s wrong.’ And Ted says, ‘When it snows, it’s really cold and I think that’s wrong.’” This is news?
It’s my concern about relevance that took me to Dayton’s annual SummitUp Conference. SummitUp, “A Social Media Confab,” is presented by a joint group of marketing and communication associations in Dayton, Ohio. Social media experts deliver short, informative presentations in the context of B2B and B2C.
It was time well spent. I know more now than I did. And I know enough to know …  that I don’t know enough. Here are some of the key points that I took away from the conference:

  • You gotta do it. Social media is not something that you can learn by reading a book or taking a class. You have to get in there and do it. (Not what I wanted to hear.)
  • Pick one. Companies, organizations, brands (and probably individuals, too) should pick one tool at a time. Get on board, learn it, and then add another, one at a time.
  • YouTube isn’t just for fun. You Tube is the #2 search engine, right behind Google. You can use it to present business information just as you would any other medium.
  • Plan. For B2B and B2C social media initiatives, it’s important to create a content calendar. Map out your content to ensure quality over quantity. A rule of thumb for content is a 70-20-10 mix:

– 70% informative; tips, how-tos, telling people what they want to know
– 20% ongoing responses to inquiries, issues
– 10% blatant self-promotion

  • Realize that it’s work. B2B and B2C social media initiatives are labor intensive. The best people for the job have a natural enthusiasm for it. If your company isn’t committed to doing it, don’t do it. You have to be all in. Once you’ve launched a social media presence and it’s out there, customers expect you to live in that medium and respond.

A couple of points—not specific to social media—resonated for me on a personal note as well as professional:

  • Two new takes on ROI (Return On Investment): ROE = Return On Effort; ROI = Risk Of Ignoring
  • What you do already is what’s next. In other words, your present actions are setting up your future. The presenter said, “Look to the future and start stepping into it.” I liked that.

Predictably, this late adapter has some homework to do before she dips her toe in the social media waters. I need more information. I need to know how to do it just a little. How to do it safely. How to participate and still protect my privacy.
But first things first. Admitting is the first step …  my name is Mary Ann and I’m a late adapter.


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