By Jon Swanson
“What key personal and business lessons have you learned about social media in 2011?”
|Social Media Breakfasts are held in many
different cities. What if we held one in the
comment box below? Photo by Rick Mahn.
That’s how Kevin Mullett started the most recent meeting of the Social Media Breakfast-Fort Wayne.
There were about 70 of us at breakfast that morning, sitting around 10 tables. We talked for 15 minutes around our tables, social media novices and veterans, marketers and managers and journalists and small business owners and people who showed up for breakfast. It was a group a lot like you.
After we talked in our groups and reported back to the whole group, Kevin gave us the second question.
“How will you apply what you learned in 2012?”
The Fort Wayne group talked awhile longer and headed to work. Because that’s how a social media breakfast works. But in this group that Becky coordinates here on this site, sort of a Social Media Breakfast Small Town, we can stick around for awhile. How would you answer Kevin’s questions?
Are you willing to share with us?
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So, I probably should give some of my answers, at least to the first question.
I have learned
1. That some early adopters of technology can adopt “quitting a platform” before everyone else gets on board. This means that we may write off the value of the technology or the coolness of it just as later adopters are finally ready to get involved. At some level, we must be about people, not just about adopting technology.
2. Early in the year, one of my 99 goals read “my job is not ‘to write’. It’s to help people understand. Writing is one way that happens.” As the year had gone on, I’ve realized that you can change “to write” to “to post on twitter or facebook or video”. For me, the communication can’t become the purpose.
3. That there can be a powerful progression from the frequent touches that are part of social media to the actual touches that come from meeting people face-to-face. This year I’ve met several people at conferences that I had known through twitter, some of them for years. And it feels right to make this progress. Related to that…
4. That local is important. I’m getting to know people in Fort Wayne that are also involved in social media. The Social Media Breakfast has been a helpful part of my life. In a way, it adds an integrity so that I have connection between my online and my face to face identities.
To illustrate 3 and 4, in September, I was heading to 140Conf Small Town where I would visit with Becky and Deb Brown and some other distant friends. I realized that I had never had lunch with Kevin Mullett and Scott Howard who work a mile from me. So on Monday I had lunch with them…and on Tuesday I had supper with Becky.
Becky McCray says
I can think of a few new tools that mattered for me in 2011, like Twylah, Google Plus, and Nutshell Mail. As for key insights, I have two:
1. My small town has turned a corner. The use of social networks and knowledge of them has reached the point of being useful.
2. No matter how small your town, visitors are looking you up online, and deciding where to eat and where to stay and what to see and they are doing it with their cell phone. Your town’s own website is probably less important to visitors than review sites like Yelp and info sites like Wikipedia. (I found that on my own travels.) (But it still does not mean you can skip having a useful website!)
How will I apply that? Well, great question.
1. We’re going to do more meetups. I plan to, anyway.
2. I’m going to keep encouraging people, towns and businesses to provide useful information for travelers in mobile-friendly formats.
It’s a start!
Carly McCrory says
It’s been quite a year for me and social media. I’ve learned the following:
– To not overwhelm myself with too many things at once. I can’t be on every social networking site and frankly, I don’t want to be. I must chose the ones that are best for me and dedicate myself to using those most effectively.
– Social media works. In our small town (4,000 strong), it’s starting to grow. As Becky mentioned above, it’s starting to become useful. It may have taken a while to get there (and a lot of convincing among the “non-believers”), but it’s worth it. We’ve now built a great reputation for the City of Tuscola and social media – one that I’m dedicated to and will continue to grow.
With everything I’ve learned and experienced this year, I can’t wait for 2012.
Deb Brown says
I’ve learned to pull back some from the early adopter viewpoint and start working with my local community. It’s made a difference – we’re doing some exciting things (noticed I said ‘we’ – I can’t do it all alone) and our community is really enjoying social media.
I’ve learned that I can’t be on every social media site — facebook, twitter, google plus are working for me. I look at the others, but am not using them as a tool.
I’ve learned that while I learn a lot online – I’m learning even more in real life. It’s good to meet and talk with those people I speak to online.
How will I apply what I’ve learned?
I’m teaching classes to businesses.
I have new clients coming on board and will be as excited as they are to begin mapping out their social media plans.
I’m speaking at local conferences – and it will be a very hands on presentation. I want people to walk away thinking “I can do this too!”
Becky McCray says
Jon, Carly, Deb, thank you for sharing your own insights. I’m hearing a lot of common themes, across our different communities.