On Wednesday I spent the afternoon at the annual Aspen Business Expo listening to three panels about social media. A big thank you to the Aspen Chamber and all of the speakers for a great event, and to the St. Regis Aspen for hosting.
Sitting in the audience being reminded of the fundamentals of social media and hearing from industry experts about the perceived direction of different social platforms, I felt juxtaposed between being in the search/social industry and also a small business owner in Aspen. I didn't need to be convinced that social media is important. As a search engine marketer, I tell this to my customers daily. But, as you can tell from my lack of participation personally and professional on Twitter and Facebook, I experience the same challenge as the other attendees of not having enough time in the day. I took away a lot of tips and tricks from the panelists who also have busy jobs and lives, but find time to participate in social media and seem to enjoy it thoroughly. My top five takeaways are as follows.
1. Social Media Allows a Business to Connect with its Community - While it is hard to directly quantify the value of a Fackbook like or Twitter follower, there is undeniably tremendous value and RIO from social media. I was reminded of Cory Booker, the major of Newark who spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2011 and stated that social media allows him to connect on a daily, even hourly basis with his community which is invaluable as a leader. So to for business owners.
2. Define What Your Business is Trying to Accomplish Via Social Media - Stop and define what your business would like to accomplish from social media. For a bakery,it may be sharing when cookies are fresh out of the oven and responding to online feedback and reviews. For a search engine marketing business such as webShine, perhaps it is sharing industry news and a bit about Aspen.
3. Select Social Media Platforms Wisely - The social media platforms appropriate for one business may not be the best for another. Rather than sign up for everything and do nothing, select appropriate social media platforms for your business based on your strategy. Not sure which platforms meet your needs? See what platforms other businesses in your industry are using or contact a social media consultant.
4. Don't be Anti-Social - Unlike other marketing mediums, social media is not about aggressively pushing your message. Engage, participate, and add value to the the online conversation. Greg Fitzsimmons suggested participating in social media as if you were at a dinner party. Good advice. There is a balance between how much one should talk and listen, and how loudly one should speak.
5. Engage with the Aspen Community & Have Fun - Not sure where to get started? Engage with Aspen businesses online. Help friends and colleagues share information about their brand and about Aspen.
Thank you again Aspen Chamber and speakers for a great event.