Apr 02

Fresh Ideas from Social Fresh Portland

This post was first published on the Sterling Communications blog

I was lucky enough to win a ticket to the Social Fresh conference in Portland on March 29. This conference is different than many I’ve attended previously as it features people working in the trenches and highlights what they do in social media day to day. Sure, there was the higher level thinking and big picture conversation, but I also walked away with ideas of things to implement right away to improve my social media engagement. I could give you my six pages of notes, but instead I’ll give you the main points that stood out for me.

Pick the Right Tool

Hi, my name is Karianne and I’m a Twitter addict. There. I admit it. That said, Twitter does not equal social media! Heck, Twitter shouldn’t even be the biggest part of your social media campaign. Facebook, YouTube and especially blogs should all be part of your social media plan.

According to Nielsen, social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity, even higher than email. So obviously, having a social media presence is a must these days. But there are so many different services out there, how do you manage it all? Each different service can reach a different audience, or your audience in a different way. Peter Shankman suggested you ask your customers and see how they would like you to connect with them. Also, he had a fantastic point to embrace the concept, not the brand. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube could all disappear tomorrow, so build your social media plan around the concepts, not the hot thing of the moment.

Business Blogging Basics

Blogs were so 2000s and no one cares about them any more, right? Nope, not true. Sure, the blogs that read like your junior high diary might be a bit outdated, but blogging is still a very effective tool for businesses. It is an easy way to engage with your audience, establish your business as an industry leader, release company news and increase brand awareness.

Mike Volpe of Hubspot, Andrew Sinkov of Evernote and Kristy Bolsinger of RealNetworks had some terrific advice for corporate blogging. First off, they let us know it is easier than you think. You don’t have to start from scratch, use what you have. For example, the emails between your customers and customer service department can be repurposed to be blog posts.

Also, the blogging responsibilities don’t have to fall on just one employee’s shoulders. You can have many authors so the blog will have different styles and perspectives. All of the various voices will blend together to represent your overall company voice. Finding authors can be easy if you use fame as a motivator, or you can even write it into employee’s job description so they know blogging is expected. One employee can oversee the blog to be sure posts are done and edited.

No matter how many authors you have on your blog, it is paramount that you allow comments. Without comments, it is just a static Web site. Comments will allow engagement and interaction with your audience. Sure, they may not love everything. Just handle negative comments with class and professionalism.

Finally, use your blog to motivate your audience. What do you want them to do? Buy your product? Download a white paper? Let the readers know what they should do with a call to action at the end. My call to action for you, go start a blog for your business!

These were the key points I walked away with, but (in the vain of Reading Rainbow) don’t take my word for it, here are the reviews from some other attendees and speakers:

SoFresh and SoCleanClean: Social Fresh 2010 by Kristy Bolsinger

Social Fresh Portland Purely #sofresh by Sarah Kay Hoffman

Key Learnings from Social Fresh Portland by Eric Berto

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