Last night, I had the pleasure of organizing and attending DC Web Women’s Social Media Extravaganza with five DC-area social media strategists — Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, Beth J. Bates, Jill Foster, Jen Consalvo, and Terri Holley — presenting on a variety of social media subjects at TRAK Staffing in Washington, DC. An additional bit of excitement was the motorcade for the Pakistani and Afghani presidents that rumbled by at 18 and I Streets, NW and delayed a few participants.
These are notes. As such, the writing is a bit choppy as I chose to take notes the old-fashioned way — with a pen and paper!
Jill Foster took the stage first and said social media is the “relationship fertilizer business.” Her goal for every tool she’s used to promote the Women Grow Business blog for Network Solutions has been to develop a long-term community as opposed to making an immediate sale. She said she found posting a question on LinkedIn to provide a “massive, immediate” response. She found Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook helpful in promoting and connecting with her communities on this project.
Terri Holley uses her life coaching skills to work with small businesses on building social media plans. “Tools will change. How we communicate won’t,” she said. Some of the questions she shared with the audience included:
- Am I nurturing these online relationships?
- Are you a conversational listener?
- How curious are you?
“Coaches dance in the moment. The flexibility you show when working and collaborating with your community is important,” said Holley.
Myra Ruiz-McPherson said social media has created an anti-marketing arena and that one can hardly mention a promotion without padding it with 95% personal and informational communication.
In the social media space, it’s Christmas every day. We receive free information, free interaction with business owners and, if we’re engaged in social media that means we’re spending time giving away that information and time. It pays off in unexpected ways.
An excellent point she made: If you remove paid and organic search and don’t use social media, what do you have?
Beth Bates spoke about how small businesses are hurting in this economy and greatly desire to make good use of social media. She blogged about her presentation, so please visit her blog to learn more. She discussed listening to consumers and how much of your personal life to discuss in the social media space.
Jen Consalvo suggests organizations have a long-term plan for how to manage social media, or else you may end up leaving your community hanging. When she switched careers, she found social media a time-saving way to let her community know about her new role. She did not have to make multiple phone calls, because LinkedIn did the work for her. These tools helped her remain a part of her previous community as well.
DC Web Women is an all-volunteer organization that offers networking opportunities, training, and educational programs for its members.