There were representatives from various industries; engineering, design, telecommunications, marketing etc.. And what I found particularly interesting was hearing what social media meant to them.
I approached the evening not so much as a presenter but more a facilitator for a discussion on the challenges social media has on small businesses. This kind of format works best for me as it reflects what social media is – a conversation in which each participate adds to the content and direction in which it goes.
It also fulfils my long held fantasy of being a teacher. That wish that has been recently fuelled by the arrival of my new role model, Mr. Schuester of Glee. What could be better than to teach a class and when things get dull, break into a song and dance? But I digress…
When I asked for a definition of social media, the responses I received suggested that people’s definition of social media reflected how they use them.
- Personal networking with the goal to transfer similar success to their professional network.
- A place to learn and keep abreast of what’s happening in their field of interest.
- A virtual network to stay in touch with people all over the world – a connector.
They also volunteered information as to how they used the various social media platforms for different purposes. i.e. Twitter as a way for sharing your ideas and LinkedIn for researching other businesses.
I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with my co-presenter, Stéphanie Fortin of Totalmédia who gave a great talk on the challenges of running two very prominent health centered websites: Passportsanté and Naitre et Grandir that target different demographics with different levels of interaction. Hers was a great case study demonstrating the challenges companies face when trying to manage “social”.
As much as I enjoy going to seminars and listening to professional speakers while watching their creative power point presentations; I find that speaking with people face to face is as educational and usually more enjoyable.
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts.
A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus.
His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social".
Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.