Banff Seminar Explored Social Media28 January 2013
CANADA - The primary objective of social media is to engage your audience and build relationships, delegates to the Banff Pork Seminar heard.
Social media: love it or hate it? Tweeting non-stop or can't be bothered? Whether you're in one camp or another or - like most people - somewhere in between, one thing undeniable is the tremendous profile and increasing power of this communications juggernaut.
How to make sense of it and make it work for you? Jeff Schneider of Edmonton-based Marketing Ninjas offered Banff Pork Seminar 2013 participants a window on this dynamic and fast-changing social media world, reported Meristem Land and Science. He also provided lots of food for thought and advice in a well-attended break-out session.
Here are snapshots of five among many observations and tips from this leading social media consultant, speaker and trainer, who is steadily increasing his network and experience working with a variety of players in the agriculture sector.
The most important thing to know. Remember, said Mr Schneider, social media is a communications tool, not a sales tool. "It's outstanding for networking. Think of it as a cocktail party. What do you want to say? How do you want to interact with people?"
He also shared a fun quip: "Really the main difference between social media networking and regular networking is you can do it without wearing pants."
What it's all about. For businesses and organisations of all shapes and sizes, the primary objective is to engage your audience and build relationships, he said. "Social media is not about technology. It's about relationships. It's about people."
Sidelines not an option. The most common question Mr Schneider gets is, 'Should we do social media.' First, understand staying out of it is typically not an option if you're a business or organisation with significant profile.
"Like it or not, people are likely talking about you online and through social media already," he said. "They're talking about you, your organisation, your products and services and your industry. You're better off to be part of the conversation. In fact, it's essential for you to be utilising social media."
Everyone is a publisher. No one wants bad press and that is a legitimate concern with social media, since it makes everyone a publisher, said Mr Schneider. But being involved allows you to influence how your story is told. "Social media is really an excellent leveraging tool," he said. "We want to encourage and empower the people that are speaking positively about us and our industry, and confront any negative communication head-on."
Trust is critical. One of the most powerful and valuable opportunities with social media is how it can be used to build trust with target audiences, says Schneider. "Becoming a trusted authority has a number of advantages. Two of the top ones are you don't struggle to get people to listen to you and people are eager to support and do business with you."
Remember the '3 Es'. The short course on effective content for social media is simple, he says. "Smart marketers are attracting and building networks and attracting their prospects by creating remarkable content that educates, entertains and engages their audience."
Mr Schneider assisted with the Banff Pork Seminar's own Twitter feed and Facebook page this year.
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