To Tweet or Not to Tweet – Tips from Social Media Week Toronto (#SMWTO)
When it comes to Marketing, businesses have been trying everything from glossy magazine ads to guerilla marketing tactics to capture their customers' attention. Now, the social media frontier is opening up fast and furious and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are wondering whether to blog, Like, Tweet or Invite their customers (or for the late adopters, to just stay off the Internet entirely…ahem).
In reality, the last is not an option for a small business wanting to get noticed, so enter Social Media Week Toronto (SMWTO), an event held during the week of February 13th – 17th, 2012 to discuss the global impact of social media.
One of the events held during this packed week was the Accelerating Small Business Growth in our Economic Times presentation sponsored by BMO on February and MC'd by Bal Sahjpaul, Director of eChannel, North America with BMO. A panel of social media experts and a panel of business owners currently using social media spoke to the attendees about how to grow their businesses using blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media tools and channels. How do you condense an almost two hour event into a blog post that busy entrepreneurs want to read? Sound-bite-itis!
"Sound-bite-itis" is the dissemination of information through truisms formatted for a 15 to 30 second radio/TV sound bite. So in the spirit of keeping our blog posts short and relevant, here are the most relevant sound-bites I picked up from the various presenters during the event for your social media education and general business interest:
- "The Canadian Dollar should remain close to parity over the next couple of years … interest rates should not rise until late 2013 … cautious about the Canadian economy due to governments around the world having huge deficits, the strong Canadian dollar and record levels of personal debt." – Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief Economist with BMO
- "Start with where your existing customers are (with respect to Social Media) then grow from there … be 'shareable' by finding one thing you're known for … companies that are good at 'service' are good at 'social media' … the more you narrow your niche, the wider you open your opportunities." – Liz Strauss, CEO of SOBCon, Managing Partner of Inside Out Thinking
- "SMEs are moving from listening to social media to participating in social media … Social Media can be free but your time and effort are not … identify where your customers are (in the social media world) and focus on doing two to three things well." – Julie Howlett, Account Director, Global Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn Canada
- "Plan out a social media strategy to appear more active … when you get negative comments/feedback, be genuine and listen … don't take on too much but get in touch with your customers." – Chris Eben, Partner, The Working Group
- "Get over your fear of social media … find role models and get ideas for your own social media strategy … be real, be authentic, listen and have fun." – Julian Brass, Founder and Publisher of Notable.ca
- "It takes a big time investment to do social media properly with a steep learning curve … dive in but don't bite off more than you can chew … check out the following blogs/podcasts for ideas and inspiration: Spin Sucks by Danny Brown, For Immediate Release Podcast and 6 Pixels of Separation Blog and Podcast." – Shelley Pringle, Founder, Polaris Public Relations Inc.
- "Growth of Social Media (for a business) is like a hockey stick, get the early painful stage out of the way … don't get too caught up on the ROI of social media, it's a part of building a relationship with your customers … make educating yourself a priority." – Jay Lebo, Founder, Gravitas Business Architects
- "The demographics of our customers are getting younger and they're looking for solutions online … I'm mostly attending this event for the sales aspect of social media as I'm not getting the return from advertising on industry sites." – Chris Persaud, attendee at the event, COO of Kunnect Systems
If you attended the event, what did you learn from it? Do you have any other tips for entrepreneurs regarding social media? Please share with the community by leaving your comments below.
Thanks and Happy Tweeting!
Edmar Selda is a Commercial Account Manager at BMO, based in Concord, Ont.