How many times have you heard that social media for business is all about being transparent, empowering individuals, being adaptable, and so on? While these are all nice traits to have in business, it doesn’t begin to tell you how to accomplish those traits. This is just one idea that was discussed last Friday when several members of St. Louis’ marketing and business community converged on the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission for a four-hour social media power workshop. The theme of the day was how to leverage social media to reach your business goals, and attendees were not disappointed.
Presented by Social Media Club St. Louis, this particular workshop went beyond the surface, as presenters really dug into the issues surrounding social media today. After all, social media is just a tool. How you use that tool is what will make the difference. The workshop included a keynote presentation followed by four breakout sessions featuring area leaders. Below are a few of the highlights from the keynote presentation delivered by Matt Ridings, CEO of SideraWorks.
Ridings set the tone for his keynote by opening with a definition on social business, stating, “Social business is the creation of an organization that is optimized to benefit its entire ecosystem. By embedding collaboration, information sharing, and active engagement into its operations and culture, the result is a more responsive, adaptable, effective, and ultimately a more successful company.”
He went on to discuss that being a social business isn’t about being transparent; it’s about creating a company that can afford to be transparent. You have to think about the impact of all the activity on the business, not just the tools. Social media has implications for business, both when you’re on social media and when you’re not. It creates the challenge, but it does not provide the solution.
Put People First
Too many times businesses start thinking about the tools before they think about the people. Ridings argues that you have to start with people first instead of thinking through the tactical process. “Processes and technology is all about scaling something,” said Ridings. “But, if what you’re scaling sucks, it’s only going to suck bigger in social media.”
In that statement, he was stressing the importance of corporate culture and further drove the point home giving the advice, “Stop selling ships. Start selling destinations. CEOs don’t buy tools.”
Amazing culture tends to thrive in social media (Just think Zappos). No matter how good your product is, not having the right corporate culture can ultimately be your downfall. Companies need to embrace the change for the long-term view, or there is no hope for a big business stuck in their ways. It’s the difference between making something efficient and being more effective. More efficiency can make you less effective.
Of course, this is just a brief look at a few of the key takeaways. If you attended the event, what were some of your key takeaways? Share them with us in the comments.
In addition to the keynote, attendees were dismissed to participate in two of four breakout sessions. The breakout sessions included:
Social Media for Sales, Lead Generation, and Development
– Dana Workes and Brian Schwartz
Social Media for Affinity and Awareness
– Alison Babka, Jess Leitch, Anna Keith and Jenna Petroff
Social Media to Further Your Career and Build a Personal Brand
– Danyelle Little, Mike Ziegler, Nick Gilham and Jenn Cloud
What’s Next in Social Media
– Chris Reimer, Vernon Ross and Danielle Hohmeier
For information on the next SMCSTL event, be sure to follow them on Twitter @SMCSTL. There is no cost to join and many events are free. Want more on last week’s workshop? Check out this storify from John Owen, an attendee during the event, to see images and tweets from those using the #SMCSTL hashtag.