What I’ve learned over the years working in technology is you will never learn everything, but you can tap into a wealth of information to move forward if you seek out the right people. I’ve done this by sharing ideas and information with business colleagues online and offline, reading voraciously, and by attending conferences and networking groups. Here’s some of the results of what I’ve learned.
NETWORKING IN PERSON
I most recently attended the newly formed LA Tweet and in spite of it’s small attendance being a first time event, I was very happy with the quality of information exchanged among members. I look forward to attending their next event. They are very different than Digital LA‘s huge networking events which sometimes have more of a club feel where you’re competing with loud music, a bar atmosphere and mingling singles, whereas LA Tweet seems to focus more on holding real conversations about issues facing professionals working in social media today.
As part of Ryze and Digital Eve LA back in the Tech Hey Day, I’ve been building communities and promoting events for years and as a result, know a lot of people in this field. All this to say, when I hear people only promoting their offline events only on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin I realize to them, social media really is only about those avenues.
It makes sense on one level because your Twitter account can feed both your Facebook and Linkedin accounts if you set them up to do so, but if you haven’t developed your online community to a large enough platform or audience, your info really won’t have a very far reach.
RECENT CASE STUDY
Recently I was assisting a small non-profit with their social media strategy and publicized their activities quite extensively through my Twitter and Facebook accounts where I have over 1,500 “friends.” Now all the principals of this non-profit have less than 250 people in their own personal networks and couldn’t understand why all of a sudden their non-profit was developing a following above and beyond those they knew.
As I explained, they were tapping into my wealth of contacts and benefiting from my strategic public relations and social media marketing. I encouraged them to continually upload new and relevant information, but they only wanted to post information all their regulars received via email on a very sporadic, limited basis.
When you only have head knowledge and not experiential strategy that has been successful over many, many years to draw upon, it’s easy for novices to shoot themselves in the foot unintentionally which is what ultimately happened in this case. Last I heard they might be working with an associate of mine, but he doesn’t have much hands-on strategic experience either and it will be interesting to watch what happens.
OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKING OUTLETS
Due to my experience promoting numerous festivals and clients over the years I’ve had to look beyond the typical social media outreach to other online avenues to promote numerous events.
Here’s three quick regional suggestions for Los Angeles and my brief analysis to help you expand your promotional reach:
1. Yelp – I’ve been promoting events on here since 2008 and if you click the link you can see my profile. I received a random invitation to an event they were hosting when they were first getting started and was hooked. It is a great group of people and very social. Everyone is super opinionated, young and fun. It leans rather Asian in their demographic make-up, but it’s open to all nationalities.
Up until recently it was exploding, but now that many business owners have cried foul over the company’s deleting good comments and pushing bad comments to the forefront and making them buy ads to counteract this negative, damaging internal practice, they’re facing a huge class-action suit.
I’m not sure I will invest much time there in the future, but since I’ve built a “promoter” reputation and they offer great SEO results, I will still promote events there like I just did for the Women Like Us Afternoon Tea and Speaker Series.
2. Experience LA – This is a great site to reach out to culturally minded Los Angelenos. You have to apply for permission to promote to their audience and it may take a few days for your events to upload, but it’s well worth the time.
One of my previous art clients received front page coverage on here and it shot her career to the top in a very short amount of time. Another actor client was stopped by complete strangers asking about his upcoming play after reading about it on this site. I highly recommend utilizing this social media avenue if you are promoting anything remotely cultural and more sophisticated in nature.
3. Going – This site is actually owned by AOL and has become more popular over the years. If you click on the link you can see my profile on there. I never really put much time or effort into building an audience within that arena because it provided so many options to link to other communities I had built, like MySpace back in its hey day, Facebook, and other outlets I liked better.
This is more of a young, hip, professional community, although I don’t know how popular it is now having not promoted any events on there lately.
As with anything on the web, over time, social networks that were once hot (MySpace being a prime example) peak and then something else takes over. Right now with the privacy issues surrounding Facebook, it doesn’t bode well for them to continue maintaining their popularity, but with over 50 million users I doubt they really care.
If you really want to know where people are going to find information or develop communities, follow the arts because generally people with smaller budgets will tap into social circles they find hip and it will grow as a result of their involvement. Similar to artists moving into a depressed area while prices are low only to be forced out later by higher rents once everyone moves into the neighborhood.
I have over 100 social networking sites I tap into for clients and businesses on a very targeted, strategic basis due to the time consuming nature of such outreach. However, as a result of so much online real estate it’s very easy to dominate the top ten searches of Google in a very organic manner.
May you find success in all your online endeavors too with what I’ve briefly shared.