Monday, February 11, 2008

SoCon08 - Social Networking Conference

As writers, we've just got to take advantage of all the free buzz we can generate through such avenues as blogs, linkedin, facebook, etc. SoCon 08 gathered social networking gurus to share ideas and make connections. What a huge success! I left with several ideas I can implement immediately and many I can implement over the next year. You can see from the photo that people were constantly sponging information and networking. Nobody sat and passively listened.

One organization (black arts festival in Atlanta) has about 3000 people connected to their myspace page, allowing volunteers to get the word out quickly and effectively to friends and friends of friends. A commercial rocket developer from California told how people from every level of his organization (welders, etc.) can help him leverage their contacts and relationships to find skilled help, etc. A quilting enthusiast shared how she took her site from losing to making money.

I (finally!) "get" the way blogs are being used to get out ideas, drive traffic, establish credibility, etc. Here's a helpful web page showing how far and wide your blog travels, minutes after it's published.

Sherry Heyl, one of the conference organizers and CEO of a social networking agency, wrote a recent blog on how she advised her brother to use Web-based social networking tools to help him in his construction business. For me, this article gave a much needed summary of "What are the basic tools and how can I use them?" Here's her blog. The title of this entry is James A Lee Builders - A Case Study.

As a follow-up, I'm reading The New Rules of Marketing & PR, by David Meerman Scott (2007). Highly recommended for beginning and intermediate learners in this field. Lots of great examples of how businesses, not-for-profits, and other organizations are using social media to great advantage.

Suggestion: I heard this at the conference and had it reinforced by the book - get started by participating in the blogs and forums of others. By answering people's questions in your area of expertise, you learn how it works, what's appropriate and inappropriate, etc.