The message from Splash Media at their free social media seminar at the Renaissance hotel and sports center in Walnut Creek, (right near the Pleasant Hill BART station) February 18, 2011, was that the train is in the station and you better get on board before you get left in the dust. Speaker John Larsen drove home the point that you need to learn enough about social media like Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and others, to make them work for you and your business instead of against you. He said you have to learn this stuff or else hire someone else to do it for you. And of course Splash Media is available to do that in a very professional way, for a price. People who wanted to take the next step could make an appointment and get a media folder of information about prices, but most of the happy campers were satisfied to accept the business card and call it a day. In another era, the attendees would have been called Yuppies, but today they are businessmen and women.
I was given my name tag at the sign-in table and then seated in the presenters room facing a projection screen that had some interesting graphics running across it. Speaker John Larsen was coming around the room and asking earlybirds like me what we wanted to take away from the presentation. I told him that I wanted to take away the knowledge that Twitter would understand that I thought it was unfair to tell people that if they discontinued Twitter after signing up for it, that it was a permanent move and they could not be reinstated. He said he had never heard of that before. Then he said he thought my identity had been taken and that's why I could not get back on it. (I had a bad experience with identity theft many years ago, when a neighbor's ex-husband called up PGE saying he was me and threatened to run a bad story about them in my newspaper. I did not learn about this until he came to me and told me he had done it and PGE had already turned off my gas to my gas heater. Identity theft is common in our area.) Larsen said that there was a Larsen who lived in Sweden and maybe he had taken that name on Twitter so he could not get it. He recommended putting an underline symbol between first and last name or something like that.
Larsen was about to give a special theatrical performance, a fast-paced monologue worthy of a few weeks at the Marines Memorial Theatre.
The first business idea for the assembled crowd to consider was the principle of “listening first, selling second.” He said that Splash Media will go to a person's business and show their employees how to use social media. He recommend a book called “Who Moved My Cheese?” He said that online video advertising (as done on YouTube) is the hot growing thing.
He made the point that with a blog or a Facebook page, a business should provide nine informational chatty posts for every one obvious sales pitch. Of course the social media should have a link to the company's formal web site, where they have their catalog. (Real estate sales people have long used the newsletter form of advertising to let their potential customers know what they are doing.) He said statistics are always good for informational entries and that the Farmville program is NOT social media. On Facebook you need to post at least three times a week and add a “like” feature to your page, which will enable your followers to add your entry to their own page. You should add video that you created and uploaded to YouTube. He said that a YouTube video is 53 times more likely to put your business at the top of a search page. Linkedin is another important business-oriented program.
Your blog is an ongoing web site with entries that should be made at least four times a month. Also your should post your blog headlines on Twitter, Facebook and Linked in, referred to as TFL.
Appreciate your teenagers desire to help you with their internet ability! Here's what professional social media practitioners charge (per year, I guess.) Strategist: $120,000+, Community Manager: $70,000+, Copywriter/blogger $40,000+, Video production: $50,000+. I did not ask if they were a full-service advertising agency along with the Social Media services.
Rather than attempt to tell you everything that Larsen said in the hour and a half presentation, I just recommend you catch this show next time it comes to town, and take your employees with you. After all, it's your very good free sample, so why not share it with everyone? A good show like this ought to be in the Pink Sheet calendar, as well as the paid-for quarter page daily newspaper ad where I found it.
The presentation left me wanting more, but I did not have any money in my budget for it, and my husband would have a fit if I signed up for an education expense unrelated to my goal of becoming a math teacher. With $173 of art sales last year, I just cannot afford to put a Media Strategist on my payroll. I don't even have a garage to build my invention in. However, one can always dream about hitting the big time and becoming a big business mogul. Men are not the only ones who yearn for success.