Hello @Muddah, Hello @Faddah
I suppose that’s what it would look like if Allan Sherman’s “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter From Camp)” was instead tweeted from camp.
Yesterday, I was at camp, minus the s’mores – Social Media Camp Long Island, that is. The first-ever event was held at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, and included a day full of social media-related sessions, a panel discussion, and networking. It was perhaps the only place that someone wasn’t insulted if you were tweeting or posting on Facebook while talking to him!
The three blocks of sessions were attendee-influenced and led by local experts from all realms of social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, journalism, podcasting, privacy – so many topics were discussed at once, and it was difficult to choose which breakout session to attend. I settled for three on business and Twitter, event planning, and local news. What I enjoyed most about it is that no one spoke at you – even though someone was leading a session, everyone shared ideas and learned from each other. Here are some takeaways:
To Tweet or Not To Tweet… That is the Question! (Is Twitter a Useful Business Tool or a Devious Distraction?)
The session was led by Aleweb Social Marketing‘s Tara Alemany (@eandtsmom), and focused on ways to use Twitter to promote your business. Besides personal tweeting, I’m also setting up an account for Angel Bridals and tweeting for Journey to the Cure (@journey2thecure). Part of it was Twitter 101, but I learned:
- Do not use an auto-follower. It’s all about building personal relationships, and you don’t want a computer to do that for you.
- The best time to post is at 4:01 pm. That’s when the majority of Twitter users are online and reading.
- Monitor your name constantly, like Domino’s after one of its pizzas was not delivered hot to @interactiveAmy. Domino’s' immediate video apology.
- Use the minus sign (-) to streamline search results. For instance, if you’re searching for Long Island, but only get posts of the iced tea variety, search “Long Island -tea”
- Save searches you use often. And search for misspellings of yours or your business’ name.
- Two useful websites: Hashtag.org and Tagal.us
Create a Successful Event – Case Study: Long Island Restaurant Week
The session was led by WordHampton Public Relations‘ Lindsey Jaffe (@LindseyJaffe), and focused on how to use social media to create a successful event. Lindsey discussed how it worked for promoting Long Island Restaurant Week, and attendees shared what they’ve learned along the way. Some talking points:
- Don’t just focus on one element when sending out invitations. Some people prefer to receive e-mails, others Facebook.
- Use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of attendees across different invitation media so there aren’t double or triple RSVPs (a mistake I once made after inviting people via Evite, Facebook, and MySpace, and subsequently ordering too much food).
- If you’re looking for a single invitation mode, try Facebook, as you can send the link to people. They’ll get the vital information without having to sign up for Facebook, and can either call or e-mail you to RSVP.
- E-blasts are still great for getting the word out.
- Try Facebook ads – you can hit targeted demographics for your event. However, don’t use keywords (they will pare down the number of people the ad reaches) and keep it simple – the more basic, the better. And make sure the accompanying image is not too busy – go for impact. Recognizable logos are great.
- Use a service like SurveyMonkey after the event.
- Media sponsors provide a great return. But if you want to partner with someone, don’t ask, “What can you do for me?” Instead, ask, “How can I partner with you?”
- Monitor your event afterwards. Lindsey always tries to reach out to those who had a bad experience with Restaurant Week and amend the situation with the restaurant.
The Social Media Revolution: How Social Networking Sites Can Make or Break Your Career
The self-explanatory panel included Communication Journey‘s Louise DiCarlo (@LovelyLu), WordHampton Public Relation’s Steve Haweeli (@SteveHaweeli), Long Island Patch‘s David Reich-Hale (@drhli), and St. Joseph’s College’s Thomas Whitby (@TomWhitby). Some points discussed:
- There’s no longer a separation between social and traditional media
- Patch.com is seeing traffic pouring in from social media sites
- In order for professors to stay relevant, they have to keep with technology. Students are digital citizens.
- Using social media, potential employers can find out information about you that they’re not legally allowed to ask you in an interview
- Google yourself at least once weekly
- Technology is shifting towards the smartphone
- You have to stay on top of social media if you want communication to keep going.
- Brian Solis and Chris Brogan are highly recommended social media sources
- The ideal personal tweet to sale tweet ratio on Twitter should be 10 to 1
As Local As Local News Gets
Back for round two with David Reich-Hale, who was joined by former Long Island Business News colleague Carl Corry (@CarlCorry), who’s now with Newsday. (I’d met Carl a few weeks ago at the first-ever Newsday Tweet-Up, which he put together.) The duo honed in on using social media to take news to a more local (and in Patch.com’s case, hyperlocal) level. Both publications are very active on Twitter (@LongIslandPatch and @Newsday). Patch.com requires its local reporters to be posting something at least every four hours on Twitter and Facebook; Newsday, on top of linking to stories, uses it to tweet other items of interest to Long Islanders that may not necessarily make it to publication. Newsday‘s seeking to become even more localized, and is incorporating more reader-generated media, such as photos and videos (case in point: yesterday’s Twitter request for storm photos). Long Island has a dearth of community newspapers, which is why the region was one of Patch.com’s first targets – we’re not like David’s former stomping grounds of New Haven, Conn., which had five or six alone in the surrounding community.
You can find out more about the event by checking out the other sessions and following #SMCampLI on Twitter. The day ended with lots of door prizes, the top being a highly sought-after iPad. I didn’t win the iPad (I guess winning one Apple product in the past year was enough), but I did win a pair of fabulous garnet and labradorite earrings from jewelry artisan @SueanneShirzay (you can check out the Alejandro earrings and the rest of her jewelry at Etsy).
Afterwards, most of the attendees met at Public House 49 in Patchogue for a post-event happy hour. While walking down Main Street, I encountered a man sitting on a planter. He was holding a brand-new package of three washcloths. He took out the top one, and asked me what color it was. I replied, “Teal,” assuming his spectrum was limited to Crayola’s 16-color box of crayons and he didn’t know the fancy name for the bright cloth in front of me. He said, “I’m colorblind – just making sure it wasn’t pink.” Gotcha. I pointed out that one of the other washcloths was pink. He quickly pulled it out of the package and said, “Here! You take it!” He seemed offended by it – guess he was too manly.
I now own a fuzzy pink washcloth.