Friday, March 27, 2009

Social Media 101 Presentation

Presented "Social Media for School Foundations" yesterday at the National School Foundation Association Conference in Westlake, TX. (If you're trying to find Westlake, it's just NW of Southlake, TX. No joke.) I heard from conference planners that it was one of the best attended breakout sessions of the conference. I'm not saying this to congratulate myself, I'm saying this to say that social media continues to loom large as a topic of discussion and interest.

Here's the breakdown from yesterday:

If you are speaker, I strongly encourage you to stick to one product(or one category of social media) for a presentation. I have done several of these now and I feel they've been much better for me(and the audience) when they focus on one product. I did an introduction and then focused on the four(IMO) best social media "products" for development/fundraising.

1. LinkedIn: To my surprise(from prior experience), 3/4 of the audience were using LinkedIn. From my impression, many had signed up and not done much more with the account. This is very common in social media. I've done this with several products, but I think LinkedIn is worth a little time. The majority of the group "got it" and a few seemed to content to continue to network via the phone and business cards.
2. Blog: This topic is best suited to 2 to 3 hours. I focused on two of the most powerful elements of blogging: active listening and telling stories. The group seemed to relax a little, and really like the idea, of turning over some of the writing duties to their passionate stakeholders(i.e. grant winners, board members, etc.). I recommended getting started via or I also argued that a blog could even replace a Foundation Web site, and even do a better job in many cases.
3. Facebook: Facebook seemed to have the most interest. The group was surprised to hear that the majority of FB users are out of college already and the fastest growing demographic of users are over 30. One attendee said she likes the use of the Causes group for foundation activities. There still seemed to be a lingering discomfort with crossing business and family/friend relationships on FB. At the least, I encouraged individuals to (sparingly, smartly and naturally) to include information about what they are doing professionally in their FB status.
4. Twitter: By the time I got to Twitter, I had roughly two minutes to finish. But, everyone hung around and agreed they "really, really" wanted to know that this Twitter thingy was they had heard so much about. By then, we really had reached critical mass. Several stuck around and asked questions about Twitter, though. Twitter remains a SM201 tool, primarily because there is really no roadmap for use of the service. I recently presented a full hour on Twitter with colleague Richie Escovedo - that post and pres are here.
**IF YOU WERE THERE: Feel free to let me know about the pres, ask further questions, etc., below in the comment section. Overall, I hope it convinced you to at least try something new. And thanks again, the discussion and interaction was great (esp. for a 3 p.m. crowd).
Links from the presentation are here - .

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