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On Being Socially Savvy

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…”

Michael Kerr, CSP

By Michael Kerr, CSP, HoF

If you’re in the meetings business and you’re not active on social media, chances are you are doing other things such as interacting with actual human beings, working productively, or sleeping. But, those are all rather pathetic excuses, frankly, for not getting more involved in social media. #pathetic

Social media, you see, is where it’s at. You know how I know this? Someone on social media told me. And, if I wasn’t on social media, I never would have learned this. See how valuable it is? #seeItoldyouso

But, it’s more than just where it’s at, it’s also who’s following who, who likes each other, and who’s linking up with whom. Yes, it’s the nightclub of the 21st Century. #backawaycreep

Social media is, of course, the wild, wild west of marketing and promotion. But, considering it’s got the words “social” and “media” in it, how could any respectable meeting promoter not partake in a little S&M? Sure, there’s a lot of grey area, perhaps as many as 50 shades, so it can be a little painful at first, but don’t worry, I’m here to help guide you through the process. (Trust me, it’s not nearly as creepy as it sounds.) #fiftyshadesproductplacementroyalty

First up is everyone’s favourite social media site, Twitter, where, if I understand the lingo correctly, twits tweet tweets to other twits in an effort to out-twit each other. Tweets are limited to what’s known in social media marketing circles as a “Robert Altman movie”: 140 characters. Yes, the official motto of Twitter is, “Less is, well, okay in this case, it really is less. Geez.” #whatdoyoumeanyoudontknowwhoRobertAltmanis

There are three keys to success on Twitter. The first is following the right people. If you are in the meetings business, this means anyone who has their pulse on the meeting scene, such as Paris Hilton. The second key is attracting followers, but not just any followers, preferably ones who have a pulse. The way to attract followers is by providing timely, killer content, such as: “Wow…great episode of The Good Wife last night…um…do I have more characters left?” #bawledmyeyesout

The third key, as you may have guessed by my subtle use of them, is the strategic use of hashtags, or what Twitter aficionados call “waffle puppies.” (If you want to impress a social marketing guru just ask them, “How many waffle puppies have you stroked today?” and watch their heads explode.) Hashtags, aka waffle puppies, aka this thing here – # -, are used to prevent people who don’t understand Twitter from ever fully understanding it. Beyond that, I’m certain they can drive dozens of people to your next meeting if you use them not just strategically, but effectively, in a strategic sort of manner. #wafflepuppiesarecute

Linked-in is like a high-end matchmaking service for serious entrepreneurs and business types. In other words, this is not the place for marketing and promotion. Sure, you might make some interesting connections, but who are these people anyway? Why are they linking up with you? What do they want? If you can link in can you link out? Linking up…linking down…linking out…it’s all linking, linking, linking! (Please go back and reread the preceding questions imagining Jerry Seinfeld’s voice and you’ll understand what I’m really trying to say.) #TalkinglikeJerrySeinfeldmakesquestionsmorefun

Which leaves the last of the three big-game animals on our social media safari: Facebook, aka “Look at Me Book,” aka “Here’s Some Crazy Theories I’ve Developed Over the Years Book.” If you’re a professional speaker, then Facebook is the place to let the world know how humble you are by telling them about your latest standing ovation in Vegas. You also use Facebook to show people what empty meeting rooms look like, which is helpful in some way I’m not entirely certain of. And, finally, it’s also where you can let the world know you’re about to rock/are rocking/have rocked an audience. The key is to get the verb tense correct so we know if the rocking has taken place. #rockmyworld

If you’re a meeting professional, then a Facebook fan page can definitely help you interact with meeting participants, promote an upcoming event or, as needed, highlight a video featuring cats playing ping pong with a monkey. #whatisthisguytalkingabout

Regardless of what platform you use (and I haven’t even touched on Instagram), the important thing to remember is that for social media to work effectively you need to keep the “social” aspect of it in mind… and remove yourself from all human contact in order to effectively manage it. #Ineverseemyfriendsanymore

Michael Kerr, CSP, HoF, is listed as one of Canada’s most in-demand speakers. Surf over to his website to discover how to put humour to work for more success in your organization.

Appeared in Speaking o IMPACT, Summer 2015 Edition

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