Friday, June 24, 2011

Insights from Social Media Workshops

I enjoy  leading workshops. Sharing my knowledge and experiences with others and learning from participant's knowledge and experience is truly inspiring.
I wanted to share some of my insights from the social media workshops I've been giving. The workshop focuses on social media as a hype or trend, social media strategy, social media concepts and tools, etc.

We're just getting started
One of the things that really strikes me is that we are only just starting to understand social media and experiment with it in practice insides companies and on the internet. I know there are examples of companies being successful in this space. But more than 90% of the people I get in my workshop haven't experimented with social media personally and in a corporate context, are often afraid to dip their toe into social media, find it hard to define next steps, etc.

Concepts and Tools
I usually start my workshop by talking about underlying concepts of social media. Understanding the concepts  is crucial to social media succes, in my experience. But most of the time I see people thinking: OK, great, let's get over to the tools please. I understand this and it's OK. Talking about specific thinks, like tools is just easier than talking about conceptual, even philosophical stuff. But this also tells me we have a way to go in social media. I have to constantly tell myself I belong to a group of people that is not the large majority.
Relating to tools, blogging is not too popular. And nobody knows social bookmarking. Microblogging and social networking are most popular.

Cases
The participants love social media cases. Talking about (the details of) cases could easily captivate a group all day long. And the cases don't have to end with: And they earned a lot of money with this campaign.

Strategy
Listening as the key to social media strategy is a huge eye-opener for most people. Most think you start with a goal and carry on from there. No, in this networked, complex world we start with listening. Deeply trying to understand what markets, customers and peers are saying.
Translating the strategy to practice is hard for most participants. Just doing social media is not common. Most wait and see and/or need help to take their first steps.

Sharing experiences
Sharing experiences is appreciated greatly. This doesn't only go for workshops about social media, I'd say. But I do think sharing in my social media workshop is valued also because social media touches very human spots. Like: how open are you about your deepest questions? Is it OK to say you don't know something? How open must you (or do you dare to) be in social media? Etc. Addressing these questions is important. It helps you move into social media and be more productive there.

To be clear, I'm not saying the above is weird. It's reality, it's the world we/I live in. And I just wanted to share that with you. Maybe you (don't) recognize my points. Please leave a comment to continue the conversation.
This is what I run into and deal with. And I love it. Have a great weekend!
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