Bentley goes Local with Social Media

The Center for Marketing Technology (CMT) at Bentley University brought together leading experts and practitioners in social media for Going Local With Social Media on Friday, May 6, at Bentley’s Waltham, MA campus.

The event (#cmtsocial) became a trending topic on Twitter Friday morning, as Bentley professors, local businesses, and prominent marketers and technologists from companies such as Groupon, Hubspot, Microsoft, Rue La La, and SCVNGR shared their insights and guided multiple panels on the best practices of local and social marketing.

The half-day session started with a keynote address by Gus Weber (former Microsoft employee gone on to help launch Dogpatch Labs) on the capabilities and future of social media. It’s not news that social media is evolving every day, but Weber points out, “This isn’t some big guy in an executive chair making the decisions—we’re deciding where it goes! So have fun with it.”

Bentley students (undergrads and alumni) in attendance numbered in the hundreds as many were looking for advice on how to make the most of their social media outlets, as well as rub shoulders with those who may hold the keys to their dream jobs. The panel members’ made multiple suggestions; some old, some novel.

So what did I get out of this panel? Aside from a stack of business cards and encouragement to join the Peace Corps, a few basic tips for social media usage:

Facebook

Joanne Domeniconi, of the Daily Grommet, said the method “is to tell tell tell, not sell sell sell!” Facebook has largely survived as a more social platform than Twitter or LinkedIn, but you can never go wrong with rightfully airing your accomplishments. In this sense, Facebook is one of your greatest assets in personal branding.

If you haven’t already, make sure your info is up to date, tagged pictures are set on private, and that you’re easily searchable in the Google universe. (Also, the following guide is used to help businesses build presence on Facebook, but you can use it too.)

Blog

Jeanne Hopkins, the Director of Marketing at HubSpot encouraged everyone to start a blog. “You’re not Shakespeare, you don’t need 1,000 pages to be effective. If your posts are keyword-rich, relevant, and post ample content, you’ll get 30% more leads.”

Like Jeanne said, you don’t have to post a novel, or even write anything at all to be productive. Links, advice blurbs, pictures, or even videos can be effective in showing people who you are, when you post two to three times per week.

Keep your potential readers in mind: what would a future employer like to see? Your friends? What do you want to avoid posting? For example, comments like “OMG so shmamered last night!” would obviously not be very flattering. And no shit-talking either.

Better yet, keep Grandma in mind while posting. Or just keep a private account for all the raunchy stuff.

Twitter

One small business owner at the conference asked what the “ideal formula for effective tweets” was. Todd Van Hooser of the Social Media Club offered that a Twitter account be “1/3 self promotion, 1/3 retweets, and 1/3 information dissemination and engagement.”

Retweet and interact with your followers as much as possible. Get yourself a Tweetdeck on your smartphone and desktop. Van Hooser also suggests that on average, the life expectancy of a tweet is, “a max of 48 hours for a click-through.” I would argue it’s even less, so get tweeting!

LinkedIn

More valuable than connections, is recommendations. No matter how many bullet points on your resume, endorsements are key to success on the platform. Account Executive at Groupon Sunjay Agtey reminds us that, “people trust word of mouth advertising.” Offer to write a co-worker or even a classmate a glowing review (but make sure you mean it, of course) and you now have grounds for asking one in return.

The last word on all of this: beware. With all of the channels available to us to broadcast ourselves, one panel member gave a warning to social media nuts. “The importance of generating content is getting old,” said Dave Weineke, a tech industry veteran and management consultant specializing in digital marketing. “The message economy is expiring…in the future there may be a day when being an unknown is more valuable than fame.”

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