Social Media is happening. The evidence is at Podcamp San Antonio 3.0

I am at Podcamp San Antonio 3.0. So far I have seen people in jeans and t-shirts, army uniforms and sequin coats and hats. And, as one would expect based on the eclectic mix of people, the sessions have covered a diverse set of topics all under the social media sun.

A recap:

Coworking

@firecatsue talked about coworking, which to me is a perfect example of how we can take social media offline and into the 3-dimensional world that all of us are familiar with. Coworking is heaven-sent for people like me who need distractions to focus and feed off other people’s energy and unique passions.Check this out to get a sense for how coworking is taking off all over the coutry and, if you are in San Antonio… check out C4 Workspace, follow @coworkingsa and hey, why not take a day to actually try it out?

Journey through social media

@TXconflictcoach talked about her journey into social media. She talked about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, BlogTalkRadio, blogging and MySpace (no, wait… take that back. MySpace is apparently where all the porn is). The thing to highlight about this session is the importance of experimenting and – one of my favorite words – TINKERING with different social media networks, channels, approches, strategies… in order to find the one (or ones) that fit you and what you do best. I highly recommend you do it. Hit the ground running and don’t be afraid to trip and fall – you’ll get back up. I promise.

What does social media have to do with business?

Bruce Hughes talked about how SBDC is helping businesses grow by guiding them through pretty much every step of the business development process. How does this relates to social media you ask? SBDC provides marketing assistance to businesses, which helps increase revenue…. but don’t forget! Social media also helps build communities, develop relationships with your business’ constituents, establish your business as a helpful resource…We really must make it a point to stop looking at social media first and foremost as a way to make money. Your priority should be to use to to build your business around what your potential customers need, want and care to interact with.

Military and social media

@AFRC_433 talked about how the air force is using social media. Every airman is a communicator, they Twitter and now the base is working on their Facebook Page. So, why would the air force want to use social media? To let the public know what they were up to but do so by communicating on a more personal level.This was one of the coolest session at Podcamp because it demostrates that with a little persistence, even institutions that have insane amounts of restrictions and levels of hierarchy to cut through in order to get permission to do, well… anything… can start using social media to connect with the public.@AFRC_433 talked about using her phone to start Twittering, blogging, etc. while she waited for approval to do social media on personal laptops. To the air force, public affairs is public affairs is public affairs. Anything that gets on Twitter goes out with a link to more information and to the Web site. However, she also tweets cool facts like how many tortillas fit in a CS Galaxy (answer: 322, 857).And that’s the way. Aha, aha, I like it.I really, really like it.

YouTube, make videos and SEO

Another way of getting your content into Google is video. You didn’t know that? Well there ya go.Some tips for SEO with YouTube videos:

  • Think keywords when you name your video and make it easier for people to find you on Google.
  • The actual file you upload to YouTube should also be keyword-conscious.
  • Oh yeah, go to Google and do a bit of keyword research to discover what people are looking for.
  • Optimize your video content. Pick descriptive keywords that are not used as much in competitive areas to catch the low-hanging fruit in terms of SEO.
  • Pillar content vs. Feeder/Teaser content – the first is content people are looking for and the other is content that directs people to another site/source.
  • (Me talking…) Subscribe to Top Rank’s Online Marketing Blog and follow @leeodden. The man knows about SEO and the blog is a great resources for tips, best practices, ideas, enlightment, etc.

PS: Don’t be afraid of videos. They don’t need to be edited professionally, scripts, storyboards, etc. If you think you have something of value that could be turned into a video consider it a green light. Get yourself a Flip camera and start rolling. And hey, if you feel uncomfortable about making videos but still want to publish your content in a way that doesn’t involve blogging, try slideshows and narrated visual presentations.

Pay it forward with a virtual network

@Matt_Scherer talked about not just using social networks but doing so to help others. Logical right? We are social beings and we love to share. Matt talked about several places online that are taking this innate quality of human beings and harnessing it to create communities that gather to help each other.Something that stuck with me was the idea of champions – people who help others find connections and get into the right places to launch their careers, projects, ideas, etc. Ultimately, it is your job to post your resume online, join social networks and begin by eavesdropping on people who share common interests. As Seth Godin would say, find your tribe. If there isn’t one, create one.Takeaway – whether you are an individual or a company, you are the master of your own destiny but know that you have a world (literally) of people out there who are willing to help you on your way to get there. We all have something everybody wants. Find out what you want, figure out what you have to give in return and get a move on.

Blog your heart out: How to start a blog and stick to it

[My session!]

It went a little like this… if you think you have something of value that could take the form of a blog… start a blog 🙂

  • Find out who you are and what you want to write about ahead of time. Even if you want to write about everything, know that ahead of time so that you don’t all of a sudden get hit (and hard) by this realization.
  • Find your software. Shout out to WordPress for easy stats, great SEO tools, user friendliness, customization, plug-ins and a world of other cool things.
  • Customize your blog! Give it a personal touch and write your “About Me” page to let your readers know who you are and what they can expect. This makes you transparent, personable and credible.
  • Set up RSS feeds to see what others are blogging about on the topics that interest you. This way, you can add unique content to the online conversation and place the RIGHT inbound links into your posts to make the hallway of mirrors that is the internet a little less dizzying for readers 🙂
  • What’s that? You want to get blogging already?… Come up with an editorial calendar and evergreen topics you can write about to avoid bloggers’ block.
  • Come up with ideas for list posts, how-to posts and other short and sweet content that is helpful, fun to read and that helps you vary the style of your posts.
  • More importantly, think of topics that you are PASSIONATE about. If you are not genuine, blogging is a no-go.
  • Figure out when you’ll post. Start off with once or twice a week but make sure that you are consistent and good to your readers. Don’t feel pressured. This should be fun.
  • Don’t just assume that you are going to have readers. If your blog is your personal diary don’t be outraged if hundreds of comments ensue after every post. If what you are posting useful content and want to share it with people who might be looking for the information you are putting out there, get a Twitter account, feed it, NOURISH it.
  • Make your useful content easy to find. Register your blog on Technorati, Bloglines, Feedburner, etc. And use Simplaris Blogcast on Facebook to publish your blog post on the Notes section of your profile.
  • Follow @problogger on Twitter. He has a lot of helpful advice and a 31-Day Challenge to Better Your Blog
  • Ready. Set. Go.

(By the way, I’m moving to http://andinarvaez.com this weekend 🙂 – It took a while for me to build up!)

Twitter. All of it.

Oh my… I’m afraid to go there. Basically, register for TweetCamp San Antonio on July 18, 2009 and learn all there is to know :)PREVIEW: Twitter is making things HAPPEN.

… Must go. Had an amazing time!!!

Check out the #podcampsa Twitter hashtag and the live stream to catch up with more of what went down inside the Habana Room at El Tropicano hotel today.Signing off.

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