First SME Workshop – How It Went and What We Covered

First SME Workshop in Social Media

I think what I notice about workshops is that each workshop will be determined by the participants, the number of people and the subject being covered. In this case I had a charismatic, cheeky stone mason, a chef with a top pedigree and a sense of humour to match, an adult art education teacher, an art director, a designer, a musician, one of Sydney’s top visual artists with a big personality (who was working on an art project in social media and wanted to learn to schedule so she could do it from Bali) and a very successful even planning company director.

With this many personalities in one room it was always going to be interesting and unpredictable. And it was. I had my notes handy (you can download the seminar notes and planner here) and everything was planned – to a point. I didn’t want to lose the creative aspect of the unknown so I allowed the workshop to take its natural and organic direction. It may or may not be the right thing to do but I thought it was a good test.

The group discussed issues pertinent to their specific businesses, based upon trends and statistics, as well as intuitive development of personas (humanised versions of the marketing “target markets”), when to post and why, how to post. The participants also looked at successful and not so successful examples and analysed why they worked or didn’t.

Everyone came away with a head full of information and the “ah ha” moment of how massive social media ready is. It’s not just posting on Facebook, or sending the odd tweet. Engaging in social media as an SME is a large marketing commitment, with some platforms being lower maintenance than others and some working better for your target market than others.

The other think I brought up was “fans & advocates”. This group may never buy from you however they will spread the word about your brand and are valuable for word of mouth marketing.

All in all I thought it went well. I was slightly feverous, as I am when I leave the snuggly nook of my comfort zone, but out of the comfort zone is where the fun begins. I will post the feedback on the testimonials page or if it is constructive, I will post it here and look at it objectively and examine how I could have done it better.

The highlight for me was to see people discovering their “brand story” and thinking about this beyond the actual products and services. For the art teacher it was about helping adults discover their creative souls and transformation. For the stone mason it was making the world more beautiful one wall at a time. From my perspective it is about empowering business owners.

When approaching business from the core goal, especially with social media, the posts, tweets, images and updates become more authentically “your brand”, regardless of what is being sold. Social media is not free advertising. It is social, organic and unpredictable. It is about storytelling not posting ads and promotions.

Thanks to all the participants, I was a great learning experience for me as well.

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