Is Social Media bringing back our sense of community?

voucher presented to winner of SEC training coursesI’m writing this post from an aeroplane, winging my way home from Sydney after a speaking gig and general geek catchup at Online Marketer Bootcamp today.

I’m a regular speaker at these Bootcamps and SMX shows across Australia and New Zealand, but despite being a 10 year conference veteran, I always learn something new. (By the way, the photo is me handing over a voucher for Search Engine College training to the value of $1,495 to a lucky Bootcamp attendee).

Today’s event was fairly small compared to the larger SMX-branded events, but I actually found the smaller crowd both switched-on and highly engaging. I’m not sure if it was because many of them were small to medium businesses rather than staff of large ad agencies or marketing departments, but these guys were truly interested in what we had to say and how they could use the information immediately.

Many audience members made the effort to track me down during the breaks or after the show to ask questions or simply let me know how much they took away from my session.  Quite a few of the attendees run their own companies and (like me) are responsible for all marketing, advertising and management aspects of their business. They desperately needed SEO, PPC and Social Media explained to them in 30 minutes grabs, minus the industry jargon and in real actionable terms that they could implement NOW. As impossible as that sounds, I think we actually delivered that today.

I spoke about one of my favorite subjects, How to use Twitter for Business (watch this space for a summary) and it was rewarding to see a few light bulbs go off in the crowd as they worked out how they could apply some of the case studies I presented to their own businesses, whether they were a one person company or part of a multi-national corporation.

But what really struck me about today was that the attendees were really keen to share what they knew about the subject matter (whether learned today or in the past) with other attendees. There was genuine excitement in the break out sessions where people were just completely open and honest about their own experiences in the marketing space, the successess and failures, and a willingness to share and learn that I haven’t witnessed at a conference for a couple of years.

At larger shows I’ve been to in the past, attendees tend to be quite secretive about what they do, who they work for, what agencies they use and what methodologies they employ. Not today. Today was all about connecting, engaging and sharing as much as possible. I’m convinced this is a by-product of our increasing involvement with social media. I sense that sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on are encouraging us to talk to each other again.

I overheard lots of conversations that began with “I follow you on Twitter” or “I saw your Facebook post the other day” or “I heard you ask for information about X – here’s a link that might help”. Despite the generational hype that we have lost our ability to communicate without a modem, I actually think our sense of community is returning.

Bring it on I say.

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Twitter: It’s Not Just for Bored Celebrities

Earlier this month, I visited Auckland to give a presentation at Search Engine Bootcamp (see pic of me womaning the Search Engine College sponsor table).

It was a good opportunity to catch up with fellow geeks including Mark Lincoln of Hot PJ Web Design, Mark Sceats of SureFire Search Marketing, Gary Jensen New Zealand’s first blogger and General Manager of and Rod Jacka of PanAnalysis. I didn’t have a chance to catch up with him one-on-one, but it was also inspirational to be in the audience listening to Simon Young of iJump Ltd.

My topic was originally titled Twitter Marketing Essentials but I found that a little uninspired, so with the help of the Twitterverse, re-titled my presentation to: Twitter – It’s Not Just for Bored Celebrities.

The presentation was about how businesses of all sizes can use Twitter as an effective marketing tool and have a lot of fun doing it.

In the presentation, I use a lot of examples of companies who are getting it right on Twitter, as well as some who are getting it very wrong indeed.

Some of the businesses mentioned in my presentation include:

  • Air New Zealand
  • Hell Pizza
  • ProBlogger
  • Tony and Alba’s Pizza
  • Costa Vida Mexican Restaurants
  • TVNZ
  • Best Blooms
  • The Wine Vault

Feel free to download the Powerpoint Slideshow.

I’m not allowed to post the entire file, but here is a 10 minute audio snippet from my presentation (right click to download or left click to listen).

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Have been skipping blog duty

Just a quick post to say sorry for the lack of content on the blog over the past week or so, but I’ve been skipping school.

I’ve been indulging in a bit of rest and recreation with the family, touring around New Zealand after speaking at Search Engine Bootcamp in Auckland.

Apart from a few nights in Auckland, we went sight-seeing in rainy Wellington (where I introduced my son to the wonders of Te Papa), hiking the hills in Motueka, shell-collecting in Golden Bay, wine-tasting in Blenheim and soaking in Hanmer Springs where we had the bizarre and delightful experience of sitting in the hot thermal pools while it snowed on our heads!

See the picture of the pools included in this post.

Anyway, I’ve got lots of new blog material to share, a wrap of  Search Engine Bootcamp and a few Q and A’s coming up this week, so stay tuned.

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See You at Search Engine Bootcamp!

In case you notice the blog being a little neglected this week, it’s because I’m currently on the road on my way up to Auckland to present at Search Engine Bootcamp.

My topic is Twitter Marketing Essentials but I found that a little boring, so have asked the Twitterverse to help me decide on a new presentation heading via online poll. Please vote for the title that you find most appealing :-)

Regardless of the title, the preso will be about how businesses can use Twitter as an effective marketing tool and have a lot of fun doing it.

If you’re coming along on Friday, be sure to stop by our Search Engine College sponsor table in the Exhibition foyer and say hi. You can even grab one of our free LOL cat tees while you’re there. (Yes, we’ve got several mens and ladies sizes and not just one ridiculously large size fits all).

Oh and if you need a little more incentive to come along, as a sponsor of the event, we can arrange a 20% discount on your conference pass. Simply press the big red button at the top right or @ me on Twitter.

See you there!

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