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Learning Blogging and Social Media in Hawaii

Learning Blogging and Social Media in Hawaii

Hawaii Geek Week continues in Honolulu, Hawaii. Yesterday’s Web Weavers Workshop with Lorelle in Hawaii was a tremendous success. A couple dozen people learned how to blog beginning with what a blog is and ending with how blogging is already changing their lives by giving people a platform upon which to speak and share and learn.

Web Weavers Workshop for bloggers by Lorelle VanFossen
Web Weavers Workshop for bloggers by Lorelle VanFossen

The participants ranged from total newbies trying to understand what this “blogging thing” is all about, to business owners and professionals familiar with website technology and development and eager to take it a few steps further into blogging and social media.

Each participant made a plan for their blog, signed up for a free blog, and started filling in the blanks and choosing a WordPress Theme.

Many arrived with the preconceived notion that blogging is hard and complicated, and left realizing that blogging is easy. It’s finding your passion to share with the world that is really the hardest part of the puzzle. A few had set ideas on what they wanted to blog about when they arrived, but through the step-by-step process of drilling down their idea into an actionable plan for their blogs, they realized that they didn’t have the content, nor the commitment, to blog their idea over the long term. A few changed paths midstream and left the day-long workshop inspired and ready to embrace their blog in a new direction.

The next in the natural evolution of a blog came today at the Social Media Club Workshop.

Hawaii Social Media Club Workshop

Hawaii Social Media Club Workshop - learning to use Twitter
Hawaii Social Media Club Workshop - learning to use Twitter

As part of the inauguration of the Hawaii Social Media Club, a day long workshop on social media was presented by Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells of the Social Media Club, Beth Kanter, and Roxanne Darling.

The first part of the day was spent defining the jargon that now fills our blogging and online lives. Tweet, Twitter, social, social media, Digg, blog conversation, all these words we throw around among ourselves that people outside of the blogosphere and social web just don’t understand.

Social media impact on the changing economy was covered in depth, especially as it relates to marketing, advertising, publicity, and public relations.

Each speaker build upon the lessons brought forth by the previous speakers, leading towards an incredible session with Beth Kanter, which put everything we’d learned about all day into practice.

Hawaii Social Media Club Workshop - Beth Kanter on the Social Media Game
Hawaii Social Media Club Workshop - Beth Kanter on the Social Media Game

The Hawaii Social Media Game (SlideShare slides) put the lessons into reality. Each table was given an assignment as if we were a web consultancy and social media experts group. Our client needed social media help for their project and we had to bring them our project proposal.

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The projects included marketing a pineapple salsa, promoting an Internet café and an international surfing campaign, among other projects. The team used playing cards to help them determine their course of action and the social media tools they would need to put their plan into action and achieve their goals.

I’ll be writing a lot more about the many lessons I learned, but here are some key points to consider that we all learned from this tremendously successful exercise in setting up a social media marketing campaign:

  • Use the right tool for the job. Not every social media tool will work for every project.
  • Target your audience. If you try to paint the world with your project, the return on your investment will be small. If you aim directly for your audience, your ROI may be much higher and less financially painful.
  • Be willing to tell your client that they need to change. To achieve some marketing strategy goals, a business might have to change how it markets itself, but also how it does business. It’s a changing world and you have to change with it.
  • Old thinking doesn’t work any more. While there is a lot of similarity between the old methodology of marketing and advertising, it really doesn’t work any more. Broad strokes don’t work any more. Customer service is where every advertising dollar must go. Happy customers have big mouths. Everything is social, it’s about the relationships not necessarily the numbers, and throwing money at a problem will not fix it.
  • It’s pressure that cuts diamonds. While your plan may be great, it’s the reality in the progress of the project that truly defines the end result. The Social Media Game takes into account “shit happens” and you can win extra points and lose points based upon your decisions to that point. When you are forced to change your strategy and make extreme decisions because of limitations, constraints, and crap that just happens, you make clearer, cleaner, and better decisions, honing the end result often into a better result than you planned in the first place.
  • It’s time to rethink and remix everything you knew about marketing. It’s a new world and it’s not too late to catch up. It’s not hard to understand social media, but it is time. Start today.

Beth Kanter live blogged the first part of the program, giving you the insights into some of what we learned throughout the day. I will be processing all of the input from this powerful workshop on social media, so expect to read a lot more soon.

Hawaii Podcamp and WordCamp speakers social gathering
Hawaii Podcamp and WordCamp speakers social gathering

The evening ended with a great social get-together and tomorrow begins the final weekend of Hawaii Geek Week with the Windward Community Tech Fair Workshops and Exhibits tomorrow morning, October 24, 2008, and the all day Friday and Saturday, Podcamp and WordCamp Hawaii, an amazing event bringing together over 500 participants to the Hawaii Convention Center to meet some of the top podcasters, bloggers, videobloggers, social media experts, and web gurus.

It has been an exhausting week, but each day I’ve been so energized by the passion this community has for sharing, caring, and the web. I’m so sad that Hawaii Geek Week is nearing the end, but Podcamp/WordCamp Hawaii is so going to rock. Hope to see you there!

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