Like Minds Conference Video by Documentally
Like Minds is a world class social media conference held in Exeter, UK, and it was a great privilege to attend this on Friday last week to hear a whole day of presentations from many of the great and the good of the social media world.
I am heavily involved in social media, having completely changed and rebranded my ten year old web site from an online pharmacy (MyPharmacy) to a lifestyle portal about health, happiness and success (SuperLiving). I hit the first web boom and gave up the day job on the strength of it, and I need to keep up to date with the second phase of Web 2.0 and the explosion of social media in order to survive. Having had my own business it would be soul destroying to have to go back to a job.
Like Minds has given me a lot of things to reflect on, and now two days on I would like to share some of my reflections with you.Conferences and seminars are great fun to me. I often learn new things, which is great, but I usually find that the main benefits comes from the people I meet, the ideas I already know but need a reminder that I still need to apply them, and the way that the whole immersion links things together in a better way in my mind. Just being in the same room as a bunch of great people always raises my game and energises me. Social media has it’s place, but it takes real people to give a buzz like this.
The theme of this conference was ‘People-to-People’, and I don’t know about everybody else, but the theme worked for me, and my mind lingered on how I interact with people, and was brought into sharp focus by how I followed up with the people I talked to on the day. This is a key part of my social media strategy.
Here are some random thoughts I came away with:
Am I just old fashioned? While in the queue to get in, I found out that I was about the only person who had printed out and brought along my ticket. I would have felt naked and unprepared without it. When I book something I print out and file the booking details and directions in my case straight away. I add it to my calendar with a reminder, and then I can forget about it. and clear my mind to do something else.
Business cards are still important. Just because it’s a social media conference and everybody is kitted out with all their mobile technology doesn’t mean that you don’t need a pocket full of business cards. I was amazed at the number of people who hadn’t brought business cards to give out, or hadn’t brought enough. There was also someone who didn’t believe in business cards because he had gone paperless. Now for me that’s carrying this digital thing a bit too far.
I need to make my own business card more social media friendly. Yes, my own lovely business cards have begun to show their age. They are letting me down. I had them printed a year ago at a time when I didn’t ‘get’ Twitter, so they don’t link to my personal Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. One of the great ideas at Like Minds was to have breakout meetings over lunch, with a keynote speaker and ten guests. I had the great fortune to have lunch with Trey Pennington. We all exchanged business cards, and Vanessa Cobb did something wonderful with these cards when she got home, she made a Twitter List of the people there. There was only one problem, I wasn’t on it! Is your business card social media friendly?
My photograph also needs to be on my next lot of business cards. I don’t know about you, but when I come home and empty my pockets of collected business cards I always take action and do something with them, and sometimes it’s difficult to remember exactly who they came from. The only cards I collected which had photographs on were from Trey Pennington and Katrina de Gruchy.
Are businesses getting more complicated? Perhaps this is just me. Business cards seem to increasingly baffle me the more I collect. Or is it just a reflection that businesses are changing? Or is it just that newer business models are multifaceted now that social media is being incorporated into the mix? And are these new mixes difficult to explain on a business card? I always thought that if something was difficult to explain then you didn’t understand it well enough. Or hadn’t put the creativity into simplifying the message. Or perhaps have forgotten that such a message is ‘People-to-People’.
Who do I keep in contact with? I always follow up by making contact with someone I have exchanged business cards with. I add them to my CRM database and send them a video e-mail so that they remember me. This has all my personal and business contact details, including the social media ones. This works fine for local people, but I did have a bit of heart searching about doing this for people from Jersey and London. In the end I decided to add them to my CRM database and send them a video e-mail, but not follow them on my personal Twitter account, but I will keep this under review.
OK, so I can’t multi-task. I obviously lead a very simple life. I did feel in the minority. When I go to a seminar I go to listen to the speakers, and I make notes with my pen in my hardbound notebook. I am maxed out thinking about what they are saying, and my mind is actively thinking how I can apply this to my own life and business. How old fashioned! You would have thought that Like Minds wasn’t sponsored by local people like Organic Development (who do my web site), but by Apple. There must have been an APD of ~1.0 (Apple Product Density of one per square metre). And they were all in use. After a full day of listening and talking I was exhausted. Perhaps I only have a web 1.0 mind. Perhaps I am too old to change. Perhaps I like to keep this bit just as it is.
Social media needs good business practice and structure. I was a bit surprised when I followed the leads that some people gave me. By this I mean when I followed the lead of a web site address from a business card or a link from a Twitter account they often lead into dead ends, or at least didn’t show all the opportunities there were for contact. I found myself guilty here too. Isn’t it always easier to see what’s wrong with other people’s social media structures than with your own? I now realise that I need to publish a hub page at ColinWinstanley.com and have my personal Twitter link pointing to that, not my SuperLiving Twitter account. That way anyone following me on Twitter can see everything I do and not come to a dead end. As far as good business practice goes, I still found a business card with no web site and a web site with no contact address on it. Such fundamental things need sorting out before developing a social media presence, not after. Having a social media policy isn’t a substitute for having a poor business policy.
What about the conference itself? Well, that was absolutely great and improved my perspective, but the overall thing I came away with is that I’m on the right track and don’t need to change my philosophy. I just need to be real and genuine and human, and think how I can help my guests. In fact, concentrate on being a ‘People-to-People’ organisation. Well done to Scott and Drew for the faultless organisation of Like Minds, and to all the wonderful speakers for opening their hearts and minds to us. Read what others said about the Like Minds Conference.
Author : Colin Winstanley