This breakfast provided a nice mix of some important components that should be a part of every social media strategy. We all work to build communities around our brand and relevant, sincere content helps to attract and engage those community members. And you need to be ready to protect your community if and when something goes wrong. Crisis planning and management is crucial.
Chris Avantaggio of LiveME started us off with his presentation on community. If you haven’t noticed Chris’s stickers, pint glasses, t-shirts and more around town – and the state – you haven’t been paying attention. An idea that began as a way to find friends in a crowd at BeerFest has blossomed into a line of apparel and drinking vessels that speak to Maine state pride. Chris talked about building community through partnerships with GreenDrinks and other local organizations and events – a great way to build local interest and an opportunity for product placement. From BeerME Ts for President Obama to retweets, Chris gave us an entertaining rundown of all the ways he’s grown and maintained a community that ultimately IS the brand. In the end, it’s all about the fans and how they represent and share. So reshare and retweet when you can, let them know they’re appreciated – free stuff doesn’t hurt either.
Kathryn Hawkins of Hawkins Multimedia, LLC makes her living as a copywriter and content marketer and she shared some great tips for creating quality content that helps you get noticed and build trust and loyalty around your brand. She stressed that content marketing (like social media) is not all about you. Content that provides people with the information they need is far more valuable than a sales pitch. Kathryn’s bottom line: “It’s not about a one night stand. It’s about getting your prospects to commit.”
Our final presenter talked about his experience managing a crisis that many Mainers – and non-Mainers – are familiar with: the Sugarloaf Spillway chairlift accident of 2010. Ethan Austin of Sugarloaf gave us a behind the scenes look at the crisis management plan that he and his team executed the day of the accident. After some clear ground rules had been set, social media, Facebook in particular, became the main channel of communication with the media and the public during the crisis. In the end, this approach of providing transparent and timely information resulted in trust – and even some praise. Ethan’s closing words of advice: “Make your social media audience your greatest ally in a crisis.”