Yours truly got a special invite from the Ateneo Certified Digital Marketer Program to attend a free face-to-face session of the course Social Media Marketing which was scheduled today, July 12, 2012 and held at the Old Swiss Inn restaurant located at the Somerset Building in Makati.
The invitation says I was part of their “exclusive list”, and the event was limited only to 20 slots.
Wow!..I can’t imagine how I got to be part of this so called “exclusive” list but three things came into my mind:
1. Maybe they’ve found out that I’ve reached the 5k limit for my Facebook personal page and thought I would want to know how I could expand further my social networking reach.
2. or maybe they’ve read this blog and thought I could have the potential of becoming an “emerging influential” blogger if I only knew the tricks of the trade.
3. or maybe they’ve seen my face floating around the Internet and thought I was cute enough to be part of their “exclusive” list.
Well, my most credible assumption would be the third guess.
But seriously, I took the bait and attended the free seminar, which I later found out would be a series of online assignments, social media interaction, and webinars (web seminars) to be concluded with a Certificate of Completion by August.
I arrived at the place so early because I received three notices or reminders about the seminar today: an e-mail, a call, and then a text message or SMS. I got there an hour before the schedule so I hang around a bit outside and took some pictures (like I always do).
The event was said to focus on community in the age of social media. It aims to bring together online community management experts for a discussion on the best practices in community management and community relations in the digital age.
I am obviously not an expert, in fact I am just a noob totally lost and still having an identity crisis, but I think the intention of the course was to make us one among the experts they’ve already trained.
An introductory session was given by the obvious technical guy of the group. I saw him setting up the laptops and video camera that was actually recording and broadcasting the seminar “live and in real-time” so that others would be able to watch it online. I can’t recall his name right now because I did not took down notes. He promised to e-mail us a copy of all the slides that were used in their presentations, so I will just update this post once I get it.
He encouraged us to actively participate in the whole process until we get the Certificate of Completion. There were going to be two assignments and some webinars, and completing the two assignments was a requirement to get a Certificate of Completion.
Let me see if I could still remember what he said:
If we managed to submit only one assignment, then we would only get a Certificate of Participation. There’s also a grading system so aside from the points we will be getting from the said assignments, we could also attend the webinars and the online commenting of the first assignment to get bonus points if we want to get a higher score. But its optional and purely our choice, if time and eagerness permits.
The speaker was Rezza Custodio, currently the Vice President for External Affairs at Planu Inc, also a Senior Trainer at Train Station Inc, and Founder & Partner at All Things Organic Inc. She was a former Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing at Smart Communications, Inc, and before that, the Senior Manager of Brand Equity also at Smart Communications, Inc., and even before that, Manager of Advertising Services at the same company, SMART Communications, Inc. (So she was practically at SMART going from one position to another before she ventured into the probably more profitable, and not time-constrained, field).
Immediately, I was amazed by how she motivated the participants. She started out with sort of a game, most probably to serve as an ice breaker wherein she formed us into groups (by table) and asked the designated “shouter” of each group to shout “Social” whenever we have identified the social media logo that would be displayed on screen. The group with the most correct guesses automatically gets a bonus of three points.
She managed to liven up the almost dozing feeling I was already getting during the introductory session. No offense to the first speaker, after all he was the techie guy, so it was not expected from him to be as effective as the main speaker who obviously has conducted plenty of speaking engagements already.
She truly knows her craft and how she delivered it did not bored us at all. She was even going around the room instead of just standing infront of us…and you could really sense that she was well-versed and in command of her knowledge of the subject matter.
These are just some of the things that I’ve learned from the seminar…( What I could remember so far)
1. Relevance is important, if not the priority, if you want to successfully penetrate your target market(s).
2. Identify leads and opportunities to interact and find out what your followers really needs by embracing negative comments and intimately engaging your market.
3. You need to be hands-on with the project as well and do not rely solely on feedback from your staff or just delegating most of the tasks to other people.
4. Identify your target market especially if its a niche market. Determine if you want to have a global or just a local reach.
5. Consider the tonality when responding to inquiries and reacting to comments on social media. Know when to be formal or informal in your language or manner of interacting.
6. Identify when is the best time to send out marketing gimmicks or ads. Monday morning or Sunday night would be the best days to release ads, while the hours within lunch breaks during weekdays would be the ideal time.
7. Do not feed the “trolls”, but react to the “negatrons” for they may eventually become one of your clients if they are satisfied with your answers.
8. It is better to ask closed-ended questions (answerable by just plain “yes” or “no”) to get the participation of even the laziest among the potential followers.
9. Some followers are still conservative so consider working options from the grassroots.
10. Interact with social media masters and experts, and with your peers, to get informative advise and opinions, and come up with tested and proven solutions.
There was a group activity that asked us to create an online community management plan. The objective was to know the essential information needed before creating the community.
Our group was tasked to conceptualize an online community for the TV series CSI: Miami. We were suppose to create a community of CSI: Miami fans and viewers all over the Philippines to be a platform where fans can say their sentiments about the series.
We later got to report on our brainstorming of ideas.
According to their flyer, the complete Social Media Marketing course would normally cost P 13,500 +VAT and discounted to P11,800 +VAT if taken at the Early Bird Rate. Now that would mean that if I decide to continue from this free face-to-face session and take the entire course then I would have to pay the said amount. Do you think it’s worth it?
When I first started with social medias (it was Friendster, Multiply, YouTube, and some others I could not recall anymore) then eventually to twitting with Twitter, then blogging with WordPress and Blogger, then exploring other medias like Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, etc., I didn’t really have any intention on going professional with it. It was just a hobby, sort of a past time, just to serve as my online diary or journal, where I could rant and curse all I want, and also a means to communicate, discover long lost friends and gain new acquaintances, and remain connected with all of them.
I never intended to use it for business or gain popularity, or extra income.
It would be a plus, no doubt, but it wasn’t a priority.
But when I heard that Social Media would be the next big thing following the popularity of Telecommunications (voice and SMS), it made me think twice. Wouldn’t it be to my advantage if I go on ahead and discover its potentials. Milk it while it still ain’t dry and dead.
Enjoy it as a hobby, while doing it as a pro, and likewise earning at the sideline, and who knows maybe it would really soon become more profitable than our day jobs.
So let me leave you with my last and final words for the day as I explore further the potentials of social media in the coming days:
“Bye for now and see you again online!”
Oh….I almost forgot…thanks for the fine “merienda” (pasta, club sandwich and juice)…and also for the coffee and choco roll Treats!