July 2018 - Kara Lambert

Monthly Archives: July 2018

Conferences learning connection and networking

Ever looked at event and thought, “Nah, I won’t go, I won’t learn anything”? I have, often. Often I’ve not gone and not thought a second thing of it. I’ve also missed them and had massive FOMO when I saw who was there. That’s when it dawned on me, these events aren’t just about learning, they’re about networking.

Back in March I attended Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) in San Diego. I did it with the explicit purpose to network. Sure, I went to the premier social media conference to network! I did learn, a lot. That was a bonus. But with all I learnt, it was the connections I made which were the most useful.

Some of the people I met at SMMW, I had known online for 4 years. Yet it was the first time I had seen them face to face. There’s something about seeing someone and being able to shake their hand or give them a hug. While video is great, it can’t replace actually being there.

I found my tribe there. I found a group of Australians utterly passionate about social media. While we were there we were able to compare notes on how things differed to back in Australia, how we would implement it, things we would change. We took what we learnt to another level. Now back in Australia we have a reference and referral group. We call on each other for support and guidance. It’s reassuring and incredibly powerful.

Last week I attended Social Media Day Adelaide. Again, I attended for the sole purpose of networking. I had met an attendee a month earlier who had suggested I attend. Again, I didn’t attend so that I could learn (though I did), I attended to network (and I did).

You see, I could have easily decided not to go. I’m not an Agency. I don’t want to be. I don’t run social media for a company I work for (though I have clients I still do this work for). While I do the social media for my business, it’s not something I need to learn from the grass roots – it’s something I consult on. So why did I go and what did I achieve?

I went to network.

It’s easy when you work for yourself to decide that networking is a waste of time. That industry events are a waste of time. That you don’t want to deal with competitors. But if you stay in that space, you miss out. Sometimes you have to set your ego aside and meet with people for the sake of meeting with them.

So what happened? Well I caught up with the person who invited me to attend and he introduced me to the organiser. I met up with people who had heard me speak at Big Digital earlier in the year and hear what they had to say. I met with a lady who I had known online and we chatted through the day. I offered my help to a business and I was invited to do a radio interview.

If I hadn’t attended, none of this would have happened. I wouldn’t have developed or deepened relationships. I would have likely had a case of FOMO. I also wouldn’t have learnt what I did about social media use in Australia. I wouldn’t have thought about the public perception of what an internet influencer stereotypically looks like. And I wouldn’t have had this piece to write.

Too often we look at what we can get out of events in what we can learn and too little do we consider what we can receive in the halls and breaks. We also discount what we are able to give in these situations. We forget that networking is sometimes more valuable to our business than the learning but it’s still something we get to take away.

social media content calendar

So you would think after running social media for over 7 years now I would have a social media content calendars and I would have that thing down pat. Nope. Not me. In fact, I used to believe that that made me unstrategic in my content. That couldn’t be further from the truth either. I am in fact quite strategic. Perhaps it’s that I’m not much of a planner and more a seat of my pants kind of gal, a la Pretty Woman. Nope, I am a certified Type A personality. I am very organised (don’t confuse that with neat though) So why don’t I use a content calendar?

It’s quite simple. I’ve never found one I liked, not even some I could mash together and call my own. I’ve often heard people talk about content calendars and to be honest I had a little fomo because I didn’t have one. Then it struck me why.

Social media content calendars are way to plan out your content. Some have some method and pattern to the types of content you post. This could be vlog, image, shared content. Or it could be quote, testimonial, blog, sales pitch.  It’s telling you the type of content to post not the topic.

Some people develop content topic lists. I’ve looked at these lists, hey I even developed one of my own for blogging a few years ago, but I find they fall sort. Here’s why.

Content calendar topic lists fall short in my mind because it’s one person’s opinion on what topics suit my business and my audience. Sorry, but that’s not going to work for me. I know I’m not the only business and social media coach in the world but I’m pretty unique in the way I think about things. I bet you have your own competitors but you also have your own unique position and proposition in the industry too. So why would a generic list work when you’re individual? (to an extent)

The lists of topics are often written from the business perspective. This means that the topics are there to serve you as the business owner and the business as a whole. Last I checked businesses were there to serve their audience, not be self-serving (sadly too many still are).

If there are topics that are written from the audience perspective, how many of them address the individual and specific motivators of your audience? Do they consider what motivates your audience to choose your business over another? Does it consider the key objections and what drives these objections? Wouldn’t you want your content to answer these questions for you? They are in fact your silent salesman.

The other issue I have with social media content calendars is that they generally don’t tell you how to formulate the post nor do they tell you the best time of that particular day to post it. So I wonder what the benefit is in having these lists of topic that may not meet the needs of your target audience, a schedule of the types of posts to publish, but no idea of what time of day to publish them, and how to write them up?

So what do I recommend?

Well now you’re aware, you can make a more educated choice.
Put your client first. Meet their needs first.
Look at the psychology of an engaging post.
Look at the statistics of when your people are on social media and post then.
Yes, I do have one that I sell, but it’s part of my Organic Facebook Course (because winning content is so much more than the topic).
And if you’ve done all of these, then it’s time we talked about your social media content and how you connect with your audience.