Slaying dragons in social media fantasyland

Takeaways from #RaganDisney

Mickey slayin'

The social media industry can be a lot like New Fantasyland at Disney World: there’s a ton of information, flashing lights, advice, experts and characters out there. And like Mickey, we social media managers need to be able to blast through the nightmares and hype, to slay the dragons (e.g. social media pitfalls, haters, crises, stale content) and find our own way to the top of the mountain.

The best route is to set a strategy, jump in the fire and grow from there. After over three years of corporate social media management, I’m always looking for new ideas, fresh perspectives and ways to elevate my craft.

With that goal in mind, I attended the Ragan’s 6th Annual Social Media for PR and Corporate Communications Conference at Walt Disney World to get inspired, network with other social media pros and come up with some new ideas to try out at work.

Here are the key lessons I took away from the conference and I hope they help you slay whatever social media dragons you’re battling.

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Five pillars of a quality meeting (and Twitter chat)

Meeting in the Office

Working as the social media guy for a pretty big company, I spend a good chunk of my day on Twitter, responding to customers, promoting programs, spreading the good corporate word; and also personally for professional development, networking and information gathering (among others).

I see lots of good stuff in my feeds, and some tweets that aren’t so good.

Since meetings (and PowerPoints) are often staples of the business process, I also see a fair share of conference rooms, appointment notifications and recurring gatherings.

And just like tweets, some meetings are useful, and some meetings are – well, you get the idea.

This week I participated in the #pr20chat – a weekly Twitter discussion about PR and social media organized by Justin Goldsborough and Heather Whaling – and found a lot of value from the professional discussion, social media analysis and varied perspectives.

In jotting down my notes from the Twitter chat, the similarities crystallized between a quality Twitter chat and an effective meeting.

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Notes on Google+

I’m trying not to get too excited about Google+.

I remember when Google Buzz launched about a year ago. I was all jacked up, and within a few weeks I felt pretty silly for contributing to the over-hype of what has turned out to be a dud thus far.

And as genuine as my efforts for objectivity are, I can’t deny that I’m a Google fanboy and am cheering for them to succeed in the social space.

So, yes, I am excited about Google+ and here are some of my notes on the new platform.

I hope they help your exploration of Google+ in one way or another. At the very least it’ll be fun to look back on this in a year and measure the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of my assessments and predictions.

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Social media breakdown: 3 sentences on the channels I use and their value

Bejeweled spider webs: Bristol is so frosty this morning.

I’ve seen others break down their methodology on various social channels and thought it would be interesting to evaluate what I’m using, how I’m using it and the value therein.

I hope this gives you some ideas for new ways to use these networks, and I encourage you to share your own breakdown in the comments.

Also, I plan to do a post like this every year to see how the industry, and my participation, is progressing.

And to keep me from getting too long-winded or granular in my evaluations, I restricted myself to three sentences on each topic (inspired by a great creative writing blog called Six Sentences that you should subscribe to).

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8 social media FAQ, answered in haiku

Last week at work, I showed some nonprofit organizations a few best practices and tips for social media.

Most of the discussion focused on how an organization would best operate Twitter or a Facebook page, but some of the takeaways can be applied to personal use as well.

For this blog post, instead of hammering out a long-winded explanation of the social media tips that were imparted at the workshop, I responded in haiku to some of the most frequently asked questions from the workshop and other recent, related conversations.

Granted, I could say a lot more than 17 syllables in responding to these questions, but my goal with the haiku format is to cut the fat and give you a quick, easy and cadenced look at the most important tips. Here they are:

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