Friday, December 19, 2008

Notes from Yesterdays OWL meeting - "Dispelling Myths and Fears of Using Social Media in Business"

Written by:
Michael Bowers
Director, Ohio SBDC @ Columbus State

The Ohio Web Leaders or OWL ( was held December 18 at the offices of the Ohio Small Business Development Center at Columbus State Community College and it was a fantastic meeting. Brian Link of BE Interactive Consulting (a recent VP of Technology from, Nick Seguin, a strategist from dynamIt Technologies, and Angela Siefer, owner of Shiny Door, a Social Media training consultancy delivered an interactive presentation on "Dispelling Myths and Fears of Using Social Media in Business". The crowd of over 60 attendees discussed the pros and cons of using social media for business The conversations were active both live and over Twitter. I saw over Twitter that Mark Henson of Sparkspace missed the event but felt he picked up some key points from the on-line activity that was probably heavier than any previous meeting.

What struck me was that companies need to realize that social media is not a fad. It is not just kids on MySpace or Facebook, it has gone mainstream. People are talking and you should be part of that conversation. Company executives often do not get social media. They don’t realize social media should be an integrated component of the overall marketing strategy. Senior management may view social media as campaign oriented but it is not, it is a longer term play designed to maximize “Return On Influence”. To succeed companies that want to utilize social media need to be set up for two-way communication. Realize that your brand is real. Build relationships with your customers and communicate in a transparent way…deal with both good and bad feedback. In addition to specific social media strategies be transparent with employees and allow them to talk to your customers or others through their social media channels. They are going to talk anyway so help them be mindful about what they say.

While the internal champions may continue to encounter resistance in implementing social media strategies the December Ohio Web Leaders meeting showed that they should not give up because social media is a powerful marketing channel and it is here to stay


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