This past Wednesday, September 22, Sustainable Waterloo Region’s events manager, Helena, and I attended Social Media Breakfast Waterloo Region at the Kitchener Market. The guest speaker, Joe Thornley, spoke about “Building Relationships. Creating Opportunities” within the sphere of social media.
I enjoyed attending Social Media Breakfast Waterloo Region and would recommend attending future breakfasts – especially to those who are new to social media. It was great to put a face to some of the names I recognize online and was also a great opportunity to network with other likeminded individuals from the community with an interest in social media.
When I first heard about the event, it was the title that intrigued me. In my approach to social media I like to focus particularly on building relationships that are mutually beneficial. This philosophy also permeates my approach in my role as social media manager for Sustainable Waterloo Region. As much as social media, like mainstream media, can be an avenue for self-promotion, personally, I find it more useful as a tool to keep myself informed.
An important aspect of social media that Joe touched on is ensuring that you listen to your audience. This concept was far from new to me, having read countless articles articulating the importance of social media strategies having “ears.” Nevertheless, this is one area I feel that Sustainable Waterloo Region could be doing better with its social media channels. I read every comment, @mention, direct message and retweet that we receive but this talk reinforced my resolve to do a better job communicating to our network that we’re listening and that we appreciate this engagement from the community. I encourage all of Sustainable Waterloo Region’s blog contributors to respond to each of their comments in a timely manner and moving forward will make it my personal goal to engage better with our network on Twitter.
This is important, as Joe mentioned, because we all look to social media as a means to talk about the things we have in common and also to validate. Social media is unique in that it allows us to connect with people as individuals, which is a fantastic way to build relationships across the community if you can harness this power effectively.
So, to those of you reading this, I’m wondering, how do you engage with your social media network to show that you’re listening?