After Wednesday’s Back-to-School Night at our kids’ Elementary school, I made it slightly late to a very educational and entertaining Linked Orange County event with Social media superstar Mari Smith at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa. In what should have been a stop on a book tour (new release date October 25), Mari eloquently laid out the key elements of her upcoming book “The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web” (not an affiliate link).
In her talk, Mari generously shares from her wealth of experiences gained both from building a passionate following of her own as well as from helping others succeed. The “new” in the title stems from the fact that relationship marketing has been around for a while by now. That people buy from people and companies that they “know, like, and trust” is an oft-repeated mantra also of other leading social media personalities such as Scott Stratten and Chris Brogan.
Given that starting point, Mari’s main message is that people who are overwhelmed by all the choices and changes related to social media need to develop a healthy blend of both hard technical skills and soft people skills to be successful. For the hard skills, Mari was suggesting specific applications such as SocialOomph and ManageFlitter which could help busy professionals save some precious time. HootSuite was another one she likes to use as it allows her to schedule her tweets to be sent when she is sleeping. Mari shared that the best time of day to tweet was about 5 am PST as this corresponds to the time when 80% of the U.S. Population living in the two Eastern-most US time zones start checking their tweets.
In spite of her endorsing various technology facilitators, Mari Smith then goes on to stress the importance of people skills. She finds that much can be read between the lines of social media communications and aspects such as degree of automation, timing, posting frequency, tone, and offline interactions were discussed in terms of how they could influence how you are seen by others on social media. It all goes back to intent, what was the intent behind particular online postings and interactions. If the intent simply is to get attention, stay away from the submit button. If, on the other hand, you have a genuine desire to help others, share your best knowledge, and reach out to develop long-term relationships, then by all means, go ahead and do it without fear that could hold you back.
All in all, a great talk and combined with the opportunity to hobnob with Mari Smith and other OC tweeps afterwards, it made for a delightful evening. Thanks to Mari for coming to Orange County and also for spending time with my Chapman University students. Thanks again also to Bryan Elliott of Linked Orange County for putting on another great event.