Social Media Bootcamp: Getting Your Digital Presence into Shape

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: December 6, 2013

To create and execute great advertising, one must have a video production team, a Pulitzer Prize winning author on hand, super fancy camera equipment, and deep pockets.

No...That’s not true. Not even a little.

You can get the word out about your business, non-profit, event, or idea without spending a lot of money or a lot of time in front of a computer screen. And at the Ideas in Motion Media Social Media Boot Camp is where you learn how.

The main goal of the boot camp was to show our existing partners and any non-profits organizations specific ways to use social media to their advantage and that utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and Linkedin for their businesses or organizations is easy.

“The importance of this boot camp is that it teaches clients and nonclients that social media is much easier to navigate than they think,” Jenny Craig, Executive Team Leader for Ideas in Motion Media, said. “And a little something is better than doing nothing at all. And it doesn’t always have to be perfect to get the job done.”

At the beginning of the boot camp, everyone was welcomed into the office with the tantalizing smells of pizza and bread bites that we procured from Zao Island's fabulous restaurant, Coladas. After chatting, eating and casual networking, everyone was moved down stairs where our company founder and CEO, Chris Mahlmann addressed the group and explained the purpose for the boot camp and the importance of social media to the modern day business.

“Our view is: the more you know, better off you are, and the better off we are in helping you,” Mahlmann said encouragingly the group. “Mostly what you’re doing on the social side is what you would be doing in someone’s physical presence; you’re just using a digital means to do it. Is there a good, better best way to do things? Yes, but I want to disavow the notion that you need to be an expert to have an impactful social media presence.”

The last leg of the boot camp split everyone into four groups and we got down to the nitty gritty of the boot camp. Chris, Jenny, special guest speaker Darlene Cohn of D. Cohn Communications, and I each commandeered a group and advised them on different aspects of social media to help each of the group members gain a more powerful social media presence. Chris spoke about creating videos that can really boost a company’s image. He made it clear that a video production team is not needed to make an impactful video, just get your face out there and get the word out. And videos can be made quite well without putting a huge hole in anyone’s budget.

Jenny talked about photos. She said that it is great to have a professional photographer, but sometimes the budget does not allow for that so it is not only okay but a good thing to take a point and shoot or even a cell phone photo and use that for social media posting. And you don’t need to stage a perfect photo shoot to get the idea across to your Twitter followers. The right shot at the right time, whether it’s a group of runners smiling at you as they run by during a race, kids laughing as they play in a water fountain, or brand new business owners grinning happily as they cut a ribbon to officially open their business, can have a huge impact on all who see it.

Darlene’s topic was words. What you say and how you say it can greatly affect your social media presence. What to say is often the question. The answer usually is: tell people what you would tell them if you saw them in the street. For example: We are part of the Toys for Tots this year, you should bring a toy in next time you come in to do some shopping at our store; We have a new personal trainer on our staff! Her name is Jaime and she’s excited to be on our team. Come on in to meet her and then set up a personal training session while you’re in! It is getting all of those great things out to your audience that is important.

And I had the topic of sharing. We have many clients and nonprofit contributors that send us content every day. As an editor, part of my job is to take what is sent in and put it into article form and get it up on our websites and then out into the digital media realm for all to see. I post it, like it, share it, etc to make the biggest impact possible on behalf of the client or nonprofit. I went over the best ways to send in content for articles and told them good ideas for articles. A good article can be about anything that is relative to their organization, and I explained that there are very little limits as far as content goes. But I explained to my groups that in order for their content to have even more reach, they need to like, repost, retweet, share articles with friends and family, send mass emails to their coworkers, etc.

Everyone asked pertinent questions and there was a lot of encouragement and camaraderie that took place throughout the boot camp. Lots of learning took place for the guests as well as for us speakers. I can speak for everyone when I say that this was useful, fun, and worth it.

If you missed out on this boot camp, there is another happening in La Porte at the GLEDC building on December 11 at 4pm. Here is the link for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1429367980614415/?ref_dashboard_filter=calendar  We will see you there!

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