Community Engagement – Talk at #smcv10 Social Media Camp, Victoria BC October 3 2010

I had the opportunity recently to speak at Social Media Camp #smcv10 in Victoria BC. Social Media Camp is the brain child of Paul HolmesIdea Zone, and Chris BurdgeB West Interactive. I’ve known Paul and Chris since early 2009, ever since getting involved in Victoria’s social media scene.  Paul is the co-founder (with Catherine Novak) of Social Media Club Victoria, the first Canadian chapter of the much largerSocial Media Club. Chris is a member of the local leadership team. Together we’ve been involved in regular Social Media Club Victoria meetings, tweetups, meetups,Twestival Victoria and Mashable Social Media Day.

Nothing had prepared me for the awesomeness that was Social Media Camp – over 450 attendees, 60 speakers, countless volunteers and ENERGY!I’m still processing (mostly due to the fact that the day after, October 4th was my birthday).But – here are the notes from my speech.Know your value- what unique contribution do you bring to the table?Social media is about transparency and authenticity – you can’t pretend to be something you are not. Be you!

Don’t be afraid to state your passions and organizations that you support – what’s important to you??
Your passions will resonate with people (your tribe). I’ve met people from around the world (and in my community) because of shared interests.

If the community is already built – don’t go re-inventing the wheel – it’s respectful to LISTEN to others first.  Your ideas will be welcomed if you have some idea of why things have evolved the way they have.

With deepest gratitude to Paul Holmes and Catherine Novak for founding Social Media Club Victoria, and to Tim @howlabit and Doug @dougsymington for starting tweetups in Victoria BC. They laid the foundation for everything that has come since.

Be humble. Look outside yourself for inspiration. Be open to possibilities and synergies. Social media is not linear.

Have you ever wondered where the #yyj hashtag (used as shorthand to mean Victoria, BC) comes from?  #yyj is the airport code – the idea of using an airport code to shorten a city name (important on Twitter due to limited characters) first came to @wintur in #yyc (Calgary). It was picked up by @mastermaq in #yeg (Edmonton) and was then used in Victoria by people who knew @JenCrosby, a news personality in Edmonton. Edmonton and Vancouver’s social media communities precede ours by many years. We continue to be inspired by them!

Be the leader and the steward of your community

It depends on you. You – be the leader! Transitioning an online community offline requires immense social capital. What are you doing to strengthen the links in your network to build that capital?

Volunteer in your local social media community

Any community depends on volunteers. The social media community is still in it’s infancy. Don’t expect others alone to nurture it. Get involved! The rewards are immeasureable – in friendships, connections, relationships, business building.

Collaboration vs competition. Help others, promote others before yourself.

Social media is still very new, and largely unknown to others outside our circles. What better way to destroy our credibility than to compete? And what amazing things we can accomplish when we collaborate. Thanks to the many people who have collaborated with me on ventures during the past year and a half.

Reach out to people first. You can’t do it alone – recruit a great team. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Work with the people you’ve got.

People are very willing to help – if they are asked. It takes leadership to form teams with a disparate group of individuals, but if you are working toward a common goal, the rewards will be huge.

Thank people – over and over and over.  Celebrate successes.

Thank people publicly. Be grateful. Don’t stop thanking people. Be kind.

Brand ambassadors – what do you need to do to find them?

People who spread your messages are your brand ambassadors. Cherish them. (see point above). They help you to amplify your message, far beyond what you alone could accomplish.

Build alliances – do not neglect traditional MSM.

I have had the opportunity to work with many main stream media outlets and channels in Victoria.It’s my pleasure to have them as partners in fundraising ventures. Together we are learning about the intersections between traditional and social media. Most MSM now have additional social media channels that further amplify your message.

Persistency and consistency are key – social media moves FAST – one post occasionally is not going to suffice. Over communicate. Use every social media platform available

Consider first what you are capable of maintaining. It does your brand no good to start, then stop, your social media efforts. Think about your demographic before engaging in a particular platform – is your audience better served by Facebook, or Twitter? Do you need to incorporate email and phone calls too?

Everything is amplified – there is NO room for negativity.

Everything you post online can eventually be seen. How do you want people to remember you?
Social media takes time – it’s not FREE!!! The learning curve is steep! It’s not something you can put on auto-pilot (at least not ALL the time)


Show up! Be present……


Revise, recap, measure – get better!

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.

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