The Blog World Expo in Las Vegas was quite an illuminating experience, with each session revealing tips, trends, and tools to help businesses and bloggers get the most out of their online social networking and blogging efforts. There was so much valuable information passed along that it's hard to assign priority and decide what to write about first. But don't worry, I won't continue rambling on in generalities for the remainder of this post, I'm going to get down to the nitty gritty and (hopefully!) teach you what I learned.
When it comes to learning and teaching specifics, I have a list-type personality; don't give me a map, give me step by step directions. Because of this, I'm going to break down what I learned into the most important points and outline them for you here. I'll go into more detail with each point in following posts (oh, the anticipation!), and update this outline with links to them for easy reference. So, without further ado, here's what I learned at the BlogWorld Expo (in no particular order of importance):
1. Blog vs. Website War - Nowadays, is it better to have a blog, a website, or both? Is it good to have multiple blogs? The answer comes in the form of another question. Des Walsh, business coach and social media strategist, asked, "Are you engaging your visitors?" That should be the ultimate goal of any effective online presence.
2. Be Active in Your Sphere - Simply having a presence is not enough, you must have a PRESENCE. According to Rohit Bhargava, author of the Influential Marketing Blog and the book Personality Not Included, says this means having a plan and a purpose for each space you fill online, and actively participating in it. "But wait", you say, "I have profiles in dozens of places online, and therefore cannot possibly be actively involved in all of them". So true! But you must decide on a plan and a purpose for each one, and be consistent.
3. Feed Your Center - So you say you have dozens of profiles online? Do you have a central or focus profile? If your answer was no, then you should get one! Denise Wakeman of The Blog Squad, talked about the importance of having a hub for your followers, friends, visitors, and fans (or whatever else you call your online connections). All of your online activity, including blogs and social networking sites, should point back to this home base. This will help simplify things for your contacts and yourself, as well as boost the ranking for your central blog / website.
4. Be Yourself - When promoting your listings, your services, your photos, or your experience, it's easy to forget to be personal. You want to impress, impress, impress, but you forget to be transparent (believe me, I've struggled with this myself!). Many, many speakers, including Brian Solis of Future Works, Chris Brogan of social networking fame, and Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO (@zappos), spoke on how important this is, noting that it is vital to have a personality and be someone that others want to connect with and want to do business with.
5. Twitter - Just do it. Since I've been back from the Expo, I've often referred to it as the "Twitter World Expo" because of the prominent role that Twitter played in the whole thing. Every conference room had Twitter on the big screen, every session mentioned or integrated it, and almost every "guru" sung its praises. If you don't Twitter yet, you may be thinking, "What's it all about and how does it work?". To get started, check out this start guide for Twitter, written by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, or this video, Twitter in Plain English, by Lee Lefever of CommonCraft. Basically, it's about getting connected and building quality relationships.
There was so much more shared, but I think these are the most relevant and applicable to the AR community. As I go into more detail in following posts, I hope you will be able to apply these tips to your current business (if you haven't done so already!).
Oh yeah, and if you Twitter, you can follow me @candees - I'll follow you back ;)