Yours truly, in the role of Tweet Zapper at #FredNMT. Photo by: Jessica Hibbard / Stories and Ideas

Yours truly, in the role of Tweet Zapper at #FredNMT. Photo by: Jessica Hibbard / Stories and Ideas

Last week, I attended the 5th annual New Media & Technology Conference (#FredNMT), hosted by the Frederick Chamber. In my role as volunteer guest-tweeter, it was my job to share key points in real-time… in 140 characters or less. I was a bit overenthusiastic, earning me the nickname Tweet Zapper at the comic-themed conference, and a stint in Twitter limit lock-up. If you’d like to view the highlights, check out the Storify page.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend FredNMT–the brainchild of my friend Jessica–for several years now. The first year or two, the conversation was mostly focused around defining social media and how it could be useful for businesses, and avoiding common pitfalls. This year, I noticed some different themes. (I purposely waited a week to write this post because I wanted to see what stuck.)

Do what makes sense. Whether it’s personal branding, mobile marketing or media relations, we heard in various ways that new media isn’t one-size-fits-all. The sheer number of social media platforms makes it nearly impossible for organizations or individuals to be active everywhere. A better option: choose a few platforms based on your business needs/goals, and use them well.

Curate responsibly. This presentation by Jessica Hibbard and Beth Schillaci covered a wealth of information on finding content, crediting original sources, and avoiding pitfalls of user-generated content (contests, for example). On finding content, I’m partial to Jessica’s analog advice: read books. Finding themes and patterns and adding context for your audience is impossible if you don’t read … a lot.

Be consistent. In what conference attendees would call the “skimmers presentation,” Michelle Kershner talked about the “festival of confusion,” where she saw a festival advertised, but couldn’t locate the pertinent details (or even mention of the event!) on the organization’s website. Think about where you’re sending people. If you say, “visit our website for more information,” make sure the information is there. And easy to find. Having different messages and graphics everywhere confuses your audience and dilutes your brand.

Be yourself. I’ve long believed that organizations with a human behind the brand are the most successful on social media. @AVDawn took this a bit further in her personal branding presentation, talking about how she and others in the AV industry have built a successful online presence. She also made her own Twitter handle necklace, which helps people recognize her at conferences. (Check out Twitter necklaces and geek accessories here.)

One thing that hasn’t changed: it’s always great to see my “online friends” in person, and meet new fellow geeks social media enthusiasts. For those who attended, what conference advice are you still thinking about, or using in your business?