Identifying Online Influencers – CPRS Vancouver Talk

So it’s now official, on February 8th, 2012 at 5:30pm I’ll be giving a talk for CPRS Vancouver on Identifying Online Influencers and How to Engage Them. This isn’t my first every “speaking” gig, but this is the first time I’ll be doing this on my own and not part of a panel.

The synopsis of my talk is as follows:

Social Media has significantly grown over the past few years. With a growing number of social media tools and networks there are also a growing number of people who will express their opinions and have conversations with others via these new channels. As a result, there will be some individuals whose voices will resonate louder than others and whose opinions will be heard by a larger group of people. Identifying these core people, or influencers, has become more crucial for brands and/or causes.

Gus Fosarolli, Senior Client Relations Manager at Marketwire, will offer practical tips to help you identify influencers and learn how to leverage them in support of your cause or brand.

What makes me an authority at speaking on this topic? I’ve been using social media for several years now. I’ve seen social tools grow over the past 4 years and I’ve seen some tools fall on the waste side. I work with many PR and Marketing professionals and I understand how important it is for them to understand the power of the online influencer.

I hope you will be able to attend and listen to me speak. I’m very excited about presenting and hope I will give everyone very valuable information that they can use.

Social Media – Speed Dating

Today I attended the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Vancouver’s event on Social Media dumbed “Social Media – Speed Dating” (hey I didn’t name this one).

There was great turn out of PR professionals/communicators and I’m still amazed at the fear they all have about social media. They all seem to be afraid of having a blog, who will monitor it, who will write it, how much resources have to be used.

As human beings we are all afraid of change. I for one was skeptical at first when I entered the blogging world. I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything to say on a blog, would people listen to me, would I care. I started off slow. I created a personal blog that would allow my family back east in Toronto know what I was up to. Lately I started to follow more blogs and started commenting on more and more of them. I’ve created a great group of blogger pals, Raul, Rebecca, Tanya, and Tyler (to name a few). They have helped me greatly on this journey.

What I learned today was that people are open to social media, but just don’t know how to start. My suggestion (and for those that listened to me at the event) is to just start slowly. You don’t have to jump into it full force. As some of the round table speakers were saying, start off with an RSS feed on your website. This will allow visitors to your site access your information. Your RSS feed should be on your news release section to begin with. Then monitor it and see how that works out. You might then venture into having your own corporate blog, but limit it at first. If you want to get readers to your blog, start researching other blogs that write about the same topic as you do. Begin commenting on them and enjoy the discussions. Linking back on your blog to other blogs definitely helps and you will start to see results through time.

What I did learn, that I didn’t know before, was how to use digg or effectively. I was always worried about them, but as Natasha Davies from Moonraker Multimedia (sorry the website is under construction) said, create a page for background. Refer to this page on your news release, sorta like an on-line biography (I quoted that term and she liked it) allowing readers to know how you came up with your article/release and what you used as a reference. What I have learned in working for a newswire company is that reporters are lazy and they want all the information infront of them. I thought linking to a page with your research is definitely a great idea.

I was glad I was able to share my knowledge of Social Media to some of the attendees. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I thank all the blogger pals and twitter pals out there for helping me along this journey of social media learning!