On June 30th it was Social Media Day, a day organised by Mashable to celebrate Twitter, Facebook & all of the other ways in which social & internet media has grown recently. Meetups happened throughout the UK and I headed to the Social Media meetup in Manchester, which had a range of speakers, each one explaining how they use social to grow their respective businesses.

First up was John Greenway of Manchester Airport, (@manairport on twitter). John explained how they used social media & they originally started like we all do, spam monkeys pimping deal after deal. After a while, they found that people wanted information rather than being sold too. This eventually got people through the door & interested in their deals, as some of the information was for a commercial nature (“where’s the best place to have a pint at the airport”, for example). This really came to the front with the Volcanic Ash Cloud, where they added added 4,000 followers. Whilst people within the terminal buildings both in Manchester & elsewhere weren’t telling information – or that information was slow coming, Manchester Airport kept it’s followers updated (which ballooned as people all over the world were using it for information).

As you can expect with a fairly big company they are using the Twitter API to it’s full potential & have integrated with live flight changes through DM. So if you DM your flight number to them they’ll keep you updated with any changes. Very clever.

The second talk was by Martine Alexander (@YourStylist on twitter), who was completely different operation from Manchester Aiport. Martine was a fashion stylist (which if you know me, you’d know that it’s a subject I know the grand sum of sod all about), but used twitter to help grow her business throughout the UK & stateside effectively. Again she doesn’t have as many followers as even yours truly, but the overall quality of the followers is a lot better. Builds up trust & PR contacts by giving away free fashion tips – not just general tips but also tips directed at people. She also mentions that any sort of retweet by a celebrity (she has a few celebrity clients), did result in a massive jump of followers. Despite not being in a favourite subject area of mine, I must admit it was a very engaging talk, although I forgot to ask the question of “So what does a slightly overweight, brunette Welshman wear in the summer to look good?”.

The third talk was by Panda Licorace representative (who’s name escapes me now, but it’s @pandalicoriceuk), who was looking to grow their brand to two groups of people – teenage girls & over 45 women – they did this by driving traffic using social media to two different sites. They connected to authoritative bloggers in their niche – but before actually connecting they listened to the chatter. For 6 weeks they didn’t write a single tweet, post an update or send an email. Instead they madeĀ  a list of authoritative individuals in their target markets & made contact, originally offering a 39 pence bag of licorice to each individual. They say that even with this small bag, it got a lot of response & buzz out there.

There were two other talks, but by then the beer was taking an effect. The first talk was from 7 Wonders in 7 Days (@7wondersin7days), who is coming up with a plan to visit the New 7 Wonders of the World in a week. I wasn’t sold on the idea at first but towards the end it did seem possible. Plud they’re planning to raise a huge amount of money for 7 charities, and give away a few holidays. Check that out.

The final talk was from Dominic Hodgson (@thehodge), whose talk was surrounding how to stop making an idiot of yourself on Social Media. A bit of light hearted, Dave Gorman esque relief towards the end, but it was fun, and he pushed his conference Think Visibility, a conference I will be attending.

Segmented between the talkers were a couple of live linkups over Skype. The first was to the Social Media Day in Porto, Portugal. The second was to Sacremento California. It was impressive but sharing stories about how Twitter has benefitted the local community was a bit morbid. The twitter community in & around Manchester managed to raise money for comedian Chris Sievey’s funeral, whereas Sacremento’s twitter community help recover a guy’s stolen dad’s ashes! We tried not laughing. Honest.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening. I’m a big believer in offline networking, so it was good to see a few familiar faces & new faces. Definitely check out next Social Media Day – on the 30th June – in your local area.

 

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