Reflecting on Social Media for Small / Medium businesses

Yesterday I attended the West Cork Social Media for Business conference.
It was the fist Social Media event I have attended in my own back yard. I got to attend as I won a ticket via a twitter competition the hosts held. I was attending for my own interests, not necessarily EMC’s. Given the continuing sovereign debt tied to banking debt recession we are experiencing in Ireland, it’s all doom and gloom in business news. But I knew that Irish businesses were having successes due in part to Social engagement. So I wanted to see how this was being put out at this conference.  As usual with such events it was full of surprises for me and from EMC’s SMB perspective.

As I am writing this blog post, I have deigned to use my laptop instead of my iPad. I was a bit Ipadded out from the frenetic use of it via twitter mostly yesterday. I am sitting in a yet unpainted and un-floored or furnished  room that is to be my home office for the moment. Essentially this is a start up. Not unlike any new or established business that is starting out in Social Media. The thoughts of painting this room are unpleasant. I personally hate painting. Anyway, contemplating decorating and preparing my office is not too far away from a business starting up in Social Media. It can be daunting. And if you are new to it, doubly so.

But with a bit of perspective it need not be. First you are not alone. There are plenty of businesses doing it already, from sole traders to online media companies any everybody in between. There are also plenty of businesses that can help you out to get started. Check out the twitter traffic from yesterday’s event to get some good nuggets of what’s available and what you can do.

Bill Liao’s  (@liaonet) keynote was a fantastic run through of what you can achieve. And from the perspective of the unpainted office / start up Bill enthused about painting your canvass by telling your story. The Irish are world renowned for story telling as Bill said and Social Media is the canvass to tell it. He also stated that being authentic, funny and completely honest was crucial to be successful. And that buzz is especially important. I agree and I was heartened to see that EMC had been doing this. Yes EMC did a campaign for it’s mega launch of VNX and VNXe like an SMB should. It even got us First Place for Social marketing from B2B online 

In any event a key take away for me was understanding small  and medium businesses and more importantly the people behind them. 150 attendees / business owners took the time out to attend a Social Media conference. That says something for West Cork Irish businesses. Ireland being the fourth largest user of Social Media in the World (for such a small population) tells another story which is yet unfinished. I hope to see Ireland have a resurgence in business and with a story telling heritage like ours and an a phenomenal adoption rate to Social channels, businesses here have a great life line. They just need the courage to grab it.

For EMC, we need to be cognizant that our new market in the SMB is full of amazing individual stories. As Bill Liao said, even if you are plumber living and doing business in Skibereen only, you are still a global business with global customers. I think EMC has a handle on that, and is doing a lot more work to get to know these customers. I certainly learned a lot at the conference and as ever meeting twitter people I follow  in person was awesome.

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