I always love getting together in real life with amazing social media folks in northern Virginia. I attended Social Media Week Fairfax at the Capital One headquarters in McLean, VA where some well-known brands including Food Network, UrbanStems, Booz Allen, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Judy Smith (real life Olivia Pope) all gathered to share their wisdom and experience in the communications space.
My top four takeaways that kept bubbling up from panel-to-panel were the following…
1. Master the art of storytelling – I couldn’t agree more and admittedly I need to be more out in front of my brand. Be willing to share, educate and even entertain in a way that shows that you’re well…human in this digital world. This has been something that is such a no brainer when I’m assisting clients, but when it comes to stepping out and owning my own story I’ve found it challenging because I’ve been “behind-the-scenes” of brands for so long to come up and be all “look at me, listen to me…” has been an adjustment. But in order for my ideal audience – dental professionals – to relate to me and understand my why, they have to know my story. Looking forward to sharing my story later this month… I need to “press the damn button,” according to keynote speaker Brian Fanzo, who challenged all of us to do just that!
2. Your surroundings make up your thoughts – This was a huge reminder during the innovation panel. Office culture (well… and culture in general) consume our thoughts. I’m a proponent of stepping out of the office, giving myself a change of scenery to hunker down and focus. This is something I realized just a few weeks ago is super true for me. Being an entrepreneur and running my own ship is that I work from home a lot. But sometimes when I need to get a lot of work completed in a short amount of time, I head to a local coffee shop (which I’ll admit is usually a Starbucks). Why? Because the majority of the people in there are doing exactly what I’m doing – working but in a more collective manner. Now I see why coworking spaces are indeed so populate for entrepreneurial types.
3. Be authentic – honestly when I heard this earlier in the morning when Nat Geo spoke about their experience around brand partnerships I kind of rolled my eyes a little. Because let’s face it, “authenticity” is a buzzword right now in the social media space and I’m sick of hearing it from unauthentic people. But what I quickly realized after listening to the panel for a few minutes is Nat Geo lives, breathes and is authentic in every capacity. One reason…their Instagram feed is run by the photographers out in the field, not a corporate social media manager…can’t get more authentic than posting real photos from all walks of life throughout the world than having the photographer share their amazing photos with inspiring and well-thought out captions to match.
4. Stay ready – the amazing Judy Smith, crisis management expert and the real life Olivia Pope of the hit show Scandal spoke on how to handle crisis management for brands and she broke it down into four key points. 1. Be aware of the landscape/backdrop in which your crisis occurs. 2. Be swift in response 3. Know the facts 4. Don’t be afraid to make a decision – aka rip the bandaid.
What key point are you going to implement in the next 90 days either for your personal brand of the brand you work for? Share it below!