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If you are in business and trying to understand how to use Social Media, anyone you ask will likely give you a range of answers as broad as the definitions available. So where do you turn? Of course, finding an “expert” to guide you would make sense. However in this emerging field, many experts are “self proclaimed” and lacking some background, you may even be in more trouble by seeking the wrong person’s advice.

If you look up a definition for Social Media, you are going to find what is probably the broadest collection of definitions of any word. It would be like asking the question, what’s the best food on earth. Always a different perspective and approach to the answer. I tried the exercise for myself, here is a great example of what you might find from “The Social Media Guide” a whole collection of definitions, all centering around the same idea, but all slightly different in how they identify the key attributes and in who has written the definition.

So here is my advice: the best place to understand social media and really get a sense of how to succeed is by getting involved within social media, and if you are not sure how, do it “IRL” (in real life): attend conferences where true experts make themselves available to share in their expertise using concrete examples.
Blogworld Expo Losa Angeles 2011 Photo Mila Araujo David Armano, Ric Dragon, Mitch Joel, Julien Smith

 

In the Social Media world, its the missing piece of the puzzle.

Well organized conferences that provide opportunities for learning and networking give business people the ability to interact, ask pertinent questions, and get feedback on what an experts opinion is for their specific business. Sharing experiences and learning from what other organizations and brands have been doing give a spectrum of experiences and answers that no one book, or simple definition could ever portray.

@reneemmartinez @peterfromottawa @debweinstein @Ramon_deleon at the VIP #SMBS12 party

Meetups are also excellent opportunities to meet people in your region who also share similar interests. Again, mini versions of what you can find at conferences, meetups are a great place to share ideas and learn about new projects, different approaches, and connect with new people.

Live #Blogchat
This is a photo from #BWELA where I was so honored to be a part of live #BLOGCHAT  and meet the awesome @MackCollier IRL along with @lttlewys @jackinessity @prosperitygal along with many other incredible friends and inspiring role models.

 

If you don’t get out of whatever your daily routine is, you will never find the inspiration and energy. If you want innovation and positivity – if you truly want to learn, develop, evolve and find new levels of understanding, meetups and conferences are the way to go.

I attend or speak at several conferences a year. In 2012, I felt attending these kinds of events was so important, I produced the 140 Conference Montreal. The connections that came from this event, and the business developments that I saw bloom from there were outstanding.

Local or Global Events are the Best Way To Learn

Listening and sharing experiences is critical to professional development and gaining understanding. Check out sites like Meetup.com and see whats being offered locally, or hire an expert to come and speak to your organization or give you some coaching. In Montreal, SocialMeex produces many small and interesting events like #ContentMTL , I wrote about one of my favorite events of theirs here: Golden Rules for Start Ups.

Find opportunities : Start driving change

Whether they be big or small, every one of them has deep value on both personal and professional levels.

Social Media has presented us with remarkable opportunities, I strongly encourage you, in your journey, to attend meetups and conferences and connect. There truly is no substitute.

I am so grateful for all the friends and connections I have made, I could not even begin to measure the value that has been brought to both my life and my workplace by engaging beyond the online realm.

The best part?

The learning never stops, the relationships just begin there and together as we connect, we accomplish so much more.

You can continue your connections online; continue to share and evolve in your thinking by keeping in touch on Facebook groups, Twitter chats, Google+ – Don’t understand those? You will because you’ll find others to share the experience with and learn from!

You want to understand social media, marketing, blogging, tweeting?

You want data and solid information for your business development, or customer service strategy – jump in, it’s all there!

Are you convinced?

Have you attended conferences or meet ups?
What are your favorites?
If not, what has held you back?

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