I’ve always quite enjoyed social media and the opportunities it gives for personal interaction in different ways, but over the last couple of years I’ve been trying to get to grips with how I could be using it to grow our business effectively; and with my ‘day-job’ hat on, exploring its role in sharing, promoting and co-producing good practice throughout the public sector.
One thing I’ve found is that it’s really difficult to find accessible social media learning opportunities at the level I need. I’m beyond the various local courses available which introduce Twitter, Facebook and WordPress; and while there are plenty of higher level, in depth courses which I’d love to sign up to, these require a regular commitment and shedloads of cash (£5k for the Community Building course which I have my eye on!) and as things stand, that’s just not feasible. Of course there are free resources galore available online, but sorting the wheat from the chaff takes a while, and to be totally honest, I seem to remember stuff much better when I’m actually taught it, rather than watching a slideshow or a youtube video.
So I’m pretty excited that the Online Influence Conference (Oiconf 14) is back in Cardiff for the third year running. I was lucky enough to get to the first Oiconf event back in 2012, and it was absolutely brilliant – I learnt shedloads, and it was the first time that I’d really understood what a powerful business tool social media could be. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to put too much of what I’d learnt into practice straight away because of the specific project I was working on at the time, but I still came away from the day energised and excited, and determined to learn more as and when I could.
And now I can! The lineup for Oiconf 14 is awesome – there are three brilliant keynote speakers lined up, each of whom have achieved a huge amount, with the use of social media being integral to their journeys. Each speaker has an inspirational story to tell, but David Hieatt is someone I’ve long admired from afar for his project to bring jeans manufacturing back to Cardigan, as well as for his vision in creating the Do Lectures.
It’s not just about sitting and listening though – there are masterclasses available for all delegates from experts on Twitter, Brandwatch and Google+. I’m particularly excited about the session on G+ as I just can’t quite get my head around how I should be using it to get the most from it, although I can see that it has the potential to be a very powerful tool for community building. I’m planning to blog what I’ve learnt, so if G+ is a mystery to you too, check back in a few weeks!
However if you work with social media at any level, or even just share a fascination for how it’s changing the way we live our lives on so many levels, I would highly recommend booking yourself a ticket to the event itself. You’ll need to be quick – the last two sold out and my spies tell me that this one is well on the way to doing so also.
Hope to see you there!