The SMBMad 10-year celebration honored the organization’s past and looked to its future. The rare technical difficulties and lack of coffee mirrored the grassroots organization’s early events. Obstacles did not dull this energetic group’s festive spirit. All gathered at Madison Turners to celebrate ten years of Social Media Breakfast in Madison.
In 2009, about 25 people gathered for morning meetings in a dark restaurant basement. There were only a few platforms and some considered social media a fad.
Now – ten years later – 175-200 people attend monthly events with top-notch speakers.
“I’m happy for the past ten years,” said Board President Josh Klemons. “I hope we can be here for the next ten years!”
Video Highlights SMBMad Founders
Josh acknowledged the many volunteers who helped start and grow the organization. “Without these people,” he said, “it wouldn’t exist.”
In honor of the event, SMBMad created a ten-year anniversary video that highlighted memories and videos. Interview subjects included: Josh Klemons, Wendy Soucie, Lance Ratze, Shane Cicero, Tony Rodriguez, Margie Romani, Neil Mathweg, Hannah Wente, Dan Roe, Katie Grant, Lynn Welch and Tanya Ciurro. Here are some of the highlights:
A Turning Point
In the early days of the organization, Wendy Soucie traveled to Chicago to meet Scott Monty, the first global chief of social media and digital communications at Ford Motor Company. Wendy asked Monty if he would speak to the group without pay. He went a step further and donated $1,500 so SMBMad could host an event at Monona Terrace. His presentation drew 300 people. That response showed leaders that their organization could grow. Other milestones included obtaining nonprofit status and sponsorships.
Fast forward to the September 2019 presentation where Neil Mathweg presented on podcasting. That presentation was a dream come true. For years, Neil attended the organization’s meetings and had always wanted to be a Social Media Breakfast speaker. In the video, Neil commented that presenting was “a surreal, full-circle moment.”
Looking to the Future
In the video, Josh noted that social media is always changing.
“We are constantly looking to the future by default,” he said. “The day we stop looking to the future of this organization is the day we stop being relevant.”
Shane Cicero, past board president, conducted interviews with former organization leaders and speakers. Tony Rodriguez, past president of SMBMad, shared what he’s learned through his participation in the organization.
As the owner of Mad City Ads, he didn’t think Twitter would amount to anything. He admits he was wrong. One of Tony’s key takeaways is that “Everybody has something to contribute,” he said.
More advice came from author Chris Brogan who spoke at an SMBMad event a few years ago.
“Somebody doesn’t have to lose for you to win,” Chris said. “There’s plenty of room for everyone to succeed on social media channels.”
What’s ahead in the future? Tony predicts that many of the channels will start to look alike with photos, video and even virtual reality.
Create or Give Credit
Shane turned to Erin Ogden, managing attorney, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer, for updates on copyrighting laws. More people are creating original content, Erin offered. However, “don’t cut and paste” a meme, jpeg or gif from another website or other source, she said.
Erin also predicted that social media will become more mainstream for professionals in law, banking and insurance. As a long-time attendee, she noted there are many benefits from attending the SMBMad sessions. By participating, individuals learn about social media trends, she said. That knowledge could help them when talking with clients.
Encourage Employee Engagement
Thomas K Buchheim, executive social media advisor, American Family Insurance, told Shane he believes in empowering employees to participate on social media channels. Organizations need to develop social media policies and give guardrails on what’s appropriate.
In addition, employees should indicate that they work for a company when they talk about their employer.
Privacy concerns are growing, Tom said. Social media users want to know that the information they consume is real and not being directed to them from nefarious sources.
Provide Engaging Content
Today’s social media users want authentic content, agreed Stephanie Beirne, former board member, and Don Stanley, former SMBMad speaker. Creators also need to select the appropriate social media channel to deliver their content.
Stephanie, a social media strategist at Madison Area Technical College, said she sees a lot of Instagram stories by students. They reveal what it’s like to be a student at Madison College.
Don, 3 Rhino Media founder, told attendees to “meet people where they are” when posting social content.
He described the content creation process. Creating it is the starting line. Then you deliver your content followed by amplifying your message. Be ready to repeat your message more than once. To build relationships, Don encouraged the audience to meet online connections offline. Or when meeting someone offline, take your relationship to the next step by creating an online connection.
Keep It Accessible
When asked to name a favorite SMBMad program, Stephanie said she liked the June 2019 program concerning accessibility on social media channels.
“We’re working harder to make things accessible (at Madison College),” she said.
Don’t Miss SMBMad in November: Non-Profit Live Social Media Audit
Josh thanked the speakers and all in attendance. Through the efforts of everyone involved, individuals who attend at the venue and offline can learn about the latest social media developments.
“We look for the best knowledge and people to make sure the community is empowered … and with solid networking in the process,” he said.
Josh also recognized Sara Peck and Shane Cicero for their work on the board.
November’s session will be the popular Nonprofit LIVE Social Media Audit at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 20 at the Lussier Family Heritage Center, 3101 Lake Farm Road, Madison. Panelists will be Sarah Best, Sara Finger and Jocelyn Fish. They will review the websites and social media channels for two nonprofit groups and offer advice and tactics.
Leslie Blaize wrote this post on behalf of Winbound, a content manufacturing marketing firm. Winbound provides an all-in-one content marketing and conversion optimization package specifically designed for small manufacturing and industrial marketing departments.