I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2010 Future Midwest conference, hostedby the organization’s founders Adrian Pittman, Jordan Wolfe and Zach Lipson. Weall know the social media age is upon us and constantly evolving.  What wedon’t necessarily truly realize is the impact it has on our individualand business reputations and ultimate success through meaningful online socialinteraction.

So how can you and your business harness the social mediashockwave upon us?

Here are the primary themes shared by the superb repertoireof social media thought leaders throughout the conference.

  • Find your story – Identify who you (or yourbusiness) are. What makes you unique? What do you love? And what’s your pointof view?  Establish this and run with it – full speed ahead
  • Be passionate about it – If you’re notpassionate about it, go back to step one. If you are, continue to embrace itand build your brand around your perspective.
  • Build a permeable brand – The CEO andFounder of Ghostly, Samuel Valenti IV,said it best: Bring in the people you want to be engaged with your brand… thepeople your business is attracted to.
  • Create quality content – During a sidevisit to a meet-and-greet with JosephJaffe, chief interruptor at Powered, he shared insights and the realitythat, online, you are what Google says you are.  To combat or complementthis, “you have to out-relevant relevant” and create content that is fresh andvaluable to your targeted audience. This will not only keep your thoughtleadership top of mind and at the top of search results but also keep yourbrand constantly moving forward.
  • Flipthe funnel – Another common theme that floated from presentation topresentation is looking at social media from the other end of the engagementand customer-retention process. Jaffe coined this phrase as a means to “useexisting customers to gain new ones.”
  • Interaction and engagement – Qualityinteraction is required to have a successful social media strategy, butunderstand that it can sometimes distract your audience from the goal ofengaging with the actual message. Sometimes less is better.
  • Celebrate Detroit –Edelman’s Blagica Bottigliero said, "The Midwestis no longer just a place you fly over." Detroit is swarming with talentand eager to get back to its renaissance days of innovation, creativity andpure ingenuity. If you don’t believe me, check out this highlight reel of Detroit’s past, and the future we’re goingto create.

At the end of the day, we need to understand and act on thecurrent and future world of social media for it only to get better and makethese online ties stronger and reap solid results to build brands. It’s alreadyhappening here and now.

See the roster of 2010 Future Midwestspeakers for  inspiration.


— Meg Soule