2012 SMC-DC Leadership Team Announced!

But not here… it’s on our brand new self-hosted site, which we were wayyyyy overdue for. Check it out!

Meet The 2012 Social Media Club DC Leadership Team!


We’ll no longer be posting over here, so head on over that way and subscribe to the new RSS (via Reader or email), as well as to our newsletter. We’ll be announcing upcoming events (and other cool things) on both!


Now Accepting Applications for the 2011-2012 Leadership Team!

We’re excited to announce openings for our Social Media Club DC (SMC-DC) Leadership Team this year. After a stellar year with our current team, we have decided to streamline the organization a bit in order to produce even better events for the DC social media community.

As one of the largest and most active Social Media Club chapters in the world, we hope to improve with each passing year to become an even better organization. Thank you to our current leadership team, members, sponsors, and of course, the attendees, who helped make this past year a huge success. With the 2011-2012 year, Larissa Fair will be stepping down as President and into an advisory role to new President Rachael King.

(We also hope to see all of you at our SMCDC Summer Social this Wednesday, with drinks sponsored by Scoutmob!)

In order to make 2012 the best year yet, we need a rockstar leadership community in place… which means we need YOU.

Here are the leadership opportunities available for you to join our team:

  • VPs of Events (2): Oversees Events Committee
  • Events Committee: 5 team members
  • VPs of Sponsorship (2): Oversees Sponsorship Committee
  • Sponsorship Committee: 4 team members
  • VP of Digital: Oversees Digital Content and Community Committee
  • Digital Content and Community Committee: 4 team members
  • VP of Marketing: Oversees Marketing and Partnership Committee
  • Marketing and Partnerships Committee: 4 team members

Read about the different Committees and their responsibilities here. Please read the descriptions carefully, as they have changed from previous years!

Are you extremely organized and  well-connected in the DC metro area? Do you love event planning, sweating the small stuff and bringing people together? Check out our Events Committee.

If you have a huge network, and are excited to help raise funds to keep our organization running smoothly, we really, really NEED you for the Sponsorship Committee. (We are fortunate to have so many organizations and businesses who want to work with us, but we need YOU to find them and make it happen!)

Are you a social media pro? Do you love to be connected? Are you dedicated to community management? Check out our Digital Content and Community Committee.

Do you love bringing the right people together? Are you a rockstar when it comes to digital promotion and making events ROCK? Then we need your skills on our Marketing & Partnership Committee.

Applications are due by 11:59 pm on Friday, August 5th!

The new leadership team will be announced here and on our Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday, August 17th.

Check out the open positions and committee descriptions and apply for a position. We can’t wait to hear from you!


A Blog About Blogging: Companies and Org’s Doin’ It Right

As users and lovers of social media, we often get caught up in all of the tools out there–Twitter, Facebook, or as of this week, Google+. But this month’s SMC-DC event was all about the often complex art of blogging. We were honored to be joined by Maggie McGary, Online Community and Social Media Manager at ASHAAmy Ganderson, Associate Director, Digital Marketing at The Nature ConservancySimon Owens, Director of PR at JESS3 and Alejandra Owens, Social Communications/Blog Managing Editor at AARP.
So here I go, attempting to implement some of their great tips…
  1. Create dynamic content. Blogs need to keep people’s attention and serve as a resource for lots of information in not a lot of space. The best way to do this is by including links, pictures, videos, whatever–whenever possible. Along with this, create dynamic content that’s the right fit for each of the outlets you share the blog post through. Or in other (Alejandra’s) words, “auto-feeds are just bad.” Don’t put on your Facebook the same blog teaser you put in a tweet–different audiences connect with different styled language, and when/if those audiences overlap, they’ll think it’s annoying that all your content is cookie-cutter.
  2. Lay some ground rules. Developed a  social media and blogging guidelines for your company. It will not only help later on down the line in terms of logistics, avoiding people saying things they shouldn’t, etc.–but will also help you to figure out what your goal is exactly with the blog and keep you in line with achieving it. If you need inspiration, check out AARP’s social media guidelines.
  3. Keep people coming back by offering them ‘themed’ content. So for example, at Cool Green Science at The Nature Conservancy, they have one post that goes out each morning with the top five must-read articles in environmentalism. They also have a Nature Photo of the Week. These kinds of themes not only make it easier to focus on putting out enough content, they also give people something to look forward to next time if they found that post valuable.
  4. Learn from some of the great’s–but also maintain your own unique voice. Along with the blogs by the panelists themselves, some others mentioned include: Ebay Ink , the OKCupid blog OKTrends, and Treehugger.
  5. Prepare for disappointment by keeping expectations low. Sometimes you can plan and plan, but the end product just isn’t what you were expecting. Expect that it may happen and never expect lots of views to your blog in its infancy. Even if your company possesses enough of a reputation to bring more eyes to your blog doesn’t mean they will stay to hang around and read it if it’s not very good…yet.
Like most things in life, the panelists seemed to always come back to the idea that blogging is about finding a balance. For instance, you’ve got to balance SEO-friendliness with unique, original content. Having blog posts that include the words people would use to find it is important–but you can’t always live on Google Insights, constantly making sure your blog post is SEO-friendly. You have to make sure it’s people-friendly too, and that it’s reflective of the author and interesting enough for the reader. As Simon points out, well-written content is the best SEO you can have, because the better it is, the more it will be shared and the more views it will get, making it rise higher in the search ranking jungle out there. And it is a jungle out there.
What company, nonprofit or agency blogs out there do you think are doin’ it right?

Social Media for Foodies

On Wednesday, the Social Media Club was honored to have Stacey Kane, Director of Marketing for California Tortilla for a special keynote presentation hosted by WhoRunsGov. She spoke to a huge crowd of burrito-and-beer-loving folks at the Washington Post HQ, a group of social media lovers in store for much more than happy bellies by the end of the night. Special thanks to WhoRunsGov from the Washington Post for hosting – it was a great venue!

The event kicked off with a short presentation by Get Spontaneous, who reminded us all, the real world is awesome. Get Spontaneous is a beta website designed to take advantage of just that, offering a sort of “Pandora for Events.” They get to know you and your interests, and they make recommendations about events you should head to. Sounds simple enough and we dig it. Looking forward to seeing how Get Spontaneous evolves over the next few months.

Because Stacey had so many great insights throughout her talk, it makes sense to boil them down to the top takeaways worth keeping in your back pocket, helpful if you work in social media for a consumer brand, especially a restaurant.

  1. Don’t let a negative experience aired on Twitter linger with no response. Respond within 24 hours, take offline, and make it into a positive, even if it means offering free food. Caltort’s number one rule is never lose a customer, and that is something they adhere to. Restaurants and stores should adopt this policy if they have not already.
  2. Don’t treat social media as the solution, treat it as what it is, a conduit for word of mouth marketing.
  3. It isn’t about likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter. As Stacey remarked, it’s about “butts in seats.” Don’t get hung up on metrics that don’t matter–focus on the tactics that get people in stores (coupons/deals, Wifi offering), and actively track those efforts. Caltort has had 13 months of positive sales growth, completely paid-advertising free.
  4. Make your brand easy to talk about. Implement tools and incentives that will make your new products easy and desirable for people to share with their friends.
  5. Make your customers feel smart and and like they are “on the inside.” In my mind, this rule harkens a bit to the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which advocates that it isn’t about YOU, it is about the other person. If you make your brand about your customers, they are going to be more responsive and interested. When Caltort was introducing a new vegetarian burrito, they tweeted out to their followers that the restaurant was debating calling the product, “the Vegito.” It got a ton of feedback, mostly negative–and turned into a sort of crowd-sourcing project. Finally, the “No Meato Burrito” was born and it’s creator was publicly recognized for it.

But the best part of the night was an example of Stacey implementing that very last rule of making us feel like we were “on the inside.” Call it a selective intelligence leak or call it a free (intense) focus group for Caltort…the last few minutes were focused on the potential new branding that California Tortilla is considering.

There were certainly a lot of interesting opinons on this new branding concept…so, what do you think of it?

Here’s to Your Health – Health and Healthcare in the Social Media World

A recap of the April SMCDC Event held on April 27, 2011 at the Spectrum Science Offices in Washington DC.

The panelists get ready to start

The room was filled with lots of eager participants, ready to hear our Moderator Alexandra Hughes (@AlexHughes01) lead our panel; Ted Eytan (@tedeytan), Alex Bornkessel (@SocialBttrfly) and Danielle Leach (@TeamInspire), as they discussed Health and Social Media.

The theme of the evening was centered around using social media in new ways to engage patients while they are well, rather than waiting until they are sick.

  • @smcdc: Use social media as a platform for behavior change, not just communication @SocialBttrfly #smcdc
  • @SpectrumScience: @tedeytan: We need to focus on prevention so we have more space for the people that have diseases that are NOT preventable. #smcdc
  • @kellyalysia: @tedeytan: physicians & communicators need to get on same page. Social media can help us change perspective on purpose of healthcare #smcdc

The panel started by talking about how healthcare providers can start implementing social media in their interaction with patients.  A lot of organizations get caught up in what tool they will use, rather than focusing in on a goal and then making the goal work for their purposes.  Not every tool will be appropriate for every audience. It is important to have a clear end goal and then build your social strategy around that.

  • @smcdc: When deciding to enter the social media sphere first ask yourself what success looks like @SocialBttrfly #smcdc
  • @smcdc: You have to be prepared to engage and listen @tedeytan #smcdc

  • @laurenlaughs: Don’t strategic plan your social media engagement to death – let some of it grow organically @teaminspire #smcdc

Some organizations only go into social media when they want to avert or address a crisis.  At that point there is not much impact that they can have unless the organization has previously been online.  Ted introduced the concept of building up a ‘bank of good will’ by having an established presence in the social space and a relationship with patients.

  • @ekivemark: #smcdc bank of goodwill. Don’t go to SocMed to protect yourself. You should already be there building goodwill.

From a pure communications standpoint, social media provides healthcare providers with an opportunity to get a lot of information out in a short period of time.  Rather than being afraid of talking to people, they have the opportunity to join in conversations that are already taking place.

  • @cristianliu Social media conversations are a way to correct misinformation. #smcdc

  • @ekivemark: #smcdc what if someone says something bad? They already are. You can pre plan how to respond http://2.healthca.mp/lEGKvwUSAF worked it out.
Education is another key goal of healthcare providers on social media.  People are eager to learn about issues that affect them and the different ways they seek this knowledge is continually evolving.
  • @laurenlaughs:  2010 was the tipping point for health literacy – people are using social media to learn @socialbttrfly #smcdc

So how do you implement social media strategies and tools?  One of the main tasks is to get the leadership on board so that they work with you, not against you.  The second major step will be to find a way to engage your audience on whatever platforms that you choose to use.

  • @smcdc: One of the ways to get leadership to embrace social media is to get them to do it themselves @SocialBttrfly #smcdc
  • @smcdc: Build some incentive in your social media plan/tool to encourage people to participate #smcdc

  • @smcdc: The premise of inspire is that people will engage in the things that interest them without being directed @TeamInspire #smcdc

Mobile technology is increasingly favored by physicians, especially those who want instant access to patient records in a light, portable form.  It opens up new opportunities to reach people who have little or no access to computers but are constantly attached to their phones.

  • @SpectrumScience: Kaiser Permanente talking abt eliminating PCs frm their offices, going to ipads. AND @kpmemberservice is on Twitter-Thats a big deal. #smcdc

  • @districtjoe: Interesting point that moving to digital records forces doctors to think about their patients even when they’re not in their office #smcdc

The reality is that there are still large groups of people with little or no access to any technology. Another group is those who have access to technology but have no idea how to use  it. These individuals on the other side of the digital divide present a challenge because they cant just be ignored. In order to be a healthcare system that cares and works for everyone there is a need to look at reaching people on both sides of the digital divide.

  • @SpectrumScience: About 80% of US using internet in 2000….and about 80% using it in 2010…we can’t just say “oh they’ll get there” anymore @tedeytan #smcdc

  • @laurenlaughs: It’s going to take more creativity to reach hard to reach audiences – mobile isn’t going to do it @socialbttrfly #smcdc

Even when people do have access to technology, they still have a need for education.  They need not only to learn how to use their technology, but also what tools work best for different needs.
  • @smcdc: Give people basic education to show people what they are using and how to use it @TeamInspire #smcdc

More people are looking for public health information than they realize. They are talking about their personal experiences with illness, their doctors and the drugs they are using, as well as learning from other people.

While they value what they are learning from each other, there is still a hunger for authoritative medical information.  People say their doctor is still the number one source that they want to get their information from.  The problem is that very few actually reach out to their physicians outside their regular appointments.

  • @smcdc:  There is value both in authoritative medical information and publicly generated information @TeamInspire #smcdc

  • @laurenlaughs: More parishioners can email their priests than patients can email their doctors (3%) @tedeytan #smcdc

  • @smcdc: If the number one place people want information from is their doctor, then more doctors need to be in the social space @tedeytan #smcdc

Organizations that are successful in implementing a social media strategy externally also have to walk the talk internally, doing what they ask others to. A lot of conversation needs to take place around what is needed to bring everyone on board and make the strategy work.  What tools does the organization use to foster social interaction, and are they working? What fears does the organization have about participating in new media? Bring all these issues out on the table so that they can be addressed.

  • @smcdc: Organizations are often afraid of being pioneers in the social space @AlexHughes01 #smcdc
  • @smcdc: Highlight other people who are using social media well as examples of what your company could do @TeamInspire#smcdc
  • @smcdc: Invite your boss to events where they’ll be talking about social media in ways that are relevant to them @SocialBttrfly#smcdc
  • @smcdc: Internal intranets are built around projects while social networks are built around people and are therefore more engaging @tedeytan #smcdc

Healthcare organizations have built in content in the form of their patients experiences.  Find non-threatening ways to invite them to share their stories and perspectives, e.g. using third parties, surveys, or fliers.  Its not a good idea for physician to be directly involved in asking patients to do this since it could potentially be misconstrued as using their authority to force participation.

  • @SpectrumScience: uh oh. HIPPA came up. @tedeytan has the answer…”its a mistake to believe that patients don’t want to talk about their health” #smcdc
At the end of the day, the process of implementing a social media strategy organizationally is hard! It will take a lot of work and persistence to get something going and make it successful.
  • @smcdc: The truth is that the process of implementing social media organizationally is hard! @tedeytan #smcdc

A special thanks to our moderator and panelists:

We would also like to thank Spectrum Science (@SpectrumScience; http://www.spectrumscience.com/blog) for graciously hosting the event at their offices.

Event Recap: Start Your Engines-Smart Social For Startups

Guest post by: Liz Glomb, DC Events Committee Member

Despite the sleet and rain that came pouring down from the skys that night, a very large number of folks braved the elements and made it out the Smart Social for Startups SMC-DC event at the DC headquarters for LivingSocial on March 30, 2011. Attendees were greeted with snacks, a phenomenal venue, and an excellent panel full of some of the great minds behind some of the local start-ups. The event’s purpose was to see how the speakers leveraged the power of social media to connect with the community and promote their products and services.

Speakers for the event included Munish Gandhi (@munishgandhi, Founder of Hy.ly) who served as moderator for the event, Peter LaMotte (@PeterLamotte, President of GeniusRocket), Chris Golden (@ChrisGolden, Co-Founder of MyImpact.org), and Maire Griffin (Director of Communications @LivingSocial).

The topic for the event was centered around how start-up companies have used social media to get going, and how they continuously use it to their advantage. The start-up scene, especially in Washington, D.C., has never been so active. The D.C. metro area has become the home of several companies that have now grown internationally, as well as countless other smaller, creative businesses that are spurring innovation, creating solutions and improving lives in all sorts of ways.
The panel produced a very lively conversation which brought up many interesting points, and after an hour of a great discussion, here are a few of the highlights as seen through the manytweets from the night:

  • Let your strategy evolve. It leaves room for innovation. Be ahead of the curve. (MyImpact)
  • It’s easy for a company to set up a contest. It’s hard for a company to find content that represents its brand. (Peter Lamotte)
  • The Culture of your company will dictate your social media strategy. (LivingSocial)
  • Jumping right into social media with no strategy or process isn’t always a good thing. Take Baby Steps. It will help you steer a better ship. Figure out what goes on which platform.
  • The things that you tweet, you cannot put on Facebook. The things that you put on Facebook, you cannot tweet.
  • Be Transparent and Be Honest
  • “The Internet Never Forgets” (Peter Lamotte)
  • Do not overlook the importance of transparency and storytelling in social media.
  • There are more important metrics to a company than just social media.
  • Facebook updates and tweets take viewers away from your website. Make sure to loop them back in. (Peter Lamotte)

And that’s the recap for the “Start Your Engines: Smart Social For Startups” SMCDC event. MANY thanks to LivingSocial DC for being such great hosts to our members and eventgoers. Another thank you goes out to our moderator and panelists for their great insights,conversations, and humor. For more information about the Social Media Club DC and other events, please follow the conversation on Twitter (@smcdc) and “like” us on Facebook.

BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media

ConAgra Foods, US Navy, UnitedHealth Group, IRS, Delta Air Lines, National Association of REALTORS, Discovery Communications, and USA TODAY will share case studies in corporate social media at BlogWell DC: How Big Brands Use Social Media on May 4 in Washington, DC. You’ll learn how to get started, get past roadblocks, and make your social media program phenomenal – all in one afternoon, for just $250. Get practical, how-to advice on creating great content, earning management buy-in, training employees, engaging fans, and keeping everything ethical and legal. Presented by GasPedal and SocialMedia.org. Apply the code SMCDCSENTME to get 20% off your registration.

To register, please visit: