Mark Ragan’s Social Media Boot Camp

Last Thursday, I was happy to sit in on Mark Ragan’s "Social Media Boot Camp" after getting an invitation through work. It was a great introduction to social media, focused on a corporate and internal communications perspective. Many of the participants seemed to come from the healthcare and insurance industries. Being past the social media newbie status, I didn’t get much out of the "whirlwind tour of social media tools and sites" as I frequent most of them already. What I was most interested in was Mark’s take on "what to do and how to do it" and "persuading management." Unfortunately, due to the day’s time constraints those parts were rather hurried at the end of the boot camp.

Mark did cover just about everything; he definitely achieved his goal of "complete immersion." Here are some points I jotted down, because they spoke to me:

  • On (internal) blogs: "If the CEO is not talking about what’s being talked about around the water cooler, you have a problem."
  • Don’t be afraid of negative comments. "If you don’t have bad comments, your credibility goes down" and "You’re going to get the jerks, but then you’re going to get those who moderate the jerks."
  • "The value to transparency is credibility"
  • On online video: "There’s nothing wrong with a well-produced piece, but there’s a lot of credibility in a rougher video." What you want to use depends on how you want to frame your story.
  • In a video with Shel Holtz on persuading the c-suite: there are conversations happening; you have to build relationships and create customer evangelists.
  • On persuading the c-suite: "There’s a role for the long-haired black-robed social media theorists, but it’s not your role."

The boot camp was well worth the time, especially for those who, for example, not yet know what Twitter is, and I did pick up some interesting things from the internal and corporate perspective. Now on to processing them.

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