Social media sessions multiply for good reason


POSTED: Thursday, January 28, 2010

You can't throw a stick these days without hitting a social media seminar, workshop or series of classes being staged by an industry group or entrepreneur.

Such events are proliferating as businesses realize all this social media and social networking is not just a fad likely to fade, said Dan Zelikman, director of digital marketing for Honolulu-based StarrTech Interactive, part of Anthology Marketing Group. Rather, social media are a crucial part of the marketing mix, he said.

Among those seeking attendees is Social Media Optimization Hawaii principal George del Barrio, co-owner of PMG International LLC. He will stage evening classes geared toward small businesses from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 4 and 6 as well as Feb. 16 and 18 at Coffee Talk at 3601 Waialae Ave.

The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii's social media education offering will be part of its Feb. 11 branding workshop, “;The Brand is You.”;

Improving a business' branding is the focus, and using social media to build customer base and referrals will be among the topics covered by presenters Thomas Trenz, president of Hi Net Associates; WavenDean Fernandez, principal of Mana Brand Marketing; and Tom DeWitt, principal of Kumupa'a Brand Experience Consulting.

The American Advertising Federation-Hawaii chapter and the Hawaii Association of Broadcasters are bringing in Charles Orlando, a San Francisco-based author, for the ambitious-sounding “;Everything You Need to Know About Social Networking”; on March 3.



Costs and take-away benefits of such events can vary widely.

Tuition for the 12 hours of Social Media Optimization classes at Coffee Talk is $350, or $100 per class. The cost of the Chamber of Commerce's 8 a.m. to noon event starts at $40 for members, as does the AAF-Hawaii and HAB event for either the morning workshop or the luncheon. Members can pay $60 for both.

Getting left behind, however, is far more costly.

Zelikman has participated in several different types of educational events on the social media phenomenon, including presentations and moderated discussions at the University of Hawaii, events and conferences on how nonprofits can use social marketing for fundraising, how to generate publicity for events and how to match mobile texting with social media, to name some.

“;One day the phone was weird”; as a form of communication, he said. Social media are “;just an evolution of communication technology”; that businesses must learn about and embrace.

Finding the money and/or time to spend on a seminar can be a challenge for some business owners or executives, but “;there are YouTube videos and Webinars”; that can be viewed “;in the comfort of your living room,”; Zelikman said.

Social Media Club Hawaii provides the curious with a venue to find out how it is being used and how to engage in the conversation. It was founded by Roxanne Darling, who is among Hawaii's best-known social media evangelists and also a teacher. Meetings are free and attendees are encouraged to bring business cards to monthly meetings, which resume shortly.


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).