Cold calling — making a presentation or sales pitch to someone you don’t know — puts a chill into any sales or marketing professional.
But Paul Holmes, who is in Kamloops next month for the city’s first Social Media Camp has a way to take the initial chill off cold calling: either “mentioning” a target or contact on Twitter, or retweeting their tweets.
Both are an easy form of flattery for the Twitter user.
“When it comes time to a more formal approach, you’re not an absolute stranger,” said Holmes, one of the experts on social media in Kamloops for the event next month.
Social Media Camp was born in Victoria and has evolved to become a travelling road show around B.C.
The event here Feb. 9 is being sponsored by The Daily News and being held upstairs in the newspaper’s conference centre.
Daily News publisher Tim Shoults — an avid Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn user — said he wants to increase knowledge of social media in the city. The event follows a Charity in Changing Times forum last year in which Shoults spoke on social media. It was sponsored by Accent Inns, which is also co-sponsoring the Social Media Camp
Shoults has been active in social media since 2008, when he began using Facebook as a tool in his professional life. Since then, however, he’s moved over to LinkedIn for business.
“This is about using tools you’re already familiar with for promoting your business or product,” Shoults said.
While the newspaper, and many of its staff, are active with Facebook and Twitter and is part of the deal-of-the-day website DealMate, Shoults acknowledged “we’re still strugging” with best use of social media.
Holmes said Kamloops remains relatively new ground for Twitter, compared to the Okanagan, for example, based on research he and others with Social Media Camp have conducted.
The founder of a Victoria web design company (which he recently sold) earns his living through public speaking and as a financial consultant for small business. He will give an introductory talk, before focusing on both Twitter and LinkedIn.
Other speakers will talk on related social media, including Facebook.
Holmes said Twitter is a valuable tool for connecting with people, whether it’s a new customer, or opening a channel for existing customers.
Its beauty lies in brevity.
“You use email for longer communications and the telephone where there’s a whole lot of back and forth. It (Twitter) is the fastest way to ask and get back and answer.”
While social media is often based on simplicity of the message, Holmes had a recent reminder they are sophisticated tools when he attended an eight-hour training session in San Diego on LinkedIn.
“For most people a 30-minute introduction on how to send referrals and recommending people will get them started.”