[A few weeks ago I was invited to speak at the Social Media Association for Business’s first birthday at the Conor Hall in the University of Ulster York Road. Thanks to Aidan Breslan for doing the research for this piece.]
It started with a Facebook post by Martin Gilchrist on Gilchrist & Co Accountants asking if anyone knew of an association to meet othe small businesses ‘to share tips, links, best practice and pobbible arrange presentations or workshops.’
The Facebook page was started in September 2010 and was intended to be an open place for questions on social media and as a forum for discussion. The page was the starteing point for networking and sharing ideas. As the page developed, people posted to relevant quality content and events.
Within 6 days there were 260 members and by the end of the second week there were 600 ‘likes’. Today there are 1859 ‘likes’.
What is the SMA4B?
Well, let’s start with what it’s not. If you go to a workshop/meeting/event organised by SMA4B you will not find someone trying to sell you a ‘Social Media Solution’. You will not get a sales pitch.
It is a not for profit voluntary organisation. It is run by a Steering Group who give of their time, energy and expertise free. At events people with a passion and expertise in social media are invited to present. They do that for free and events are (so far) free. The University of Ulster has been particularly supportive providing space for events.
Networking along with a free exchange of ideas, views and experience is the key to SMA4B – live or Online.
It is an open forum
- suggestions are welcome
- volunteers are welcome
- speakers or suggestions for speakers welcome
And I would guess Sponsors are welcome.
A website is on the way – and while notoriously difficult to manage, the first step will probably be guest bloggers. There are partnerships to be built, businesses groups to be built. I would like to see a Social Media Association 4 Journalists copying the same approach. Maybe it’s time to ask the question that Martin asked a year ago.
To keep up with what’s going on drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org