We’ve all read about them – training courses that last for weeks (I’m running a free 15-part one starting next month actually… more soon…) or marketing conferences that cost hundreds of pounds and are held in central London.

But what if you don’t have weeks to wait or hundreds of pounds?  Or you don’t want to go to London every time you want some training?  What if you want results here and now?

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Last week I went to a fantastic social media event,  Ladies that Tweet, at the Eden Project, Cornwall, organised by Shelley Fletcher from Firegrass Communications, Clemi Hardie from Noodle Marketing and Jo Wood from thisiscornwall.

I left feeling motivated, enthused and positive, and I met some amazing people, so I’m going to share a couple of things I picked up from the event that can be applied to any business, right now.

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1.  Social media basics

Daisy Griffith, who works for the BBC, was one of the key speakers and she talked about the biggest challenges that she’d faced when working on the social media strategy for the Beeb.

She also ran through some basic rules of social media that are worth retelling here:

  • Ask questions
  • Tell readers what you want them to do*
  • Share photos and video as well as text
  • Reply to people

All good stuff and all peppered with some great real life examples that made us laugh, cringe and empathise.

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2.  Take time away

Many of us spend more time online that we do sleeping.

This was just one of the truths shared by Molly Flatt, Social Business Director from 1000 Heads (a Word of Mouth Marketing agency) who shared the stage with Daisy.

She urged us all to step away from the laptop, Blackberry, iPod and have some creative thinking time.  By spending hours and hours on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Molly believes we feel like we’re achieving something but actually we’re just tinkering.

She recommends switching off our technology to give our brains time to reboot.  Then, refreshed and rejuvenated, you’ll be ready to create something amazing.

But before you go and recharge your creativity, I have just one more lesson to share.

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3.  Disrupting is good

This was my favourite lesson from the evening – Molly showcased a few campaigns she’d worked on to generate buzz and interest online and offline, and they all had one thing in common: they disrupted people in their everyday thoughts and assumptions.

You know sometimes you drive to work and then when you arrive you can’t really remember getting there?  That’s because your brain is hard-wired to do that drive every day, and it knows the route well enough that you don’t need to concentrate on which way to go.

But what if while you were driving along, the only other cars on the road were Volkswagen Beetles, all red, and all driving in the opposite direction.  You might look twice and begin to wonder what was going on.  This is because it’s a break from the norm.

When marketing your business, think how you can disrupt the assumptions of your audience.  How can you make them look twice?  It’s not just about the shock element – it’s about linking that with your key message.

If at the end of the line of red Beetles there was a large lorry displaying a message about Volkswagen’s fuel economy, ride comfort and flexibility, you would probably be more likely to take it in than if it were on a billboard that you drove past every day.

Challenge your audience to look twice at what you offer – and be ready to respond when they question what you’re all about and how you can help them.

PS  Thank you to Shelley, Clemi and Jo for organising such an inspiring event, to Daisy Griffith and Molly Flatt for delivering excellent presentations – and thank you to all the other ladies who came along and helped make it more fun than three hours on Twitter!  More events coming soon so check out Ladies that Tweet to find out about the next one and how to book your ticket.

* Please share this post on Twitter and Facebook – thanks!  Lucy