Shane Gibson was poised to break 18,000 followers on Twitter Monday morning.
He’s been tweeting for nearly four years.
The sales professional turned social media marketing expert said he attracted thousands of followers by having conversations.
“People care less about what you have to say and more about how interested you are in what they’re doing,” Gibson said. “I’ve just spent four years listening and communicating and sharing my opinions… I’ve just been [developing] one relationship at a time.”
To encourage residents of Metro Vancouver to become more social media savvy, Gibson has organized Vancouver’s first Social Media Week through Socialized! Ltd., a social media marketing firm he co-founded with Anthony Caridi. The event is on until Sept. 23.
He and Caridi want to share best practices and put Vancouver on the social media map.
“We have a tendency to bring out-of-town experts with a briefcase in here to tell us how to do stuff,” Gibson said. “But our neighbour is smarter, the person living next door, she knows more.”
Caroline Clapham, with the law firm Fasken Martineau whose focus includes social media, will speak at a session for lawyers and law firms. A marketer who works with Union Gospel Mission will speak at a session called The Social Good Summit; and for social media neophytes, there’s Social Media 101. All the sessions are free, with evening soirees scheduled.
“I’d love to see, overall, just in our city, more social media literacy, more citizens using social media to create change, more businesses using it to increase our economic situation,” Gibson said.
“With 750 million people on Facebook and a hundred million Twitter updates a day and a hundred million people on LinkedIn, the reality is that social media is an integral part of everything, whether it’s journalism, whether it’s fundraising for a community charity or whether it’s for business,” he added.
The native of Dunbar previously focused on sales training for major organizations on three continents. “But then I realized that sales was broken, that the consumer was actually smarter than the average salesperson and that you needed to understand how to connect with them in an intimate and authentic way, and that was social media,” he said.
Three-and-a-half years ago, the Ford motor company asked Gibson to train its staff to use tools including Google and LinkedIn to find new business. He has co-written the books Sociable! How Social Media is Turning Sales and Marketing Upside Down and Guerrilla Social Media Marketing.
“I have done one sales training event in the last two years and the rest are social media,” he said.
Social Media Week started in New York City in 2009 and spread to cities that include Beirut, Berlin and Bogota, running in February and/or September. Toronto hosted Canada’s first Social Media Week earlier this year.
For more information about the local iteration, see socialmediaweek.org/vancouver.