In the world of social media, there is a lot of talk about connections and engagement. It can be daunting to learn the best practices of each site and identifying who you are “supposed” to connect with. And then there are questions about why you are engaging in social media. Lois Martin of Lois Martin Marketing took a different approach to connecting with others and shared her wisdom with us on our Twitter chat, #kaizenblog. To begin the conversation, Lois wrote this framing post, “The Entrepreneur’s Toolbox: Finding Your Community in Social Media”

Lois Martin

Allow me to introduced you to our guest host-Lois Martin has worked in advertising, marketing and public relations throughout her career and opened her own firm in Atlanta in 2008. Her clients include financial and professional services firms, retailers, authors, distributors and motorsports teams. In addition to developing and managing campaigns and training sales teams, she helps clients effectively use social media. An avid writer and blogger, Lois develops content for companies and enjoys sharing business and personal insights through her own blog at In addition she is on the editorial staff of Formula 1 Blog ( and host of the weekly #F1Chat for Formula 1 fans on Twitter.

We talked about “Ideas From Formula 1 Friends: Finding Your Community in Social Media” and you can learn more about all of the side threads and the full conversation here in the transcript Transcript for #kaizenblog – IdeasFromF1FriendsFindingCommunityInSM

We began our conversation by asking, When choosing a community, how do you connect with the individuals in groups? This may seem like a basic question but keep in mind that different groups have their own norms and, occasionally, there can be cross-cultural considerations. Since Lois is the host for the Twitter chat, #F1Chat, she has met several people that have resulted in personal and professional relationships. As a model for our #kaizenblog conversation, she used examples from her chat. She commented, “Q1 What’s worked so well in our community is that we share a genuine interest in the sport and it’s non-business. It’s a nice break in the day and by chatting about a more personal interest it’s easier to to begin to get to know ea other/form bond.” One of Lois’ points during the chat was to include your interests and hobbies when you are choosing a community. This makes it easier to develop that marketing truism about “know, like and trust” as well as friendships.

  • Patrick Prothe “Re: Q1 – First by listening, getting to know their interests, pains and finding ways to offer value”
  • Ken Rosen “Q1 Existing communities certainly have a flow. Learning that first is natural EQ on or off line”
  • Debra Leitl “A1: We look for communities where we can answer online marketing questions.”
  • Judy Gombita “A1 It’s important to recognize not all members of community want to be “active” and share lots of info, esp. in early days”

Judy’s comment sparked an interesting side thread about lurkers (an awful word for someone who is ‘listening’ to a conversation within social media). Patrick Prothe shared a statistic that 95% of participants are lurking. The consensus for this side thread was to invite but not force people to join in when they are ready. This certainly makes sense as we can send private messages or emails to someone we want to know more about or simply share what we’ve learned with others.

What interests or hobbies would you like to share and explore with others? Lois shared with us a brief explanation that she is a Formula 1 racing fan. Her interest led to developing the #F1Chat and the participants have created a community as a result. She also reminded us “Q2 Think abt how biz is conducted on golf course. Same premise — deeper connections may be formed thru a shared interest.” Amber Cleveland offered a great example, “A2 I’m open to sharing many interests/hobbies like reading, social media, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, wine, shopping…”

Since we have a number of non-US participants in our #kaizenblog community, I got curious about how engage with people in other countries through social media. I tweeted, “It’s not ususual to have participants outside of US participate in #kaizenblog. How does that affect convos?” Lois responded, “I have won and referred biz opps outside of US. PR and marketing projects went well via e-communication and Skype”

  • kerriereio “How 2 connect w/ppl in other countries: go where they go online…invest in them and try to understand them before you try to make them understand you!”
  • Chanelle Schneider “I think the dominant group tends to forget that certain words/phrases don’t have the same meaning”
  • Shashi Bellamkonda “Twitter is a great way to connect to bloggers from other countries”

To illustrate more clearly what finding your community could look like, we asked What are your success stories? Lois used herself as an example, “Q3 Sponsor as well as team management connection for the racing drivers I represent, plus addl biz opps for me and my firm”

  • David McGraw “A3: I am a success story. I lurked. I contributed w/o engagement. I changed the way I participated. Got more precise w/ lang.”
  • kerriereio “My success story is how I’ve met @LoisMarketing @StatesmanF1 @F1UnitedStates and grown @austingrandprix in 6 short months!”
  • Amy Canada “Q3 I am also a success story of #blogchat; when new, others welcomed me warmly. I learned from them & repeated”

To end the conversation, we wanted to know what sorts of resources or advice people need to find their own communities. So who would you like to reach and really get to know? Lois added, “Specific is good. Are there key influencers, authors, famous personalities, industry experts you’d like to meet? I’ve always felt the most effective in-person networking is to be specific — ‘I would like intro to…’ same as SM”

  • Judy Gombita “A4. I want to reach and really get to know people who AREN’T like me. Goodbye bubbles and echo-chambers in communities”
  • David McGraw “Honestly the lurkers in my tweet/blog stream”

It can be easy to overlook the simple ways to connect with people when we are thinking about our area of expertise. Lois provided us with a comfortable model that enables us to imagine the “who”, “what”, and “why of the communities we find in social media.

How do you answer the discussion questions?

What do you wish you knew more about?