Meeting social media enthusiasts in the flesh

Nobody doubts the growing impact of social media. Keeping up with new developments and understanding how it affects you and your business can be tough as new types and uses of social media pop up ever more rapidly. In an effort to understand the latest developments, I attended a gathering of Third Tuesday Toronto featuring Carol Leaman, the CEO of AideRSS (the company behind PostRank) and Melanie Baker (AideRSS’s Community Manager). The topic? How a social media start-up not only survives but continues to grow in the current economic environment.

Third Tuesday is a group of social media enthusiasts who meet — surprise, surprise — on the Third Tuesday of every month to chat with a special guest speaker about different social media technologies and trends and how these things can be applied for the benefit of PR and marketing programs. It’s a free community-based event based on the original Third Tuesday events in San Francisco.

AideRSS’s PostRank uses algorithms to filter and rank the content of RSS subscriptions. New feeds are ranked by level of audience engagement (i.e. comments posted, bookmarks, etc.) to help readers save time by reading what really matters. It also helps publishers fine-tune their content to their readers’ interests. The company is now moving into analytics which would enable publishers to collect information on how people are interacting with their online content to help them know and engage their audience even better.

Carol talked about how AideRSS took a “science experiment” and turned it into a “real business” by finding a way to turn the data they could collect into knowledge and applications valued by the market. She also talked about how to get noticed as a small start-up (without a large marketing budget) by engaging in both online and offline relationships. Online relationship development could mean grassroots marketing through connecting with influencers in the space and guest blogging. Offline relationships are just as important and involve speaking at important events and finding the right champions to get behind your product or service.

Interested in learning more about social media? Check out Debunking Six Social Media Myths. And consider making it out to a future Third Tuesday event for some casual, friendly interaction with people in the know — consider it part of your “offline relationship” building plan.