Amanda O’Brien, 31
Vice president of marketing
Hall Web Development & Internet Marketing, Portland
As the co-founder of Social Media Breakfast Maine, Amanda O’Brien hears many people share their frustrations and confusions about using social media. Often, she said, people are wasting their time and energy on the wrong sites. That was the case for an attendee who was with Strong Fathers Maine and had been trying to use social media to reach more fathers who might be in need of the organization’s support.
“He loves Twitter and Facebook, but the people he’s trying to reach are on My Space,” said O’Brien. “That was a eureka moment for him.”
O’Brien, vice president of marketing for Hall Web Development & Internet Marketing in Portland, helps people develop social media strategies through her work with Social Media Breakfast Maine and by writing blog posts about social media and giving presentations about it to community and business groups.
O’Brien says the first thing she does is take the fun out of it.
“I want people to have a plan before they go in,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien grew up on Peaks Island and was into social media before it was social media. She first become interested in the old forums and chatrooms and mostly taught herself how to create web pages. When she returned to Maine after leaving for college in New Hampshire, she first worked for Citadel Broadcasting before joining Hall a couple years ago.
Social Media Breakfast (www.socialmediabreakfastmaine.com) usually hosts a get-together once a month where people share their experiences with social media, which include both successes and failures. She stresses that her work with Social Media Breakfast is not a sales pitch – most of Hall’s clients focus on business-to-business marketing and are out of state -– but an attempt to help educate the community so they understand how most effectively use it.
“As social media becomes more popular, I think it’s important to educate people about it and let them make their own decisions before they get into trouble,” she said.
Of course, businesses aren’t the only ones on social media sites. O’Brien said individuals should also develop their own social media strategy.
“I had to decide a long time ago what I was willing to be public with and what I was willing to be private with,” said O’Brien.
She said that strategy is going to be different for every person. If you’re a job seeker, for instance – and who hasn’t been or will be at some point – don’t be so negative.
“Perhaps you’re a nice person, but if you’re using social media to vent, that’s your projection of yourself,” said O’Brien.