Last month, I had the pleasure of participating in Social Media Week by moderating a Dell-hosted panel at the New York City event titled “Leveraging Online Platforms to Inspire Social Good.” The impressive bench of panelists included our entrepreneur-in-residence Ingrid Vanderveldt (@ontheroadwithiv), who is founder and CEO of Green Girl Energy and a founding organizer of the GLASS Forum; Slava Rubin (@GoGoSlava), Co-founder and CEO of leading crowd-funding platform IndieGoGo, and Sarah Endline (@sweetriot), Founder and CEO of mission-based organic chocolate company sweetriot.
Only in its third year, Social Media Week attracts more than 60,000 attendees via thousands of individually organized events (in a total of 21 cities worldwide), with half a million connecting to the conference online and through mobile devices. Through a series of interconnected activities and conversations from around the world, the week-long conference examines the global impact of social media and its role as a catalyst in driving cultural, economic, political and social change in developed and emerging markets.
Our panelists provided insightful, actionable advice about how they’ve been successful in turning ideas for social good into real businesses, and how they’ve leveraged the power of the community online.
Key takeaways from the panelists included:
- In order to be successful, it’s important to be authentic and to fully integrate who you are into your brand and your online voice. Sarah, Ingrid and Slava are all great examples of this.
- Online platforms (ranging from Amazon to PayPal to Facebook) help lower the barriers between your dreams and reality by reducing startup costs and infrastructure needs.
- When using social media for your growing business or nonprofit, the biggest mistake you can make is thinking you have to be on every platform. They will not all suit your business needs. Instead, establish what is best for you and focus on it.
- Actions count, not a lengthy business plan. Developing a plan is more for your own benefit, so if possible, keep it to a one page document or five slides.
- Be willing to change from your business plan. For example, Sweetriot was created with the idea of trading up and luxury. But that was 2006, and when 2008 hit and the economy had changed, it was about trading down, so they had to alter their plan.
Ingrid also shared details on a number of Dell’s entrepreneurial and social good initiatives including the Dell Social Innovation Challenge and the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, which you can learn more about through our Women Powering Business LinkedIn community.
In case you missed the panel last month, you can still catch it online via the livestream link.
Follow Allison Dew on Twitter at @alliedewsays.