After spending a year and a half developing a social media centric community with key individuals, I found myself for the first time kicking back in a single seater leather couch with my legs elevated resting on a perfectly matched leather ottoman during our Foursquare Kalamazoo 1st Annual Rock the Chili Cook-Off. Most of the time I’m the one running around getting things coordinated or making sure the people who RSVP knew where they were going or reminding people to check-in. It was a great feeling to see and experience the social side of the efforts of my own brain child being led by someone else.

Working on the premise of “find a need, fill a need,” Foursquare Kalamazoo in Michigan was formed. Some come for the education, some come for the food, some come for the camaraderie as well as social good, and others are just trying to figure out what is this social media community. The need continues to grow as more people begin to catch wind that these organizations are around for all of the above reasons.

More partnerships of wanting to replicate a similar community model within their own business/organizations for their customers have come about and the fascinating part is people WANT to get involved in the social media scene. Kalamazoo is growing in the social media realm and it’s an exciting time to watch it evolve while it learns to pick up on the basic mobile applications that we have learned to love and depend on such as Hootsuite, camera phones, scanning QR codes, Angry Birds and more.

One of the fascinating things I’ve observed as a social media connector is watching our social media groups grow, reach out to others and educate them about the fundamentals. I gathered that our group have a common desire that the more people we get on to Foursquare and social media, the more opportunities there are to see offerings from a business or to gain a new friends. It is a social gathering and the social aspect draws people to connect. The platform itself is but a tool to achieve these social means or even as a way to enhance the social connection. Other than that what people are drawn to is the social experience – connecting with others with common interests, which goes back to basics in socializing with others.

Overall, the key thing to remember: There is a reason why it is called “social media” and the part “social” plays a huge component in developing a successful campaign or community. We tend to get caught up in the semantics or the intricacies as well as wonderment of social media, but what makes social media successful is the basic connection with other like-minded people. For without that key piece, a cool social media campaign is just a cool campaign without a purpose. Creating an environment to connect on common interests via social media is critical. Sometimes at the end of the day, what drives our Kalamazoo social media groups to keep grow is the very desire to connect and explore their community while catching up with an old friend.

As we plan for 2012 Foursquare Day just remember that however great or small the event becomes, our focus should be on the connections we build and the new found friendships we are going to develop.

 

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