Shaping up your social media

A weekend of classes at the Harbor View Hotel teach users how to make the most of digital.

The hashtag, and name of the event, was #SocialMediaShapeUp. – Photo by Holly Finigan

Earlier this month, social media enthusiasts gathered at the Harbor View Hotel for two days of #SocialMediaShapeUp, taught by social media experts Holly Finigan of blACKbook nantucket and Jason Bridges of Nantucket by Bike and ACK Coffee. The classes focused on jumpstarting your social media, learning about the Twitter platform, Instagram 101, and the ins and outs of email marketing.

Anyone else have social media resolutions for 2015? Whether you’re interested in learning more about Twitter or developing email marketing strategies, these workshops helped attendees grasp the basic concepts, as well as details on how to become better social media managers of their accounts.

“Social media and digital marketing are here to stay. So we’ve found that the best way to embrace these platforms is to educate ourselves and others on building your brand and promoting your business, using the correct tools for your niche,” said Ms. Finigan. She assured the attendees that they don’t have to be on all social media platforms, but urged them to find one to two platforms they loved and identified with, and take it from there.

“During the Social Media Shape Up workshops we helped students understand the social media channels, engaged with others effectively, and created meaningful content throughout classes,” said Ms. Finigan.

Alongside Ms. Finigan, Jason Bridges of Nantucket by Bike reminded the attendants about the 80/20 rule. “We teach and believe in the 80/20 rule of digital engagement, that only 20% of our digital media should be hard selling; the other 80% should be helping others and contributing to the ‘thank you economy.’ Collaborating with other businesses, connecting with current and future customers, and engaging with a positive message can take your brand to another level. A digital handshake can be a powerful thing! Where else can you effectively tell your story with such a great reach, a global reach even?” said Mr. Bridges.

Attendees came from all over the Island to learn how they could use social media to improve their business ventures moving forward. Here’s what some had to say:

Todd Christy of Chilmark Coffee Company: “We all like to follow along and somewhat passively keep in touch through social media. The reality is that there are some very powerful tools at our ready disposal, to promote and encourage economic participation from our customer base. I have had a Twitter account for years, but I haven’t really optimized its usefulness. I have had much more fun on Instagram, as I love seeing what others are doing, without the long-drawn-out verbiage or politics or cat videos! I have always had a strategy for Instagram, and it was fun to learn a few tricks concerning how to better reach my peeps! I also found the email strategies very good. Mass email has always been something I have stayed away from, because I’m one of those consumers who hates to be bothered by junk mail. My surprise is that there are strategies that can be instituted allowing me to get my message out to people who want to know what our business is doing, without being annoying or spam-ish. Great stuff! Everyone should take a little time to hone their social media skills to better understand the value of these tools.”

Erin Ready of Edgartown Meat & Fish Market: “The Social Media Shape Up was a refreshing winter course full of helpful tips and great ideas for expanding your reach professionally. I also greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet and connect with other like-minded locals that I might not have otherwise met. I’m thankful to the Harbor View Hotel for continually bringing new content to the Island.”

Melanie Rankow Prescott, head of client relations at Colonial Reproductions: “Social Media Shape Up with Jason and Holly was the best! They know their stuff, and gave us high-quality, spot-on, easy-to-integrate tips on the best ways to promote our businesses and ourselves. I will definitely be taking the next-level workshops.”

Tilma Zyla, assistant vice president of the Edgartown National Bank: “The classes were great, and I loved Holly and Jason. The way they presented everything made so much sense, and put me in a different mindset. Now when I walk around Edgartown … sorry #Edgartown … all I want to do is “@” all the great Edgartown businesses while I hashtag #Edgartown!”

The next social media workshop will take place at the Kelley House. Visit their web site,, and join the mailing list to make sure you do not miss the announcement. (You should also probably like them on Facebook at, and follow them on Twitter and Instagam @KelleyHouseMV.)