Got Social Media? Don’t worry if the the first thought that enters your mind is “what is social media?” – you are not alone, but if you are interested in the shape of things to come in the marketing world, you might want to find out so read on.
Wikipedia defines social media as “the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into content publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers.” What that means to most of us is online social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Plaxo to name a few along with other interactive sites like Twitter, Wikipedia, Technorati, blogs, forums, etc. While many of us have filled out perfunctory profiles on these sites after receiving an invitation or two from friends, few of us have learned to use them in a way that will seriously impact our marketing efforts. The January 24th GotSocialMedia? conference organized by social media expert Erica O’Grady was all about helping us learn how to do just that.
The first presentation was given by Kelsey Ruger of Pop Labs who discussed Crucial Conversations in Social Media. In addition to being a great presenter, I’ve been following Kelsey (a.k.a. themoleskin) on Twitter.cm for a few months now where he has made a fun and informative contribution to my twitter feed.
Top Take Away from Kelsey’s Presentation: Effective social media personalizes marketing in a very fundamental way. Kelsey talked about the original market place where we once bartered for goods with merchants with whom we developed personal relationships. Modern day marketing is more about talking than about listening and anyone familiar with Dale Carnigie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People knows that is a relationship doomed for failure. So here are three ways Kelsey suggested to improve your social media conversations:
One thing that struck me about these three points is that websites talk, but sites that allow for comments and feedback (such as blogs and forums) listen. If you don’t provide a vehicle for your clients and prospects to talk to you, then you are having a one-sided conversation.
Next up was Steve Latham of Spur Digital. Now here was a presentation that spoke my language – metrics! I first met Steve along with most of his staff at Camp Periwinkle which is a one-week camp for patients and their siblings from Texas Children’s Cancer Center so in addition to being an online marketing expert, he is an all around good guy.
Top Take Away from Steve’s Presentation: One of the things online marketers struggle with is estimating return on investment so Steve gave us some interesting guidelines for forecasting potential revenue using interactive metrics. Here are some of the measurable actions prospects and clients take that can help predict their intent to purchase:
According to Steve, one of the strongest indications that a site visitor is going to make a purchase is if they refer your page to someone else or “tell a friend” – his estimated conversion for existing customers who tell a friend is approximately 60%.
Stephen Anderson then discussed Turning Real-Life Behaviors into Online Social Features. In addition to giving me some insight on my children’s online behavior, this presentation provided some great ideas for creating a compelling site that will hold the attention of your audience over time.
Top Take Away from Stephen’s presentation: The idea of using social media to tell a story that will keep visitors coming back for the next chapter. A great example Stephen provided was clubpenguin.com which is a site targeting children who take on a penguin avatar and waddle around to meet new friends. Stephen told us about an underwater room on clubpenguin that developed a crack in one of its windows – visitors were compelled to come back daily to see what would happen to the room which eventually flooded. Imagine creating an environment on your web site that your customers literally feel compelled to visit regularly.
Ed Schipul spoke about Social Media for Non-Profits, but there were lots of great lessons for those of us in the for-profit sector as well. In addition to being a social media celebrity in Houston, Ed is also one of my favorite people to follow on twitter at eschipul.
Top Take Away from Ed’s presentation: You probably will not be able to capture everyone’s interest, but you can find the zealots for your cause (or product) and draw them into an active community. The example everyone discussed was the frozen pea campaign which I know for a fact was effective because it drew me in. The frozen pea campaign was started when relationship media maven Susan Reynolds developed breast cancer and found that frozen peas eased her pain after treatment. Her supporters started finding ways to incorporate peas in their twitter avatars which created a buzz and now a lot of money has been raised for breast cancer research through the Frozen Pea Fund.
Next was possibly our most controversial speaker Giovanni Gallucci of Dexterity Media who spoke about Buzz Generation, Guerilla Marketing & Branding via SEO, Social Media & Social Networking. Besides having a positively melodic name, Giovanni is also one of the most honest and open speakers I’ve ever heard at a professional conference.
Top Take Away from Giovanni’s presentation: Givers gain! You can get away with a whole lot of “grey hat” activity if you are willing to reciprocate when someone else needs a favor. Giovanni caused some controversy by admitting that he takes the definition of LinkedIn LION (Linked In Open Networker) to a whole new level in order to get the word out about a new project he is marketing. On the other hand, Giovanni is always happy to share the love when someone else needs some help with their campaign. There is a lot of support for this concept out there in the blogosphere i.e. if someone Diggs your blog, take the time to send them a thank you or digg one of their posts. And in the end, if Giovanni’s activities were really too spammy, then chances are he wouldn’t have so many people still willing to be connected to him. Oh, and as a bonus take away I learned that getting front page love on Digg really does exponentially increase traffic to you site.
The final speaker of the day was Chris Bernard of Microsoft and it was with a lot of personal disappointment that I had to leave before his presentation entitled There will be blood – Why Web 3.0 will feel a lot more like Web 1.0 than Web 2.0. I can tell you that I heard it was phenomenal and that I won’t miss another opportunity to hear him speak.
We were also delighted with insights from GotSocialMedia organizer Erica O’Grady and Laura Mayes, co-founder of Sk-irt.com. These wonderful women are so full of contagious energy that just seeing them at the front of the room was encouraging, but they are also a wealth of social media and marketing expertise – thanks so much for putting this thing together, Ladies!
Now if you are jealous that GotSocialMedia wasn’t held in a town near you, don’t be because my understanding is that this thing may go on the road. So if you are interested in bringing GotSocialMedia to your neck of the woods, contact Erica O’Grady and let your interest be known.
One final message to all of the amazing people involved in putting this thing together – if I misinterpreted anything in this post, please feel free to correct me with a comment and thank you so much again for a fabulous learning experience!