Who wakes up at 6:30am on a saturday to go sit in a dim lit room with 300 other people? I do apparently. I’m talking about the Social Media Marketing Conference I attended last Saturday. Although it was early, the conference was great, the speakers and crowd were great, and I learned alot so it was well worth the early morning wake up call. Here are a few highlights of how it went down…
The first speaker was Marty Yaskowich, Marketing Director of Tribal DDB. He set the stage for the rest of the day by quickly pointing out that businesses miss the mark if they are searching for or think they need a ‘Social Media Strategy’ – it’s like saying you need a ‘Cell Phone Strategy’- it doesn’t make sense because it’s only one element of many. Although there is alot of hype about social media right now, he pointed out that the focus should be on finding an overall ‘Engage and Activate Strategy’ that aligns with your business goals. The first question to ask is, what problem are you trying to solve? and then ask if social media will help solve it – it may or may not, social media is just one tool, and should be treated as such, in your overall marketing strategy to achieve your business objectives.
He articulated that a good marketing plan is actually really basic and follows this sequence: Study (the problem) -> Listen -> Publish -> Engage -> Influence -> Activate. Sure it’s great to have 1 million followers but if all they are is followers and not ‘active’ consumers, then your hanging out in the engagement stage and your social media platform isn’t doing anything for your bottom line. The key to moving people past engagement to activation lies in finding the emotional hook in your product/service (because 95% of decisions are emotional, while 5% are rational) and then deciding which marketing tools (modern and/or traditional) to use to achieve the greatest impact.
Rochelle Grayson (@RochelleGrayson) was another fantastic speaker who talked all about the Activation Stage – where the money is! One interesting point she made is that 95% of people are social media players while 5% are social media payers – it puts into perspective how many people you need to engage to actually turn a profit. She also left us with a plethora of practical tips, interesting websites to add to our toolkit (like paywithatweet.com) and the following list of key things to think about when creating or positioning a product/service to ensure it appeals to peoples emotional side…
Annalea, CEO of Ethical Deal, taught us all about best practices in group buying. Crystal Hendrickson of Yelp Canada showed us how to connect local people to local businesses and be a star in the local community. Eli Vandergiessen of the David Suzuki Foundation talked to us about how to grow a community and use social media marketing for change.
Last, but certainly not least was Dave Olson, Community Director of HootSuite (@daveohoots). By the time he got on stage the conference was running late and we were all on our 9th hour but his humour and ability to engage the audience brought us all back of life, it was awesome. He enlightened us with the lessons he learned from building a HootSuite community of over 1 million users, these lessons were…
1. Begin with listening
2. Participation is Everything – track and monitor everything and be everywhere – where ever people are talking about or asking questions about what you are doing, be there, always and measure everything.
3. Community Manager as a Party House? Keep people on course, guide them where you want them to go, and be the driver of an exciting bus.
4. It’s all about the story – the tools may have changed but people will still engage in an interesting story.
5. Interestingness – you have to have it.
6. Go Where the people are – go talk to the people, hang out with them on their terms, play their game.
7. Speak their language.
8. Build a posse.
9. Close the loop – bring them back to the main group, back to the community.
10. Let robots do the work.
Overall, it was a great conference – there were alot of nuggets and I’m still shifting through my notes and trying out the different websites, apps, tools etc. I also connected with some really interesting people so I’d say it was a rainy saturday well spent!
Till next time…