There can’t be many conferences that open with two eight-foot photographs of naked men – but that’s exactly how Peter Shankman kicked off Social Media Marketing & Monitoring 2011 New York yesterday. During his fervent Keynote address, he laid the groundwork for what was, based on feedback so far, a thoroughly entertaining and insightful day.
I opened the conference with a quick round-up of statistics and thoughts on the state of social media marketing, then, just after 9am, Peter bounded to the front of the auditorium. He implored the audience (around 130 marketers) to ask their customers how they want to be communicated with and to keep in touch with contacts – citing a simple example that saved one charity $500k a year. He urged us to “leave our comfort zone” in order to succeed in social media. The average attention span, he also said, has dropped to 2.6 seconds – i.e. as long as it takes to read a Tweet – which makes learning to write a critical skill.
Next up Christine Perkett (PerkettPR.com) explained the importance of humanizing your brand. She cited Anne Handley, founder of MarketingProfs, as an example of a “human brand” and praised CISCO for highlighting “Superfans” on Facebook. She also highlighted the Suitmates video campaign from Kinaxis, a rather dry supply chain management software company, as a highly innovative example of a B2B brand humanizing itself through social media. See Christine’s presentation here.
Next up we had a case study from The Children’s Place, with their agency, BigFuel. They ran a live event on Facebook with celebrity moms, which generated a huge number of posts, Likes and shares in a very short period. The extensive reporting and analysis was impressive, though it was doubtless also a costly campaign. Most telling, perhaps, is that the online retailer felt it was a big success and wants to do it again. See the presentation here.
The next case study provided an enlightened view of a TV company handing the controls firmly over to it’s biggest fans. US Cable channel, WGN America, uses Facebook and other social channels to identify and engage with the most avid fans of it’s shows – even enabling them to vote on what should be shown on TV! Josh Richman (VP Marketing) and Keith Blanchard from NY-based agency, Story, stressed the need for companies to “talk about what [your] fan’s are interested in, not what you’re interested in”. See their presentation here.
Continuing our brands-tell-all theme, Dan Woolsey from TheGrio.com (part of NBC) then told the story of how he was struggling to get returns from social media until he started using Chase McMichael’s Infinigraph product – which identifies “trending content” (i.e. things you’ve posted that people like) and presents it in a highly compelling MPU. The click thu rate from TheGrio’s advert increased from 0.6% to 0.45% almost overnight. Result! See their presentation here.
We then invited a panel of social commerce experts, chaired by Heidi Cohen (Clickz) and including Andrew Beranbom from Extole, to debate the premise that it’s the future of e-commerce. Joelle Musante (Payvment) made a strong case for embedding your sales-cart into Facebook: “If you’ve got a customer on your lot, you don’t send him down the road to make a purchase”. The terminology was debated – with a telling point coming from Janis Polis in the audience: “It’s all e-commerce, we’re just re-branding it again”. Jon Mandell (1800flowers.com) gave us 3 social commerce metrics to watch: 1. Earned views 2. Influencer activity 3. Post transaction activity.
After lunch we sat down to a masterclass in gamification – aka how to use gaming mechanics/psychology for marketing. Adena DeMonte from Badgeville showed us “Maslow’s Hierarchy” and lots of examples of organisations integrating elements of competition, incentive and reward into their social media activities in order to increase engagement. Beat the Gmat, which rewards MBA students for engagement on Facebook, got a lot of interest. See Adena’s presentation here.
Sebastien Hempstead from social media monitoring company, Brandwatch, then stepped up to give us the low-down on social data and how to use it. He urged us to focus on “actionable data” – i.e. not just mentions, but mentions that we can do something about. Demonstrating how he sifts through and rates social media data using US cellphone companies, he gave a compelling case for putting a $ value on actionable conversations within that industry. He also advised marketers to get close to their data, to truly glean sense from it. See Seb’s presentation here.
How can you identify and engage with influencers? Our panel, comprising Pierre-Loic Assyag, CEO of Traackr, Marshall Sponder (WebMetricsGuru), Abhijit Sahay (TipTop Technologies) and Jamie Turner (Fanrank) agreed that influence isn’t just about reach, it must take “resonance” (i.e. how much a message is relayed) into account, as well as the subject on which the person is influential. Marshall suggested FollowerWonk as a good, free tool, and Traackr is available for more serious projects.
Asif Khan from the Location-Based Marketing Association (LBMA) gave an immersive 30 minute dive into location marketing, demonstrating how, with new technologies – e.g. augmented reality shop windows that show special deals when viewed through a special app – and clever ideas – e.g. Angry Birds real-life location only features – location marketing is maturing. Tip: want to get a budget for location marketing? Don’t call it that. Say you’re going to enhance the ROI of other marketing activities, otherwise it may get kicked into the long grass. See his presentation here.
Last on the podium was Josh Mendelsohn from Constant Contact who gave us a rousing dose of common sense and flawless logic, showing how to combine social with email marketing – and get the best of both worlds. “Make sure any content you create can be used in at least 5 places” and “make hard choices about where you spend your social media time” – i.e. don’t spread your efforts too thinly. Check out his presentation here.
The final session was a short but star-studded panel on “The Future of Social Media Marketing” chaired by Brian Reich (Edelman) featuring Erik Qualman (Socialnomics author), Curtis Houghland (Attention), Michelle Horowitz (Diane von Furstenberg) and Lincoln Lopez (VH1). Among many insights – “What are we missing in social media marketing?” produced some memorable responses: 1. social CRM (mapping the customer journey internally) 2. enough resources 3. the right internal processes and 4. the belief/education among staff.
We’ll be posting up more resources/photos and links to video clips here over the next few days – and remember – we’ll be back in NYC on 3rd November for the follow-on event to SMM11: Social CRM 2011. Join us there!