I learned a lot at today’s @TriangleAMA Social Media Boot Camp in Durham, North Carolina — strategic and tactical ideas about video, analytics, crisis communications, community-building, and more.
The nine speakers and panelists focused on the need to set objectives before diving into social media, and they shared the often-free tools they use themselves. It was definitely worth $129 and the all-day time commitment.
The tone ranged from serious to irreverent (see Greg’s clever zombie-kitten-bacon slide below). For the live coverage, see Angela Connor‘s terrific liveblog recap at Capstrat. For live tweeting, see Morgan Siem‘s tweets at Media Two. Morgan also wrote a great recap of the high points (including links to many of the free tools).
Selected Insights from Speakers at the Triangle AMA’s Social Media Boot Camp
Don’t believe someone who says “there’s just one way to listen online.” There are at least five modes of listening: Search, Alert, Monitor, Measure, and Mine (Nathan Gilliatt on “First Things First: Listening to social media for awareness and understanding“)
- When things go wrong and it’s aired online, the conversation is not about the brand — it’s about the customer’s problem. Responding to complaints quickly takes the negative wind out of people’s sails. Beyond the current crisis response, create ‘talkaboutability.’ (Cord Silverstein on “Best Practices for Crisis Management”; forthcoming at TriAMA SlideShare)
- “Spam is truly in the eye of the beholder.” and “People don’t give a damn about what you say, all the time.” and “I don’t think every company should have a Facebook fan page.” (Angela Connor on “Building marketing strategies within social networks: Understanding the culture and environments of online communities“)
- Don’t say “Let’s do location based marketing!” if you don’t have any marketing plan yet. Location-based marketing = offering value to customers.” The ‘overnight success’ of location-based services took five years. (Wayne Sutton on “Location Based Marketing in 2010“)
- Uploading videos to YouTube can really help your search engine rankings. Content’s important but you also need to master execution. Bad title: “Me just messing around.” Good title: “Video of Asian Man Making Silly Faces and Waving Hi.” Title should include keywords your viewers will search for, not something too conceptual. In description, lead with the URL, because YouTube shows just the first two lines at first. Ideally, use a trackable link going to a specific landing page. (Gregory Ng on “Video 101: How video content can raise awareness, promote community, and increase engagement“)
- Use segmentation to compare behavior of different types of visitors in Google Analytics (e.g., social media visitors versus paid search visitors) — but doing this requires using tracking codes embedded in incoming links. Set financial and non-financial goals up front. Use analytics tools like Argyle Social to make things easier. (Jim Hazen on “Analytics and ROI in Social Media”; forthcoming at TriAMA SlideShare)
- Start by listening and reading, and see where you can introduce yourself. Five years ago, she followed 10 blogs and built relationships via commenting and otherwise engaging, just like befriending reporters in traditional media. Now, the mom/dad blog market has exploded, so they use Twitter to focus. Review peoples’ following list, to find other people to follow and/or approach. (Erin Lane, panelist on “Crucial connections: Effective social media and blogger outreach and engagement”)
- If you aren’t measuring now, adding social media won’t help. But actively engaging with people makes a difference. Got new partners for business the SXSW conference by pre-engaging with bloggers, reading on a daily basis and commenting actively. Previously, he got word-of-mouth attention by wearing a Twine Interactive shirt everywhere. (Jeremy Smith, panelist on “Crucial connections: Effective social media and blogger outreach and engagement”)
- New to social media? Start with a blog, as a landing page to show expertise. Inform that by knowing where you want to go, by setting goals. To avoid coming across as a sleazy salesperson, get introduced by a friend (just like in real life). Don’t pitch people who aren’t in your target market (this requires some manual digging). Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer has a detailed pitch-me guidelines page on what he’s open to receiving. (Chris Moody, panelist on “Crucial connections: Effective social media and blogger outreach and engagement”)
Comments on Value
The social media boot camp wrapped up with a freeform Q&A around 4pm, in lieu of the originally-scheduled simulation exercise. This made sense, since the organizers hadn’t expected so many attendees — the room was packed with 100 people — and because my caffeine ran out around 3:48.
At $129 (presale member rate, vs. $229 for last-minute non-members), this was one of the more expensive marketing events I’ve attended recently — as opposed to free happy hours and $25-40 lunch-and-learns — but the speakers, content, and audience interaction made it worth it. I enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new ones (hi!).
As an added value for attendees, the Triangle chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) had opted for the Solution Center‘s $20 Crossroads Cafe Break Package. I’d never seen chocolate pudding, Klondike Bars, and gummy bears at a professional conference before. And as a chicken salad enthusiast, the chicken salad wrap from Jill Kucera’s Catering Works was exceptional. It’s the little things…
I’m looking forward to implementing what I learned today, after doing some triage on business goals. What were your biggest takeaways from the Triangle AMA social media boot camp?
Photo credits: Karl Sakas