You thought day one was great, just wait for day 2!
It started with balls.
Before Sharon Crost even began speaking, she was throwing beach balls into the crowd.
As you might expect, the balls got tossed around and much laughter ensued.
Sharon challenged us to consider the beach ball as our brand or idea. Why did the ball stay in the air? Because it was fun, because everyone else was doing it. Great analogy!
Up out of your seats
To demonstrate how easy it is to spark a conversation online, Sharon put an opinion up on the projector. If we agreed strongly with the statement, we had to come to the front. The neutrals went in the middle (I heard someone mention they were "strongly neutral!") and those who disagreed went to the back. We then passed the microphone around to those who wanted to explain their permission.
It was kind of like an altar call (if you know what I mean, say amen!) in that it broke up the speaker/speakee relationship, and made everyone decide where they stood – literally!
The day before, Sharon had told me she didn’t think of herself as an expert. To my mind, that’s what makes her such an expert! Because she came from the same background as many in the room (marketers schooled in direct and database marketing), Sharon a) can relate intimately to her audience, and b) works extremely hard to grasp – and convey – the concepts of social media.
In our interview with Sharon , she said her three tags were interactive , enthusiastic and value-add . Sharon, that’s exactly what you gave us!
By the numbers
Next up, DraftFCB ’s Stephen Johnson blew us away with a) some sociological/psychological insights into social media, and b) the Orion software that he’s developed with DraftFCB.
Orion helps you visualise the key influencers in social media. In a cautionary tale, he showed us how the San Lu milk powder scandal was evolving on social media for months before the mainstream media got hold of it.
Stephen said many wise things – fellow speaker Jim Stewart called him a brainiac! – but my favourite was this:
"In the new digital economy a recommendation from a total stranger is entirely acceptable"
Ain’t that the truth.
Jim Stewart took the stage next, giving what David Meerman Scott called the best presentation on Search Engine Optimisation he’s ever seen.
I tweeted the details of Jim’s presentation (you’ll have to trawl for them – don’t worry, you’ll learn lots). It was really interesting seeing how Jim’s perspective weaved into the perspective of the other speakers.
What do I mean? A lot of social media marketing comes from the PR discipline, where the measures are softer, and the emphasis is on good content and building relationships. SEO, on the other hand, comes from the world of direct marketing, where the measures are rock-hard, and the emphasis is on one thing: driving traffic.
In many ways, Jim echoed the key messages of the previous speakers, especially about creating great content, but he emphasised the SEO benefits of it.
For marketers, it’s reassuring that the same strategy -
- creating great content,
- building communities,
- linking generously,
- giving stuff away -
…leads to both good overall marketing results, and good search engine rankings.
That’s it for now. The Q&A session will warrant it’s own blog post! Coming soon.
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