Social Media in India with Parmesh Shahani – iJumpTV 60

August 4th, 2009
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What’s the hottest social network site in India? Are businesses in one of the fastest growing economies embracing social media? And while newspapers and magazines struggle in the West, are emerging economies different?

I met author, editor and venture capitalist Parmesh Shahani at the recent XMedia labs event in Auckland (where I also blogged and vlogged for Idealog magazine), and got his thoughts on social media in his home country.

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Marketing Now day 2 – social media gets practical

April 22nd, 2009

Social media gets practical at Marketing Now
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.

Get Found

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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