Social Media Junction wrap-up #smj

May 19th, 2010
Simon's iPhone alarm goes off on stage, while Alistair Helms laughs

Simon's iPhone alarm goes off on stage, while Alistair Helms laughs

Didn’t make it to Social Media Junction? Missing a conference is never the same in the age of Twitter.

There’s photos, videos, and tweets. There’s a pretty darn thorough writeup in StopPress.

I got asked what I got out of it (see my comments and others’), especially considering I probably know a lot of the stuff already. Admittedly, I didn’t get a whole lot of new knowledge. But that’s not why people go to conferences.

Conferences are about making personal connections, meeting the “imaginary friends” you already know online (and making sure they’re real!).

Conferences are often about getting inspired to do what you already know you should do. Never underestimate inspiration.

I had a huge dose of inspiration from Julien Smith, one of the keynote speakers, who was also an “imaginary friend” I listen to on the Media Hacks podcast. Julien’s also co-author with Chris Brogan of the book Trust Agents.

Julien’s presentation, which kicked off the day, went to the heart of adopting social media – the need to be courageous and choose innovation. Here’s a taste of what he said.

It was great to speak to Julien before and after the conference (video coming soon), and to be challenged by this NYT bestselling author to do what I do (reasonably) well – write.

So watch this space. And it won’t be a book about social media, it’ll be about leadership, because that’s what social media will require of you. I’d better hurry up, the topic is on the radar already.

Other highlights:

  • The irrepressible Aisha Hilary’s case study of how SBS is using social media to connect with its TV audiences (yes, audiences, they have 4 main segments who are very diverse)
  • The practical (and full-of-local-examples) practitioner’s panel, chaired by Vincent Heeringa.
  • Mike Hickinbotham’s in-depth case study of culture change and social media adoption at Telstra.
  • The very entertaining Andy Beal’s very detailed and practical session on social media monitoring. Full marks for some great local examples – and pronouncing nz as en zed! :)
  • Justin Flitter gets what social media is all about – the opportunity to create a customer-centric organisation.
  • Our former neighbour Paul Reynolds (the incumbent, not the Telecom CEO) had some inspiring case studies of social media in the cultural sector.

Heard from the floor

I caught up with marketing veteran Steve Bridges, who at 69 years old has just bought an iPhone. He was loving the conference, enjoying the new information while also reassured that good marketing is what it always has been – creating a customer-centric organisation.

While Social Media Junction had good representation from telcos – with Telstra from Australia and Vodafone, Orcon and 2degrees from New Zealand – it was a bit of a mystery why Telecom weren’t part of the practitioners panel. It was a mystery to Rebecca from Telecom, too, who nevertheless was an enthusiastic live tweeter during the conference.

Fortunately, Rebecca gave a great presentation at last week’s Social Media Club Auckland. Video coming soon…

My top tips

I had the privilege of chairing a bloggers’ panel made up of some veteran bloggers (and one newcomer): Bernard Hickey, Mauricio Freitas, Russell Brown, Alistair Helm and Greer McDonald.

Themes from the panel, in no particular order:

  • Have an opinion. Bernard Hickey put it this way: the best bars have the best bar fights. Be controversial.
  • Promote your competition. Another one from Bernard, strongly echoed by Alistair. The main aim is to provide interesting stuff for your audience, whether or not it comes from you.
  • Adapt to your audience. Greer expected her audience to be people like her – penniless generation Y women. Instead, it’s “old fat rich white men” … although perhaps that’s not too surprising!
  • It’s an ongoing campaign. Mauricio runs the metrics on his blog like a perpetual campaign. He sets regular goals and keeps track of them.
  • Do it yourself. Alistair’s first post was by a PR company and he didn’t like it at all. The best content comes from inside the company.
  • Use the whole ecosystem. As other social media platforms have arisen, they’ve been very powerful as blog distribution mechanisms. I mentioned a Korean study that showed how Twitter is a broadcast medium, with the ability for dialogue when needed.

And finally, here are my top 5 tips for compelling content:

5 top tips for compelling, relevant blog content

What was your favourite part of Social Media Junction?

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The HTC Magic – NZ’s first Google Phone

June 25th, 2009

Vodafone loaned us the brand new HTC Magic for a couple of weeks. It’s the first handset in NZ to feature Google’s Android operating system. What does this mean? Find out.

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For a more in-depth (ie: techie) review: see NZBen’s review.

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Vodafone and Twitter – what went wrong, what went right?

June 2nd, 2009

Vodafone 3G guy Vodafone discovered the wrath of the Twittersphere last week, and to their credit, they listened.

Lance Wiggs has a fantastic blog post explaining the background, and the comments are well worth reading too.

It made waves, even worthy of a mention on Radio NZ’s This Way Up programme . (MP3 recording here )


(Side note: the fact that Radio NZ interviewed a tech correspondent from the UK about a marketing/comms issue in NZ just shows how converged the world is becoming!)

Some observations:

  • Transparency is no longer optional. Issues of corporate strategy are going to be discussed, whether you plan for it or not. Full credit to Paul Brislen from Vodafone for actively participating in the comment thread on Lance’s blog.
  • Beware of the expectations you set. Paul set very high standards by being a genuine participant in social media. While his temporary replacement 3Gguy did interact with people, it was a radical departure from what people had become used to. While 3Gguy may have been a fantastic tactical campaign if it started from scratch, the distance the audience had to travel was too far.
  • Having a strategy helps. Vodafone’s Twitter involvement began as an under-the-radar experiment by Paul, and whatever strategy has been developed has been in retrospect. To be sure, a lot of innovation happens that way (penicillin, anyone?) but when more than one person is involved, it’s good to set some guidelines. (And maybe, ahem, get some help from, say a social media consultancy .)
  • You can’t please all the people, all the time. Some people were quite happy with 3Gguy. After all, he was giving away free stuff! What’s interesting is that, in general, those who didn’t mind 3Gguy are relatively recent to Twitter, while those who resented his presence have been on Twitter for a long time . Within every tribe there will be sub-tribes, and while you can’t please everyone, it’s good to have an idea of who you do want to please.

Last word: It’s easy to throw stones, and have 20/20 hindsight. Vodafone made an unwise decision, but has been excellent in listening and responding to the community.

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