What, what! I’m in Vegas for the next few days hanging out at BlogWorldExpo, running around with awesome people, and being a massive dummy by immediately losing my Blackberry in a cab. Phone missteps aside, today has been an amazing day for information and meeting people I have total fan crushes on. Because I thought you may kill me if I attempt to liveblog another conference, here are just the absolute Must Knows for what’s coming out of Blogworld in Vegas. You’re so going to wish you were here.
The New R(evolution): 7 Blueprints for Business
I hopped into this session on a whim and I’m glad that I did. Jay Baer and Amber Naslund were on hand to pass out advanced copies of their upcoming book The New R(evolution) and talk a little about how social media is changing relationships between business and customer, and how we can take advantage of that. Essentially, social media has changed the way businesses relate to customers. The relationship used to be master/servant. Now it’s peer/peer.
Like it or not, customers have been trained to interact with businesses on social media and you can’t put that genie back in the bottle. If you’re NOT listening, you’re telling your customers that you don’t care about them. Social media has changed business by making it real-time. We feel the speed, we feel the urgency, we feel the pressure to do something different but we haven’t yet figured out how to adapt. The same way we’ve changed our businesses to deal with the Industrial revolution and the digital revolution, we have to deal with the social media revolution.
Jay and Amber call this change the New Revolution. It’s a revolution characterized by speed, expectations, systems and tools that we’re not familiar with. We know that speed matters. We have an unprecedented opportunity to change what we do. There are 7 major shifts businesses need to make to adapt:
- Engineer a new bedrock: The culture of our organizations has to change. We have to have open communication, we have to have an attitude that says it’s okay for all people to be involved in communication. We have to shift the culture in a way that’s representative of intent. Tom Webster calls it the theory of the firm – what do you stand for, what do you believe, are your people equipped to communicate that?
- Acquire talent you can trust: Every company is full of great people. Social media lets you show that much easier than ever before. Everybody in your company is in customer service whether you like it or not. You need to have the right people on the line. What do the right people look like? They can engage with customers, harvest stories, listen, understand success metrics, and they immerse themselves in your brand 24 hours a day.
- Organize your armies: You want as many people in your organization as you can active in social media. It doesn’t what their actual job function is, you should be harvesting the passion of your employees. Passion trumps position in social media. That’s how you get more cars on the road.
- Answer the new telephone
- Emphasis response-ability
- Build a fire extinguisher: The Chinese symbol for opportunity is also crisis. You’ll probably never have a social media crisis hit your brand but…what if you do? It’s the least necessary thing until it’s the most necessary thing. When a fire breaks out you need to acknowledge it, arm your people, fight with social media water, make an FAQ to answer questions, provide a pressure release value (ie keep the Discussion tab open on your Facebook page) and then document and learn from it.
- Make a calculator: We hate math. Social media is measurable. If you can’t it’s because you don’t have the tools to get the data, you have the data but you don’t know what it means, you don’t have any way to make sense of the data, you don’t WANT to know the results of the data. Why are you in social media to begin with? There’s no law (yet) that says you have to be in social media. You’re either here for awareness, sales or loyalty. You have to pick ONE reason for being there. Where are your efforts going to be most focused?
Location, Location, Location
Speaking on this panel where Jeff Holden of Whrrl, Lawrence Colburn of DoubleDutch and Wayne Sutton of TriOut. One of the big questions that came up was how do we get adoption of location-based services to reach a mainstream audience? Everyone seemed to agree that it starts with education. Lawrence mentioned that the really smart thing Facebook did with Facebook Places is that they allowed people to check in their friends. What that did was expose the idea of ‘checkin in’ to a group that may not have previously been aware of it. Now they are! It teaches people how to use the check in and what that actually means. We also have to increase the value associated with checking in. There needs to be a greater value than just letting your friends know where you are because not everyone WANTS to let their friends know where they are. We also need to realize that not everyone owns a smartphone. We just think they do because we’re nerds.
Then panel also spoke about how places makes content more relevant. . Content can be a deal, but anyone can give away free stuff. He thinks content delivered upon check ins could be a welcome message with info it. The most important word around content is “relevance”. He loves Yelp but he gets super frustrated with it. You want to deliver the right content to the right person. I wasn’t too aware of Whrrl before (other than just knowing it existed) but I like that it creates ‘societies’ for people. That means when you’re looking for a sushi recommendation, you’re getting it from a sushi person, not a burger person. There’s value in that because it makes the content more relevant to the person seeing it.
The session ended up talking about Facebook and whether these location-based apps are afraid of giving Facebook their information. It seems they’re not.
How To Survive A Snark Attack
With a title like that, how on Earth could I say away. ;) Connie Reece was leading the discussion for this panel and helping bloggers to understand the difference between a snark attack and a good old fashioned troll. As bloggers, we have to learn the signs so that we know the proper way to respond.
Snark Attacks: Snark attacks are led by verbal snipers and critical naysayers. However, they can typically be reasoned with and calmed down if you come back at them intelligently. The trick is to not immediately react. Remember that it’s really easy for people to say things online that they would never say in person. We also can’t discern tone very well online. Strategies for dealing with snark:
- Take a deep breath
- Set the tone; be human
- Follow your guidelines
- Moderate comments, if necessary
Connie shared a really great case study on snark attacks that featured one of my personal search favs – Jennifer Laycock. Connie was working with a woman named Aruni Gunasegaram from Babblesoft. Aruni sent out a press release about her new baby manager software. Jennifer got wind of the release and wrote a snarktastic post on her blog that was highly critical. Though Aruni was heartbroken over the post, instead of reacting emotionally she called in Connie. Connie was able to help Aruni understand how to best approach Jennifer. The result was that Aruni and Jennifer both found common ground and created a good relationships. Jennifer wrote about her dealing of the situation, as did Aruni.
Trolls: Trolls have been around forever on the Internet. They attempt to provoke people and get the conversation off track. Trolls try to take over your blog comments or your Facebook page. It’s a way of brandjacking. Connection mentions the protest that Green Peace organized a few months ago against Nestle. They went on to Nestle’s Facebook page and filled their wall with posts about how awful they were. Nestle didn’t handle it that well. Their first response was that they were using their logo illegal – which just made the mess bigger. What they should have done was moderate the comments better and brought in someone who knew how to handle the situation. They also should have created a discussion section and to take the conversation off the wall and continue it somewhere else. That would have at least gotten the most vicious stuff off their first page.
Trolls use flame bait. Connie said that trolls were typically male, young, and with tons of free time, but I’m not sure I agree with all of that. Us “ladies” can be just as trolling when we want to be. ;) The biggest difference between a troll and a snark attack is that you can’t reason with a troll. Instead, you want to stay calm, ignore them and make sure you establish a clear comment rule that you enforce. You should also get comfortable growing a thick skin because while most people on the Internet are nice, others are “special”. Some good tactics, I say. :)
If you want to check out Connie’s slides, you can find them on Slideshare.
And that’s it for Day 1 of Blogworld. Check back with us tomorrow evening for more updates from the show!