Super Session: Social Media & Business

March 12, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Last session, friends! I am so totally going to die right here and crawl under the table and no one will even notice until maybe tomorrow when they come to clear out the tables and find me slumped in a ball. Okay? No? I have to do this last session? Fine.

Okay! I am summoning my last bit of energy because we have made it, folks. Are you excited?  If not, you need to WAKE UP! Because not only is this the last session, it’s a session filled with rock stars! W00t!

Brett Tabke is moderating an all-star panel that includes Chris Brogan, Lee Odden, Reem Abeidoh, and Wayne Sutton. Can you handle this much social media hotness? I don’t know if I can.

Lee Odden says he’s Chris Brogan’s long lost brother. And I giggle because it is hilarious how much they look alike. And because I am totally delirious.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Wayne: A lot of research, reading, demographics and researching content. Creating valuable content. And then going into editing video and email.

Reem: Every day is different. It depends on the demands of her clients and what they need.  Their main role is to consult and provide strategy.

Lee: He starts things off with a swim. Heh. He’s the face of his company. He blogs and speaks and plays in social media. He does a lot of research and consumes a lot of information. Networks.

Chris: If you Google “no I dont sleep“, he’s number one. He reads other people’s crap. He does a lot of typing – 3 or 4 blog posts a day. He’s doing content marketing projects.

There are so many businesses here. Where is the ROI for all this stuff?

Chris: There’s a cut point where if its just transaction and sales, then Twitter isn’t the best place to get it done. But if you’re in longball sales where it’s not just one click and one transaction, then Twitter/Facebok is a way to build relationships way ahead of the sales.

Lee: He bought ads for a position they’re trying to fill on Monster.com. They dropped a link to the job description on Twitter and they got way more quantity and quality from Twitter than anywhere else. That was easy to measure the return on. If you sell consulting, the relationships allow you to lower the barrier. You don’t need sales people. That’s the value.

Reem: It depends on what category you’re representing. Is your client going to make money through Twitter? Maybe not, but it’s a great way to build awareness and instill them in the consideration point.

Wayne:  Why do people advertise on TV? To get their product in front of consumers. Twitter is the same thing.  Social media is the online way of doing it the offline way.

Reem: The consumer decision process has evolved. They don’t want stuff pushed at them. They want to believe in the product and know the CEO. They want to know what you care about and the company philosophy. That’s what pushes people down the funnel and makes them loyal to the brand.

Lee: He gets to work with a lot of direct marketers. Social media isn’t direct marketing. It’s like the relationships that come from public relations. It influences buying decisions down the line.

Can you backtrack some of the relationships you’ve made that have resulted in sales?

Chris: He just closed some business on Twitter today. Twitter is awesome social proof. If people are talking about you and with you, then people think you know what you’re doing. Once you start going back and forth with other people, it shows you’re a real human being.  The people who do well on Twitter are the people who bring up the people around them (I call this the Chris Winfield method. He’s awesome at that.)

Reem: One of the most important things is to be where your customers are. There are sites OTHER than Twitter. Each site shows part of your company’s personality.  Use all the sites, but identify where your customers are most active.  That’s what social media is about.  Ask people what they need. What they want. Where do they want to be at? ComcastCares is a good example. Help people get to where they need to go.

What’s your current level of play on Facebook?

Wayne: He uses Facebook as a broadcasting medium.  He has his blogs and RSS feeds going through Facebook.  He says not to poke him on Facebook. Werd, dude.

Reem: She’s on Facebook all day.   It serves as a hub for her outside of her blog. She talks about the Fan pages that serve as a company profile. It can help humanize the brand and lets people connect with it.  She doesn’t have a Fan page, but Chris Brogan does. Facebook is a great resource because you can have public and private relationships.

Lee: He uses Facebook a little bit. From a client perspective, he recommends Facebook pretty often, especially for app creation.

Chris: When he’s in Facebook he’ll get 14 email messages spamming him. He says, go to hell. Hee. None of them ask how he’s been, they all want him to click their stupid junk. He says people can go F themselves. [I <3 Chris.]  He’s “not down the FB”. He thinks their ads are really good. They hit deep. Other than that, screw off; Facebook sucks.

Guy thinks he’s a great marketer when he’s doing it, but when someone else is doing it, it’s spam. What are the biggest risks for small businesses playing in social media?

Chris:  You need to keep maintaining the presence you’ve created. Once you get a puppy, you can’t just throw it out the door when you’re done with it. Well you can, but then you’re shown in the news. If you’re going to start platforms and then leave, you’re going to leave a bunch of ghost towns.

Lee: There’s a potential resource issue. You have to come into it tactically. What are you trying to do? Get media coverage? Increase sales?

Wayne:  You have to have a strategy.

Where do you find the line between good promotion and spam?

Lee: As far as blogging goes, he has no problem promoting stuff but he calls it like it is.  They have a mix. He put up a post about the gadgets that he carries in his briefcase the other day. That post wasn’t *really* about the gadget, it’s about the fact that he’s speaking.

Reem: Is it a genuine message? Are you being open? Are you having a conversation? That’s the differentiator.  Have the conversation and let me know who you are. It’s about being social and having the conversation.

Wayne: How many people saw the Skittle’s site last week? Was that spam or marketing?

Chris: He saw it as someone who made a lot of money to make a crappy piece of code.

Wayne: He thinks it was spam.

Reem: She thought it was brave and borderline genius. Every Web site out there is stagnant. People don’t come back a second or third time. Here people were going to come back. [She’s getting angry and aggressive.]  They were trying to bring all their customers into one place. Skittles is not a brand that people love but she thinks they started a new trend. [Personally, I think she’s a little crazy. And she sounds defensive about it.]

Lee: Look at how much companies have spent on Second Life.  As a PR stunt, it was successful. But in terms of engaging with customers, it wasn’t. The idea of that is smart, but the execution was bad. They gave up their entire brand to the community.

Wayne: He’s talking about Pepsi.com’s promotion for SXSW. They did it on their site.

Chris: The only thing Skittles did was get a whole bunch of marketers talking about Skittles. Buy a bag of M&Ms, buy a bag of Skittles, put them together and you have S&M. Call it done.

Tim Ash: What is the real impact of slicing your time up? We can’t focus on bigger things cause we’re on Twitter.

Lee:  He sets time aside for interacting and then leaves it at that. He tries to compartmentalize it.  It’s part of an effort. It is strategic.

Reem: You need to set success metrics. What is important to you? You have to measure against that.

Wayne: You spend the time online doing what you need to do to make money. You have to have a team in place to help you accomplish your goals.

Chris: Yes, he’s narcissistic. He likes doing things in chunks.

Should you really be afraid to make mistakes?

Reem: If you make a mistake, admit to it. Do the appropriate PR.

Lee: If you’re involved in social media, you’re going to screw up. That’s why you need to monitor it so you can see when things happen. They use Radian 6.  If you really screw up, that’s an opportunity because how you respond to adversity says a lot about you as an organization.

And we’re done!  Thanks for sticking with us the past few days.  Hope you found the coverage worthwhile.

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