All posts in “Social Media Conferences”

The Joy Of Discovery: A Good Starting Point in Planning Social Media Strategy

Ruth Bastedo is Director, Business Development at Social Media Group. Follow @rutbas

I come across a lot of business owners and marketers who are wondering how to tackle social media. I spoke last week to a group of women business owners at the Go for The Greens Business Development Conference at Walt Disney World last week, and next week I’m talking to a group of SME’s at The Financial Executives International Conference, “Leading Economic Growth” next week in Toronto. What I hear, is that while most companies instinctively know that they need to address social media in some way, it is still hard to know where to start.

In the immediate term, social media may or may not have an important impact on your business. It’s when you start looking at long term trends, and at the deep impact that social media is having on our fundamental communications infrastructure, that you start realizing that love it or hate it, you cannot ignore potential depth of social media on the way your clients and customers are going to live in the future, and interact with your business.

This is the place to start. Take the time to figure out how social media could potentially impact your clients and customers, as they connect and interact with your brand, products and services. How can you leverage this social interaction to move your business objectives forward?

We call this process “Discovery”. During our Discovery sessions with clients, we go through a number of exercises to look at this problem from a variety of perspectives- but one of the exercises I love the most, is called an “environmental scan”, where we go look at how the future could impact the client’s business, from a variety of different perspectives (demographic, technological, regulatory etc.). Discovery has become a key part of our planning process.

A 2012 comScore report, “Canada Digital Future in Focus” states “Social is quickly moving from a supporting role to a key pillar in monetizing digital.” It sounds like a platitude, until you start looking at the numbers.

According to the research in the report, Canadians on the whole spend an average 45 hours of time online a month, and lead the world in online engagement. Time spent on social networking has now surpassed the time spent on any other category of activity online. If you look at younger demographics, the 18-24 age range, you can see the strongest surge of time spent on social media quarter over quarter. Viewers under 35 also account for 57% of all videos viewed online. Smart phone penetration has reached 45 percent of the Canadian market.  If you’re not familiar with the report, I urge you to download it, and take a quick browse through.

The pace of change is wild. As a business owner or marketer, where do you start?

At the moment, according to a recent US based survey on “Social Software and Big Data Analytics in Business” by Mzinga, Teradata Aster, and The Center for Complexity in Business on how companies are using social media, 64% of companies are using it for marketing/brand experience, 47% for customer experience/service/support, 39% for employee collaboration and 27% for sales.

Those areas are likely baseline areas to get right first, and to use as a starting point to develop meaningful measures of success, that map to your business, and to your strategic business objectives.

In the same survey, 77% of companies said that they currently DO NOT measure the ROI of their social media programs, and 49% say they are not using social media to its full potential.

We are all only at the very beginning of all this. Engage in the “Joy of Discovery”, to make a sensible and manageable start to tackling long term planning, and determe what measures of success are going to be right for the future of your business. It’s a challenge for all organizations to determine what level of investment in social media is appropriate, but the question is no longer a “should I”, but is moving to a “how should I”.

PodCamp Reminds Us of Our Roots

This past weekend was PodCamp Toronto. PodCamp, for the uninitiated, is a user-generated conference (or unconference). It is open, and features sessions and content provided by participants. It is by the community and for the community.

I’m a member of the organizing team for PodCamp Toronto and have for the past four years. I work with a team of passionate and dedicated volunteers who keep true to the PodCamp spirit. The Toronto event is open to anyone, free to attend (sponsor-supported), and participants suggest and provide all the programming. In the same spirit, the Law of Two Feet applies.

If at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing: Give greetings, use your two feet, and go do something useful. Responsibility resides with you.

Just imagine if the Law of Two Feet applied to all conferences (or business meetings, for that matter).

Overtime, as social media and digital has evolved, so, too, has PodCamp Toronto. Initially for a core group of early adopters, it has expanded over time to reach literally hundreds of participants and become Canada’s largest new media event.

What I find truly remarkable is to watch this community expand and morph over time while remaining committed to the core values of the unconference movement, which are pretty closely aligned to the old school social media values: add value, be respectful, take ownership and be your authentic self.

To give you a feel for how it all goes down, here’s a small sample of the hundreds of Tweets generated (and still being generated) by the participants at PodCamp Toronto 2012:

 

 

As social media has been adopted by big business, words like “authenticity” have taken on buzzword status and have been somewhat watered down. With that context, it is genuinely remarkable to take a step back at PodCamp and reconnect with a true-blue community of people who are create and share content about their passions and are not necessarily motivated by conversions, ROI and the bottom line.

If PodCamp or an unconference comes to your town I encourage you to check it out—leave your big business baggage at the door, come as a human being and make true meaningful connections with real people.

If you were at PodCamp Toronto over the weekend, or have attended unconferences in the past, what do you think business can learn from the unconference movement?

 

 

Social media adoption, the serendipity economy and flock behavior in communities

Okay, okay – the title is obscure. I’m pretty sure you know what social media is, but the serendipity economy? Flock behavior in communities?

Don’t worry – there’s a connection, and I will explain…

Last week I attended the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, where I managed to catch an amazing session with Daniel W. Rasmus called “The Serendipity Economy“. I found myself compulsively live-tweeting throughout Daniel’s talk. His thesis is essentially that our legacy, industrial-age approach to economics does not fit within our modern knowledge economy framework.

Think of it this way – value in manufacturing is realized the moment a product is created, whereas in a knowledge economy, the presentation I just created has no value until it’s presented. Additionally, because the knowledge economy relies largely on human networks, forecasting much of the value derived is basically impossible (imagine the number of variables. It’s like weather modeling, times a billion!) instead, our challenge is discovering unanticipated value as it happens – and then replicating it (you can download Daniel’s whitepaper here).

Twitter visualization

Image courtesy of Yoan Blanc

Anyway, it was an amazing talk, and one of my biggest takeaways had to do specifically with social media. Daniel rightly noted that there is a huge disruption when you introduce a horizontal technology (i.e. social media) into a traditional vertical structure (i.e. most large organizations), particularly as it relates to adoption. Social, ideally, needs to get to the point of being as widely used as, say, the phone or the PC. Problem? It’s much more skills-based, much more complex and we also don’t have years to roll it out.

So, what’s an organization to do?

In a conversation with a client the very next day, I mentioned Daniel’s presentation, and as we discussed adoption of social media and the very real challenges with integrating horizontal technologies into vertical organizations (so well put!). I was suddenly reminded of something I read in both the MIT Technology Review Physics arXiv Blog and Fast Company, and subsequently did a presentation on in late 2009. My presentation was called “Disrupting Traditional Leadership: Flock Behavior in Communities” and it explored research that showed it was possible for a very small number of leaders to move very large entities, if only you have the right criteria in place:

  1. Distribution: The leaders must be distributed throughout the organization in a fairly consistent way in order to touch the maximum number of individuals. Their own networks must not leave any significant pockets untouched by their mission, vision or goals.
  2. Allegiance: The people in the leaders’ networks must be absolutely loyal. That means the leader must be persuasive, and when he or she moves, their network moves with them, as do the networks surrounding their network… you get the idea.
  3. Communication: To get everyone to move at the same time and in the right direction, messaging about the mission and the action to be taken must be communicated to all leaders and then to the loyal members of their networks quickly, efficiently and consistently.

Interesting model, which raised all kinds of questions for me, including whether it could be deployed to achieve significant change in unexpected places… like large, vertical organizations, who are deeply challenged by quick-moving, disruptive change.

I’m really excited about the continuing challenges presented to us as we help our more progressive clients fully integrate social into what they do. The adoption discussion is a priority for 2012, and our team will be actively exploring new models in an effort to help make our partners more nimble, flexible and just better at leveraging social media. Would love to hear your thoughts!

SXSWi 2012 Panel: The State of B2B Social Media

Do you want to see a B2B panel at SXSWi this year? We do! Please take a minute to read through the panel description for The State of B2B Social Media and give this great panel including Maggie Fox your vote!

Description: What are the latest developments and trends in B2B social media, how are organizations using social to reach buyers of select products and services and what distinguishes B2B from B2C approaches? Join a panel of B2B experts and find out how social is changing the way B2Bs communicate, and the way business customers research and make purchasing decisions.

Questions Answered:

  1. How are B2Bs using social media differently from B2Cs?
  2. What are the biggest challenges to successful B2B social media outreach?
  3. Content marketing, community management and social automation: What works best in B2B?
  4. How are organizations calculating a return on investment for B2B social media initiatives?
  5. What is the role of mobile in B2B social media communications?

Speakers

  1. Mark Story – United States Securities and Exchange Commission
  2. Matthias Lufkens – World Economic Forum
  3. Maggie Fox – Social Media Group Inc.
  4. Eric Schwartzman – Schwartzman & Associates, Inc.
  5. Marcus Nelson – salesforce.com

What other questions would you like to see answered as part of this discussion?

Vote for The State of B2B Social Media panel here.

Online Privacy: You're Doing it Wrong

Today I delivered a keynote at Defrag 2010, one of the best and most interesting conferences I am lucky enough to be able to attend (their tagline is “accelerating the a-ha moment”). I was pretty anxious about this presentation because it was in the “big room”, in front of all attendees, and they’re a smart, demanding crowd.

This year I decided to talk about privacy, and the fact that we think about it all wrong. My presentation was titled, “Privacy is a Commodity, Not a Place”. The basic premise is this: privacy laws in the U.S. are based on the 4th Amendment, which guarantees “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”. Note the language: it’s all about physical space. The Internet has dramatically changed that, and made the physical space analogy quite inaccurate. Finally, I examined what the real value of your private data is in the real world, and who wants it most.

Here’s the deck. Let me know what you think about your privacy and what it means online:

Demonstrating Social Media ROI

A few weeks ago, I delivered a presentation at BlogWorld Expo 2010 about some of our recent work in blending earned, paid and owned social media (I also recently did a 90-minute Bulldog Reporter PR Unversity Webinar on the same topic, which is available here on demand). While I was in Las Vegas, I had the chance to speak with Abby Johnson from WebPro News about the concept, and here’s the video:

The notion of paid social media is really just beginning to emerge, and while many organizations and agencies are starting to talk about bringing earned and paid together, Social Media Group has been actively doing client work in this space since 2009 (in fact, we wrote a whitepaper on it). Our connections in the industry have helped us bring clients on board at the beta stages for both Digg and Twitter paid social media programs, which has been really interesting for us. For our clients, the results have been mind-blowing.

What do you think the opportunities are in to bring together paid, earned and owned social media?

Webinar: Leveraging Paid Social Media to Demonstrate ROI

I’m really excited to be able to share something really cutting edge with those of you who were unable to make my BlogWorld Expo session last week. I’m going to be delivering a webinar that shares our learnings in working with emerging social platforms to scale social media and demonstrate very serous ROI (especially around earned social). Please join me on Friday October 29th at 1pm EDT (it will also be available on demand) for a webinar being offered by Bulldog Reporter’s PR University. Here’s the official blurb:

Social media placements are great, but are they really helping you reach your PR and marketing objectives? Are they driving clicks to your web site, boosting awareness of your key messages and ultimately driving sales? If not, you may want to learn more about a fast-rising trend: paying for social media placements.

What are the do’s and don’ts of correctly—and cost-effectively—combining paid social media into your PR mix? Join PR University for an exclusive webinar with Maggie Fox to get all the answers you need to implement a wildly successful paid social media program

You can sign up here, and I hope you can join me!

Webinar: The Art of Giving Up Control

This coming Friday at 1pm EDT I’ll be participating in a free webinar with Charlene Li and Steve Rubel on “The Art of Giving Up Control” (which really means “change management to support social in the enterprise”, but that’s a little too long ;-) . Here’s the official blurb, and I’d love it if you would join us and ask a bunch of tough questions!

Steve Rubel and Maggie Fox work closely with some of the biggest businesses in the world, where they frequently counsel leaders who are afraid to give up control. We’ll discuss how they broach this subject with their clients and how they show the value and upside of embracing being open. Some questions we’ll discuss include:

  • How do you convince executives that giving up control is inevitable?
  • How to quantify the value of giving up control?
  • What are the best ways to bring reluctant leaders into the social space?
  • And how can you help your organization embrace the new openness?

The webinar is this Friday at 1pm EDT, and you can register – free – here. Hope to see you Friday!

'On-Demand Computing: Soaring with the Cloud' Tackles Current Tech Issues

I’m Michelle McCudden and I’m the new intern here at SMG.

We are excited to let you know about an event our friends (and clients) at SAP are helping put on later this month.

On September 28, MyVenturePad, along with SAP, will present “On-Demand Computing: Soaring with the Cloud.” This four-and-half hour global summit will cover cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology. This summit is specially tailored to high-growth enterprises, so if that describes your business, you should definitely check it out.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear A-list speakers like Reid Hastings of Netflix, John Byrne of C-Change Media, Brent Leary of CRM Essentials, and Doug Merritt of SAP discuss SaaS, the ins and outs of On-Demand, and how cloud computing can impact your business.

By registering, you can attend all or part of the summit, or just view the archive of the event later. If you’re already involved in On-Demand or want to learn more about it, visit the registration page here and sign up for this exciting event.

Vote Canadian: panels at SxSW 2011

I know it’s months away, but the buzz for SXSW 2011 has already begun! As SMG is proud to be Canadian, we thought it would be nice to show some ‘Canada love’ and post (and strongly encourage voting for!) Canadian panels that were proposed for next year. The team here worked hard to find as many Canucks as we could, so if we’re missing anyone, please let us know in the comments and we’ll add ‘em. Let the voting (and don’t forget commenting – that counts, too) begin!

Kevin Richard also has a great post on the same topic here. Voting closes on August 27th. Vote well and vote often – we’ll see you in Austin in March!