On May 8-9, I attended Ragan Communications’ 2012 Advanced Social Media Strategies for PR, Marketing, and Corporate Communications summit, hosted at Cisco. Unfortunately, there’s not enough space in a blog post for me to write about all 28 speakers. Instead, I’ll focus on some recurring themes, trends, and ideas that stood out to me.
The world is changing at an uncomfortable pace
Carlos Dominguez from Cisco said it simply: the next generation is reinventing the rules. Globally, more people own a cell phone than a tooth brush. This made me think—many companies are having trouble understanding and adapting to an environment with Millennials (born 1982-2000, like me!). Are we prepared for the change that the “always on” generation (born after 2000) will bring? As children, they’re already having a huge impact. Carlos showed a video of a child that thought a magazine was broken because it didn’t respond to touch. It’s not surprising that the iPad is now the most popular toy for children.
Later in the day, Kim Celestre from Forrester Research and Jeremy Bromwell from Definition 6 spoke separately about a change from “media” to “social.” Technology is not always the star of the show anymore. It is simply a vehicle for interactions and communications. The focus has shifted from having technology to what that technology enables you to do.
Brian Solis from Altimeter Group continued the discussion with a presentation about Social Media Optimization (SMO) as the “new” Search Engine Optimization (SEO). He said that it is no longer his job to talk to you, but to talk through you, since in this new social environment, the audience has an audience of audiences that are all connected.
Content FTW (For the Win)
Brian continued to say that content needs to be both interesting and shareable, and that reach and resonance is not a goal, but rather the result of good design. Several other speakers talked about “share-ability” as well. If your content is not easily shareable, how far do you expect it to go?
Nigel Beck pointed out that there is an abundance of content and a lack of time to pay attention to it. He suggested that social tools and reputation help you buy or gain attention. This is good news for companies with reputation and money. However, Brian pointed out that organic SMO can be highly effective when relevance is taken into account.
A good example shareable content was given by Robin Zucker from Yahoo!, who said that content is the core of her strategy. During a summer movie promotion, Yahoo! partner with Regal Cinemas to give away popcorn in exchange for Facebook “likes”. This promotion earned Yahoo! 1.2 million more “likes”.
Treat advocates well and reap financial benefits
Sean O’Driscoll from Ant’s Eye View spoke about creating advocates, who not only love you, but will defend you. His customer advocacy vision is to create lasting relationships between your organization and a growing community of passionate users. In his experience, some of the advocates in these communities have married each other! He said advocates want to have special access to information, and a sense of identity, involvement, trust, and belonging. In Sean’s case, the benefit of turning fans into advocates was an 8 figure cost savings.
Check out the photos below, courtesy of Brandon Prebynski, and Click here to view more photos from the event