I recently attended Social Fresh West 2012, where more than 200 top social media professionals gathered to discuss the future of social media for marketing and communications. The speakers didn’t disappoint. Here are a few of my favorite trends presented and discussed:
CRM and social media convergence
Great tools are emerging to help companies get a single view of their customers and leads. Instead of thinking about Facebook fans, Twitter followers, email subscribers or e-book downloaders, you can start thinking about prospects, warm leads, hot leads and customers – and how to get the right message to the right group at the right time.
We’ve been using our direct mail and automated email solutions for clients for a long time, but adding social media into the mix is one more layer of understanding customers. It’s also fantastic for measuring results and showing how one blog post can lead people to sign up for email, which can lead to a phone call and, eventually, a new customer. This value is the type of measurement we love to show.
Facebook ads have evolved
Did you know that you can now target Facebook ads to users based on their email address or phone number? It’s true. And just as powerful than that laser-focused targeting is the power of the friend voice. Justin Kistner of Spruce Media and Matt Singley of Singley + Mackie gave fantastic insight into tapping into people’s interests on Facebook and using people’s interactions with your brand to reach their friends.
Tools are great, but strategy is greater
I loved the presentation from Mike Volpe of Hubspot (even though I hate that his Twitter bio shows he’s a Pats & Red Sox fan … c’mon.) He showed great examples of automated or prescheduled content that was smart, relevant and valuable to the audience – decidedly NOT evil.
– This Facebook update for our client SunButter used automation in two ways: automated searching to discover the content shared (a blog post that mentioned SunButter) and scheduling to post it later. But that doesn’t make it evil; people really valued this content.
He also showed examples of poorly thought-out, useless or even offensive material written in real time by a human.
– From Mike Volpe’s presentation. This wasn’t automated, but it was in very poor taste.
The point: “Evil” content is unsolicited, insensitive, unwanted, annoying, distracting and/or not valuable. It’s marketing that people hate. Good content is marketing that people love. Automation doesn’t have a lot of bearing on those factors.
You know I wasn’t going to write an entire post on social media without mentioning strategy, right? Flint Group clients use automation to find relevant conversations they should join in social media, to preschedule content for when they’re out of the office, and to route incoming content to the right person. What makes this automation good is the fact that there’s a strategy behind it and real effort into making the content purposeful and loveable.
My favorite part of Social Fresh West ended up being the group brainstorm exercise, #FreshStorm. Toward the end of the first day, all attendees were divided into groups and asked to create a social media strategy for Compassion International. Then, they had to submit a two-minute video of their idea. (Read full brief here.)
At first I dreaded the exercise. I’m definitely an introvert, so I was pretty anxious at the thought of joining a group with seven strangers, making sure everyone’s ideas were heard, and agreeing on a strategy in 30 minutes. But fortunately, I had fantastic team members who jumped in with excitement (just like at Flint!), and we ended up winning an Honorable Mention at the awards ceremony. You can see our video here:
Social Fresh West words to tweet by
My favorite quotes from the presenters:
- “Asking the ROI of social media is like asking the ROI of pants.” Adrian Parker, Intuit
- “Now we are in a content craze. I think the next big thing will be a people craze.” Frank Eliason, Citi
- “Viral is not a camera setting.” Clay Hebert, Spindows
- “If you love your customers and employees, they will love you back, and tell others.” Michael Brito, Edelman Digital
(You can see all the Social Fresh West decks on Slideshare – I LOVE when presenters share their slides.)
See our social media clients in action
If you attended Social Fresh West 2012, please tell me your favorite thing about the conference!