Monthly Archives: March 2011

Social Media Forum Europe review pt 1

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a bit of a groupie for the tech marketing events so was eagerly looking forward to Social Media World Forum Europe which I attended yesterday.

The conference was well promoted pre-event with a well stocked website, blog, Twitter account, and event hash tag #SMWF. In lieu of this, and because it was a self funded trip, I opted for the free entry to the exhibition and Social Media Hub. This, I assumed, would ensure a day of packed presentations and takeaway tips from interesting speakers getting to the heart of social media matters.

I attended day two after falling to grasp from the website that b2b and sme featured on day one (doh!) With a paid stream (£395 for two days), it was to be expected that the calibre of the speakers and the brand case studies in the hub would not be as strong.

That said, save a few insights (more later), the sessions comprising day two of the Social Media Hub were a let down for a number of reasons. I’ll come to in a moment.

First some positives:

1. SMWF used the right digital channels to promote the show and engage the audience attending and online.

2. The conference delivered big brand, keynote speakers for the paying delegates.

3. The floor design provided lots of space and opportunity for networking – the Networking Bar and Social Hub were well designed.

4. There were some great opportunities to face to face network with a number of Twitter contacts that I’ve now met!

The negatives:

1. I missed the Social Media Hub agenda before booking my day there. It was tucked away on the main program page – which non paying members wouldn’t click to. Had I known that the Social Media Hub had been focusing on b2b and sme on day one, that’s the day I would have attended.

2. Whilst in the main attractive and informal, I think the open aspect of the Social Hub, with its ‘drop in, drop out arrangement’ meant that the engagement of the audience at any one time was fairly low. The moderator had a tough job and in the end resorted to putting a microphone in people’s faces.

3. I echoed the same criticisms about overly promotional presentations at TFM&A in early March where exhibitors talked about their own products a little too much. That’s what exhibition stands, demo’s and sales people are for. When I attend a conference, I really want actionable, usable information I can take back and try in my business.

4. I sensed an audience in the hub that was aware of social media but practically naive when it comes to planning, selection of tools and execution. This was evidenced by a small show of hands to questions like who uses facebook, linkedin, twitter, quora, youtube (less hands with every social platform named). Despite this, the same social media cliches were trotted out.

5. A potentially fantastic session titled ‘social media planning’ degenerated into an issues/concerns people have about using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. THESE ARE NOT THE ONLY SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU! Surprisingly, the audience voted that of the three, YouTube posed the most challenges, not Facebook which is inherently personal and barred from a good number of businesses during the working day.

Maybe, I missed the good b2b stuff on day one. If so, that’s my own fault. Or maybe its because I have a passion for supporting businesses that supply other businesses use the right tools, use them well and see some tangible results. Maybe its because I see mainstream nuts and bolts b2b (remove high tech, big brand and finance) shamefully missing from most conference programs. Or because I’ve been galvanised by recent talks that I’ve given to appreciative audiences.

Which ever way I look it, there appear to be opportunities missed at Social Media World Forum. Which makes me feel relieved I didn’t cough up the £395 that others delegates did.

Your view: Was SMWF value for money?

So, before I publish my thoughts on some of the social media hub sessions (and there were some useful insights), a Linkedin Poll question. I’m interested in value for money. If you paid to attend out of your own pocket, was it money well spent? If your company paid, ask yourself , would you have paid to attend the conference if you had to?

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What social media means to me?

A quick post in advance of a Social Media Forum Europe avalanche.

 

I posted a YouTube video at the show yesterday and am now trying to get the most views to secure myself a shiny new iPad2. Check out the video and help me boost my numbers!

Many thanks.

Normal service resumes shortly!

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Social Media Europe Forum #smwf

I’m spending Wednesday at the annual Social Media World Forum at London’s Olympia. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed on the home page of the blog, on Twitter @renepower or by following the conference hash tag #smwf if you want to stay close to the action. If you’re attending, tweet me on the day, it would be great to say hi.

I don’t really know what to expect as I haven’t been before. It seemed there were some interesting exchanges on day one today, including Brian Solis giving a keynote via Skype!

Normally, when I attend conferences I report back on the sessions, but this time around, and given the cost, I elected for the free pass getting me in to the exhibition and the Social Media Hub workshops rather than the conference streams.

I’m using it to network and for some creative ideas and am particularly interested in discussions around blogging, content marketing and social media monitoring.

Doubtless there will be more over the coming days.

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What makes unique?

Are you in the business of solutions? Most people are. Everyone solves problems, no one creates them. Everyone claims to be unique.

Is anyone unique any more?

 

I’m not sure. The Internet, increasing globalisation, macro economics, social media and the rise of the customer are all great levellers.

Think about what unique is:

‘being the only existing one of its type or, more generally, unusual or special in some way’ Oxford English Dictionary

So in trying to distill what you do, or better what you offer, down to a single unique selling proposition (USP), do the words you are using really epitomise what you do, what you offer, who are you, how you come across?

To me unique is about blending a product, service, people and attitude which no other company can provide. Accept that this means 90% of the market won’t be interested. Operate in the niche and seek out customers with a specific, identifable, serviceable – but enduring – need.

Or broadcast to the mass market. The worst, and laziest marketers are those who don’t believe they have competition. But they’ll learn, sooner or later, that they do.

How can you possibly be unique when trying to reach everyone?

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My Twitter Week (we 25 March 2011)

In the week the iPad 2 went on sale in the UK, here are links below to some of the content that engaged, intrigued and even enraged me over the last seven days.

What have you been reading that you want to share with the world?

Monday: I stumbled across (using StumbleUpon) a smart site called  http://www.futureme.org/ where I fairly promptly wrote myself a letter that will be emailed to me in a year’s time. I went for the short term but you work a lot further into the future. It will be interesting to see what has developed, changed, improved.

Tuesday: I was alarmed to read on Social Media Examiner that an Alterian survey claimed that most marketers are clueless about social media conversations. Surely not knowing what is being said you, your brand and your company is increasingly about as neglectful as it gets!

Wednesday: Two bits of ‘big number’ news on Wednesday. First that Linkedin hit 100m users followed swiftly by news that The BBC has received over 50,000 applications for 500 positions in Manchester. Maybe they need to fast track some HR appointments to help start the sifting process.

Thursday: I spent the day at Social Media Academy’s Manchester conference, where I gave a talk on social media for b2b marketers. My slides are here, a blog post covering all the day’s presentations is here.

Friday: The ever readable Seth Godin mused on whether businesses and individuals try to get away with less rather than trying to do more. Which camp do you fall into?

More next week!

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Integrating social media into b2b PR and marketing

I made my first conference presentation to paying delegates yesterday, when I spoke at Social Media Academy’s Manchester event at The Bridgewater Hall on the topic of integrating social media into b2b PR and marketing.

I was active on the conference hashtag throughout the event (#manconf) and have already written a summary of the presentations on The BDB Blog. The presentations are not being made public, but mine is available on BDB’s Slideshare account and embedded below for convenience. I, and we collectively, would love your feedback.

As a b2b marketing professional I’m passionate about giving b2b marketing management issues the time and the oxygen they deserve. If you are organising events and are interested in considering me as a speaker, please do get in touch.

And if you like the slides, and the blog, please share!

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Social media is dead. Long live social media ROI.

I’m giving a conference presentation on social media use in b2b marketing and PR today. (Doesn’t stop a guy blogging though!)

This great deck from Stefanos Karagos backs up a lot of what I’m going to be talking about in terms of planning out social media use in the same way you would with any other marketing activity, setting objectives and KPIs on which to judge success. Firming up your audience, the content that is going to engage them and the platforms and tools to deliver it.

But hang on, what’s the return? Find out more in here. Illuminating and interesting stuff.

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