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The Social Media Club of San Francisco/Silicon Valley Chapter, #smcsfsv, hosted a very interesting panel recently that really had me on the edge of my seat and thinking about social media in many new ways...which is great! That's what a panel should do. Also of interest was the fact that although there were about 100 people in the room, 780 people were watching on Justin tv, so that pretty much tells you a bit about the power of social media right now. Here's a quick review and summary of panelists' comments:
Moderator: Jennifer Lindsay @jennifered, the A-List podcaster
Gold Sponsor: Spigit
Venue Sponsor: Automattic
Wine Sponsor: Stag's Leap (thanks for the wine, it was delicious)
Violet Blue @violetblue
Forbes "Web Celeb," notorious blogger, high-profile tech personality and one of Wired's "Faces of Innovation," regarded as a leading expert in the field of sex and technology
LaSandra Brill @lasandrabrill
Social media enthusiast, avid blogger and marketing innovator, Cisco's Senior Manager, Social Media Marketing Group
Janet Fouts @jfouts
Entrepreneur, social media coach, author and speaker, co-founder of Tatu Digital Media
Erin Robbins @texasfirlerin
Director of Marketing and Communications for Realty World NCA, and communications and marketing professional
Issues and Perspectives:
Why are so many companies still hesitant to embrace social media?
- Many big businesses still don't see the value of social media and need to be educated about it
- There is still a perceived risk and lack of clarity on ROI
- Even if they aren't ready to participate, companies still need to engage in active online listening. It's critical to know what's being said about your brand before jumping into social media.
- Recent crises have highlighted the power of social media with world events, and "microdonating," ie. Katrina, Haiti
How do we know the consultant we hire is the real deal?
- Social media is still an evolutionary process, but someone who claims to be a "specialist" should be dedicated to continued learning
- A social media certification is one possible benchmark, though not necessarily a dealmaker
- A consultant should establish clear results for a specific social media campaign, so they can be measured
- Don't judge by the number of friends or followers someone has -- look at the degree of engagement
- When engaging in social media for a company, don't start from scratch, but use your existing followers and identity and build from there
- Consider if you have a "symbiotic" vs "parasitic" relationship with your company to figure out the social media equation
- No consensus here. Panelists ranged from being excited and enjoying Buzz, to cautioning it was not ready yet and should not have been released. My personal take: it's not ready yet.
Who's Doing It Right?
- TechSoup, Sonic Net, Southwest, Mt. Dew, Old Spice, John Chambers, John Battelle
- What about privacy issues - how do we take advantage of the best that social media has to offer (ie. geolocation) and make sure it works for us, and not against us?
- Augmented Reality
- More outreach to the general population and a focus on adaptation and usability for the wider public
Here's the link for the clip again.