Today’s guest post is part one of a two-part series by Alex Adekola. In the series, Alex recaps this year’s Social Fresh Conference in Tampa, Florida. We’re happy to have Alex as a guest author on our blog, and we will continue to support the growing tech community here in our own backyard.
Alex Adekola has been developing websites and engaging in organic search optimization since 2002. He has watched the evolution of web and search, and time and time again has placed companies on the top of Google, increasing their bottom line and carving out a niche for Incept Design in the Tampa Bay area. By focusing only on Google, Incept Design has developed a strong expertise in creating strategies to effectively leverage Google to achieve client objectives.
Social Fresh East kicked off Monday and Tuesday of last week at the DoubleTree hotel in Tampa, FL. This is the third Social Fresh Conference in a row that has been held in Tampa. I went to the first one and missed last year’s. A show of hands proved a nice number of attendees had been to all three. There were some who even traveled from San Jose and Seattle to attend. I remember last year there was a day dedicated specifically to Facebook training, and every year there are a few great keynote presentations.
Social media is a medium that moves so fast; every year there proves to be ample new information, apps, and websites to cover. Companies that sent speakers to this year’s Social Fresh included: HubSpot, Red Hat, Ford, Nordstrom, Intuit, AOL, eMarketer and more. Topics covered included: Pinterest, Connecting Facebook & Email, Where Does Social Fit?, Social Media Lead Generation, Digital Trends for 2012, Google +, and plenty of other side topics. Lastly, there was an after party the first day, and plenty of networking.
Overall, this was a great conference, and a great way to stay on the bleeding edge with regards to your social media strategy and execution to brand your product or service, or generate revenue. I would even go as far to stay it’s a must attend conference if your main job consists of social media marketing or public relations, and you reside within Florida (and more specifically, Tampa).
The first speaker, Jesse Catlin from eMarketer, gave a really interesting presentation on Digital Trends for 2012. He started out by demonstrating the power of social media. It can cause a person to commit suicide, it can topple a government, it can elect a president, it can raise funds and even start a virtual protest.
He presented a great mind hack in the sense that if you feel you know everything you will not have space to let in new information. He suggested reading two books per month for self-enrichment. He predicted online video will be one of the top emerging trends in 2012, as people adopt more powerful mobile devices connected to faster networks. He mentioned the reach of Facebook: more than 2/3 of the US population is on Facebook. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest behind China and India. In Latin America, 84% of Internet users are on Facebook.
Other tips included: keep humanity in your content, and remember that most viral content is humorous. eReaders will die off, hence the Amazon’s KindelFire: a really nice eReader or crappy tablet. Mobile commerce is poised to really grow. Personally, I think mobile commerce in the form of Square, and Intuit’s new device makes it easier than ever to accept credit cards, and this new type of commerce will drive the mobile revolution in mobile commerce.
Create magnetic content. He used BlendTec and their “Will It Blend” series of YouTube videos, and Ford’s sock puppet as an example. Think of social media marketing in the broadest sense. Some keys to becoming effective include: building trust, having transparency, and listening. How are you speaking to your customers? Remember to be humble, and add value. Recruit from your core, and target the coveted individuals.
Video advertising and content curation will become hot trends in 2012 as well. The business is the business of people. If you know what people are doing, you can capitalize on it.
Be sure to check out his Slideshare; it’s packed with useful charts and graphs detailing the anticipated growth in social:
Eric Boggs of Argyle Social wears argyle pants. It turned out to be a clever tactic to get everyone tweeting and sharing his picture on Instagram. Eric continued the momentum with his presentation after all the energy his pants created.
Eric began his presentation on Social Commerce by pointing out how some of the top retailers lack effective social media tactics to drive revenue. He pointed out how Zynga is a $9 billion dollar company built on selling virtual goods like virtual farm equipment and animals on Facebook. They account for 12% of Facebook’s revenue. Surely some retailers can eke out some cash on Facebook as well by selling real products.
Social commerce is real and people like to spend money in groups. Of most major retailers, 84% have not made any significant social commerce investments. Make clear call to action statements. Try using exclusive content and offers.
Listen Launch and Leverage
Chuck Hemann of WCG spoke about the importance of using social media to listen. When you listen, it can help all your social media efforts including marketing, public relations, reputation management and social conversation.
Use this Wiki to pick a listening tool: http://wiki.kenburbary.com/social-meda-monitoring-wiki
You want to know who is looking at your brand, where are they talking about it, when are they talking about it, and why are they talking about it.
“In 2009, more data was generated by individuals than in the entire history of mankind through 2008.” – Andreas W.
By listening, you can gain business intelligence, market through conversation, learn about product issues, and foster a better customer experience. Check out his Slideshare for some flowcharts and detailed bullet points.
The next speaker was Kip Bodnar of HubSpot. If you haven’t heard of HubSpot, I would suggest visiting their website for plenty of useful information: blogs, whitepapers, and web tools. He suggested taking a look at ClearRisk’s Facebook page for an example of how to gain likes with a like gate that offers a whitepaper.
He offered the concept of a lead being a proxy sale. When you get a lead, it can be the result of an informational transaction. The shelf life of your social media link is on average three hours. Some tactics he mentioned included creating a content calendar, building social thank you pages, and using your blog as the hub for content. Tips also included having some sort of main content piece that you put out each year, and once again have a clear call to action.
Scott Monty of Ford was the last speaker for day one. His presentation was on Google Plus. First, he says to use it differently than Facebook with unique content. Make sure to, again, build trust, provide value, entertainment, and humor. He also talks about how they introduced the latest Ford Explorer via Facebook through earned and paid media, thus creating a bigger impact than a Super Bowl ad.
Using the Circles feature of Google Plus will allow you to segment your audience to send the appropriate message to the appropriate group. A Ford Mustang driver won’t be interested in the latest hybrids, for example. If someone asked you about your last vacation, you may have different answer for a close friend compared to an older relative. Recommendations influence purchases, and 90% of people trust recommendations fromm people they know. Google Plus Ones are appearing in search results. Currently, Google owns about 66% of the search market, so it’s important to be using Google Plus.
Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of Alex’s Social Fresh recap. And while you’re here, why don’t you come hang out with me on Twitter? Or, better yet, come hang out with SteelCast on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Pinterest.