On Monday this week I flew to New Zealand to present at the Social Media Junction 2 conference in Auckland, and it was a fantastic event. 187 people attended the main presentation day on Tuesday with the goal of learning more about social media and how to use it within their organisations. The group of speakers provided a really interesting mix of social media experience:
Co-founder (with his wife) of the agency TopRank Marketing in the US, Lee and his wife Susan work with lots of small to medium businesses in the B2B space. Lee is the author of the excellent online marketing blog TopRank and he provided some fantastic case studies of how businesses are effectively using social media and talked about the importance of measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your social media campaigns, while remembering that there are also many intangible benefits. My favourite line was, "What's the ROI of having a telephone in your business?" his point being that social media is similar to the telephone in the immeasurability of many of the benefits it can provide.
Simon heads up social media for the Medway council in the UK. The Medway council, like many other government organisations cops a lot of flak and boy have they had their fair share in the social media space! Medway Council have a smart car with camera's on top which finds, photographs then issues tickets to illegally parked cars. It's not the most popular car in the world as shown by some of the Facebook Groups Simon shared with us:
- Medway's Mobile CCTV car should be fined every time it parks illegally!!!
- The Shitty Medway Council SMART CAR with the camera should be blown up!!
- and my favourite group name: MEDWAY COUNCIL ARE FUKIN SHIT !!!!!!!!!!!
This makes our experience with a negative comment on Facebook seem much less significant!
Simon talked through some of the ways they deal with these negative comments. He talked through the important of understanding who it is who is making the comment (it may be someone on the other side of the political divide), what sort of audience do they have (a Facebook page with 20 likes is less of an issue than one with 2,500 likes), and not taking it personally when these things happen - easier said than done I'm sure!
Louise heads up the innovation team at Deloitte in Australia. I had heard many good things about Deloitte's innovative uses of social media before, but I hadn't realised how well they were using it, and for an accounting firm with 14,000 people they have done particularly amazing things to embrace social media within the culture of their firm.
I found their use of Yammer within their firm particularly interesting. We're still small enough at Shoes of Prey that it's not too difficult for us to brainstorm and share ideas with each other, but clearly a firm the size of Deloitte is a very different beast, and it sounds like they've been getting some great results with Yammer.
I had the after lunch speaking spot so I decided to try something a little different to try to wake people up before my presentation, I had the audience do a triathlon in their chairs. First up was some arm waving for the swim leg, some chair cycling then everyone hopped up to run on the spot. We finished with everyone giving the person next to them a recovery shoulder massage. I have to admit I wasn't sure how this would go down but I figured I was in another country so if it bombed no one would know. Fortunately people seemed to get into it. Hat tip to Phillip di Bella who I borrowed this idea from!
I talked through how we've used social media at Shoes of Prey. I went through how The Purple Cow and Buzz Marketing influenced us in developing the custom women's shoes idea which gives us a product and story that people want to share through social media. I talked through our YouTube case study, how we use our Facebook page and adding to Lee's theme from earlier on, how we measure the ROI of our campaigns then adapt and adjust our tactics based on how they're going.
Darren works for the Victorian department of justice and helped manage the Victorian government's response through social media to the Victorian bushfires which tragically killed 173 people last year. Darren talked about the challenges of getting a group of beauracrats to accept that working with social media is the right thing to do. He gave the example of Google asking for bushfire data to create a Google Map that would show people where the bushfires were at any given point in time. Google were told that this data was government data and subject to copyright so despite the Country Fire Authority and Department of Sustainability and Environment websites being down Google weren't able to access this data for a couple of days during the crisis, until cooler heads prevailed.
Darren also talked through some of the benefits of using social media in a crisis. During a crisis, often one of the first things to go down is the mobile phone network which can't always handle the additional call load. People then tend to call 000 becomes inundated. People then turn to the web to access information and key websites can go down. Tools like Google Maps, Facebook and Twitter are all fantastic for disseminating potentially life saving information during times like these as they're built to scale and generally don't go down.
The last speaker for the day was Cliff Rosenberg, the Managing Director of LinkedIn Australia and New Zealand. Cliff talked through the benefits of social networking from a professional point of view. He discussed the distinction between professional networks like LinkedIn compared with social networks like Facebook and those that are mixed like Twitter.
One of my favourite slides from Cliff's presentation was a graphical representation of his LinkedIn social growth showing his 1300 connections and how he came to be connected with them all. It doesn't look like there's a copy online but if I come across it I'll post it up.
I took a lot from the presentations and thoroughly enjoyed the event. The team at Bullet PR who organised the event, Nicholas, Jennifer and Alex were genuinely nice, friendly and a real pleasure to work with. They hosted a speaker's dinner the night before the event which was fantastic for meeting both the Bullet PR team and the other speakers, and I went to dinner with Nicholas and Jennifer again on Tuesday night in a more social setting. Previous events I have spoken at didn't create this same level of engagement amongst the speakers, they were more 'do your presentation and leave'. I think the dinners created a much better atmosphere on the day of the event and I know I tailored my presentation after getting to know the other speakers and what they would be talking about so I didn't cover off any of the same things, and I'm sure some of the other speakers did too which is a benefit to the people attending the conference.
And lastly, the Bullet PR team organised for me to appear on the TVNZ Breakfast Show on Wednesday morning to discuss social media. It's the equivalent of Sunrise or the Today show in Australia and is a fantastic audience for us. I didn't cover anything ground breaking but if you're interested the video is up here.