By Nick Johnson - November 29th, 2011

Hello all, I've just got back from the European Corporate Social Media Summit (a little early - lunch is still ongoing, but it's in Will's capable hands) and I thought I would pull together the ...

Hello all,

I've just got back from the European Corporate Social Media Summit (a little early - lunch is still ongoing, but it's in Will's capable hands) and I thought I would pull together the ten most useful tweets from the two day event. I'll also try to give a little context for you.

"Repetition is ok - the life of most posts is around ten minutes"

This came from Bill Tolany, who's Head of Promotional Commerce at Whole Foods (and @btolany on Twitter). Bill was presenting on how to use social media to drive sales, and came up with an awful lot of good advice, but this was the best bit in my view. I have always been scared to

a) Use social media as a 'bald' sales message - worrying that we would put off followers and damage the brand

b) Repeat messages - on the assumption that people would be frustrated with 'spamming'

Bill is vastly more knowledgeable than me though, and based his points on the testing and experimentation he has been doing with Whole Foods. Takeway(s): 

1) You are indeed able to send out sales messages through social media - as long as they're useful, and relevant

2) You can repeat things. Most posts are only visible for about ten minutes (max) after posting, so the vast majority of your audience will probably have missed them first time around anyway

"People don't expect you to come back on a personal level, but you should"

This comes from Michelle Daly-Hayes, who's Online Sportsbook Social Media Manager at PaddyPower the bookmakers. And Michelle is highlighting the importance of using an authentic, human voice on social networks. Too often, companies get hamstrung by attempting to appease legal and communications departments and end up sending out Tweets which sound alarmingly like they've been computer generated. Don't. Takeaway: Be a human. Humans talk to humans (well, since Apple got involved) and that's what you want, right?

"We listened, we learned...consumers rule"

This comes from Wendy Gold, EMEA Regional PR and Digital Lead, Consumer at Microsoft. Wendy was discussing the relative failure of Windows Vista, and how they took back the initiative and changed perceptions with Windows 7. The company released the beta to a (world-record) 8m consumers pre-launch, and actively engaged in social media to help shape the product - hence the "Windows 7 was my idea" campaign. Takeaway - make sure you listen to your consumers!

Don't force use - use success stories, share visions that intrinsically make people adopt

Al Shah, Social Media Demand Manager at GlaxoSmithKline suggested this. Al was discussing how you can get social media buy in throughout your business - and was discussing the problem with expecting your teams to automatically start using this technology. Remember - "If they build it, they will come" is a good line from a film, but a terrible social media strategy. You need to show employees how this stuff works, and clearly set out the opportunities that social media technology presents - both for external marketing and internal knowledge-sharing and engagement. Takeaway - don't push people into this, show them how it will benefit them and they'll do it anyway

Lego is about moving the social media mindset from campaigns to long term engagement

Matt Rhodes, Strategy Director at Fresh Networks (and one of our moderators) actually tweeted this, based on Lars Silberbauer, Social Media Director at LEGO's presentation. I think this is a fundamental shift that companies need to make. It came across in a few of the presentations - the fact that "social media campaign" is an oxymoron. Campaigns tend to be finite and short-term, and in most cases are far more about pushing information than generating responses. Social media is all about building long term relationships and engagement. Or, as Lars himself puts it (infinitely better): "Campaigns are more like a rocket launch. Social media is a sailing boat where you must continually trim the sails. Takeaway: Your followers aren't going anywhere. Respect them and build a relationship.

It's not the big that eat the small, it is the fast that eat the slow

That quote comes from James Simpson, General Manager of eChannels (UK and Ireland for 3M). His point was the speed of response, the agility, that social media offers a company. And we're not only talking about responding to feedback on your marketing campaign. We're talking about spotting crises before they become crises, we're talking about spotting opportunities to innovate as a company, and we're talking about getting consumer feedback more quickly than you could ever have thought possible - which will enable you to be a responsive company truly plugged in to what your customers need. Takeway: social media allows you to be responsive in a way that was impossible before. Leverage this opportunity - or prepare to be overtaken by competitors

Most companies are adopting a hub and spoke model - lots of people interacting around the company, but with a core team co-ordinating

I tweeted that, based on Kelly Feller's presentation. Kelly is Director of Social Media at Citrix, formerly of Intel and a great friend to USM. She was talking about 'who owns social media in your business'. There are currently three main forms of social media organisation:

1) Decentralised: there's no clear lead, social media adoption comes from the bottom up, and no one team is responsible for execution

2) Centralised: One department co-ordinates all social media activity

3) Hub and spoke: One team tends to co-ordinate and train social media strategy, with teams and individuals throughout the company executing

(Hat tip to Altimeter Group for background on this - someone showed their slide in the conference but I can't remember who, apologies)

Takeaway: Think about how social media should be organised in your company. One size doesn't fit all - but the most popular option at the moment is 'hub and spoke'.

I've had a hard time picking my top seven quotes from the conference, there was an incredible amount of best practice and insight shared over the two days. If you'd like to see the full tweet stream, the hashtag is #csmeu.

We've also recorded the whole conference and saved all the slides used over the two days - stay tuned for your opportunity to get access to all of it!



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