Plenty of “non-experts” – tons of social media expertise

A funny thing happened in the lobby of MADCAP Theater, Monday.

SMAZ_2010_VPRBIt had nothing to do with these two familiar faces. Most of the 400 + attendees at the Social Media for Business event –a..k.a SMAZ –about all things digital, indulged in one of the oldest communication tools, business cards.

I loved how, despite seeing a Twitter handle on the last statutory slide of every preso, this tiny cardboard rectangle still works. It probably illustrates how social practices like this will not go away despite the attention we give to trackbacks, Tweetdeck or Posterous.

PanelIn between working the floors wearing that funny hat, I sat in on some great sessions. The panel on Building Brand Evangelists with Social Media, moderated by Kevin Gawthrope (@gawthrok), was very enlightening.

Then there was our very own Linda Vandrede moderating Social Media 101 a panel that included Amanda Vega, Chris Hewitt, Scott Andrew and Sheila Kloefkorn. Talk about heavyweights! If you’d been to last year’s SMAZ, you would have notices how the audience had changed, even at a 101 level. One of the sticky topics that came up was about outsourcing content. There were two schools of thought here, but both maintained that content creators have to be transparent and committed. Blogola and astroturfing won’t cut it.

As I mentioned earlier, the tone was set by Sitewire president, Greg (“I am not a social media expert”) Chapman but having said that, there was plenty to glean from. Especially in the hallways!

My takeaways (updated):

  • Be the message, don’t just post the message!
  • Don’t treat Facebook like the Yellow Pages.
  • Listen first, tweet, post later. Use Social Media as a listening post.
  • Be cognizant of the ‘channel agnostic customer.’
  • Google handles hyphens better than underscores, so be watchful when you write headlines, tags.
  • “Social media is free” is a huge misconception. There’s a human resource cost attached to it.
  • Social media is not a strategy – it is what you embed into your Comms strategy, marketing strategy, PR strategy.
  • Google’s new search engine, Caffeine, will knock your socks off.
  • Think less about the platform, more about the content.
  • Content isn’t king. Optimized content is king!
  • Start with small things. If your boss or client wants to start tweeting, facebooking, start with small goals before the big-hairy-audacious ones
  • There’s a difference between a News Feed and a Live Feed on Facebook.
  • Train others freely. Give away secrets. The rising tide lifts all boats.
  • Differentiate between Goals and Tactics. People mix these up.
  • Just like the way they confuse Strategies and Tactics, I suppose.

If you read other takes on SMAZ , you’ll see that there’s a lot of tech stuff to wrap your head around. But for all the talk about ‘matchbacks’ and Seesmic, Tweetie and Flowtown, I came away with three things:

  • “Social Media is an ingredient, not an entre.” – Jason Baer
  • “Hang out where your customers hang out” – Sheila Kloefkorn

And …

  • Bring a lot of business cards, next time, dammit

Cross-posted from ValleyPRBlog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.