What’s the one thing that can get almost 300 people perked up and excited at 9:00am on a Saturday? A conference of course! Double points if it’s about social media.
Last Saturday, January 29, Marketing pros from all over BC (plus one from the UK) headed to SFU Woodwards for Social Media Marketing Unplugged, a one-day conference that brought together some of the top marketing practitioners. (Just a note – the use of “marketing practitioners” here instead of “social media gurus” is a conscious one.)
A total of 8 speakers took the stage at the conference. It’s impossible to summarize everything I’ve learned from this conference in one blog post, so instead I’m focusing on three common social media marketing myths that were addressed (either directly or indirectly) by three of the speakers. So here they are:
Myth #1: You need a social media strategy.
The day started off with Marty Yaskowich, Managing Director from Tribal DDB Worldwide. It took me a full minute to realize that I have heard from Marty before – via the Careers in Marketing panel from a couple of months ago. Marty energized the morning crowd with his slick and funny presentation.
The key point from Marty’s presentation is that having a social media strategy is akin to having a cell phone strategy. Social media is a tool, and you have to look at it that way. What businesses need, according to Marty, is an engagement strategy that will transcend all media and tools.
A second important component of Marty’s presentation was the use of emotional appeal in your messages. He claims that 95% of our decisions are based on our emotions.
To tie everything together, Marty used the example of Salty’s Life, a campaign by Knorr Sidekicks. The campaign used traditional media via TV commercials, but it also had online and social components via the @SaltysLife Twitter account and the accompanying YouTube videos. It was also interesting to see that this campaign used Chatroulette.
In sum, Marty’s point was that businesses should use traditional advertising to start and/or super charge social campaigns.
Myth #2: You can’t measure social media.
One thing that stood out for me from Elijah’s presentation was how much he used data to support his points. Most of Elijah’s ideas were in fact not about analytics, but simply by using numbers from Google Analytics, he immediately gained credibility. His talk inspired me to play around with Google Analytics more often – this is now possible since this blog is now self-hosted.
Myth #3: Social media isn’t fun.
The best was clearly saved for last. I actually missed Dave Olson‘s presentation because I had to go back to SFU shortly after 5 (the conference went over time). But thanks to Caleb Clark‘s recording, I’ve heard the presentation. Thankfully, Dave also placed his presentation on Slideshare for everyone to access after the conference, so I feel like I was there even if I wasn’t.
The bulk of Dave’s presentation was about creating a sustainable plan for your engagement strategy. He also touched on the various listening and monitoring tools that businesses can use. He encouraged businesses to listen, participate, and to “go where the people are”. Also, businesses should measure everything – number of retweets, mentions, etc.
I think a more subtle message from Dave’s speech, however, is how much fun social media really is! Through the pics he used and his enthusiasm, Dave really made social media appealing. I wasn’t in the room when he delivered his speech, but I can tell from the laughs and reactions from the audience how much they enjoyed his speech. Dave is clearly having fun at this job as the Community Marketing Director at Hootsuite Media, Inc. If this is what it means to do social media, then count me in!
General thoughts about the event
I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed talks from Rochelle Grayson (CEO of Bookriff Canada), Annalea Krebs (CEO of Ethical Deal), and Crystal Henrickson (Marketing Director of Yelp Canada). Although most of the information provided by many of the speakers were basic, I thought that the conference had lots of great nuggets for those who are only starting off with their social media strategy.
I know that some people thought that there should have been beverages as well, and I think that this is a valid point given that the regular ticket price was almost $300 CDN. (Disclosure: I paid the discounted student fee, and I did not expect free coffee.) I appreciate that the conference tried to give as much value to attendees by bringing in many speakers, but I thought that 5 or 6 really good speakers would have been sufficient.
It was also a good idea that the organizer stroke a deal with Charles Bar to give many of the attendees a 25% discount for lunch and provide a space where people might network. My food didn’t arrive until after more than an hour, but I actually had fun in that restaurant. (I also somehow expected the delay.) The food was great, but the company of many people was even better.
If this conference is held again next year, I probably would go back. I didn’t cover everything here, but the following blog posts have even more coverage of the conference if you’re interested:
- Social Media Unplugged Conference: What You Missed – by Web Copy Plus!
- Social Media Unplugged – by Scott Cunningham
Were you one of the 300 people who was at the event last weekend? What did you think of it?
Photo credit: Social Media Marketing Unplugged