What is the meaning of life? That is a loaded question. It’s like asking, “What is social business?” Ask 20 people the same question, you will get 200 different answers. Like life, social business is a journey.
Day by day, we venture forward. We look for ways to be happier. Search for the tools that will make our tasks easier. Learn from the experience of our own and from leaders who we respect. Leaders who are inventive, who have implemented processes, developed practices and travelled afar to tell us about their stories.
Leaders like Peter Kim, Managing Director at R/GA who kicked off the two-day Explore conference in Orange County, California on Thursday of last week. Kim defines “social business” as a discipline of communications and social media.
Sharing examples of successful social business practices that have made money, like Dell who reportedly made $3 million driving sales from Twitter, Kim claims that social business is not the end goal. Social business is just part of the journey.
Together we are all explorers on a journey, traveling the terrain of technology. Seeking solutions. As we try to better understand our roles and how we can better solve the problems we are faced with as marketers in today’s digitally-driven universe, we benefit from the networking and the learning at events like Explore.
As the fourth stop on the five-city nationwide conference tour, Jason Falls and the slate of speakers razzle-dazzled the 260-plus attendees at the Gothic Moon Studios in Orange County, Cali. An intensive line up of experts gave it their all as they talked about tips and trends impacting today’s social business. Although there was a heavy load of amazing-ness, here are four rules from Explore OC to help digital marketers in their journey.
Keep your eye on the ball.
Technology has always been emerging and impacting cultural trends. Michael Brito, VP at Edelman sees social media as the bright and shiny object that can easily distract us. He urges digital marketers as they face today’s challenges to remember this: Core business objectives remain the same.
Although there may be inconsistent viewpoints, unclear roles, outdated models and other obstacles that can distract us, marketers must keep their eye on the ball. Don’t get lost in the hype and stay focused on revenue, sales and market share.
Speak in their language.
As marketers, we not only need to communicate on behalf of our brands to persuade the market, we also must communicate internally within our own organizations to succeed. How is this possible when the CEO doesn’t fully understand Facebook?
Nichole Kelly, President of SME Digital and author of How to Measure Social Media, presented key tips on how to talk with C-level executives. She believes if marketers want to succeed within their organizations, they cannot try to sell ideas based on conversations or metrics like the number of retweets and likes. Translate social media into the dollar sign and the CEO will give you what you need to succeed.
Shut up and tell them stories.
Shut up about your brand’s product or service. Stop talking in features and benefits. Start telling stories and publish the kind of content that educates, informs, reaches, attracts, retains and influences the market.
Robert Rose wrote the book, Content Marketing and he presented examples on brands throughout the past century that have successfully used content marketing.
The Furrow, a printed publication by John Deere started over 150 years ago. Grown to 1.5 million subscribers and written in 14 languages, do you think John Deere reached this level of circulation writing about tractors?
Successful content marketing cannot be limited to writing about your own brand. The Furrow teaches readers how to be better farmers. And, it is a perfect example to teach marketers how to tell stories.
Credentials matter more than scores.
As marketers trying to prove our value and make our case, we have an undying reverence for statistics and metrics. From market research to analyzing campaign results, the numbers do not lie. Measuring values of cost and revenue is one thing, but what about when we start applying numbers to people?
Red hot as the couch the CEO of Kred, Andrew Grill sat on, social influence measurement is a trending topic that people are talking about. Jason Falls opened the conversation during a fireside chat with Grill and shared concerns about privacy, brands abusing the data and people “gaming the system.”
Grill responded with real world examples like the time he remembered someone left the salary report on the copier and everyone started to compare each other with one another. “It caused a lot of problems.”
He reminded the audience that the intent of social influence metrics like Kred is to present influencers in specific areas. As advertising becomes less relevant, people are turning to their social networks for validation and Kred provides a solution to check social credentials.
He also states, “People can manipulate Klout or Kred scores, just like life.” The numbers must be balanced with other factors when approaching a person’s full story. Take for example Grill’s age. He celebrated his 44th birthday and the audience sang the birthday song to him. He may be older than Falls, who is 39, but their experiences are very different.
There is no doubt, credentials matter. They always have and they always will. And no one would have to check a number to validate this… Falls and Grill both have Kred, loads of it.
This is a mere glance of the takeaways from Explore OC. To fully appreciate the rich flavor of an Explore event, you really need to attend the full two-day digital marketing event. Be sure to experience the next conference, Explore Portland. This will be the final Explore event in 2012 and it will be in Portland, Ore., in November. Purchase your seats below and check out the event page at GoToExplore.co to get a hotel discount.