Last Friday I had the distinct opportunity to attend, present and mingle with some of the “who’s who” of social media at UnGeeked Toronto, a three day social media retreat. The speaker list was extensive and reflective of the professionally social atmosphere. Guest speakers included:
Mark Bowden @truthplane
Marsha Collier @MarshaCollier
Amanda Hite @sexythinker
Jason Falls @jasonfalls
Jason Weaver @mixdown04
Jeffrey Willinger @jwillie
Erin Bury @erin_bury
Bruce Powell @IQPartners
Tom Tentoglou @tentoglou
Katie Felten @KatieFelten
Heather Taylor @heatherAtaylor
Stéphane Poirier @exopoirier
Alan Lepofsky @alanlepo
Michele Price @prosperitygal
And me! @DebWeinstein
Not only were these speakers a treat to listen to, but we were greatly impressed by their humility. It was refreshing to see industry leaders take such a grass roots approach to teaching and learning from other professionals; and to hear the clear cut admission that social media is still a dynamic, every changing, incrementally growing and expanding universe with no clear cut goals, guidelines, or processes. It is reassuring to know that even these industry leaders, who possess deep knowledge and experience in the field, are still discovering, reinventing, re examining and frankly just trying to understand social media as a whole!
As the conversation evolved throughout the event we started to talk more about how social media can be used for corporate brand building and customer service. Some of the key points from this discussion were:
- Corporations and clients alike need to work on a stable social media strategy in conjunction with their other marketing initiatives;
- Results driven strategy + making and meetings goals = bottom line results (every marketer’s dream!). The best way to get there is to follow the 4H’s
- Be human, be humble, be honest, and be helpful;
- There is heavy importance for a brand to have two way dialogue and provide feedback to the client and customer. It is the responsibility of the brand to communicate to the customer, in the customer’s chosen forum, time and space;
- The customer now has the authority to define their relationship by befriending or defriending the brand. The ball is in their court.
- A brand must be engaging, credible and relevant. To achieve these proof points you must use research to make sure you are reaching out to the right people in the right way for ultimate effectiveness.
And above all!
- It is crucial for a company to understand that a brand must be authentic online.
Another great point brought up by our dear friend Marsha Collier was: Some Brands may have hundreds of people working in their customer service call centers, but only one community manager to deal with online customer service. This understaffing really rankled and resonated with the group. It is a scary lesson brand managers must learn, it is the brand’s responsibility to be where your customers are talking about you; and your job to mediate the conversation with the correct tone and manners. This leads me to another important point that was discussed at the conference — manners! As we are all aware, cyber bullying is becoming a huge problem. Some say it’s an epidemic among online communities. It is crucial that we maintain our composure, dignity and professional tone when engaging others online. You win no one over to your side of an argument by shouting obscenities, making accusations and putting down others. Social media has become the wild wild west, where there are NO rules. As @AndrewFStewart, our community manager always says, “There is no such thing as a social media expert, only those who follow best practices and are constantly trying to refine their online engagement approach.”
Here’s a smart response from Michele Price, @prosperitygal to someone bullying you on Twitter: “Please explain to me the intention of your last tweet” #ungeeked”
As always at social media tweetups there were two conversations going on simultaneously. One on the panel, and one on Twitter with the hashtag #UnGeeked.
Our favorite Tweeple at the conference were:
All in all the conference was a joy to attend. We highly recommend you participate in a future UnGeeked. Thanks to the amazing Cd Vann (AKA: @Thatwoman_is) for putting it all together.