Last week I attended Radian6’s first user conference, Social 2011, and I wish I could write a Friday25 today because there were so many experts and learnings. Other attendees have already done a great job summing up the experience and product announcements, but what I really walked away with was a new perspective on my own role as a Digital team member. There were five big lessons I learned and that I will strive to incorporate in my day-to-day, and I wanted to share these with you.
1. The social enterprise
During his opening keynote, Radian6 CEO Marcel LeBrun explained that the social media revolution has been the biggest transformation since the explosion of mass media. We all know that social media isn’t going away, but what we all need to think more about is that social media touches all parts of the enterprise and can help to inform strategy across the board. It’s not just a communications tool–social media can be used to find insights and learn about consumers in a whole new way. Some companies are beginning to use social media as a real-time consumer affairs tool or focus group for market research. Think outside the box and brainstorm how social media can help inform your client’s next business decision.
2. Influence is key, but is difficult to quantify
There were a few panels which focused on influence, but it was mentioned in nearly every discussion during the conference. Influence is powerful, but it is also highly contextual and topical. We all know which publications are generally influential, but when it comes to buying a new sweater, I’m more likely to trust and be influenced by a friend who works at a fashionable store and has a similar taste in clothes. Due to its complexity and subjectivity, most said influence can be hard to quantify, but not when you think about it like this: influence drives action. The next time you have to find a list of people to work with your client, think about who drives the most relevant actions to find the best influencers.
3. “Fish where the fish are.”
Adam Brown of Dell put it succinctly, but there were other folks during other panels who gave the same message: know your audience and connect where they’re already engaging. If you’re thinking of engaging on Facebook, find out who is already talking about you. Who are they? What do they talk about and what are their interests? Notice who talks the most and to whom they are talking. Use all of this knowledge to form meaningful relationships with consumers where they are already talking. And realize that if your consumers are using Facebook as a way to share their thoughts on your products, you probably shouldn’t just share news and events with them all the time!
4. Empower evangelists inside and out
This relates back to the idea of a social enterprise, but one thing I kept hearing was about empowering not just external fans, but employees as well. This doesn’t mean give every person in your organization a Twitter account and throw them to the wolves, but instead offer training sessions to help all of your employees understand how they can use social media in their own role. Help them to become an ambassador and forge their own relationships on behalf of the company as well as build on your overall strategy. This is a key component of social enterprise. (Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang has more.)
5. Set yourself up to demonstrate value
Perhaps the most common takeaway from keynotes and sessions was the idea that measurement is increasingly important but also undefined. There is no silver bullet or one-stop solution, and everyone is struggling to find the best methods to show the value of their social media efforts. Amber Naslund of Radian6 suggested choosing metrics which “reflect why you got into social media to begin with.” Incorporate how you will measure success into your initial planning to set yourself up for effective measurement in the end. Remember that you may not always use the same measurement plan for different brands or campaigns. Most importantly, if you’re struggling with social media measurement, you are not alone. There are plenty of other folks still trying to figure it out and offering great thought starters to help you brainstorm.
Were you in Boston or following the #Social2011 hashtag? What were your key takeaways?
Image Credit: Jim Storer