Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Musings from AdWeek's Social Media Strategies Conference

How come I always end up indoors for conferences on the most beautiful days of the year in San Francisco? Today was no different for AdWeek's Social Media Strategies conference (#awsms09) at Fort Mason.

A well attended crowd of brand advertisers, agencies, and Silicon Valley techies.

My personal highlight of the conference was sitting about 20 feet away for a keynote from one of my favorite entertainers from the 80's turned social media maven, MC Hammer (a.k.a. @mchammer). Here's what I enjoyed from Hammertime:
  1. Social media is to Hollywood like Napster was to music. Hammer felt entertainment companies and labels were doomed and are too slow to adapt.
  2. Social media is about being at the center of your brand. He was referring to the importance of listening and joining in conversations to give people a more holistic perspective of who you are, which led to this comment:
  3. "I'm more than just about parachute pants!" Enough said.
  4. You can't wait until disaster strikes before you decide to setup a Twitter account. That will be too late and you'd be tweeting to 2 followers!
  5. Not a fan of ghost Twitterers for brands. You can't outsource this to Asia.
  6. He felt MySpace still had a place in the world as a music destination and wanted to see better filters for music discovery. Wasn't a fan of the deals they have cut with labels.
  7. "I look at Facebook and I see a diamond mine." He was suggesting he could do something to monetize a site that has 250-300 million users
  8. If you're a 9 year old living in the 'hood, walk to the Oakland Coliseum to increase your odds of finding something to sell 50,000 fans. Ok, this last one was a great childhood story Hammer shared that you had to be there to fully appreciate! But it was related to the opportunity one has when you aggregate large audiences, like Facebook
Then Gap Inc and AKQA presented a great example of an integrated social media campaign "Born to Fit" that promoted their totally redesign jeans. They showed some cool stuff they did on Facebook, a StyleMixer iPhone app, and a contest on Polyvore. It was interesting they said driving sales was not the goal and they measured the campaign success along these criteria:
  1. Actual user behavior (e.g., traffic, clicks)
  2. # of fans/followers
  3. Consumer comments
  4. An in-depth ComScore study
  5. Buzzmetrics data
  6. Press coverage
All of those are great metrics other brands should be using. Frustrates me when clients try to measure social media like direct response and assumes everyone is at the bottom of the funnel. So, I give Gap a lot of credit for this.
Then a bunch of my peers from the digital marketing industry talked about the usual stuff I always hear at conferences and debate internally as well. Things like who owns social media in a client's company. How does one measure social media? How can brands get started? What works for smaller brands? Yada yada yada...
There was also a basic "how to" lesson on leveraging Twitter that didn't teach me anything I didn't know, but was delivered by a very entertaining duo who are supposedly the real people behind @bettydraper and @roger_Sterling from my favorite show Mad Men. They also talked about "prom king brands," which are naturally cool brands that can easily get followers and fans in social media. Like the NBA or Ashton Kutcher. But other brands have to work at it and give people a reason to follow them. I agree. There is almost no excuse for prom king brands to not be involved in social media! The last thing that I took takeaway from their preso was to start following @shitmydadsays. Awesome! See for yourself.
Ok, maybe they taught me 2 things after all.
Gotta crash after a long day...

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