Best of 2011

CubeSocial - B2B Social Media ManagementAt this time of year it’s traditional to look back, so we thought we’d share our most popular content from 2011, just in case you missed it

  1. Twitter Clinic: A Hashtag Case study – Wow, it seems like there are plenty of people curious to know how Twitter hashtags work.  If that’s you… read on!
  2. “All opinions are my own” – disclaimers, risk warnings and social media – Will social media ever take off in highly regulated industries like banking and pharmaceuticals?
  3. Leave your phones on – How social media is changing business etiquette – You know those people glued to their smartphones and iPads during your presentation… they are probably paying more attention than you think!
  4. Twitter Clinic: #FF, DM and RT explained – Another in our series of Twitter Clinics. The title says it all.
  5. Ambush Marketing: The Accidental Twitter Ambush – How we accidentally pulled off an ambush marketing event at a conference we had been barred from.
  6. Klout… and how it can be manipulated – The story of what happened when we spent a month specifically trying to increase our Klout score.
  7. Twitter Clinic: 5 must-dos to get started with Twitter – If you are totally new to to Twitter, start here.
  8. Twitter Clinic: Who sees what you’re tweeting – Those @messages – are you sure you know who can view them?
  9. Four Reasons Your Company Doesn’t Need a Social Media Policy – Lawyers are running around telling everyone that will listen that they must have a social media policy… but do you really need one?
  10. GeeknRolla: Rock star or one-hit wonder? – Just how awesome is the self-proclaimed “awesome annual conference for tech startups in Europe”

If you like the stuff we write, remember you can sign-up for updates in your RSS reader, or subscribe for email updates.

And with that we’d like to wish you a happy new year, and we’ll see you all again in 2011.

10 Incredible Ways to Boost Your Conference ROI with Social Media

imageConferences and trade shows are a great way to get face time with potential clients, suppliers and partners. In the past these events were all about pressing palms and cramming as many meetings into the day as possible. Social media changes all that.

We’ve found that we can massively improve the ROI of events by integrating social media with our real world activities… in fact in some cases you don’t even need to be there in person!

Here are our top tips for using social media at conferences and shows.

Before the event

  1. Help the organizer promote the event
    Find the hashtag and official Twitter account for the event and use social media to let everyone know that you’re going. Retweet announcements from the official event account. Include a status update in your LinkedIn account, with a link to the official event details. Send @messages to your online contacts suggesting the conference might be a good place to catch-up face to face. Remember to include the hashtag in all your Tweets. This will get your face and company name recognized by the show organizers and demonstrate real value to them. Smart organizers will want to encourage this behaviour. As a result of our efforts we’ve been offered massive discounts on show pricing, free upgrades and the chance to speak at future events.
  2. Build relationships
    Look at the speaker and attendee list. Speakers will often have Twitter accounts listed. Make note of anyone you want to meet in person. If you use CubeSocial, create a contact card for each person and tag them appropriately. Tweet about the speakers you’re looking forward to hearing and the people you’re meeting up with. Make sure to use the speaker/attendee Twitter usernames so that conversation can grow. Cast yourself in the role of the jovial party host. Do not sell!
  3. Schedule meetings
    Those speakers you’ve just been chatting to… the online contacts you invited to the show… now’s the time to casually arrange a coffee at the event itself.
  4. Arrange a side event
    If you can’t afford the entrance fee, or the show organizers say you don’t match their criteria for entrance, arrange your own side event. Professional marketers call this ambush marketing, and we (initially unintentionally) pulled this off earlier this year when we were told we couldn’t attend a show. We arranged a Tweetup to coincide with the conference that grew to the point that the conference organizers asked us asked how they could get involved in our event!

During the event

  1. Live Tweet conference sessions
    If you are in a conference session, live Tweet it. There are always plenty of people who for whatever reason are unable to attend. Followers who are interested in the event will appreciate the real-time insights and may add to the conversation, widen your perspective of the event, and the reach of your tweets. Their retweets will provide an interesting insight into what resonates. Remember to always use the conference hashtag. Journalists often follow the hashtags during conferences on the lookout for interesting stories. In our case, our very first piece of media coverage came from a journalist quoting Tweets we had sent during a live Tweeting session.
  2. Make use of otherwise dead time
    During the show you’ll likely be busy with all the meetings you set up beforehand, but be sure to make use of otherwise dead time: The journey to and from the event and during breaks for example. Follow the conference hashtag to discover the important news and themes of the show, and contribute to the conversation.
  3. Tag team it
    Ask your colleagues back at the office to engage in conversation with you and selectively retweet your posts. Your goal should be to put yourself at the centre of online activity, expanding your influence and awareness of your brand.

After the event

  1. Follow up on the leads you missed
    Review the hashtag stream for the conference. Regular Twitter search just goes back a couple of days, so you’ll need to be quick. If you use CubeSocial you can set up a Social Search to record the entire stream for the duration of the show. You can then review the stream at your leisure and reach out to people who might be new contacts, leads or opportunities.
  2. Share photos
    It doesn’t matter whether it is on Twitter, Flickr or Facebook. Share your photos of the event, especially of people you met there. People love photos, especially if they give an insight into something they may have missed out on. Photos are some of the most frequently shared material on the web, and will help broaden the reach of your brand.
  3. Write a review of the event
    Use your blog to write a review of the event. Write about the interesting people you met there, including photos and links to websites and Twitter accounts of people you mention. When you’re done, tell everyone you’ve mentioned that they are featured in your blog. Your aim is to make it easy for people to join the dots, make new connections, find the interesting content and build on their experience. When we took part in Seedcamp earlier this year, our Seedcamp write-up proved so popular that the event organizers mistakenly thought we were spamming them. We had to react quickly on that one and explained that no, it was simply the community at large picking up on it and sharing it.

The best thing about all this is that in many cases you don’t even need to be there in person to benefit from the buzz a conference or show generates. If you find yourself in that situation, try curating the Twitter stream instead, as we did here for a recent event.

What techniques have you found successful for maximising the value of real-world events with social media?

Recruitment Consultants: How not to use social media

If you’re a recruitment consultant thinking about using social media to target candidates, here’s a cautionary tale about how not to do it…

Last week I was followed on Twitter by someone whose bio said they owned a digital marketing agency and a recruitment consultancy.

As usual I said Hi to my new follower (I never use tools that send auto-DMs each to each new follower – they are so obviously automated and impersonal) and asked what caused them to follow me.

In reply I received an odd response that didn’t answer my question: “@markbower Are you on LinkedIn?”

Curious about where this was leading though I replied “Yes, wouldn’t be without it.”

A couple of hours later though I received a LinkedIn invite from the self-same person. Rather than ignore the invite I declined explaining that I only accept LinkedIn invites from people who I have met in person.

The following day I got a spam DM advertising a job opening that was in no way relevant to me. Needless to say I unfollowed and blocked the offending account.

What Went Wrong

Social media accelerates the know – like – trust –buy – advocate cycle of purchasing. That’s one reason social media is so great.

But it only accelerates that cycle – it doesn’t go away entirely!

What this person did wrong was to jump straight from “Hello” to trust, without working through the know and like stages first.

The Lesson

Don’t be in too much of a rush to close the deal. Just as you wouldn’t immediately (ever?)ask for the address book of a person you had just been introduced to at a cocktail party, you shouldn’t try to do the same in the virtual world.

Instead, use a tool like CubeSocial to help you get to know your new contacts better.

CubeSocial takes a Twitter ID or email address and automatically discovers all the other social media profiles for that person. It only takes a couple of seconds to scan a contact’s profiles to find something you can chat to them about. Within minutes you can move through the know and like stages without fear of coming across as spammy.

Social Media for Estate Agents

imageIf you’re an estate agent planning to use social media, you may be thinking about using it to push an automated feed of property for sale.

STOP!

Don’t do it until you’ve read this…

We’ve been chatting recently to a great digital marketing company. One of the clients they are working with at the moment is an estate agent.

That got me thinking… If I were an estate agent how would I use social media to promote my business. I’d…

  • Write a blog about my local area
  • Write about the local schools
  • Get a cheap video camera and record short interviews with sellers talking about the best thing about living in their area
  • Provide easy ways (on my website) for sellers to share their property details on Facebook and Twitter
  • Post loads of photos of the area
  • Provide practical advice home movers
  • Write about local walks, with photos/video
  • Talk about the little known ‘gems’ of the area… The stuff you won’t find on RightMove or in guidebooks… The amazing local organic bakery, the great landlord at the Red Lion…
  • Write local pub reviews
  • Talk about local history
  • Support community events and promote them on my blog

I wouldn’t…

  • Talk about interest rates or the economy
  • Endlessly retweet links to property listings
  • Write self-interested, salesy content

What do you think?