The 7 most interesting things I learned at BIN2010

Blog Indiana conference was worth the trip

Though the name of the conference was “Blog Indiana 2010,” this two-day conference in downtown Indianapolis was more of a social-media extravaganza. Blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, and searching were the keywords of the day. I attended on Friday and came away feeling excited about what I learned, inspired by some of the experts we have right here in Indianapolis, and ready to apply some new knowledge.

Seven ideas stood out to me as new tips, interesting approaches, thought-provoking strategies, or just downright worth sharing.

1. A powerful Twitter strategy can be summed up in three words: Share Good Stuff. Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer was the keynote speaker who opened the conference on Friday morning, and he has those three words (or a version that includes a more crass substitution for one of the words) taped near his computer screen. Follow those three words and other people will want to follow you.

2. 80% of traffic to business blogs is composed of first-time visitors. The objectives behind corporate blogging usually include building a solid, returning readership, but the reality is that most visitors are one-timers. Chris Baggott of Compendium Blogware, Jason Falls, and Jay Baer – three powerhouses in the industry – dug into their own and their clients’ analytics to figure this out together last winter. Because of this tendency toward new traffic, being mindful of SEO with every single blog post is a must. The #1 thing people do online is email. #2? Search. Help those people find you so the great content you’re creating gets an audience.

3. Techniques for generating leads using Facebook and Twitter are the same for both B2C and B2B. We often think of B2B prospects in a different light than B2C prospects, especially in considering using traditional media outlets to reach them. But B2B prospects are still people, just like B2C prospects. Kyle Lacy, founder of Brandswag and author of Twitter Marketing for Dummies, pointed out that B2B prospects make decisions with some emotional considerations, are looking for reviews from your customers, and want to know your stories, just like every other consumer. And yes, they’re accessing social media at work. How many people do you know that don’t have a smart phone of some kind?

4. Offer to inform or help a follower “if they’re interested.” One key idea, three powerful words. Your intent in social media can be to market and promote your company, but if you only use your platform to pitch to your audience, you’ll be ignored (and kicked out of the sandbox). Get involved, offer to take the conversation further and provide additional information, but only if they confirm they’re interested. Jason Falls again recommended that you keep in mind that the conversation needs to be about them, not you.

5. Having a schizophrenic corporate blog can be a great thing. But use bylines so your readers know which personality is talking. Chuck Gose of MediaTile mentioned that Southwest Airlines has a great corporate blog where you’ll find posts from flight attendants, the CEO, and baggage handlers alike. All these individuals contribute to the Southwest brand and experience, so followers enjoy seeing the company from many different angles. It keeps things interesting.

6. Old-fashioned, in-person communication can support your SEO efforts. Jeremy Dearringer of Slingshot SEO concluded his session on search-engine reputation management with the offer of an iPad giveaway. To be eligible, people in the session had to follow these steps: review his presentation – truthfully – on their blogs (personal or corporate), include “Slingshot SEO” in the post title, mention Slingshot SEO in the post content, and Tweet and/or share the link to that post on FB. They were then asked to email the link to Jeremy for the chance to win the iPad. Each of those requirements for the content supports Slingshot SEO’s search-engine traffic in a positive way. It never hurts to dangle a high-tech, shiny carrot in front of an audience to get them to help you out.

7. The CEO of Scotty’s Brewhouse must be one of the busiest people in Indianapolis. Not only does Scott Wise own six restaurants, he’s in the process of opening more, and he is an incredibly active participant in social media. The Brewhouse brand’s success through social media means they’re able to skip traditional advertising altogether. Until four months ago, when he hired some additional help, each day Scott was doing all the company’s Tweeting personally, answering 50-75 direct messages, monitoring 100+ mentions of @brewhouse, and searching for and responding to 20+ mentions of the restaurants that weren’t tagged with @brewhouse. (Watch it, some content could be NSFW.) And that doesn’t even list how many Tweets he was Tweeting per day. Bruce McClain joined in April and began implementing a larger social-media strategy that included empowering the staff of the company (600+ employees) to participate as well.

I’ll definitely sign up to attend again in 2011. Did you get the chance to go? If you did, what would you add to this list of new things you learned?

Amanda Miller
August 24th, 2010

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9 Responses to “The 7 most interesting things I learned at BIN2010”

  1. Stephen James Says:

    These don’t seem like very compelling reasons to go. These tips seem to be similar to what I read in my newsfeeds and what is posted via Twitter every morning.

    August 26th, 2010 at 8:25 am

  2. Taylor Says:

    I would disagree! I may have heard some of these tid-bits before….but the truths of what makes a successful social media strategy don’t change!

    Something new I learned from this post, “Techniques for generating leads using Facebook and Twitter are the same for both B2C and B2B.” I never thought that you could streamline the way that you use social media when targeted businesses because they make decisions sometimes the same way consumers do. Thanks for sharing your feedback, Amanda as well as some interesting new information!

    I am really hoping to get the chance to attend BIN2011!

    August 26th, 2010 at 8:33 am

  3. Indiana Chevy Dealers Says:

    Stephen it is one thing to read tips and newsfeeds on Twitter it is another to hear them in person and see example of how these are being implemented. The #8 thing Taylor left off and the most beneficial reason to attend both personally and professionally is connections. Personal and professional networking is one of the big reasons to attend.

    August 26th, 2010 at 8:44 am

  4. Amanda Says:

    Stephen, I definitely see your point — these seven items are similar to what people talk about on a daily basis. Rather than being compelling reasons to go, though, for me they were the seven bits of info that stuck with me after the last session ended at 5:00. They were what kept me thinking, looking forward to getting to work on Monday so we could start implementing some different things here.

    So what were some reasons I want to go back next year? 1. I enjoy hearing experts in the field speak in person while having the opportunity to interact with them and ask questions. 2. I got to spend an entire day focused on one specific topic that in my job is easy to push to the side. 3. I met and spoke with people in the Indianapolis area who also have ideas and experiences to share. And 4. it was fun!

    Maybe for you these aren’t reasons to make the trip to the conference, but I encourage you to do some searching online for others’ reactions to the conference. Perhaps they’ll offer some additional thoughts that would be more up your alley. Thanks for offering your opinion.

    August 26th, 2010 at 8:50 am

  5. Erik Deckers Says:

    Stephen,

    That’s like saying, “they have food at a restaurant? That’s not a compelling reason to go. I can get food at home.”

    Don’t forget, there were 35 sessions taking place over 2 days. Amanda only got to see a few of them, as did anyone. And I know that a lot of the information that was shared was more involved and in-depth than is typically shared on Twitter.

    But, like everyone has said, the connections people make there are not the kinds of connections you get on Twitter or in the newsfeeds.

    But I’m biased: I was there, and I had a blast.

    August 26th, 2010 at 9:42 am

  6. Chuck Gose Says:

    What many (like Stephen) forget is that for those of us who are active in social media, much of what’s presented at events like Blog Indiana could be considered common knowledge.

    But for the masses, they are still very much in the learning phase so providing basic tips, advice and examples are extremely helpful in getting them on the right path. Arrogance is not a valued commodity.

    And as Chris added, you can’t undervalue the personal connections made locally.

    August 26th, 2010 at 9:43 am

  7. John Uhri Says:

    There is a significant difference between reading something in an RSS feed or the Twitter stream and sitting through a presentation.

    When I’m REALLY honest with myself, I know I don’t thoroughly read what I see online. To really learn something and have it apply to my business and social media activities, I need to sit down and THINK. One of the best reasons to sit in #BIN2010 sessions is that I’m forced to slow down, take notes (plug: Sketchnotes) and process what I have heard.

    Because of this, I “learned” more in the time I was at Blog Indiana than had I spent all that time skimming Google Reader.

    August 26th, 2010 at 10:08 am

  8. Cassie Dull Says:

    Amanda, These are all excellent takeaways from BIN2010. I also have to agree that attending the conference provided a much more enhanced learning experience than reading blogs and tweets ever would.

    I try to stay up-to-date on social media by reading blogs and tweets every day, but I learned some really advanced stuff at the conference. In fact, there were people I look up to as social media leaders in our community that were simply blown away by some of the presentations. You just can’t compare the conference to an RSS feed.

    What’s even more amazing is that it’s now 5 days since the conference happened and I’m still learning from it because the people that were there are still sharing ideas and posting blogs. It was a truly interactive experience.

    August 26th, 2010 at 10:43 am

  9. Heather Says:

    The true value behind any conference is the people – dedicated organizers who work hard to ensure an amazing event, speakers who know their stuff & engage with the community and attendees who share what they know and what they’ve learned so you can continue the knowledge building even after the event.

    BlogIndiana happens to have all 3 – you can’t beat that value.

    August 26th, 2010 at 11:41 am



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