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?
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