Can You Summate in 140? Top OMMA Social Takeaways

I’ve just emerged – well 3 hours ago – from 9 hours of live immersion in social media at OMMA Social – the Online Media, Marketing and Advertising social media conference. Ah, the bliss and the exhaustion. I feel compelled to share my joy with those of you I met today – physically and virtually – and others in the blogosphere. So, I have set myself to creating a list of key takeaways. It will not be easy, I know. But nothing worth doing ever is – or so they say.

I am going to post this blog as a work in progress. And I invite those who were there with me in the Crowne Plaza ballroom – or have watched the video stream – to chime in. You can also relive the live conversation at #OMMASocial on Twitter.

WHAT’S NEXT:

1) The big next thing is hyper-local targeting – particularly via mobile.

SOCIAL MEDIA, IN GENERAL:

2) You have to “have your brand out there” because conversations are going to happen, and if you’re not a part of them, “you’re going to get left out.”

3) Authenticity is crucial. If you don’t have it, they will know it.

4) Need to define your personality as a brand in the social media ecosystem – especially important for Twitter.

5) Executive (C-Level) buy-in is essential – need resources to have an effective social media presence.

6) Enroll your entire organization in your social media initiative – strength in numbers.

TWITTER

7) Run a search of your brand or category on Twitter to demonstrate to management that your brand is already part of the conversation.

8) Use Twitter to track comments about your brand and then reach out directly and personally to those who have tweeted, particularly those with problems and complaints.

9) Twitter is a better tool for brands than is Facebook – you can’t search “Updates” on Facebook.

FACEBOOK

10) Use Facebook Connect to get information in not out.

Twitter is a better tool for brands than is Facebook:

You can’t search personal updates on Facebook.

Twitter more dynamic – what’s happening NOW, and it’s less of a build it, and they will come. Once consumers have signed up to be your friend or fan, it is hard to keep them engaged.

While Twitter has 18MM unique users to Facebook’s 70MM, it is growing fast. While 10% of Twitter users create 90% of Twitter content, they are influential and passionate.

Facebook users are coming to Facebook to socialize…

“You have to have your brand out there because conversations are going to happen, and if you’re not a part of them, you’re going to get left out.”

In so doing, know that you have to be comfortable being part of the tone of the conversation, “snarkiness rules the day, so you have to be comfortable being part of a snark.” (Andy Mitchell, CNN)

This reminds me of an recent cover story interview by BusinessWeek – “The Risk Takers: Hunting for Growth.” The author being interviewed compared navigating the economic crisis to driving on ice. The worst thing you can do is slam on your brakes. You have to be willing to give up some control and go with the flow, as it were – hmmm… perhaps I should not attempt to be articulate after 11pm. In any case, I wrote about a related topic in a previous blog about the value of advertising during an economic downturn – based on work I did in 2001.

Authenticity is crucial

Walmart’s claim to be green was immediately questioned by the “Mom” blogging community. Just didn’t resonate.

Now, this may not be new to you. In fact, Robert Scobel and Shel Israel spoke about this in their 2006 book “Naked Conversations.” However, it is crucial.

A powerful way to utilize Twitter is to track your brand and then reach out directly and personally to those who comment, particularly those with problems and complaints.

Craig Engler (Sci Fi Channel – soon to be ScyFy) told a story of Craig Newmark contacting him directly when he posted a tweet about a craigslist problem.

Comcast is the poster child for this practice with their Comcast Cares program – a far cry from the YouTube video of the serviceman sleeping on a customer’s sofa. Later in the day, we got to hear from Frank Eliason, Director of Digital Care at Comcast, directly.

It kind of makes you feel that every brand should do this – as a consumer.

Run a search of your brand or category on Twitter to demonstrate that your brand is already part of the conversation.

As Steve Wax of Campfire said on a different occasion – understand what is being said about your brand and then insert yourself into the conversation.

All that said, we need to always keep in mind the self selectivity of Twitter. These are opinion leaders and influencers, yes. But they are also a younger, tech savvy slice of the population, and 10% of those who tweet create 90% of content. For example, when I search for “Harvard Club,” I find tweets from recent grads complaining about the dress code. Definitely good insight for those planning for the future of the club, but a biased sample.

Use Facebook Connect to get information in not out.

One of the most powerful uses of social media is research. The listening post application. This reminds me of the days when, as a brand manager, I would periodically listen in on calls to consumer service. You don’t want to know the kinds of usage questions that consumers asked about Vaseline skin care products!

…more later

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