Yesterday I attended the Boston Chapter of the PRSA’s Social Media Summit at Bentley University. They had a strong turnout with well over 200 attendees. The speakers and panels they pulled together were quite impressive spanning B2C and B2B companies across CPG, technology, entertainment, insurance, banking, healthcare, biotech, legal, financial services and digital media. You can see the agenda here. Click on the agenda link to download the PDF.
Rather than give you a blow by blow of every speaker and panel, I decided that I would apply one of the consistent themes that ran throughout the speaker and panel comments about social content, which is, keep it simple, digestible, relatable and shareable. Here are a few interesting points that were made:
- Challenge anyone who says they know where things are going. Social media as we know it is barely 10 years old so best practices are always changing. Just try it because everything will change anyway. And don’t regret a thing.
- You can’t set out to make a viral video. The audience decides what is viral.
- Tell stories using images – pictures, images, videos – as much as possible. The brain processes images 60,000 faster than bullet points.
- Content finds its audience.
- Create a space for conversation not a platform for broadcast.
- We are now enablers of communications, not broadcasters.
- Company social media policies should emphasize more what people can/should do, not what they shouldn’t.
- To create social media ambassadors in the company, it is best to show them how, not tell them how.
- Social media has become more noise than signal, so focus on quality over quantity.
- Deliver the content in “snackable” or “sipable” amounts at the right time.
- In regulated industries, creating social content is like writing a haiku. It’s very constrictive, but requires a ton of creativity.
There were many more worthwhile points covered by the speakers and panelists, but I think the point is pretty clear. The focus is on content not platforms.
A couple of years ago the conversation at these type of events was more about which platforms to use. Not now. The conversation has moved completely to engagement and what content will make that happen. The social media platform shake out is pretty clear. Twitter and Facebook dominate regardless of whether your company is B2B or B2C focused. YouTube is viewed more as a media platform than a social network despite the ability to comment, like and share. However, short form video such as Vine is building momentum. LinkedIn, despite is popularity for business networking and presenting company information, is secondary when it comes to creating conversations. Google+ is even further off the radar with most watching it to see if it can gain any critical mass, and whether Google with all of its power can give it so much of an advantage that organizations feel they have to be there.
It’s also pretty clear that we’re way past the point where the C-suite is asking why social media is needed, but there is still a lot of work to do in creating a content-based strategy that will spur engagement with customers and deliver measurable returns.
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