They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted: Hinda’s Official Social Media Week Wrap-Up - Part II

Miss Part I? Read it here.

A particularly interesting and lively session I attended was a keynote by Jay Baer, social media speaker, coach and co-author of “The NOW Revolution: How to Make your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social” (also the title of this session). His blog, Convince&Convert, is ranked number three in the social media world and he’s consulted for 29 of the Fortune 500.

Baer pointed to social media as being the single most transformative of any technological development in the business world, as it has fundamentally changed the relationship between the business and the customer. Businesses are constantly changing to adapt to social media and the power is no longer in the business itself or in its branding – it’s in its network of connections.

Baer talked about social media as your early warning detection system when it comes to buzz about your company, and if you’re not paying attention to what your customers and potentials are saying about your brand, you won’t succeed as a business. Adopting the words “Thank you” and I’m sorry” will go miles when it comes to customer service in the social world, and companies looking to be more social would do well to incorporate these simple but powerful tools.

Finally, Baer brought up the point that social media is becoming a skill as opposed to a job – perhaps to the chagrin of the room full of social media professionals. He said that every person in the company needs to be doing social media and interacting with his or her clients, and it is not the responsibility of just one person or one department.

My favorite session was “Read Anything Good Lately? How WOM, Social Media and Recommendations Drive Media Consumption.” The panel consisted of Stacey Ballis, Carrie Goldman Segall and Nicole Knepper, three sassy, brassy women who all blog and have published books that became known largely due to social media. The panel talked a lot about how to use social media to your advantage as a new blogger or a self-published author.

Takeaways from this session include being a real person and maintaining authenticity on social media. The panel agreed that social media should be “95 percent social and 5 percent media.” Communicate with your followers, comment on others’ blogs and maintain a consistent sense of self.

Also, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Social media is important but it isn’t real life. Don’t become so involved with your fans online that you forget to walk the dog, and conversely, don’t ignore what’s going on in the social media world when it comes to your readers and fans – especially if you’re trying to sell something or promote your brand. And, as in life, you don’t need a million followers, you just need the right ones.

Another key is to write what’s in your heart and be true to yourself. Knepper, who’s blog and Facebook page are titled Moms Who Drink and Swear and who tweets @queenofcussin, probably put it best when she said, “Don’t compare yourselves to others. You will be miserable.” This is a great lesson when it comes to blogging and other forms of social media as well as out in the real world.

All three of the panelists were real, down-to-earth and hilarious. It was a fun session, and I wished it could have gone on much longer. But, all good things (including this post) must come to an end. I really enjoyed my Social Media Week experience, I learned a TON and I can’t wait for next year!

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They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted: Hinda’s Official Social Media Week Wrap-Up - Part I

They say the best way to learn about something is to immerse yourself in it, and that’s exactly what over 16,000 social media professionals did as they descended upon Chicago the week of September 24. This year’s Social Media Week consisted of about 95 sessions featuring 250 speakers at 40 different venues around the city.

Personally, I represented Hinda at 12, which felt like a pretty full schedule considering the amount of information that was packed into each session, while still managing to pop into the office for a few hours in between.

I won’t get into the gory details of each session here, but I do want to point out a few highlights from what was a terrifically informative, fun and free week of social media madness.

One factor about social media that makes a lot of sense but that many people (including yours truly) probably don’t think about are the legal implications of hosting contests, sweepstakes or other online promotions that involve rules, regulations and privacy concerns.

At “Pinning and Winning: Activating Social Contests,” we heard from Linda Goldstein, Partner and Chair of the Advertising, Marketing and Media Division of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, who talked about the legal risks involved in hosting online contests, specifically compliance with lottery laws, disclosure of rules and privacy policies and intellectual property liability for content use.

“The FTC says that limited real estate is no excuse for lack of disclosure,” Goldstein said, with regard to specifically Twitter-based promotions and the fact that a tweet is limited to 140 characters. “Rules are your best defense. You don’t need to police each and every entry, but makes sure your rules are prominent and easy to read.”

(Full disclosure: I’ve spent a few years working in the legal field, so perhaps this part of the wrap-up isn’t as interesting to some readers, but it’s important nonetheless!)

Stay tuned for Part II of our Social Media Week wrap-up this Friday!

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