By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
Last week I had the privilege of being around 4,500 social media enthusiasts who gathered in Las Vegas at BlogWorld to listen to over 350 speakers talk about what works and doesn’t work in social media. I was so proud to be representing CRT/tanaka and Network Solutions at one of the largest social media events known for bringing some of the best minds in social media marketing to share their stories. Here’s a quick summary of some key messages that came across loud and clear consistently through BlogWorld that might serve as good reminders as you explore the social labyrinth.
1. Blog with Passion and SEO will Follow: Scott Stratten (@unmarketing), Canadian marketer and author of the book “Unmarketing” was the opening keynote at BlogWorld and one thing that he said during his keynote that stayed with me is, “Blog with passion…create AWESOME content…Awesome content spreads online…the SEO will follow.” If you don’t have anything different to say or have no individual perspectives on issues please don’t start a blog. Rehashing content is not going to get your blog any further than your website and it doesn’t matter if it’s a personal blog, B2C, B2B, being passionate about what you are blogging is the first step to increasing your SEO rankings for the blog.
2. Email Marketing Still Exists and More Powerful than Social Media: Speaker Declan Dunn shared some great insight on, “How to turn your friends into fans and customers” and during his session he mentioned that 42% of mobile phone usage is to check emails. Whoa! What that means is that even with the growing mobile/social trend, people are mainly checking emails on their smart phones so chances are that your email marketing campaign might actually get read on a mobile device so don’t give up on email marketing, not yet. This reminder is more for the small to mid-sized companies who may not have a robust CRM or lead generation platform like Salesforce or Marketo to launch an email campaign and may not be actively engaged on social networks BUT they do have thousands of active contacts in their customer databases. You don’t want to spam your base but a cleverly thought out email campaign with specific calls-to-action: increase web traffic to your new homepage, introduce a new offering with a discount code, add friends/followers to your social properties etc. still seems to work very well especially for companies working on a tight marketing budget.
3. Embrace the M-word, don’t let it catch you by surprise: Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. Almost every BlogWorld session that I attended reminded us of how millions of people are conducting business through their mobile devices and that marketers need to make mobile an integral part of their strategy moving forward. One consistent theme about mobile was also the fact that having a mobile website is an absolute must-have. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, chances are you are losing customers. It was funny how during the keynote and panels when the speaker mentioned a mobile website, several of us in the room pulled out our iPhones, Droids and Blackberries to go to our favorite sites and see how mobile-friendly it is. I must say the Bellagio in Vegas has a good mobile version of its website that helps you make a quick decision on where to eat at the Bellagio.
4. Twitter is for Venting, Stop Asking for Twitter ROI: I was so thrilled to hear Scott Stratton remind us all that Twitter is a venting machine and companies should stop asking, “What’s the ROI from Twitter?” The biggest benefit of Twitter is that it’s fast, simple and easy and that’s what makes it a viral venting channel where you hear more complaints than praises. So let’s accept that and leverage 140 characters for customer service at the least if you don’t have time/resources for thought leadership positioning on Twitter. Listen to this short clip from @unmarketing on Twitter, I bet it will make you laugh a little while understanding how to micro-blog. @Unmarketing on Twitter @BlogWorld.
5. KISS Policy Works Best with Bloggers: On day-2, one of my favorite CRT/tanaka clients, Network Solutions hosted an exclusive blogger luncheon at the Border Grille, Mandalay Bay, venue of this year’s BlogWorld. CRT/tanaka helped with the planning of “Have a Taco on Us” luncheon for Network Solutions and from the get go our mantra was to Keep It Short Simple. This was NOT going to be a Network Solutions sale pitch, NO PowerPoints involved but just an opportunity for bloggers who exemplify the company’s commitment to small business. We were thrilled to have some well known names in social media like Liz Strauss, founder of SOBCon, Jim Kukral, Rohit Bhargava, Jay Baer joining the Network Solutions lunch. I mean these are influentials that you would die to get some attention from and they had a 101 more important things to do at BlogWorld but they chose to spend some time with Network Solutions. Stop selling, create an opportunity to connect and collaborate and chances are your brand is now getting a lot of mentions. We stayed focus on a good lunch party with bloggers and NOT how many mentions we could get from them and you know what? The mentions just happened by themselves. Here’s a blog post mentioning the Network Solutions lunch from Anita Campbell, Editor, Small Business Trends, a very highly respected voice in small business praising our lunch. Don’t get me started on the web traffic Anita’s blog gets, leave alone her following on Twitter and Facebook.
I got on the plane to Vegas a little unsure of the ROI from BlogWorld, to quote the overrated acronym but I come back with a renewed sense of how to do social media right to generate value for my clients. I got to meet Rick Calvert, co-founder of BlogWorld who had absolutely no halo over his head after the success he has had with this event but came across very down to earth. Lots of great connections were made and yes I am definitely going back in 2011. Special thanks to Rosalie Morton, Social Media team, CRT/tanaka, Susan Wade, Director of Corporate Communications, Network Solutions and everyone’s favorite Social Swami, Shashi Bellamkonda who made BlogWorld extra special.