Oct 4 2007
After some traffic problems, I arrived at the Direct Marketing Association of Washington’s (DMAW) New Media Marketing Day: The Era of Conversation event at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.
Keynote: Valeria Maltoni
The morning kicked off with Valeria Maltoni from Conversation Agent (and yours truly winning a book giveaway – The Age of Conversation!). Valeria discussed the importance of conversation in relating to customers, markets and internal employee relations.
As far as new media, more and more conversations are occurring online, so how do you utilize blogs and other mediums to start conversations and find your online voice? The most important thing to remember is that when you blog, you are in essence starting a conversation with people.
Blogs have become important for businesses because it’s conversation – speaking in normal words. It’s not “marketing fluff” – it’s real thoughts by real people, and provides a more candid conversation agent. Blogs also serve to build relationships – there is a great ROI – Return on INVOLEMENT with blogging. When you step back and write for your audience, then then you will really be able to participate on a whole new level.
Keynote: C.C. Chapman
The second speaker was C.C. Chapman, a nationally known podcaster, blogger and marketing professional. C.C. started out discussing Twitter (recently redesigned!) and how it has been affecting conversations, a very interesting tool to reach out to the masses.
People are talking about your brand, your company…and it’s up to you to find out where and who. Technorati and Google alerts work best, but the more important thing is to make sure you’re finding it, and reacting – again speaking towards ROI – involvement.
While there may be multiple conversations online about your company or brand, it’s easy to get upset when bloggers say something negative, but the better way to handle it is to realize that anger is better than silence. Don’t keep trying to control the message, it’s more important that people are talking, not necessarily the message.
Messages can come and go – good and bad – but conversation and exposure is more important. Sharing thoughts and ideas means that customers and consumers can talk back. Although it can be scary, it’s also exciting to engage in dialogue.
One point that C.C. mentioned was when pitching a blogger, make sure that you have done your research first. As bloggers, we all know that it’s annoying for someone to send a blind pitch, but it’s worse when you received something that either isn’t relevant at all, or something that has already been covered. Know your audience, and make the most of your relationships.
Keynote: Geoff Livingston
Geoff was the final person of the opening session, and highlighted the recent Now is Gone post, discussing controlling the message. It’s more important to have the conversation, not direct it. Another key point when approaching social media, is make sure that your company is being ethical and true in its blogging.
Participation is marketing, which more importantly means you need to be conversing, participating and building relationships. Differentiate between your audience and your community. An audience is captive, but a community is interactive and engaged.
Our job as bloggers is to build value for these relationships, keeping the conversation going by providing them a service. Managing the community intelligently by utilizing the available technology. Make sure you are using the tools available to reach the widest audience.
We’re off to a great start on social media, interaction, and conversation!