I had the pleasure of representing Mainstreethost with a couple of my colleagues at the Social Media Biz Summit in Buffalo, NY held by Ruby Marketing Communications and Canisius College’s Women’s Business Center and would like to share with you my key takeaways from the event.
[VIDEOS] You can also check out a recording of the event here.
I’ve attended a few SEO and social media conferences in the past and was surprised and very pleased with the quality of speakers and the quality of their presentations. On a side note, Buffalo seems to have a very talented group of younger marketing professionals from what I observed which is always good to see.
The Social Media Biz Summit speakers were as follows:
Ramon DeLeon of Domino’s Pizza
Deb Weinstein co-founder of Strategic Objectives
Sam Fiorella of Sensei Marketing
Josepf Haslam of DragonSearch
Jennifer Cisney of Kodak
Sean McGinnis of DotCO Law Marketing
Also in attendance for a moderated talk and group Q&A sessions were:
Dr. Gregory Wood of Canisius College
Brian Wheeler of New Era Cap
Gregg Pastore of the Buffalo Bills
Brent Rossi of the Buffalo Sabres
Samantha Hicks of the Buffalo Sabres
Shelly Cieslak of Fairfield Marriott
Speakers, Topics, Q/A and “Social Media Speed Dating”:
Ramon DeLeon: The Move of the Day Award goes to whoever created the speaking times. Ramon DeLeon of Dominos is a very energetic individual and got me excited for the rest of the day within the first 30 seconds of his talk. I have written in the past about Dominos reputation management and customer service and Ramon just reinforced my past thoughts. Ramon shared with the audience that it would be impossible for Dominos to make money selling pizzas for a dollar but the amount of social buzz it creates helps you create long-term brand advocates and gets people sharing and talking about your product. Ramon also gave what in my opinion was the quote of the day when he said that “social media fire needs to be put out with social media water”. This gives those involved with social media marketing and reputation management something to think about. He also reinforced the fact that content can be created out of almost anything, even toilet paper in his particular example. I feel that the overall message Ramon was trying to share was that no matter what it is that you do, have fun doing it and let your customers or audience see that which will eventually lead them to sharing it.
Check out Ramon’s kick-off party video and you will get an idea of how energetic this guy is:
Deb Weinstein: Next up was Deb Weinstein of Strategic Objectives talking about corporate social responsibility (CSR). Deb shared a lot of her experiences with the audience and gave a few tips which stood out to me. The first was that PR should be finding and making the trends, not following them. This is a good piece of advice for almost anyone but closely pertains to marketing and social media based professions. You can do good by doing good and when it comes to your social audience, you always want to listen, join and participate. Deb shared a couple of interesting stats – 70% of consumers will purchase from a socially responsible brand and 90% of young professionals would prefer to work for a socially responsible company. This just reiterates the importance of PR and social media and how it should be consuming more and more of company’s marketing strategies.
Sam Fiorella: After a short break, Sam Fiorella of Sensei Marketing and gave a presentation entitled “Is Your Company Ready for Social Media?” Sam got into talking about why it is important to measure social media ROI and briefly got into how you can measure the ROI on conversation (social media). He stressed the importance of companies aligning each of their departments’ social media strategies to the company’s overall strategy and that it is crucial to pinpoint your social media goals while creating a path to get you there. Before measuring return and results, you need a goal and a plan designated to getting you to that goal. One of the most useful pieces of advice in my opinion was the statement that companies should give their employees social media enablement policies (this is what you can do) as opposed to policing policies (do this and get fired). After all, your employees are your biggest brand advocates!
Josepf Haslam: Next up was Josepf Haslam of DragonSearch. Josepf has a bold presentation entitled “Get Social or Die” and reiterated to some the importance of owning your properties and presences on the web. He gave the “what” and “why” on social media’s business influences and stated that you need to understand who your influencers are and who is out engaging. Have an action plan and desired outcome and use execution, measuring and reinvention to help you reach those outcomes. Josepf shared a couple of cool stats that included that 71-83% of people will use customer reviews to influence their purchasing decisions and that 80% of people will change their decision of purchasing a product after reading or seeing negative reviews. He also gave his opinion on what the new SEO is describing it as broader long tail, relationships and relevant connections. This replaces the “old” SEO which he shared in his presentation you can see here.
Jennifer Cisney: After breaking for lunch, conference attendees had the honor of listening to Jennifer Cisney of Kodak talk about leveraging social media for brand awareness. Jennifer gave what was one of the best presentations in my opinion. Jennifer gave examples of how she handles parts of Kodak’s social media through blogs and various social networks. She shared with audience a couple of stats including that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations while only 14% trust advertisement. Jennifer stressed the importance of being transparent and taking criticism as a way of bettering your product / service. Other topics of conversation included going to where your customers are to engage with them and the importance of being timely. Overall, Jennifer gave a great presentation.
Moderated Panel / Q&A:
A panel, being moderated by Dr. Gregory Wood covered something that I have been involved with quite a bit lately, a reputation management discussion. Titled “Social Media CRM: Handling Complaints on Social Media”, Dr. Wood presented a panel made up of Brian Wheeler, Gregg Pastore, Brent Rossi, Samantha Hicks and Shelly Cieslak with some questions pertaining to online reputation management and more specifically, social media based reputation management. The panel covered the importance of keeping the human factor present even when dealing with customers via the internet and social networks. They also stressed the importance of reacting to negativity instead of ignoring it or even deleting it. You want your audience to share their thoughts on your own pages (blogs, Facebook, Google+) and you deter them from doing so when there is lack of communication or when you close the lines of communication (deleting bad comments for example). You have more control over your own presences in the end so it is always in your best interest to keep the communication channels open all of the time.
Overall, the panel was a great addition and a good way to get multiple opinions on multiple reputation management topics.
Social Media “Speed Dating”:
Social Media Biz Summit did something pretty interesting and it broke the day up perfectly. They did a little social media “speed dating” session where a group of attendees would be assigned to a table and every 8 minutes, a new speaker would enter the table for discussion. This was an excellent way to get to know the speakers a little bit better and also to run questions and ideas past them. The fact that attendees were put into groups also allowed them to network amongst themselves. The only downfall was that it became a little rocky when time for the speakers to switch groups but it was handled very well and certainly expected with the first time event.
Sean McGinnis: Following the panel and the social media speed dating session, Sean McGinnis closed out the conference with an awesome presentation titled “Awesome finds awesome! Creating shareable content in a social SEO world” which I thought was incredible. What stood out the most in Sean’s presentation was when he stated that nothing beats a great community. He stated that if you aren’t creating great content, you should be curating it given the shift of search and how social it is becoming. Even in the B2B area, businesses should not be scared of creativity and should promote being different whether it be through content or social media marketing campaigns. Keep in mind that nothing beats having a great community and you are on your way to doing good things.
Hope to See More in the Future!
All in all this was a GREAT conference and I am looking forward to seeing many more of this kind in the Buffalo, NY area. The event was well organized with a few minor glitches here and there but nothing you wouldn’t expect. They had a very helpful volunteer staff that kept things running exceptionally smoothly, and a nice little networking dinner event at the hotel. Here is a list of the event’s sponsors. I will attend again in the future for sure.
Oh yea, on top of everything, they left everyone with a pretty awesome gift bag!
Check back, I will add slide decks and any other media to this post as they become available.
Here’s a link to Social Media Biz Summits’ Facebook page.