The panel started by showing this video, which is really amazing:
Is Social Media a Fad?
Scott started by saying that there’s nothing new about social media. Brian said the new thing is that it’s easier. Scott says we make it “special” — but it’s just talking really. You don’t talk about the ROI of a conversation. Sarah added that you don’t measure your friends on a scale of 1 to 10.
How Did You Evolve into Social Media?
Sarah started off in PR, so it was a natural extension, first of how to communicate with journalists, then a natural progression to more. Brian has always been a content creator, it’s just a more efficient way to distribute content now.
How Do You Get a Client Invested in Social Media?
Melanie asked the panel about the change with Ford, starting to open a conversation via social media. How do you get companies over the fear of exposure and social media? Chris said there are many messes, but Chris said that they focus on what metric can they move. For instance, with Ford: “If this brought you more test drives, is it worth it?”. Scott says every time you ask for the ROI of Twitter, a kitten dies (ha ha). His opinion is that it’s happening — the question is: Do you want to be part of the conversation? Sarah said that she started a company partially because people come to her because they’re ready to engage social media. And as a consultant, clients seem to have more trust in you than if you were in-house.
Social Media Disasters
Melanie asked Sarah about the Motrin campaign towards moms that backfired. How do companies recover? Sarah said Motrin’s problem was really a marketing issue, not social media. But social media made the issue explode. Scott added that social media doesn’t fix anything — it amplifies. If a moron runs your account, you’re just a bigger moron. Scott brought up the Cook’s Source issue that came up just last week, where the magazine published someone’s article without their permission. Scott said we now virtually rally together fast.
How Do You Decide Which Clients Need Which Social Media Platforms?
Melanie asked about how you decide which social networks and platforms are appropriate for companies or individuals. Sarah said that it ranges, and they are typically looking at an entire communications plan first. Chris said the tools allow them to vent the news to those who need it. He mentioned Trackur and Radian6 as two sample tools. He said Craig Newmark of Craigslist said that 67% of social media came about because of a guerilla move.
Does Everyone Need Every Social Media Platform?
Melanie laughed about how a parking garage had a sign that said “Follow Us on Twitter”. How do you get companies off of the ledge and need to be a part of every social platform? Sarah said a parking lot could at least tweet things like open spaces and such. Scott added that there is no “right” tool. What do you want to get out of it? What do you want to do?
What about ROI?
Melanie asked, “What about ROI?”. If you’re a small business, you can’t focus on everything. You need to know if it’s worth it. Chris said when you talk about strategies, the framing is so much different for small business. He compared it with going to the gym. You get out of it what you put into it. You have to do stuff!
Is Social Media a Better Investment than SEO?
Melanie asked Brian about an article about why social media is a better investment than SEO. Brian said some of the sharpest people out there are SEOs. He said that social and SEO are one continuum now (I agree, Brian!). Scott said he started with Twitter because he wanted to be above SEO. People don’t search for something if they already know what they want. Chris added that he ranks for silly things in search. He said he did have to go in with “search eyes”, but he made up in other areas too via social media. You can leverage the social media platform to build a rapport — you can’t do that with a system. Scott said that there’s no ROI from seeing a person you follow on Twitter at Pubcon, but it feels good.
What were some mistakes you made?
Melanie asked about mistakes — what were some that the experts have made? Sarah said that she had to learn to work for what she believed in, but not to push too fast. Scott said he’s failing to keep up with engagement. It’s almost becoming work — he didn’t want it to be this way. He’s not sure what to do. Chris said he built a model where he had to be there to make the money. He realized that he couldn’t do it all. Brian said he failed the first few years. He created good content and got good mentions. But he didn’t have a business model back then or understand marketing. He then realized that the content WAS the marketing.
Time Management and Balance
Melanie asked them how they manage their time. How do you pick and choose where to invest your time and still manage the meaningful things? Sarah said she always struggles with this. She mentioned Good to Great and the hedgehog concept — find the one thing you’re best at and invest most of your time there. Scott said he’s horrible at time management. There are tradeoffs, but it doesn’t help when you miss your family. One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is also one of the worst things — you’re always thinking up new ideas. Chris said he works at it. There’s a balance, but nothing is ever completely in balance. He started an “idea locker” to write down ideas, and decide which need to be done now. He also spends family time with the phone turned off. There’s always more work than hours in the day. You only really have to worry about that if someone isn’t going to be fed. Otherwise, go to bed! Brian said he switched business models and cut back a lot. With social media, he’s always on and tuned in. You have to filter out not what you want to sell but what others want to buy and reject about 90%.
What Is One Immediate Action People Can Do Now?
Chris said talk about others 12x more than you talk about your own stuff (it’s the 12/1 principle). Retweet up and coming twitterers. Scott said stop buying books for a week. Stop trying to find the new thing and just execute. Do something. Don’t get “perfection paralysis”. Sarah said to partner with a good cause. Each person at her company takes on one non-profit to help.