TWTRCON DC 09 Roundup

By Renee Revetta | Oct 23, 2009
More Articles by Renee

Alan Murray, Deputy Managing Editor & Executive Editor Online, of The Wall Street Journal spoke of Twitter as a great news filter, but not necessarily a powerful reporting tool. For the WSJ, social media helps them get feedback from readers. We hear of bankruptcies for newspapers every week it seems.

“Yet the truth is this is the most exciting time for journalism that I’ve experienced in the business.”

Murray continued, “Frankly, it’s making us better. Now we know what our readers want – before we just guessed.”

TWTRCON DC 09 LogoThe WSJ now has a bigger audience thanks to their online presence and social media. Content is reaching their readers in much richer ways and it’s easier to gather feedback from readers.

Real Time Organization panel

Nigel Dessau, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, of AMD, John Shea, Public Information Officer for New Media, of FEMA, Ambre Morley, Associate Director of Product Communications, of Novo Nordisk, and Capt. Chris Sukach, Chief, Emerging Technology, of the Air Force Public Affairs Agency along with Moderator David Armano, Senior Partner, of Dachis Group discussed the transformation taking place because of the implications of real-time social media.

Shea of FEMA said their goal is to use Twitter keeping the organization’s mission in mind. He noted, with Twitter not being a government created application, it’s great for civil servants, because it’s where they are already. The public can interact with the government through Twitter as much or as little as they want.

Morley, in pharmaceuticals, said it’s still a struggle for them because Twitter is still government regulated through the FDA. And, as always, the panel mentioned the struggles with legal that are involved, especially when you’re dealing with a large global company. A benefit she sees with social media is that there are no boundaries with social media, and what her company says has to work anywhere in the world.

At AMD, Dessau asked his employed to give Yammer a try. Rather than resist, employees were asked them engage with Yammer. Although proprietary information can’t be shared over the site for security reasons, it’s become a recruitment and retention tool for them and 30% of the employees are now using Yammer.

Sukach suggested a social media directory – a collection of all the social sites about your brand. So instead of making fans go 10 different places to find ways to engage, gather the links for them. Whether the network is managed by the brand or the actual community, including all of the links in the directory helps your fans interact and create even more buzz about your company.

Nigel Dessau also had a session about AMD and their success with social media in averting a potential crisis. They indulged information about how computer battery life, both active and inactive, stacked up on different computers. Their story about the battery comparisons generated 300+ blog posts, 100+ tweeters, gained discussion on the largest relevant tech sites, and had overall high levels of positive engagement.

A few more suggestions, measure the things you do with social media, and associate yourself with the brand, always. Remember content is still king, you must know your audience, and messages haven’t changed.

In a recruiting session, we heard that social media makes getting the word out about why your company is a great place to work really easy. It also dresses the black hole of the job application process, by filling it in with a real person instead of an automated response. Jessica Lee and Kerry Noone reported their successes saying Sodexo’s traffic has more than tripled since their endeavors with social media.

A Turbo Tax session revealed the company reached over 1 million people on Myspace, Twitter and Facebook with their Super Status campaign. Positive attributes and purchase intent both increased because of the campaign.

Real-Time Response

The Real-time response panel featured Dan Luxenberg, Web 2.0 / Social Media Lead, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Richard Pesce, Social Media Communications, from Sprint, David Puner, Communications Manager, of Dunkin’ Brands, Inc. (aka @DunkinDave) and Andrew P. Wilson, Web Content Account Manager, of the Department of Health and Human Services. Christopher J. Dorobek, Co-Anchor, of Federal News Radio was the moderator.

First off, Wilson stated, you have to realize you’re not going to be able to respond to everything immediately. However, with the ease and speed someone can tweet about their customer experience, brands need to be able to respond reasonably soon. Overwhelmingly, listening is a huge part of doing business on Twitter. After a crisis happens and time passes, it’s hard to repair the damage that’s been done. Companies need to be proactive and already be in the community listening, instead of reactive.

Next, Scott Harrison, President of charity:water gave a great case study about his organization. He shared moving videos and photos and described how working with Twestival raised money to build wells for clean drinking water.

He gave the audience some tips: find something unique to do, have staff set up individual accounts, be generous, ask for opinions, follow everyone back, answer DMs, cheerlead, and lastly, surprise people!

In a session about branding, Rick Bakas of St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery pledged the importance of keeping a human element. To those looking to building a following on social networks, start to create a digital footprint for efficiency and influence. For example, Bakas aggregated tweets about the vineyard into stream and organized a Tweetup tour. If you’d like to follow them check out @Stsupery.

Darren Koenig, Director of Wireless, LBS and Consumer Markets of Tele Atlas and Michael O’Connor,President of with Rob Pegoraro, Consumer Technology Columnist at the Washington Post as the moderator explored the possibilities surrounding geo-location and mobility. As some know, there is a GPS switch in most smartphones, and the user has the capability to allow it to be on or off. Although geo-location could be used for alerting local customers of coupons and such, there are many more important topics where location could be critical. Things are more important to their audience if they’re local. For example, in emergency situations if geo-locations were used, hopefully aid would arrive sooner. The question was posed, how different do you think the response rate to aid Katrina victims would have been if this technology existed then. In the future, it seems like most hope for geo-location mobility to be used for the better, and avoid the “creepy” side of stalkers always being able to track down your exact location. My thoughts: security would have to be steep and users would have to be able to only share their exact information with those they know and trust.

The New Rules for the Real-Time Business

Rohit Bhargava, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Marketing at Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence, Frank Gruber, Product Strategist & Evangelist, at AOL, Clay Johnson, Director of Sunlight Labs, Steve Rubel, Senior Vice President, Director of Insight at Edelman Digital and moderator, Tonia Ries, CEO of Modern Media rounded out the conference with some new rules and ideas for the future of real-time business.

Johnson of Sunlight Foundation said Twitter could be as big as email, as the click-thru rate is very high. Rubel said,”we’re in a new era of search.” One of Rubel’s predictions for the future included being able to search for an see trends, just from your friends. As far as life streaming goes, you can check out Rubel on Posterous and Gruber on Tumblr. They claimed that it’s an easy way to stream their content, sometimes moreso than Twitter. Attendees left with a great deal of knowledge, most likely “twittered-out” and remembering that at its most basic level, Twitter is about human interaction.

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