Ok, it’s the middle of the night and I’m sitting in a rock hard airport chair, but my mind is on the takeaways that I have from the SMX Social Media conference. Much of this I knew, but it was heavily re-enforced.
The bigest benefit, as with most of these small shows, is the contacts and friendships I have started or continued. I think the best in the world were at the show, and for clients who seek out these people, huge success awaits.
While I think the overall presentation quality was high, my favorites were Randy Woods‘ well-grounded discussion and Rob Key’s insightful discussion about tribal culture and Second Life. I was also impressed by Brent Csutoras’ discussion about link building.
But the client-marketer relationship was the one thing that bugged me most. Nobody seemed keen on sharing information about this essential element of the SMM profession, yet I could definitely sense lots of folks were seeking it. I often wonder if conference organizers should think more about the harsh, real-world realities of getting programs like these in place. Or perhaps there’s just no way to wrap that up into a single presentation.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM) is terrific for link building, not for conversions. This is a major change for many marketers to internalize and incorporate into their offering.
- It takes a special kind of client/consultant relationship to make SMM work. It’s closer to organic SEO work than any other web marketing in the “grind-it-out” nature.
- SMM cannot be sold as a one-off service or “by the campaign.” Too many external variables mean you have to execute many campaigns over time to hedge your bets. To sell as a one-off service is to invite failure and client ill-will.
- SMM requires incredible organization on the part of the marketer. Both to keep track of a campaign and to make sure not to break out of acceptable tribal ‘participation.’
- SMM link building requires a keen eye for linkbait that relates to your marketing goals and finesse to make sure it’s not overtly sales-like in presentation.
- Vertical social networks should be an important part of any campaign. Smaller numbers of highly enthusiastic players are using these sites.
- Explaining SMM to clients is going to be very, very difficult. But those who have an inherent curiosity and willingness to participate will earn a strong competitive advantage.
- Having a strong network of friends is essential to SMM, and that network requires daily nurturing.
- Wikipedia makes Digg look like a baby traffic wise, and there are opportunities…but…
- Wikipedia sessions feel a lot like COBOL classes. Even if the people are smart, that whole thing requires a really strong level of patience and persistence. But 5m+ page views daily makes marketers salivate.
- People need to create policies to outline who owns SMM profiles, what happens when there is a change of hands.
- To succeed in social network marketing, plugged-in individuals who know the “tribe’s habits” will win. 20-year PR veterans need not apply if they are still in the mindset of the press release or are unwilling to spend time participating before promoting. Plenty of people have got in trouble.
- There are a lot of really smart people in SMM. Compared to other forms of marketing, the growth and opportunity aligns with trends towards authenticity, word-of-mouth, and making up for short consumer attention spans.
- One of my greatest worries is that clients will write off SMM while their competition runs with it. I worry because catch-up is a tough game to play in SMM and you can’t rush it.
- Even one SPAM slip-up in a social network can ruin an entire branding or SMM effort. Social networks have zero tolerance for screw-ups. Re-building a profile can take 6 months or more of hard work.
- SMM is risky if your brand is fragile or an easy target – putting your brand out in the public eye requires awareness of the cost-benefits. Almost always it’s worth it – that is if you sell a decent product, but you will need to weather the storm of negatives that will come your way with skill.
- Advertising agencies don’t get it, for the most part.
- SEO/SMM are joined at the hip for many things and a link building effort can stack up dozens if not hundreds of authority links…but direct-click traffic itself, independent of the SEO/link advantages, can be significant.
- Participation in social networks – real participation – is a requirement, and is very time consuming. I left wondering who will pay for this time.
- Red-eyes suck.
A few other places to get SMX social-media related information. Add more to comments and I’ll add to this list with ‘follow’
Coverage of the Jason Calacanis and Jimmy Wales panel
More coverage of the Social Search: The Human Challengers
Social Media Marketing Essentials
Linkbait – Chumming for Traffic on Social Media Sites
Extra! Extra! The Social News Sites
A Marketer’s Guide to Social Bookmarking