This morning I attended Social Media Outlook, hosted by Potomac Tech Wire at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner. The panel consisted of Rohit Bhargava, Adam Lehman, Geoff Livingston, Jake Maas and moderator Paul Sherman, with a crowd ranging from social media addicts, to developers, to those interested in jumping in, but still hesitant.
The morning covered some of the biggest misconceptions that go along with social media, success stories, Twitter predictions, audience questions, emerging technologies and social media’s most “over-hyped” topics.
First, Lehman suggested that one of the biggest misconceptions was social media being nothing but free marketing, where content can just be thrown ‘out there’ for consumption. He said this point of view won’t be helpful, and an investment must be made in terms of strategy in order to succeed. Bhargava agreed and added that when you do start social media, start small and make legitimate connections with your community.
Livingston’s social media misconception of choice was how it’s thought of as “publish” as compared to “search.” Instead of using social media as an avenue of publishing your content on every social site, use it to assist search and your inbound links. More inbound links will help to get people talking about your company or product. But if you inundate them with marketing content, it won’t go over very well. Bhargava mentioned a benefit of social media – it is search optimized naturally.
Next, the panel moved on to some positive examples for social media campaigns. Livingston’s pick was the Livestrong community, specifically the Facebook Fan Page. His feeling was that the Livestrong campaign has become a movement and cultivated a highly engaged community supporting its’ growth. Even on Twitter, it’s a common sight to see avatars with the Livestrong “twibbon” supporting the cause. Another successful campaign, chosen by Lehman, was the Burger King Whopper Sacrifice campaign. If you’ll remember, this was the campaign where users ‘sacrified’ 10 Facebook friends by de-friending them for a Whopper. Before shut down by Facebook, the campaign was marketed in a social way and was fun – both being characteristics of most successful social media campaigns.