Lessons from KSU’s Social Media Integration Conference

I attended Kennesaw State University’s Social Media Integration conference, hosted by their Center for Sustainable Journalism.  What a weekend!  The best and the brightest in social media attended, presented, and networked, and it was a gold mine of ideas, case studies, and results.  Here are my favorite lessons from this weekend:

  • Nothing beats face-to-face interaction.  Want to boost your social media presence?  Attend an event, in person, network, and you’ll be amazed at how your online presence benefits.
  • A distributed web presence, with a spoke-and-wheel model, produces far greater results than SEO and a website alone.
  • 75% of journalists research their subjects using social media.
  • Make online interaction easy.  The gold standard is Amazon’s One Click ordering and Facebook’s Like button, both of which require the user to click just one button.  Can you make your website this simple?
  • Twitter is excellent for jumping on top of customer service issues immediately.  Whole Foods has two customer service people dedicated to online interactions.
  • Social media is a two-way conversation.  If the only message you deliver is “look at me,” you’re not listening or responding to your customers, and you’ve wasted your time.
  • YouTube is the second-most used search engine, behind Google, in the world.  If you don’t have video on your website, you are missing out on customers.
  • Consumer experience online is everything.  Is their experience on your sites fun, interactive, and easily shared?
  • Make sure you define a strategy before you dive into social media.  Can you say definitively what you want your audience to do after they visit your site?  Have you made it easy to do just that?
  • The quality of your connections, not the overall number, is what counts.  James Andrews of Everywhere raised over $70,000 and set a Guinness Book word record in his Twitter #beatcancer campaign.  From conception to execution, the campaign took three days.  His connections were Don Lemon of CNN, bloggers attending the BlogWord conference jumped on board, and soon celebrities like Justin Bieber followed suit independently.

The biggest surprise to me was how effectively Whole Foods is using Twitter for customer service.  I doubt even Twitter’s founders ever envisioned that type of interaction when they developed their micro-blogging platform.

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