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June 2009

history versus change: why social takes time

Social success has typically been about 2 key components: scale and sentiment.  But I think the traditional model misses a key component.  (The answer is in the last sentence of this post) Social media is like a nos in a high performance vehicle.  It can amplify the effort you're already investing, but won't do bupkis of someone isn't pushing the gas, if there isn't already supporting movement in the market.

However, social media success is not as simple as pushing on the gas. The digital conversation reflects the totality of all experiences and interactions people have had with and around the brand.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the inspirational and the aspirational.

No matter how strategic and brilliant the agency or consultant, social media is not magic.  Conversational activation cannot cure a poor product solution or an antedated communications practice.  It takes time to change internally, and still more time to shift the momentum of the naturally occurring conversation. 

1341938972_dc24e25e9e_b The conversation is a wave of momentum, full of kinetic energy.  Spraying a spray bottle at the ocean won't impact the momentum of the mass.  Shift requires change and progressive activity at multiple levels.  Every little action will slow the negative momentum, while hopefully introducing a positive undertow of advocacy.  Advertising can serve as the wind above the waves, but unless a brand is ready to get into the water with a truly positive manner, they won't see the impact they are looking for.

That being said, change takes time.  Brands with decades of experience building positive relationships with their consumers are a step ahead.  Brands with decades of experience crying wolf have negative momentum to work with.

Social success is not just about scale or sentiment, there is a third dimension, Momentum.

3d social model  

Now you've got the golden trifecta, let's start doing it.

6 Common Social Conference Mistakes

In honor of Internet Week 2009 in NYC, I bring you the 6 most common social conference mistakes.

  1. Bad Wifi/Protected Wifi and no posted access code
  2. No central hashtag on twitter = disorganized conversation
  3. Too few power outlets/No power outlets
  4. Very loud music in the atrium/lounge (if you want people to network, turn it down or they will go outside to network)
  5. No area for light work.  Let's face it, few high value attendees can go a day without calling in for a meeting or following up on an email.  Find a sponsor and get a room for light business, attendees will appreciate it and the sponsor will have all the branding they love.
  6. No online follow up with videos or slideshares
    • Almost as good, posting the content deep in the site with no message to attendees about where to find it.
  7. (I lied) No event host participation in the dialogue.
    • If you're going to spend thousands of dollars on a venue, food and transportation, you might as well participate in the conversation and make your investment work for you.  You have momentum and social equity, use it.

Thanks to all the agencies, vendors, partners, participants, speakers and event coordinators that make these events possible. 

Remember to say thank you on the way out.  Someone worked very hard to make that conference as successful as it was.  And if you got a complimentary pass, someone went out of their way to get you one.